Whatever happened to the classic races?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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I'm talking humans, elves, dwarves, halflings, gnomes, and half-elves. These days everyone is playing some anthropomorphic animal or some elemental being or just something that is essentially a dark and edgy human. The obvious solution to this issue is just to limit the races... But alas, this only leads to complaints upon complaints. -Sigh-. Does anyone else feel similarly?

Scarab Sages

Organized Play keeps a comparatively tight lid on playable races - presently, the only non-core races you can play without a special limited-availability Boon are Aasimar, Tieflings, and (for some odd reason) Tengu.


I understand where you are coming from. Another symptom of the ever expanding options that bothers me is the variant archetypes. When party members are dipping into this and that to "round out" their characters with animal companions and spells and rage abilities etc. Nobody knows what their role in the party is or just who their character is anymore.

The exotic races and unlikely class combinations can work sometimes but also get tiresome when overused. I think it is a legitimate restriction to run a "Core" game only permitting the core rulebook options. This is a pretty classic approach and I think well within a GM's authority to require at character creation.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Still there. See them? They are the NPC's


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thaX wrote:
Still there. See them? They are the NPC's

Well the worst part is that you can either make every NPC comment on your ragtag group of X-Men or just act like it's normal. The former is annoying and the latter is just... weird.


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J-Gal wrote:
I'm talking humans, elves, dwarves, halflings, gnomes, and half-elves.

raises an eyebrow


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J-Gal wrote:
or just something that is essentially a dark and edgy human.

:(

Silver Crusade

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People haven't stopped playing those races.

It's just that a lot of folks enjoy other races as well.

A lot of people enjoy fantasy outside the narrow scope of LotR.


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Auskrem wrote:
J-Gal wrote:
I'm talking humans, elves, dwarves, halflings, gnomes, and half-elves.
raises an eyebrow

I am unsure what the implication of your raised eyebrow is, but if it's because of the exclusion of half-orcs, I assure you, it was purposeful.


I tend to like it when races are limited to the Core races, Genasi (Ifrit/Oread/Sylph/Undine in Pathfinder), Aasimar, and Tieflings.

Silver Crusade

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J-Gal wrote:
I am unsure what the implication of your raised eyebrow is, but if it's because of the exclusion of half-orcs, I assure you, it was purposeful.

Welp, that seals it. I wouldn't want to be stuck in such a "classic" game and am grateful it's not the default assumption.


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I prefer to play Humans and the odd time an Elf. The other races while cool once in while lose their flavor quick unless the campaign is oriented that way. A hodgepodge or weird races in party just gets weird from role playing point of view. How do you go to city and interact with the people their when you have odd ball party of monstrous races?


I think it depends on the campaign; in my campaign world, Catfolk are prolific adventurers (they are fairly close to extinction- so they adventure to make themselves scarce. ) Though an adventuring Ogre or Gnoll needs called out on if you go by book assumptions. But adventurers are outliers by their very nature- so... to each their own; I say.


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Mikaze wrote:
Welp, that seals it. I wouldn't want to be stuck in such a "classic" game and am grateful it's not the default assumption.

It's a matter of realistic roleplay to me. If it were up to me entirely, I would only allow humans in my game because I find them the only race someone can relate to. However, I am giving up some ground, and I'm usually okay with one person to play a "weird race", if they actually roleplay what it MEANS to be such a being. I find that most players play the same way whether they are a human or an elf or a Half-Dragon Half-Demon Half Angel monstrosity.


J-Gal wrote:
I'm talking humans, elves, dwarves, halflings, gnomes, and half-elves. These days everyone is playing some anthropomorphic animal or some elemental being or just something that is essentially a dark and edgy human. The obvious solution to this issue is just to limit the races... But alas, this only leads to complaints upon complaints. -Sigh-. Does anyone else feel similarly?

Yup. I only play core races, dont like most of the expanded ones but allow most of them when i gm. Still, my player(s) are to expect possible consequences for certain choices.

Grand Lodge

Or it can play to an advantage when infiltrating a city that does not appreciate the traditional races. Our Tengu, Half-Orc, and Kitsune had no issue walking into a 'monster' friendly city. Fortunately our dwarf had a hell of a disguise roll and pulled off a dwarven variant.


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Runs off to make a Half-Dragon Half-Demon Half-Angel monstrosity.


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Sooo....this is your lawn, and you want us to leave, old man?


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Pupsocket wrote:
Sooo....this is your lawn, and you want us to leave, old man?

Yes. And take your monkey men with you.


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J-Gal wrote:
Pupsocket wrote:
Sooo....this is your lawn, and you want us to leave, old man?
Yes. And take your monkey men with you.

The correct term is Vanaras.


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I prefer both. Sometimes I play a standard Race, sometimes I want to explore something weirder. It all depends on where my imagination goes.


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I'm not bashing the way anyone wants to play their homebrew settings, but when you're in what one could call the "typical D&D setting" these races should be incredibly rare and specific to a location. How all these weirdos come together in one group all the time is just ridiculous at best and absolutely immersion breaking at its worst.

Silver Crusade

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J-Gal wrote:
It's a matter of realistic roleplay to me. If it were up to me entirely, I would only allow humans in my game because I find them the only race someone can relate to. However, I am giving up some ground, and I'm usually okay with one person to play a "weird race", if they actually roleplay what it MEANS to be such a being. I find that most players play the same way whether they are a human or an elf or a Half-Dragon Half-Demon Half Angel monstrosity.

Ignoring the straw caricature at the end:

This presumes that most people playing those races aren't roleplaying them to the degree elves and dwarves typically do. I'd wager they are.

And I think I'm roleplaying my half-orc and tiefling characters as realistically as I roleplay my human and elf characters. Whether they fit inside a particular GM's potentially overly narrow scope of "what it MEANS to be" those races is going to depend on the GM, but I don't play with LotR purists, so it's worked out.

J-Gal wrote:
Pupsocket wrote:
Sooo....this is your lawn, and you want us to leave, old man?
Yes. And take your monkey men with you.

The makers of the game saw fit to be inclusive of more tastes in fantasy than a narrow set, so we're here to stay.

The presence of those options doesn't take away from your ability to have a game without them. So why wish that those options be taken away from those who don't want to play your style of game?

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

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Meh, call me crazy but I think players should be able to play what they want.


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Mikaze wrote:
The presence of those options doesn't take away from your ability to have a game without them. So why wish that those options be taken away from those who don't want to play your style of game?

I see your point but the same argument could be applied to nearly anything. I'm all for roleplaying games to be diverse and inclusive... But you can't deny that D&D and Pathfinder strive for a certain theme. If they released a new book with stats for AK-47s and Rocket Launchers I believe that would be going against the spirit of this specific game. Would I look down upon an RPG that uses it? No. But it ain't Pathfinder man.

Silver Crusade

People still play the core races, it's just that when you have options, you want to use them. You want people not to make different things? Stop giving races different stat bonuses. And some people like being different fantasy tropes instead of Gruff Dwarf, Sneaky Halfling, and Wacky Gnome. I myself love Tieflings and Aasamir since they're so varied in background, although I love humanoid forms as a whole.


Then just treat their choice of race as being as rare as it really is. If they want to play that big Tyranid-looking race from the back of the ARG, then they should get used to normal people running in fear or reflexively going for their weapons when they see her.

But they can work with it, too. My group's Kingmaker campaign has a severe case of Special Snowflake Syndrome, so one of the core tenets of our nation is that all are welcome. Kobolds, Fae, Giants... Anyone who's willing to behave themselves can have a place.


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It's not as bad as it was in 3.5 simply because you can't dumpster dive for obscure races and templates to get a +10 bulls*** bonus to caster level, or what have you.

The problems I have with them in PF are the "special snowflake" types who need to play something completely off-the-wall. Like that weeaboo who only plays Kitsune, and plays them exactly like a cartoon character. Or the guy who plays a Tiefling so edgy he might cut himself.

Silver Crusade

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J-Gal wrote:
I see your point but the same argument could be applied to nearly anything. I'm all for roleplaying games to be diverse and inclusive... But you can't deny that D&D and Pathfinder strive for a certain theme. If they released a new book with stats for AK-47s and Rocket Launchers I believe that would be going against the spirit of this specific game. Would I look down upon an RPG that uses it? No. But it ain't Pathfinder man.

I dunno...

Distant Worlds was still Pathfinder. It has spaceships, lasers, alien races of varying stripes, robots, space whales, technoliches, planetary romance, psionics, etc...

Rasputin Must Die! was still Pathfinder. It has

Spoiler:
WW1 weaponry and a trip to Earth.

The upcoming Numeria book and the Iron Gods AP are going to be Pathfinder too. And that's going to have barbarians fighting robots with lasers and rocket launchers as well as featuring the birth of various mechanical gods.


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We only need three classes: the Cleric, the Fighting man, and the Magic-User. Anything else is blasphemy and not allowed in my games.
It should be stated that no one else wants to play with me anymore. Kids nowadays want to play all these weird classes like "rogue".


I for the most part either played a Dwarf (Duergar) or an elf, never a human (because I play one in real life).
But to be honest playing the same races over and over gets boring, playing something different sets yourself apart from the rest of the party characters.


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Nawtyit wrote:

We only need three classes: the Cleric, the Fighting man, and the Magic-User. Anything else is blasphemy and not allowed in my games.

It should be stated that no one else wants to play with me anymore. Kids nowadays want to play all these weird classes like "rogue".

I know you're being snide but this honestly sounds wonderful to me. Except the rogue part. Rogues have their place and it's called thief. But what's with all these superfluous classes?

Paladin = Cleric who likes to fight.
Ranger = Woodsy fighter.
Barbarian = Angry fighter.
Druid = Cleric into nature.
Bard = Thief who sings songs.
etc, etc


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I used up my desire for narrower options a long time ago. I mean in the home game anyone can allow/disallow what they want but as far as options go, the more the better.

I loved watching The Hobbit last week but it'd be on the bottom of the worlds I'd want to do anything in.

Dark Archive

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Charlie Brooks wrote:
Meh, call me crazy but I think players should be able to play what they want.

So. Much. This.

Me? I pretty much only play humans. Occasionally I'll play a planetouched (usually I prefer the elemental ones, but I have a soft spot for Aasimar and Tieflings also), but, if you think about it, those are basically just humans with funny bloodlines. I'm a huge history buff, so I can spin out human character concepts for ages (and I happen to enjoy humans mechanical advantages over pretty much every other races), but I let players pick whatever they want. I'd rather they play a character that they love the idea of, then one they feel they were forced into.


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J-Gal wrote:
Auskrem wrote:
J-Gal wrote:
I'm talking humans, elves, dwarves, halflings, gnomes, and half-elves.
raises an eyebrow
I am unsure what the implication of your raised eyebrow is, but if it's because of the exclusion of half-orcs, I assure you, it was purposeful.

You do realize that half-orcs were in the original 1st edition AD&D, right?

Oh, and classes? Clerics, druids, fighters, rangers, paladins, magic-users, illusionists, thieves, assassins and monks were all in the original AD&D PHB.


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When I GM (non-PFS play), I generally limit players to the Big Seven (human, elf, dwarf, half-elf, half-orc, halfling, gnome) for a vanilla game. I think players have plenty of choices (alternate racial abilities, etc.) within those parameters. Going outside those parameters tends to complicate my game world.


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The current campaign I'm in (Eberron), we have:

Two shifters, an elf, a half-elf, a vishkanya (from some undocumented part of Xendrik!) and a lizardfolk.

The previous campaign with that group included:

An elf, a drow, an orc, two nagas (with arms), a halfling and a kind of intelligent, amphibious mollusc.

I have played in a game where one character was a sentient cloud of thought that budded from the noosphere.


Weren Wu Jen wrote:
J-Gal wrote:
Auskrem wrote:
J-Gal wrote:
I'm talking humans, elves, dwarves, halflings, gnomes, and half-elves.
raises an eyebrow
I am unsure what the implication of your raised eyebrow is, but if it's because of the exclusion of half-orcs, I assure you, it was purposeful.

You do realize that half-orcs were in the original 1st edition AD&D, right?

Oh, and classes? Clerics, druids, fighters, rangers, paladins, magic-users, illusionists, thieves, assassins and monks were all in the original AD&D PHB.

My concern is not with the Original AD&D, because that had it's own set of issues. I'm simply speaking from a stance of personal preference. As I assume everyone else here is. I'm not saying that no one can play these races or classes, I'm simply saying that I find their existence... irritating. Just like I find country music irritating, some people like it, but that doesn't mean I won't go ballistic if someone fills up my iTunes library with it.


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Okay, I see this topic crop up on a pretty regular basis, but it never reflects what I perceive as the norm. Are traditional "some humans, an elf, and a dwarf" parties really in the minority after decades of being the only option? Sure, you see the occasional band of exotic adventurers, but they're more visible by virtue of being exceptional.

If you ask me, adventurers are ALWAYS weird; the only reason it isn't "immersion breaking" to see an armored soldier, a healer-priest, an arcane sage, and some sneaky guy with knives all wandering around together with no ties to a larger organization is because that's the kind of absurdity that we've come to accept without questioning.

FOLLOW-UP: It should probably be noted that Golarion acknowledges this old game logic concession as an actual element of the world; most people are familiar with the idea of adventuring parties and their unique line of business, and the Pathfinder Society has all but standardized it. And I like that, because it's a game setting that really KNOWS it's a game setting and doesn't force you to awkwardly explain all the old cliches that necessitate a campaign. But I'm getting off-topic.


Apart from one game where everyone plays a freak (non core race) the most common races in games I've been in are human, elf, aasimar with the other core races being played, too.


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This isn't to sound snide or argumentative, but why are you playing Pathfinder J Gal? Pretty sure there are several 1st ed D&D style games out right now, and most that I've seen are fairly cheap/free.

This standard D&D setting...I don't know how to break this to you, but things changed. (ok, here I'm going to sound a little snide) Why don't you go look to see what the current "standard" D&D setting is like right now. Beyond that, this isn't D&D, this is Pathfinder...and Golarion, the core Pathfinder setting, has half orcs, it has goblins, and damphir (much to my annoyance, but I solve that by not playing them), and tieflings and cat folk and assimars and all sorts of other things.

As for player choice...*shrugs*...I don't know what to tell you, I'm a power gamer, so the only things I play are humans and the occasional elf. As a GM I regularly see tieflings, assimars, fetchlings, and tengu, and recently had my first catfolk player. Each game there was only 1-2 of the above races, out of anywhere from 4-8 players...so, no...it's not really a problem over here.

Having played 3rd ed games where there wasn't a player in sight that didn't have at least two templates and there were no races that didn't have an adjustment...I've felt the way you do...but I'd like to think I didn't try to sound quite so superior about the fact that that just wasn't my scene. Don't like the game your playing? Don't play...

What you probably shouldn't do, is get online and tell people what is and isn't Pathfinder. As much as I occasionally butt heads with the developers over disagreements on design, the game is theirs. Unless your name is Jason "Crane Wing" Bulmahn you don't really get to say what is and isn't Pathfinder...well, least not without sounding...silly.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
J-Gal wrote:
I'm talking humans, elves, dwarves, halflings, gnomes, and half-elves. These days everyone is playing some anthropomorphic animal or some elemental being or just something that is essentially a dark and edgy human. The obvious solution to this issue is just to limit the races... But alas, this only leads to complaints upon complaints. -Sigh-. Does anyone else feel similarly?

No, everyone isn't playing some kind of oddball anthropomorphic animal or whatever. Hyperbole doesn't really serve this argument. But even in games where someone is doing so, it's not like this is different from D&D 20 years ago or 30 years ago because you had players trying to play something off the wall even then. There just weren't as many rules amenable to it.

Personally, I try to keep the Mos Eisley Cantina effect to a relative minimum because I find being a bit more mundane enhances the effect of the fantasy that's there. But there's nothing wrong with taking a more "Guardians of the Galaxy" approach with the game.


Fraust wrote:

This isn't to sound snide or argumentative, but why are you playing Pathfinder J Gal? Pretty sure there are several 1st ed D&D style games out right now, and most that I've seen are fairly cheap/free.

This standard D&D setting...I don't know how to break this to you, but things changed. (ok, here I'm going to sound a little snide) Why don't you go look to see what the current "standard" D&D setting is like right now. Beyond that, this isn't D&D, this is Pathfinder...and Golarion, the core Pathfinder setting, has half orcs, it has goblins, and damphir (much to my annoyance, but I solve that by not playing them), and tieflings and cat folk and assimars and all sorts of other things.

As for player choice...*shrugs*...I don't know what to tell you, I'm a power gamer, so the only things I play are humans and the occasional elf. As a GM I regularly see tieflings, assimars, fetchlings, and tengu, and recently had my first catfolk player. Each game there was only 1-2 of the above races, out of anywhere from 4-8 players...so, no...it's not really a problem over here.

Having played 3rd ed games where there wasn't a player in sight that didn't have at least two templates and there were no races that didn't have an adjustment...I've felt the way you do...but I'd like to think I didn't try to sound quite so superior about the fact that that just wasn't my scene. Don't like the game your playing? Don't play...

What you probably shouldn't do, is get online and tell people what is and isn't Pathfinder. As much as I occasionally butt heads with the developers over disagreements on design, the game is theirs. Unless your name is Jason "Crane Wing" Bulmahn you don't really get to say what is and isn't Pathfinder...well, least not without sounding...silly.

Well to be honest I don't find myself playing Pathfinder much these days because of its (I would say over-)emphasis on mechanics. But with that said, I hate every edition of D&D in its own special way.

1e was way too arbitrary and byzantine.
2e was not as dense as 1e, but THAC0.
3e-PF has so many moving parts it gets away from you.
4e is just... too simple and dull.
I had hopes for D&D Next but they managed to f' that up too.
-Sigh-


In my rotrl group the party consists of a human, an elf, a halfling, a gnome (who used to be a halfling until death and reincarnate happened) and a bugbear (who used to be a half-orc before the same story as the gnome).
In the cotct campaign we're planning to start after rotrl, the planned characters that I know of for now consist of two humans, a dwarf and a halfling.
Playing way of the wicked we have 3 humans and 2 tieflings. And no, it's not weird that they'd get together as they're all criminals who had to do a prison break together.
And then we have the rather large group I play in where I believe the races are... 1 aasimar, 1 tiefling, 1 tengu, 1 half-orc, 2 elves and 2 humans.

Even with the most varied table I play at, there are still 62,5% core races present, one of which you don't accept as your "classics" which reduces us to 50%. I'd still say that's far from everybody playing something else. Of course I don't share your experiences, but based on my own I just don't see how the core (or "classic") races are gone...

EDIT: numbers :)


J-Gal wrote:
3e-PF has so many moving parts it gets away from you.

I really have absolutely no clue what you want to say with this.


J-Gal, I kinda understand what you are saying but maybe its because you are seeing a small sample size?

I see a lot of "Help me build my half dragon/assimar/were-unicorn with a fiendish template" sort of thing on the boards but aside from a tengu and a goblin every PC in the three campaigns I play in and the ones I have GM'd has been a "classic".

Personally I couldn't care what players play as a PC race as long as an attempt to RP that race is made. And this goes for elf PCs being played as humans wearing a set of false pointy ears.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
J-Gal wrote:
2e was not as dense as 1e, but THAC0.

THAC0, by the way, is exactly the same thing as the Base Attack Bonus.

Perhaps you might want to look into games like Swords & Wizardry, or Adventures Deep & Dark.


Umbranus wrote:
J-Gal wrote:
3e-PF has so many moving parts it gets away from you.
I really have absolutely no clue what you want to say with this.

Ever make three level 15 NPCs for a big encounter in Pathfinder and try to do so in an hour and a half? It's daunting. Say what you will about the older editions or 4e, you could slap an NPC together in 10 minutes or so.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
J-Gal wrote:
-Sigh-. Does anyone else feel similarly?

Nope. Humans are still the overwhelming majority among PCs.

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