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Source Advanced Player's Guide pg. 8

Racial Traits

Source Advanced Player's Guide pg. 8
The following race discussions also describe alternate racial traits for each character race. It is important to note that these racial traits are not the same as the trait rules. Those traits are effectively half-feats, intended to tie characters to the specific nations, cultures, regions, and races of the Golarion campaign world. Racial traits, on the other hand, are those racial abilities described at the bottom of each race’s descriptive page. Some races have few racial traits, like half-orcs and humans. Others, like dwarves and gnomes, have many. All of these racial traits represent typical members of the race and the kinds of special abilities they gain from their heritage, whether from biology, racial attitudes, or otherwise.

This chapter also contains a list of alternate class features for each race. Some of them play on racial archetypes not ref lected in the standard racial traits, like a gnome’s love of languages or tinkering or a half ling’s mastery of thrown items or of slipping through a battlefield under the feet of larger races. In order to choose one of these racial traits, you must exchange one or more of the existing racial traits available to your character. These racial traits replace a character’s normal racial traits; they are not abilities gained in addition to them. In many cases, racial abilities are exchanged on a one-to-one basis; you give up one racial ability from the Core Rulebook to gain one presented in this book. In other cases, you may have to exchange more than one racial trait to take one of these alternate racial traits. For example, a gnome may eschew the militant path and exchange defensive training and hatred for the gift of tongues, while other magic-using gnomes might forgo the traditional gnome specialty of illusion magic to become a magical linguist or even a pyromaniac.

You can exchange one or several of your character’s normal racial traits, but of course you cannot exchange the same racial trait more than once. If a human exchanges the skilled trait to become either a child of the fields or a child of the street, she cannot exchange it twice to take both new traits. However, she could choose one of those as an alternate racial trait while also exchanging her bonus feat racial trait to gain an eye for talent.

As with any alternate or optional rule, you must first get the permission of your GM to exchange any of your character’s normal racial traits for those in this chapter.

Racial Favored Class Bonus

Source Advanced Player's Guide pg. 8
The final section for each racial discussion describes alternative benefits for members of that race taking certain classes as a favored class. The normal benefit of having a favored class is simple and effective: your character gains one extra hit point or one extra skill rank each time she gains a level in that class (or in either of two classes, if she is a half-elf ). The alternate favored class abilities listed here may not have as broad an appeal as the standard choices. They are designed to reflect flavorful options that might be less useful in general but prove handy in the right situations or for a character with the right focus. Most of them play off racial archetypes, like a half-orc’s toughness and proclivity for breaking things or elven grace and finesse.

In most cases, these benefits are gained on a level-by-level basis—your character gains the specified incremental benefit each time she gains a level. Unless otherwise noted, these benefits always stack with themselves. For example, a human with paladin as a favored class may choose to gain 1 point of energy resistance each time she gains a level; choosing this benefit twice increases this resistance bonus to 2, 10 times raises it to 10, and so on.

In some cases this benefit may eventually hit a fixed numerical limit, after which selecting that favored class benefit has no effect. Of course, you can still select the bonus hit point or skill rank as your favored class benefit, so there is always a reward for sticking with a favored class.

Finally, some of these alternate favored class benefits only add +1/2, +1/3, +1/4, or +1/6 to a roll (rather than +1) each time the benefit is selected; when applying this result to the die roll, round down (minimum 0). For example, a dwarf with rogue as his favored class adds +1/2 to his trap sense ability regarding stone traps each time he selects the alternate rogue favored class benefit; though this means the net effect is +0 after selecting it once (because +1/2 rounds down to +0), after 20 levels this benefit gives the dwarf a +10 bonus to his trap sense (in addition to the base value from being a 20th-level rogue).

As in the previous section, what is presented here is a set of alternative benefits that characters of each race may choose instead of the normal benefits for their favored class. Thus, rather than taking an extra hit point or an extra skill rank, players may choose for their characters to gain the benefit listed here. This is not a permanent or irrevocable choice; just as characters could alternate between taking skill ranks and hit points when they gain levels in their favored class, these benefits provide a third option, and characters may freely alternate between them.

As with any alternate or optional rule, consult with your GM to determine whether exchanging normal favored class benefits for those in this chapter will be allowed.


Source Advanced Player's Guide pg. 72
From the noble paladin to the skillful rogue, each core class in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game draws upon a central archetype. Yet, beyond that basic concept exists the potential for innumerable interpretations, details, and refinements. The fighter class, for example, might easily be sculpted into a dead-eye archer, a fleet-footed duelist, a stealthy jungle hunter, or countless other types of martial masters, all refined by a player’s choice of details, class options, and specific rules. Yet some archetypes prove pervasive and exciting enough to see use in play time and time again. To help players interested in creating iconic fantasy characters, the following pages explore new rules, options, and alternate class features for each core class. So while most druids wander the woods, some track through the vast desert, reveling in what the wastes have to offer. Such optional features represent a unique view of what a class deliberately designed to capture a specific character archetype might become. While the types of options presented for each core class differ, each subsystem is customized to best serve that class, emulate the abilities and talents of classic fantasy archetypes, and expand players’ freedom to design exactly the characters they desire.

Alternate Class Features

Most of the options presented on the following pages include a host of alternate class features. When a character selects a class, he must choose to use the standard class features found in the Core Rulebook or those listed in one of the archetypes presented here. Each alternate class feature replaces a specific class feature from its parent class. For example, the elemental fist class feature of the monk of the four winds replaces the stunning fist class feature of the monk. When an archetype includes multiple class features, a character must take all of them—often blocking the character from ever gaining certain familiar class features, but replacing them with equally powerful options. All of the other class features found in the core class and not mentioned among the alternate class features remain unchanged and are acquired normally when the character reaches the appropriate level (unless noted otherwise). A character who takes an alternate class feature does not count as having the class feature that was replaced when meeting any requirements or prerequisites.

A character can take more than one archetype and garner additional alternate class features, but none of the alternate class features can replace or alter the same class feature from the core class as another alternate class feature. For example, a paladin could not be both a hospitaler and an undead scourge since they both modify the smite evil class feature and both replace the aura of justice class feature. A paladin could, however, be both an undead scourge and a warrior of the holy light, since none of their new class features replace the same core class feature.

Adapting Existing Characters

Players with existing characters should talk with their GM about whether on not these alternate class features are available in her game, and if so, whether they can recreate their characters to adopt them. As alternate class features are designed to be balanced when compared to those in the core class, players who revise their characters shouldn’t be gaining any special advantage over other party members. As long as the GM is comfortable with retroactively adjusting character specifics, there should be no disruption to future adventures. Typically, the best time for a player to adopt alternate class features and significantly revise his character is when leveling up between adventures, though he should always check with the GM before doing so, as she may wish to work significant changes to a character into the campaign.

While the GM might want to make concessions for players who didn’t have these alternate class features available to them when creating their characters, PCs should be one of the most constant elements of a campaign. Constantly changing and recreating characters can prove problematic to a campaign. While the GM should be willing to adapt and may allow players who grow bored with their characters to redefine them, alternate class abilities shouldn’t feel like exploitable options allowing PCs to build and rebuild their characters in whatever ways seem most advantageous at a given moment. Allowing players to remake characters in light of newly adopted rules may be desirable on occasion, but GMs shouldn’t feel like they’re being unfair or breaking any rule by not allowing players to rebuild characters or by disallowing certain options. While the GM should always strive to help players run the characters they want, ultimately she knows what’s best for the campaign.


Source Advanced Player's Guide pg. 326
Character traits are abilities that are not tied to your character’s race or class. They can enhance your character’s skills, racial abilities, class abilities, or other statistics, enabling you to further customize him. At its core, a character trait is approximately equal in power to half a feat, so two character traits are roughly equivalent to a bonus feat. Yet a character trait isn’t just another kind of power you can add on to your character—it’s a way to quantify (and encourage) building a character background that fits into your campaign world. Think of character traits as “story seeds” for your background; after you pick your two traits, you’ll have a point of inspiration from which to build your character’s personality and history. Alternatively, if you’ve already got a background in your head or written down for your character, you can view picking his traits as a way to quantify that background, just as picking race and class and ability scores quantifies his other strengths and weaknesses.

Many traits grant a new type of bonus: a “trait” bonus. Trait bonuses do not stack—they’re intended to give player characters a slight edge, not a secret backdoor way to focus all of a character’s traits on one type of bonus and thus gain an unseemly advantage. It’s certainly possible, for example, that somewhere down the line, a “Courageous” trait might be on the list of dwarf race traits, but just because this trait is on both the dwarf race traits list and the basic combat traits list doesn’t mean you’re any more brave if you choose both versions than if you choose only one.

Character traits are only for player characters. If you want an NPC to have traits, that NPC must “buy” them with the Additional Traits feat. Player characters are special; they’re the stars of the game, after all, and it makes sense that they have an advantage over the NPCs of the world in this way.

Gaining Traits

Source Advanced Player's Guide pg. 326
When you create your character for a campaign, ask your GM how many traits you can select. In most cases, a new PC should gain two traits, effectively gaining what amounts to a bonus feat at character creation. Some GMs may wish to adjust this number somewhat, depending upon their style of play; you may only be able to pick one trait, or your GM might allow three or more. Even if your GM normally doesn’t allow bonus traits, you might still be able to pick up some with the Additional Traits feat.

Types of Traits

Source Advanced Player's Guide pg. 326
There are five types of character traits to choose from: basic (split among four categories: Combat, Faith, Magic, and Social), campaign, race, regional, and religion.

Basic Traits: There are a total of 40 basic traits, which are split evenly among the categories of Combat, Faith, Magic, and Social. Note that each of these four categories roughly equates to the four modes of adventuring, but aren’t tied to specific classes. It’s perfectly possible to have a religious rogue, for example, or a magic-obsessed fighter. Basic traits are “generic,” and should be able to fit into any campaign setting with a minimum of customization.

Campaign Traits: These traits are specifically tailored to give new characters an instant hook into a new campaign. Campaign traits tailored to a specific Pathfinder Adventure Path can always be found in that Adventure Path’s Player’s Guide.

Race Traits: Race traits are keyed to specific races or ethnicities, which your character must belong to in order to select the trait. If your race or ethnicity changes at some later point (perhaps as a result of polymorph magic or a reincarnation spell), the benefits gained by your race trait persist—only if your mind and memories change as well do you lose the benefits of a race trait.

Regional Traits: Regional traits are keyed to specific regions, be they large (such as a nation or geographic region) or small (such as a city or a specific mountain). In order to select a regional trait, your PC must have spent at least a year living in that region. At 1st level, you can only select one regional trait (typically the one tied to your character’s place of birth or homeland), despite the number of regions you might wish to write into your character’s background.

Religion Traits: Religion traits indicate that your character has an established faith in a specific deity; you need not be a member of a class that can wield divine magic to pick a religion trait, but you do have to have a patron deity and have some amount of religion in your background to justify this trait. Unlike the other categories of traits, religion traits can go away if you abandon your religion, as detailed below under Restrictions on Trait Selection.

Restrictions on Trait Selection

Source Advanced Player's Guide pg. 326
There are a few rules governing trait selection. To begin with, your GM controls how many bonus traits a PC begins with; the default assumption is two traits. When selecting traits, you may not select more than one from the same list of traits (the four basic traits each count as a separate list for this purpose). Certain types of traits may have additional requirements, as detailed in the section above.

Remember also that traits are intended to model events that were formative in your character’s development, either events from before he became an adventurer, or (in the case of additional traits gained via the Additional Traits feat) ones that happened while adventuring. Even if your character becomes a hermit and abandons society, he’ll still retain his legacy of growing up an aristocrat if he took the relevant social trait. The one exception to this is religion traits—since these traits require continued faith in a specific deity, your character can indeed lose the benefits of these traits if he switches religions. In this case, consult your GM for your options. She may simply rule that your character loses that trait, or she might allow him to pick a new religion trait tied to his new deity. Another option is that if your character abandons a religion, he loses the associated religion trait until he gains an experience level, at which point he may replace a lost religion trait with a basic faith trait.