Calling a Race... an Ancestry? Please restore RACE for the Races!!


Ancestries & Backgrounds

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Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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I'm not sure which post you might be referring to—there have been many—but here's mine:

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.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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I quoted that as originally written, but the last paragraph should more accurately start:

...Ditching "Race" in favor of "Ancestry" and introducing Backgrounds...

Silver Crusade

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Personally, I am a fan of this change, particularly since it opens up a lot of design space. I am kinda hoping for new ancestry feats that might represent something like the various corruptions or curses.


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Vic Wertz wrote:

I quoted that as originally written, but the last paragraph should more accurately start:

...Ditching "Race" in favor of "Ancestry" and introducing Backgrounds...

And killing half races as actual races.


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Vic Wertz wrote:

I'm not sure which post you might be referring to—there have been many—but here's mine:

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...

While I do greatly appreciate the explanation...

You folks wrote the books... why did Paizo include ethnicities (sub-races) under the Races chapter? Why did you not inject that same diversity into any of the other races?

Some aspects of a creature's make up comes from species. Semi-elastic skin vs. scales. Hair vs. Quills. Bi-pedal vs. Quadrupedal. Four arms vs. two arms. These are determined by the actual species (race).

Some aspects of a creature's make up comes from their ethnicity, cultural background, the genetic make-up of their ancestors, and their physical location on the planet. Things like ethics, customs, hair texture, skin pigmentation, religion, appetite / palate.

I guess I'm more confused as one blog post says it's simply a term replacement. It seems, however, that the core concept of what would be called "race", now Ancestry, has changed to include race, ethnicity, culture all rolled into one... instead of simply including ethnicity as a core concept.

I'll pose you the same question I posed to other folks... how are the differences between a Dark-elf going to vary from a Wood-elf in how they are quantified and will there be varying sub-cultures of Dark-elves or are Dark-elves the subculture itself?


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MerlinCross wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:

I quoted that as originally written, but the last paragraph should more accurately start:

...Ditching "Race" in favor of "Ancestry" and introducing Backgrounds...

And killing half races as actual races.

That further muddies the waters as what is the proper term for an elf/orc hybrid?

Don't get me wrong... I am a BIG fan of this particular aspect from a capability standpoint and LOVE that it is included in the core concept of the game...

But we have dwarf ancestry, elf ancestry, human ancestry... what are the proper titles for the hybrids?


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Also, what of joint cultures?

If elves, dwarves, and humans all build a city in the fruitful jungle that is surrounded by the desert.

How are those cultural similarities between different races, or Ancestries, portrayed in stats? Would they all have a common background feat or something like that?


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@Vic Wertz, what I'm really seeing in your explanation is more that ancestry (or heritage, or culture, or ethnicity) needed to be treated differently from race. Not that race was bad on its own.

There are overarching physical characteristics that define the physicality of Humans vs Orcs vs Dwarves vs Elfs vs Gnomes. But beyond those physical differences they can all have different cultures. Such as Chellish vs Taldan.

Race didn't need to go. But ancestry (as culture/heritage/ethnicity) did need to be added as a separate dimension to characters.

Though I haven't read the full rules yet, I have read reports about needing to get feats to represent certain abilities that should be part of the physical characteristics of a race, like darkvision on Orcs. And I'm disappointed with how this has been implemented. Because now "races" feel more like humans with a splash of something else.


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Obakararuir wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:

I quoted that as originally written, but the last paragraph should more accurately start:

...Ditching "Race" in favor of "Ancestry" and introducing Backgrounds...

And killing half races as actual races.

That further muddies the waters as what is the proper term for an elf/orc hybrid?

Don't get me wrong... I am a BIG fan of this particular aspect from a capability standpoint and LOVE that it is included in the core concept of the game...

But we have dwarf ancestry, elf ancestry, human ancestry... what are the proper titles for the hybrids?

Shrug. I don't know what the proper title is, the swap from race to feat just sounds weird to me.

It doesn't feel like I'm picking half orc. It feels like I'm building into half orc.

To put it into PF1 example(And if they go this path), it doesn't feel like I'm playing Aasimar. It feels like I'm playing Human that picked up Planar Heritage.

Agh I don't know. I might be in the minority here. Probably am.


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I do not mind the "everything is a feat" approach... I really don't. I think it greatly simplifies things from a conceptual standpoint.

But there should be options tied to race, ethnicity, and culture. These core elements should be what we think of when we think of Ancestry.

What is vastly disappointing is that Vic identified a problem... lack of ethnicities in other races... but the Playtest does nothing to address this.

Vic Wertz wrote:

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

But we get no sun dwarf, no dark dwarf, no desert dwarf, no hill dwarf, no mountain dwarf...

Pathfinder Playtest 2e wrote:

ETHNICITIES:

A variety of human ethnic groups make up the populace
of the continents bordering Golarion’s Inner Sea.

But again, Humans are the only race to get this treatment.

I'm not seeing how replacing the word "Race" with "Ancestry" fixed anything if the same problem that Vic presented is STILL present in the playtest, and that is that only Humans, be it race or ancestry, have any varied Ethnicities.

I like the idea of "building" an ancestry. I am very much a fan of the level of detail that it allows for, but what are we building it from? Half-elves and half-orcs require human heritage, but where does that come from? The Human Ancestry, which gives you the human and humanoid traits. Ancestry is a synonym for heritage... so why not just say "prerequisite Human Ancestry"?

If Ancestry is supposed to address the problems Vic listed, then the playtest needs to reflect that and currently it doesn't. Account for the species, ethnicity, and other non-biological, cultural aspects. Right now, I look at the playtest and aside from the half-elf and half-orc, it FEELS like the word Race was simply replaced with Ancestry because the problems that the change is supposed to address still remain painfully visible.


Give it a break man

Paizo Employee Customer Service & Community Manager

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Removed some posts with insulting and baiting language. Please be respectful of others on our forums.


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bwee wrote:
Give it a break man

Give what a break, exactly?

If "Race" is too restrictive a term and we need a new, more accessible term that allows the designers to address problems in design, I'm all for that.

Now we have a new term, "Ancestry".

They changed everywhere where they would use "Race" and used "Ancestry" instead.

What changed? Well, now Racial feats are called "Backgrounds" so they can have an "A, B, C" acronym.

What about all the design problems?

I'm still seeing the things that Vic pointed out. Those design flaws are still there when they don't have to be.

Now that we have a new term and cool new acronym (I'll admit its a little goofy, but its growing on me) can we actually get the flaws that were pointed out fixed?

In other words, where are all of the ethnicities for the other races ancestries besides human?

Why does the human Kellid ethnicity, humans that live in the Mountainous north, not have access to the Mountain Roots Ancestry feat if the point of using "Ancestry" instead of "Race" was to allow us to transcend racial lines and allow for multiple Ancestries from the same region type to have access to the same or similar Ancestry feats?

The reasoning behind the change is spot on. It's a new concept... they are presenting core aspects of character creation differently. I'll buy that AND spread it like gospel.

...but the execution of that vision is what is lacking. What is written in the playtest text is not as advertised. Let's throw "Race" by the wayside and actually make Ancestry something new and different.


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Obakararuir wrote:
In other words, where are all of the ethnicities for the other races ancestries besides human?

Here. ^_^

(I don't know what's in the Playtest, of course. But those ethnicities do exist in the campaign setting.)


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Isabelle Lee wrote:
Obakararuir wrote:
In other words, where are all of the ethnicities for the other races ancestries besides human?

Here. ^_^

(I don't know what's in the Playtest, of course. But those ethnicities do exist in the campaign setting.)

I did not doubt their existence. =)

But Vic presented a problem that a core concept change was supposed to solve, but what is presented in the playtest still echoes the problem... that is humans are treated differently than other races in regards to Ethnicities in the Core book.


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Its kinda confuzzling though reading the PDF and seeing ancestry instead of race.


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Zardnaar wrote:

Its kinda confuzzling though reading the PDF and seeing ancestry instead of race.

Beyond that... grasping the concept of what Ancestry and Heritage actually are vs. What they are intended to be is even more frustrating. It reads like it is supposed to be a new thing, but feels like race but it's not race.

Hopefully they expand it and clean it up a bit.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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Obakararuir wrote:
What is vastly disappointing is that Vic identified a problem... lack of ethnicities in other races... but the Playtest does nothing to address this.

There's only so much room in the core rules (and even less room in the playtest rules). But building things we can use in future books is important, too. (Note that one of the books I was quoting from was the Inner Sea World Guide—the main campaign setting book for the current edition.)


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I can appreciate that... but why replicate a mistake?

Omit ethnicities from the core rules and surmise diversity in the human entry like everything else.


Species is a more accurate term.

Hell, you could have a new acronym to represent Pathfinder Society, replacing the 'ABC' backronym.

Profession (replacing class)
Framework (replacing background)
Species (replacing race)

Personally, I'll just be using the word race whenever 'ancestry' pops up in the rulebook. One syllable is faster than three. Besides, changing one word is simply, well, not useful in its desired intent.


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I've been programmed to say race, so that isn't going to change for a long time, but I think the discussion is ultimately moot since I don't believe Vic is going to reconsider his position, and there are other things that are more pressing. Like that everything is called a feat now. What the heck is up with that.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
AScreamingChocobo wrote:
If we are talking about precision, wouldn't Species then be the superior choice?

Well, "Species" has implications of "these two things cannot interbreed to create fertile offspring" which mean elves, orcs, and humans are all the same species.

Plus it has more of a sci-fi than fantasy feel. Ancestry is more precise since it's basically the question of "who were your parents/who raised you?"

Interbreeding remains possible. Horse and donkey are not the same species and they can interbreed. You get some interesting side effects, such as the mule being sterile, which I think would be cool for Half-Elves.

The term "Ancestry" I feel is more closely relate to a person's lineage among the species. Some of the various Ancestry Feats are landing much closer to features of a species. I'd prefer Species.

As for the notion advanced by others that the term "Ancestry" creates more mechanical space than the term "Race", I say baloney. Race/Breed/Species, Ethnicity/Culture, and Ancestry/Lineage are all separate things and within each of them there's lots of mechanical space. I think it is silly to lump them all together under a mechanic that is realized over the life of the character. You get bizarre results, such as major genetic and cultural features being discovered late in a character's life.

I dunno. Just my opinion.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
MerlinCross wrote:
Obakararuir wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:

I quoted that as originally written, but the last paragraph should more accurately start:

...Ditching "Race" in favor of "Ancestry" and introducing Backgrounds...

And killing half races as actual races.

That further muddies the waters as what is the proper term for an elf/orc hybrid?

Don't get me wrong... I am a BIG fan of this particular aspect from a capability standpoint and LOVE that it is included in the core concept of the game...

But we have dwarf ancestry, elf ancestry, human ancestry... what are the proper titles for the hybrids?

Shrug. I don't know what the proper title is, the swap from race to feat just sounds weird to me.

It doesn't feel like I'm picking half orc. It feels like I'm building into half orc.

To put it into PF1 example(And if they go this path), it doesn't feel like I'm playing Aasimar. It feels like I'm playing Human that picked up Planar Heritage.

Agh I don't know. I might be in the minority here. Probably am.

Agreed.

It's also a little annoying that it's something you can only build into from Human. Why can't there be half-elf/half-orc. Or Half-dwarf/half-orc. If half-anything races are going to be something you tack onto an ancestry, why not make it something you can tack on to ANY ancestry to get a bit more diversity in options?


How about we call them "People". That way they can tie back in to the various People of the ___________ books.


Vic Wertz wrote:
Obakararuir wrote:
What is vastly disappointing is that Vic identified a problem... lack of ethnicities in other races... but the Playtest does nothing to address this.
There's only so much room in the core rules (and even less room in the playtest rules). But building things we can use in future books is important, too. (Note that one of the books I was quoting from was the Inner Sea World Guide—the main campaign setting book for the current edition.)

We can certainly work to save you some space.

Eliminate Signature Skills. The mechanic isn't needed.

Chop out the "Playing a <ClassName>" and "Roleplaying a <ClassName>" parts. You don't need an entire page in the layout to announce each class.

The intro page for each Race, I mean Ancestry, wastes a lot of space. The artwork on shows faces. More valuable would be one picture showing all of the Races, I mean Ancestries, next to each other so you could compare things like average height, weight, and builds.

Backgrounds can be shorted to "pick two abilities boosts, a skill feat, and a lore skill" and then put a label on it. Or course, then you don't get to sell books full of backgrounds.

Dark Archive

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I agree that separating ethnicity from races is a good thing I'm not sure how a name change accomplices that. ether way you still need two sections in a rule book and race has the advantage of being what we're used to and being quick to say.


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Obakararuir wrote:
Pelloth wrote:
Wouldn't subspecies make more sense since interbreeding yields fertile offspring?
Neanderthals and Humans, two different species, yielded fertile offspring.

As an aside, this is usually not the case. Typically different species within the same genus cannot produce fertile offspring, such as in the classical case of Equss caballus and Equss asinus, whose offspring are an Equss asinus x Equss caballus hybrid, more commonly known as a mule. On the whole, species is/was intended to group together a collection of creatures than can viably interbreed, with notable variances between intended to be subspecies. For example, Canis lupus (wolf) and Canis lupus familiaris (domestic dog) are the same species, but the latter is considered a subspecies of the former.

Life is messy, and sometimes different species, or even different genera, can produce viable offspring. They're not the same species but that's just how the dice rolled. Half-elves and half-orcs could easily sit in this camp - parents are from two different species, but just happened to have sufficiently compatible chromosomes to make it work.

Race is used to describe variation within a single species, which would imply that humans, halflings, gnomes, dwarves, elves, goblins, lizardmen, trox, trogolodtyes and every other "race" are all the same species and can interbreed viably, which is clearly not the case by all published material. Nor intended to be ("Well, my ma was half kobold, quarter elf and quarter kasatha, and my pa was half-dwarf and half-fetchling").

So in the strictest sense, "Species" is the more correct term.

But

Species is also closely associated with modern science, and thus many are uncomfortable with it in their fantasy. Fantasy that draws on myths and legends which utterly defy modern science - liches, dragons and the Minotaur - the cursed result of a union between the queen of Minos and the king's prize bull. We accept the crazy fantasy genetics where strange hybrids occur from even stranger unions - after a all, a dragon can apparently breed with almost anything.

So perhaps "Species" isn't the best pick for a fantasy game.

To compound the issue, a lot of "racial" or "species" traits... aren't. They're social traits associated with the prevailing culture of the people from whom the character is descended. Weapon familiarity, ancestral hatred etc aren't genetic, but learned traits, which muddies the discussion about genetic terminology.

"Ancestry", being a descriptor of "from who and what are you descended", then is probably the best available word to easily describe what combination of genetic and social traits your character can manifest.

Yes, it's different, and is three syllables instead of one... but it probably the best word for it.


Species or bust!!!

But actually species technically means two things that can't interbreed, which isn't the case at all in this world.

But then if you study biology a bit you realize that things that aren't technically the same species do end interbreeding here and there and it makes you wonder what the term species really means.

Therefore the word we should be using is... breed! Like dogs. :D

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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GayBirdGM wrote:
Why can't there be half-elf/half-orc. Or Half-dwarf/half-orc. If half-anything races are going to be something you tack onto an ancestry, why not make it something you can tack on to ANY ancestry to get a bit more diversity in options?

Part of the point here is that you can now do just that. See this blog, especially the next-to-last paragraph.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

"Ancestry" sounds incredibly clunky and you will never see a person in the real world use that word in conversation when talking to another person, outside of academia. And even there they would use words like "ethnicity", "nationality" or "race".

Imposing such a clunky word on the game when there was already one everybody had been using and had internalized for fourty years seems like another one of those technocratic decisions which are cluttering up the playtest document now, like the almost unreadable class entries.


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Maybe all the DNA commercials rubbed off on the play test, hence the term ancestry? I know I hear it a dozen or more times a day on TV.


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As of now, I am not even going to be playtesting, because of this wording choice. It does bother me greatly. Species and race are both more accurate choices, Species being the most accurate. Ancestry would be the appropriate word for the feats, but not the race. Human, Elf, Goblin, whatever should be Race or Species, then select ancestry feats to flesh it out.


Seems to me the ideal fix would be to divorce ethnicity from Humans and instead make them cultural elements that would be applied to everyone hailing from the relevant areas. This would necessitate creating ethnicities for non-human dominated area, but that could be fun...

If we could be rid of Ancestry-based Feats and Ability Adjustments too, that would be great, but we may have to wait for 3e for that, I fear.


One definition of race is the ability to interbreed with each other. By that definition half-elves, elves, half-orcs and orcs are the same race as humans. Goblin, dwarf, gnome and halfling would be different races. In conclusion the term ancestry is better fitting than race.

Liberty's Edge

For those saying Neanderthal is a separate species from modern humans, that's not necessarily the case. Many consider them to be Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, not a separate species due to the ability to interbreed with humans.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
knightnday wrote:
How about we call them "People". That way they can tie back in to the various People of the ___________ books.

That’s how they’re addressed in-book actually, “People of [Elf/Human/Dwarf] Ancestry”.

Grand Lodge

Obakararuir wrote:
Thaboe wrote:


That being said, Ancestry would be a better term now because races now come with a la carte customization that expresses their specific ancestry, rather then a full race pack. It's also better descriptive for The new structure for half-orcs and half-elves who can now we half ANYTHING (in the blog post, not the book atm), rather then simply being human.

This makes the most sense in regards to adopting a new term. But what do we call someone's culture now?

My ancestors are Cajun. My ancestry is Cajun. That's a distinct thing. My race is human.

If my ancestry is now human, what does this version of Pathfinder call the thing that used to be ancestry?

The Culture portion is now called "Heritage".


Asuet wrote:
One definition of race is the ability to interbreed with each other. By that definition half-elves, elves, half-orcs and orcs are the same race as humans. Goblin, dwarf, gnome and halfling would be different races. In conclusion the term ancestry is better fitting than race.

That's the definition of species I was taught. Though it may have changed without my noticing as my area of expertise is prokaryotes where the concept of species can get rather...fuzzy.

Race, by the definitions I've seen, is pretty much useless when applied to individuals as it tends to focus mostly on the distribution of select genetic traits within a population. In any case, it's only applicable among members of the same species and thus not appropriate for the proposed game usage.


The Only Sheet wrote:

I've been going through the rules and I dislike the use of Ancestry instead of Race.

It seems to me this was changed for the 'newness' of the word or to be different from most RPGs. This does not work for me. Race is short, and to the point. Race is exactly what it is.

While a Class can be called a Profession, I much prefer the former to the later... Same case here for Race.

So I humbly suggest you do a CTRL-F in your Rules, and simply search/replace Ancestry with the more common work Race !!!

http://TheOnlySheet.com

P.S. Fun Fact: Replacing Ancestry with Race saves 4 characters, while replacing Ancestries with Races saves 6 characters!! LESS ink = more ecological = better for the planet, right? :)

I know what happens when race gets involved in anything. I'll give you a few hints: it's not pretty, it's a hot button issue, and it only serves to drive good people away from you.

Ancestry was the right call. I'd rather have a DNA test to say I'm 37% halfling than the gruesome alternative...


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magnuskn wrote:
"Ancestry" sounds incredibly clunky and you will never see a person in the real world use that word in conversation when talking to another person, outside of academia. And even there they would use words like "ethnicity", "nationality" or "race".

Firstly, your personal experience is anecdotal and cannot be generalised. People do use species in everyday conversation when applicable.

Secondly, you are German, are you not? If I'd meet anybody using "Rasse" when talking about human beings (and not about dogs, for example), I'd be extremely wary of that person, for obvious reasons. Btw, "Herkunft" (i. e. Ancestry) is rather common in my experience.


I like ancestry. It somehow both downplays (at least relative to 5e where I come from) IMO the physical importance of it, while making it clear that this is the history that your character comes from -allowing you to lean closer towards or further away from how important it is to the character.


I guess the biggest problem race in the real world is kinda silly. It's a social construction that doesnt make any sesne. The distinctions are not made from any real genetic differences and it would be more accurate to call them ethnicities.

if we are being really honest the closest real world analog would be "breed". since we now know that all the core "races" can mix between each other, and those mixes can mix themselves, then they are all actually the same specis.

but no one wants to pick breed. if they were no halves for anyone, then you could stick to specis, but that isnt very interesting lorewise or any fun.

so i think Ancestry is fair enough however i dont calling them ethnicities would also be very accurate and much easier say and understand, but that assumes that most people would know that the term "race" is just a social construction and not a biological one.


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magnuskn wrote:

"Ancestry" sounds incredibly clunky and you will never see a person in the real world use that word in conversation when talking to another person, outside of academia. And even there they would use words like "ethnicity", "nationality" or "race".

Imposing such a clunky word on the game when there was already one everybody had been using and had internalized for fourty years seems like another one of those technocratic decisions which are cluttering up the playtest document now, like the almost unreadable class entries.

I know that everyone that I play tested with called them race. The BOOK may use a different term, but that's just putting lipstick on a pig: everyone knows they are races and treats them as such. The only time someone mentioned the word "Ancestry" was 'Ancestries and backgrounds? I thought this was the race section?'.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Fabius Maximus wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
"Ancestry" sounds incredibly clunky and you will never see a person in the real world use that word in conversation when talking to another person, outside of academia. And even there they would use words like "ethnicity", "nationality" or "race".

Firstly, your personal experience is anecdotal and cannot be generalised. People do use species in everyday conversation when applicable.

Secondly, you are German, are you not? If I'd meet anybody using "Rasse" when talking about human beings (and not about dogs, for example), I'd be extremely wary of that person, for obvious reasons. Btw, "Herkunft" (i. e. Ancestry) is rather common in my experience.

Words have different contexts in different languages and nations. "Race" is used more colloquially in English and Spanish than it ever would be in German, due to the context of my countries history. The same way "propaganda" is a commonly used word in English and Spanish, but in German it has a strongly negative connotation, again due to the history of my nation.

As someone who can grasp the concept of "context", I am fine with the word "race" as applied in English, while at the same being perfectly able of being appalled when it is used in German.


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ikarinokami wrote:

so i think Ancestry is fair enough however i dont calling them ethnicities would also be very accurate and much easier say and understand, but that assumes that most people would know that the term "race" is just a social construction and not a biological one.

"Ethnicities" would also be a much better term than "ancestries".


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magnuskn wrote:
Fabius Maximus wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
"Ancestry" sounds incredibly clunky and you will never see a person in the real world use that word in conversation when talking to another person, outside of academia. And even there they would use words like "ethnicity", "nationality" or "race".

Firstly, your personal experience is anecdotal and cannot be generalised. People do use species in everyday conversation when applicable.

Secondly, you are German, are you not? If I'd meet anybody using "Rasse" when talking about human beings (and not about dogs, for example), I'd be extremely wary of that person, for obvious reasons. Btw, "Herkunft" (i. e. Ancestry) is rather common in my experience.

Words have different contexts in different languages and nations. "Race" is used more colloquially in English and Spanish than it ever would be in German, due to the context of my countries history. The same way "propaganda" is a commonly used word in English and Spanish, but in German it has a strongly negative connotation, again due to the history of my nation.

As someone who can grasp the concept of "context", I am fine with the word "race" as applied in English, while at the same being perfectly able of being appalled when it is used in German.

As an American, I’ve got to say that at least, where I’ve lived, propaganda has usually been seen as having a negative connotation. Race too, for that matter, though the main reason is because the word is usually used when discussing... current events.

And that’s all I’ll say on that.


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Yeah, on second thought I'll limit “propaganda“ to Spanish and to be sure to Paraguay, where I lived for seven years.


I feel like people are moving away from the real issue.

If we change it to "Race", how are we supposed to make the acronym of Ancestry Background Class work?

Cmon guys.

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