Update 1.4 Ancestries: Here's how I would overhaul it. How would you overhaul it?


Ancestries & Backgrounds


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I'm a fan of giving all players a Heritage and Ancestry feat at Level 1... But I'm not a fan of many of the Heritages. I think Heritages should be akin to D&D 3.5's "subraces" while many of the current options are really just re-purposed Ancestry feats. There's not a lot of narrative clout behind most of them.

So - looking at it from the big picture - the first thing that I'd do is revise all of the Heritage options to be fit that criteria. I'd revert several of the current Heritages back to being Ancestry feats or combine them into a single Heritage. The rest I'd "beef" up. Here's a reworking of Desert Dwarf as an example.

Clan of Molten Rock
Traits: Heritage, Dwarf
Your clan's forges were fiery underground tunnels of magma and they are renowned for their incredible resilience to hot environments.
This grants you resistance to fire equal to half your level (minimum 1) and the ability to ignore extreme and severe heat up to 140° F.
When using the Craft downtime activity to make a metallic item using lava or magma as your forge, treat your level as one higher.
You gain Smoke Vision: The dwarf ignores concealment from smoke.

(The Duergar definitely need their own Heritage.)

Then I'd ensure that all Ancestries had a common trait. For Dwarf, I'd bring back Unburdened but strengthen it to ignoring all speed reduction from armor or encumbrance.

Base Dwarf
+10 HP
20 Movement
Medium Size
Unburdened: Ignore speed reduction from armor/encumbrance
+2 CON, +2 WIS, +2 Any

So a Dwarf from the Clan of Molten Rock would have 20 movement, +10 starting HP, fire resistance, heat resistance, a conditional crafting bonus, smoke vision, and ignore speed reduction from armor/encumbrance.

Next I'd add some Ancestry-independent Heritages like...
--|Half Orc/Elf/Goblin/etc (Of course I'd bring this back up).
--|Half Dragon, Dhampir, Planetouched, etc. (Ancestral related)
--|Lycanthrope, etc. (Curse/Disease related)
--|Clockwork, Golem, etc. (Facsimiles)

Of course - the downside of locking "Half" Ancestries to Heritage is that we couldn't have an Aasimar Clan of the Molten Rock Dwarf. There's probably a simple workaround.

I'd also add more Ancestry feats. Lots more. For our example Dwarf, I'd add a chain that dramatically improves crafting, something that switches resonance from CHA to CON, something that grants temp hp when reduced to dying by a critical strike, something that adds an intoxicating quality to alchemist infusions, something that improves Call of Ancient Blood, and so on.

So that's the big picture. There are a lot of smaller edits that I'd make - like nerfing the Human ancestry - but I thought it more interesting to start with the big changes.

How about you? What would you change?


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That's basically what I'm trying to say in every discussion.

Heritage should be something VERY impactful. Not just some random minor and conditional bonus. It should be reserved for variations within the ancestry, big variations. Drows, Aquatic Elves and Elves, Half-orcs, Half-elves, Aasimars, Tieflings and Humans, etc.

If there's not enough to create good options for every ancestry? CREATE them. Add new variations, tune up and down the strongest and weakest. The designer team already bent over backwards to allow everyone to pretend that Goblins are core-material, why not take the time to actually make big changes across the board.

Dwarves get too much in their base package? Tune it down, but don't strip it down. Small races are awful? Make them interesting, add features, different aspects of culture that can be translated into good mechanical benefits, different physical traits.


Guys it's already been stated that actual Heritages are not the final ones.

The actuals are only there to see if you like this option. It will be better and with a lot more fluff in the final version


The Once and Future Kai wrote:

I'm a fan of giving all players a Heritage and Ancestry feat at Level 1... But I'm not a fan of many of the Heritages. I think Heritages should be akin to D&D 3.5's "subraces" while many of the current options are really just re-purposed Ancestry feats. There's not a lot of narrative clout behind most of them.

So - looking at it from the big picture - the first thing that I'd do is revise all of the Heritage options to be fit that criteria. I'd revert several of the current Heritages back to being Ancestry feats or combine them into a single Heritage. The rest I'd "beef" up. Here's a reworking of Desert Dwarf as an example.

Clan of Molten Rock
Traits: Heritage, Dwarf
Your clan's forges were fiery underground tunnels of magma and they are renowned for their incredible resilience to hot environments.
This grants you resistance to fire equal to half your level (minimum 1) and the ability to ignore extreme and severe heat up to 140° F.
When using the Craft downtime activity to make a metallic item using lava or magma as your forge, treat your level as one higher.
You gain Smoke Vision: The dwarf ignores concealment from smoke.

(The Duergar definitely need their own Heritage.)

Then I'd ensure that all Ancestries had a common trait. For Dwarf, I'd bring back Unburdened but strengthen it to ignoring all speed reduction from armor or encumbrance.

Base Dwarf
+10 HP
20 Movement
Medium Size
Unburdened: Ignore speed reduction from armor/encumbrance
+2 CON, +2 WIS, +2 Any

So a Dwarf from the Clan of Molten Rock would have 20 movement, +10 starting HP, fire resistance, heat resistance, a conditional crafting bonus, smoke vision, and ignore speed reduction from armor/encumbrance.

Next I'd add some Ancestry-independent Heritages like...
--|Half Orc/Elf/Goblin/etc (Of course I'd bring this back up).
--|Half Dragon, Dhampir, Planetouched, etc. (Ancestral related)
--|Lycanthrope,...

Two thumbs up :)


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Dante Doom wrote:

Guys it's already been stated that actual Heritages are not the final ones.

The actuals are only there to see if you like this option. It will be better and with a lot more fluff in the final version

But fluff is not solving the problem. As they are, mechanically, they're not interesting and very lackluster. The current system is definitely a steep in a good direction, but it still not enough, which is why I'm expressing what I expect when I'm choosing a heritage.

I'm still not even sold in having higher level ancestry feats. For me, they could all be front-loaded, with feats later down the line being only improvements of options you picked and even so, very deliberately cherry picked to avoid weird hatred or other similar cultural aspects manifesting very later down in your life.


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Dante Doom wrote:
Guys it's already been stated that actual Heritages are not the final ones.

Yes. That is our opportunity to express what we'd like the final Ancestry options to look like. Once the playtest is wrapped up it will be too late.

Dante Doom wrote:
The actuals are only there to see if you like this option. It will be better and with a lot more fluff in the final version

But I don't like this option. I like the distribution of Heritage and Ancestry feat at Level 1 but Heritages are too weak. There's a problem with flavor as well but that's uneven - Gnome Heritages, for instance, have great narrative clout.

Even Half Elf and Half Orc, which were solid Heritages previously, have been significantly weakened with Update 1.4. Let's compare Half Elf.

Half Elf Pre Update 1.4 wrote:

Half-elf Feat 1

Either one of your parents was an elf, or one or both were half-elves. You have pointed ears and other telltale signs of elf heritage. You gain the elf trait. Select two of the following benefits: Elven speed (increase your Speed by 5 feet), Elven tongue (add Elven to your list of languages), gifted speaker (you are trained in Diplomacy), or low-light vision (you can see in dim light as well as you can in bright light). In addition, you can select elf, half-elf, and human feats whenever you gain an ancestry feat.
"Half Elf Post Update 1.4 wrote:

Half-Elf Hertiage

Either one of your parents was an elf, or one or both were half-elves. You have pointed ears and other telltale signs of elf heritage. You gain the elf trait and low-light vision. In addition, you can select elf, half-elf, and human feats whenever you gain an ancestry feat

I think it's helpful to outline what I want from Ancestry and to see other playtest participants outline what they want from Ancestry. In this case, I thought that was best expressed in this example based format.


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I agree that the heritage choice should mean more; your suggestion of the Clan of Molten Rock is really nice.
I wouldn't give Unburdened to the base dwarf, though, but make it a level 1 ancestry feat.


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The Once and Future Kai wrote:
Explanation...

Ok I see your point! And I agree with you that we should have more options and benefits from Heritage!

I liked the Heritage move but didn't like that as it is now Heritage are just a Ancestry Feat


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The Once and Future Kai wrote:

I'm a fan of giving all players a Heritage and Ancestry feat at Level 1... But I'm not a fan of many of the Heritages. I think Heritages should be akin to D&D 3.5's "subraces" while many of the current options are really just re-purposed Ancestry feats. There's not a lot of narrative clout behind most of them.

...

How about you? What would you change?

I dig this very much and this is also much closer to what I was expecting from this new Ancestry system.

In your example specifically, Clan of Molten Rock, I'd limit the fire resistance a flat +1 or +2 and leave level based resistance for actual plane-touched ancestries and/or heritages. Maybe have a feat to increase your fire resistance up by a quarter of your level (min 1).

For your over all Heritage concept, I think in order to preserve a bit more flexibility, I'd model it after the original "Half-" ancestry feats.
Basically, offer at least 6 options and let the player pick 4 of them.

"Select four of the following benefits: Fire resistance, heat resistance, lava crafting, smoke vision, exotic butters, or whatever."

And for ancestries themselves, I'd give them each back one characteristic, but it has to reasonably be a universal trait of all members of the species.

Also, I'd move languages out of the ancestries and have them be addressed in the heritage text. They really shouldn't have anything to do with your ancestry.

Take me for example:
Ancestrally, I am Taino Indian, a Spaniard, and Romanian, but I was born in Cuba, and raised in the USA. I speak Spanish which I learned from my parents. I speak English which I learned from sesame street and refined in school.
No one in my extended family has spoken Taino or Romanian for hundreds of years. So those languages wouldn't be on my list. :P

So I'd explain at the beginning of the Heritage section that every character starts with Common for free and may also gain their ancestral language for free if they so choose.
Then each heritage can give you any relevant additional languages and their own specific list of languages for high intelligence characters.
This opens up better options for unusual, but interesting, background stories.

Lastly, I agree with having ancestry-independent heritages.
I'd make these work just like the original "Half-" feats and even allow them to be taken on top of a normal heritage.

Something like this for example:
"Half-Elven
Either one of your parents was an elf or both were half-elves. You have telltale signs of elf heritage. You gain the elf trait. For each benefit you select from this heritage, you select one less benefit from your other heritage. Select up to 3 of the following benefits: Elven speed (increase your Speed by 5 feet), Elven tongue (add Elven to your list of languages), gifted speaker (you are trained in Diplomacy), low-light vision (you can see in dim light as well as you can in bright light), or exotic butters (you are trained in butter lore). In addition, you can select elf and half-elf feats whenever you gain an ancestry feat."


LordVanya wrote:

Something like this for example: "Half-Elven

Either one of your parents was an elf or both were half-elves. You have telltale signs of elf heritage. You gain the elf trait. For each benefit you select from this heritage, you select one less benefit from your other heritage. Select up to 3 of the following benefits: Elven speed (increase your Speed by 5 feet), Elven tongue (add Elven to your list of languages), gifted speaker (you are trained in Diplomacy), low-light vision (you can see in dim light as well as you can in bright light), or exotic butters (you are trained in butter lore). In addition, you can select elf and half-elf feats whenever you gain an ancestry feat."

I like this model better than my proposal in the OP. It also solves that Half Ancestry issue that came up with an Aasimar Dwarf - allow the character to select two Heritages but they only gain one trait from each (reduced to one each as the flexibility of selecting Ancestry feats from multiple pools is significant).


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The Once and Future Kai wrote:


Clan of Molten Rock
Traits: Heritage, Dwarf
Your clan's forges were fiery underground tunnels of magma and they are renowned for their incredible resilience to hot environments.
This grants you resistance to fire equal to half your level (minimum 1) and the ability to ignore extreme and severe heat up to 140° F.
When using the Craft downtime activity to make a metallic item using lava or magma as your forge, treat your level as one higher.
You gain Smoke Vision: The dwarf ignores concealment from smoke.

I think this looks pretty cool, but to me it comes across more as a sub-culture of Dwarves (particularly the fact that it's a "clan").

Regardless looks cool.

Quote:


Base Dwarf
+10 HP
20 Movement
Medium Size
Unburdened: Ignore speed reduction from armor/encumbrance
+2 CON, +2 WIS, +2 Any

Quite frankly disagree with Base Dwarf getting "Unburdened" for free.

To follow suit with what you've got above, I would move "Unburdened" as well as "Giant hatred" and a few others to another Culture/Sub Race that qualifies as the "default" Dwarf (similar to how it currently exists in PF1).

Quote:
Of course - the downside of locking "Half" Ancestries to Heritage is that we couldn't have an Aasimar Clan of the Molten Rock Dwarf. There's probably a simple workaround.

What if instead of Heritages as designed above, they worked closed to how Archetypes in PF1 worked, where they swap out certain attributes of the Race and if two Sub Races didn't affect the same attribute, they could stack.

This allows a little bit of balancing among certain sub races overlaying with others, while also allowing ones that add a lot of flavor to stack.

Side note: personally, I'd rather see Physical and Cultural abstracted to separate entities, where Heritage covers one and Cultural covers another and you get one of each in addition to an Ancestry feat at level 1.

Even the possibility of opening up Cultural choices to more than one Ancestry (especially when a large amount of them are just "frost X gain 1/2 level in cold resist).


I think people over-reacted to setting changes supporting Goblin-as-Core PC race,
if Drow, Duergar, Svirfneblin and more are all now Core PC options, Goblin is really a side show...

I am kind of baffled how Desert Dwarf (which is canon term for Garundi Dwarves) gets "reworked" into Volcano Forge Clan.
That isn't reworking, that's something totally detached only using same energy Resistance mechanic.


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Quandary wrote:

I am kind of baffled how Desert Dwarf (which is canon term for Garundi Dwarves) gets "reworked" into Volcano Forge Clan.

That isn't reworking, that's something totally detached only using same energy Resistance mechanic.

It came out of a joke in another thread about the Desert Dwarf heat resistance of 140° being ridiculously high (e.g. That's not a Desert Dwarf, that's a Volcano Dwarf). It was meant to be an example of the kind of Heritages that I'd like to see, but just an example - not an actual Heritage change that I'm suggesting.

I'm not intimately familiar with the Golarion setting but I figured there was a reason they suggested Desert Dwarf. This just seemed more fun for my example.


Quandary wrote:
I think people over-reacted to setting changes supporting Goblin-as-Core PC race,

Myself, I don't think they are reacting enough...

Quandary wrote:
if Drow, Duergar, Svirfneblin and more are all now Core PC options, Goblin is really a side show...

That's a big IF. Right now we ONLY have Svirfneblin and they aren't exactly disruptive as a race, just unusual. We don't have drow, just elves with darkvision and none of the dwarves seems like the Duergar. And even if we did get them, I'd just see them as a sideshow to goblins. :P


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Midnightoker wrote:
Side note: personally, I'd rather see Physical and Cultural abstracted to separate entities, where Heritage covers one and Cultural covers another and you get one of each in addition to an Ancestry feat at level 1.

I'm with you - that would be my preference as well. A long time ago, I was working on a homebrew Racial Feature Progression system for 3.5 that did separate them but I never finished that project.

Kaihaku's Old 3.5 Homebrew System wrote:

Cultural Traits

Cultural Traits may be selected as Racial Features by individuals of any Race who were raised in a society primarily comprised of that specific Race. Cultural Traits do not count as Racial Features for the purposes of determining Multiracial Effects and a character may only have Cultural Traits from two Races.

In an expansion of this Cultural Traits might be further divorced from physical species and presented as the Traits of certain societies rather than specific Races.

I decided to be less ambitious with my suggestions this time around and stick relatively close to the existing framework. But, yes, if I were writing it from the ground-up I'd separate cultural and physiological.


Yeah, I was just having some fun myself... Maximum solidarity on the Anti-Goblin Front ;-)


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Quandary wrote:
Yeah, I was just having some fun myself... Maximum solidarity on the Anti-Goblin Front ;-)

Rabble, rabble, rabble, rabble!!!

I'd pull out my torches but they'd LIKE that. :P


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Hmmm...

Ancestry is broadly about genetic lineage.

Heredity is about genetic traits inherited from biological parents.

Heritage is about traditions inherited from the past.

Culture is about the beliefs and behaviors of a social, ethnic or age group.

In the current system...

Ancestry fits well.

Heritage ~= heredity + some culture

Ancestry Feats ~= actual heritage + culture

Would a set up like this be better...?

Ancestry = races with only the most broad characteristics given.

Heredity = physical trait kits as presented above with multiple benefit choices, and with the option to apply a second "Half-" heredity of less benefits from your other heredity.

Heritage = non-physical benefit derived from the traditions of your ancestors.

Culture = non-physical benefit kit derived from the specific culture you grew up in.

Example...

Ancestry: Dwarf
--> +10 HP, 20 Movement, Medium Size, +2 CON, +2 WIS, +2 Any.
Heredity: Duergar (Half-Elven)
--> Paralysis Immunity, Stability, Superior Darkvision
--> (Elven Speed)
Heritage: Clan of Molten Rock
--> Undercommon, Lava Crafting
Culture: Chelaxian
--> Infernal, Determined, Arrogant, Exotic Butters


I don't think Paizo will commit to hard physical/non-physical delineation between these categories, their very ambiguity means they can deploy the mechanical categories as needed for different cases... Committing to hard definition only restricts themself, and adding further layers solely to have conceptual purity isn't clear gain... So I would not invest too much in that, personally.


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Pathfinder Card Game, Cards Subscriber

Restriction breeds creativity


@LordVanya - Chelaxian no longer exists, you'll have to pick a different culture.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

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So...

Elves can now start with Darkvision
Gnomes can now start with Darkvision
Half orcs... get low light vision and weaker.

Really? *sigh*


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Many Dwarves live in mountains. Mountains are cold. Why don't those Dwarves get cold resistance, but sissy Elves do? Pretty f*cked up. I suggest:

1) Replace Arctic Elves with Aquatic Elves and/or Desert Elves. Take away the resistance and give the former a swim speed or ability to breathe water, and/or the later fire resistance.

2) Replace Desert Dwarf (What Dwarf has ever lived in a desert? O_o) with Arctic/Mountain Dwarf. Give them cold resistance.


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TheMonkeyFish wrote:
@LordVanya - Chelaxian no longer exists, you'll have to pick a different culture.

You mean in the Playtest rule book?

I'm sure that small selection won't me the only ones in the final version.
And what I posted above is just an example.
Exotic Butters isn't a real benefit either.


Quandary wrote:
I don't think Paizo will commit to hard physical/non-physical delineation between these categories, their very ambiguity means they can deploy the mechanical categories as needed for different cases... Committing to hard definition only restricts themself, and adding further layers solely to have conceptual purity isn't clear gain... So I would not invest too much in that, personally.

I actually agree, but if they don't then they are simultaneously backing themselves into a corner.

I think it might behoove them to do this separation early even if they only have a single category for both ethnicity and culture.

Otherwise, they would have to eventually create a flood of 1st level ancestry feats to properly represent these things. That would probably be a bad since bloat is a thing they want to avoid, but people do seem to want to have access to cultural characteristics apart from hereditary ones.

However, I'm more interested to know if you would want a system like the one I gave an example for. SO, would you like it like that if they did it?


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Zamfield wrote:
Restriction breeds creativity

And that is why 8-bit and 16-bit music will always be superior to most of what came after.


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Matthew Morris wrote:

So...

Elves can now start with Darkvision
Gnomes can now start with Darkvision
Half orcs... get low light vision and weaker.

Really? *sigh*

Fixing that is what this thread is partially about.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
ClanPsi wrote:

Many Dwarves live in mountains. Mountains are cold. Why don't those Dwarves get cold resistance, but sissy Elves do? Pretty f*cked up. I suggest:

1) Replace Arctic Elves with Aquatic Elves and/or Desert Elves. Take away the resistance and give the former a swim speed or ability to breathe water, and/or the later fire resistance.

2) Replace Desert Dwarf (What Dwarf has ever lived in a desert? O_o) with Arctic/Mountain Dwarf. Give them cold resistance.

Snowcaster elves and Pahmet Dwarves are things in the Golarion setting...

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

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LordVanya wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:

So...

Elves can now start with Darkvision
Gnomes can now start with Darkvision
Half orcs... get low light vision and weaker.

Really? *sigh*

Fixing that is what this thread is partially about.

I know, just registering my complaints.


Ah. Noted.


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My thought was to turn heritages into much more of a big picture of your ancestry, for larger, more flavorful options. Such as Aasimar, Tiefling, Ifrit, Undine, Drow, Human-blooded (instead of Half-elf / half-orc), etc.

Things that really speak to an uniqueness about your heritage. With a simple Ancestral Paragon heritage that grants a bonus ancestry feat if you don't want to play something more extreme.


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Uchuujin wrote:

My thought was to turn heritages into much more of a big picture of your ancestry, for larger, more flavorful options. Such as Aasimar, Tiefling, Ifrit, Undine, Drow, Human-blooded (instead of Half-elf / half-orc), etc.

Things that really speak to an uniqueness about your heritage. With a simple Ancestral Paragon heritage that grants a bonus ancestry feat if you don't want to play something more extreme.

That's what I expect as well, right now, they're just glorified ancestry feats.

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