Access to Ancestries Explained

A Hummingbird Wayfinder – Uncommon Item accessible via Pathfinder Agent

Welcome back, Pathfinders! As we ramp up to beginning live play in the League of Aroden area, we need to go over some things so that everyone is on the same page. Today’s topic is one that has been around since the launch of 2e, but with all of the new options added to the game, and with some of them gated behind the rarity or access system, I felt that this needed to be explained. Let’s jaunt over to the Archives of Nethys which servers as the official SRD for Pathfinder 1e, 2e, and Starfinder online and see what it says.

Rarity

Source Core Rulebook pg. 13 2.0
Some elements of the game have a rarity to denote how often they’re encountered in the game world. Rarity primarily applies to equipment and magic items, but spells, feats, and other rules elements also have a rarity. If no rarity appears in the traits of an item, spell, or other game element, it is of common rarity. Uncommon items are available only to those who have special training, grew up in a certain culture, or come from a particular part of the world. Rare items are almost impossible to find and are usually given out only by the GM, while unique ones are literally one-of-a-kind in the game. The GM might alter the way rarity works or change the rarity of individual items to suit the story they want to tell.

Access

So, that explains what rarity is. The question is how do we get access to Uncommon, Rare, and Legendary things in the game? Let’s look at the PFS2 Guide to see what it says about Access.

Access: Players can access uncommon or rare options via access points built into the campaign. If you satisfy the access condition specified in that option, then that option is common for you. Pathfinder Society  characters are enrolled members of the Pathfinder Society organization in the world of Golarion, so they gain access to all options requiring  membership in the Pathfinder Society. The Pathfinder Society Rarity and Availability blog contains specific examples on how to access uncommon and rare character options. 

What’s that? We have a way to access those things. Note Legendary is not covered in there. That is because Legendary things are just that, legendary. You are only going to get those items via a one-of-a-kind award, if ever. It is kind of like Excalibur or Stormbringer. There is only one of those items in existence in any campaign. We still have a way to access Uncommon and Rare things though. Let’s look into that by clicking that link.

This opens up a webpage on Paizo.com for us to go through. I’ll copy over the relevant parts for this conversation.

What is Availability?

You might notice that the Core Rulebook references the GM in several places. Since Pathfinder Society doesn’t have just one GM, the organized play team acts as campaign GM, using a system of availability to show what options are legal for play. There are three kinds of availability for Pathfinder Society:

Standard: Standard availability just means that the option’s rarity for Organized Play is unchanged from the rarity printed in its sourcebook. If the option is common in the sourcebook, that means it’s common for Pathfinder Society, so you can take it as-is (assuming you meet all the usual prerequisites). If the option is uncommon in the sourcebook, that means it’s uncommon for Pathfinder Society, so you need to gain access to it somehow (see below for more on that!). Almost all options are standard availability unless otherwise stated.

Limited: Limited availability means that the option won’t be seen as often in Society play. If an option is limited, it means that you can’t select it unless you have a boon that specifically allows it—even if the option is common or if you have access to it. Options are limited if we want to save them for special rewards (usually for scenarios with heavy ties to certain regions or factions), or if we’re not allowing them in the campaign at this time.

Restricted: A restricted option functions exactly like a limited option—you can’t select it unless you have a boon that specifically allows it. The main difference, though, is to signal that these options shouldn’t be expected to enter Society play anytime soon, either because they don’t make sense for large numbers of players to be running around with (such as unique weapons), require above-average amounts of GM adjudication (such as the Plot the Future feat, which requires the GM to give advice to the player about future actions within the next week), or are outside the tone of the shared campaign setting (such as certain evil deities or spells). Restricted options usually enter the campaign in small numbers, such as via charity boons, if at all.

Rather than saying options are allowed or banned, as was the case in Pathfinder First Edition, we designate them as standard or limited/restricted instead. This helps to keep everything working within the same rarity system as used in all other Pathfinder products, and it also makes it easier for us to allow options later down the line if things change.

Gaining Access to Uncommon Options

So, what should I do if I want to use an uncommon option for my Pathfinder Society character? There are five main ways to gain access:

  1. Automatic Access: Pathfinder Society players gain automatic access to a variety of options—such as the kobold ancestry, the vigilante archetype, or Pathfinder-specific equipment like the wayfinder—just by being part of the Pathfinder Society! Check the Character Options Blog to see if you already have access to the option you want to take.
  2. Character Origin: Just like in non-Society play, your character’s backstory—such as their ethnicity, region of origin, or any groups they belong to—might give them access to certain options.
  3. Player Options: Some common feats, ancestries, classes, or the like can grant you access to uncommon options further down the line. For instance, the dragon disciple archetype is uncommon, but if you’re a dragon instinct barbarian or a draconic bloodline sorcerer, you gain access. Similarly, many uncommon ancestral weapons, such as gnome flickmaces or elven curve blades, can be accessed with common ancestry feats.
  4. Achievement Points (AcP) Purchase: Achievement Points earned by playing and GMing games can be used to purchase access to uncommon or rare options. You can check the total AcP you’ve unlocked for Pathfinder Society (2e) and the boons available to purchase by signing in to your My Organized Play account and going to the “Boons” tab. This is also the main way to select an uncommon ancestry or heritage.
  5. Adventure Unlocks: Lastly, boon unlocks from completing certain adventures or achieving Faction goals grant access to thematically related uncommon or rare options. In Year 1, these boons were located on the Chronicle Sheet of each adventure, but moving forward into the future, you’ll now find these boons in the same place as those purchasable with AcP on the “Boons” tab of your My Organized Play page.

Aha! Now we’re getting somewhere! Many of the Uncommon things are available as explained above in the first three categories. Some things require Achievement Points (AcP) though and that’s what I want to get into next. Every since you started to play PFS2, you began to earn AcP. All Venture Officers and GMs are required to report all of the sessions they supervise or run through the Paizo.com website. There are no exceptions allowed. This is why it is so important that everyone have an Organized Play number for reporting purposes. We have them available at every event. If the player does not make their account with it, then that just hurts their accumulation of AcP because the sessions are reported. Just a FYI, we have ways to get players who lose their numbers connected with those numbers.

Let me post the AcP table again.

Achievement Points

Players earn Achievement Points (AcP) by participating in and reporting Pathfinder Society games. AcP are an online currency used to purchase character boons. Currently, there are three levels of AcP events.The number of points earned depends on time involved, the event level, and the type of involvement as in the chart below. Event classifications are:

  • Standard events: games played in stores, homes, or other  locations .
  • Premier events: games played at conventions and local events designated part of the Regional Support Program. 
  • Premier Plus events: Paizo-sponsored conventions and conventions running more than 75 blocks of organized play.

Table 6-1: Typical AcP rewards.

Adventure XPPlayer / GMStandard EventPremier EventPremier+ Event
1 XP (Quests, Bounties, etc)Player111.5
 GM22.53
4 XP (Scenarios)Player456
 GM81012
12 XP (Some Adventures, Adventure Path books*)Player121518
 GM243036

*Not all Adventures and Adventure Path books award 12 XP. See the individual sanctioning documents for details.

A list of  Achievement Points rewards available for purchase lives on the Boon tab of your My Organized Play page. To purchase a boon, select a character from the dropdown list, then click the purchase button of the desired boon. A list of purchased boons appears at the bottom of the page. Each purchased boon generates a downloadable printable boon. AcP boons should be stored with Chronicles, either digitally or alongside physical sheets. 

Now that you have accessed your Organized Play page and seen how many AcP you have, let’s look at the Ancestries to get an idea of how they work in that regard. First up, where can you find what is available in Society play? Here is the webpage for Pathfinder Society Character Options. All you have to do is scroll down and select the source by clicking on the yellowed link. It opens up the availability rules for various things in the source.

To save time, let’s focus on the ancestries. You can also just click on the boons via your Organized Play page and see how much each boon is there. I’ll list them here though.

AncestrySourcebookAcP Cost# per Player
AndroidLO: Ancestry Guide160
Azarketi (Gillman)LO: City of Lost Omens80
CatfolkAdvanced Player’s Guide1201
DwarfCore Rulebook0
ElfCore Rulebook0
FetchlingLO: Ancestry Guide80
FleshwarpedLO: Ancestry Guide160
GnomeCore Rulebook0
GoblinCore Rulebook0
HalflingCore Rulebook0
HobgoblinLO: Character Guide1201
HumanCore Rulebook0
Iruxi (Lizardman)LO: Character Guide80
KitsuneLO: Ancestry Guide80
KoboldAdvanced Player’s Guide0
LeshyLO: Character Guide80
OrcAdvanced Player’s Guide80
RatfolkAdvanced Player’s Guide80
ShoonyExtinction Curse AP80/160 (w/wo CS)1/1
SpriteLO: Ancestry Guide160
StrixLO: Ancestry Guide160
TenguAdvanced Player’s Guide80
HeritageSourcebookAcP CostSpecial Instructions
AasimarAdvanced Player’s Guide80
AphoriteLO: Ancestry Guide80
BeastkinLO: Ancestry Guide160
ChangelingAdvanced Player’s Guide80
DhampirAdvanced Player’s Guide80
DuskwalkerAdvanced Player’s Guide80
GanziLO: Ancestry Guide80
GeniekinLO: Ancestry Guide80Ifrit, oread, suli, slyph or undine
Half-ElfCore Rulebook0Must be of Human ancestry
Half-OrcCore Rulebook0Must be of Human ancestry
TieflingAdvanced Player’s Guide80

As you can easily see, the game has expanded just a little bit! Hopefully this helps you understand the Rarity and Access system a little better. I know many newer players see all the races and want to jump to play them right off the bat. This is where we need to explain these systems. None of the races are completely out of your reach though. By earning AcP you gain access to all of these ancestries and heritages. Gaining AcP is not that difficult either. You earn a lot just by GMing and we always need GMs in the area. Playing at Premier and Premier+ Conventions helps too. GMing at those cons really boosts the AcP! I have earned over 1400 AcP so far. As we begin to move back into live play, we will also see some RSP events in the area which will give a slight AcP bonus as well.

Okay, that’s a long post, but good information there that I hope explains Rarity and Access. I focused on the ancestries since they seem to be the area most people focus on the most. I will add to the tables as more ancestries and heritages come out over time. Meanwhile….

AncestrySourcebookAcP Cost# per Player
AndroidLO: Ancestry Guide160
Azarketi (Gillman)LO: City of Lost Omens80
CatfolkAdvanced Player’s Guide1201
DwarfCore Rulebook0
ElfCore Rulebook0
FetchlingLO: Ancestry Guide80
FleshwarpedLO: Ancestry Guide160
GnomeCore Rulebook0
GoblinCore Rulebook0
HalflingCore Rulebook0
HobgoblinLO: Character Guide1201
HumanCore Rulebook0
Iruxi (Lizardman)LO: Character Guide80
KitsuneLO: Ancestry Guide80
KoboldAdvanced Player’s Guide0
LeshyLO: Character Guide80
OrcAdvanced Player’s Guide80
RatfolkAdvanced Player’s Guide80
ShoonyExtinction Curse AP80/160 (w/wo CS)1/1
SpriteLO: Ancestry Guide160
StrixLO: Ancestry Guide160
TenguAdvanced Player’s Guide80

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