PF2 Remastered: Changes to Half-Elves and Half-Orcs


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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From today's PaizoCon streams, we got some very interesting news: both of these are presented in Player Core under a 'Mixed Ancestries' section... and are no longer restricted to being Half-Human! They've also got Golarion names of their own, Aiuvarin and Dromaar, plural Aiuvarins and Dromaars.

I am ecstatic about this change!

So many character concepts are opened up by this! Dwarf Dromaars face a deeply complicated context in/beneath Avistan, but may well be favored diplomats in Arcadia's plains or the Mwangi Expanse. I've certainly got ideas for Fleshwarp Aiuvarins... and if we get Drow or Lashunta as playable Ancestries down the line, you can bet I'll make those, too!

Figured this was exciting enough to get a thread of its own. What does everyone think? Who are you all going to make?


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I did not think this is lore that James Jacobs would relent on I am all for it. I also hope it opens up a few more halves Dwarf specifically.

Liberty's Edge

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Why only Elves and Orcs get to mix with the other Ancestries ? It should be more widely open.


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So, as far as I understand, this basically makes official the "variant rule" that is in the Other Halves note in the CRB. I believe that some tables already used this, this will probably affect PFS and lower GMs more.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So it went from "humans are special" to only "elves and orcs are special?"

smeh.

New names and lore changes sound nice though.


Seems like, from the way they were talking about it, the Mixed Ancestry option is a versatile heritage, and the Half-Orc/Half-Elf names are the new names to de-OGL them. Maybe there'll be options for other Half- combinations out there.


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From Michael Sayre on Discord:

"Yep, it's a versatile heritage. Right now it primarily just supports half-elves and half-orcs as we've already presented them (just in a different and more flexible package), but it opens the door for e.g. half-dwarves in a way we couldn't do before. And it has some instructions on how to start playing something like half-dwarves right now, though not support at the level of e.g. new half-dwarf heritage or feats."


Ezekieru wrote:

From Michael Sayre on Discord:

"Yep, it's a versatile heritage. Right now it primarily just supports half-elves and half-orcs as we've already presented them (just in a different and more flexible package), but it opens the door for e.g. half-dwarves in a way we couldn't do before. And it has some instructions on how to start playing something like half-dwarves right now, though not support at the level of e.g. new half-dwarf heritage or feats."

Ah, neat!


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The problem is that to make these versions versatile you need to create their heritage (which will give you ago, just like half-elf/half-orc provide low-light vision) and some half-ancestry feats just like elves and orcs.

That said, anyone can do any hybrid ancestry today if they accept some degree of homebrew. Basically take the special trait of the ancestry like for example the Land on Your Feet of the Amurrun and put it as a benefit of the heritage (half-amurrun), then freely choose the feats between the feats of your base ancestry and that of your hybrid heritage. There will be a lack of hybrid feat options, but that's basically it. As it requires some space in the book to put in for several different half-heritages and their uniq feats so they maybe can come later into another book (Core 2 for example).


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Dragonlance 3.5 had half-dwarven options for characters.

Liberty's Edge

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Half anything : get the anything Trait, get the Half anything trait, access anything Feats. Done.

Specific Half anything Feats will come later if ever. Same for other immediate benefits of the Half anything Versatile Heritage.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm catching up on the streams, but I haven't seen this is the writeups I've seen. Where was this stated? I'd love to hear the pronunciations.


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Evan Tarlton wrote:
I'm catching up on the streams, but I haven't seen this is the writeups I've seen. Where was this stated? I'd love to hear the pronunciations.

You may have found it already but the PaizoCon 2023: Pathfinder Remastered twitch stream has this conversation when they start talking about ancestries close to 17min in. The names are said around 18:30


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keftiu wrote:
From today's PaizoCon streams, we got some very interesting news: both of these are presented in Player Core under a 'Mixed Ancestries' section... and are no longer restricted to being Half-Human!

I'm surprised 1/2 human wasn't the heritage you add to abcestries.


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Honestly? Me too. I kind of liked the idea that humans are just cross-fertile with everyone.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Sibelius Eos Owm wrote:
Evan Tarlton wrote:
I'm catching up on the streams, but I haven't seen this is the writeups I've seen. Where was this stated? I'd love to hear the pronunciations.
You may have found it already but the PaizoCon 2023: Pathfinder Remastered twitch stream has this conversation when they start talking about ancestries close to 17min in. The names are said around 18:30

Thank you!

Radiant Oath

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
keftiu wrote:
Figured this was exciting enough to get a thread of its own. What does everyone think? Who are you all going to make?

I've already had the three Oreflame brothers, whose parents were a dwarf and elf who adventured together and fell in love, percolating since 2e started! This change will make it that much easier to set them up for the APs I wanna play them in (Age of Ashes, Gatewalkers and Sky King's Tomb)!

The only question is whether they're going to be Aiuvarin dwarves or whether they'll be elves with the new "half-dwarf" versatile heritage we'll be getting eventually! :D


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Will half halflings be quarterlings?

Liberty's Edge

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Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
Will half halflings be quarterlings?

I wish Halflings could be renamed.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

As long as no Paizo exec ever tells me it's racist to call myself half-something like that Jeremy guy at WotC did, and as long as they don't 'erase' being mixed meaning anything like the 5E revision is doing (where you only take abilities from one side and just wrap it in a paint job).

Then I can handle it.

Making 'mixed heritages' that actually means something - letting me take from both of my ancestries...

As a 'real life' mixed race person that is highly appreciated.

I've grown up with a cultural mix from 4 continents, and it means something. And having that concept represented in gaming has always been of great value to me.

As long as I can ALSO proudly call my characters half-Orc and half-Elf and have that be canon, then I will remain happy with the changes that EXPAND mixed heritage rather than contract it like some other tRPG is doing.

They cover it here:

https://www.twitch.tv/videos/1829865557?t=02h28m11s


Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
Will half halflings be quarterlings?

three-forthings


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graystone wrote:
keftiu wrote:
From today's PaizoCon streams, we got some very interesting news: both of these are presented in Player Core under a 'Mixed Ancestries' section... and are no longer restricted to being Half-Human!
I'm surprised 1/2 human wasn't the heritage you add to abcestries.

The Asians Represent podcast did an episode on this, and they had a lot to say about the racialozation of orcs and elves and how humans get used as a proxy for whiteness - so same reason people usually aren't called half-white, as that's the assumed default. They were also pretty critical of orcs only being available if they were half human.

This chamges just make sense. Of course different ancestries are going to interact without that being mediated by humans. They don't pause in stasis until a human shows up lol.


Helmic wrote:
graystone wrote:
keftiu wrote:
From today's PaizoCon streams, we got some very interesting news: both of these are presented in Player Core under a 'Mixed Ancestries' section... and are no longer restricted to being Half-Human!
I'm surprised 1/2 human wasn't the heritage you add to abcestries.

The Asians Represent podcast did an episode on this, and they had a lot to say about the racialozation of orcs and elves and how humans get used as a proxy for whiteness - so same reason people usually aren't called half-white, as that's the assumed default. They were also pretty critical of orcs only being available if they were half human.

This chamges just make sense. Of course different ancestries are going to interact without that being mediated by humans. They don't pause in stasis until a human shows up lol.

I suspect that the language is a holdover from Tolkien's use of 'half-elven.' But it's definitely a weird way to look at things.

A human with a half-Elf (or half-Orc) heritage shouldn't be any different from an Elf (or Orc) selecting a half-human heritage.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Helmic wrote:
graystone wrote:
keftiu wrote:
From today's PaizoCon streams, we got some very interesting news: both of these are presented in Player Core under a 'Mixed Ancestries' section... and are no longer restricted to being Half-Human!
I'm surprised 1/2 human wasn't the heritage you add to abcestries.
The Asians Represent podcast did an episode on this, and they had a lot to say about the racialozation of orcs and elves and how humans get used as a proxy for whiteness - so same reason people usually aren't called half-white, as that's the assumed default. They were also pretty critical of orcs only being available if they were half human.

While that's a viewpoint...

It's also important to ask if anyone on that podcast was mixed? Or if they were just giving an outsider perspective that is no more valid than anyone else's.

Growing up with a Chinese name and being a quarter Chinese - It's been made brutally clear to me that I have no business speaking for or even alongside the Asian community. The only people who have ever asked me to speak with them as if I was one of them were the Chicanos where I grew up - and I'm not even Mexican American.

The topic of diversity of single-heritage people may seem similar to that of mixed heritage, but it's not identical. And some PoC need to back off from claiming they can speak for mixed folk like me just as much as White folk already know to do. They can speak 'about' me the same way someone might speak about a person of another heritage. But they cannot claim to speak for me or any other multi-ethnic person.

They are however, correct that in the USA 'White' is treated as a default. And in tRPGs, as an originally American product; Human has long proxied for that. Especially given how before D&D 4E came out there were very-few non-White humans in the 'd20' sphere of gaming. I remember being excited back during 3.0 when I discovered they had non-White elves in Faerun that were NOT Drow. Something I had not seen in older Faerun books (no idea if I had just missed it though - I never liked that setting so there were huge gaps in my knowledge of it).
...

Lore wise... if this was Middle Earth, we'd want Orcs to be able to mix with Elves and Humans. Orcs were actually Elves, and Elves can mix with Humans.

However PF2E's Orc lore isn't the same in origin.

I like that they're opening it up more. But it never bothered me that it had a limit beforehand. I always just assumed Orc and Human and Elf in a lot of tRPGs shared an evolutionary past. If we assumed Orc and Elf actually diverged from a common ancestor that was the proto-Human that'd be the only way we could logic out Orc and Elf not mixing with each other.

[Here we can insert the whole topic of how mixed heritages of fantasy ancestries is a more like a species crossover similar to Humans and Neandertal once was, and not an ethnicity crossover as real world people like myself have. So yes - the half-orc is not a direct proxy for me in a fantasy tRPG, but it is an 'intent' and 'theme' proxy.]

As for the term 'half'. I'm old enough to know a lot of people tried that out as a slur against me. But it was correct (albeit understated as I actually descend from 4 continents), and I took pride in it as a statement that I could grow myself from many roots. It always felt like seeing that term as a slur would be a statement of feeling shame in being that, so when people would try to mock with it my thought and when bold enough answer back response would be 'that's right, and don't you forget it.'

In the USA, if you ever have to fill in one of those 'diversity' surveys, you'll notice one option these days is very often 'two or more races'.
- That was a long fought nasty political battle in the 90s to get that on those forms.

Before then people kept telling folk like me to 'just a pick a side, as long as it isn't the one I am in, unless it will boost my people's funding/standing for cause-ABC, but then get lost after we take your share of the benefits because you aren't really one of us.'

You know... people on those podcasts about some group that will happily talk about folk like me as if they know me, but don't want folk like me on there actually having a voice. Or maybe I'm just a bitter old dude, and the young folk are actually better about this and have a multi-ethnic person there when speaking 'for' this topic and not just 'about' it.

And... kind of like what D&D 5E is doing - pick which ancestry your character has stats from... is just a form of 'pick a side'.

Good for Paizo for saying 'make a blend, here's rules to keep that balanced.'

.


I think it goes a long way to consider that whether a term is objectionable can depend on who is saying it about whom. For example, as a pronoun, "it" has often been used to insult and other trans and GNC people, but for some of these same folks it is their own self-described identity.


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arcady wrote:

While that's a viewpoint...

It's also important to ask if anyone on that podcast was mixed? Or if they were just giving an outsider perspective that is no more valid than anyone else's.

Growing up with a Chinese name and being a quarter Chinese - It's been made brutally clear to me that I have no business speaking for or even alongside the Asian community. The only people who have ever asked me to speak with them as if I was one of them were the Chicanos where I grew up - and I'm not even Mexican American.

The topic of diversity of single-heritage people may seem similar to that of mixed heritage, but it's not identical. And some PoC need to back off from claiming they can speak for mixed folk like me just as much as White folk already know to do. They can speak 'about' me the same way someone might speak about a person of another heritage. But they cannot claim to speak for me or any other multi-ethnic person.

They are however, correct that in the USA 'White' is treated as a default. And in tRPGs, as an originally American product; Human has long proxied for that. Especially given how before D&D 4E came out there were very-few non-White humans in the 'd20' sphere of gaming. I remember being excited back during 3.0 when I discovered they had non-White elves in Faerun that were NOT Drow. Something I had not seen in older...

Everyone on that podcast was mixed race. It was a lot of people too, many who pushed back on the "half" thing because that obviously doesn't describe people's actual ancestry which can be much more than two things in equal parts. They brought up your point about being excluded from particular communities and seemed to conclude that's kinda b++&&+** and obviously they're not viewed as white just because they're black and Chinese.

Podcast more generally makes sure to bring on people with relevant experiences, so I find it pretty useful to hear things outside my own bubble.

Asians Represent!: Episode 43: Mixed Race Representation in D&D

Episode webpage: http://oneshotpodcast.com

Media file: https://cdn.simplecast.com/audio/7d9dff34-0e4a-4136-a13f-68a2f5c2d3dd/episo des/ded9a561-4e73-4e7c-ac3d-4be46c9fe17b/audio/9dc4b63f-7f02-49c8-8584-1144 245de304/default_tc.mp3?aid=rss_feed&feed=qj7mNz7k


Intriguing.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Helmic wrote:
arcady wrote:

While that's a viewpoint...

It's also important to ask if anyone on that podcast was mixed? Or if they were just giving an outsider perspective that is no more valid than anyone else's.

Growing up with a Chinese name and being a quarter Chinese - It's been made brutally clear to me that I have no business speaking for or even alongside the Asian community. The only people who have ever asked me to speak with them as if I was one of them were the Chicanos where I grew up - and I'm not even Mexican American.

The topic of diversity of single-heritage people may seem similar to that of mixed heritage, but it's not identical. And some PoC need to back off from claiming they can speak for mixed folk like me just as much as White folk already know to do. They can speak 'about' me the same way someone might speak about a person of another heritage. But they cannot claim to speak for me or any other multi-ethnic person.

Everyone on that podcast was mixed race. It was a lot of people too, many who pushed back on the "half" thing because that obviously doesn't describe people's actual ancestry which can be much more than two things in equal parts. They brought up your point about being excluded from particular communities and seemed to conclude that's kinda b!&!@&$& and obviously they're not viewed as white just because they're black and Chinese.

Podcast more generally makes sure to bring on people with relevant experiences, so I find it pretty useful to hear things outside my own bubble.

Asians Represent!: Episode 43: Mixed Race Representation in D&D...

I've been listening to that podcast. And just left a comment for them on YouTube.

They are covering a LOT of familiar ground.

Thanks for mentioning it. I was not expecting them to do a good job on the topic but the folks on that episode of the podcast really do live the same experience I have and have been trying to speak to.

I don't agree with all of them on things like using the term 'half' - but that's fine. I understand those of them who don't care for the term. At 1:23:00 or so, one of the speakers talks about calling herself a 'mutt' before others could attack her with it. Maybe that's why I like referring to myself with 'half' - "back in my day" that's what I did as a kid in the 1970s.

I wish I could force everyone at WotC to watch that podcast episode. But I'm glad I don't feel, so far at least, like I need to force the Paizo folks to. That said... they might want to before they finalize their 'flavor text' on the mixed heritage section... Just to make sure they don't accidentally put in the wrong tone.

Here it is on YouTube also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuQecfRZij8

Again, thanks for bringing that one up in this topic. It really covers good ground on this.


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Linkified


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Similarly, I'd like to see an option for mixed heritages outside of Lamashtu's Chosen goblins...

Liberty's Edge

I feel Lamashtu is becoming more interesting and thought-provoking with all this. I wonder if her write-up will adapt to the changing times.

Liberty's Edge

Based on musings from Jason Bulmahn : a Half-Skeleton versatile heritage would be awesome IMO.


Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
Will half halflings be quarterlings?

I think a half orc counts as a one-and-a-halfling.

So a half halfling/half orc would be a one-and-a-quarterling.


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Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
Will half halflings be quarterlings?

I still firmly believe that Humans are Dire Halflings.


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arcady wrote:

As long as no Paizo exec ever tells me it's racist to call myself half-something like that Jeremy guy at WotC did, and as long as they don't 'erase' being mixed meaning anything like the 5E revision is doing (where you only take abilities from one side and just wrap it in a paint job).

Then I can handle it.

Making 'mixed heritages' that actually means something - letting me take from both of my ancestries...

As a 'real life' mixed race person that is highly appreciated.

I've grown up with a cultural mix from 4 continents, and it means something. And having that concept represented in gaming has always been of great value to me.

As long as I can ALSO proudly call my characters half-Orc and half-Elf and have that be canon, then I will remain happy with the changes that EXPAND mixed heritage rather than contract it like some other tRPG is doing.

They cover it here:

https://www.twitch.tv/videos/1829865557?t=02h28m11s

This is exactly how I feel about it. Paizo is making an effort to allow blended groups of people to work mechanically, and WotC is erasing them from the game. Major props to Paizo!


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
KingGramJohnson wrote:
Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
Will half halflings be quarterlings?
I still firmly believe that Humans are Dire Halflings.

So if a Leshy can get a Leshy Familiar and a Leshy "Animal Companion"...

I guess a Human can get a Halfling Familiar while a Halfling can get a Human "Animal" Companion. ;)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I personally would love a lore change to both half-elves and half-orcs. In my personal Golarion Half-elves have been a true breeding race that has slowly grown in prominence since the elves vamoosed during Earthfall. Left without their elven parents they banded together and created a nomadic culture based on trade and diplomacy. Over the millennia the elves were gone, distinctive wagon, sailing, and settled half-elven cultures developed. In the majority of Avistan approximately 5% of "human" households are actually settled half-elves that married into human families that recognized the advantages having longer lifespans than their human neighbors could give to trade and craft expertise. Additionally, for millennia the half-elven culture felt it was their duty to preserve what they knew of elven culture while blending it with their own traditions to make it their own.

I've done less with the half-orcs, but do love that Paizo has increasingly painted the half-orcs as being seen as value add members to orcish society.

In short I'm all for ditching the standard D&D trope that half-elves/orcs are torn between cultures fitting in neither. Both have been around for thousands of years, more than long enough to be both parts of their parent cultures and to develop their own earned places in the many cultures of Golarion.

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