Isn't it strange that elves aren't that well suited to nature based classes?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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A lot of the races kind of weird me out for one reason or another.

Any hatred ability I never liked. When it's relevant you're naturally racist and when it's not it's useless, and nothing that replaces it is any better.

Then there is the thing of Dwarves being known for crafting and Elves for nature but have their mental bonus reversed for that. In the end I wound up writing a new ethnicity for the races I didn't like mechanically for use in games where I wanted to do things a little different.

Fullangar (Dwarves)
Ability Modifiers: +2 Con, +2 Int, -2 Cha
Replace Hardy, Hatred, Stonecutting, and Greed with;
Dwarven Immunity: Fullangar Dwarves are immune to paralysis, phantasms, and poison. They also gain a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against spells and spell-like abilities.
Craftsman: Fullangar Dwarves gain a +2 racial bonus on all Craft or Profession checks to create objects from metal or stone.
Relentless: Fullangar Dwarves gain a +2 bonus on combat maneuver checks made to bull rush or overrun an opponent. This bonus only applies while both the member of this race and its opponent are standing on the ground.

Ljosafar (Elves)
Ability Modifiers: +2 Dex, +2 Wis, -2 Con
Replace Elven Magic and Low Light Vision with;
Ljosafar Elves gain the Outsider (Native) type and subtype.
Darkvision: Ljosafar Elves have the darkvision 60 feet.
Urbanite: Ljosafar Elves gain a +2 racial bonus on Diplomacy checks made to gather information and Sense Motive checks made to get a hunch about a social situation.

Firstling (Gnomes)
Ability Modifiers: +2 Con, +2 Int, -2 Str
Replace Defensive Training and Hatred with;
Firstling Gnomes gain the Fey subtype.
Eternal Hope: Fairy Gnomes gain a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against fear and despair effects. Also, once per day, after a natural roll of 1 on a d20 roll, Fairy Gnomes may reroll and use the second result.

Kithkin (Halflings)
Ability Modifiers: +2 Dex, +2 Cha,
Replace Halfling Luck and Surefooted with;
Hive mind: As a swift action Kithkin Halflings may project and share their thoughts to other Kithkin within 30 feet. Only voluntarily given thoughts are revealed during this link. During this link as long as at least two Kithkin are within 30 feet of each other they each gain +2 to all saves and no Kithkin in the group is considered flanked or flat-footed unless all of them are. They may also use any Charisma, Intelligence or Wisdom based checks for each other.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Taking low-light vision away from Elves pretty much robs them of much of their forest adaptation.

Unless you live in a cave, Darkvision is a terrible trade. It's limited to 60 feet and black and white vision.

Under a night sky, elven vision is practically as good as daylight in the forest. Especially if the moon is out.


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TarkXT wrote:

So the fact that they manipulate nature for their homes and use doesn't make them in tune.

It makes them viruses.

Elves confirmed to be disease.

Are level 3 paladins immune to elves?


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Entryhazard wrote:
TarkXT wrote:

So the fact that they manipulate nature for their homes and use doesn't make them in tune.

It makes them viruses.

Elves confirmed to be disease.

Are level 3 paladins immune to elves?

What about level 3 elf paladins?

Can level 3 non-elf antipaladins spread elves?


LazarX wrote:

Taking low-light vision away from Elves pretty much robs them of much of their forest adaptation.

Unless you live in a cave, Darkvision is a terrible trade. It's limited to 60 feet and black and white vision.

Under a night sky, elven vision is practically as good as daylight in the forest. Especially if the moon is out.

In this case it was based on the 'light elves', as separate from regular elves(dark elves) and drow (Black Elves/Svartalfer).

For the purpose of one campaign I needed three elves to conform to a kind of modified norse-like setting.


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Buri Reborn wrote:
IMO, elves aren't represented well mechanically at all and likely wouldn't be a PC race if they were.

The original "elf" would come off much more like a drow (power level)

Elves have been merged to make a cool race for pcs due to popularity

In my home brew world, elves are half elves (half elves aren't a thing) and drown are the actual elves
And most elves are neutral or neutral evil
Not chaotic good

The elves as drow thing I have going on changes them around in that my home brew elf is mainly either a sorcerer , Druid or monk

Wizard magic is the magic of men
Sorcery is the magic of elves and the first world
Elves are very much against the younger races for destroying the world and nature
My elves value the life of a tree over that of man or dwarf

I frequently have elves as bbeg

If a PC is playing an elf
Those stats represent my diluted (or half) elves
Those who live apart from nature and severed themselves from elf society and culture

Kind of like Spock
They chose a diminished existence for the chance to be something greater

I have no dark lands or under dark

Elves can be any color skin or hair as they change to their environment within a century
Drow elves cannot be pcs at all
They are immortal as far as she is considered
Can be slain like any other PC race

But that's my home brew elf


Solution: Ask your GM to allow your elf to get a +2 to WIS instead of INT. Ta da!

I would see no really good reason to disallow this. In fact, if that was the only elf PC and it didn't step on anybody's toes to do so, I would happily just make all elves in the world skew toward WIS if it were convenient.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

So, Elves are sort of the Golarion Goa'uld?

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

Would that make Drow the Tok'ra? Or vice versa? Or something else entirely?


blackbloodtroll wrote:
So, Elves are sort of the Golarion Goa'uld?

You know, it has been a long time since I've rewatched SG-1.

[does a Netflix search]

[drops jaw]

Quote:
Stargate SG-1 is unavailable to stream.

Dafuq?!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Hulu?

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

I just checked, and it is available on Hulu


Also Prime

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

And—not to go too far off topic—I really need to watch Stargate: Atlantis (finished SG-1, but never went further).

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

Buri Reborn wrote:
Also Prime

Sorry, didn't consider that


Helena Handbasket wrote:
And—not to go too far off topic—I really need to watch Stargate: Atlantis (finished SG-1, but never went further).

do it.... you can marathon it because it ended ad kind of chose a decent spot to end... the only question is whether SGU is worth watching afterwards.


TarkXT wrote:
So JJ what's the best antibiotic to use on Elven induced canker sores in my community?

Apply a mace directly to the forehead of offending sores as needed.


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M1k31 wrote:
TarkXT wrote:
So JJ what's the best antibiotic to use on Elven induced canker sores in my community?
Apply a mace directly to the forehead of offending sores as needed.

I tried, but I hit a Mirror Image. Any help here?


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Malwing wrote:

Kithkin (Halflings)
Ability Modifiers: +2 Dex, +2 Cha,
Replace Halfling Luck and Surefooted with;
Hive mind: As a swift action...

I always liked the Kithkin, but in addition to the Hivemind I think it would be cool if they had the Ratfolks Swarming ability.

Or maybe a racial archetype or prestige class that eventually got them two cohorts for a Thoughtweft trio style ability.


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This thread really makes me want to run an alien invasion campaign based on invasion of the body snatchers or war of the worlds, just with elves for aliens.
Only questions is whether elves work better as pod people, so they infiltrate and otherwise force nature to accept them, or if they have to hide in suits and giant golems since the biosphere of the planet naturally rejects them.


M1k31 wrote:
Helena Handbasket wrote:
And—not to go too far off topic—I really need to watch Stargate: Atlantis (finished SG-1, but never went further).
do it.... you can marathon it because it ended ad kind of chose a decent spot to end... the only question is whether SGU is worth watching afterwards.

It's not worth seeing SGU, or rather it's worth seeing only the second half of season 2 of SGU.


Android Monk/Ranger/Gunslinger/Horizon Walker with Favored Enemy(Elves), called Smith.


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I think all the races with fixed-bonuses/penalties to ability scores should have a floating bonus like Humans and Half-Human things.
For example, Elves may have +2 Dex and -2 Con fixed and then another +2 to a stat of choice, thus maintaining a fundamental difference with Humans, but also having a bit more range to move in.

Add to that the swappable racial traits, and you can have better Elven Druids, or Fighters, or Sorcerers. As well as better Dwarven Wizards, Gnome Druids (Gnomes are supposed to be the most nature-themed guys, but their basic racial stuff doesn't reflect that at all), and so on.
With also at least a slight reduction on the "I'd like to play race X with class Y, but that combination sucks/doesn't feel that good, so I'll play something else".


Astral Wanderer wrote:

I think all the races with fixed-bonuses/penalties to ability scores should have a floating bonus like Humans and Half-Human things.

For example, Elves may have +2 Dex and -2 Con fixed and then another +2 to a stat of choice, thus maintaining a fundamental difference with Humans, but also having a bit more range to move in.

Add to that the swappable racial traits, and you can have better Elven Druids, or Fighters, or Sorcerers. As well as better Dwarven Wizards, Gnome Druids (Gnomes are supposed to be the most nature-themed guys, but their basic racial stuff doesn't reflect that at all), and so on.
With also at least a slight reduction on the "I'd like to play race X with class Y, but that combination sucks/doesn't feel that good, so I'll play something else".

Why not have both? Leave Elves with their +2 Dex/Int and -2 Con, but give them a floating +2 and just give Humans two floating +2s.


Because that would make elves and humans more powerful than other races?


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5e has High elves, wood elves, and drow.

To the surprise of no one, wood elves make good nature focused concepts and high elves are solid arcane casters.

PF could stand to have a wood elf variant.


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Matthew Downie wrote:
Because that would make elves and humans more powerful than other races?

I suppose he was implying all other races would get an additional +2 too.

I, however, think they would all be too powerful, with a further +2.
Every mere peasant would end up with stats higher than average, thus establishing a new, higher average. An higher one than what tries to be a consistent representation of real world people.


Astral Wanderer wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
Because that would make elves and humans more powerful than other races?

I suppose he was implying all other races would get an additional +2 too.

I, however, think they would all be too powerful, with a further +2.
Every mere peasant would end up with stats higher than average, thus establishing a new, higher average. An higher one than what tries to be a consistent representation of real world people.

Pathfinder is very crappy at representating real world people.

What does concern me is that monsters get weaker in comparison. Also, all the existant NPCs would need rewriting - it isn't really a practical suggestion, from that point of view.

Dark Archive

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Conversation got a bit off track, it seems, but I will still say that even if there racial abilities don't match, NPCs don't minmax like players do. There are Halfling Fighters and Dwarven Bards and every other combination of every class out there. Even the terrible ones. But there are still plenty of NPCs (and adventurous PCs) who do things that are in character. A halfling society can't exist entirely on rogues and bards, despite that being what they are best at.

Even if the Elves don't get some kind of bonus to doing nature stuff doesn't mean they don't actually like nature.


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Sah wrote:
Malwing wrote:

Kithkin (Halflings)
Ability Modifiers: +2 Dex, +2 Cha,
Replace Halfling Luck and Surefooted with;
Hive mind: As a swift action...

I always liked the Kithkin, but in addition to the Hivemind I think it would be cool if they had the Ratfolks Swarming ability.

Or maybe a racial archetype or prestige class that eventually got them two cohorts for a Thoughtweft trio style ability.

To some extent I was trying to replace abilities with someting Race Point equivolent as to not make things broken but addint that may not be too bad.

Overall I never really felt the flavor behind halflings or hobbits. They seemed to just be kinda there and sort of short homey people. While with Kithkin, at least in Lorwyn, I felt a lot of flavor behind them.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I actually very much like the "our Elves are different" approach by Paizo.

In various 3.5 incarnations, I would have never played an Elf.

Now, with this new feel, I can easily find a concept I like.

Not everyone is a Legolas fan.


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I too like playing a blight upon the world.


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With respect to giving everybody a floating +2, this is not much more overpowered than the majority of PbPs using 20 point buy and running 5 PC parties for APs that expect 15 point buy 4 PC parties, and probably less overpowered than the significant subset that bump it all the way up to 25 point buy (and occasionally more than 5 PCs).

* * * * * * * *

(Sort of) On the original topic, Elves not having the optimal ability score adjustments for nature-themed characters is similar to (although occurs more commonly than) Changelings not having optimal ability score adjustments for being Witches (and as far as I can tell, the Ley Line Guardian and racial Dreamweaver Witch archetypes leave them Int-dependent, thus not fixing this), and they don't even get anything else that synergizes with being a Witch (like Halfling Jinx -- Halflings make better Witches than Changelings). At least Elves get Keen Senses to help with Perception, which isn't uniquely required for nature-themed characters, but does help. Elves also get a few tradeout options that help nature-themed characters or at least for extreme environment nature-themed characters -- Desert Runner, Elemental Resistance, Fey Magic (admittedly not very good), Fey Thoughts, Silent Hunter (which synergizes with their normal weapon proficiencies), Spirit of the Waters, and Woodcraft. And to add insult to injury, Elves get the option for Dreamspeaker while still having the Int bonus, which lets them be better Witches than Dreamweaver Changelings. (And then to add another insult to the previous insult and injury, Stormborn Changelings get a racial trait named Wind Breaker -- as far as I know, they don't look much like jackets, so it doesn't make much sense . . . .)

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
UnArcaneElection wrote:

(Sort of) On the original topic, Elves not having the optimal ability score adjustments for nature-themed characters

On what basis are they not optimal? Elves generally fight from range and magic rather than close to melee, so the -2 to Con isn't an issue.

Dexterity is surely a benefit for ranged combat and stealth. And Intelligence means they tend to know more and get more mileage out of Knowledge Nature.

The lack of a wisdom bonus is more than offset by a +2 to Perception, as well as the posession of low-light vision, which is considerably better than darkvision for a race that does not live underground.


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+Wisdom is the optimal ability score adjustment for Wisdom based casting classes (Druid, Hunter, Ranger, Cleric of nature god).

Elves do not get +Wisdom.

Therefore, Elves do not have optimal ability score adjustments for nature-themed characters.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
DominusMegadeus wrote:

+Wisdom is the optimal ability score adjustment for Wisdom based casting classes (Druid, Hunter, Ranger, Cleric of nature god).

Elves do not get +Wisdom.

Therefore, Elves do not have optimal ability score adjustments for nature-themed characters.

1. If the Druid is a melee wildshaper, mega wisdom is not called for.

2. The Hunter only gets up to sixth level spells. If he's an archer, he wants dex more than wisdom. And again he has the perception bonus, the class skills, and low-light vision. Ranger has even less need for a mega wisdom with only 4th level spells at best. Neither are really big on Saving throw DCs for the most part.

3. I do not consider clerics, even those of a nature god to be particruarly nature-themed classes.

Your problem is your definition of optimal is rather narrow-minded.


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Whether or not they need tons of Wisdom, it is more optimal than having Int.


Do they need to be optimal, or is being pretty good enough?


We're not arguing what is good enough. The quoted post said optimal ability score adjustment, specifically. Lazar contested it. He was wrong.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
DominusMegadeus wrote:
Whether or not they need tons of Wisdom, it is more optimal than having Int.

Why? Having more int also means that you have more points to spend on nature related skills i.e. Knowledge Nature, Knowledge geography, Survival, and Perception, Not only that it also means that you'll be better at the Int-based skills.

Having a +2 to Perception is equivalent to having Wisdom 4 pts higher for the purposes of that skill. Having low-light vision means that Perception is meaningful at distance even during the night.

Basic assumption of course is that you're not taking your wisdom below 10.


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LazarX wrote:
DominusMegadeus wrote:
Whether or not they need tons of Wisdom, it is more optimal than having Int.

Why? Having more int also means that you have more points to spend on nature related skills i.e. Knowledge Nature, Knowledge geography, Survival, and Perception, Not only that it also means that you'll be better at the Int-based skills.

Having a +2 to Perception is equivalent to having Wisdom 4 pts higher for the purposes of that skill. Having low-light vision means that Perception is meaningful at distance even during the night.

Basic assumption of course is that you're not taking your wisdom below 10.

I think the assertion was not that elves are bad as nature-themed classes, but that they aren't the best. Of course, it looks like this was intentional at this point since JJ weighed in.

And Elfluenza virus confirmed canon.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Green Smashomancer wrote:
LazarX wrote:
DominusMegadeus wrote:
Whether or not they need tons of Wisdom, it is more optimal than having Int.

Why? Having more int also means that you have more points to spend on nature related skills i.e. Knowledge Nature, Knowledge geography, Survival, and Perception, Not only that it also means that you'll be better at the Int-based skills.

Having a +2 to Perception is equivalent to having Wisdom 4 pts higher for the purposes of that skill. Having low-light vision means that Perception is meaningful at distance even during the night.

Basic assumption of course is that you're not taking your wisdom below 10.

I think the assertion was not that elves are bad as nature-themed classes, but that they aren't the best. Of course, it looks like this was intentional at this point since JJ weighed in.

And Elfluenza virus confirmed canon.

I would contend that Having the max possible DC on Druid spells isn't the only valid goalpost for this question. There are many aspects to being nature-themed and wisdom is far from serving all or even most of them.


Buri Reborn wrote:
IMO, elves aren't represented well mechanically at all and likely wouldn't be a PC race if they were.

I think this sentiment is pretty accurate. Their lore presents them as pretty omni-competent, but in a core only environment, they were ok wizards and pretty s@&# at everything else. It semed like the devs knew this, because they kept creating interesting and overpowered classes, feats and ACF's for Elves that were balanced by the disadvantage of "you have to play an Elf".

I feel like that niche was passed to Orc and Goblin in Pathfinder. This had a side effect of making half-orcs a bit too good at a lot of Int, Wis, Cha based roles.


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This is why I kind of miss the various types of elves in D and D.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Degnanigans wrote:
Buri Reborn wrote:
IMO, elves aren't represented well mechanically at all and likely wouldn't be a PC race if they were.
I think this sentiment is pretty accurate. Their lore presents them as pretty omni-competent, but in a core only environment, they were ok wizards and pretty s#!$ at everything else.

What's your standards for being crappy at everything else? Core Elves make excellent Archery Rangers and Fighters, useful scouts in every place but underground. (where no one without darkvision excels). And pretty good rogues as well. Their bonus in Inteligence makes them good as Lore Warden fighters.

Their main weaknesses are as front-line combatants, and that they are just as blind underground as everyone else who's not a dwarf or an orc.


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TarkXT wrote:
knightnday wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:

Pathfinder Elves are aliens. Traveling from world to world through Stargates.

Elves see magic as natural a thing as the salt in the sea. To be in touch with magic, is to be attuned with Nature.

One could even play off that to explain why they are not more in touch with Golarion -- they are aliens and they are not more in touch with Nature on Golarion because she recognizes them as such, so they cannot form as close a bond with the planet.

So the fact that they manipulate nature for their homes and use doesn't make them in tune.

It makes them viruses.

Elves confirmed to be disease.

Elves cause cancer!


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UnArcaneElection wrote:
(...) (Sort of) On the original topic, Elves not having the optimal ability score adjustments for nature-themed characters is similar to (although occurs more commonly than) Changelings not having optimal ability score adjustments for being Witches(...)

This is an especially interesting example since Mark Seifter added a changeling alternate racial trait in Inner Sea Races specifically to make Changelings a better race option for witches.

Personally I prefer to see mechanics and flavor pull in the same direction. If a hypothetical race called the Nilfgardi are widely acknowledged for training the best healers in all the land, they should probably have some kind of mechanic (racial bonus, region-limited trait, race-restricted feats etc.) to back that up.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Are we even talking about Elves in Golarion anymore?


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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
TarkXT wrote:
So JJ what's the best antibiotic to use on Elven induced canker sores in my community?

Greatsword: apply directly to the elf head.


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blackbloodtroll wrote:
Are we even talking about Elves in Golarion anymore?

Of course not, this isn't even the right board for that discussion. The forum for discussing Elves in Golarion is over here.

Oh, and it's totally not my fault. After all, I'm a moose, I couldn't possibly have been the one who cast Mislead to lure you here. But I can help: just stand still while I Reposition you over to the other board....

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