tenletter

Racial choices in Pathfinder

Posted in pathfinder, rpg by trashcondor on 2 February 2011

It’s not every day that we get to make a new character for a game. When the opportunity arises there is always the urge to look at other races and try to convince the GM that – yes, really, the background fully supports a ifrit trying to make a living as a sausage salesman in Absalom. Or a kobold merchant peddling the wares thoughtlessly “forgotten” by previous owners.

Now as a GM, I feel the instinctive need to protect myself from aasimar and drow and other races that are hypothetically playable. But I think there should be a possibility to explore beyond that. To this end this post. :)

I’ve compiled a list of all races listed in Pathfinder’s Core rules and Bestiary 1 and 2 – with the exception of humans. To each I’ve assigned a probability (out of 1000) with a cumulative total next to it. The probability is loosely based on how likely it is to find an adventurer of the appropriate race in Golarion. (Okay, that is a bit generous in some cases, but the numbers can still be improved in the future).

The idea is that a player may play any core race – or he can roll a d1000 on the random-race-table and gets to play the race closest to – but at most equal to – the corresponding entry in the table. For example, rolling any value between 917 and 928 (inclusive) results in an orc. A roll of 33 makes you a drow noble. And a roll of 470 lets you play a goblin. The one cave-at is: if you’re not happy with what you rolled, you can always fall back to playing a human (that is why they are excluded from the list).

If you’re feeling particularly mean and want to include humans in the table, simply add them with probability 1000 to the end of the table. The roll now is a d2000 and any value above 1000 makes the player a human.

 

Race Place %-race chance
Aasimar Bestiary, page 7 10 10
Dhampir Bestiary 2, page 89 12 22
Drow Bestiary, page 114 10 32
Drow noble Bestiary, page 115 1 33
Duergar Bestiary, page 117 12 45
Dwarf Core, page 21 135 180
Elf Core, page 22 135 315
Fetchling Bestiary 2, page 123 12 327
Gnome Core, page 23 135 462
Goblin Bestiary, page 156 12 474
Grippli Bestiary 2, page 149 12 486
Half-elf Core, page 24 135 621
Half-orc Core, page 25 107 728
Halfling Core, page 26 140 868
Hobgoblin Bestiary, page 175 12 880
Ifrit Bestiary 2, page 160 12 892
Kobold Bestiary, page 183 12 904
Merfolk Bestiary, page 204 12 916
Orc Bestiary, page 222 12 928
Oread Bestiary 2, page 205 12 940
Svirfneblin Bestiary, page 261 12 952
Sylth Bestiary 2, page 258 12 964
Tengu Bestiary, page 263 12 976
Tiefling Bestiary, page 264 12 988
Undine Bestiary 2, page 275 12 1000

 

Race Place %-race
Aasimar Bestiary, page 7 10 10
Dhampir Bestiary 2, page 89 12 22
Drow Bestiary, page 114 10 32
Drow noble Bestiary, page 115 1 33
Duergar Bestiary, page 117 12 45
Dwarf Core, page 21 135 180
Elf Core, page 22 135 315
Fetchling Bestiary 2, page 123 12 327
Gnome Core, page 23 135 462
Goblin Bestiary, page 156 12 474
Grippli Bestiary 2, page 149 12 486
Half-elf Core, page 24 135 621
Half-orc Core, page 25 107 728
Halfling Core, page 26 140 868
Hobgoblin Bestiary, page 175 12 880
Ifrit Bestiary 2, page 160 12 892
Kobold Bestiary, page 183 12 904
Merfolk Bestiary, page 204 12 916
Orc Bestiary, page 222 12 928
Oread Bestiary 2, page 205 12 940
Svirfneblin Bestiary, page 261 12 952
Sylth Bestiary 2, page 258 12 964
Tengu Bestiary, page 263 12 976
Tiefling Bestiary, page 264 12 988
Undine Bestiary 2, page 275 12 1000
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21 Responses

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  1. seaofstarsrpg said, on 3 February 2011 at 12:22 am

    That is actually far fewer races than I would have expected and . . .

    *roll, roll* 367

    I’ll take the option of playing a human . . .

  2. trashcondor said, on 3 February 2011 at 1:52 am

    hmmm… good point

    *roll, roll* 800

    Halfling… when I grow up I want to be a human :)

  3. jatori said, on 3 February 2011 at 6:52 am

    *roll, roll*

    266

    *checking chart*

    D:

  4. Griffin said, on 3 February 2011 at 8:22 am

    roll 945
    ?? I don’t like playing races I struggle to pronounce :/

    In all seriousness, the fun of character creation is that you have control over what you are going to be. Turning all character creation into the sum of dice rolls will leave the player with dull and lifeless characters they do not bond with. If a player has a strong desire to play a grippli and they go through the effort of motivating a back story and other descriptions, then that character is way better than any human another player has thrown together in 20mins without any thought of character depth. So I’m leaning towards saying player love trumps difficulty integrating a race into a game, balance is another issue though…

    • Stringburka said, on 3 February 2011 at 12:23 pm

      I don’t agree at all with random characters being dull, quite the reverse! Some of my greatest character memories I have are from randomly generated characters, with even randomly generated backgrounds (somewhat). When you end up with a Str 14, Int 7 gnome born into a family of mushroom farmers, you have to come up with some damn nice backstory!

    • J3Carlisle said, on 29 February 2012 at 3:31 pm

      One of my favorite campaign was randomly rolled for race, and thus I began a wonderful character as a quasit with the class of savant, with a party of a catfolk paladin, some kind of elf with wings necromancer, and a bird assassin. we all loved our randomly rolled races, and we all wish to be able to go back and play them again.

    • trashcondor said, on 29 February 2012 at 3:42 pm

      @J3Carlisle:

      Have you tried rolling the idea passed your GM? With Dragon Empires, and Bestiary 1, 2 and 3, there are a really big set of basic races available.

    • J3Carlisle said, on 29 February 2012 at 4:57 pm

      well this was done is 3.5, but could easily be done in pathfinder, we also had some 20 books that we were rolling races out of, and we weren’t just going with player races, at one point in that game, the quasit was forced to change its race, so the dm randomly rolled and he became a flaming horse. That DM really loves his random rolls

  5. trashcondor said, on 3 February 2011 at 11:22 am

    Balance is an issue; I agree – and any player-GM pair can make up their respective details. I like the idea of “putting things on the table” for players. I’m not fine with a player saying they want to play an aasimar. But I could accept them rolling an aasimar on the table.

    Perhaps the right way to use the table is to have the option of “human”, and 3 rolls on the table available to your character creation process. Or some such.

    • jatori said, on 3 February 2011 at 12:33 pm

      Hmm, ok, rolling an additional 2…

      *roll, roll*

      *roll, roll*

      423 – gnome

      336 – gnome

      D:

  6. Andrew said, on 3 February 2011 at 1:23 pm

    My database says my random number of the day is 277. I’m an elf…

  7. The Stuart said, on 3 February 2011 at 1:37 pm

    I agree with Griffin, random characters are something I strongly dislike. I know the War Hammer RPGs strongly encourage random character creation and I’ve found that I care very little for my characters; because they’re not my characters, they’re just a collection of random dice rolls that I had no investment in. If I want to play a non core race it’s probably 50% roll playing value and 50% role playing so I’m more than willing to justify and support my choice.

  8. trashcondor said, on 3 February 2011 at 1:53 pm

    It’s not supposed to be the one-way to make characters. It’s intended as an option to enrich the game for you if you chose so. Don’t hate the tool.

  9. cassey said, on 3 February 2011 at 2:52 pm

    I’m a gnome :-/ 399, at least J and I match :0

  10. Zarthon said, on 3 February 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Hmmm, I’d be playing a Grippli, I don’t even know what a Grippli is…

    I think I’ll stick with human thanks.

    Game on.

  11. jatori said, on 3 February 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Maybe I like playing non-core races as much as I do, because I detest gnomes. :P

  12. Endraca said, on 3 February 2011 at 3:08 pm

    *roll roll*

    816

    Halfling…like trashy :P

  13. Kinjira said, on 4 February 2011 at 6:07 am

    I think the reason I’m so open to my players choosing weird races is because I know my players. They’re all really good about not min-maxing, and they all enjoy making backstories for their characters (that are usually so cool and cohesive that I can’t just let it go flying out the window). And those of my players who don’t write ridiculous backstories are the ones who play as humans or elves anyway. :)

    And it looks like I’m a dhampir, which is always fun. :D

  14. trashcondor said, on 4 February 2011 at 11:25 am

    Well… there is that. But a second thing that irks me is unusual party compositions. By that I mean that it is rare for a grippli to be out adventuring with a couple of humans, elves and dwarves. Exceedingly rare. A group of gripplis adventuring – near grippli settlements – that happens. Similar for all the other races. To me it breaks down the special-ness of races if a party consists of an aasimar, a goblin, a fetchling and a duergar.

    By the same line, it bothers me if more than 10% of elves I see are *not* from Kyonin. And if half-the-party are full magic users. It just messes with my head with respect to relative distributions in the world. I *don’t* like it that “everybody is special”. I like backgrounds that are solidly grounded in the milieu that you’d expect to find them in.

    To that end, the table also satisfies me, as I can accept that there is a small chance that a tiefling and aasimar are adventuring together. And if that small chance is represented by a dice-roll, then it is pretty okay, and actually exciting – because (somehow) the party is more “real” to me then.

  15. Anonymous said, on 4 October 2011 at 5:57 pm

    We have a team of a Anumus, Drow noble, goblin, Svirfneblin, and a Sylth…I am pretty sure though this party is odd, the reason no one would have seen it is because they kill all in there path…lol

  16. trashcondor said, on 4 October 2011 at 10:53 pm

    hahaha – yea, that’s one way to look at it ;)


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