Monstrous player races?


Rules Discussion


I'm new to Pathfinder 2e and i'm coming from D&D 3.5 so a lot has changed. I was looking through the bestiary and noticed every monster has a level (and none have a level adjustment). Does this mean all monsters are playable (at GM's discretion), or are there no other playable races besides the base races in Corerules Book?
Thanks


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There are officially a few more available in the Lost Omen's Character guide. Any others you would have to create by hand. I'd look at the Homebrew forum to see if anyone has put together any that look interesting to you. I would warn you that using the rules for building a monster to build a player ancestry is difficult, as the two don't follow the same principles.

A list of all ancestries currently available to players officially.

I would imagine we are going to see a wider variety available with the Advanced Players Guide, like the Tengu.


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

Yes, while obviously you van make the call to allow anything on your game, you'd need to do some homebrewing to turn monster entries into usable ancestries, because they are not built in the same way at all.

Sovereign Court

I’ve made a few monstrous races into PC options (medusa, axiomite, archon, nymph, Sauvignon/sea devil) and the difficulty comes in making the ancestry feats. Making sufficient to give choices while also being of a similar power curve and trying to match the race abilities from the bestiary entry is a tricky thing.

Liberty's Edge

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Sort of both.

It means that a GM or game designer can make almost any species into a playable Ancestry without worrying about things like Natural Armor bonus or HD.

But it also means that most have no actual PC rules at all, so the GM would need to create them out of whole cloth.

Now, the Lost Omens Character Guide had three new Ancestries (Hobgoblin, Lizardfolk, and Leshy), and the Advanced Player's Guide will have several more (including Catfolk, Tengu, Orc, and Kobold), but you can't easily just grab a monster from the Bestiary and play as one.


Monsters directly from the book are an issue because most have broader strengths than a PC. They're at peak for their level, a peak a PC can strain to match, but often in more areas than a PC can manage.

Then there's the depth of resources, often showing up in "at will" abilities, regeneration, natural invisibility, or other abilities which would much more impact if given more screen time. Take a Pixie and their low h.p. because they have immense defensive tricks. Now give them ample healing, Con, & h.p. buffs because you know the player will spot that flaw.

Then there are the specialists, with the Succubus and Doppelganger being the most noted. The can bypass normal PC limits because they have a profound defining trait that has mechanics to back it up.

And what about progression? Would they just keep earning the elite template over and over? That doesn't seem right, though I suppose if they're front-loaded enough, maybe it's okay. Doubt it.

Not that I'm against the notion of monstrous PCs, just be careful about which ones and the many ways they can impact your game. It's hard to retract a PC once the player's grown attached (especially if others get to keep their strange ones).
Maybe try it out with some one-shots?


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Castilliano wrote:

Monsters directly from the book are an issue because most have broader strengths than a PC. They're at peak for their level, a peak a PC can strain to match, but often in more areas than a PC can manage.

Then there's the depth of resources, often showing up in "at will" abilities, regeneration, natural invisibility, or other abilities which would much more impact if given more screen time. Take a Pixie and their low h.p. because they have immense defensive tricks. Now give them ample healing, Con, & h.p. buffs because you know the player will spot that flaw.

Then there are the specialists, with the Succubus and Doppelganger being the most noted. The can bypass normal PC limits because they have a profound defining trait that has mechanics to back it up.

And what about progression? Would they just keep earning the elite template over and over? That doesn't seem right, though I suppose if they're front-loaded enough, maybe it's okay. Doubt it.

Not that I'm against the notion of monstrous PCs, just be careful about which ones and the many ways they can impact your game. It's hard to retract a PC once the player's grown attached (especially if others get to keep their strange ones).
Maybe try it out with some one-shots?

I would never run an ancestry pulled directly from the bestiary. As has been stated, those profiles are made with completely different rules sets, hence why monsters tend to be at peak levels for various stats. To function like a legitimate ancestry, you would have to take a monster template and rework it from it's core to have Ancestry feats, heritages, ability boosts and flaws etc...

Not saying you can't do that, but you couldn't do it using the rules set by the GMG or Bestiary for creature creation. You would have to create feats out of whole cloth to fill the gaps, and spread out the mechanics typical of those ancestries in them, in the same way that Paizo did with the Gnoll or Leshy ancestries.

But that is what is so great about the hobby: Homebrew is a thing, and as long as everyone is cool with it, can enrich your gameplay significantly. It just takes a lot of work to remain anything like balanced with the "Core" ancestries. It is very easy to implement a simple seeming homebrewed feat or ability, then find that it has disastrously over or under-powering repercussions a few levels into a character.


Well it seems like I've got a lot to figure out still, because I had a particular fondness for running beasts and multi-class characters in D&D 3.5 (neither of which are a real thing in PF2). Unfortunately my normal GM is really against home-brews because of the difficulty in balancing/play-testing, so I'll have to see if that carries over from the Dungeons too.

Thanks everyone for the awesome and informative responses.


Involiable wrote:
multi-class characters in D&D 3.5 (neither of which are a real thing in PF2).

And good riddance. The multiclass archetype style is much better.

Involiable wrote:
Unfortunately my normal GM is really against home-brews because of the difficulty in balancing/play-testing, so I'll have to see if that carries over from the Dungeons too.

Fortunately, from what I can tell with my limited experience, creating new options similar to what already exists is much easier and safer than in previous editions. The hard part is the creativity to come up with something. Keeping it in the proper power band is not terribly hard.

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