As a future educator, the discussion of race and culture has become a big topic in the classroom - how to help disenfranchised students from minorities or who are part of repressed and disrespected communities. If only humans were as easy to work with and as well laid out as Ryan has developed in Grazilaxx's Guide to Ancestry. What he has done is take the first steps in involving new mechanics and developing a new view on how race is viewed in D&D.
He opens with the new concept of rather than having Ability Score Improvements based solely on your race, you could take them from your class or from your background. Then, we move into the next section where Ryan introduces ancestries divided into subgroups - avian, amphibian, dwarven, elven, et cetera. You pick two major inheritances and then two minor inheritnces, which I honestly find very interesting and refreshing.
If you have an orcen character, he could be a big burly barbarian who trained as an acolyte - now, the usual model would that this orc is strong because he's an orc, genetically he is strong because he's an orc. Oh, but he can't be an acolyte, cause he's an orc and orcs aren't smart cause genetically he is dumb. Look at from a different side - here you have an elf who is very agile and wise, because she is an elf. But say she has seen some terrible events and has suffered PTSD - but she can't because the fact that she is an elf means she is genetically wiser so therefore she can't have PTSD.
This model stems from something simple and terrible that has sat within the core of RPGs: colonialism, eugenics, and racism. We as humans have throughout our history been conquerers, so when we conquer, we would see the ethnic groups and cultures we destroyed as less than us, as inferior. Hence racism and eugenics. Now, keeping that traditional model in mind: my dad is a forester and brewer, my mom is a soil scientist and horticulturalist - but I am neither of those. I can't tell a perenial from an annual or a hemlock from a fir, I can't even grow potatos. But, looking at the traditionalist model - because I was born to these two people, genetically in an RPG setting, I would not be creative or super charismatic, I would just be super smart.
But anywhose, not to get off onto a massive tangent - what Ryan has done is take a fantastic first step forward to wiping out dark stains of colonial rule, eugenic rumblings, and racism from the roleplaying game community and roleplaying games themselves. I hope what he has done in this outstanding product helps others begin to learn and become aware. I know I have fallen victim of falling into that mentality - but now I know that I need to fix it, and with GGoA, I know now how to do that. Gravilaxx's Guide to Ancestry is an amazing, beautiful, and honest, and that is why I give it the Comics, Clerics, & Controllers Golden d20 Badge.