Non-Humanoid Core Race - A Case for Fantasy

Ancestries & Backgrounds

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I want to start this off by saying I like the line up of core races. For the most part, they're traditional, and squeezing goblin in there really works with how widespread they've become in many popular settings. Even with half-elves and half-orcs, I appreciate the idea even if there's some obvious controversy about the execution.

I feel a glaring omission though. It's something that other major fantasy roleplaying games don't have either, but it's something that I think they're all missing.

I often see concerns that RPGs aren't RPGs anymore, with references to streamlined or simplified mechanics. I think it might be the wrong way to look at it, though. It's not that certain mechanics aren't falling by the wayside, but it's happening because mechanical balance has taken priority over everything.

I've always been told that tabletop RPGs are superior to video game RPGs because tabletop RPGs are only limited by your imagination. In recent times, however, I feel like it's only been true as a technicality. Rules are becoming more 'balanced' at the cost of flavor, and many popular sanctioned events heavily limit options.

A fairly basic suggestion I have is simply to add one particular core race: Centaur

Why centaur? They're a familiar, classic fantasy race with roots in mythology, that aren't too monstrous, but aren't in a human shape.

Why does the game need that? To symbolize a commitment to what makes fantasy special, a willingness to sometimes make unusual rules for something fantastical as part of the core identity of the game.

I don't mean to say that rules or balance don't matter, but that imagination does. The Kasatha in Starfinder impressed me by being a core race with four arms, and I want to see that idea in Pathfinder as well.

Things like centaurs and merfolk used to be symbolic of fantasy, and I just hate seeing them increasingly marginalized because playable races get the most spotlight, and it's easiest to make rules for another race with one head, two arms, two legs, and otherwise human shape.

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I would be game for a non-humanoid race. I keep advocating for 12 core races to line up with the 12 core classes anyway. I'd probably advocate wemics, nagas, or the like instead of centaurs though, considering how, uh, rapey, centaurs are in mythology.

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I would certainly take centaurs over goblins any day!

In general I would like more a bit different ancestries, Catfolk and Tengu have already been mentioned as non monster ancestries and of course there are still tiefling and aasimar out there.

But since I like the centaur proposal I just threw something together.

Centaur Core Ancestry:

Hit Points: 8 Size: Large Speed: 40 ft

Ability Boosts:

Ability Flaw:

Common, Sylvan

Bonus Languages:
Elven, Goblin, Orc, Gnoll, Skald, Varisian, Hallit, Shoanti (Representing their affinity for the wilderness and outskirts of civlization)


Darkvision/Low Light

Human Sized Upper Body:
5ft reach, Medium sized Weapons

Ancestry Feats:

Steppe Runner: [1]
Increased Movement +5ft
Centaur Stampede: 2A [5]
You can move up to your speed over a smaller foe trampling them in the process dealing your level + strength modifier in damage. They can use a reflex saving throw against your Athletics DC to avoid the damage and move out of the way (being pushed to the field on the left or right your choice)

Four-Legged Combat: [1]
Your four legs guarantee you a sturdy stand granting you a +2-circumstance bonus to any fortitude or reflex saving throw against being tripped or shoved. If an ability would force you to move you 10-feet or more you are only moved half the distance

Uncivilized: [1]
While in the wild you get +2 on your survival and nature checks, being in civilized environments you suffer a penalty of 1 to all your diplomacy checks.

Natural Hunter: [1]
You are trained in Survival, you also get the Forager General Feat.

Siege Throw: [1]
If you use a Javelin you apply your Strength instead of your Dexterity bonus to the to hit role.

Weapons of Reach [5]
When critically hitting with a Polearm, Spear or a Javelin you apply the critical hit specialization effects.

Polearm Affinity: [1]
You are trained in all Polearm and Spear weapons, as well as every weapon with the centaur trait.

Grand Lodge

Silver Games LLC will be there for your not-human needs! If all goes according to plan, we'll be getting out some races as soon as possible. We have a whole world of content to translate over to 2e, though now is not the time (with things being in a furious playtesting flux and all).

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For Catfolk and Tengu, I'd certainly advocate for at least one humanoid "beast race" slot in the core, because it's a major fantasy archetype as well. It's a bit of a tangent, but the D&D heritage kinda feels weird to me nowadays, having dwarf, halfling, and gnome core, while often skipping over any beast race or even orcs. No offense to those races, but I think the core races should show a greater variety, which is part of my point with the centaur.

Back to centaur, I had written up my own entry before that reimagined centaur somewhat based around what I felt was a bit of logic about their shape. The intent was to not stray too far from the familiar, while also giving them a true identity. I don't know what they're like in Golarion, but everyone seems to have their own spin on them anyway. It was written for D&D though, so the rules obviously won't apply here.

Appearing half-human and half-horse, the origins of centaurs are oft speculated upon. Are they descended from a cursed tribe of humans, or are their feral features proof of a natural history? Regardless, their awkward forms have resulted in cultures revolving around cooperation and a nomadic lifestyle.

Man and Beast
Centaur appearances can vary by region, but they generally stand about a foot taller than the average human of their sex, with their equine body extending about eight feet back. The combined body weighs a significant amount compared to other races of their height, with a large range from 750 to 1200 pounds. While their upper body is humanoid, it often carries animalistic features as well, such as horse-like ears, a flat nose, or a hairy mane extending down their spine.

Their skin tones can range about as widely as humans, but the most common are tanned or olive skin colors. The hair on their upper body also has human ranges, with black and brown being the most common. Their tails and manes will match this color. Their equine body can have fur colors as widely as horses, with blacks, browns, and mottled looks common.

Spirit of Cooperation
While a centaur can mostly take care of themselves in an isolated setting, their large bodies make many things extremely awkward. Simple things like dressing themselves, or crucial things like being able to take care of their back hooves, are essentially impossible without assistance. This has led to centaurs almost universally developing a culture of cooperation. Most centaurs will quickly offer assistance to someone in need. Occasionally, a tribe will be distrustful or aggressive to outsiders, but even they will see their tribe as a larger part of themselves.

Even with cooperation, however, centaurs place less emphasis on things that aren't necessary and are made harder by their bodies. For instance, centaurs usually forgo elaborate dress unless they're visiting a culture that expects such things, and armor is rare. Centaur have found that it's much easier to simply retreat to a new home than it is to armor their forces up enough to properly protect themselves against an army that can do it in a fraction of the time.

The nomadic nature of centaurs means that they easily pick up new ideas. While each tribe tends to have a core set of traditions, they will pick up a variety of different styles of dress, languages, and beliefs. Not only will they combine them in a unique way, it leads to them coming to a less quick judgment of others.

Across the Open Plains
Centaurs can be found in a wide variety of locations due to their nomadic nature, but they tend to prefer open lands over rough or dense terrain. They will tend to build easy to dismantle camps in an open area where they can see for miles and easily outrun any potential enemies, then pack the camps up and sling them over their equine backs when they are ready to move on. Centaurs generally make their living hunting, since they are extremely fast and are trained to use bows from birth.

When found in other communities, centaur are often farmers, or other jobs that can take advantage of their size and strength. Many armies try to recruit at least one squad of centaur archers, since they generally come with the level of life-long training that mounted archers usually demand.

Nomads and Friends
Every day is already an adventure for most centaur, so the transition to a full-time adventurer is easy. The bonds of cooperation built within tribes mean that few leave voluntarily, but when they do join an adventuring group, they can be one of the most loyal members a party can ask for.

Centaur Names
Centaur names have a moderate amount of variety by region, but the practices tend to be the same. A child is given a name by their parents, while a second name, that of the tribe, is added when interacting with outsiders. In the event that the centaur has lost their tribe, they might take on the name of something else they associate with, such as a city, a guild, or another family.

Centaur Traits
Your character has certain traits that centaur have developed together throughout history.

Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution score increases by 1.
Age. Centaurs are born more physically mature than humans, but otherwise are seen as adults around the same time. Their lifespans tend to be a bit shorter than humans.
Alignment. The spirit of cooperation innate to centaurs has them tend toward lawful alignments. Even if it's a culture they're unfamiliar with, they will tend to respect their beliefs and laws as long as they are there. Similarly, they are usually good and treat others with the respect they would give their tribe, as they know how hard things can be when no one is around.
Size. Centaur often stand 7-8 feet tall, and their bodies extend 8 or more feet behind them. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 40 feet.
Quadruped. While your upper body is humanoid, the rest of your body is quite different from the average race's, and grants these extra effects:
Long Body: You take up a space that is 5 by 10 feet.
Beast of Burden: Your carrying capacity is 30 times your Strength score, and your Push, Lift, and Drag is equal to your carrying capacity.
Equine: You count as Large when determining whether you can mount a creature or a creature can mount you.
Barding: You can equip barding-style armor, which increases the AC of a given armor by +2. This costs four times as much as the base version of the armor and weighs twice as much. You can not don or doff barding without assistance.

Centaur Weapon Training. You have proficiency with the shortbow and longbow.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common, and one extra language of your choice. Centaurs have found that it's much easier to pick up a local language and maximize their ability to communicate, than to focus one of their own.
Subrace. The nomadic nature of centaurs have led different tribes to be scattered in some distinct locations. This regional separation has led to the development of at least three major groups of centaurs: coursers, draughts, and wild.

As a courser, you are as lithe as a centaur can get. You are much slimmer and more streamlined than the average centaur, and as a result are much lighter and faster.

Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2.
Light on your Hooves. Your base walking speed increases to 45 feet, and you can choose to use your Dexterity when making long jumps.
Energetic. You have Proficiency in the Athletics skill.

Draughts are big. While not necessarily taller than the average centaur, they are built much thicker, making their upper bodies more resemble a large dwarf than a human. Adapted to a harsher terrain, the Draughts are tough, and prefer to fight up close and personal rather than using bows.

Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution score increases by 1.
Sturdy. Your speed is not reduced by wearing heavy armor.
Charge. When you perform a dash action, you can make an attack as a bonus action.

While most centaurs are friendly with their neighbors, this is not universal. In some regions, centaurs are known for little more than barbarism. Wild centaurs are those who have decided to lift up their own tribe at the expense of others. To them, cooperation is only within the tribe, and anything outside of it can be seen as a resource for the tribe. While not necessarily evil, the Wild centaurs are the one group of centaur that will certainly cross that line. Otherwise, they will also tend to be more chaotic or neutral than other centaurs. While they will still tend to be good to their tribe and follows its laws, there is no guarantee that it will extend beyond that.

Wild centaur also tend to appear more feral than other centaurs and have thick body hair on their upper torsos. Some have even been known to have small horns growing from their heads.

Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score is increased by 2.
Thick Hide. You gain a +1 bonus to AC.
Bestial. You have proficiency in the Intimidate skill.

Random Height and Weight

Base Height: 5'6"
Height Modifier: +2d8Base Weight: 600 lb.
Weight Modifier: x (2d6) lb.

Base Height: 5'8"
Height Modifier: +3d8Base Weight: 800 lb.
Weight Modifier: x (2d8) lb.

Base Height: 5'6"
Height Modifier: +3d8Base Weight: 600 lb.
Weight Modifier: x (2d8) lb.

I think the Ancestry Feat system could really open up some options with this idea, as I cut out a lot of logical elements of what would make a centaur playable for the sake of smoother rules, but some of those things could be reintroduced in an optional fashion.It doesn't really have to be centaur though, as long as the general criteria fits.

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