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Custom Ancestries & Cultures

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Sixty-One Custom Ancestries & Cultures To Replace Race in 5e!

A queen of orcish and elven ancestry knights a kneeling swarf-gnome woman as a tiefling-halfling person looks on

Based on Ancestry & Culture: An Alternative to Race in 5e, this title contains sixty-one new character ancestries and cultures, each of which can be used in place of character Race. This document includes standards like dwarf, elf, and halfling, as well as anthropomorphic animal ancestries, monstrous ancestries, and some that are truly original. 

Standard fantasy ancestries, such as elf, dwarf, gnome, and halfling, include mutliple cultures for a wide variety of characters, such as: deep dwarf, rock dwarf, and sea dwarf; aquatic elf, deep elf, and forest elf; dark gnome and wood gnome; and sturdy halfling and urban halfling. Even more standard fantasy cultures, such as dragonborn, tiefling, and more, can be found in the core Ancestry & Culture rules.

The monstrous ancestries and cultures include awakened undead, azer, bugbear, construct, dhampir, dryad, giant kin, gnoll, goblin, hag folk, kobold, lizard folk, medusan, merfolk, mimic folk, minotaur, rakshasan, satryr, shapehsifter, and troll folk.

The anthropomorphic animal ancestries and cultures include bat folk, bear folk, cat folk, dog folk, fox folk, hippo folk, insect folk, kangra, octofolk, oxenfolk, raptor folk, rat folk, snake folk, spider kin, turtle folk, werecat, and wolf folk.

And thare are some truly original ancestries and cultures, including blood sprite, couatl folk, the crystar, the dullahan, entropian, grimalkin, hiveling, homunculus folk, ink hexen, leòmainn, lycanthrope descendant, nictator, noumenon, paragons, qīvux, quasi-phorcysite, re-forged, and more.

The choices are dizzying! Every new ancestry and culture comes with original features and traits to make your game more interesting and fun.

What Is Ancestry & Culture: An Alternative to Race in 5e?

Have you ever wondered why there are half-elves and half-orcs in your favorite fantasy roleplaying game, but not half-tieflings, half-dwarves, or half-gnomes? And why only allow orcs and elves to have children with humans and not others? Why can't we play the child of an elf and an orc or a gnome and a halfling? What's more, what if we want to play a human raised by elves, like Tolkien's Aragorn, or a halfling who grew up among orcs? Wouldn't such characters be different than a halfling who grew up among her own people, for example? It would be a delight to be able play such a diverse cast of characters, with such a wide range of ancestries and cultures.

Well, now we can! This 70-page zine of rules and original fantasy art allows for the easy creation of a variety of new ancestral and cultural combinations and types, without having to make big changes to the core game rules. Perhaps more importantly, they replace the problematic concept of race as it is traditionally used in character creation. Ancestry provides those heritable traits a character might receive from their parents, such as height, average lifespan, and darkvision, and culture provides such teachable features as weapon training and ability. This frees us up to play the characters we want to play, without all the baggage, and provides us many more options, just dripping with role-play potential. In addition to the new character creation rules, Ancestry & Culture also includes two adventures, "The Light of Unity" and "Helping Hands," suitable for players of all ages, which highlight the themes of the title.

An bard of orchis ancestry and halfling cultureA monk of dragonborn and elven ancestryA rogue of tiefling and halfling ancestry

Credits for Custom Ancestries & Cultures:

Written by Eugene Marshall; layout by Amy Marshall; cover art by Dean Spencer; interior art by Dean Spencer, Daniel Comerci, Forrest Imel, Jose Murillo, Martin Sepion, Pawel Czerwinski, Masaaki Komori, JJ Shev, & Yannick Menard; sensitivity reading by Elijah Forbes and Michelle Churchill.

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Reviews (0)
Discussions (3)
Customer avatar
Robert G June 22, 2020 4:54 pm UTC
Any chance we could get a POD version of this? I have the first book and really enjoyed it and while I use PDFs at the table a physical copy is easier for me to read and just my preferred medium.
Customer avatar
Eugene M June 22, 2020 11:06 pm UTC

As we have had several request for it, we do plan to release a POD version of this file in the next few weeks. We are waiting for the proofs currently, which, unfortunately, takes a few weeks to process.

Thanks for your interest in our title.
Customer avatar
Matthias B June 18, 2020 8:55 pm UTC
A short look into the preview tells me that this book is as bad as "Ancestry and Culture: An Alternative to Race".
Customer avatar
Alan H July 01, 2020 2:04 pm UTC
If we take "bad" to signify "clever and well-written" then I have no issue with this comment.
Customer avatar
Matthias B July 01, 2020 8:25 pm UTC
No, I really mean that I wrote, because it suffers from the same problems as "Ancestry and Culture: An Alternative to Race".
Customer avatar
Preston B June 17, 2020 8:14 pm UTC
Is "Ancestry and Culture: An Alternative to Race" requisite to use (or to get the most out of) the material in this book?
Customer avatar
Eugene M June 17, 2020 9:26 pm UTC
You could use this title without the core Ancestry & Culture rules. Simply use each entry's ancestry & culture combined, and they function as the Race option in character creation. Or mix and match one ancestry with another culture, if you like.

I do think you'll get more out of it with the first book, but it is not strictly required, no!
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File Last Updated:
June 07, 2020
This title was added to our catalog on June 09, 2020.