So I’ve been working on a campaign for a while (house rules, custom archetypes, class replacements, races, items, all this good stuff) and it’s largely responsible for my lack of posting (there’s only so much time in the day I can spend seated and typing). One of the more recent results of my efforts was an interesting one and raised a question.
Why are half-races limited to human cross X?
Basically in Pathfinder (and DnD historically), humans can make babies with pretty much anything. Demons, Angels, Dragons, Fish, Other Humanoids, constructs (not really :P), if it moves and can reproduce, it could reproduce with a human. Despite this however, there are only two “common” half-races, Half-Orcs and Half-Elves. I seem to recall reading at one point that all “half-breeds” that fell outside of the prescribe races would use either the mother’s or the father’s racial traits as the dominant ones (with human traits of a feat and a skill point normally getting the boot). This led me to wonder, what is to stop a system for half-breed stats from existing (beyond the normal balance reasons). I can’t really see a huge issue from it as long as the GM has the final veto power (in an ideal group, the players would regulate their own power/balance levels). What I came up with as a rough first draft (it doesn’t catch extremes yet, but it covers most of the Core half blood possibilities, those being Gnomes, Dwarves, Elves, Halfings and catches most of the “standard” races). A race is generally broken down into stat bonuses, stat penalties, and racial features (which can be further divided).
-You pick one stat bonus from each parent (it cannot be the same stat), you gain a +2 to each of those stats (as a racial bonus).
-You pick one stat penalty from one parent (this can be in a stat that has a bonus), you take a -2 racial penalty to that stat.
-Add up the racial trait entries of each parent, divide by 2 and round down. You may select up to that many traits from either parent evenly. This definitely needs more work, a rating system to evaluate the value of certain features. Paizo attempted that with the “race builder” in one book or another, but that system was…comically abusable and didn’t make much sense.
So for example, I want to make a half-dwarf, half-elf baby (she’s actually a character in the campaign I’m working on).
Stats: I can choose from Con or Wis and Dex or Int. I went ahead and grabbed Con and Int (as dwarf-elf babies should be hardy and smart). For penalties I could choose between Con and Cha. I took Cha (DWARF HERITAGE IS STRONG WITH THIS ONE). The results from stats; +2 Con, +2 Int, -2 Cha.
Racial Features: Elves have 5, Dwarves have 9. 14/2 rounded down is 7.
Dwarf Traits: Defensive Training, Hardy, Stability, Greed, Stonecunning, Darkvision, Hatred, Weapon Familiarity, Slow and Steady.
Elf Traits: Elven Immunities, Keen Senses, Elven Magic, Weapon Familiarity, Low-Light Vision.
Here’s where things get a little tricky. I want to end up with a character that is a blend between dwarves and elves. Both races are known for being intelligent, seeing in the dark (to various amounts), and for being heritage proud. Out of these traits, I took Hardy, Low-Light Vision (I believe that darkvision should always be coupled with the dazzled in bright light effect), Keen Senses, Greed, Elven Immunites, and Slow. But wait! That’s only 6! Yup, one of the other things that I considered was what the result of blending those two races together, what would be a typical result of that marriage. I came to a child that was always inquisitive, investigating the world around her. A bright, intelligent, creative mind in a slender but study body. The end result was some tweaking to the racial abilities.
A creature resulting from the intermingling of a Dwarf and an Elf, Menehune tend to be intelligent, hard working artisans that find themselves shunned by both Dwarven and Elven societies.
- Ability Score Racial Traits: Menehune are inquisitive and tough, but tend to be blunt and straight foward. They gain +2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence and -2 Charisma.
- Size: Menehune are Medium creatures.
- Base Speed: (Slow speed) Menehune have a base speed of 20ft.
- Languages: Menehune begin play speaking Common and either Dwarven or Elven depending on the parent who raised them.
- Keen Senses: Menehune receive a +2 racial bonus on Perception checks.
- Natural Artisan: Menehune receive a +2 racial bonus on a Craft skill of their choice.
- Hardy: Menehune gain a +4 racial bonus on saving throws against poison and diseases.
- Meditative: Menehune are immune to sleep effects.
- Low-Light Vision: Menehune can see twice as far as humans in conditions of dim light.
- Stubborn: Menehune receive a +2 racial bonus against Enchantment spells or effects.
Menehune typically stand between 4’9″ and 5’7″ tall and weight between 140 and 192lbs.
I like how this race turned out, it blends the key aspects of Elves and Dwarves without loosing the core of either and I think balance-wise, it’s also fairly reasonable.