Pathfinder Advanced Race Guide – Playing to your Strengths
The Advanced Race Guide is an excellent resource for two of the main types of players: min/maxing power gamers, and character-concept gamers. Most of us don’t fall squarely in either camp, but usually have tendencies towards one type or the other.
This book is full of options for not only the core races, but some more exotic races like Catfolk, Dhampirs, Tengu, and Aasimars, and also the truly weird like Merfolk, Svirfneblin, Gripplis, and Kitsune. There are many, many more; some I recognize from other game systems or myths and legends, some that are entirely new to me. Choice is where this book really shines.
For the character-concept type of gamer, there is an amazing variety of different races with different traits and backgrounds, (not to mention some amazing illustrations) that can really get your creative juices flowing for those looking to create a truly memorable character.
For those who prefer devastating combat efficiency to catch-phrases or gimmicks, this book has a plethora of options to tweek your PC into the epitome of whatever role you have chosen: Dwarves so in-tune with the earth and rock they can call upon it to aid in their attacks (Stonelord Paladin), Elves so connected to nature they can become part of the forest (Treesinger Druid), and of course, nothing can go wrong when you give a Gnome a gun (Experimental Gunsmith). Maybe that last one belongs with the character guys, as Gnomes with guns sounds like more of a comedy than an action hero.
There are also tons of traits that can be swapped out from the old ones everyone has memorized from the core rulebook. Also equipment, magic items and feats from each of the races representing their culture and place in the Pathfinder world.
There is even a section at the back where you can use a point-buy system to create your own race for your own world. Say your party has traveled to a plane of clockwork monkeys. You can design an entire culture around them with some modicum of game balance.
Ultimately this is a pretty solid buy for GMs and players alike, but you’ll want to run it past the GM if you plan on introducing a new Wyvaran (Half-kobold, half-wyvern) sorcerer to your next game. If you’re tired of the tried and true archetypes and are looking for something truly off-the-wall, this is your book. If you are new to Pathfinder, or are already daunted by the vast number of options available in the Core Rulebook, Advanced Players Guide, Ultimate Combat and Ultimate Magic, it may not be a must-have.
Something I’ve always wanted to run is a monster-PC campaign, in which each player is chosen as a champion of their race to assault a human settlement and drive civilization out of their monster warrens. The party would be made up of a Goblin rogue, Kobold alchemist, Orc barbarian, Gnoll sorcerer, and maybe a Hobgoblin cleric. This book is the perfect resource for that sort of thing.