“Biological essentialism” is the belief that personality is innate to biology, and while it is term sci-fi geeks discuss, it applies to fantasy too. For example, “all elves are haughty”.
This week Paizo announced changes to their errata process, starting with alternative ancestry boosts.
The Pathfinder publisher says;
We’re implementing the option for you to choose two free ability boosts for a character of any ancestry. There have been many ongoing conversations in the gaming community and within Paizo about biological essentialism in RPGs. We think it’s time to address this issue and have added this universal option. This makes it clearer that ancestries aren’t a monolith, and adds more nuance to the world and a wider breadth of characters. To be clear: this is an alternative for all characters and campaigns, not a variant rule, since it’s expected to be in line with the power level of other options. If you have made or want to make a character using an ancestry’s printed options (such as a dwarf with a Con boost, Wisdom boost, free boost, and Charisma flaw), those options remain, and those characters still follow the updated rules.
The core rule book errata, from which this change applies, also includes updates to the alchemist and more minor improvements.
It’s likely that in 2023 we’ll see more errata for Pathfinder and Starfinder. The alternative ancestry boosts tweak comes from Logan Bonner, the Pathfinder Lead Designer, but Jason Bulmahn, the Director of Game Design, explains the new errata process.
In the past, our errata process has been tied to when we reprint books, so that you could make sure your print edition matched what was currently on store shelves. While this had its advantages, it often meant that changes were made quite infrequently. In addition, if a book didn’t see a reprint, it might mean that we never went in to apply a patch. The result was a process that just was not living up to our needs and desire to make sure you have a great game experience. So, we are changing the process.
Starting this year, we will release errata twice per year, once in the spring and once in the fall. Since errata will no longer be tied to reprints, it frees us up to cover errata issues from a wide range of products as well.
The errata and change in the process come in a week where Pathfinder has been talked about at length by tabletop gamers both as an alternative to One D&D given the concerns around OGL 1.1 and a potential victim of it.
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