Ancestry Feats - having them or gaining them?


Rules Discussion


I searched for "ancestry feats" but couldn't find an existing discussion on the two first pages of search results, so here it is:

Anyone else flummoxed you're supposed to gain "core" aspects of your race/ancestry only at higher level?

Question. Are there any indications of upcoming official rules for those of who feel your ancestry should for the most part be a done deal that is settled upon character generation? You know, how it used to work in every previous edition of D&D and Pathfinder?

I'm interested in rules that give you more of your ancestral benefits at birth. Obviously ancestry feats above level 1 still only "unlock" at that level.

Houserule. I'm thinking it makes more sense to, say, start out with three ancestry feats - two random and one picked. At any time you want to pick a feat of your current level, you need to replace an existing one. You can pick a feat of lower level and add that without sacrificing anything.

Example: We want to create a "classic" Dwarf character. We choose the Rock Dwarf heritage. Noting there are six Dwarf ancestry feats at 1st level, we roll a d6 twice: 4 and 6. We're happy with Stonecunning, and we pick Giants for our Vengeful Hatred. Since both results feel appropriate for our character, we have the luxury of choosing pretty freely for our non-random pick. We chose Dwarven Weapon Familiarity.

At 5th level, we can pick one of the 1st-level feats and just add that to our existing three, so we now have four. If we instead want a level 5 feat (our current level), we need to sacrifice/replace one of our existing feats, keeping the total number at three.

This way we get to both eat the cake and have it too. More ancestry feats at "birth", but not necessarily more feats at level 17... (In fact, you might start with two more than RAW but you might also end with two fewer!)

Zapp

PS. If you have seen any rules variant of this sort that you specifically recommend, feel free to point me there.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Seems overly complicated.

I enjoy how the current ancestries are is . I get they are not as front heavy as previous versions, but I think the progression is cool as a player and is a good design choice.

Why not just give out a few extra ancestry feats at 1 level and call it a day?


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You're coming in basically post-discussion. This issue has been dealt and discussed since the playtest.

Everything you gain after 1st level is either culturally based or expanding on previous choices. Also, most of the genetic stuff, which you would only gain at 1st level are called Heritages now.

Believe me, this used to be way wackier. You basically bought back your ancestry (compared to PF1e) over levels. If it were up to me, the base races would gain almost as much as they did in PF1e, but I would make heavy changes across the board to level the plain field focused solely on the biological aspects of each ancestry in order bring the strongest ancestries down a peg (mainly dwarves) while elevating the underused ones. This way you could have an ancestries that were very close to what they were in PF1e AND have a lot of cultural customization through ancestry feats.

This way you could create adopted ancestry or culturally diverse characters more easily instead of paying a feat to do that, the only thing you need to do was come up with a good story and GM approval as per standard on any campaign.


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Zapp wrote:
You know, how it used to work in every previous edition of D&D and Pathfinder?

Uh, Pathfinder and 3.5 both had racial feats in them.


Yeah most of the higher level ancestry feats are more analogous to PF1 racial feats than starting racial traits. See Roll With It, for a very direct example.

Also, while you start out with less features than PF1, the two things you do get tend to be way stronger than the average racial trait.


Lightning Raven wrote:
You're coming in basically post-discussion. This issue has been dealt and discussed since the playtest.

I hope I made it clear I understand this.

Do you have a good houserule suggestion for us who wants "traditional races" where people get their defining traits at chargen rather than levelup?


Squiggit wrote:
Zapp wrote:
You know, how it used to work in every previous edition of D&D and Pathfinder?
Uh, Pathfinder and 3.5 both had racial feats in them.

I trust you understand the difference between getting Stonecunning at first level and having to pick it up later?

That is, I don't mind the higher-levelled ancestry feats.

I mind getting dwarfier as you level up. I am asking you to recommend your best houserule for starting out dwarfy.

Will this be addressed in an upcoming Paizo supplement, perhaps?


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Zapp wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
Zapp wrote:
You know, how it used to work in every previous edition of D&D and Pathfinder?
Uh, Pathfinder and 3.5 both had racial feats in them.

I trust you understand the difference between getting Stonecunning at first level and having to pick it up later?

That is, I don't mind the higher-levelled ancestry feats.

I mind getting dwarfier as you level up. I am asking you to recommend your best houserule for starting out dwarfy.

Will this be addressed in an upcoming Paizo supplement, perhaps?

Picking up Stonecunning at a later level means you weren't interested in working with stones as a teenage dwarf. But during your early adventures you noticed that you crawl through dungeons a lot and could finally be bothered to ask an old dwarf about stoneworking or read a book about it.

It's not genetics but a cultural thing.

A good houserule of "just give out an extra ancestry feat at first level" was already given.


Zapp wrote:
Lightning Raven wrote:
You're coming in basically post-discussion. This issue has been dealt and discussed since the playtest.

I hope I made it clear I understand this.

Do you have a good houserule suggestion for us who wants "traditional races" where people get their defining traits at chargen rather than levelup?

Sadly, no. But I think if you simply grant one heritage and extra ancestry feat early on will be enough, I think. Specially because afterwards the players will have more choices (maybe all of them, depending on ancestry and level) to make. But short from rewriting all ancestries, I don't think you should tinker too much right now.

Also, keep in mind that these new feats are very different from before, so while ancestries are more "watered down" compared to before, they also have many interesting abilities that do a better job of showcasing their heritage differences.


Zapp wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
Zapp wrote:
You know, how it used to work in every previous edition of D&D and Pathfinder?
Uh, Pathfinder and 3.5 both had racial feats in them.

I trust you understand the difference between getting Stonecunning at first level and having to pick it up later?

That is, I don't mind the higher-levelled ancestry feats.

I mind getting dwarfier as you level up. I am asking you to recommend your best houserule for starting out dwarfy.

Will this be addressed in an upcoming Paizo supplement, perhaps?

The difference is that stonecunning at 1st level was from a different game. This one has been levelled out . There were some very unbalanced racial abilities depending on the circumstance - see +4 AC vs Giants for example (in the right campaign)

As others have explained as you level up you gain more culturally dwarven abilities like the weapon training not innate ones that are physical

If you want to houserule just add extra ancestry feats . People are already doing it for class feats

Extra feats might be addressed in GMG as gestalt was alluded to. There is no indication that extra ancestry feats will be included as an option


Extra ancestry feats shouldn't be any worse than extra class feats though. Class feats are generally the most powerful feats.


I do agree that unlocking access to physical traits of your ancestry after initial build seems weird, but a lot of the ancestry feats don't do that.

But the fact that some do is weird. Still, I think it works okay mechanically, just need to find an RP justification for it.

Otherwise, acquiring cultural traits of your race is fine. You can flavor it as not being previously interested in that aspect of your ancestry's culture.


Claxon wrote:

I do agree that unlocking access to physical traits of your ancestry after initial build seems weird, but a lot of the ancestry feats don't do that.

But the fact that some do is weird. Still, I think it works okay mechanically, just need to find an RP justification for it.

Otherwise, acquiring cultural traits of your race is fine. You can flavor it as not being previously interested in that aspect of your ancestry's culture.

I don’t think any of the ancestry feats above level 1 unlock physical aspects that can’t be also explained through experience

So the only case where it becomes weird are for some of the level 1 ones being taken later. But there didn’t seem to be many when I just glanced at Dwarf, Elf, Gnome and Halfling ...

Paizo Employee

Lanathar wrote:
Claxon wrote:

I do agree that unlocking access to physical traits of your ancestry after initial build seems weird, but a lot of the ancestry feats don't do that.

But the fact that some do is weird. Still, I think it works okay mechanically, just need to find an RP justification for it.

Otherwise, acquiring cultural traits of your race is fine. You can flavor it as not being previously interested in that aspect of your ancestry's culture.

I don’t think any of the ancestry feats above level 1 unlock physical aspects that can’t be also explained through experience

So the only case where it becomes weird are for some of the level 1 ones being taken later. But there didn’t seem to be many when I just glanced at Dwarf, Elf, Gnome and Halfling ...

Even if there were a bunch of traits that modified your physiology as you grow, that would actually be closer to the game's roots than PF1's "your race probably won't matter to your progression at all after 1st level outside of a few specific feats" model. Elf and dwarf were their own classes in several early RPGs (including D&D), and elves becoming more "elfy" with age and experience in particular is a trope that goes back to Tolkien.

Beyond that, even some blatantly physiological traits that occur later in a creature's life aren't necessarily weird or unreasonable. An e.g. frost goblin learning how to expel freezing sweat from its pores isn't necessarily any different than a human being able to go longer without sleep or hold their breath for extended periods of time after extensive training, and every adventurer beyond 1st level has gone through some experience that could probably be considered "extensive training". Numerous human beings spend their lives or careers mastering techniques that allow them to perform physiological processes in conditions or circumstances that are functionally impossible for humans lacking that training or experience. There are people out there who can hold their breath for more than 20 minutes; for most people attempting such a feat would result in failure or unconsciousness within 1 to 3 minutes.


Thanks, everyone.

I am not looking for arguments or justifications to keep the rules as-is.

I'm also not sure about just adding more ancestry feats at 1st level.

But if what you're saying is, that this approach works best and/or that you haven't really seen any better houserule, then fair enough.

At least the players can't complain about the random nature of the extra pair of feats. After all, they're completely free on top of what the rules hand out. (You can always say no to free stuff!)


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Zapp wrote:

Thanks, everyone.

I am not looking for arguments or justifications to keep the rules as-is.

I'm also not sure about just adding more ancestry feats at 1st level.

But if what you're saying is, that this approach works best and/or that you haven't really seen any better houserule, then fair enough.

At least the players can't complain about the random nature of the extra pair of feats. After all, they're completely free on top of what the rules hand out. (You can always say no to free stuff!)

Probably better to use the houserules section rather than general.


The Gleeful Grognard wrote:


Probably better to use the houserules section rather than general.

Absolutely. But before doing that I wanted to find out if there was already consensus around some variant, and if Paizo is likely to address the issue.

:)

PS.

Anticipating the upcoming circus AP, I will possibly encourage racial variety by having the players roll ancestry randomly. Make two rolls on some table (I looked for a PF2 legit reincarnation table but couldn't find any) and if you fancy playing a union between the two (a half elf half goblin, say), you get three extra random ancestry feats for that choice.

Any duplicates mean pick one free.

If you don't like that, but would like to play a regular member of either of the two (an elf or a goblin), pick that and gain two extra random ancestry feats.

Still not happy? Roll a third time, pick that and gain one extra random ancestry feat. (Hobgoblin, say)

Don't like that either? Pick any ancestry (Human maybe), gain no extra feats, just like RAW.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

So punish your group members who have a character in mid by making them mechanically weaker?


Zapp wrote:
The Gleeful Grognard wrote:


Probably better to use the houserules section rather than general.

Absolutely. But before doing that I wanted to find out if there was already consensus around some variant, and if Paizo is likely to address the issue.

:)

PS.

Anticipating the upcoming circus AP, I will possibly encourage racial variety by having the players roll ancestry randomly. Make two rolls on some table (I looked for a PF2 legit reincarnation table but couldn't find any) and if you fancy playing a union between the two (a half elf half goblin, say), you get three extra random ancestry feats for that choice.

Any duplicates mean pick one free.

If you don't like that, but would like to play a regular member of either of the two (an elf or a goblin), pick that and gain two extra random ancestry feats.

Still not happy? Roll a third time, pick that and gain one extra random ancestry feat. (Hobgoblin, say)

Don't like that either? Pick any ancestry (Human maybe), gain no extra feats, just like RAW.

Have you had a problem with lack of ancestry variety in your games so far then? What has everyone picked? Or what are you trying to avoid ?


Lanathar wrote:
Or what are you trying to avoid ?

Trying to avoid a ruleset that starts you out with one defining racial trait and adds more as you go along.

D&D/PF to me is about choosing a race that comes with a package preloaded.

As the second step of that thought, I thought I could mix this effort with an effort to see exotic rarely-seen race combos.

That way, if you're prepared to play whatever the dice has in mind for you, you get a (fairly minor, all things considered) boon. And if you don't feel like to, that's fine too - you're not shortchanged one bit, you get exactly what the rulebook gives you (but no more).


Malk_Content wrote:
So punish your group members who have a character in mid by making them mechanically weaker?

Nope. Not doing this entitlement thing. My freebies, my rules.

You don't want them, that's cool. It's not that I'm taking away anything the rulebook gives you.

But just stop with the "punished" routine, will you, as if you're being reasonable demanding free stuff even though you won't accept the downside?


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I mean I wouldn't play in a game in which the GM said any one of my character choices were random. But things a relative. Giving one player something and then not giving another player a relatively good thing is punishing the other player. This is fine on the short term (only one person getting a +1 striking weapon straight away for example) but not in the long term.

And it isn't a downside if you don't have a concept in mind so for advantaged players it is just a free benny.


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Zapp wrote:
Lanathar wrote:
Or what are you trying to avoid ?

Trying to avoid a ruleset that starts you out with one defining racial trait and adds more as you go along.

D&D/PF to me is about choosing a race that comes with a package preloaded.

As the second step of that thought, I thought I could mix this effort with an effort to see exotic rarely-seen race combos.

That way, if you're prepared to play whatever the dice has in mind for you, you get a (fairly minor, all things considered) boon. And if you don't feel like to, that's fine too - you're not shortchanged one bit, you get exactly what the rulebook gives you (but no more).

Why did you pick only part of my question? If you look at the whole thing you will see it had nothing to do with ancestry feats and so you didn't need to jump to the defense of your position (which i wasn't challenging in that post)

I was more interested why you are enforcing random ancestries. Do your players only every pick one type and if so which one? In 1E human was obviously common for the feat. Is it the same in the 2E for the extra class feat? Or are things a little less clear cut?


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Zapp wrote:
if Paizo is likely to address the issue.

It seems unlikely they're going to address something that they don't see as an issue, but instead is working exactly as intended. PF2 is a large, complicated game and with so many elements there are always going to be some individuals who won't like how a specific part works, and Paizo can't be expected to address every single one of them.


Malk_Content wrote:

I mean I wouldn't play in a game in which the GM said any one of my character choices were random. But things a relative. Giving one player something and then not giving another player a relatively good thing is punishing the other player. This is fine on the short term (only one person getting a +1 striking weapon straight away for example) but not in the long term.

And it isn't a downside if you don't have a concept in mind so for advantaged players it is just a free benny.

Thank you.

Yes, I understand the notion "I don't want to play if the GM forces a character aspect down my throat". But I do reserve the right to encourage that.

So if you say "thanks but no thanks - I'll build my own character" that's quite okay, and as you have seen - I'm not denying you your right to build him or her according to CRB specifications.

It's if you say (and you have come perilously close) "I don't accept you giving ANYTHING to those that accept random build choices" I am no longer aboard.

How can I encourage accepting random build choices if I don't get to hand out even the smallest of reward for doing so? After all, I want to nudge a player that normally* would not randomize anything about his or her character to... doing just that.
*) let's not pretend we're not all acutely aware how random build choices are the antithesis of minmaxing your character.

And besides, I would argue Ancestry Feats are NOT powerful enough to make a difference either way: not getting a bonus ancestry feat is NOT crippling your character. It is not punishing you as a player.

In the end, I've read your objection but must respectfully dismiss it. If I'm running a circus, and want a wide variety of ancestries to match the "exotic outcasts" theme, I do reserve the right to reward those willing to gamble a bit on their character appearance and background.


Lanathar wrote:

Why did you pick only part of my question? If you look at the whole thing you will see it had nothing to do with ancestry feats and so you didn't need to jump to the defense of your position (which i wasn't challenging in that post)

I was more interested why you are enforcing random ancestries. Do your players only every pick one type and if so which one? In 1E human was obviously common for the feat. Is it the same in the 2E for the extra class feat? Or are things a little less clear cut?

Okay, you are right, and you deserve an answer.

First off, there's a difference between "enforcing" and "encouraging" something. I'm hardly enforcing anything by handing out what could amount to Rock Runner or Stonecunning (i.e. incredibly minor and/or circumstantial benefits).

That said, my answer is simple. I had just read the blurb on the upcoming Extinction Curse AP, and while I was posting this thread, it just came to me:

How about combining my dislike for "growing" as opposed to "having" ancestral feats with the "obvious" idea that a travelling circus "should" have a wide variety of "exotic" heritages and ancestries?

It felt like an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.

Instead of merely handing out more ancestry feats for free, as has been suggested; how about you gaining them as a (small) reward for staying with the racial choices the dice gives you? :-)

If you feel you won't have fun unless you can play your regular Human Fighter, I am certainly not preventing that. Go ahead - your character will have exactly the same number of boons the rulebook gives you.

It's just that I felt the subject of extra ancestry feats was a good opportunity to entice and nudge you into playing that strange half-Leshy half-Gnome that nobody would otherwise ever play, and that I'm sure will be one of the Circus' main attractions! :)


Evilgm wrote:
It seems unlikely they're going to address something that they don't see as an issue, but instead is working exactly as intended. PF2 is a large, complicated game and with so many elements there are always going to be some individuals who won't like how a specific part works, and Paizo can't be expected to address every single one of them.

No, if people expect them to address the level progression or the weapon damage progression (how you're dependant on magical weapons) it is entirely reasonable to hope for this too being addressed.

Another example: I'm sure adding level to proficiency works exactly as intended. Yet, it will be addressed in the GMG.

Why couldn't this be addressed too? After all, it's a huge and jarring shift on how race defines your character.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Three ancestry feats with a free pseudo heritage (getting to pick from two liats) isnt some minor encouragement, it's 150% ish more options.


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Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I thought I got the impression (but hazy enough I can't remember exact source) that seemed to imply that front-loading by granting another one or more racial feats at first level was something that was going to be mentioned in the GMG as a standard option, along with other suggestions of increased number of other types of feats or progressions.

Honestly that, and the potential option of trading your two feats for a potential viable second heritage that isn't contrary, (to potentially enable something like a 1/2 snow elf or something like that) might wildly expand options but have minimal other mechanical impact.

I have to admit, I find your suggestion of starting with more feats and trading low level ones for higher level ones odd. The idea of losing a a bit of dwarfyness to get a more specialized/powerful dwarfyness seems odd to me. Not saying don't do that, but is that actually your intent?

I have an idea that might work to get some minor flavor in for your race, that would use established second edition mechanics, but I've got more details to work out before I feel like I can really do it justice. (I also, just only realized it could be applicable to ancestral abilities, thanks to trying to think through potential answers to your question)


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Stonecunning is a funny example, since in my experience a good portion of "playing a Dwarf" in PF1 was "figuring out the best trades to get rid of most of the dwarf's racial traits".

I think the last PF1 dwarf I played traded away Defensive Training, Greed, Hatred, Stability, Stonecunning, and Weapon Familiarity. This is probably the A1 example informing PF2's philosophy of "only give people the ancestry mechanics that they want."

So if it turns out your players want more ancestry details, it feels like "giving people mixed heritages or extra level 1 ancestry feats" is fine.

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