Potential for Unbalanced Ancestries / Heritages


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
graystone wrote:
Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
What about treating inate flight like how rage works now? 1 action to gain a fly speed for 1 minute with a 1 minute cooldown. It ends up being 10 rounds of flight and still usable outside of combat. From there you can have ancestry feats that alter it this way or that way, but this also makes characters not feel like they absolutely need a feat if they want to play it.
I think for me, that's make flight far too reliable at low levels in avoiding low level obstacles. You'd almost have to force them into a 5' high tunnel to challenge then with any terrain problems, difficult terrain, ground traps, pits, crevasses, ect. And if you make it more than they can pass it's punishing the rest of the party more than the flying character.

I mean, isn’t some of this just part of the deal with flying in general? Not to trivialize just how useful flying can be, but rather than how it can be used to overcome obstacles i’d Lean more towards what obstacles would still affect them or would make flight irrelevant? A melee stryx is still going to have to deal with most of the same issues, and trying it to an action means pits and traps would still affect one by surprise.

@Captain Morgan - i could see flight tied to heritages. A couple flightless heritages might even be more fun to play IMO. I’d say a real issue that i’ve Seen among the comments and come to myself though is: if a race/ancestry is known for flying and can’t do it at 1st level when they would commonly be at the age of adulthood then what would be the point in playing it at all?

The question isn’t directed at anyone in particular, but something to definitely keep in mind. I think that’s why i’m Most interested in how they deal with the more ‘Monsterous’ and ‘Powerful’ Ancestries moving forward. If i can play a Troll or an Ogre Barbarian in a home game and not out shine the Dwarven Fighter in my group, and still feel like that creature thematically, then i’d call it a resounding success.

See, that's why I feel like they are better off just taking class levels and slapping them on a monster statblock. Seems the easiest way to maintain some semblance of balance.

Even then, it creates pretty notable complications. A troll, for example, has regeneration and never has to worry about medicine checks or other HP recovery. In fact, it can't actually be killed unless acid or fire are applied. It might be about as dangerous as a 5th level barbarian in a fight but that's a pretty drastic game changer.


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I think PF2 works even better for more powerful ancestries (in some situations), for different reasons than Vali Nepjarson described. Take the drow noble example. You start as a drow, maybe taking a requisite heritage if necessary. Take some drow magic feats (just like the feat tree in ARG), and eventually take the Drow Noble feat (level 7 feat perhaps?). In this case, the "more powerful race" is a higher level version of the base race, and a non-noble would simply take different feats.

Take monsters that are simply stronger, say a dragon (as an excessive example). You might start as a hatchling, with very few abilities, and gain more as you level up and select them as racial feats. Level 4 as a prerequisite for flight, level 7 for breath weapon, a size up option at 11, and a frightful presence like ability at 14 (this is an extreme example and not balanced well, but you get the idea). This doesn't work quite as well as the example above, but you can swing it.

Pathfinder 2 facilitates strong races in the sense that strong directly equates to the level of the monster (a noble does have better access to tutors and trainers after all), it only falls slightly short when that progress is by maturity (such as driders, dragons, trolls, etc).

Finally, all hail our kobold overlords. That is all.


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I'm fine with trying to make different species more balanced for players but I feel overall the current playable species are all a bit too... bland, safe, flat.
Compare PF2 elves to PF1 elves for the absolute base level species.
PF1 Elves simply just have more content in their statblock baseline, making them feel very different from the Dwarf or Gnome in the party.

I don't think asymmetrical 'power' is much less important than asymmetry in general and if different species simply had more numbers and features to tweak and dial things would already be more satisfying.


Mr.Dragon wrote:

...

I think asymmetrical 'power' is much less important ...

Can't seem to edit my old post so I'll just reply to myself to fix the double negative.


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Yep. Only get 1 hour to edit.


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Mr.Dragon wrote:

I'm fine with trying to make different species more balanced for players but I feel overall the current playable species are all a bit too... bland, safe, flat.

Compare PF2 elves to PF1 elves for the absolute base level species.
PF1 Elves simply just have more content in their statblock baseline, making them feel very different from the Dwarf or Gnome in the party.

I don't think asymmetrical 'power' is much less important than asymmetry in general and if different species simply had more numbers and features to tweak and dial things would already be more satisfying.

Honestly, I have a different take on this. PF1 races may seem to have more content but to me it was either rarely meaningful past early levels (and sometimes not even then) or was boring (like flat save boosts for Halfling) save for their more rigid ability score boosts.

Taking into account that everyone has a heritage and an ancestry feat at 1st level, I find the level 1 package for PF2 Ancestries more interesting and meaningful than I remember PF1 race being, honestly. And it only expands from there.


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Mr.Dragon wrote:

I'm fine with trying to make different species more balanced for players but I feel overall the current playable species are all a bit too... bland, safe, flat.

Compare PF2 elves to PF1 elves for the absolute base level species.
PF1 Elves simply just have more content in their statblock baseline, making them feel very different from the Dwarf or Gnome in the party.

I don't think asymmetrical 'power' is much less important than asymmetry in general and if different species simply had more numbers and features to tweak and dial things would already be more satisfying.

I think it may not be an uncommon house rule to offer two ancestry feats at first level as a simple example of how the base rules facilitate scaling your campaign the way you want. Feeling the current base level ancestries are a little paler in comparison to their earlier version seemed like a common concern in the playtest. I however, am looking at it more from the sense of example of how scaling of feats can help give one more of the feel they want for their game.

Yes honestly, 1st level first edition elves seemed to have the equivalent of perhaps 3 ancestry feats, just making a guess based on all the different things that could be swapped out via alternate racial traits. (edit: although I need to remind myself that the Heritage choice bundles them and offered different choices so influences the number of choices available, when first writing this I admit I'd forgotten about it.)


The problem with PF1 ancestries was that it was basically about getting stat bonuses that worked with your chosen class/build. Once that was defined it was generally about bypassing proficiency requirements or maybe getting a bonus to saves/useful skill. PF2’s system inherently allows any class to be of any race which unlocks a bunch of RP options.


Edge93 wrote:
PF1 races may seem to have more content but to me it was either rarely meaningful past early levels (and sometimes not even then) or was boring (like flat save boosts for Halfling) save for their more rigid ability score boosts.

Myself, I often found my racial traits useful and meaningful throughout the life of my characters: this was more so with the non-core races but even they have abilities you'll use. For instance, an elf can get "detect magic as a constant spell-like ability" or the ability to reload a crossbow faster [making the weapon far more viable].


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graystone wrote:
Myself, I often found my racial traits useful and meaningful throughout the life of my characters: this was more so with the non-core races but even they have abilities you'll use. For instance, an elf can get "detect magic as a constant spell-like ability" or the ability to reload a crossbow faster [making the weapon far more viable].

Sure, and both your examples are really neat but not in the CRB. More casual Pathfinder players might not even know those are options they can take, to replace parts of their character they otherwise wouldn't use. Now those sorts of things are clearly a choice, as they are Ancestry feats.


First World Bard wrote:
graystone wrote:
Myself, I often found my racial traits useful and meaningful throughout the life of my characters: this was more so with the non-core races but even they have abilities you'll use. For instance, an elf can get "detect magic as a constant spell-like ability" or the ability to reload a crossbow faster [making the weapon far more viable].
Sure, and both your examples are really neat but not in the CRB. More casual Pathfinder players might not even know those are options they can take, to replace parts of their character they otherwise wouldn't use. Now those sorts of things are clearly a choice, as they are Ancestry feats.

Edge93 was making a point about PF1 races and not PF1 core races or limited to core options. So it didn't seem relevant in my response to him.

As to the more casual player... I'd expect the 'casual player' to use the official online resource, the archives of nethys, and those options are right there. The casual player isn't going to have the books themselves, or if they do they will likely be woefully behind in errata. Hence the likelihood to avail themselves of the free complied info online. I know that's where I point that type of player.

As to Ancestry feats, they aren't really comparable: they are trades not additions. Myself, I wouldn't mind bringing that back: options you can trade out 'set' abilities without needing to make a new 'sub-race'. I'm sure that's hard though with how lean the base 'races' are now. It seems like a big step back in where you start even after the ancestry feat is factored in. [for instance, an elf could have both the constant detect magic and the crossbow ability in PF1 but if they are all ancestry feats, you'll only have one now.] Maybe the final version will seem 'fuller' after I see the final version.


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In PF1 I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to trade away all the Dwarf little racial abilities. I'm playing a dwarf because I want to, not because I want to be greedy, hateful, and familiar with rocks. Doing this gets tricky since you absolutely do not want to get rid of Hardy.

I look forward to not having to do that anymore.


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graystone wrote:
[for instance, an elf could have both the constant detect magic and the crossbow ability in PF1 but if they are all ancestry feats, you'll only have one now.]

At first level, sure. Then at 5th level you can take the other one if you want it. I think a PF2 design goal was to make Ancestries more relevant through the levels, but to do that while keeping the total amount of Ancestry stuff reasonable, you kinda have to not front-load the Ancestries as much.


graystone wrote:
First World Bard wrote:
graystone wrote:
Myself, I often found my racial traits useful and meaningful throughout the life of my characters: this was more so with the non-core races but even they have abilities you'll use. For instance, an elf can get "detect magic as a constant spell-like ability" or the ability to reload a crossbow faster [making the weapon far more viable].
Sure, and both your examples are really neat but not in the CRB. More casual Pathfinder players might not even know those are options they can take, to replace parts of their character they otherwise wouldn't use. Now those sorts of things are clearly a choice, as they are Ancestry feats.

Edge93 was making a point about PF1 races and not PF1 core races or limited to core options. So it didn't seem relevant in my response to him.

As to the more casual player... I'd expect the 'casual player' to use the official online resource, the archives of nethys, and those options are right there. The casual player isn't going to have the books themselves, or if they do they will likely be woefully behind in errata. Hence the likelihood to avail themselves of the free complied info online. I know that's where I point that type of player.

As to Ancestry feats, they aren't really comparable: they are trades not additions. Myself, I wouldn't mind bringing that back: options you can trade out 'set' abilities without needing to make a new 'sub-race'. I'm sure that's hard though with how lean the base 'races' are now. It seems like a big step back in where you start even after the ancestry feat is factored in. [for instance, an elf could have both the constant detect magic and the crossbow ability in PF1 but if they are all ancestry feats, you'll only have one now.] Maybe the final version will seem 'fuller' after I see the final version.

This is starting to get into the fallacious territory of trying to directly compare PF1 and PF2. What's substantial or meaningful in PF1 and what's substantial or meaningful in PF2 are different. You have to look at what the races give you by the standards of each system, not just number of things given in one versus the other.

For example getting faster crossbow reload in PF2 would be a WAY bigger deal than in PF1 because frankly crossbows aren't worth CRAP in PF1 unless you're a Bolt Ace or MAYBE a Crossbow archetype Fighter with an Overwatch Style build. I'm not sure how to rate getting at will detect magic in either system given how easy it is to get on at least one party member in both games.

But my point here is that these abilities would mean different things, so saying "You could have at will Detect Magic and faster crossbow reload in PF1 at level 1 but not until later in PF2" doesn't really mean anytbing because those abilities mean different things in PF2 vs PF1.

And of course that's all without getting into the fact that you get more from your ancestry as you go, whereas PF1 race pretty much flatlines at first level.

One more aside, in the specific case of Elves they also get higher base speed, which is essentially an additional racial feature. Halflings get a similar boon in Keen Eyes.


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First World Bard wrote:
graystone wrote:
[for instance, an elf could have both the constant detect magic and the crossbow ability in PF1 but if they are all ancestry feats, you'll only have one now.]
At first level, sure. Then at 5th level you can take the other one if you want it.

Yeah, but that's 1/2 way through my lifespan of character so IMO that's not optimal.

Edge93 wrote:
But my point here is that these abilities would mean different things, so saying "You could have at will Detect Magic and faster crossbow reload in PF1 at level 1 but not until later in PF2" doesn't really mean anytbing because those abilities mean different things in PF2 vs PF1.

This is all meaningless distinctions IMO. I'm saying I could pick meaningful abilities in PF1 and not in PF2: NOTHING has to be about the actual abilities, they were just examples. Pick any 2 meaningful abilities in PF1 and 2 in PF2 that you feel meaningful. It's the fact that you either can't get them at start in PF2 or you have to wait multiple levels later. I don't mind ancestry for upgraded abilities for your 'race' but it's annoying to have to take them for 'starting' ones. It's why the playtest ancestries seemed so sparse to me. I'd rather a 'race' have a distinct identity past stats instead of having to grow into it's distinctness over many, many levels.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
In PF1 I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to trade away all the Dwarf little racial abilities. I'm playing a dwarf because I want to, not because I want to be greedy, hateful, and familiar with rocks. Doing this gets tricky since you absolutely do not want to get rid of Hardy.

I quite enjoy that part myself: it kind of like a puzzle that in the end allows me to get a character closer to the way I imagine it. I want a halfling that pretends to be a young human, I can take the speed boost, for instance, so she isn't weirdly much slower than other humans. I take a tiefling and I can go full demon [wings, tail, ect], full human or someway in between: I can also pick up natural weapons [something mechanical you can build the character around]. My human that was spirited away can pick up Heart of the Fey to show it: IMO it's odd to have to show those thematic links at 5th.

On hardy, there are actually several replacements that are quite good that in the right character I'd replace hardy for them.


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graystone wrote:
Yeah, but that's 1/2 way through my lifespan of character so IMO tha not's not optimal.

I am hoping that PF2 games go further in level than PF1 games, since you know, the math won't fall apart. Having APs go all the way to 20 is a good sign.

graystone wrote:
But my point here is that I'd rather a 'race' have a distinct identity past stats instead of having to grow into it's distinctness over many, many levels.

In my mind, that's what the Heritages are for, giving you that feeling of "my people are special because X". As an aside, if your idea for a distinct Elven identity was "detect magic and good with Crossbows", perhaps an apples to apples comparison between the 1E CRB and 2E CRB would be more fair.


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First World Bard wrote:
I am hoping that PF2 games go further in level than PF1 games, since you know, the math won't fall apart. Having APs go all the way to 20 is a good sign.

I play online and games tend to break up for real life issues long before the math has a chance to break down: I don't see PF2 changing those real life issues.

First World Bard wrote:
In my mind, that's what the Heritages are for

I was already adding heritage into ancestry: In my mind, they both comprise the 'race'. From what I've seen, Heritage isn't adding a whole lot and it's a set ability. I liked that there was no trait that was so integral to the race that it couldn't be given an optional replacement.

First World Bard wrote:
if your idea for a distinct Elven identity was "detect magic and good with Crossbows"

Spiresworn Elves travel in and under water a lot so they have a tradition of crossbow use because of it. Elves with a legacy of fey blood can sometime see magic.


graystone wrote:
First World Bard wrote:
I am hoping that PF2 games go further in level than PF1 games, since you know, the math won't fall apart. Having APs go all the way to 20 is a good sign.

I play online and games tend to break up for real life issues long before the math has a chance to break down: I don't see PF2 changing those real life issues.

First World Bard wrote:
In my mind, that's what the Heritages are for

I was already adding heritage into ancestry: In my mind, they both comprise the 'race'. From what I've seen, Heritage isn't adding a whole lot and it's a set ability. I liked that there was no trait that was so integral to the race that it couldn't be given an optional replacement.

First World Bard wrote:
if your idea for a distinct Elven identity was "detect magic and good with Crossbows"
Spiresworn Elves travel in and under water a lot so they have a tradition of crossbow use because of it. Elves with a legacy of fey blood can sometime see magic.

All the things you're describing and despite your saying otherwise PF2 approach doesn't really preclude any of it. You say Heritage doesn't count because it's "a set ability" and PF1 was better because "no trait is so integral to the race it couldn't be replaced" but neither of those make sense.

Picking a Heritage isn't really any different from selecting between optional racial traits save for the fact that unlike PF1 there is no default, (and we actually have a variety of options straight off unlike the PF1 CRB) same thing with level 1 Ancestry feats (and later feats, but I'm talking about base stuff here).

And PF1 did in fact have traits that were so integral to the race that they couldn't be replaced in most cases. It was called ability scores, something that PF2 allows much more choice in.


Edge93 wrote:
Picking a Heritage isn't really any different from selecting between optional racial traits save for the fact that unlike PF1 there is no default, (and we actually have a variety of options straight off unlike the PF1 CRB) same thing with level 1 Ancestry feats (and later feats, but I'm talking about base stuff here).

Sure, it's like picking a SINGLE trait like PF1... I'm talking about all the other traits I'm not picking.

Edge93 wrote:
And PF1 did in fact have traits that were so integral to the race that they couldn't be replaced in most cases. It was called ability scores, something that PF2 allows much more choice in.

Several traits altered ability scores. Kitsune are normally +2 Dexterity, +2 Charisma, –2 Strength but can pick a trait to be "+2 bonus to Dexterity and Intelligence instead of Dexterity and Charisma". 1/2 Orcs can pick +2 bonus to "Strength and a –2 penalty to one mental ability score of their choice" with a trait. Goblins at +4 Dexterity, –2 Strength, –2 Charisma have the option for +2 bonus to Strength, a +2 bonus to Dexterity, and a "–2 penalty to Charisma". Humans can "pick two ability scores and gain a +2 racial bonus in each of those scores." Vine leshy can gain a "+2 racial bonus to Constitution with a +2 racial bonus to Dexterity". gathlains can have no Constitution penalty. Changelings with +2 bonus to Intelligence and Charisma instead of a +2 bonus to Wisdom and Charisma. And this isn't even touching the slew of races with subraces with different scores. It's in NO way unusual to be able to pick different stats for a race in PF1 like you inferred. A rough estimate is 20 - 25% of races get some options as far as stats go. [higher is you start counting in individual subraces with different scores]

Secondly, as far as "something that PF2 allows much more choice in" that's not really true either: PF1 allows a far bigger spread of scores to start [1-20] with far more granular options for individual scores while following the preferred character creation method.

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Ancestries lose a bit of modularity in PF2 over what Races had in PF1, it's true.

But what they gain is coherence and simplicity. A lot of people often forgot half their Race's abilities they came up so rarely, and for those who didn't the process of picking the proper Racial Traits was complicated and, for many, laborious.

In PF2, a new player can far more easily actually utilize what options there are, and people are unlikely to forget about or be confused by the options. In terms of attracting new players and improving the actual play experience, that's priceless.

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Deadmanwalking wrote:

Ancestries lose a bit of modularity in PF2 over what Races had in PF1, it's true.

But what they gain is coherence and simplicity. A lot of people often forgot half their Race's abilities they came up so rarely, and for those who didn't the process of picking the proper Racial Traits was complicated and, for many, laborious.

In PF2, a new player can far more easily actually utilize what options there are, and people are unlikely to forget about or be confused by the options. In terms of attracting new players and improving the actual play experience, that's priceless.

I do enjoy the modularity of PF1 races, but I can see the advantage of PF2 ancestries - I'm currently running Mummy's Mask, and we have 2 Dhampir brothers from Ustalav PCs. Both of them only realised when I asked about it in session 10 that they had a racial bonus to saves against diseases, and both have 2 different diseases afflicting them - if they'd made it one of their main choices at level 1, I'm sure they'd have remembered.

It does seem like we've lost a little bit of customization in the transition to PF2 - the question is simply whether you value the ease-of-play improvements over the customization. As always with PF2, the modularity of the game itself makes it quite easy to change this around - if you prefer the customization, getting 2 or 3 Ancestry feats at 1st level instead of 1 will give you a fair bit of customization back, and will be easier and easier to do with more ancestry feats coming out over time :)


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Ancestries lose a bit of modularity in PF2 over what Races had in PF1, it's true.

I'd quibble over "bit". They lose a HUGE amount of starting modulatrity, and only very slowly regain some of it back every 5th level.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
But what they gain is coherence and simplicity. A lot of people often forgot half their Race's abilities they came up so rarely, and for those who didn't the process of picking the proper Racial Traits was complicated and, for many, laborious.

I don't really buy either of these: if they are forgetful, they can pick options that simply add directly into the character. Pick one that grants a feat or buffs a save or buffs speed or... heck, pick an option that alters stats. IMO, options picked are more likely to be recalled than those that come in the prepackaged set. in the end, IMO they'll forget a +2 save vs poison from race as easy as one from class or a feat: if they are forgetful, they are forgetful.

Secondly, if the process was thought to be laborious and complicated they didn't have to do it. Nothing forced anyone to pick optional traits. So the simple and uncomplicated thing to do is write down your default race traits and go on your way. If you opt to take the more complicated option, you shouldn't then complain it's more complicated.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
In PF2, a new player can far more easily actually utilize what options there are, and people are unlikely to forget about or be confused by the options. In terms of attracting new players and improving the actual play experience, that's priceless.

Well sure, if simple is your goal then they did a fine job: when you only have 1 or 2 things it sure is simple. If it was keeping those that enjoyed actually having options and having a more robust race abilities happy, not so much. The game should strike a balance between new players and existing player base. Between the drastic pruning of race abilities at 1st and the lost of 2 background traits, it feels like 1st level is really bare of options.

For me looking at the base PF1 dwarf then the PF2 one makes it very clear 7 abilities vanished. This gives a visceral feeling of losing something right from the start before you even dive into the mechanics of the new system: it doesn't feel good. Now I understand the idea it to spread out things so you get an option every level and that's actually a good thing IMO, just not for race [again IMO].

I think for me, I'd have liked to see a better middle ground in starting abilities: instead of dropping from 9 to 2 abilities, maybe 4 or 5? If nothing else, it'd stop it from looking so sparse.


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Arcaian wrote:
if you prefer the customization, getting 2 or 3 Ancestry feats at 1st level instead of 1 will give you a fair bit of customization back, and will be easier and easier to do with more ancestry feats coming out over time :)

This might be something that'd make me feel better. I wish i had a stable group that'd make doing so an easy thing. Unfortunately, I'll have to hope some DM out there feels the same as I do about bonus Ancestry feats and wants to run an online game. ;)

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graystone wrote:
Arcaian wrote:
if you prefer the customization, getting 2 or 3 Ancestry feats at 1st level instead of 1 will give you a fair bit of customization back, and will be easier and easier to do with more ancestry feats coming out over time :)
This might be something that'd make me feel better. I wish i had a stable group that'd make doing so an easy thing. Unfortunately, I'll have to hope some DM out there feels the same as I do about bonus Ancestry feats and wants to run an online game. ;)

For what it's worth, I think it's going to be one of the more common moments of dissonance for people going from PF1 to PF2. Everything else is either novel or quite different from its PF1 implementation - ancestries are fairly easy comparisons to PF1, and are noticeably less customizable. Mark Seifter has also mentioned that it's fairly easy to give more feats - as they aren't increasing power of characters hugely, only versatility - and hinted there might be alternatives in the Gamemastery Guide. It might even come out as an official alternative rule in there!


Honestly I have a very different take partly because I felt races were overly frontloaded and didn't have any sense of becoming MORE (insert ancestry here)-y as you adventure and grow stronger. I know there are racial feats, but that felt different, as it was just more options that you could use your everything-competes-with-it feat slots on but rarely would do so.

I find the PF2 racial options more enjoyable and like getting less at the start and more over time. Such is my own take upon it.

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graystone wrote:
I'd quibble over "bit". They lose a HUGE amount of starting modulatrity, and only very slowly regain some of it back every 5th level.

I didn't say 'a little bit' for a reason. ;)

But more seriously, yes it's a fair degree of loss of modularity. How much varies a lot from Race to Race, though. There are several that don't even have alternate racial traits, and a lot more that have only a few.

graystone wrote:
I don't really buy either of these: if they are forgetful, they can pick options that simply add directly into the character. Pick one that grants a feat or buffs a save or buffs speed or... heck, pick an option that alters stats. IMO, options picked are more likely to be recalled than those that come in the prepackaged set. in the end, IMO they'll forget a +2 save vs poison from race as easy as one from class or a feat: if they are forgetful, they are forgetful.

All of this assumes that the players have the time and motivation and systems knowledge to make these choices. In a sense, this is an ivory tower game design argument. It is predicated on 'if you learn this complicated subsystem you will receive mechanical benefits, if you don't, tough luck '.

That's obviously true of all more complicated games to some degree, but it's a problem to be eliminated, not leaned into as a good thing. Mark Seifter mentioned a principle of game design which is that 'complexity is the currency with which you buy depth'.

The Racial Traits system buys some depth, but with a much bigger investment of complexity than that depth is worth on a mechanical level. Especially for new players.

graystone wrote:
Secondly, if the process was thought to be laborious and complicated they didn't have to do it. Nothing forced anyone to pick optional traits. So the simple and uncomplicated thing to do is write down your default race traits and go on your way. If you opt to take the more complicated option, you shouldn't then complain it's more complicated.

The thing is that the base rules were flatly mechanically inferior. By not opting in you were actively being punished. A system that punishes people for not opting into it is not strictly optional.

Additionally, even not opting in, the Race rules were still complex. Remembering all of the various bonuses a Dwarf or Elf gets is actually pretty tricky. See the example mentioned above with Dhampir players forgetting their bonus vs. disease.

graystone wrote:
Well sure, if simple is your goal then they did a fine job: when you only have 1 or 2 things it sure is simple. If it was keeping those that enjoyed actually having options and having a more robust race abilities happy, not so much. The game should strike a balance between new players and existing player base. Between the drastic pruning of race abilities at 1st and the lost of 2 background traits, it feels like 1st level is really bare of options.

Well, firstly, a lot of what you just listed was not in the core rules. Like, at all even a little. Traits were not in the corebook, nor was choosing your Racial Traits within a single Race.

As compared to the core rulebook (the most fair comparison), that's actually an increase in options (you get 2 choices per Ancestry rather than 0 per Race, and 1 Background choice rather than 0 Traits). That is, in fact, a compromise, with more choices than PF1 at its base level, but fewer than it acquired by the end.

Additionally, frankly, the high number of choices in PF1's character creation towards the game's end was a problem. It was overly complicated for little mechanical gain, with the individual choices often having only minimal impact (even though collectively they mattered quite a bit).

In order to move forward and actually encourage new players, as well as decrease the cognitive load on those players, some real simplification was needed.

graystone wrote:
For me looking at the base PF1 dwarf then the PF2 one makes it very clear 7 abilities vanished. This gives a visceral feeling of losing something right from the start before you even dive into the mechanics of the new system: it doesn't feel good. Now I understand the idea it to spread out things so you get an option every level and that's actually a good thing IMO, just not for race [again IMO].

Well, Dwarf is the most extreme example (Elves lose two features at most...and two of the four they got are rarely useful on the same character, and Goblins lose only one). Additionally, we haven't seen the final version of Dwarf, which may be quite different from that in the playtest (at least to the extent of all having Unburdened).

But yes, you get less features from Ancestry at 1st level (though more choices than you did in the PF1 corebook). I consider that an entirely worthwhile price to pay for the vastly decreased cognitive load involved in keeping track of them. Especially considering that the options you do pick are generally significantly more powerful within their sphere.

graystone wrote:
I think for me, I'd have liked to see a better middle ground in starting abilities: instead of dropping from 9 to 2 abilities, maybe 4 or 5? If nothing else, it'd stop it from looking so sparse.

Uh...I'm pretty sure most characters actually have at least three Ancestry-based abilities (Vision, Heritage, and Ancestry Feats). But yes, it's definitely less total choices. Not enough less to make it feel sparse, IMO, but that varies a fair bit from person to person.

And as Arcaian notes, adding in more versatility is as easy as adding more Ancestry Feats at 1st level.


graystone wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Ancestries lose a bit of modularity in PF2 over what Races had in PF1, it's true.
I'd quibble over "bit". They lose a HUGE amount of starting modulatrity, and only very slowly regain some of it back every 5th level.

If we’re talking CRB(1e) to CRB(2e), 2e looks like it will have more modular customization weather with Race/Ancestry, Class build, Weapon choice, and Feat selection. There is something to say about 1e Race selection having more base power than 2e Ancestry selection. Part of this is suppose to be balanced out with power scaling into level gating more powerful feat choices.

Do we know if they’ve possibly fluffed the amount of ancestry feats given to more than every five levels?


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Card Game, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
Do we know if they’ve possibly fluffed the amount of ancestry feats given to more than every five levels?

Really, it's every 4 levels, since it goes 1,5,9,13,17. (Or at least it did in the Playtest). We get ability score boosts every 5 levels. :)


First World Bard wrote:
Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
Do we know if they’ve possibly fluffed the amount of ancestry feats given to more than every five levels?
Really, it's every 4 levels, since it goes 1,5,9,13,17. (Or at least it did in the Playtest). We get ability score boosts every 5 levels. :)

I had those backwards then; thought stat boost was every 4 levels.


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Easy way to remember it- you get feats on odd levels like in PF1, but half are ancestry feats and half are general feats.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Easy way to remember it- you get feats on odd levels like in PF1, but half are ancestry feats and half are general feats.

What i was wondering was if they increased the limit to more than just 5? Do we know if it’s still only 5? Or has this been neither confirmed nor denied?

From O.O. I think we can tell that we still only get one at first level (makes sense). I’m just curious if the total number raised at all.

Liberty's Edge

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Pumpkinhead11 wrote:

What i was wondering was if they increased the limit to more than just 5? Do we know if it’s still only 5? Or has this been neither confirmed nor denied?

From O.O. I think we can tell that we still only get one at first level (makes sense). I’m just curious if the total number raised at all.

All evidence us that the number has stayed the same. You can fudge it a bit by grabbing an Ancestry Feat with a General Feat in the playtest, but the basic number remains the same and the Class charts we've seen seem to confirm that as the case in the final version as well.


In another thread, the Portuguese Language version of the character sheet was revealed and it has spots for all of your feats on the second page. We can infer from this that nothing has changed since the playtest in terms of how many feats you get.


I appreciate the modularity a lot but I have to agree with some of the other posters in this thread that at baseline the various species feel pretty flat. Managing alternate racial traits in PF1 was a huge pain but I don't really see how you could even do some races in PF2 that have a lot of weird assumptions about them as a baseline, because baseline racial traits basically aren't a thing anymore. Racial feats will help, but those will take a while to start coming together.

To be honest I have a broader fear in general about how feat-centric PF2 is going to be. Modular options are great but there are so many things that expect you to take feats to enable them I'm kind of worried about ending up with a lot of concepts that take a long time to come online and lock you out of pretty much any other feat choices until you're already towards the middle or back end of a campaign.


One thing we don't know yet is "what things you get from you ancestry that is neither a feat nor a heritage." We know what heritages are like and we know what some first level ancestry feats are like, but we don't know the missing part. In the playtest you got almost nothing from your ancestry itself save for speed, HP, and possibly sight. In various comments, people who should know have said that one's ancestry gives much more than it did in the playtest, and if so where we'd put it is in the pile of "stuff all elves (or w/e) get".


I think just using level as your differentiator is a better way to go here, with the appropriate social contract with your playgroup, of course. That way, no one is going to feel like one option is always better, and that you'll always be inferior, even at the same level, to the character with the more powerful ancestry.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Pumpkinhead11 wrote:

What i was wondering was if they increased the limit to more than just 5? Do we know if it’s still only 5? Or has this been neither confirmed nor denied?

From O.O. I think we can tell that we still only get one at first level (makes sense). I’m just curious if the total number raised at all.

All evidence us that the number has stayed the same. You can fudge it a bit by grabbing an Ancestry Feat with a General Feat in the playtest, but the basic number remains the same and the Class charts we've seen seem to confirm that as the case in the final version as well.

If your group wants to play with more, as I've mentioned, variants to alter those sorts of progressions for groups that want to make even more choices are among the variants in the GMG!


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
As compared to the core rulebook (the most fair comparison), that's actually an increase in options (you get 2 choices per Ancestry rather than 0 per Race, and 1 Background choice rather than 0 Traits).

I'm not seeing it as "the most fair comparison": the reduction in overall abilities prevents such choices from being made later and the rules are clearly not at core 1 vs core 2: alchemists alone show we're past a straight PF1 core in the conversion. For me, cutting back abilities SO far cuts off any chance of future options at a point in the game you seem to think would be 'less fair' to talk about. What could you make later? At best something to trade out vision?

Arcaian wrote:
Mark Seifter has also mentioned that it's fairly easy to give more feats - as they aren't increasing power of characters hugely, only versatility - and hinted there might be alternatives in the Gamemastery Guide. It might even come out as an official alternative rule in there!

An official optional rule would be helpful indeed. It's much easier to ask 'do you uses this rule' that debating the in's and out's of a house rule on the fly.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
One thing we don't know yet is "what things you get from you ancestry that is neither a feat nor a heritage." We know what heritages are like and we know what some first level ancestry feats are like, but we don't know the missing part.

There have been some online games playing with the new rules, and no one's noticed extra abilities coming up in play: you'd think if whatever races were played had multiple new abilities something would have been used.

Liberty's Edge

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graystone wrote:
I'm not seeing it as "the most fair comparison": the reduction in overall abilities prevents such choices from being made later and the rules are clearly not at core 1 vs core 2: alchemists alone show we're past a straight PF1 core in the conversion.

There is limited space in the core rulebook. It's larger than the PF1 core, and has room for a few more things (like Alchemist), but yes, the corebook remains the most fair comparison.

graystone wrote:
For me, cutting back abilities SO far cuts off any chance of future options at a point in the game you seem to think would be 'less fair' to talk about. What could you make later? At best something to trade out vision?

Well, additional Heritages leap to mind, and additional Ancestry Feats are obvious. But yes, this specific area of customizarion has a greatly reduced design space in the sense of 'how many options can I have at 1st level by the standard rules'.

But that's ridiculously specific. The actual number of options you have to choose between can still go up, and adding optional rules (like '3 Ancestry Feats at 1st level') is possible, even easy, where it was extremely difficult in PF1.

graystone wrote:
An official optional rule would be helpful indeed. It's much easier to ask 'do you uses this rule' that debating the in's and out's of a house rule on the fly.

This, I agree with entirely. And is one of the major advantages of the ease of use stuff I've mentioned previously. The Gamemastery Guide seems set to provide an awful lot of easy rules variants in a way PF1 couldn't do nearly as easily.

graystone wrote:
There have been some online games playing with the new rules, and no one's noticed extra abilities coming up in play: you'd think if whatever races were played had multiple new abilities something would have been used.

This is true. Dwarves might get Unburdened back for free or something like that but there hasn't been a sea change in what most Ancestries get.


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graystone wrote:
There have been some online games playing with the new rules, and no one's noticed extra abilities coming up in play: you'd think if whatever races were played had multiple new abilities something would have been used.

If the abilities were like PF1 races then I doubt that'd be true...


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Deadmanwalking wrote:

Well, additional Heritages leap to mind, and additional Ancestry Feats are obvious. But yes, this specific area of customizarion has a greatly reduced design space in the sense of 'how many options can I have at 1st level by the standard rules'.

But that's ridiculously specific. The actual number of options you have to choose between can still go up, and adding optional rules (like '3 Ancestry Feats at 1st level') is possible, even easy, where it was extremely difficult in PF1.

To the first, while yes you can add more options to the feats, you not getting more feats at 1st, you're getting more options on the feats you can already get. As there were new race traits brought out in various books through out PF1 this isn't a benefit for PF2 in customization but a push: It really boils down to the sheer number of picks allowed.

On optional rules, it's hard to really comment without seeing the options but we'll see. Hopefully they'll fit the bill.

Edge93 wrote:
If the abilities were like PF1 races then I doubt that'd be true...

If you're dealing with new characters in a new game it's hard to imaging they'd be as 'forgetful' of abilities or have no questions on such abilities. Or that they had all those amazing abilities, but the DM also never reminded them.


Graystone, my question is "What do you want?" There have been plenty of examples of how PF2 is differing from PF1, and how people can houserule things to get closer to PF1 feel.

As someone who repeatedly pointed out racial traits to his groups time and time again, I'm happy to see a cleaner system in place. A new player arriving at a table without using racial traits is already at a disadvantage, and I'm glad to see that PF2 seems to care about eliminating these common pitfalls.


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Ruzza wrote:
Graystone, my question is "What do you want?" There have been plenty of examples of how PF2 is differing from PF1, and how people can houserule things to get closer to PF1 feel.

I don't think I've been unclear... I personally CAN NOT, repeat NOT just houserule games as some can. It's just not an option. AT all.

Secondly, I don't recall asking FOR anything. This have been an extended debate that started from someone saying "PF1 races may seem to have more content but to me it was either rarely meaningful past early levels" and my disagreeing and saying I preferred more options. Then someone said it's too soon to say that, then my saying that there wasn't any existing abilities to increase the total number of options...

Ruzza wrote:
As someone who repeatedly pointed out racial traits to his groups time and time again, I'm happy to see a cleaner system in place. A new player arriving at a table without using racial traits is already at a disadvantage, and I'm glad to see that PF2 seems to care about eliminating these common pitfalls.

People have said this: I can only say it hasn't really been the case for me. I personally was happy with the 'messier' way of doing things. As to removing them... not really: if people were forgetting a dwarf wasn't slowed by armor before, they'll still have an issue with that now. Lower numbers of abilities doesn't somehow remove 'pitfalls'. Players STILL have to recall heritage, ancestry and other base race abilities, and that's a 'pitfall' if people are forgetful. Is the Ancestral Hatred Feat somehow more memorable than a PF1 dwarves Hatred for instance? Or is the PF1's Hardy more forgettable than the Hardy Feat? I can't see how.

Liberty's Edge

graystone wrote:


Ruzza wrote:
As someone who repeatedly pointed out racial traits to his groups time and time again, I'm happy to see a cleaner system in place. A new player arriving at a table without using racial traits is already at a disadvantage, and I'm glad to see that PF2 seems to care about eliminating these common pitfalls.
People have said this: I can only say it hasn't really been the case for me. I personally was happy with the 'messier' way of doing things. As to removing them... not really: if people were forgetting a dwarf wasn't slowed by armor before, they'll still have an issue with that now. Lower numbers of abilities doesn't somehow remove 'pitfalls'. Players STILL have to recall heritage, ancestry and other base race abilities, and that's a 'pitfall' if people are forgetful. Is the Ancestral Hatred Feat somehow more memorable than a PF1 dwarves Hatred for instance? Or is the PF1's Hardy more forgettable than the Hardy Feat? I can't see how.

I think if you're actually picking an option, you're inherently going to remember it more - you had to think about it and make a choice. For example, I've run Serpent's Skull, and you can get small trait-like bonuses in Book 1 for different actions; my players forgot about them constantly, but forgot traits much less - despite them being mechanically almost identical.


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I am still baffled by the 'Drow Noble is not that much better then Kobold' argument

A drow Noble gets a whoopin +8 on ability scores, spell like abilities, some at will, magic resistance AND what the normal drows get

Kobold gets -4 on attribute scores and +2 to mining

I would feel bad for the player who picks a kobold in the same campaign where a drow noble joins the party

There is a good reason why in my campaign I only allowed normal drow and created a custom kobold race players could play -> to level the field

Drow Noble are one of the most powerful options a player can get and it is easily noticable in many aspects of the game, there is a good reason why they are considered a npc/monster race

I mean, of course, you could let a player play two kobolds while the other plays the drow noble, then you have the usual advantage of number kobolds have against drow nobles...but you have to get to mid level for the kobolds to use their leverage

And asymetrical balancing does NOT mean unbalanced/overwpowered, not it means achieving balance and an equal experience BESIDES the differences
Two examples would be the starcraft and warcraft series' which have factions that play very different but are still balanced against each other because nobody could say 'yeah, those guys are stronger you are f...'

So player races should be clearly balanced against each other and since all races got vastly different heritage feats they are already asymetrically balanced (vs symetrically where they would just essentially all get the same)

I don't care if that limits the number of races in the long run, the experience has to go first, the fun in the game

The system is easy enough, if you want some unfair races homebrew them

Maybe paizo will create monstrous races at some point who are not balanced against the standard (which would be okay) but I would use them mainly as npc kit or as basis for a group where everyone (who wants) can play a monster - and then I would probably still take a look which monsters are balanced somewhat against each other

I think also that drow nobles could work vastly differently in pf2
instead of their big boni they may get an additional set on heritage feats, maybe they can pick more or they get a free multiclass archetype on top but start out as normal drow

(and I really, REALLY wish and hope for balanced kobolds)


graystone wrote:
Ruzza wrote:
Graystone, my question is "What do you want?" There have been plenty of examples of how PF2 is differing from PF1, and how people can houserule things to get closer to PF1 feel.

I don't think I've been unclear... I personally CAN NOT, repeat NOT just houserule games as some can. It's just not an option. AT all.

Secondly, I don't recall asking FOR anything. This have been an extended debate that started from someone saying "PF1 races may seem to have more content but to me it was either rarely meaningful past early levels" and my disagreeing and saying I preferred more options. Then someone said it's too soon to say that, then my saying that there wasn't any existing abilities to increase the total number of options...

So at this point, before we have the game in our hands and are playing it to see how it works as a cohesive unit, you're just very loudly pointing out that you "Don't Like Thing," every chance you get?

I mean, they've balanced races against each other and within the system. Options that PF1 has now won't be there at launch. These are all points that have been made time and again, but you aren't being any clearer than, "But I don't LIKE it." It just comes across like you're trolling now.


Quote:
I don't think I've been unclear... I personally CAN NOT, repeat NOT just houserule games as some can. It's just not an option. AT all.

Didn't see that part, but the question is: why?

There are as far as I can tell 2 options

Either you are not the gamemaster and your gm doesn't want to put up with unbalanced crap

or you are the gamemaster and... well I've got nothing...your players want a balanced game?


Seisho wrote:
Quote:
I don't think I've been unclear... I personally CAN NOT, repeat NOT just houserule games as some can. It's just not an option. AT all.

Didn't see that part, but the question is: why?

There are as far as I can tell 2 options

Either you are not the gamemaster and your gm doesn't want to put up with unbalanced crap

or you are the gamemaster and... well I've got nothing...your players want a balanced game?

I believe Graystone mentioned in the other thread (about animal companions, again very upset) that they play exclusively online.


Well I am not looking through I don't know how many different threads to find that out, a short recap of graystone would be nice, maybe that helps us understand a little

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