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Ancestry & Culture: An Alternative to Race in 5e

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Welcome to Christmas in July! In celebration, this digital title has been marked down by up to 40%! For more of Santa's savings, visit our Christmas in July sale page.

Character creation rules for 5e that replace race with ancestry, culture, and mixed heritage, for awesome new PCs

Two Time ENnie Award Winner for Best Electronic Book and Best Supplement!

Nominated for Product of the Year!

Logo for the ENnies Tabletop RPG Awards with the text: 2021 Nominee

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- Replace the outdated concept of Race in D&D with ancestry & culture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

Halfing-Orc BardElf-Dragonborn MonkCover

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Arcanist Press on DriveThruRPG: Ancestry & Culture: An Alternative to Race in 5e, ;Custom Ancestries & Cultures, More Ancestries & Cultures, and Ancestry & Culture Pregen Characters

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Reviews (36)
Discussions (42)
Customer avatar
Per D March 08, 2024 8:22 pm UTC
I must admit i find the premise of this book to be a bit silly.
Even if races in fantasy stems from racism, which I'm not entirely certain of, the concept has taken on an entirely new meaning and significance.
I honestly, struggle to see any issue at all with having humanoid races with inherent differing intelligence and/or morals in an obviously fictitious fantasy setting.
Customer avatar
Edward W May 03, 2024 4:51 am UTC
Yep, it's a manifesto guided by mentally-ill activism that has absolutely no business in the genre.
Customer avatar
Asa L May 24, 2023 12:35 am UTC
If my understanding of this is correct, this does the same thing that Wizards of the Coast did with Tasha's Cauldron of Everything. Is there a reason why I would want this when I already have Tasha's?
Customer avatar
Yann E August 10, 2023 7:20 pm UTC
he does what he wants dude.
Customer avatar
Mark L January 19, 2023 6:25 pm UTC
This is a refreshing and mature approach to the issue of Race in TTRPGs. The straightforward approach allows the creation of utterly unique characters with rich backgrounds and complex upbringing. It undoubtedly provides the game with a dimension that's been missing from the very first edition. A must have.
Customer avatar
Anthony P July 11, 2022 4:42 pm UTC
I would not purchase this unless you want the adventure at the end. There is nothing new this actually adds. There are no rules or formulas to mix races into an ancestry. All it says it to pick which characteristics of each race do you want. Want to play a half orc dwarf? Then choose which age you want from those groups. What modifiers do you get? Just pick one or two from each. The adventure seems interesting but other than that this doesn't actually add anything to the game.
Customer avatar
James S June 30, 2022 10:04 pm UTC
The system is rather brilliant in creating unique characters. Like a Dwarf/Orc hybrid or an Orc raised by Elves etc....the critical race theory preaching was not mae cup of tea. Also as an old gamer I remember the hysteria over the Satanic Panic in RPGs back in the day. The idea that classifying an Elf or Orc as a "race" will somehow lead to racism seems to me a bit far fetched. OTOH for story purposes I like the idea of getting rid of the automatic alignment system and treating the various "races" or "ancestries" as individuals to be quite refreshing. Why should Elves automatically be good and Orc evil? However the authors are entitled to their opinions & absolutely agreeing with them on all their philosophical ideas is not necessary to enjoy this book.
Customer avatar
Yann E June 24, 2022 9:10 am UTC
Hello, I have the PDF but stil haven't read it ^^

I will run an campaign in the Akhamet setting (also on DTRPG), and I don't know if I can use your PDF with Akhamet setting considerings the way the "races" has been designed: each species is the creation of a specific Akhameti god and the Retits are the offspring between Pharaon and one of the species of the setting so this one is more or less covered.
Customer avatar
L.a. M January 17, 2022 6:13 am UTC
This is so cool! Thank you so much for making it. I have just bought it, and am looking forward to reading it, but I do have a question. Is it compatible with Fantasy Grounds?
Thanks again.
Customer avatar
Thomas B November 27, 2021 8:09 pm UTC
Holy Cadabra! That's the longest comment section on any DTRPG product I've ever seen!

Alan & Co: I am going to pick up all 3 of your books just from reading the comments. I appreciate your responsiveness.

Race in D&D was always a bother to me as a DM not running (at least not since 1989) an official world. I wanted my Elves to differ from the books, my Orcs, etc. and so on to have some different biological differences. The mythology has many races related to others distantly. The default combination in the D&D race of cultural aspects, assumptions about environments (pigeonholing) and physical traits and affinities for particular classes seemed like a mucky mess. I've always had to home bake my own.

The closest I ever saw from WotC was "Regional Feats" and environmental Feats which did give a regional flair to characters and kind of grounded them in the culture/environment. Unearthed Arcana or Arcana Unearthed for 3.5E did come out with some environmental...See more
Customer avatar
John C August 12, 2021 7:14 pm UTC
It's a start. I like the simplicity of having the choice of cultural backgrounds - though they are all from published 5e core books. I was hoping for more details on how to craft unique cultural backgrounds - what if I my culture is from a certain biome, like Forest or Tundra, or an Oceanic biome, how would that change starting Skills and Abilities/Traits, etc.
Customer avatar
Alan T May 28, 2021 8:07 pm UTC
Can anyone comment on the general character of the included adventures? I'm very curious about them.
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File Last Updated:
August 13, 2020
This title was added to our catalog on June 08, 2020.