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Guide to Humans in Pathfinder

In a game with orcs, elves, dwarves, halflings, gnomes, tengus, saurians and about a billion other races, not many players would necessarily want to go with a plain ol’ human for a Pathfinder character. Why pretend to be just another person when you could be some scaly creature? Or a lithe, beautiful sprite? Or an undead horror?

Do not, that said, discard humans out of hand. Sure, they’re a bit boring at first, but humans often prove to be the best choice for a race thanks to one key factor: their adaptability. Humans can be dang near anything.

The humans of Pathfinder represent the predominant race in the land. They’re more numerous than most other races, or at least make themselves more visible, and thus are found in just about any walk of life that doesn’t involve going to another plane (and even then, humans aren’t too uncommon). They’re anywhere and everywhere, and thus can be any class, statistical setup or even alignment.

This tendency towards the generic grants humans a few advantages over other races:

– First, although they don’t get two statistical boosts upon character creation like most races, humans also don’t get any negatives. They’re also allowed to shunt two ability points into a stat of their choosing, allowing players to choose their class and then go with whatever stat is most important.

– Second, humans get another feat right out of the gate. Not bad at all, particularly on classes – usually spell casters – who aren’t known for getting a lot of feats.

– And, third, humans get an extra skill point per level. Always helpful, especially if combined with favored class bonuses to skill points.

True, they don’t get any crazy racial abilities like darkvision or the capacity to ward off certain branches of spells, but humans are nevertheless a fantastic choice for customizing a character. They’re a nice base with no real negatives aside from not being outstanding.

The main problem with being a human, that said, is the lack of statistical emphasis. Because humans only get one attribute boost they’re going to be outdone every time by the races that get two. A dwarf, for example, will always start out as a better Cleric than a human, as they get both a Wisdom boost and a Constitution jump that will allow them to remain in the field longer. Elves will be better Wizards thanks to Dexterity and Intelligence, gnomes superior Sorcerers with Charisma and Constitution and halflings get a leg up as Rogues. True, humans don’t get the negative to one of their stats that the other races do, but more often than not that third stat won’t matter much to the build of a character anyway.

Going with a human is a solid choice. There’s nothing wrong with doing so, as long as you recognize that other races will usually be a bit better at certain things – and even then, levels, items and buffing spells will bring humans up to par in no time.

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