Potential for Unbalanced Ancestries / Heritages


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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One of the things that I really enjoyed about the original races in PF1 was that they were obviously and intentionally asymmetrically balanced. The Core races were more or less balanced, as they should be.

But then the advanced race guides and all the other extra races can vary from underpowered (Kobolds) to much stronger (Drow Nobles). You even have a direct gauge for knowing how powerful the races are, relative to each other.

That to me is a great tool for GMs to have slightly more dynamic games as long as everyone sits down and is willing to go with it. Just as long as the difference between them is not so great as to make a huge bulk of a difference, and punish people from wanting to play a character story that they are interested in.

What are the odds that we will have any Ancestries/Heritages that are definitively balanced more or less powerful than each other? If Aasimar/Tieflings/Ganzi/Aphorites are going to be universal Heritages that can be applied to any Ancestry, I would want them to be more powerful than the regular Heritages for the Ancestries, just because those sorts of planetouched people should be powerful.

Does anyone else agree with me or am I crazy?

Liberty's Edge

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I strongly disagree. PC Ancestries should all be equal in power definitionally for the same reasons Classes should (only it's easier to achieve with Ancestries).

And Ancestries are pretty much only for PCs at this point.

If you want to make one more powerful than another, you can readily do that by just adding bonuses on top of some characters and not others, but by default, all these should be equal.


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I disagree as well. What I've seen is that usually, the more powerful races are banned, so they just end up being there, teasing you with options you can't take because they are judged "OP". As for the weaker ones like kobolds, chances are you get judged for picking the lesser option, and even if you don't, you're at a disadvantage in terms of effectiveness. Oh, the number of times I've wished to take a specific race just for flavor, whether weak or powerful, and been convinced to pick one of the more standard races. For every option to be viable, they have to be approximately the same strength.

I do understand the wish to see some more powerful races, but I think that should be left to non-playable options or for some system for creating custom races. Or maybe they could represent the "powerful" ancestry by making them not more powerful, but letting them draw power more from their ancestry than from other things? That could come in the form of interesting racial archetypes or the ability to take some powerful ancestry feats in place of some of the class feats or something... Just throwing ideas out there.

Also, having some playable races much stronger than others would stray from what second edition has gravitated towards so far, as they try to reduce the discrepancy in power between characters, from feats to class, etc.


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You say a more dynamic game, but from my experience in most games having heavily unbalanced races meant a player felt like they couldn't play the race they wanted without being punished, or the GM wouldn't allow the race because it was too good.

As Deadmanwalking says, you can always unbalance things at home pretty easily if you want to play that specific kind of game.


Hard no, there. I'll also point out it is probably going to be very easy to just slap class levels on an existing monster if you want to make something out there. I think it is better to just give GMs the tools to make that happen than create faux PC options that just muddle the game.


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Yeah, I kinda figured this wouldn't be hugely popular. And trust me, I am not suggesting that the difference be insanely over the top, and probably less so in PF2 vs. PF1 considering how much more a +1 in PF2 means due to the tighter math.

But even in PF1, the difference wasn't enormous. I picked arguably the weakest and strongest races as examples to show what the furthest extremes are in PF1, but a Drow Noble isn't so much stronger than a Kobold that (in my experience at my tables, I totally understand that YMMV) anyone ever felt punished for playing the Kobold or immensely overpowered as a DN.

But to me, Pathfinder is a medium for communal story telling every bit as much (and sometimes more so) than it is a game. And having asymmetric ancestries/heritages open up the potential for way more kinds of characters. One of the best characters I've ever played with was a Kobold Barbarian who thought they were the strongest thing in the world. And by the time they reached level 20, they could make a pretty good case for it. That story wouldn't have hit as hard if Kobolds weren't at a natural disadvantage.

Now, again I'm not saying that this should be a huge deciding factors. I'm not asking for an Ancestry or Heritage so powerful that it substitutes for class power. I'm saying that if Human/Elf/Dwarf/ect. is the baseline for Ancestries, then the weakest should be at about 75-80% as strong as a Human and the strongest should be 150% as strong, maximum.

That is a decent chunk of your overall PC power at level 1 sure, when your Ancestrial abilities carry a bit more of your "Oomph". But by the time you reach level 5ish, when 90% of your power is from your class and the Ancestry is mostly flavor anyways, the Kobolds shouldn't be more than a point or so behind and the Aasimar isn't going to be noticibly better than the Human anyways.

Like I said, to me it is a tool for story telling and too much homogeny makes stories less interesting. I understand why this is an unpopular idea. From a gaming perspective it is a bad idea, and it should only be done with all players at the tables understanding the point and ramifications therin. But well used, it can be a fun tool for storytelling and Verisimilitude. At least in my humble opinion.


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But... why do you need a specific ancestry to tell those stories? Like, take Kobolds. You can always just take a flaw for no benefit and choose to cripple your character. Getting a character who is stronger than the baseline probably needs GM permission, but you needed GM permission to do play those out there races anyway.

The modular nature of PF2 makes it really easy to add new stuff to the game. You could make an ancestry that gets wings and a breath weapon, for example, by turning dragon instinct barbarian feats into ancestry feats.

But part of why this works is because the basic math assumptions of the core system are easy to understand and tightly balanced.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

If you want to make unbalanced ancestries, just modify the number of ancestry feats your character gets. That’s what those are there for.

I think it’s pretty much inevitable that there will be ancestries that are out of balance. I’m confident the devs will pull out all the stops to avoid it, but I think it’ll naturally happen anyways (and honestly probably won’t be a bad thing as long as it’s not too egregious). But I don’t want them to purposely *design* then to be out of whack.


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Sure, you can elect to twist things around to make certain characters stronger or weaker based on their Ancestry. If Tiefling ends up a Heritage that can be taken by any ancestry, then I could easily say "hey, take a human/elf/dwarf feat AND a Tiefling feat whenever you get an Ancestry feat option.

But I tend to find that this actually goes by players a lot worse than if the Tiefling itself is just sort of better. If I'm giving my Planetouched players more stuff then players who don't want to play those types feel like I'm being a jerk. But if the game just has them be better most say "yeah, that makes sense. A human with demon blood is going to be stronger than a regular human". Besides, I don't want them to have more feats. I want the feats they have access too to be just a little bit better.

Again, not a lot better. Not twice as good. But better enough that a canny reader will recognize that this guy gets some innately better stuff. At level 1 this might make a difference. You'll have a nice little boost that will feel cool, but won't punish anyone for not picking those Ancestries/Heritages. But race was never a major part of your power in PF1 and it won't be in PF2 either. By level 5 class is MUCH more important and by level 8, Ancestries will be hardly anything other than a couple feats which will be fawned over by min-maxers.

To me it's a matter of interesting stories, wider options available, and making the world feel more real. Be honest, does it make sense for a human who carries the blood of angels to be no stronger than a human who doesn't? No, it just doesn't. Should training and experience almost immediately close the gap as the regular human learns magic or inhuman levels of swordplay? Yeah, absolutely.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Perhaps it would help to give an example of what you'd think that actually looks like? Because at level 1 or level 20 if I can look at two otherwise identical characters and just go "yup that one is just straight up better" thats a problem. Especially the whole canny reader stuff, just seems to be building Ivory Tower design that plagued the starting decades or roleplaying.


I would not like an heritage that was made to be stronger than the others on purpose.

Using Tiefling per example I think that giving a single Divine cantrip for chosing that heritage and having something like Elf Atavism from half elf to get a unnamed claw attack or darkvision as ancestry feat would be balanced and desirable without being more powerful.


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Vali Nepjarson wrote:


But to me, Pathfinder is a medium for communal story telling every bit as much (and sometimes more so) than it is a game. And having asymmetric ancestries/heritages open up the potential for way more kinds of characters. One of the best characters I've ever played with was a Kobold Barbarian who thought they were the strongest thing in the world. And by the time they reached level 20, they could make a pretty good case for it. That story wouldn't have hit as hard if Kobolds weren't at a natural disadvantage.

So here's a thing with this. "Strength" and "power" come in many different forms and facets, and as such you don't need overall power discrepancy to tell these stories.

To use your own example of the Kobold Barbarian becoming super strong despite his handicap. You could tell that story with any race that has a Str penalty, likely including Kobold. With the new change to Ancestry that lets you overcome your racial flaws, you could very much have the story of an adventurer that becomes a legend in a skill or path that their race has a reputation for being weak in. A Halfling who can chop down mountains, a Dwarf who becomes the most popular Bard in the land, a Goblin who becomes the wisest and most venerated Cleric of his deity.

None of these require an overall drop in power level,they all have that punch because their race is known for being handicapped in the things they seek to do, which has the same or very similar effect without the race having to be considered objectively lesser on the whole.

Like, to use Kobolds again, no one would be surprised to be a Kobold in PF1 become a Rogue of legend, they have a Dex boost. So it's not their overall weakness that makes these stories, it's their specific weaknesses, and PF2 very much has that.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber
Vali Nepjarson wrote:

Sure, you can elect to twist things around to make certain characters stronger or weaker based on their Ancestry. If Tiefling ends up a Heritage that can be taken by any ancestry, then I could easily say "hey, take a human/elf/dwarf feat AND a Tiefling feat whenever you get an Ancestry feat option.

But I tend to find that this actually goes by players a lot worse than if the Tiefling itself is just sort of better. If I'm giving my Planetouched players more stuff then players who don't want to play those types feel like I'm being a jerk. But if the game just has them be better most say "yeah, that makes sense. A human with demon blood is going to be stronger than a regular human". Besides, I don't want them to have more feats. I want the feats they have access too to be just a little bit better.

I see the situation completely the opposite. If it's the GM making these ancestries stronger, they can make a case to their players that planetouched are stronger because it makes thematic sense for the game they'll be running. An individual GM can account for the boost in power and make sure the players who aren't taking a stronger ancestry don't feel like they're making a mistake.

On the other hand, if it's baked into the game, that's where I imagine that players could feel forced to pick one of the strong ancestry or penalised if they take one of the weak ones. Most GMs wouldn't think to make sure the stronger ancestries improve the feel of the game


I personally hate it when things are overpowered. Though I don't play pfs I always limit my character building to what pfs allows. If I had a cool character moment with something illegal, it wouldn't feel earned to me. That being said, it does make me sad that so few races are legal. So I hope that going forward with second edition they are able to balance races a little more so that more races are available for pfs play. Or barring that, maybe just select ancestry feats that are too strong and ban them.


"But I tend to find that this actually goes by players a lot worse than if the Tiefling itself is just sort of better."

So basically you want the same outcome that people think is being a jerk, but you want to slip it by them.
You say it's a matter of story, yet you're happy to manipulate and decieve the people supposedly co-creating the story with you.
You say "I dont' want more Feats, I want more powerful Feats" ...because that affects STORY, HOW?
(and flat boosting level, which doesn't itself grant feats, is in fact way to do that, it just is honest about power boost)

And it's not just people disagreeing with this motive of yours, but you failing to understand basic concepts.
You throw around "asymmetric balance" like it means "wild power imbalance, but I like it". That's not what it means.
Asymmetric is NO LESS dedicated to balance, it simply means it is considering bigger picture and not narrow 1:1 comparisons.
Yet the overtly higher power classes ARE higher power, they aren't claimed to be the same power despite some narrow overt disparity.


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Quandary wrote:

"But I tend to find that this actually goes by players a lot worse than if the Tiefling itself is just sort of better."

So basically you want the same outcome that people think is being a jerk, but you want to slip it by them.
You say it's a matter of story, yet you're happy to manipulate and decieve the people supposedly co-creating the story with you.
You say "I dont' want more Feats, I want more powerful Feats" ...because that affects STORY, HOW?
(and flat boosting level, which doesn't itself grant feats, is in fact way to do that, it just is honest about power boost)

And it's not just people disagreeing with this motive of yours, but you failing to understand basic concepts.
You throw around "asymmetric balance" like it means "wild power imbalance, but I like it". That's not what it means.
Asymmetric is NO LESS dedicated to balance, it simply means it is considering bigger picture and not narrow 1:1 comparisons.
Yet the overtly higher power classes ARE higher power, they aren't claimed to be the same power despite some narrow overt disparity.

You're taking what I said way out of context, and putting quite a few words in my mouth.

first off, I straight up said that I didn't want the difference to be huge at all. In fact I said that I wanted the difference to be subtle and probably less of a power difference than it was in PF1, which was already very little after a couple levels. Every tabletop game is going to be a combination of some sort between gaminess and verisimilitude. I am willing to have a minor difference in power, so long as it doesn't punish anyone for playing the sort of character that they want to play, for the sake of characters that feel more like what they should be.

I don't mean that the Aasimar fighter should outclass the "only" human fighter at every turn. I mean that the Aasimar fighter should have a couple things that they have access to that might on occasion let them do something that the human fighter cannot.

Also, I'm not sure how you interpreted what I said as deceiving my players? The reason that I liked the RP system in PF1 was that it made the relative power levels entirely transparent. So if I have a new player I can say "here, you can play a human or an elf, and you'll be fine. There are also these other races, which have a few extra things, but you'll be totally fine if you want to not deal with that".

People get that. "Oh this race is part angel? This guy is part devil? A person who is empowered by the elements? Yeah, that makes sense that they are a bit extra. That's the world that we're playing in."

If I power up these Races/Ancestries/Heritages, then it's not the world that says that these people are a bit stronger. It's me, and thus I'M giving extra stuff to some of my players and the ones who don't want to play those Ancestries feel like I'm trying to punish them for playing who they want to play or else push them to play someone they don't want to.

But no, it should ALWAYS be something that is done with transparency.

It effects story how? It effects story by giving you more options for stories like the one between Rock Lee and Neji Hyuuga. Or any other underdog story. One person has natural talent. The other doesn't. But through experience and practice they both become equals (and I'm sorry, but an Elf Wizard and Aasimar Wizard both at level 20 are just as powerful). This story is much more choppy by having them be at different levels, because levels are not a indication of natural talent, but of experience and training. That can ALSO be a good story if you want to go with that, but it isn't the same story.

All I'm saying is that it's a tool to use. That's all.


I’m failing to see what the actual desire is that is being asked. Should Plane touched Ancestries or PC’s be more powerful than core? Probably no. Should they have unique features that allows them to stand out? Yes.

If i somehow understand your Neji(Talent) vs Lee(No Talent) example then a good comparison would be to look at Goblin. ‘Let it Burn!’ Is a flat power boost to all things fire that the Goblin uses. An Ifreeti could have the same ability or even one a tad more powerful; but ultimately that’s probably what you want and are going for. What says one is better than the other is completely subjective to the specific build. Example, Goblins would be the best race/ancestry for a Fire focused blaster caster but possibly a terrible Monk.

I hope this is somewhat close to what you’re looking to have answered.


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Vali Nepjarson wrote:
It effects story how? It effects story by giving you more options for stories like the one between Rock Lee and Neji Hyuuga. Or any other underdog story. One person has natural talent. The other doesn't. But through experience and practice they both become equals (and I'm sorry, but an Elf Wizard and Aasimar Wizard both at level 20 are just as powerful). This story is much more choppy by having them be at different levels, because levels are not a indication of natural talent, but of experience and training. That can ALSO be a good story if you want to go with that, but it isn't the same story.

As I mentioned, you get the same story by building a character in a class that their ancestry isn't naturally suited for. You get that same underdog story from them not being typically talented at the thing they do, no need for an overall power difference, the specific differences set up the story without all of the problems that having objectively overall stronger or weaker ancestries causes.

Vali Nepjarson wrote:
All I'm saying is that it's a tool to use. That's all.

The problem is it's a tool that VERY rarely, if ever, has use that isn't fulfilled just as well if not better by an existing tool and even LESS often has that use without creating any kinds of hard feelings at the table or pressure to use certain options or not use others. AND it's a tool that comes with the baggage of all the problems it would cause at entirely unrelated tables by introducing that power discrepancy as an available option.

In short, that's what's known as a dysfunctional tool.


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I've been thinking and I wouldn't mind some 'unbalanced' 'races' to fill in for the variable points you used to have for point buys. For instance Low Fantasy, Standard Fantasy, High Fantasy and Epic Fantasy ones. They wouldn't even have to be new 'races' per se: for instance humans gain x for high fantasy or epic fantasy dwarves gain y.

I know for myself, I often had games that didn't use the standard points, so it'd be nice to be able to do so again: I don't know how popular the options would be though.


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In pf2e, we are getting rid of ECL CR and so on in favor of just 1 concept -level, which goes from 0 (or even negatives) to 20 and above. That means (I hope) that more powerful is ALWAYS represented as higher in level. So, if on golarion kobolds are a "weak ancestry" that means most kobold NPCs/monsters are level 0. If your PC kobold is level 1, it must be just as powerful as a level 1 human. In story, that means it is a unique and powerful individual (not to mention level 17 kobolds and so on). For that to happen you need to balance a level 1 kobold rogue around a level 1 human rogue. One way to make this reflected in the rules is having "weak" races lose ancestry features (ability modifiers, heritage and such) in favor of one extra class feat, but I would be careful about doing that.

Now the drow noble at level 1 should be just as powerful as a kobold of level1. As this is a "powerful ancestry " most noc drow are high level creatures. So your 1st level PC is a weak/young individual that will only become an average member of its ancestry after reaching higher levels and gaining some drow ancestry feats.
In this specific case it's very easy to do, you have elves as 1st level well balanced ancestry, all you need is adding specific Drow Noble ancestry feats and your done. (And racial Paragon general feat should help getting more Drowish at lower levels)


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morphail wrote:

In pf2e, we are getting rid of ECL CR and so on in favor of just 1 concept -level, which goes from 0 (or even negatives) to 20 and above. That means (I hope) that more powerful is ALWAYS represented as higher in level. So, if on golarion kobolds are a "weak ancestry" that means most kobold NPCs/monsters are level 0. If your PC kobold is level 1, it must be just as powerful as a level 1 human. In story, that means it is a unique and powerful individual (not to mention level 17 kobolds and so on). For that to happen you need to balance a level 1 kobold rogue around a level 1 human rogue. One way to make this reflected in the rules is having "weak" races lose ancestry features (ability modifiers, heritage and such) in favor of one extra class feat, but I would be careful about doing that.

Now the drow noble at level 1 should be just as powerful as a kobold of level1. As this is a "powerful ancestry " most noc drow are high level creatures. So your 1st level PC is a weak/young individual that will only become an average member of its ancestry after reaching higher levels and gaining some drow ancestry feats.
In this specific case it's very easy to do, you have elves as 1st level well balanced ancestry, all you need is adding specific Drow Noble ancestry feats and your done. (And racial Paragon general feat should help getting more Drowish at lower levels)

I think you really hit the nail on the head there. It isn't just about PCs being equal to each other. Monsters and NPCs of the same level are supposed to be equal to each other too. If you start to make some ancestries more powerful than others while retaining their full class benefits, the whole encounter balance design starts to come apart.


Captain Morgan wrote:
I think you really hit the nail on the head there. It isn't just about PCs being equal to each other. Monsters and NPCs of the same level are supposed to be equal to each other too. If you start to make some ancestries more powerful than others while retaining their full class benefits, the whole encounter balance design starts to come apart.

3.5 tried solving this issue later on with Level Adjustments. I remember Thri-Kreen was a +2, so basically a Thri-Kreen with one class level was to be treated as a 3rd level character. I remember Races of Wild and Races of Stone having 1st level options for a couple races and their modifiers were stripped down from like a +6 to +2, but allowed you to a way to still get those bonuses if you wanted them. It was a quirky system but shows that even ‘Powerful Ancestry/Races’ were to be considered to be treated as ‘Higher Level’ for balance reasons.


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Probably a bad example, Level Adjustment was a really messy mechanic, buyoff rules were super unintuitive and most races/templates that gave them either enabled super broken gimmicks or were just plain terrible.


Squiggit wrote:
Probably a bad example, Level Adjustment was a really messy mechanic, buyoff rules were super unintuitive and most races/templates that gave them either enabled super broken gimmicks or were just plain terrible.

That was actually my point. If OP is looking for something like Drow Nobel is statistically stronger in a lot of ways to a Kobold of the same level then it’s because the Drow Nobel should technically be considered a higher level then the Kobold, not inherently stronger.

Honestly i actually had issues with PF1e version of evaluating the strength of different races. The RP, i believe it was called, was useful when you understood it, but i’d Also argue that Level Adjustment was also rather useful once you understood it. You’re right that LA wasn’t super intuitive but the whole prosses is pretty messy to begin with. It seems for now that PF2e solves it by setting everyone to the same baseline, which seems to be OP’s main gripe if i understand it correctly.


Squiggit wrote:
Probably a bad example, Level Adjustment was a really messy mechanic, buyoff rules were super unintuitive and most races/templates that gave them either enabled super broken gimmicks or were just plain terrible.

The pathfinder version was easier: treat the party a higher level for figuring out exp/encounters.


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My favorite way I've seen for doing advanced races was how the "In the company of" line did them. Racial levels that you could multi class in and out of.


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I want to be able to play weird stuff because it's weird without having to worry about "level adjustments" or "calculate XP differently"


PossibleCabbage wrote:
I want to be able to play weird stuff because it's weird without having to worry about "level adjustments" or "calculate XP differently"

I share your pain. This thread does now have me curious how they plan on balancing the more powerful Ancestries in the future like the Drider. Will just have to wait and see and enjoy the options they release in the meantime like Hobgoblin.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
I want to be able to play weird stuff because it's weird without having to worry about "level adjustments" or "calculate XP differently"

With PF1 adjusting the whole party, and not the player, it wasn't really much of an issue and it went away at higher levels so if you started at a high enough level, it wasn't even there.

But I get your issue: I too would like some unusual play items at base level, though I wouldn't mind an easy way to adjust the dial on the world to allow for a stronger baseline [optional of course].


Largely, I think all ancestries should be roughly the same, though I really like morphail's breakdown above. You could also leverage the rarity system, though that seems like mixing rarity with power. Would let you do things like unlock certain ancestries via campaign play. Help a minotaur tribe? Unlock minotaur. Dunno how common that would be, though.


One of the people in my group almost always plays Aasimars, because they're just plain better than most other things. Lack of a negative attribute, and the ability to pick your own set of attributes based on subtype, energy resistance etc. I really would like that to go away, and I highly suspect that in PF2, they won't have the lack of attribute negative, and the other things will probably be ancestry feats. I want ancestries to be different and interesting, but not to have one that's just 'better' than the others. And the kobold was just pathetic as a PC race. Decoupling the monster stats vs PC ancestry stats is helpful in this regard. It's also why we can get lizardfolk as an ancestry in PF2, while in PF1 they were a bit powerful for PCs. My only concern is that it seems PF2 ancestries are a bit thin, so some of the more exotic ancestry options might be harder to balance. For example, Strix. They can fly, as well as having darkvision, is that going to be problematic to balancing them with the other ancestries? None of the core ancestries have anything comparable. And removing flight, or gating behind ancestry feats doesn't seem right to me. Flying is part of their core identity.

Liberty's Edge

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Doktor Weasel wrote:
One of the people in my group almost always plays Aasimars, because they're just plain better than most other things. Lack of a negative attribute, and the ability to pick your own set of attributes based on subtype, energy resistance etc. I really would like that to go away, and I highly suspect that in PF2, they won't have the lack of attribute negative, and the other things will probably be ancestry feats.

It's been mentioned before that Aasimar may be a Heritage acquired by any Ancestry rather than an Ancestry in their own right (one allowing access to Aasimar Feats like Half Elf does to Half Elf and Elf Feats). So a Human one actually wouldn't have a penalty, but also wouldn't have any more bonuses than any other Human.

Doktor Weasel wrote:
I want ancestries to be different and interesting, but not to have one that's just 'better' than the others. And the kobold was just pathetic as a PC race. Decoupling the monster stats vs PC ancestry stats is helpful in this regard. It's also why we can get lizardfolk as an ancestry in PF2, while in PF1 they were a bit powerful for PCs.

Indeed, I agree that this is a very good thing for the game as a whole.

Doktor Weasel wrote:
My only concern is that it seems PF2 ancestries are a bit thin, so some of the more exotic ancestry options might be harder to balance. For example, Strix. They can fly, as well as having darkvision, is that going to be problematic to balancing them with the other ancestries? None of the core ancestries have anything comparable. And removing flight, or gating behind ancestry feats doesn't seem right to me. Flying is part of their core identity.

I could see Darkvision being a Heritage thing (at least partially). There's precedent since indicators are that Swim speed (which was always inherent previously) is now a Heritage for Lizardfolk.

That still leaves Flight, of course, but they could easily just go the route they did in PF1 and give them one less stat boost than other PC Ancestries to help make up for that.


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For Strix, would it take away too much to have a "you have to hit ground by the end of your turn or fall" style of limited flight?


Edge93 wrote:
For Strix, would it take away too much to have a "you have to hit ground by the end of your turn or fall" style of limited flight?

They could have a glide ability [with a set of Acrobatics DC's for no damage falls, horizontal movement while falling and maintaining current height], a focus ability for limited flight and a later feat for true flight. Another way would be an action 'tax', spending an extra action if you make any flight moves in a round until you spend a feat on real flight.


Flight for a race should cost a CON flaw and start off at a low proficiency.
Makes sense to me.
The better most birds are at flying, the more delicate they tend to be. (Sparrowhawk)
And the most robust birds don't fly much at all. (Turkey)


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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.


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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.


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They talked about the specific example of Strix on Arcane Mark. They haven't really pushed up against this boundary of what is too out there for an archetype yet, but they said they are more likely to create player options that are balanced over things that require big fat warnings to GMs about whether to allow them or not. A Strix archer that can spend the first 12 levels raining down arrows safely while the rest of the party twiddles their thumbs would be bad.

The theoretical example given was that you might have a Strix heritage with underdeveloped wings that let you glide, and higher level feats that let you fly. (I'm guessing that 13th level might be a good guess for when this comes online, based on the above comment and when flying becomes ubiquitous in PF1.)


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This is one of the obvious big holes with the way PF2 is doing races. With ancestries themselves being so bare bones and most of the options shifted to feats any more nonstandard race is either going to not work as a PC option at all or not feel like it's the species it advertises until way late in the game.

Strix and flying is an extreme example, but any race that has one or two exceptionally odd traits is going to struggle in this system.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
The theoretical example given was that you might have a Strix heritage with underdeveloped wings that let you glide, and higher level feats that let you fly. (I'm guessing that 13th level might be a good guess for when this comes online, based on the above comment and when flying becomes ubiquitous in PF1.)

I was going to say I would be fine with Flight being a 5th level ancestry feat, but I didn't realize that Flight got scaled back a bit in the playtest to a 4th level spell / 8th level feat for Druids. so maybe in that contact, a 9th level ancestry feat, maybe with a prerequisite ancestry feat at 5th level?


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I mean I understand that using different rules for PCs and NPCs lets us have the bestiary version and ancestry version be at different power levels. But it's weird to me to make all Strix or Merfolk PCs be outcasts because they can't fly/swim well enough from a very young age to live in Strix/Merfolk society.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
I mean I understand that using different rules for PCs and NPCs lets us have the bestiary version and ancestry version be at different power levels. But it's weird to me to make all Strix or Merfolk PCs be outcasts because they can't fly/swim well enough from a very young age to live in Strix/Merfolk society.

Yeah, I'd rather see limited flight vs no flight.

Captain Morgan wrote:
A Strix archer that can spend the first 12 levels raining down arrows safely while the rest of the party twiddles their thumbs would be bad.

I'd rather see other actions restricted in flight than a removal of flight: Maybe 1-3 can only take flight actions, 4-6 can use finesse weapons or verbal only spells, 7-9 1 handed weapons or verbal and/or material spells...]. That added to a time limit of flight times would rein in power levels substantially.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
I mean I understand that using different rules for PCs and NPCs lets us have the bestiary version and ancestry version be at different power levels. But it's weird to me to make all Strix or Merfolk PCs be outcasts because they can't fly/swim well enough from a very young age to live in Strix/Merfolk society.

Zel the Iruxi from Oblivion Oath have natural swim speed of 15ft.


One of the things I've been thinking about recently is "contextually useful abilities. Cecaelias are my favorite "weird" PF1 race, and are a whopping 23 RP race. HOWEVER, if you discount the abilities which only function in water (tentacle sense, jet, and ink cloud) they are down to a more manageable 18 (1 less than a ghoran, 2 more than an android.) If we want to make it even more manageable, the +2 natural armor is powerful and not necessary for a PC who's going to optimize their defenses anyway.

So how would we structure things where a Cecaelia PC has thematic abilities, but isn't incredibly more useful in a water campaign than a desert campaign? I don't think a player should be penalized for wanting to play a "fish out of water" just because that fish would be right at home if they got back in the water.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
I mean I understand that using different rules for PCs and NPCs lets us have the bestiary version and ancestry version be at different power levels. But it's weird to me to make all Strix or Merfolk PCs be outcasts because they can't fly/swim well enough from a very young age to live in Strix/Merfolk society.

Well, to be fair, being an outcast is pretty good fodder for becoming a PC.

Quote:
Zel the Iruxi from Oblivion Oath have natural swim speed of 15ft.

A swim speed is FAR less disruptive than a fly speed though. Heck, even in a nautical game that probably remains true.


Captain Morgan wrote:


Quote:
Zel the Iruxi from Oblivion Oath have natural swim speed of 15ft.
A swim speed is FAR less disruptive than a fly speed though. Heck, even in a nautical game that probably remains true.

Yup, the commentary was more for the Merfolk part, flying is a completely different beast.


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.


Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
I mean, isn’t some of this just part of the deal with flying in general?

No, not really: your idea lets them fly 1/2 the time. That's more than enough to avoid most anything without limit as there is no limitation on what they do the rest of the time other than fly. Even just making it a focus ability makes them rest 10 min making it something you can't just do on a whim as there is a real cost involved [and it cuts into other focus abilities they could use].


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Ok, the OP seemed to have slightly mixed goals. From one standpoint he seemed to say he wanted some races to simply be at least marginally better than others in a general sense (such as Aasimar, or Tieflings) In another sense, he didn't want it to be so powerful that it was a whole-step better. I think it is kind of wanting your cake and eating it too. However, from a perspective I might understand something that might give you a feeling of both.

In any case I absolutely think their current general goal, has been to have player races remain relatively equal to one another in a general sense. Note, context can play a big part in how this plays out specifically, however. For example, a mermaid may have a really hard time in a landlocked desert campaign. While on that other hand, that mermaid might have amazing advantages in a seafaring and/or underwater campaign. I kind of feel like this situation is completely reasonable. And this could create a bit of a situation like the OP suggests, where a certain type of character might be well-or ill suited to a particular setting. However, this would absolutely be due to player choice, not game balance forcing it on them. I don't think all races should be balanced so that no power could seem really useful in certain circumstances, while not useful in other settings. Races should have that variety, and players can work with GMs to insure they will feel good about their choices.

Another thing I want to point out. Some races, while not necessarily OVERLY or OVERTLY powerful may have much more magical or fantastic seeming abilities, compared to say a human. Most human abilities don't seem overly magical in nature, seeming a bit more mundane. Gnomes or Elves may have more special seeming abilities as options. It is easy to imagine Tieflings or Aasimar having like-wise, or even more-so, mystical abilities, compared to a human.

As far as the other topic that has come out of this. I think one option to make Aasimar's feel a little more awesome would be to insure they have enough racial feats to let them select a couple feats to have that sort of awesome feel to them. Guess what, to make things more equal, the GM can give the other ancestries' players the same number of extra ancestry feats as bonus so they can get something extra as well. Again, the human ones may not be as flashy, but the opportunity to grab another human ability is none the less useful. Roughly equal, but some might feel more 'special' or beyond human, to someone, if that was what was important to them.

I can't help but think that making some Ancestries 'fundamentally functional' will potentially end up requiring a number of extra racial feats, and potentially even requiring/expecting a minimum starting level for a mature member of that ancestry. A simple option with minimal game impact would be some ancestries might basically have their early ancestry feats consumed by their base ancestry choice.

But say we want them to have ancestry choices... well, if you know you are going to have a character with such an ancestry in the party, grant everyone an extra 1st level ancestry feat. Then the player with that ancestry gets to pick an optional ancestry feat. Meanwhile the other players will probably get to pick 2 ancestry feats.

Some Ancestries might scheduled ancestry feats they would get at specific levels to get them to their typical baseline abilities, and thus if using that ancestry in a campaign, they might get a 'prescribed' Ancestry feat at second level. A couple choices for the GM there, it might cost them their class feat, or skill feat for that level, or the GM might offer all the players a bonus ancestry feat at second level to 'pay off' the bonus needed by the ancestry.

I think this is a pretty simple way of allowing some new ancestries to scale up a bit. And in any case, I might be tempted to give players 2 ancestry feats anyway in the first place, since I know in P1 races were kind of front-loaded, and they were trying to reduce that a bit, but I sort of feel they might have gone a bit far.

Anyway, I think ancestries should generally balanced, by design. But the potential of allowing a sort of Level Adjustment in terms of 'expected feat costs, that can either becomes feats sacrificed by the player, for their choice of that ancestry, or the GM can grant appropriate bonus ancestry feats to everyone to equalize things across the board.

As far as your idea of having flight potentially use focus, it isn't a bad idea. A potential option would be to make their baseline flight require they end their turn on the ground, unless they spend a focus point. You could also say they cannot use their flight on a round after having used flight, unless they spent a focus point to continue flying an additional round. If the ability to potentially 'run' with flight would let them get too high, bypassing obstacles, one could even modify the requirement to be that they have to 'land' in between each individual move action. Future feats could eliminate or stretch out the time/limitations place on flight moves.

Something else to consider, make flight enabled ancestries rare, so that GMs can basically say, sorry, I plan on using obstacles that flight would nullify as part of may campaign, so I'm not going to allow these races. While other GMs could say, ok, that is fine with me, it isn't a concern to me.

Somewhat similar to P1 Gunpowder rules. You can be No Gunpowder rules, or Early Gunpowder rules, or even Advanced Firearms ages. And each stage/selection has affect the commonality of things, and impacts certain default limitations on some rules elements. If playing an Advanced Flying availability campaign. The racial limitations on low level flying ancestries gets removed unless the ancestry mentions otherwise, and certain spells and such relating to flying may drop down in rarity.

It isn't something that has to be directly addressed in core rules, because it would instead be a 'scaling your campaign setting' choice. So it would probably fall in some future Gamemastery Guide.

One element that could be addressed with a subsystem to deal with 'Powerful Ancestries and scaling. Showing examples of some powerful ancestries, and a few methods to deal with paying for the extra 'equivalent' ancestry feats, ranging from eating up existing ancestry choices/or even general/class feats, to gifting bonus ancestry feats to all the players.

A different element that might be tied to the above if Flight is considered a powerful ability, it might might show an ancesteral flight progression system. That provided some base rules/restrictions for lower level races that allow flight. Along with some additional rules to explain how a GM could rule flight as no longer uncommon, or tightly restricted. If living in a world of common magic carpets, clockwork zeppelins, solid floating cloud islands, etc. you as a GM might not care if someone chooses a flight enabled race any more than a swim enabled race. (or water breathing race, for instance, might be an example of abilities that might have a big impact on campaign settings, where water breathing might decidedly either be common or rare)


graystone wrote:
Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
I mean, isn’t some of this just part of the deal with flying in general?
No, not really: your idea lets them fly 1/2 the time. That's more than enough to avoid most anything without limit as there is no limitation on what they do the rest of the time other than fly. Even just making it a focus ability makes them rest 10 min making it something you can't just do on a whim as there is a real cost involved [and it cuts into other focus abilities they could use].

I would view the Barbarian’s ability to gain Temp HP from rage similarly. I’d have no real issue with it costing a Focus Point at low levels; though i’d have to see how Focus Pools work in the Final Edition before i jump on board the idea. Another idea would be to add on limitations after the flight; so something like Slowed 1 for a minute after they fly, or both hands must be free and empty in order to fly.

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