Future Ancestry Ability Boosts & Flaws


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Scarab Sages

How do you think Paizo should handle ancestry ability boosts & flaws printed in new books, given the recent errata?

Quote:

Alternative Ability Boosts

The ability boosts and flaws listed in each ancestry represent general trends or help guide players to create the kinds of characters from that ancestry most likely to pursue the life of an adventurer. However, ancestries aren’t a monolith. You always have the option to replace your ancestry’s listed ability boosts and ability flaws entirely and instead select two free ability boosts when creating your character.

IMO, the current (post-errata) purpose of ancestry boosts (and flaws) in the sidebars is to provide flavor information, whereas before the errata it was more mechanically significant. With that in mind, there’s no reason they publish ancestries with two fixed boosts (+INT, +WIS) or return to flawed ancestries, like the Core Rulebook had.

This is a golden opportunity to emphasize flavor information. For instance, samsarans in 1E were “insightful and strong-minded“ and had boosts INT and WIS. Thus far in 2E, they’ve avoided giving any ancestries two mental stats or two physical stats, but if ancestry boosts are now for flavor and context, then why not? In the Bestiary, wayangs are the described as reclusive but with a strong storytelling tradition, which sounds like either +DEX, +CHA or +Free, +DEX, +CHA, - STR.

What do you all think? How should Paizo handle ancestry & ability scores?

Sovereign Court

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I think I'm not alone in saying that the decision to allow each ancestry to pick a +2/+2 was very happy. It helps for ancestries that felt like they were a bit locked out of certain classes because the old array lined up badly.

But I don't really want to give up the possibility of taking the +2/+2/+2/-2 array sometimes. Because there's also some builds that really want those three boosts.


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Yeah. It's what makes Iruxi the best warpriests.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

yeah, i think two boosts + free + flaw makes the most sense as the standard going forward now that it can more easily be said to represent trends and expectations rather than something that is mechanically enforced and requires unorthodox members of an ancestor to jump through hoops to achieve their idea. whereas +boost+free is literally just flavor text for all intents and purposes post errata.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

If you crack open Impossible Lands, none of the ancestries have a penalty, just a boost + free space. They're already implementing it going forward. Whether the community likes it or not, the optional is becoming mandatory.

Scarab Sages

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Kekkres wrote:
yeah, i think two boosts + free + flaw makes the most sense as the standard going forward now that it can more easily be said to represent trends and expectations rather than something that is mechanically enforced and requires unorthodox members of an ancestor to jump through hoops to achieve their idea. whereas +boost+free is literally just flavor text for all intents and purposes post errata.

Having a third boost in exchange for a flaww (to an ability score that doesn't govern a saving throw) is good for minmaxing, but I doubt that every ancestry will have that going forward.

There have to be ancestries where they can't reconcile an ability flaw to the lore.

Plus, I think there's value to flavor text.

Liberty's Edge

Ascalaphus wrote:

I think I'm not alone in saying that the decision to allow each ancestry to pick a +2/+2 was very happy. It helps for ancestries that felt like they were a bit locked out of certain classes because the old array lined up badly.

But I don't really want to give up the possibility of taking the +2/+2/+2/-2 array sometimes. Because there's also some builds that really want those three boosts.

You mean the possibility that is available only to some ancestries but not all of them (notably, in Core, not to Humans) ?

I do not think so.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I strongly suspect that we will not see much in the way of attribute flaws in ancestries going forward.


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I'm inclined to create an alternative +/+/-/Free array for the ancestries that are currently Fixed/Free, since Fixed/Free is strictly worse than Free/Free so there's no reason not to choose the latter.

Scarab Sages

Paizo might as well start publishing Fixed/Fixed ancestries, players would no longer be bound by that.

Radiant Oath

Leon Aquilla wrote:

If you crack open Impossible Lands, none of the ancestries have a penalty, just a boost + free space. They're already implementing it going forward. Whether the community likes it or not, the optional is becoming mandatory.

That book was written long before the decision to add the optional stats was made.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Yeah, sure, a location splat with several ancestries, none of which have a flaw just happens to be released a couple months before they announce the change. Pure coincidence.

Own it. Don't give me this "If you like your core rules, you can keep them" line.


Even if the choice to make all the IL ancestries fixed/free was made with foreknowledge of this errata, we simply do not have enough data to suggest a trend. It would be hasty to declare it the way of the future based on the five ancestries present in the one latest book prior to coming out, and may even put the cart before the horse.

For all we know at this time, designer conversations about the choice of stats going into the Impossible Lands ancestries (some time last year) may well have been part of the impetus leading toward opening up ability scores for all ancestries.

--

Personally, I like the idea of still having ancestries with optional 'flaw' arrays, but I'm not really sure what the narrative call for them is anymore, but likely there are some ancestries out there where it makes sense to say "Many of the people in this species normally have a weakness in this regard" (halflings and strength, for example) even while player characters are exceptional and can exceed those limitations.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Leon Aquilla wrote:

Yeah, sure, a location splat with several ancestries, none of which have a flaw just happens to be released a couple months before they announce the change. Pure coincidence.

Own it. Don't give me this "If you like your core rules, you can keep them" line.

Paizo first published a Fixed/Free ancestry almost three years ago now.

Like or hate the errata but this conspiratorial righteous indignation just seems kinda goofy.


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Skeletons were printed with an Int Flaw last year, too. One book does not a pattern make. Call me when the next two big setting books all skip out on Ancestry Flaws, but until then, I fully think Paizo is just printing them when they want to; it's easy to imagine Wayangs ending up with one, for instance.

Not that I'd mind the change, but this still feels like much ado about nothing.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

agreed, unless Paizo outright states they are making that change or there is a trend of multiple books coming out with all fixed.

I don't mind the change if that is come, but I also don't mind if they keep it as it is. Since there is always an option for the +2 free boosts


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I don't think Paizo see this from a balance perspective, but rather a lore perspective. Like Necrogiant said, if the lore of an ancestry doesn't justify a flaw, it won't get one. Therefore I doubt we'll see any change in the way they're doing things for each individual ancestry. Any change - which I doubt they have the space for in the CRB - would be a generic one like the errata change.

Dark Archive

It is also a char building thing though so if they really have to, they could just make the optional take flaw for one extra boost" thing :p And if that is too min maxy, then just give every ancestry specific stat they have to take flaw in if they want to take extra boost


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Leon Aquilla wrote:

Yeah, sure, a location splat with several ancestries, none of which have a flaw just happens to be released a couple months before they announce the change. Pure coincidence.

Own it. Don't give me this "If you like your core rules, you can keep them" line.

Whether you're right or not it's definitely not as clear as you're making it out to be. Even in the Twitter thread, I assume you're getting that info from, the account clarifies that they are a marketing account, pointing out their observation, and have no idea if that's how future ancestries will be printed.

Regardless of what they print it won't change my enjoyment of the game at all. It's really a non-issue. However, I would prefer most future Ancestries to have 2 boosts, a free, and a flaw. Printing boost/free is pure flavor and not even interesting because the current canon has any Ancestry able to be good at any two things they want (this is a great change) so this text does nothing that can't be covered by the text description of the Ancestry itself. It doesn't lend any fun or thought to character building so I think it's best left off entirely if they go that route.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The only thing I don't like is that humans always had a free +2/+2. And it was supposed to emphasize their versatility. Now all ancestries get it OR their old options. So it kinda feels like humans got shafted.

Sovereign Court

Well the trend seems to be right now that we'll probably only get flavor hints, not boost/boost/boost/flaw arrays.

But it's not like Paizo really has to avoid doing that now.

Now that any ancestry can go boost/boost, the big problem is solved. Any ancestry can reasonably do any class without having to jump through hoops.

And if they get the sense that hey, actually there were more people who liked boost/boost/boost/flaw arrays than they originally thought, they can just go back to making some of those too.


Ched Greyfell wrote:
The only thing I don't like is that humans always had a free +2/+2. And it was supposed to emphasize their versatility. Now all ancestries get it OR their old options. So it kinda feels like humans got shafted.

Humans haven't lost any of their versatility. Nothing has changed in how you create or play a character with human heritage. You can be just as versatile as you ever were.

I'm not sure what got "shafted" here when nothing changed for humans.


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Because everybody else got increased versatility, many of them now being more versatile than humans. Humans are now the floor.


Dancing Wind wrote:
Ched Greyfell wrote:
The only thing I don't like is that humans always had a free +2/+2. And it was supposed to emphasize their versatility. Now all ancestries get it OR their old options. So it kinda feels like humans got shafted.

Humans haven't lost any of their versatility. Nothing has changed in how you create or play a character with human heritage. You can be just as versatile as you ever were.

I'm not sure what got "shafted" here when nothing changed for humans.

The idea is that humans lost their unique versatility that made them powerful comparatively. They're unchanged but weaker with that loss. It was a large part of what made humans a potent choice that isn't unique to humans anymore.


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Humans still have Natural Ambition, one of the best Ancestry Feats in the whole game.


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That and multitalented.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
keftiu wrote:
Humans still have Natural Ambition, one of the best Ancestry Feats in the whole game.

I mean, yea. I'm still a little meh about it, tho.


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keftiu wrote:
Humans still have Natural Ambition, one of the best Ancestry Feats in the whole game.

Good thing that there isn't any way to get access to another ancestries feats...


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What made humans good was free/free/free/flaw/flaw on to of their good ancestry feats. With that gone and their feats easily poachable, they don't serve much of a purpose anymore unless you really need half-elf multitalented to waive prerequisites.

Sovereign Court

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graystone wrote:
keftiu wrote:
Humans still have Natural Ambition, one of the best Ancestry Feats in the whole game.
Good thing that there isn't any way to get access to another ancestries feats...

I mean, if you spent either a general or an ancestry feat just to get access to human ancestry feats, at some point you've paid your dues right? And it still takes you until level 5 or so at the minimum before you can actually get human feats.


graystone wrote:
keftiu wrote:
Humans still have Natural Ambition, one of the best Ancestry Feats in the whole game.
Good thing that there isn't any way to get access to another ancestries feats...

Getting an extra level 1 class feat by spending a general feat and a level 5 class feat is not necessarily as appealing.


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aobst128 wrote:
The idea is that humans lost their unique versatility that made them powerful comparatively.
gesalt wrote:
they don't serve much of a purpose anymore

So the issue is that humans used to be comparatively more powerful than other ancestries, and now that they've lost that superiority, they don't serve much of a purpose any more?


Super Zero wrote:
graystone wrote:
keftiu wrote:
Humans still have Natural Ambition, one of the best Ancestry Feats in the whole game.
Good thing that there isn't any way to get access to another ancestries feats...
Getting an extra level 1 class feat by spending a general feat and a level 5 class feat is not necessarily as appealing.

Who mentioned all that? It's not required.

Ascalaphus wrote:
graystone wrote:
keftiu wrote:
Humans still have Natural Ambition, one of the best Ancestry Feats in the whole game.
Good thing that there isn't any way to get access to another ancestries feats...
I mean, if you spent either a general or an ancestry feat just to get access to human ancestry feats, at some point you've paid your dues right? And it still takes you until level 5 or so at the minimum before you can actually get human feats.

You can play an Anadi and NOT spend a general or ancestry feat for it at 1st. Skeleton can spend a feat for it at 1st and pick up Natural Ambition at 3rd with Ancestral Paragon for Natural Ambition. You can pick up Adopted in the background phase with Deep Backgrounds. That's off the top of my head, so NO, spending a feat and waiting to 5th isn't required.


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gesalt wrote:
What made humans good was free/free/free/flaw/flaw on to of their good ancestry feats. With that gone and their feats easily poachable, they don't serve much of a purpose anymore unless you really need half-elf multitalented to waive prerequisites.

I'd say needing to bust a general feat early (one that does nothing when you get it, besides) and delaying Natural Ambition to 5 is a big deal for a lot of builds (like Monk or Ranger builds that need focus spell access). Humans are still good.


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Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Unicore wrote:
I strongly suspect that we will not see much in the way of attribute flaws in ancestries going forward.

That would make me very sad.

Dancing Wind wrote:
So the issue is that humans...don't serve much of a purpose any more?

The truth is in there somewhere.

There is nothing mechanically unique to them now. Other ancestries get the same things, and more. Furthermore, ancestry feats can be poached as graystone said, so there's literally no mechanical incentive left to play them that you can't get elsewhere.


They still serve to fill out certain builds that need early prerequisites such as bastion builds. Humans still have the unique opportunity to grab 2 general feats at first level. Which adds a lot of extra potential to archetype flexibility at low levels.


aobst128 wrote:
They still serve to fill out certain builds that need early prerequisites such as bastion builds. Humans still have the unique opportunity to grab 2 general feats at first level. Which adds a lot of extra potential to archetype flexibility at low levels.

Yep, Versatile Heritage is about all that's left: if you need 2 general feats at 1st, it's only human.


Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
aobst128 wrote:
They still serve to fill out certain builds that need early prerequisites such as bastion builds. Humans still have the unique opportunity to grab 2 general feats at first level. Which adds a lot of extra potential to archetype flexibility at low levels.

However, that is somewhat mitigated by the extreme popularity of Free Archetypes.


Ravingdork wrote:
aobst128 wrote:
They still serve to fill out certain builds that need early prerequisites such as bastion builds. Humans still have the unique opportunity to grab 2 general feats at first level. Which adds a lot of extra potential to archetype flexibility at low levels.
However, that is somewhat mitigated by the extreme popularity of Free Archetypes.

Does that change much? You still need shield block to take bastion dedication even when it's free.


Ravingdork wrote:
aobst128 wrote:
They still serve to fill out certain builds that need early prerequisites such as bastion builds. Humans still have the unique opportunity to grab 2 general feats at first level. Which adds a lot of extra potential to archetype flexibility at low levels.
However, that is somewhat mitigated by the extreme popularity of Free Archetypes.

He means you can double up on general feats to get medium armor or martial weapons at 1st so you can get an archetype at first: for instance, a wizard could get to medium armor to take Sentinel Dedication to wear plate or getting marital weapons to take Weapon Improviser at 2nd. Or a ranger could take weapon proficiency to get trained in Sawtooth Saber so they could go into red mantis assassin at 2nd. It's a niche I guess.


I think that good part of the idea really was to "nerf" the humans.

Initially Paizo made Humans as one of the best ancestries of the game, they not only had 2 free boosts without flaw but also many of most best and versatile feats like Adapted Cantrip, General Training, Natural Ambition specially if you select ethnicity feats from Character Guideyou can even make supernatural non-human things like breath without need to be another ancestry and half-elf/half-orc also allows to take elves and orc feats without need to use Adopted Ancestry. All this helped humans to be the most preferred ancestry for the players.
But not only this, the locked boost and flaws also diminish the non-orthodox class choices for non-human ancestries even with the old volutary flaw system allowing to compensate the original ancestry flaw with other 2 flaws because this "solution" difficulties some MC selections and non-orthodox skill selections.
Also if you played with a human or a non-flaw ancestry the old voluntary flaws also gives an additional benefit that's being able to have 3 physical or 3 mental ability boost at cost of 2 flaws in the opposite group something impossible in ancestries that already had flaws making the humans even more attractive choice for pure martial or caster classes.

So mechanically the new ability boost alternative "fixed" this. Now humans loose their free boost exclusivity at same time that loose their voluntary flaw advantage to have 3 boosts from same ability group making other ancestries more attractive because the ancestries without flaws now can basically choose any ability to put the both boosts and ancestries with flaws now are the only ancestries that are able to select 3 boosts.

I can see this as an indirect "nerf" due the voluntary flaw changes and the removal of the main ancestry attractiveness. Now min/maxers will choose their ancestried based in heritage and feats than in ability boosts turning other ancestries more attractive over humans in much more builds.

Sovereign Court

graystone wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
graystone wrote:
keftiu wrote:
Humans still have Natural Ambition, one of the best Ancestry Feats in the whole game.
Good thing that there isn't any way to get access to another ancestries feats...
I mean, if you spent either a general or an ancestry feat just to get access to human ancestry feats, at some point you've paid your dues right? And it still takes you until level 5 or so at the minimum before you can actually get human feats.
You can play an Anadi and NOT spend a general or ancestry feat for it at 1st. Skeleton can spend a feat for it at 1st and pick up Natural Ambition at 3rd with Ancestral Paragon for Natural Ambition. You can pick up Adopted in the background phase with Deep Backgrounds. That's off the top of my head, so NO, spending a feat and waiting to 5th isn't required.

See, this is why I hedged with "level 5 or so". My point doesn't change: you pay more for it and you get it later.


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Unicore wrote:
I strongly suspect that we will not see much in the way of attribute flaws in ancestries going forward.

I really hope not. If they are going to do that they may as well get rid of all ancestries and just have extended backgound options. To me it is like deleting races from the game.

I want flaws to exist in the game. Very happy to see the Alternative Atribute options. Annoyed that the old Voluntary flaws are gone.

Flaws are good. They are real world problems that people deal with. I'm much happier if we can get a trade off with then.


Gortle wrote:
Unicore wrote:
I strongly suspect that we will not see much in the way of attribute flaws in ancestries going forward.
I really hope not. If they are going to do that they may as well get rid of all ancestries and just have extended backgound options. To me it is like deleting races from the game.

Not really because the heritages and feats still makes races very unique and even with flaws you always could have robust elves, charismatic dwarves and stronger halflings. They maybe cannot be so strong than the topmost exemplars of other classes but yet they still are relevant because during gameplay they rarely are put in an ability vs ability situation like arm wrestling.

The difference know with new alternative boost system is that they are know competitive to other ancestries in these niches and are no more exotic exemplars of their race.

There's no more "an elf cannot be so robust as an dwarf" instead is now "the elves are usually less robust than other races".

Scarab Sages

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Ascalaphus wrote:
And if they get the sense that hey, actually there were more people who liked boost/boost/boost/flaw arrays than they originally thought, they can just go back to making some of those too.

People do like getting a boost to a secondary stat in exchange for a flaw in an ability score they don't care about, but I'm not sure I like that and I think maybe the designers don't either.

If people feel they're not getting enough ability score boosts to be effective, or not getting them quickly enough, then it would make sense to change other parts of the game, such as by using Gradual Ability Boosts.

Ancestral flaws can be flavorful (android) but most of the time the lore doesn't match the flaws. It's flavor that Paizo wasn't using or being consistent on in any case and I'm not broken up about seeing them go.


I like the generic ability score bonuses.

I think they should focus more on individual cultural and physiological differences tied to something other than ability scores.

You could do something with ability scores like letting an orc start with a 20 strength by increasing the 18 cap, but still requiring you spend the points to start off that well. But it's not super necessary.

You could also do an orc by focusing on some other aspect of strength than straight functional combat strength. If you want to show the bulk and size of the orc, then maybe increase their starting encumbrance by a couple of points and give them some bonus to bust open doors or lift things.

If you want the elf to be more agile, then give them a bonus to acrobatics or give them a line of feats to show off their agility.

For me combat stats are functional combat strength, dex, and the like. That should be relative between races/ancestries because the warrior capabilities of a given group should be fairly equitable.

The new ancestry model should give them plenty of latitude to create unique ancestry flavor while not focusing on functional combat stats which have an effect on what you will build due to optimization.

And I like making a crazy strong small race. Nothing like a brutal strength gnome to really make others think twice.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

What if, attributes are just not the most exciting way to explore "real differences" between ancestries? What if the point of the attribute boost system of PF2 is to enable character concepts and not restrict them?

If both of those things are true, then flaws really play no role in making ancestries feel unique and interesting. If people feel like one more boost is just necessary for certain character concepts to work, then that is its own separate issue, especially as flaws in certain attributes are essentially "no real change" in how the character will be conceptualized or played.

I think some players like to trick themselves into thinking they made a balanced choice adding flaws to charisma and intelligence to gain a boost in wisdom or dexterity or constitution, but that is just not really the case.

Why is "I want to play a fighter who is strong, wise, tough, and dexterous" an ok build, but "I want to play a fighter who is strong and smart and charismatic and also not a complete liability to my party by having an 8 in Con and Wis, or Dex and Wis" not?

I think the whole issue here is just people are used to the idea of characters they could previously build, but won't be able to in the future. I don't think the flaws for boost system is necessary to make those characters possible.


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Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Today it's ability scores because of biological determinism. Tomorrow it's ancestries because racism. Then classes 'cause classism. Sexes, sexism. Bonuses and penalties? Penalties are too negative. No losers in this game. Everyone gets a trophy!

Thing about slippery slopes is no one really knows where they begin or end.


Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I actually like the new rule (save for the loss of Voluntary Flaws). It's the illogical reasoning behind it that I can't stand.


Ascalaphus wrote:
graystone wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
graystone wrote:
keftiu wrote:
Humans still have Natural Ambition, one of the best Ancestry Feats in the whole game.
Good thing that there isn't any way to get access to another ancestries feats...
I mean, if you spent either a general or an ancestry feat just to get access to human ancestry feats, at some point you've paid your dues right? And it still takes you until level 5 or so at the minimum before you can actually get human feats.
You can play an Anadi and NOT spend a general or ancestry feat for it at 1st. Skeleton can spend a feat for it at 1st and pick up Natural Ambition at 3rd with Ancestral Paragon for Natural Ambition. You can pick up Adopted in the background phase with Deep Backgrounds. That's off the top of my head, so NO, spending a feat and waiting to 5th isn't required.
See, this is why I hedged with "level 5 or so". My point doesn't change: you pay more for it and you get it later.

You have 2 ways to get it at 1st [Adopted AND Natural Ambition], so I don't get the later part. As to cost, well everything in the game costs you some opportunity cost.

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