Thank you Paizo developers, for replacing race with ancestry


Prerelease Discussion

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Nox Aeterna wrote:
Who exactly among us here even plans to stop using terms like "race" anyway?

I have been avoiding it when possible already and will not be using it in a game mechanical sense (it's a fine term for, say, an event in which people compete to see who can run the fastest) in PF2.


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Nox Aeterna wrote:
Who exactly among us here even plans to stop using terms like "race" anyway?

I always try to use the proper nomenclature for the game I'm using. It can make it really confusing when I start bringing in terms from other games and just assume everyone else knows what I mean - especially if they don't play those same games.

Then again, I try to do that with all things in life, not just games. As a scientist, using the proper terminology for the field I'm discussing is vitality important for effective communication.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Nox Aeterna wrote:
Who exactly among us here even plans to stop using terms like "race" anyway?

I'm using "race" to refer to PF1 races, and "ancestry" to refer to PF2 ancestries.


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Wait, they're getting rid of "Races" and replacing them with something else? This seems like a very precarious move. Hmmm...

Liberty's Edge

I'm certainly intending to start using Ancestries. It might take a bit for my vocabulary to adjust, though.

Berselius wrote:
Wait, they're getting rid of "Races" and replacing them with something else? This seems like a very precarious move. Hmmm...

It's more of a rename than anything. You can also use it for other stuff, but the Core Ancestries has the same names as the Core Races in PF1 (plus Goblins) and represent more or less the same things.


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While it's intriguing I'm wondering why their going with a rename in the first place? Kinda weird.


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Berselius wrote:
While it's intriguing I'm wondering why their going with a rename in the first place? Kinda weird.

1) "Race" has baggage and some people don't like it

2) Ancestry allows us to be as granular as we like, one can have an ancestry for a specific noble line, or an entire species. Previously you couldn't make different rules for "people who are from a specific place, but are genetically indistinguishable from others of that same species who live elsewhere" and put it on the same level as the difference between Dwarves and Gnomes, you'd have to do it with alternative traits, but things won't work like that in PF2 (options will have modularity built in from the beginning, not bolted on in a later book.) Like "the House of Thrune" is decidedly *not* a race, but it is an ancestry.

3) Now character generation starts with choosing an Ancestry, a Background, and a Class and the "ABC" mnemonic is neat.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Berselius wrote:
While it's intriguing I'm wondering why their going with a rename in the first place? Kinda weird.

1) "Race" has baggage and some people don't like it

2) Ancestry allows us to be as granular as we like, one can have an ancestry for a specific noble line, or an entire species. Previously you couldn't make different rules for "people who are from a specific place, but are genetically indistinguishable from others of that same species who live elsewhere" and put it on the same level as the difference between Dwarves and Gnomes, you'd have to do it with alternative traits, but things won't work like that in PF2 (options will have modularity built in from the beginning, not bolted on in a later book.) Like "the House of Thrune" is decidedly *not* a race, but it is an ancestry.

3) Now character generation starts with choosing an Ancestry, a Background, and a Class and the "ABC" mnemonic is neat.

1)Shoving out of sight just makes one feel better. Going to unpack that baggage soone or later, though debatable on when to do so. Games could do it safer but have less impact. I digress.

2)I thought the goal was to make things easier not harder. Given the possible scope you can describe with Ancestry it could get confusing for new players. Noble of house X from the country of Y with an ancestor that married Z. How do you begin to stat thst up? And depending on effective they are, this is still asking for people to just take X Ancestry for theses reasons.

3) Good for beginners and a marketing pitch. Rest of us though? I find it corny personally but I'm one person.

Who lives in X state. With Ancestry of A, b, d, I, f, k, little I, bit of z, with maybe some v in there. Wait how do I stat myself then? Meh, I'll take human and adjust stats for it if I want.


A Ninja Errant wrote:
Ancestry as term avoids the negative baggage of race, plus the devs have already said that it not being race means they can make it as broad or narrow as they want for a given situation. An ancestry can be an entire race, but it also could be as focused as "this one oddball noble family in Cheliax." Not 100% sure whether that's good bad or neutral, but the idea doesn't bother me so far.

I agree. It'll make it easy for AP writers to explain why THESE elves do get a bonus against goblins. Being both racial and cultural, ancestry can be whatever makes more sense at the moment.

That being said, it wouldn't be against the rules to talk about Fight Club, if there was no Fight Club to talk about. Still, I think it's a slight improvement.

Nox Aeterna wrote:

Who exactly among us here even plans to stop using terms like "race" anyway? Cause i have used since forever and will keep using it. A goblin is a certain race, a human another, so on and on. The term in the game is still there, for me atleast it will always be.

Anyway, the change isnt for the worse, since like others said it allows for regional or parenting and so on things to be added while making it much easier to follow by locking them in packs. Which PF1 already kinda of does with the trait types, but could probably be done better, if it will be here it remains to be seen.

There is a point to be made about how this locks customization depending on how they go about it, like if you are an orphan garundi who was raised by elves in Varisia. I imagine something like simple open traits would make it an easier fit than these ancestries, but lets see.

Once PF2 goes live, using the term "race" on the forums will be.....dangerous.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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Look, folks, the terminology change has nothing whatsoever to do with politics. The problem is that the term is at best inaccurate, and at worst, limiting to design.

Let's look at the "Races" chapter from the Inner Sea World Guide:

Inner Sea World Guide wrote:
The most expansive and populous of Golarion’s races are known as the core races—humans, dwarves, elves, gnomes, and halflings. Half-elves and half-orcs, while technically not quite so common as many of the world’s other races, are also considered part of the core races because of their close ties with humanity.

Okay, so far, so good, I guess...

Inner Sea World Guide wrote:
On Golarion, humanity is further divided into many different, unique ethnicities. While each human ethnicity is identical so far as rules are concerned, they have wildly different appearances, histories, and customs.

Wait a minute—human ethnicities have wildly different appearances, histories, and customs, but their rules are identical? That limitation is imposed by the definition of the term "race," but mechanically speaking, it's pretty arbitrary, isn't it? In the Bestiary, dogs have different rules based solely on whether you can ride them or not.

And let's think about that passage another second—only humanity is divided into many different, unique ethnicities? That's arbitrary and limiting too.

The chapter—remember, it's entitled "Races"—then goes on to detail Azlanti, Chelaxians, Garundi, Keleshites, Kellids, Mwangi, Shoanti, Taldans, Tians, Ulfen, Varisians, Vudrani, Dwarves, Elves, Gnomes, Halflings, and Half-Elves.

At this point, I want to sing "one of these things is not like the others," but really, from one point of view, 12 of these things are not like the others... and from another point of view, none of these things are like the others.

Now let's go back to the Core Rulebook, and its "Races" chapter. We get nice little writeups on Dwarves, Elves, Gnomes, Halflings, Half-Elves, and Humans, detailing their physical description, society, relations, alignment and religion, adventurers, and names. Or do we? Let's look a bit closer at the writeup for humans.

Physical Description: The physical characteristics of humans are as varied as the world's climes...

Society: Human society comprises a multitude of governments, attitudes, and lifestyles...

Alignment and Religion: Humanity is perhaps the most heterogeneous of all the common races...

Adventurers: ...Humans hail from myriad regions and backgrounds, and as such can fill any role within an adventuring party.

Names: ...humanity's diversity has resulted in a near-infinite set of names.

Was any of that actually useful? Let's face it: it's largely two columns of "we had to put text here to follow the format." That's a symptom of the format being too restrictive.

Ditching "Race" in favor of "Ancestry" lets us slice-and-dice across, er... racial lines, so we could—for example—easily confer the same mechanical benefit to characters who came from the same place without regard to whether they're human or elf, or we could give different mechanical benefits to Azlanti and Shoanti even though they're both human.


I can see how humans can be problematic in that regard. I do think that Paizo Publishing handled the problem with ethnicities, subraces, and alternate racial traits/racial feats for 1st Edition Pathfinder in a very good manner if that helps any Vic. ;) :D

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I wonder if there will be room to have the various Human Ancestries in the core rulebook or if we will get one or two and have later Ancestries in other books. I would suggest having an Ancestry for those Humans that have lived on the Isle of Kortos within the cities of Absalom and Diobel. I would not go as far as to tie them to the factions around the area, such as the Pathfinders or the Aspis Consortium, but they can be those that have a central view concerning the political and territorial climate around the Inner Sea.

I don't believe we have a culture devised for Kortos denizens in PF1.

Liberty's Edge

I like the thought that Ancestry will allow me to create characters who are more individualized via culture. A dwarf living in Highhelm and a dwarf living in the Lands of the Linnorm Kings may be quite different, despite being members of the same species. Humans living in our own world can have vast differences culturally and in terms of skill sets, so nonhumans should be similarly diverse.

Thax, you may be amused that my first Pathfinder Society character jokes that his family has been in Absalom since the beginning -- doing the unglamorous work. I specifically describe him as looking like a mix of many different things. (I think that he referred to one ancestor as a refugee pastry chef from Galt.) I would argue that someone from Absalom would have some traits or skills reflecting growing up in a cosmopolitan city. A character growing up in the Lands of the Mammoth Lords, Osirion, a city in the Mwangi Expanse, or Minkai may have very different skills and concerns.

One thing that I truly love about Pathfinder is the ability to customize characters as part of telling stories. I hope that we see more about Ancestries soon.

Similarly, we have characters who may have unusual backgrounds. Suppose an elven child is found by dwarves, and they have no success in finding an elf to raise that child. It stands to reason that the elf would be influenced by dwarven society to some degree, and would perhaps be seen as a full member of dwarven society.


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William Ronald wrote:

One thing that I truly love about Pathfinder is the ability to customize characters as part of telling stories. I hope that we see more about Ancestries soon.

Similarly, we have characters who may have unusual backgrounds. Suppose an elven child is found by dwarves, and they have no success in finding an elf to raise that child. It stands to reason that the elf would be influenced by dwarven society to some degree, and would perhaps be seen as a full member of dwarven society.

And yet would still be allowed and fully legal to pick the Elf Ancestries that give them the bonuses they want for combat, not the traits that would reflect their upbringing.

I'm sorry let's face it, call them whatever you want, those are going to be color coated in a few months of which one is "Worth" it for build X. We'll be right back here with the Ancestry Traits having no effect on Roleplay and just "Hey this ups your Saves, take this" until one comes out that says "Ups your Save, and gives you X as well".


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MerlinCross wrote:
William Ronald wrote:

One thing that I truly love about Pathfinder is the ability to customize characters as part of telling stories. I hope that we see more about Ancestries soon.

Similarly, we have characters who may have unusual backgrounds. Suppose an elven child is found by dwarves, and they have no success in finding an elf to raise that child. It stands to reason that the elf would be influenced by dwarven society to some degree, and would perhaps be seen as a full member of dwarven society.

And yet would still be allowed and fully legal to pick the Elf Ancestries that give them the bonuses they want for combat, not the traits that would reflect their upbringing.

I'm sorry let's face it, call them whatever you want, those are going to be color coated in a few months of which one is "Worth" it for build X. We'll be right back here with the Ancestry Traits having no effect on Roleplay and just "Hey this ups your Saves, take this" until one comes out that says "Ups your Save, and gives you X as well".

There's also the thing that Ancestry doesn't seem to include Background....that'd be, well, Background, I assume.

If we look at the Goblin Blog, what does the Ancestry give you?

- Ability Score Adjustments
- Hit Points
- Base Speed
- Senses (ie, Darkvision)
- Access to Ancestry Feats

With the exclusion of Hit Points, this is all stuff the old P1 Races gave access to. Yes, even Ancestry Feats, because not only were there Racial Feats in P1E, but it seems some Racial Traits are being reworked into Feats (see: Goblins and Very Sneaky; instead of the old +4 Stealth.)

Now, maybe, there's a system for the character Ronald wants. You could, for example, let such an elf have access to Ancestry Feats available to Dwarves. I very, very much doubt this, because it would be a complete balance nightmare. Remember the stuff that popped up when Humans could take a Feat to qualify for other Racial Feats? Now imagine that, game-wide.

And Background, I expect, will be very generic. At least in Core, in order to provide the largest possible choices. Stuff like "Street Urchin" or "Soldier". Maybe "Raised by X", but I'd be surprised.

I don't think it'll be quite as granular as some people think it will be, but only time will really tell.


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Vic Wertz wrote:

Look, folks, the terminology change has nothing whatsoever to do with politics. The problem is that the term is at best inaccurate, and at worst, limiting to design.

Let's look at the "Races" chapter from the Inner Sea World Guide:

Inner Sea World Guide wrote:
The most expansive and populous of Golarion’s races are known as the core races—humans, dwarves, elves, gnomes, and halflings. Half-elves and half-orcs, while technically not quite so common as many of the world’s other races, are also considered part of the core races because of their close ties with humanity.

Okay, so far, so good, I guess...

Inner Sea World Guide wrote:
On Golarion, humanity is further divided into many different, unique ethnicities. While each human ethnicity is identical so far as rules are concerned, they have wildly different appearances, histories, and customs.

Wait a minute—human ethnicities have wildly different appearances, histories, and customs, but their rules are identical? That limitation is imposed by the definition of the term "race," but mechanically speaking, it's pretty arbitrary, isn't it? In the Bestiary, dogs have different rules based solely on whether you can ride them or not.

And let's think about that passage another second—only humanity is divided into many different, unique ethnicities? That's arbitrary and limiting too.

The chapter—remember, it's entitled "Races"—then goes on to detail Azlanti, Chelaxians, Garundi, Keleshites, Kellids, Mwangi, Shoanti, Taldans, Tians, Ulfen, Varisians, Vudrani, Dwarves, Elves, Gnomes, Halflings, and Half-Elves.

At this point, I want to sing "one of these things is not like the others," but really, from one point of view, 12 of these things are not like the others... and from another point of view, none of these things are like the others.

Now let's go back to the Core Rulebook, and its "Races" chapter. We get nice little writeups on Dwarves, Elves, Gnomes, Halflings, Half-Elves, and Humans, detailing...

Hey Vic, thank you for sharing your thought process with us. Very helpful! Personally, none of what you identify as problematic has ever posed an issue for me. Yes, humans are fleshed out more than other races in P1, but Paizo, or I, can provide various nationalities or ethnicities for races other than human. After all, there are differently-hued dwarves and elves who behave and act a bit differently based on whence they hail, but they are still dwarves and elves, with many racial commonalities.

I find it far stranger to think that humans and dwarves and elves and halflings will all share the same "ancestry" simply because they grew up in Varisia. After all, people from the United States, or Washington, or Seattle, are still about as diverse as you could imagine.

Yet, if I'm a human, I'm still a human whether I'm in America or Iran or China.

Seems like maybe a neat way to do this would be to offer variances not /only/ based on race, but based on race + nationality/ethnicity.

2 coppers.


TheFinish wrote:

Now, maybe, there's a system for the character Ronald wants. You could, for example, let such an elf have access to Ancestry Feats available to Dwarves. I very, very much doubt this, because it would be a complete balance nightmare. Remember the stuff that popped up when Humans could take a Feat to qualify for other Racial Feats? Now imagine that, game-wide.

And Background, I expect, will be very generic. At least in Core, in order to provide the largest possible choices. Stuff like "Street Urchin" or "Soldier". Maybe "Raised by X", but I'd be surprised.

I recall it being a nightmare of the difference between Race Traits and Racial Traits. At the very least I hope Ancestry will clear up that giant mess.

Secondly, yeah, I do believe some of these "I was Raised by Dwarves" ideas to be closer to Background than Ancestry. Like background "Noble" or background "Orphan". Even ditching the Race term, Ancestry still boils down to "What" you are. Physically and Genetically I mean. I can see Ancestry as "How you got born" and all the bonuses that could be passed down as that core race/species/culture, while Background gives you bonuses as to how you were raised, your job you were doing, your position in the Culture, etc.

Won't know till they do a thing on Backgrounds.


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Desna's Avatar: Thanks for your post. I was trying to make a post of my own but yours popped up and said it better than mine. ;)


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Desna's Avatar wrote:

Hey Vic, thank you for sharing your thought process with us. Very helpful! Personally, none of what you identify as problematic has ever posed an issue for me. Yes, humans are fleshed out more than other races in P1, but Paizo, or I, can provide various nationalities or ethnicities for races other than human. After all, there are differently-hued dwarves and elves who behave and act a bit differently based on whence they hail, but they are still dwarves and elves, with many racial commonalities.

I find it far stranger to think that a human or dwarf or elf or halfling will all share the same "ancestry" simply because they grew up in Varisia. After all, people from the United States, or Washington, or Seattle, are still about as diverse as you could imagine.

Yet, if I'm a human, I'm still a human whether I'm in America or Iran or China.

Seems like maybe a neat way to do this would be to offer variances not /only/ based on race, but based on race + nationality/ethnicity.

2 coppers.

Actually this is probably one of the better worded stances on this issue, at least for those that are going "Eh?" about the change. And why I think some of this stuff can be solved with "Backgrounds" depending on how they work.

Returning to the real world, Ancestry could probably explain why I need to wear glasses(Both sides of the tree wear them) but it doesn't' sound like it could explain me being unable to cook Southern Food. I mean I live in the South, why can't I cook Gumbo? What it's a class Feature?


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Vic Wertz wrote:
...we could give different mechanical benefits to Azlanti and Shoanti even though they're both human...

Please do not do that.

Many of Golarion's human ethnicities are direct real world expys. Sure Azlant evokes Atlantis, but Vudrani are plainly Indian, Garundi are African, Tian Xia is Asia, Osirian is Eygpt, and so on.

A tract explaining how Africans are good at X and bad at Y, how Asians are talented Z's but not good at Q, and how people from such and such place have high Constitution scores but low Intelligence is racism. Swapping 'African' for 'Garundi' or 'Romani' for 'Varisian' doesn't make it any less racist.

PF1 took the position that all these people were human and all used the same mechanics. Everyone chose from the same set of options. Anyone could take 'Heart of the Sea' if their human came from a fishing town, wherever that human was from.

If PF2 is going to try to assign traits, advantages, and disadvantages to real world races, that's just unavoidably racist. Malice isn't required, assigning people nice traits doesn't help any more than when some guy insists "I can't be racist, I think Asians are good at math and Blacks are great dancers". It's just going to be a disaster. There isn't a non-racist way to publish a book about how different the races are and what their various skills and weakness are.

Liberty's Edge

Ring_of_Gyges wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
...we could give different mechanical benefits to Azlanti and Shoanti even though they're both human...

Please do not do that.

Many of Golarion's human ethnicities are direct real world expys. Sure Azlant evokes Atlantis, but Vudrani are plainly Indian, Garundi are African, Tian Xia is Asia, Osirian is Eygpt, and so on.

A tract explaining how Africans are good at X and bad at Y, how Asians are talented Z's but not good at Q, and how people from such and such place have high Constitution scores but low Intelligence is racism. Swapping 'African' for 'Garundi' or 'Romani' for 'Varisian' doesn't make it any less racist.

PF1 took the position that all these people were human and all used the same mechanics. Everyone chose from the same set of options. Anyone could take 'Heart of the Sea' if their human came from a fishing town, wherever that human was from.

If PF2 is going to try to assign traits, advantages, and disadvantages to real world races, that's just unavoidably racist. Malice isn't required, assigning people nice traits doesn't help any more than when some guy insists "I can't be racist, I think Asians are good at math and Blacks are great dancers". It's just going to be a disaster. There isn't a non-racist way to publish a book about how different the races are and what their various skills and weakness are.

I believe that this is a concern. I can understand maybe having an Erutaki character being better at surviving in cold climates (such as the Crown of the World) than a dweller in a hot desert. (Maybe a common trait for characters is the ability to have a feat that helps survive in some climates, but this could be either background or ancestry. Someone raised in a high mountain range will likely be used to thin air more than someone who was born and raised at sea level.)

Perhaps much of the differentiation within a given species can be done culturally. I imagine that a lot of this will be from backgrounds as opposed to ancestries.

This might be a wiser approach.


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Backgrounds sound abit too specific to handle cultural differences like than when it's for things like Bartender.

Liberty's Edge

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It seems reasonable to me to give people from a specific culture an Ancestry Feat or three to reflect that cultural milieu. Probably on top of a selection of options from the generic Ancestry they're distinct from (so the 'Ulfen' Ancestry could have three or four Ancestry Feats available, plus several Human Ancestry ones).

Making it clear that these distinctions are cultural rather than genetic does seem pretty relevant to avoid unfortunate implications, though.

Liberty's Edge

Milo v3 wrote:
Backgrounds sound abit too specific to handle cultural differences like than when it's for things like Bartender.

I imagine that one topic of discussion at Paizo is how to handle the differences among groups of humans and non-humans and how to reflect that in the rules.

A human from Absalom, a human from the Crown of the World, and a human from Vudra can and, many might argue, should feel different. The same should be true for an elf from the Mwangi Expanse, Kyonin, or from Tien Xia.

I have faith that a lot of consideration is being put into these issues. So, I am not sure how it is being done, but I think that there is a focus on avoiding offense. My hope is that this is something where we can provide meaningful insight on during the playtest. One thing that I enjoy about Pathfinder is customizing characters and having great stories about their backgrounds. In the end, rules are tools to help us tell stories.

As we need some humor, I know a player or two who may well be hoping for catfolk and an Ulfen background to play the Viking Kittens . ;)


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Pathfinder 1st edition had a whole lot of race traits that were specific to human ethnicities: Shield Bearer requires you to be Ulfen, Varisian tattoo requires you to be Varisian (obviously), Open Palm of Irori requires you to be Vudrani, etc.

In doing this we aren't specifying genetic differences, just cultural practices that give you an edge doing things that are valued by that culture. Ulfen warriors value the shield, Vudrani martial artists are some of the finest in Golarian, and if you've spent enough time with Varisians to earn the special tattoos you must have learned a few things along the way.

So what you do is you make a basic template for what humans get: stat adjustments, lack of darkvision, hit points, base speed, etc. and this is the starting point for all the various human ethnicities. Also, come up with a bunch of "human feats" that are available to all of the human ancestries, but for each different group we're highlighting with an ancestry you come up with a list of feats specific to that ethnic group.

Since we're talking about humans, we're not going to get stuff like "Kellid people have tusks" but it's fine to say "Kellid people are good at surviving in the cold."


It seems like this whole discussion is hostile because of the current political state the world is in today, plus the opening post somewhat imply a political side to it by thanking Paizo for this change on those opinions rather than the mechanical aspect of it.

I can understand the complications around this since there is quite a few players that havent gotten the memo about how the ancestry system even work, and taken out of context this whole deal can sound very politically loaded to the point we see pitchforks. (And sorry Sara, your comments did not actually help quelling the fire)

From what i understand of this change is that Ancestry dont "replace" the word "race" but includes it among a system that have "race" "echnicity" "upbringing" and similar words into one to bring a more board term to the selection process of a character and then you can add traits and mechanical aspects under this without making each of these words into a mechanic in itself. If this was explained from a mechanical design standpoint from the start a lot of the hostilities and the political involvement could have been avoided from the get-go instead of people starting to second-guess the developers political stance in a time where poltics rots through everything.

The "Usage of words controversy" here is not because it was political, but it became political because of the times and the lack of reasoning for the change to why this is important to the game in terms of design & mechanics.

TL;DR - Misunderstandings and lack of information might have caused misconceptions about the intent of the change.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

All politics, when you get down to it are about identity. It's just that some people with the "correct" identities have the privilege of just calling it "politics."

Fact of the matter is that "race" is a pretty loaded term, and experts are increasingly dubious that it has any meaning beyond its cultural sense. "Ancestry" lacks similar baggage and is thus preferable.

Ancestry has gotten a LOT of Baggage recently. It's a sign of WHITE power vs. the minority.

When Paizo used the term, it did make me wonder a little, but I tossed it out into the parking lot and have tried to remain unconcerned.

Some of those in recent years, who are white have used it to try to claim that they are minorities and hence minorities have NO reason to ask for equal rights.

They cannot see that MUCH of the racial difficulties come from how one appears to others, rather than the background or ancestry itself. In many ways, racial discrimination is based upon LOOKS, and someone who can look and act white can get away with many things those who do not have that choice cannot.

With the Ancestry.com thing, you have some who say they are >1% black and hence are a minority. They then go on to blame African Americans (or another minority of their favorite choosing to bully) for all these various problems rather than seeing that these difficulties minorities get hit with could be a problem with the how Western society and culture itself is built to discriminate against them.

I am a minority and face challenges at times. Because my skin is darker and my features definitely are not white, it brings on discrimination at times (anyone else been stopped three times weekly by police for no reason at all?).

When a white individual tries to claim that minorities do not suffer from discrimination and that is because they, as a white person have such and such an ancestry as determined by their DNA and do not suffer from it...I think ancestry CAN be a hot topic and IS becoming a LARGE hot topic with minorities who are suffering due to claims like that.

The term Ancestry is becoming a MUCH bigger hot topic recently...at least among minorities as those who are the white majority use it to try to destroy the push for equality from said minorities.

BUT, in regards to the Paizo game, I simply have tossed it out for the time being. I view it more as a mechanical thing. For example, if you have a human and an elf, and you have both as ancestrys, then you can combine the traits of human and elf together and get a half-elf.

This makes it easier for races to be combined, such as half-elf, half-Orc, Dwelf (Dwarf-Elf), Elfling (Elf-Halfling), Orcling (Orc-Halfling), Dwome (Dwarf-Gnome), etc.

This is all hypothetical of course...but if each ancestry adds a bonus (for example, let's say a Dwarf Ancestry adds +1 CON), then ONLY having that ancestry (let's say it's double Dwarf so you only have Dwarf ancestry) you get double the bonus (so a +2 CON rather than a simple +1 CON).

Mechanically it can open a LOT of doors into customization of your character and what they do. I know what I said above, but for once I'd like to ignore the political ramifications and all that stuff and just focus on the positive of the game.

In the positive outlook, I imagine it adds to customization of your characters, and what you can do overall and that's a good thing. I don't want to really think or discuss the other thoughts or reasons IRL regarding it on these forums, and would much rather just see what Paizo has to offer with it and how it adds to the game.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Fact of the matter is that "race" is a pretty loaded term

Sigh... I kind of wish we could leave all the 'baggage' and 'loaded' at the door. Lately there has been a lot of 'this word' or 'that word' is bad/wrong now and I'm just left scratching my head confused. I think I'm too old to get all these new fangled 'microaggression'. I fill out race all the time on medical forms and it never once crossed my mind that 'wow that word has baggage... they should really change that...'.

Silver Crusade

Elves in major eleven communities should be similar because of elf gates. Elves from Koyinn send out a party of pathfinders to an area build an elf gate and other elves come threw the gate and settle the new community.


My wish for ancestry would have been to make half-breed races obsolete. Unfortunately, this appears to not be the case. /SADFACE


Milo v3 wrote:
Backgrounds sound abit too specific to handle cultural differences like than when it's for things like Bartender.

Same time I fell they have the design space to do something more with backgrounds than "Day job"

We'll have to see how they do it.


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GreyWolfLord wrote:

Ancestry has gotten a LOT of Baggage recently. It's a sign of WHITE power vs. the minority.

When Paizo used the term, it did make me wonder a little, but I tossed it out into the parking lot and have tried to remain unconcerned.

GreyWolfLord, I shared a lot of these concerns when I first heard it, but after reading the blog giving us a glimpse of what ancestry would look like with Goblins: That a lot of the cultural variance would be removed from "racial traits" and be accessible through feats that every character got the same number of, I realized the intent was to make every race of Golarion as open to possibility as humans already were. Personally, I think that this is a fantastic mechanical direction to go in, and I can't think of a better term for it than Ancestry myself, but if you have a suggestion you should be sure to let the developers know in the play test, especially if there is a term that you feel avoids the baggage of ancestry.

I think the mechanical limitations of "race" might have been more obvious to the developers than players at first glance because players have a tendency to look at material and say what can I do with this mechanic that has been provided, than asking "how can this mechanic be improved." SO I totally get why this feels like a bigger deal to some players than it probably seemed like it would have been to developers.

Yes the issue of balancing what used to be racial traits: set skill modifiers, racial enmity, and the stuff that just came with being a X, with feats is a challenge, but I have fait that the developers are up to the challenge, and I don't think static bonuses and special abilities that basically force every dwarf into a narrow box of what a dwarf can be while humans are given "ultimate flexibility" as their design principle made for a more dynamic or interesting game. Having less mechanical reasons that wizards need to be elves or illusionists gnomes is a positive thing in my book.


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Nox Aeterna wrote:

Who exactly among us here even plans to stop using terms like "race" anyway? Cause i have used since forever and will keep using it. A goblin is a certain race, a human another, so on and on. The term in the game is still there, for me atleast it will always be.

Anyway, the change isnt for the worse, since like others said it allows for regional or parenting and so on things to be added while making it much easier to follow by locking them in packs. Which PF1 already kinda of does with the trait types, but could probably be done better, if it will be here it remains to be seen.

There is a point to be made about how this locks customization depending on how they go about it, like if you are an orphan garundi who was raised by elves in Varisia. I imagine something like simple open traits would make it an easier fit than these ancestries, but lets see.

I doubt me and people around here will. The word is only loaded in certain places where identity politics get out of hand.

For most others it's simply a 30+ year old game term and that's that. I've actually yet to experience someone show any form of emotion at the the word use of "What race did you pick for your new character?". Next we'll change "Class" to "Profession" or "Role" because there's still class systems in certain regions of the world.

Chances are that most might use the new term to go along with the books, but it's also quite common that the who are not bothered by the good old terms that had no politics involved are simply not as loud on forums.

Though, "ancestory/ancestrial bonus to x skill" is gonna be a mouthful now. Personally I doubt there will be much benefit to "Race: Human (varisian)" and "Ancestry: Human (varisian)". It's just mincing words to evade offending people.


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You say that like not offending people unnecessarily is a bad thing.


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Arakhor wrote:
You say that like not offending people unnecessarily is a bad thing.

The average person will agree that offending and insulting people is bad. I know I do. But there's a difference between offending people and people being offended. Some people get offended at facts. Some people get offended for others. If you say that alchemist is a bad class, most will be okay with you having that opinion and carry on their day, while others will get offended and tear you a new one.

Using old terms that were there to be clear and direct isn't exactly "unnecessarily offensive". It's just that mainstream emotions change?


We've already been told that it's not changing because of political reasons, so I can only assume that they mean that.


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Arakhor wrote:
We've already been told that it's not changing because of political reasons, so I can only assume that they mean that.

I hope those aren't the reasons, but I was merely replying to your "unnecessarily offending people" comment. Too early to say how PF2 system will be, but as a returning player, the tensions on the forum are a bit concerning. Suppose we'll have to see.

I don't remember ever having issue with one Aasimar(Angelkin) playing alongside of another Aasimar(Emberkin) with both having different regional/family/faction traits to differ even more and the system being too rigid to show they had different upbringing and stats and abilities from each other. Even if they both took the same class the archetypes and build types would make em day and night even if they are at the core Race: Aasimar.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I would imagine off the bat that stats and basic biology will probably be the same for all members of a Pathfinder "race". So humans will all have the same modifier. But the ancestries maybe influence skill bonuses or open up various ancestry related feats.

That would be a solid way of allowing an "orphan" background as well. Your a dwarf raised by humans. Start with all the dwarf base stats, but choose human ancestry feats (or something).

I think race still "exists" as a term to use, it just is a flavor term, while ancestries is what is actually the mechanically relevant term


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Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
For most others it's simply a 30+ year old game term and that's that. I've actually yet to experience someone show any form of emotion at the the word use of "What race did you pick for your new character?". Next we'll change "Class" to "Profession" or "Role" because there's still class systems in certain regions of the world.

There are games and systems that have already made such changes without a hitch. Guild Wars 1 & 2 both use the term "profession" for their equivalent of "classes." People adapt to the new nomenclature and move on with their lives.

Quote:
It's just mincing words to evade offending people.

As opposed to you mincing offense to evade having to learn words?


Sara Marie wrote:
If you want to discuss how the shift from using "race" to "ancestry" is too politically correct or caving to identity politics you'll need to take it off of paizo.com. We will not be hosting discussion of that on our forums. Those conversations almost immediately stray into debating or arguing in a way that does not promote a welcoming environment on our forums.

I do agree such topics don’t belong....but isn’t the threads very name in violation of such?

Maybe altering it to something having to do with what will the impact of ancestry on characters in PF 2 be, be a better title with less politics and all.

Or having read to the end of the thread....maybe just killing it so it can be started anew with less political talk and more game play talk.


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Thurgon wrote:
Sara Marie wrote:
If you want to discuss how the shift from using "race" to "ancestry" is too politically correct or caving to identity politics you'll need to take it off of paizo.com. We will not be hosting discussion of that on our forums. Those conversations almost immediately stray into debating or arguing in a way that does not promote a welcoming environment on our forums.
...Or having read to the end of the thread....maybe just killing it so it can be started anew with less political talk and more game play talk.

As the OP, this feels pretty aggressive towards me. Paizo made this change on their own for many reasons, including that word "race" was not the correct word to describe everything that it covered in the existing Pathfinder rules, and that "Ancestry" seemed like a better way of grouping all of these things together from the beginning, as Vic Wertz himself has pointed out.

I don't have an obligation to apologize for feeling like this is a change that also makes me feel more welcome into pathfinder gaming, but I never made that the central point of this thread, and it was never something anyone needed to attack or challenge. Instead of adding more posts that take this thread off topic, lets focus on the rather useful discussion of what ancestry means mechanically that is different than the previous system, which was unnecessarily complicated and convoluted, because attempts to make it more flexible were tacked on after the fact and never fit together all that smoothly.

Ancestry and background is a way of smoothing out into a unified mechanic all of the things that used to fit into race, racial traits, alternative racial traits, background, background traits, creature types and subtypes, and all of those different story, racial and miscellaneously specific feats that were only really accessible in play if players sacrificed general or combat feats.

I believe this will make:

It far easier for new races, ethnicities, nationalities, and creature types and subtypes to be added to the game, and made accessible for play on both sides of the GM screen in a balanced fashion because the ancestry mechanic is being designed to do this from the beginning.

I believe it will eliminate much of the push towards "having to be a certain race" to be optimal at X class, because flexibility, in attributes and in available ancestry feats, is being coded in from the beginning.

This will also open up a lot of the races that tend to get talked about as if every member was essentially the same...i.e. GOBLINS (especially, which set off this entire thread), gnomes, even halfings, and make it far less true mechanically, that every NPC of that race has to act a certain way because their racial traits are tied to only one personality type that no one is capable of seeing past.

In essence, ancestry as a system is a way of introducing the flexibility enjoyed by humans to everyone in the pathfinder universe which I am thankful for, because it means a lot more options for characters, both PCs and NPCs.


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Unicore wrote:
Thurgon wrote:
Sara Marie wrote:
If you want to discuss how the shift from using "race" to "ancestry" is too politically correct or caving to identity politics you'll need to take it off of paizo.com. We will not be hosting discussion of that on our forums. Those conversations almost immediately stray into debating or arguing in a way that does not promote a welcoming environment on our forums.
...Or having read to the end of the thread....maybe just killing it so it can be started anew with less political talk and more game play talk.

As the OP, this feels pretty aggressive towards me. Paizo made this change on their own for many reasons, including that word "race" was not the correct word to describe everything that it covered in the existing Pathfinder rules, and that "Ancestry" seemed like a better way of grouping all of these things together from the beginning, as Vic Wertz himself has pointed out.

I don't have an obligation to apologize for feeling like this is a change that also makes me feel more welcome into pathfinder gaming, but I never made that the central point of this thread...

I admit it is agressive towards anyone trying to make this about politics which you did. Look it doesn’t need to be your central view, that you added it set the fire that became the blaze this thread became. It has no place here. Just as those calling it PC talk has no place. If you mute one side of the political spectrum and not the other...well you are indeed making it a political issue. I am suggesting the moderators strike both sides, take the politics out and make it all about the game which I think they are trying to do.

As for feeling more welcome, I am sorry to have been so aggressive, I don’t mean it at you personally just your talk of an side of this that I feel should be left off the boards. You, everyone should be welcome to come here talk about a game we all play and enjoy. I think anyone who wants to be welcomed into the pathfinder gaming community should be, we can only gain by being inclusive of all players. But enough, even that smacks of too much politics for me.

I think race or ancestry whichever they end up going with might be interesting and I look forward to seeing the playtest and seeing what effect it has on the game. Personally I tend toward non-human characters just because often picking against the flow on purpose.


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Thurgon wrote:
I admit it is agressive towards anyone trying to make this about politics which you did.

An honest and non-aggressive question, because I am really confused about how I made this a political thread: where did I do this? .

Maybe my problem is that I don't think it as political to say thank you to the developers for making me as a gamer feel more welcome, by considering the terminology of the game mechanics.
When 3rd edition got rid of attribute limits set by gender, I bet a lot of people got mad at this for their own reasons, but in the end, the entire genre of fantasy has benefited from the change, as it has made the game more inclusive of what kinds of characters are now possible to play.
That was a much bigger and probably more contentious change, I am sure, because this one (ancestry) is primarily being driven by a desire to be more precise. Now, I am on record as agreeing that I had an awkward reaction to the word at first, too, but in considering it more carefully, I really like what it is headed mechanically, and if they find something better by the time of publication, that is ok too.

And also thank you.

Thurgon wrote:


As for feeling more welcome, I am sorry to have been so aggressive, I don’t mean it at you personally just your talk of an side of this that I feel should be left off the boards. You, everyone should be welcome to come here talk about a game we all play and enjoy. I think anyone who wants to be welcomed into the pathfinder gaming community should be, we can only gain by being inclusive of all players.

I really appreciate, value, and wish to echo this sentiment.

I almost find it comical that this thread went the direction it did, because my initial intent in making this thread was pointing out that debates about the introduction of Goblins as a possible PC ancestry, felt rooted in seeing race as the more mechanically driven, and limiting category of characterization than it would be in the new system, and that if more folks thought about the ancestry system and what it was opening up, that entire debate could have been toned down entirely.

Paizo Employee Customer Service & Community Manager

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Locking this. It feels like at this point, the thread has devolved into circular argument. If you want to discuss the mechanics of what might change, I think a new thread is best for that.

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