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- Replace the outdated concept of Race in D&D with ancestry & culture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

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Reviews (21)
Discussions (31)
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
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Charlie M October 18, 2020 3:19 pm UTC
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
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
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
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
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Hannah H August 19, 2020 4:39 am UTC
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
The Print Option is once again available. if anyone has trouble with it, please let me know! Thank you.
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Mark P September 04, 2020 7:17 pm UTC
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Customer avatar
Owen D August 01, 2020 3:10 am UTC
Put aside any of the stuff around racism this system is quite interesting.

I love the idea of implementing culture in character creation as it adds more flavor. Mind you I think it does add an extra level that may be too much for some people. Culture in and of itself can be so diverse that for homebrew it may be a lot of work for a DM to create outlines for all of their cultures.

I think the full removal of stat modifiers may not be the best of moves but minimizing is a good idea. I'm mentioning this as I always viewed the D&D races as species, quite more distantly related. With this I would say physical stats (Str, Dex, Con) could still be used. Compare a Gorilla, for example, to a human. An adult gorilla is 20 times stronger then 20 adult humans, this isn't due to it's culture but due to it's digestive system being different from humans as well as evolutionary genetics (I am no biologist so if my research is wrong please tell me and bring a source). So, continuing with the gorilla...See more
Customer avatar
Adam S November 15, 2020 8:23 pm UTC
It sounds like a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. It's far too simple to take racial attributes and then redefine cultural attributes based off the character and the setting you're playing in. An orphaned dwarf raised in a desert country will certainly maintain his infrasion and inherent sense of the earth--and even be drawn to mines and the like, but he wouldn't be getting any modifiers for wielding an axe or a hammer--because it isn't culturally appropriate. Given that kind of scenario/solution, do you think these additional rules provide enough flavor and nuance to be worth the price?
Customer avatar
Russell K July 28, 2020 1:14 am UTC
Perfect timing.
Now if we can just shake of Alignments.
Customer avatar
Sean W September 02, 2020 11:20 pm UTC
Here's my interpretation of Alignment: does the NPC/monster's alignment, of course, ALIGN with the PCs? If not, then the alignment is merely a scale of how much of a help or hindrance they'll be to the PCs. The subtleties will shake out as the story progresses. But like most everything else about the game: use it or don't. Whatever works for you.

I don't really understand the hubbub. I've been playing since 1980 and I've never used 100% of the rules 100% of the time.
Customer avatar
Mark R November 19, 2020 6:42 am UTC
What’s stopping you from shaking off Alignments?
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File Last Updated:
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This title was added to our catalog on June 08, 2020.