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Rules Index | GM Screen | Player's Guide

Chapter 1: Ancestries & Backgrounds

Source Advanced Player's Guide pg. 7
Your character's ancestry and background tell the story of who you were before you became an adventurer, as well as who you might strive to become one day. But not everyone fits neatly into the most common ancestries or backgrounds. You might be a birdlike tengu, a scaled kobold, or a curious catfolk, with a one-of-a-kind background in your story. Perhaps your ancestry has mixed with the blood of angels or demons. Only you can decide! This chapter expands your starting character options from those in the Core Rulebook, including each of the following sections.


Source Advanced Player's Guide pg. 7
Expand beyond the populous ancestries found in the Core Rulebook. The ancestry entry format is described here.
  • Catfolk, or amurruns, are humanoid felines who believe they were created to protect the wilderness from great danger.
  • Kobolds are small reptiles connected to dragons and fond of traps.
  • Orcs are warlike and honest people who respect strength, toughness, and survival above all.
  • Ratfolk , or ysoki, pack into tight spaces and are markedly industrious and fastidious.
  • Tengus are corvid-like humanoids with an affinity for blades and the rumored mystical ability to absorb bad luck.

Versatile Heritages

Source Advanced Player's Guide pg. 7
While the Core Rulebook presented heritages as subgroups of a particular ancestry, certain heritages can occur across all ancestries. For instance, if your mother was a hag, you could be a changeling whether you're a human, orc, or catfolk. Rules for versatile heritages are found on page 28.
  • Changelings are the children of hags, left as foundlings and subject to the danger of their mother's tempting call.
  • Dhampirs are part vampires due to an early connection to vampire blood.
  • Planar Scions (page 34) are descended from a distant planar ancestor or tied strongly to another plane. This book details the celestial aasimars, psychopomp-tied duskwalkers, and fiendish tieflings.

Ancestry Options

Source Advanced Player's Guide pg. 7
New heritages and ancestry feats expand on the Core Rulebook ancestries.


Source Advanced Player's Guide pg. 7
This chapter contains new backgrounds for characters from all walks of life, from bandits to teachers. This section also includes a set of special rare backgrounds that you and your GM might agree to use in a campaign.

Versatile Heritages

Source Advanced Player's Guide pg. 28
The peoples of Golarion are many, and they have a long history of intermingling. The inevitable offspring of these mixed unions share physiological features with both their parents, manifesting as a specific heritage. The most common of these by far are the half-elf and half-orc human ancestries. Some individuals, however, are born under far stranger circumstances, such as a monstrous, undead, or extraplanar parent, a powerful curse, or an incursion of extraplanar energies. As these circumstances aren't unique to a single ancestry, these heritages—called versatile heritages—are likewise shared by many ancestries.

Golarion is home to a variety of versatile heritages. Some are born to unusual creatures or arise through specific mundane or supernatural circumstances. Many, however, result from an infusion of extraplanar energy, whether through direct parentage, more distant ancestors, or simply direct exposure to the quintessence of that plane. These individuals are known as planar scions.

Because the circumstances that give rise to versatile heritages aren't limited to a single ancestry, a versatile heritage can be chosen by a character of nearly any ancestry. Some versatile heritages are more common among some ancestries than others, and some might list additional restrictions specific to that heritage. Your GM may place other restrictions on which ancestries can use a given versatile heritage based on the story and setting.

Playing a Versatile Heritage

Source Advanced Player's Guide pg. 28
To play a character with a versatile heritage, first select your ancestry, just like you would for any character. You gain Hit Points, size, Speed, ability boosts and ability flaws, languages, traits, and other abilities from that ancestry. Then, instead of choosing a heritage from those normally available to that ancestry, apply your chosen versatile heritage. You gain all the features from your versatile heritage, some of which might modify or replace statistics, abilities, or traits from your ancestry.

Since a versatile heritage is a heritage, you can have only one, and you can't have any other heritage in addition to your versatile heritage.

Sometimes a versatile heritage might give you an ability that conflicts with an ability from your ancestry. In these cases, you choose which of the conflicting abilities your character has.

When selecting ancestry feats, you can choose from those available to your ancestry as well as those specific to your versatile heritage.

Lineage Feats

Source Advanced Player's Guide pg. 28
Some ancestry feats within a versatile heritage have the lineage trait. These feats specify a physiological lineage your character has—such as the type of hag that birthed a changeling character, or the type of fiend that influenced a tiefling's birth. You can have only one lineage feat; you can select such a feat only at 1st level, and you can't retrain into or out of this feat.

In This Book

Source Advanced Player's Guide pg. 29
This book includes the rules for five versatile heritages, including three planar scions.


Source Advanced Player's Guide pg. 29
Children of the malevolent, magical crones known as hags, changelings share some of their mothers' abilities, such as sharp claws and occult magic. Many changelings experience or dread the psychic summons of their hag mothers, known as the Call, urging them to seek out their mothers so they might be transformed into hags themselves.

Changeling lineages affect the appearance of one of the changeling's eyes, and are as follows: brine may for the child of a sea hag, callow may for a green hag, dream may for a night hag, and slag may for an annis hag.


Source Advanced Player's Guide pg. 29
The mortal offspring of undead vampires are caught between life and undeath, mortality and immortality, mundane existence and powerful magic. Dhampirs enjoy long life spans and otherworldly charm, but their ghostly pallor and the nature of their parentage make their lives in humanoid societies difficult.

The two lineages for dhampirs found here are the svetocher, who come from the most common vampires called the moroi, and the straveika, born of the aged and unsettling nosferatu.

Planar Scions

Source Advanced Player's Guide pg. 29
Life is present everywhere across the planes of the Great Beyond, and the intermingling of Material Plane mortals and extraplanar beings is no rare thing. The resultant children of these relationships—and sometimes the descendants of those children—are known as planar scions. There are numerous types of planar scions, just as there are countless types of beings across the planes that might consort with mortals. This book focuses on the following three.


Source Advanced Player's Guide pg. 29
These planar scions bear the blood of celestial beings—angels, archons, azatas, and other benevolent extraplanar entities. Though this grants aasimars certain abilities and characteristics, it also places tremendous pressure upon them to meet expectations due to the assumptions others hold of their heritage.

Aasimar lineages found here include the angelkin, the lawbringers who come from archons, and the musetouched born of azatas.


Source Advanced Player's Guide pg. 29
A duskwalker isn't born; they are instead created, each manifesting as a mortal child in a location with close ties to death. They embody the somber powers of the psychopomps, immortal guardians and shepherds of the dead, and they maintain a fascination with and deep understanding of death throughout their lives. More singular than other versatile heritages, duskwalkers don't have different lineages.


Source Advanced Player's Guide pg. 29
The influence of fiendish blood or energy gives rise to tieflings. A tiefling's heritage is boon and bane, as none can contest the powers they command, but few communities are willing to overlook the physical features that accompany fiendish blood—horns, hoofed feet, and tails being but a few examples.

The lineages for tieflings in this book are hellspawn born of devils, pitborn made with the influence of demons, and the grimspawn of daemonic origin.


Source Advanced Player's Guide pg. 48
This chapter contains new backgrounds for characters from all walks of life, from bandits to teachers. This section also includes a set of special rare backgrounds that you and your GM might agree to use in a campaign.

Common Backgrounds

Source Advanced Player's Guide pg. 48
The following common backgrounds supplement those found in the Core Rulebook and are available to any character during character creation. Some of these backgrounds grant skill feats from Chapter 4 of this book.

Rare Backgrounds

Source Advanced Player's Guide pg. 50
While most backgrounds are available to any character, some backgrounds are so unusual that just having them makes a character rare and extraordinary.

These rare backgrounds can give a player a significantly different roleplaying experience by setting their character up with a history or legacy beyond the norm. Whether a character with the royalty background is heir to the throne of the kingdom where your campaign takes place or to a distant but powerful nation in the same world, the character is situated in a special position within the narrative. Your character's background is an intrinsic part of where they come from and not something they earn during the game. Rare backgrounds should be chosen only after a discussion between the GM and the other players as to whether one would apply for a particular character in your group's game.

Backgrounds can also be unique, such that no other character can have them if your character does. To create unique backgrounds, you can adapt the rare backgrounds in this section by including more specific details.