Ancestries capable of having children together?


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion


So there are half-elves and half-orcs but do we know if any other ancestries are also capable of having children together in Golarion?


I can't think of any specific examples, but when you actually look into the question you discover something interesting (I think)

The general consensus seems to be that half-ancestries are due to something specific to humans.

Quote:
Unlike other ancestries, humans don't have significant physiological differences defined by their lineage. Instead, their heritages either reveal their potential as a people or reflect lineages from multiple ancestries.

However! It also mentions that while this is the default, half-elves and half-orcs can have an other half of any ancestry (albeit at GM discretion)

This seems to imply that the ability to have children with other ancestries isn't a human trait, but a trait shared by elves and orcs.


The "you can play as a half-elf or half-orc that's half dwarf or gnome or something" thing isn't canon to Golarion, it's something that Paizo decided to add a sidebar on because it's not all that difficult to achieve and things may be different in the GM's home setting or version of Golarion. So yeah it's probably a human thing.

That said versatile heritages are different. Fiends, celestials, hags, vampires, elementals, and chaotic outsiders can have kids with anyone , although depending on the biology of the ancestry in question you may have to come up with an excuse. Even if it's possible for a vampire to have kids with a human or halfling, a leshy is something else entirely. Notably, out of the versatile heritages to have been printed, changelings are the only one to be descended from other humanoids. Magic is definitely involved.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I always felt the 'only humans can interprocreate' is a little... limiting and doesn't make much sense considering the rest of Golarion's setting. I wonder if it's something Paizo would consider retconning in the future? The fact a Human and Dwarf for example cannot have a child is a little silly.

Shadow Lodge

Technically speaking, the existence of fertile Half-Elves and Half-Orcs indicates that Humans, Orcs, and Elves are all the same species:

Species wrote:

A biological species is a group of organisms that can reproduce with one another in nature and produce fertile offspring.

...
Half-Elf wrote:

Source Core Rulebook pg. 56 (4.0)

Either one of your parents was an elf, or one or both were half-elves. You have pointed ears and other telltale signs of elf heritage. You gain the elf trait, the half-elf trait, and low-light vision. In addition, you can select elf, half-elf, and human feats whenever you gain an ancestry feat.

Half-Orc wrote:

Source Core Rulebook pg. 56 (4.0)

One of your parents was an orc, or one or both were half-orcs. You have a green tinge to your skin and other indicators of orc heritage. You gain the orc trait, the half-orc trait, and low-light vision. In addition, you can select orc, half-orc, and human feats whenever you gain an ancestry feat.


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There’s at least one character in recent canon with mixed Nagaji heritage, which surprised me!

Liberty's Edge

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Taja the Barbarian wrote:
Technically speaking, the existence of fertile Half-Elves and Half-Orcs indicates that Humans, Orcs, and Elves are all the same species

It's not too relevant to the discussion at hand, but I am obligated whenever this comes up to mention how nebulous the word species really is - there are so many ways it doesn't end up making much sense. You've got animals that are defined as separate species that could have fertile offspring if they were geographically closer - for example, grizzly and polar bears are now having overlapping habitats and that's leading to fertile offspring, but they're defined as different species. You've got species that could have fertile offspring if it weren't for a temporal separation - one is nocturnal and the other is not, and they're considered different species. You've got ring species, where two populations A and B that are geographically overlapping can interbreed, and then B is overlapping with C and can interbreed, and so on. If you take individuals from population F, they can't have fertile offspring with population A - but it is possible for their genetic material to get to population A if it just goes back through the ring, and at some point in there we do clearly need to call them a different species, but there's no clear-cut point. All that to say: species is a very ill-defined word that is used more by convention that with a strict technical definition. It's an interesting word!


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Kitsune can interbreed with humans, though the resulting children are human or kitsune rather than a mixture of the two. Also, if the child is born looking human it's often assumed they're a kitsune who hasn't found their non-tailless ... tailed form yet.

Radiant Oath

I look at the term 'Ancestry,' and I think "all of these can interbreed." In my opinion, inter-ancestry pairings produce a child of just one ancestry. Humans have more of a habit of taking on traits from the other parent with either half- or adopted. Fantasy settings are for magical things and I want a magically diverse world. I make an exception for Ghorans, because reproductive problems are called out in lore, but any other two ancestries can have a kid if they love each other enough.

"Your parents were a Conrasu and a Poppet? Well, pick one and adopted ancestry the other."


If the GM is willing to indulge you, anything can breed with anything else.


Kasoh wrote:
If the GM is willing to indulge you, anything can breed with anything else.

This kind of answer isn’t too helpful for threads that are specifically in the canon lore subforum. Your GM can tell you Gnomes are eight feet tall and bright purple… but OP is asking for what’s published canon about Golarion specifically.


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I've always wondered about the half-elf thing on Golarion. You'd think with Elves being from an entirely different planet, they'd be more difficult to interbreed with.


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keftiu wrote:
Your GM can tell you Gnomes are eight feet tall and bright purple… but OP is asking for what’s published canon about Golarion specifically.

They aren't? Next you're going to tell me that Aroden wasn't a paragon of ethics! Where does it end!? (/tease)

Thebazilly wrote:
You'd think with Elves being from an entirely different planet, they'd be more difficult to interbreed with.

I had the same, "oh, that's kind of funny in hindsight" reaction, but then you recall that humans are apparently native to at least three planets--Golarion, Earth, and Androffa--in the Lost Omens setting, and there are clues sprinkled about the lore about a deeper implied connection behind these worlds. It suddenly doesn't seem all that strange that some species from different planets can interbreed when the setting likewise implies enough connectivity (in whatever esoteric form--I don't expect there's direct portals) between the life of such distantly planets that the same species is present on all three.


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*sighs*

Okay, in 2014 James Jacobs said that Elves and Orcs cannot crossbreed as they are incompatible biologically speaking.

Later he also said

James Jacobs wrote:

If you want an in game reason: Because dwarf DNA is not compatible by and large with anything but dwarves.

The out of game reason is that there are probably more than enough zero HD races in the game already, and when we DO create more, we prefer to create new ones rather than hybrid races.

If we make half dwarves, why not half gnomes or elf/halflings or every other possible combination between the core races? The answer should be obvious: because that clutters the rules and clutters the niches of the races in the first place. Half elves and half orcs ALREADY kind of suffer for not really having a good in-game role to play; their roles are already dominated by elves or orcs (or humans). Every additional hybrid race makes the game a little more confused and murky.

This was codified in 2014's Bastards of Golarion Pathfinder Companion which answered the question "Why no half-dwarves?" in a sidebar

Bastards of Golarion wrote:

Although humans can have children with many other races, there are limits to this gift. Half-dwarves, half-gnomes, half-halflings, and numerous other combinations are all but unheard of on Golarion. Biological incompatibility is the first and foremost reason that such half-races cannot exist. Simply put, dwarves, gnomes, and others just aren't compatible with other races, even humans.

In a realm shrouded in magic, it would be foolish to assume no spell in the known multiverse could produce a viable child between a dwarf and a humanoid of another race. Indeed, dwarven aasimars and gnome tieflings are known to exist, arising through the influence of outsiders or because of magical anomalies understood by few. A miracle or wish spell could likewise result in the birth of a half-dwarf, though the individuals able or willing to practice such spellcraft are few and far between.

It is now...nine years later. If anyone has published new guidance on the matter, I'm not aware of it.


Half-elf and half-orc are presented as human heritages outside that one sidebar for a reason. I doubt the intended canon has changed. The existence of half-elves and half-orcs is a strange fluke (mostly because they've ALWAYS existed) and otherwise hybrids don't really exist outside those of supernatural origin. I seriously doubt that it's the case that most ancestries are truly "biologically incompatible" (as mentioned, there's one part-nagaji NPC in 2e) but it probably varies from ancestry to ancestry and rarely will the result be a hybrid rather than a character of their mother or father's ancestry alone.

Liberty's Edge

IIRC Samsarans' lifecycle is linked to Humans for some reason.


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I’m still crossing my fingers for Dwarf/Orcs to exist.

Radiant Oath

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
keftiu wrote:
I’m still crossing my fingers for Dwarf/Orcs to exist.

Me too! And Drow/Orcs too! And Dwelves in general! Half-elf-lings! Gnorcs!


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Elf-Orcs=Elks
Dwarf-Orcs=Dorks


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Kasoh wrote:
If the GM is willing to indulge you, anything can breed with anything else.

I am reminded of a small RPG called Stuper Powers that had silly abilities. 'Reproduce with kitchen appliances.' So I can be a Human Dishwasher!(Wait, I already am. Part of my job)


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Arcaian wrote:
{. . .} You've got ring species, where two populations A and B that are geographically overlapping can interbreed, and then B is overlapping with C and can interbreed, and so on. If you take individuals from population F, they can't have fertile offspring with population A - but it is possible for their genetic material to get to population A if it just goes back through the ring, and at some point in there we do clearly need to call them a different species, but there's no clear-cut point. {. . .}

And here's your in-world example (although a short one) of a ring species.

Kasoh wrote:

*sighs*

Okay, in 2014 James Jacobs said that Elves and Orcs cannot crossbreed as they are incompatible biologically speaking.
{. . .}

Given the artwork we have seen of various Hobgoblins, in which some appear more human than others, I suspect that Hobgoblins and Humans can interbreed, but they just won't admit it.


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I know there were some hobgoblins with hair on occasion in PF1, and that was attributed to art direction errors and no time to correct them. The new hobgoblin design...was a choice, but I'm not sure it reflects anything other than Paizo planting a flag on 2e hobs.

But I don't see why not. I can imagine some dark secret origin of Hobgoblins being a wizard crossbreeding goblins and humans to make some kind of Uruk-Hai style super soldier.

(This reminds me that I don't know the origins of Hobgoblins on Golarion, but that's a question for a different thread, I suppose.)

Sovereign Court

There is a manual for a different game system, but it has a chart in it that specifically addresses what races/ancestries (in their system) are able to inter-breed. If you are curious about it, message me and I will tell you about the book.


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I've always figured, regardless of canon statements and just based on how much effort my players want to put into their characters, humans aren't actually anything special aside from our numbers. If dragons, elementals, genies and even undead can leave faint traces on bloodlines, at least magically, then most humanoids should be able to interbreed with most other humanoids, it's just that with the sheer number of humans in the world, half-human hybrids tend to be the most common, and humans for one reason or another tend to interact in the necessary way with elves and orcs more often than other races. Dwarf/orcs or dwarf/humans or elf/halflings or gnome/goblins probably exist somewhere, but not in enough numbers to see themselves as a subculture like half-elves or half-orcs do. Half-orcs and half-elves might even be the only hybrids that aren't infertile, explaining why they occur "naturally" and other hybrids don't. But again, that's just the explanation I run with.


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Kasoh wrote:

I know there were some hobgoblins with hair on occasion in PF1, and that was attributed to art direction errors and no time to correct them. The new hobgoblin design...was a choice, but I'm not sure it reflects anything other than Paizo planting a flag on 2e hobs.

But I don't see why not. I can imagine some dark secret origin of Hobgoblins being a wizard crossbreeding goblins and humans to make some kind of Uruk-Hai style super soldier.

(This reminds me that I don't know the origins of Hobgoblins on Golarion, but that's a question for a different thread, I suppose.)

Hobgoblins are super-soldiers of a sort. They were originally goblins altered by an artifact called the Cantorian Spring to become bigger, stronger, and more disciplined so that they could make war on some elves who were enemies of the hobgoblins' original creators.

The spring got stolen before war could officially begin though, and the hobgoblins were routed, so now they live on their own, still hating elves.

Sovereign Court

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Kasoh wrote:

*sighs*

Okay, in 2014 James Jacobs said that Elves and Orcs cannot crossbreed as they are incompatible biologically speaking.

Later he also said

James Jacobs wrote:

If you want an in game reason: Because dwarf DNA is not compatible by and large with anything but dwarves.

The out of game reason is that there are probably more than enough zero HD races in the game already, and when we DO create more, we prefer to create new ones rather than hybrid races.

If we make half dwarves, why not half gnomes or elf/halflings or every other possible combination between the core races? The answer should be obvious: because that clutters the rules and clutters the niches of the races in the first place. Half elves and half orcs ALREADY kind of suffer for not really having a good in-game role to play; their roles are already dominated by elves or orcs (or humans). Every additional hybrid race makes the game a little more confused and murky.

This was codified in 2014's Bastards of Golarion Pathfinder Companion which answered the question "Why no half-dwarves?" in a sidebar

Bastards of Golarion wrote:

Although humans can have children with many other races, there are limits to this gift. Half-dwarves, half-gnomes, half-halflings, and numerous other combinations are all but unheard of on Golarion. Biological incompatibility is the first and foremost reason that such half-races cannot exist. Simply put, dwarves, gnomes, and others just aren't compatible with other races, even humans.

In a realm shrouded in magic, it would be foolish to assume no spell in the known multiverse could produce a viable child between a dwarf and a humanoid of another race. Indeed, dwarven aasimars and gnome tieflings are known to exist, arising through the influence of outsiders or because of magical anomalies

...

Well, you also have the issue of some ancestries, such as Dwarves, while potientally friendly with other races would never willingly mate with a non-Dwarf.


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Andrew the Warwitch wrote:
Well, you also have the issue of some ancestries, such as Dwarves, while potientally friendly with other races would never willingly mate with a non-Dwarf.

What? Dwarves have free will and are individuals, they can do whatever they want. They're plenty capable of falling in love with a non-Dwarf.

The existence of Versastile Heritages implies it can even happen in a good variety of ways.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
keftiu wrote:
Andrew the Warwitch wrote:
Well, you also have the issue of some ancestries, such as Dwarves, while potientally friendly with other races would never willingly mate with a non-Dwarf.

What? Dwarves have free will and are individuals, they can do whatever they want. They're plenty capable of falling in love with a non-Dwarf.

The existence of Versastile Heritages implies it can even happen in a good variety of ways.

Seconding this. There is no 'dwarves the monolith'. In fact, my dwarf PCs would absolutely 'mate' with non-Dwarves. One in particular has (who knows about kids though, we're in the middle of an adventure!).

Stating '___ would never do ____' is reductive at best and weirdly essentialist at worst.

Sovereign Court

"Stating '___ would never do ____' is reductive at best and weirdly essentialist at worst."

True, I suppose Dwarves, as well as other ancestries, have been made much less insular in 2e. Sorry, tried to just cut down your reply to the point I was referring to in this response.

Wayfinders Contributor

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Canonically, dwarves in PF1 interbred with oreads, and there were dwarfy oreads. In PF2, sylph dwarves (assumed to be the children of Cloud Dragons) are especially valued in the city of Cloudspire in the Mwangi Expanse.

Radiant Oath

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Virellius wrote:
keftiu wrote:
Andrew the Warwitch wrote:
Well, you also have the issue of some ancestries, such as Dwarves, while potientally friendly with other races would never willingly mate with a non-Dwarf.

What? Dwarves have free will and are individuals, they can do whatever they want. They're plenty capable of falling in love with a non-Dwarf.

The existence of Versastile Heritages implies it can even happen in a good variety of ways.

Seconding this. There is no 'dwarves the monolith'. In fact, my dwarf PCs would absolutely 'mate' with non-Dwarves. One in particular has (who knows about kids though, we're in the middle of an adventure!).

Stating '___ would never do ____' is reductive at best and weirdly essentialist at worst.

Yehyeah! This ain't Warhammer Fantasy! There's none of that "our people are dying off due to how slow we reproduce and our stubborn insistence on seeking violent, often suicidal retribution over the smallest of slights" nonsense!

And for that matter, elves aren't so horrifically snooty that they'd believe partnering with a non-elf is repulsive to the point of vomiting either!

Wayfinders Contributor

Speaking of elves, I want to remind lore lovers that the Starfinder Pact Worlds PDF is currently free thanks to the new Open Gaming agreement.

This offer lasts until February 18th, 2023. Go check it out!

The reason that I bring this up is that Pact Worlds mentioned that there is a high intermarriage rate between elves and ryphorians, leading to a lot of furry half-elves on Triaxus.

Hmm


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Not trying to pile on Andrew here, but for a specific example, the current gunslinger iconic Nhalmika has a daughter named Ondla who, last we heard, was in a stable-sounding romantic relationship with an Alkenstari human.
Here's her intro fiction to double check, and also because Nhalmika is the best.

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