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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.

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

(And don't miss our new title, Arctic Ancestries & Cultures!)

Based on Ancestry & Culture: An Alternative to Race in 5e

- 62 new ancestries & cultures

- Fantasy classics with, new distinct cultures of dwarf, elf, gnome, & halfling

- Anthropomorphic animal ancestries like bat, bear, cat, dog, fox, octofolk, snake, spider, etc

- monstrous ancestries & cultures like undead, construct, dryad, hag, medusa, mimic folk, etc

- Bizarre originals like blood sprite, dullahan, hiveling and more!

For even more choices, as well as rules for cultures based on geographic region or plane of existence, check out More Ancestries & Cultures! And if you are playing an arctic adventure like Rime of the Frostmaiden, don't miss Arctic Ancestries, Cultures, & More, on sale now! We also have ancestry & culture custom character sheets and pregens as well.

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

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

- "Required reading for playing RPGs in 2020" - Polygon

- Critically acclaimed Adamantine seller

- A simple swap for the 'race' choice in D&D 5e; just plug-and-play!

- Replace the outdated concept of Race in D&D with ancestry & culture, removing bio essentialism

- Play a character of one ancestry raised in a different culture, like an orc raised by dwarves (or a human by elves, like Aragorn!)

- Play a character of mixed ancestry, like the child of a gnome and a halfling or an elf and dwarf

- 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

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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Follow us on social media at @ArcanistPress and on the web at !

Arcanist Press on DMs Guild: ;Warlock Codex of Law and Chaos, ;Subclasses of the Planes, and ;Mythological Magic Items

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

 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (1)
Discussions (6)
Customer avatar
John W September 13, 2020 10:11 pm UTC
Loving the options presented here. Just one question: was it intentional for the Ink Hexen Culture to not offer Ability Score Increases? I see Tattoo Witchcraft, Diviners, and Languages but no Ability Score Increase. Every other culture has it or tells you to use the culture of someone who does.
Customer avatar
Gwendolyn M September 14, 2020 12:49 pm UTC
Alas, no, it was not intentional! A dozen editorial passes and over a thousand customers and, somehow, no one had noticed that before.

I'd recommend giving them a +2 to Charisma and a +1 to Constitution. But obviously the final choice is up to you.

Thanks for letting us know! Something to fix in the next update.
Customer avatar
Morgan B July 27, 2020 2:10 pm UTC
So there doesn't appear to be a way to respond to comments on reviews so moving it here for a factual correction. Re my point on Amazons the publisher says
" Just a note to correct a factual error. You say, "having your gender be a thing defined by your ancestry is awful." No, for the Amazons, gender is a cultural construct, not ancestral or biological. The discussion of gender for the Amazon appears in the culture section, not the ancestry. "

So yes, the discussion about how they do not accept men or non-binary people in their communities is under culture. But the very first line of the Amazon Ancestry states "Amazons are humanoid women," which makes it an ancestral trait as well as a cultural one.
Customer avatar
Gwendolyn M July 27, 2020 2:19 pm UTC
What I mean is, if a child is born of Amazonian parents, that child's ancestry does not determine the gender of that child. That's the direct implication of the quoted text.

I know the critical reviewer in question wanted more substantive world-building, which would help to develop all this content further, but this book is a collection of ancestries, not a setting book. I am not interested in building worlds for GMs; I'd rather give them tools to build their own.

The Amazon entry could be expanded upon in a number of ways. For example, it remains silent on what happens if a child assigned male at birth grows up in Amazonian culture. May they remain upon reaching adulthood and choosing to present as male or to retain a mass identity? The text is silent on this issue. It could just as easily be interpreted to mean, "Anyone born of Amazonian parents is Amazonian, regardless gender. With regard to allowing outsiders to join the community, Amazonian communities tend to allow only those...See more
Customer avatar
Aubrey R July 25, 2020 7:30 pm UTC
I have a question about the mechanics on the Ink Hexen, I'm just having a little trouble understanding how the Birth Tattoo and Tattoo Witchcraft interact. Is the intent that the ancestry trait grants you one free tattoo, and the culture trait grants you an additional 3 tattoos as you level?
Customer avatar
Gwendolyn M July 25, 2020 8:57 pm UTC

FYI the Ink Hexen has been revised in the latest version fo the file we've uploaded, and hopefully it's much clearer now. So you can re-download the file and get the updated info. But I'll summarize it here, too.

Effectively, you get 1 magical tattoo upon choosing your ancestry, which you are born with. Then, if you choose the Ink Hexen culture, you get 1 as well. Then, if you have chosen the culture, you get another at level 3 and another at level 5.

So, if you choose Ink Hexen ancestry with a different culture, you get 1 total, at birth. If you choose Ink Hexen culture but a different ancestry, you get 1 when you join the culture, and two more as you level up. And if you choose both Ink Hexen ancestry and culture, you start the game with 2 and get tow more as you level up, for a total of 4.

Hopefully that answers your question?

Let me know if it doesn't, or if you have any trouble with the updated file!
Customer avatar
Aubrey R July 26, 2020 4:19 am UTC
This was exactly my interpretation, thank you. I was unclear mostly because of the actual tattoo effects being listed under culture. I now have the updated file. This whole line of books is great, keep it up!
Customer avatar
Eric O July 10, 2020 5:12 pm UTC
Incredibly happy that this book exists and that tabletop RPGs are moving towards inclusivity, positive representation, and celebrating of diversity! This book and its predecessor are a great start by a thoughtful ally, and hopefully more diverse voices will be amplified as WotC and indie publishers hire and consult with POC and others from underrepresented groups.
My only question: how rigorously has this been playtested? Cracking open the rules can be a min-maxer's dream and a GM's nightmare. A small price to play for moving in the right direction, but I am curious.
Thank you for your work!
Customer avatar
Gwendolyn M July 10, 2020 5:25 pm UTC
We did some play testing, but we weren't able to playlets every possible combination, obviously. There's too many! That said, we did utilize two techniques to try to attain some balance. First, we followed WotC's own design principles and mechanics wherever possible. You'll note, for example, the cultural magic traits are mechanically identical to 5e's racial magic traits. Second, we consulted the Detect Balance 5e Homebrew Race Guide when creating these.

Inevitably, there will likely be some combinations that result in more or less powerful results. I would argue that none of our combos are more powerful that the Yuan-ti or Aarakocra as WotC wrote them, nor as weak as the Kobold or non-variant human as WotC wrote them, though. But balance and power is pretty subjective, so some probably some folks will disagree.

If you find that specific combos are particularly broken, do let us know and we'll take a look!
Customer avatar
Eric O February 03, 2021 9:06 pm UTC
Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply. I've been enjoying using your rules, and I can't wait for my next new campaign so I can get other players to give them a shot. I'll absolutely pass along anything glaring I come across, but I agree that they feel very balanced the more time I spend with the book.
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
Gwendolyn 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:
August 13, 2020
This title was added to our catalog on June 09, 2020.