Ancestries are like a slow Mr. Potatoehead

Ancestries & Backgrounds

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Every ancestry starts out very much the same. You get:
6 hit points, +/-2
25 speed, +/-5
1 feat, but differing pools to spend it on.
Small or medium size, which has no real mechanical benefit
Darkvision, low light vision, or normal vision (but low light is functionally the same as normal vision)

Then every 5 levels you get to add another ancestry feat. So it is like you have the same base as everybody else with maybe a different color. Then you add one piece, maybe a mouth or eyes. Then you add another. And then another. And by level 20 you finally have a complete face.

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I agree that ancestries do feel too watered down and samey.

The idea of growing into your race or culture just doesn't jibe well with me.

Perhaps the solution is to give more ancestry feats at level 1, but make the ancestry feats grow in power as you level so that it isn't overpowered at level 1.

As a for instance, Dwarven Ancestral Hatred could add a bonus to identify the types of enemies at level 1 and know things about them, later on it could add attack and damage bonuses, and even later it could do something else potentially.

We could have a lot of ancestry feats at level 1 that provide very minor bonuses but grow as our characters do. In this way races can actually feel very different at level 1 without being overpowered.

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thorin001 wrote:

Every ancestry starts out very much the same. You get:

6 hit points, +/-2

8 hit points, +/2.* No one has 4 and Dwarves are 10.

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I think the framework of Ancestries has potential, but what we have feels terrible because it's much closer to chopping up a PF1e race and dividing it over many levels.

If, instead, they gave you 3 first level ancestry feats that gave you things that would otherwise have been alternate racial traits we'd be golden. Then higher level Ancestry feats should be amazing things from various lore sources, and really lean into the flavor of the race.

In my opinion, high level ancestry feats should be only accessed by general feats or class feats. That way you don't have to make amazing race feat options for everything, since there's always another use for those feats.

High level race feats should be things like PF1e Aasimar feat chains.

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