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Ancestry & Culture: An Alternative to Race in 5e
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Ancestry & Culture: An Alternative to Race in 5e

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Character creation rules for 5e that replace race with ancestry, culture, and mixed heritage, for awesome new PCs

"Required reading for playing RPGs in 2020" - Polygon

- Play a character of one ancestry raised in a different culture, like an orc raised by elves

- Play a character of mixed ancestry, like the child of a gnome and a halfling

- Replace the outdated concept of Race in D&D with ancestry & culture

- Convert existing races into ancestries and cultures

- Create your own custom culture

- Comes with two friendly one-shot adventures designed for players of all ages

- Based on the successful ZineQuest Kickstarter

- Get 126 more ancestries & cultures in Custom Ancestries & Cultures and More Ancestries & Cultures

- Create cultures based on geography or the planes of existence in More Ancestries & Cultures

Halfing-Orc BardElf-Dragonborn MonkCover


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Arcanist Press on DriveThruRPG: Ancestry & Culture: An Alternative to Race in 5eCustom Ancestries & Cultures, More Ancestries & Cultures, and Ancestry & Culture Pregen Characters

 
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Reviews (21)
Discussions (33)
Customer avatar
Matthias B December 02, 2020 1:33 pm UTC
PURCHASER
The official rules in "Tasha's Cauldron of Everything" are 100% better than the rules from this book! Those optional rules allow you to change everything of your chosen origin (except special abilities which BTW are not learned but inherent). Which is much better than randomly dividing all traits among ancestry and culture as it has been done in this book.
Customer avatar
Per Trygstad D November 25, 2020 8:18 pm UTC
So this piece of writing seems to try to argue that the biggest difference between a halfling and a half-orc is their upbringing...
I am honestly curious about how the hell this makes sense, but, knowing this website, my comment will most likely just be deleted again, like so many others who are trying to call bulshit on this sort of propaganda.
Customer avatar
Yann E November 25, 2020 8:23 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hey trump, the exit is there
Customer avatar
Dale E November 26, 2020 3:11 am UTC
It makes me worried this'll become something standard in future D&D and other big games, like something you're forced to have whether you agree with its content or not.
Customer avatar
Julia K November 26, 2020 2:33 pm UTC
PURCHASER
You did notice that they have ancestry and culture, right? They are not changing the fact that a halfling is short or a half-orc green.
Customer avatar
Eugene M November 26, 2020 2:40 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Julia is correct. If you choose to play a character of halfling ancestry and halfling culture, your character is IDENTICAL to playing a character of halfling race out of the Players Handbook. These rules give you the OPTION to mix and match ancestry and culture -- they do not mandate doing so.

Ancestral traits still exist, like Size, Age, Darkvision, and Breath Weapon. But cultural traits, like Language, Skill Proficiency, and so on vary from culture to culture. It's just common sense, really; babies aren't born knowing a specific language -- their culture teaches them that. So if you took a half-orc and raised them among halflings, they'd likely learn the halfling language instead of orc.

I might add that all of this is readily apparent if you read the free 30 page preview. Strangely, many people seem threatened by this option being made available. I think we all know why that is.
Customer avatar
Nathan C November 30, 2020 4:58 pm UTC
PURCHASER
If you don't believe in it, you don't have to do it. Not sure what teaching system tells folk that if other people do things, it means that they are forcing them to do so. =
Customer avatar
Yann E December 02, 2020 9:52 am UTC
PURCHASER
An extrait of the introduction:
"Consider what triple-Hugo Award winning novelist N.K. Jemisin says about orcs (and, by extension, half-orcs): “Orcs are human beings who can be slaughtered without conscience or apology….
Creatures that look like people, but aren’t really. Kinda-sorta-people, who aren’t worthy of even the most basic moral considerations, like the right to exist. Only way to deal with them is to control them utterly a la slavery, or wipe them all out. Huh. Sounds familiar… The whole concept of orcs is irredeemable. Orcs are fruit of the poison vine that is human fear of ‘the Other.’ In games like Dungeons & Dragons, orcs are a ‘fun’ way to bring faceless savage dark hordes into a fantasy setting and then gleefully go genocidal on them… They’re an amalgamation of stereotypes. And to me, that’s no fun at all.”
Customer avatar
Yann E December 02, 2020 9:53 am UTC
PURCHASER
Game designer and writer James Mendez Hodes argues persuasively, and with
scholarly care, that “…racist myths from the British academy and army fueled J.R.R. Tolkien’s creation of orcs as an analogue for Asian people… D&D, like Tolkien, makes race literally real in-game by applying immutable modifiers to character ability scores, skills, and other characteristics. The in-game fiction justifies these character traits as absolute realities; they also just happen to be the same cruel and untrue things racists say about different ethnicities.”
Customer avatar
Yann E December 02, 2020 9:56 am UTC
PURCHASER
I hope that, as a customer of this product, by pasting these extracts you will understand what the authors of this PDF have done it. You are not obligated to accept this, you aren't obligated to buy the PDF to be a "good player* but at least you may have understood the intention.
Customer avatar
Matthias B December 02, 2020 1:41 pm UTC
PURCHASER
This has nothing to do with the self-proclaimed "greatest president of all times".

This has somrthing to do with the simply fact that the so-called races in most RPGs are no races at all, but species. Even a half-orc raised by halfling will retain everything which is inherent to all half-orcs. A drow raised by high-elves would still have his inherent drow magic abilities.

And it has something to do with the all those disproven claimes made in the extremely long introduction.
Customer avatar
Matthias B December 02, 2020 1:43 pm UTC
PURCHASER
They've made one big mistake: they put inherent traits in culture and learned traits in ancestry.
Customer avatar
Matthias B December 02, 2020 1:48 pm UTC
PURCHASER
And that's a lie! You would have known this if you had read Tolkien's own introduction of the Lord of the Rings.
Customer avatar
Eugene M December 02, 2020 1:57 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Matthias, please stop spamming this discussion. That's FIVE posts in a row.

And that's not even to mention the repeated false statements you're making here. For example:

(1) Calling orcs a "species" rather than a "race" does not remove the problematic essentialism of treating a whole people as savage.
(2) No claims in the introduction have been "disproven." You've made it quite clear that you disagree with them, but that's hardly the same as disproving them.
(3) Traits in the above book are not "randomly assigned," but done so according to the principles clearly stated in the book itself. Learned traits and behaviors go in culture, while obviously biological traits, like the Dragonborn's breath weapon, go in ancestry. There are some traits that are unclear or could be interpreted either way, of course. You are free to quibble about those as you like.

You've had your say and I won't delete your current critical comments....See more
Customer avatar
Dale E November 17, 2020 4:55 am UTC
"Required reading for playing RPGs in 2020"
This quote is genuinely scary.
Customer avatar
Jack C November 21, 2020 1:58 am UTC
Why?
Customer avatar
Tiago R November 24, 2020 9:26 pm UTC
Because it implies that you are not allowed to play RPGs if you do not adopt these rules or others like it, or at least that you are a racist for not doing so.
Customer avatar
Dale E November 26, 2020 3:09 am UTC
Exactly.
Customer avatar
Eugene M November 26, 2020 2:41 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Dale and Tiago are wrong.

If you choose to play a character of halfling ancestry and halfling culture, your character is IDENTICAL to playing a character of halfling race out of the Players Handbook. These rules give you the OPTION to mix and match ancestry and culture -- they do not mandate doing so.

Ancestral traits still exist, like Size, Age, Darkvision, and Breath Weapon. But cultural traits, like Language, Skill Proficiency, and so on vary from culture to culture. It's just common sense, really; babies aren't born knowing a specific language -- their culture teaches them that. So if you took a half-orc and raised them among halflings, they'd likely learn the halfling language instead of orc.

I might add that all of this is readily apparent if you read the free 30 page preview. Strangely, many people seem threatened by this option being made available. I think we all know why that is.
Customer avatar
Charles G November 28, 2020 8:49 pm UTC
So what you are saying is that those of us who prefer the old tropes and would prefer not to purchase this product and play this way are racist?
Customer avatar
Eugene M November 28, 2020 9:07 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Neither this product nor its authors accused you of any such thing. Certainly, if someone feels threatened by these optional player choices, then maybe they should think about why it bothers them so much. But if the existence of these optional rules doesn't bother you, then that's fine too -- you don't have to use them.

All I'd suggest is that people ask their fellow players what kind of content they like in their game, just like you might ask someone what kind of food they like when you share a meal, or what kind of film they like when you watch a movie together. If they don't like the race rules in D&D, or think they are problematic, then the above title is one of several alternatives.
Customer avatar
Matthias B December 02, 2020 1:52 pm UTC
PURCHASER
But you have made one mistake: you have added some of the inherent traits to culture and not to ancestry to where they belong.
Customer avatar
Charlie M October 18, 2020 3:19 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I love this supplement! Thanks for making it!
Are there any plans to port this to 3.5e-compatible games like Pathfinder 1st edition?
Customer avatar
Eugene M October 18, 2020 10:58 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Thanks for your kind words! We don’t currently have any plans to introduce the system to Pathfinder, but we may revisit that possibility in the near future. Thanks again.
Customer avatar
Ivan E November 16, 2020 6:57 am UTC
Don't know if it may be useful, but Pathfinder 2e has a similar system.
Customer avatar
Florian G October 18, 2020 8:07 am UTC
PURCHASER
Getting this because a friend recommended it after he ran a oneshot using these rules for us. A creative supplement which will certainly be welcomed with open arms in my gaming group.
Honestly, I wish the new lineage system was more like this. Really happy with this purchase and can't wait to try it out in a longer campaign.
Customer avatar
Andrew P August 29, 2020 7:24 am UTC
PURCHASER
Hi, Eugene & Arcanist Press,

I was very pleased to read through the content presented here and plan to eventually acquire digital copies of your other publications as well.

One of the items I appreciated were the references to N.K Jemesin (though I'm not personally familiar with their work) and James Mendez Hodes, particularly in relation to the use of racist stereotypes within D&D itself, which I've read that Wizards of the Coast has begun to approach from a new stance, and I'm certain that many of the new 5E players & such (as well as a number of long-time enthusiasts) will find it to be a more inclusive game rather than what you've termed "essentialist" (if I've interpreted that correctly).

Anyway, focusing on your publication, thank you for presenting in such a simple, yet forthright manner, the information as outlined in terms of separating what would be related to ancestry (ex. partially biological) and culture/heritage (the lifestyle in which...See more
Customer avatar
Hannah H August 19, 2020 4:39 am UTC
PURCHASER
On page 27 it says “you may select one other ancestral trait from each of your two chosen ancestries”. Do you mean you can select one more ancestral trait, from one OR the other of your two chosen ancestries, or do you mean that you can select one ancestral trait from one of the chosen ancestries AND another ancestral trait from the other chosen ancestry?
Thanks :)
Customer avatar
Eugene M August 19, 2020 1:33 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
You select one trait from each ancestry, which means you will choose two traits.

Let me know if that still isn't clear!
Customer avatar
Anthony Jr P B August 13, 2020 5:04 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I was finally going to buy this book and the other two, But today I see that there is no print option available to add to my shopping cart? even though it shows me a print version option as a quick popup when i hover over it.
Customer avatar
Cameron M August 15, 2020 7:09 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Same here, actually. I was waiting to grab this (and potentially the others) but when I saw it again today the print option (which I definitely wanted) is just gone. Any chance those will become available again at some point?
Customer avatar
Eugene M August 16, 2020 11:27 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Hello! The print option is temporarily unavailable while we update the file. We have submitted the new file and are awaiting their approval. Unfortunately, DriveThru doesn't allow us to keep the old one up while we wait for the printer to approve the new print file. Hopefully it will be just a few days before it is available again. Apologies for the inconvenience!
Customer avatar
Mark P August 23, 2020 9:13 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I just spotted this. I tried to order with the voucher from the KS, which it allowed me to do, but has now refunded. Will I still be able to use that again?
Customer avatar
Eugene M August 24, 2020 5:34 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Do you mean for the print copy? Yes, once DriveThru approves the new print file (which they've been sitting on for weeks), I have to order new proofs. Once those proofs have been approved, then I can make the new print edition available.

And if you are entitled to an at-cost copy from the Kickstarter, I will make sure you get one!
Customer avatar
Eugene M September 01, 2020 1:50 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
The Print Option is once again available. if anyone has trouble with it, please let me know! Thank you.
Customer avatar
Mark P September 04, 2020 7:17 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hi Eugene - just tried to order and the voucher is not working after the refund. Thanks.
Customer avatar
Eugene M September 04, 2020 9:05 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Sorry to hear it! I think I know which backer you are, so I've sent you. anew code. If you don't receive it, or if it doesn't work, please let me know!
Customer avatar
Saga M August 06, 2020 3:22 am UTC
A friend of mine bought this for me, and I really LOVE the book, will rate it later when I've digested more of it. :)

And yes, while I do agree with a previous commenter that the Speed is a bit weird, we can always just tweak it ourselves as we see fit, just like with the official DMG. :)

I also really like that you even in the book, state that the system you have made is not perfect, and there will be issues with balance if we just stick straight to the book with no exceptions at all. I like that kind of self-awareness and transparency! :)

I've been thinking about how to apply the Mixed Ancestry thing for instance, since the "Pick 1 from both parents" can also be -very- broken, so I was thinking something like.. they get a certain amount of "ancestry points", like 2 or 3... and then, maybe that trait is worth 1 point, and the other one is worth 2 points, then you've used your 3 points, and you couldn't get 2 traits for 2 points each.
Something like...See more
Customer avatar
Saga M August 06, 2020 3:30 am UTC
Ah right, I won't be able to rate it, since I didn't buy it myself, but got it from a friend who bought it for me. Oh well, if/when/mostlikely I buy the other two, then I can rate them at least :)
Customer avatar
John J August 03, 2020 5:22 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Is there a version of the PDF that is formatted regular page size? I just downloaded the V3 and it is still in a pamphlet format of 5.5 x 8.5. It doesn't show like that in Adobe (I didn't notice the default of 171% though), but it prints out small on 8.5 x 11 paper.

Custom Ancestries and More Ancestries are formatted for 8.5 x 11.
Customer avatar
Eugene M August 03, 2020 9:36 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Hi John! Ancestry & Culture is a zine and comes in 5.5x 8.5. Your PDF viewing software should be able to print it such that it stretches to fill an 8.5x11 page. And if you turn off the background layer, it should be very readable and clear even at that size. We don't have any plans to redo the layout and create an 8.5x11 version, though. Sorry.
Thanks again for your support.
Customer avatar
Simon D August 01, 2020 9:17 am UTC
PURCHASER
Speed is a bit a weird one as an ancestral/biologically determined trait. It's not cultural either of course. But a very physical/athletic character should be more mobile than a bookworm. Short legs impede speed of course, but same genes do not determine that both move at the same speed
Customer avatar
Eugene M August 01, 2020 11:28 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Yes, you're right; Speed is a weird case. In standard 5e rules, Speed mostly just maps onto Size. Small creatures tend to have 25 foot speed, wit a few exceptions. Since Speed generally maps onto Size, and Size is ancestral, we kept Speed ancestral too. Some notable exceptions include the Goblin, which is Small but has a Speed of 30 feet.
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Product Information
Adamantine seller
Author(s)
Pages
70
File Size:
16.39 MB
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File Last Updated:
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This title was added to our catalog on June 08, 2020.