Friday, July 8, 2016

Bored Playing Regular Humans? Try Racial Heritage on For Size

Humans are, without a doubt, one of the most common race choices in Pathfinder. It's hard to beat a bonus skill point and a bonus feat at first level. This is especially true in games where you're limited to the core races, where humans tend to win out more often than not. However, just because you might favor humans, there's no reason to play a vanilla human, especially in such a rich, varied world as Golarion where you can do (and be) almost anything you want.

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I mentioned a while back in How To Power Up Your Pathfinder Characters With The Eldritch Heritage Feats, that giving your character an unknown, or bizarre, heritage can lend you mechanical power, in addition to making your story that much more compelling. However, as I mentioned in that article, the Eldritch Heritage feats have both a feat tax (they require Skill Focus in the bloodline's skill), and they're only of use to character who benefit from a high Charisma. So if you're not a paladin, a swashbuckler, or one of the other charismatic classes, then you're going to find those feats aren't nearly as helpful for you, even if you love the flavor.

Racial Heritage (Advanced Player's Guide 168) doesn't have that kind of tax. All it requires is that your character is human (which means that half-elves and half-orcs qualify as well). This means you qualify as your race, and the humanoid race your heritage is linked to for the purposes of feats, traits, spell effects, magic items, etc.

What Good Does That Do You?

Well, that depends on what you're looking for. For example, say you're a first-level human, but you want to do a Tarzan concept as the human baby raised by orcs. Maybe you have a little orc blood in you, but not enough to matter. So, your first two feats are Racial Heritage, and Keen Scent. Then, when you take your traits, you might select Finish The Fight, which is typically for half-orcs raised by orcs, but fits right into your story.

Note: You may have to take the feat Additional Traits feat in order to gain the traits you want.

That is, of course, one of the tamer ways you could use this feat.

How ridiculous can this get?
Well, some of the possibilities can get pretty damn ridiculous.

For example, as I said in For A Change of Pace, Give Your Pathfinder PC Some Monster Feats, there are a lot of monster feats that require you to be a certain monstrous race. For example, you might take Racial Heritage (Storm Giant) in order to take the feat Storm Soul, which grants you immunity to electricity (and which is ideal for a Thor concept). You might, instead, take Racial Heritage (Stone Giant) in order to take the feat Stone Awareness, which grants you tremorsense out to 15 feet when in contact with earth or stone.

And if you have a DM that says you only gain the general subtype of a creature, you could take Racial Heritage (Giant), and take the feat Will of Giants, which makes you immune to enchantment effects that only target humanoids like charm person or hold person.

Giants are just one of the ridiculous options, though. You could combine goblin feats with a barbarian's fighting style, gaining benefits of the small race's tactics, while remaining a Medium-sized brute. Something like Burn! Burn! Burn!, which grants you bonuses on non-magical forms of damage would be ideal for a build that utilizes the Underground Chemist archetype, letting you tack a little more damage onto your alchemical attacks, over and above being able to deal sneak attack damage with them.

The combinations, while not endless, are pretty varied, and there is a lot of potential for discovering abilities you never knew you could bring to the table.

It's Not For Everyone

While a post like this shouldn't require this disclaimer, I'm putting it here because if I don't there will be brush fires all over the comments both here, and on social media. So, please, pay attention. And, if you want to, apply this to any other Crunch post I've made that focuses on potential combinations in any game.

Are you listening?
What I propose are only possible options. I'm going through the gigantic tool box that is the game system, and pointing out where little-known or less-used tools have been set aside, and showing that you can use them to achieve your goals. Can is, of course, different than saying you should use them, or that anyone who doesn't use them is somehow guilty of playing the game wrong. I'm just saying these are things you can do. If you like them, and want to use them in your game, more power to you. If you feel this doesn't fit your concept, or your gaming style, then don't. It's no skin off my nose. All I care about is that as many gamers know as many of their options as possible.

There now, with that said, thanks for checking out this week's Crunch post. As always, if you'd like to help support Improved Initiative, then I'd ask you to please go to The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page to become a patron. As little as $1 a month gives you some sweet swag, and it helps me keep writing posts that will (I hope) improve your game. Lastly, if you haven't done it already, why not follow me on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter?

1 comment:

  1. I had a shaman not too long ago that could freeze things by looking at them at level one because they were 1/4 frost giant (they were also seven feet tall and had various chromosomal disorders, natch)