Index | Playable Races | Monsters (Humanoids | Monstrous Humanoids | Fey | Dragons | Magical Beasts | Aberrations | Constructs | Plants | Oozes | Animals | Vermin | Undead (Manufactured | Spontaneous) | Outsiders (Native | Inner Sphere | Outer Sphere (Celestials | Monitors | Fiends))
Adventurers in Pathfinder come in many shapes and sizes and from as many backgrounds as you can imagine. A character's class is only half of the equation; their race plays an equal part in determining that character's history, how they view the world, and how the world views them.
Pathfinder has a Massive Race Selection to choose from. While there are countless creatures in the bestiaries that could be considered "races", this page is for specifically detailing the ones intended for players; creatures without racial hit dice that have specific entries for their use as characters.
Dwarves once lived deep in the Darklands beneath Golarion's surface, until Earthfall, the impact of which was taken as a sign to begin the Quest to the Sky, a long exodus to the surface world.
- Elves vs. Dwarves: Downplayed. They don't actively hate elves, they just have little respect for them. Or for gnomes. Or for halflings.
- Family Honor: Extremely important to them, and a Berserk Button if challenged.
- Fire-Forged Friends: The surest way to win their respect.
- Good Old Ways: With long lives and strong traditions, there's a lot of cultural inertia.
- Long-Lived: Barring misfortune, they can easily live over 300 years. It's a factor in their slight mistrust of humans since they're used to building friendships over a century or more.
- Our Dwarves Are All the Same:
- They originated underground, tunneled their way to the surface during the Age of Darkness, and pulled humanity out of the dark ages. Otherwise pretty standard.
- Played with with the bald-shaved, monastic Ouat and xenophobic Pahmet dwarves of Osirion. The traditionalist Mbe'ke and totemist Taralu dwarves of the Mwangi Expanse are also a bit different from the stereotype.
Elves were one of the first races on Golarion but fought a losing war for space against the developing humans. Foreseeing the coming Earthfall, the majority of Elves fled for the sanctuary of Sovyrian, only to come back to protect their ancestral homes from the demon Treerazer.
- Ancient Astronauts: Their refuge Sovyrian, where they bunkered down for a few thousand years to wait out the Earthfall, is actually on the neighbouring planet Castrovel and is accessed via Portal Network.
- Elves vs. Dwarves: Even less so than the dwarves themselves. While they look down on other races as immature children, they acknowledge the talents as a whole of said races, from gnomish magical talent and dwarven craft to even mere pity for halflings and fascination with humans.
- Long-Lived: The longest-lived of the common races by a large margin, second only to the luckiest of the Planetouched.
- Monochromatic Eyes: Elf eyes are pretty much all iris.
- Reincarnation: Their culture supports this belief, hoping for a final rebirth as creatures of the wild.
- Rubber-Forehead Aliens: By now they've more or less assimilated into Golarian society along with the rest of the Fantasy Kitchen Sink, but their species actually originates on the planet Castrovel.
- Time Dissonance: Such that being raised in the company of shorter-lived races can leave them emotionally damaged.
- Vestigial Empire: They left it behind when they realized what a catastrophe Earthfall would be, were quite put out to return from Sovyrian to find their old lands occupied by humans, and have had only occasional success in reclaiming parts of their territory since.
Gnomes were originally from the First World, a Fey-dominated realm that was the Super Prototype for the Material Plane. It is currently unknown why they were exiled to the Material.
- Big Ol' Eyebrows: Their eyebrows routinely extend well past their temples, sticking far out into the air.
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: Even when they have Good or Evil alignments, gnomes tend to look at it differently than other races.
- Curiosity Causes Conversion: One explanation for their migration to the mortal realm.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Gnomes who fail to seek out new experiences and otherwise get too bored tend to suffer The Bleaching, so called because it turns their (normally very colorful) skin a stark white, makes them lose their sense of wonder and lust for life, and often results in Death by Despair or them being Driven to Suicide. Aside from the skin color change, this pretty much exactly describes the symptoms of clinical depression.
- Expy: Between their exaggerated proportions, technicolor hair and skin colors, and strange excitable personalities, they're essentially flesh and blood versions of "human" Muppets.
- Gonk: They can be this. It's mentioned that they often have oddly proportioned features; often eyes that are too big for their face and mouths that are too small.
- Ice-Cream Koan: A feat in Gnomes of Golarion allows gnome monks to befuddle combatants by reciting these.
- Improbable Weapon User: One of the gnomish racial weapons is the Battle Ladder. You heard that right.
- Land of Faerie: Their homeland, the First World.
- Our Gnomes Are Weirder: They actually have to be. They have to keep themselves interested and entertained at all times; once they start becoming bored, they go through a process known as the bleaching, which is often fatal. Yes, gnomes can literally be bored to death.
- Speaks Fluent Animal: One of their racial abilities lets them do this.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Boredom can literally drive them insane and kill them.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: They have a lot more variety than other species.
Small and stupid, but still crafty and dangerous, goblins are very wide-spread on Golarion. However, their general mannerisms and lifestyle means that most are incompatible with society at large.
- Abusive Parents: The goblin approach to parenthood consists of tossing their newborns into a central cage and leaving them there, sporadically throwing in food and water and only letting them out when they've grown into physical adults. Fortunately, goblin infants are born relatively self-sufficient, but even so, the neglect they undergo results in many infant goblins starving to death or being cannibalized by their siblings.
- Always Chaotic Evil: Not always, but there's a definite trend. Pathfinder Second Edition goes into a bit more detail. Basically a lot of goblins live, breathe, and die so quickly they're stuck in a state of perpetual childhood. It's actually possible for goblins to be relatively mild Cloudcuckoolanders, but it's only recently become common for them to reach that point. A lot of goblins are still debased anthropophages and barghest and Lamashtu worshippers.
- Big Beautiful Woman: They consider obesity to be a sign of female beauty. Which, given both their primitive culture makes access to food unpredictable and their hyperactive metabolisms make it hard for them to keep weight on, is one of the most logical things about goblins.
- Chaotic Stupid: As much so as they are Stupid Evil. The basic description of goblins in Golarion portrays them as essentially entire race of deranged toddlers with a sadistic streak and extremely bad ADHD. Games Masters are even encouraged to portray goblins doing random stupid things in the middle of a fight, like suddenly running off after a bug/frog, stopping to pick their nose, or charging off at another goblin for a punch-up or a Burping Contest.
- Extreme Omnivore: If you are not a goblin, you are a source of food. Even the most obviously inedible of organic matter will be given a cursory nibble.
- Fetus Terrible: Goblins are born with a full set of teeth and an appetite for meat, to the point that pregnant goblins secrete a hormone that makes their flesh unbearably bitter less to keep themselves from being eaten by predators and more to stop their unborn children from chewing their own way out of the womb!
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: Look at all these other tropes, then ponder what kind of massive mental stat penalties goblins must have. Ready for the answer? A -2 to Charisma. That's it. This is because they're still based on 3rd Edition goblins, who weren't remotely insane or stupid.
- Gonk: Complete with comically oversize heads, Bald of Evil, Red Eyes, Take Warning, and More Teeth than the Osmond Family.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Human flesh is a goblin delicacy.
- Laughably Evil: While they are as malicious as the bigger goblinoids, they tend to be much more comical, hedonistic, and scatterbrained about it.
- Man Bites Man: Goblin gnashers are pretty extreme anyway, but there's a racial trait that gives goblins a full-fledged Bite attack as a natural weapon. They even have their own racial Barbarian archetype, the Feral Gnasher, that specializes in biting its enemies to death.
- Mascot Mook: Goblins were the very first monster that Paizo gave a massive makeover to in order to start building the Golarion setting. Combined with their frequent appearances and rather comedic nature, and they're easily the most iconic monster in Pathfinder. And as of 2nd Edition, they've been made into a core race and have their own Iconic character.
- Monstrous Cannibalism: Goblin flesh is pretty much the primary food source for goblins.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: They got the non-television equivalent in 2nd Edition when they got promoted to a core race and added a goblin Iconic.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Particularly in their more comedic portrayals. They're vicious little airheads who take a childlike joy in songs, games and setting things on fire.
- Pyromaniac: They love fire and have several abilities (and an alchemist archetype) dedicated to their love of making things burn or explode.
- Stupid Evil: They're often portrayed as manic vermin who usually do themselves in by sheer idiocy halfway through their natural lifespan. With nonexistent attention spans, no grasp of tactics, and no regard for each other's well-being, they tend to deal hefty Friendly Fire before they even reach their targets and abandon each other as soon as something spooks them — a poor strategy to pursue a violent grudge against almost every other species.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Pickles. Salt is one of the few flavors that goblins can actually taste effectively, and so they're absolutely addicted to anything with a strong salty flavor. Goblins will shove anything into brine and proceed to eat it, resulting in rather stomach-turning pickling experiments.
- Underground Monkey: Goblins are very adaptable, quick and eager colonizers of new locations, and worshippers of the goddess of mutation, and as such it's quite common for populations of goblins who settle extreme or exotic environments to develop into new variants on the basic goblin theme adapted to that area. Common variants include the prehensile-tailed, arboreal monkey goblins of the jungles of Mediogalti Island, arctic goblin populations with thick fur or blue skin and resistance to cold temperatures, aquatic grindylows and cavern-dwelling goblins with bulbous eyes and long limbs adapted for climbing.
Nobody really knows where Halflings come from. As far as even the Halflings themselves know, they have always lived in the shadow of Humanity. And that suits most of them just fine
- Beneath Notice: In many cases, living unobtrusively at the fringes of civilization is a survival mechanism for them.
- Creepy Doll: Invoked by a racial option.
- Does Not Like Shoes: Going back to the roots on this one; halflings are almost always barefoot in artwork.
- Hobbits: Pathfinder halflings tend to be cheerful opportunists who prefer to avoid the limelight and the problems that come with it. In many human nations, halflings are prized as servants and, in less enlightened kingdoms, slaves.
- Indy Ploy: They tend to jump into situations and figure things out from there.
- Oral Tradition: Fables and folk histories are their cultural mainstays.
- Slave Race: In Cheliax, Katapesh, and other locations they're most often found as slaves. It's mentioned in many parts of the world they're often servants.
- Suffer the Slings: Slings are a signature weapon for halflings.
- Beneath Notice: In many cases, living unobtrusively at the fringes of civilization is a survival mechanism for them.
- Blessed with Suck:
- Zig-zagged in-game: whether their heritage brings pride or shame depends on the region and the author.
- From a meta perspective, half-elves have exclusive access to the Paragon Surge spell, which can be exploited to game-breaking effect.
- Half-Breed Discrimination: Elves view their human traits as an obstacle. Humans view them as a way to link the social bridge between them.
- Half-Human Hybrid: They originated, and many still are born, from human-elf parings, although they're now a true breeding race in themselves.
- True-Breeding Hybrid: Some countries have significant enough populations of half-elves that it's far from uncommon for self-sustaining communities to form, most notably the half-elven city of Erages within the elven kingdom of Kyonin. In many places, it's far more common for a half-elf to be born to two half-elven parents, and for those parents in turn to be the children of other half-elves, than for them to be born from a human and elf pairing.
- Uneven Hybrid: In-universe, many "half"-elves are actually born to human parents who just both happened to have faint elven heritage, although they still count as full half-elven characters from a gameplay perspective and keep most of the same traits from their elven blood that ordinary half-elves get (including long lives), with the exception of perceptive ability.
- Child by Rape: Emphasized, but not the only way they emerge in this setting — in fact, no major NPC half-orc is a result of rape.
- Half-Breed Discrimination: Zig-zagged. They are often looked at as no different from pureblooded orcs by other societies, but while they lack the sheer strength and endurance of those same orcs to thrive in their war-like society, they are still valued for potential cleverness by their beastly forefathers.
- Nonhuman Humanoid Hybrid: Orcs are remarkably cross-fertile with other species, and as a result many half-orcs have goblin or hobgoblin, rather than human, blood. These different crosses all look mostly the same, largely due to orc traits tending to dominate those of the other parent. Elves are one of the few species with whom orcs cannot successfully reproduce, something the elves rarely let other species forget.
- Not Quite Dead: Half-orcs can still stand even at negative hit points for one more round after their hit points go to zero. With the "Ferocious Resolve" feat, this crosses into Determinator, allowing them to keep fighting on even as their life goes into the negative numbers.
- Humans Are Average: As expected, they're pretty much the "default" race and don't have any unique race traits. Later material eventually did give them unique alternate race traits.
- Humans Are Special: As with Dungeons & Dragons, notable for being able to take an additional feat and able to fit into any class. Also, there are a handful of other, non-human races descended from them, such as skum, gillmen and mongrelmen.
- Jack-of-All-Stats: Humans are regarded as basically the best race in Pathfinder, since their versatility lends them well to every class — though there are some cases where specific races have special class synergies that top humans.
- Purposely Overpowered: Not normal humans, but specifically the Azlanti, who gain a bonus to all ability scores (normal humans only gain that bonus in one single ability score. They are also effectively extinct (except for a few who have survived to the present day via very specific means), particularly implausible PCs in most adventures without a convoluted backstory, and the game instructs that they should be only playable with explicit DM permission.
- Really Gets Around: As a species, anyway. Our racial "superpower" seems to be an ability to breed with, and assimilate the magical or physical traits from, almost anything.
Rare RacesRaces not unknown in Golarion, and potentially quite common in certain places, but which are nonetheless too few or localized to be major parts of the Inner Sea region's demographics.
Larger, tougher, and meaner cousins of goblins, the hobgoblins have recently begun to rise in prominence in Golarion's political stage through the founding of two hobgoblin nations: Kaoling, in Tian Xia, establishing during the chaos following the collapse of Luna Wa, and more recently Oprak in the Mindspin Mountains of Avistan.
- Bald of Evil: Males and females alike, though the evil part is societal rather than inherent.
- Evil Chancellor: Their write-up notes that they sometimes take legitimate jobs as advisers or warmasters, but even there, they constantly scheme to pull their employers into more wars and conflicts.
- Fantastic Racism: Hobgoblins hate elves, which they were created to fight — elves and half-elves are the only captives they always kill out of hand rather than enslave, and they detest magic chiefly because elves commonly practice it.
- Non-Indicative Name: The word "Hob" in English pertains to impish creatures; "hobgoblin" therefore, was traditionally an impish goblin, while true goblins were human-sized.
- Since Pathfinder descends from D&D, which was written by people with a tentative understanding of European folklore at best and which took a great deal of inspiration from The Lord of the Rings, which largely made the same mistake, the misnomer stuck, and "Goblins" became the diminutive guys while "Hobgoblins" became the taller, smarter cousins.
- However, Hob (usually Old Hob) has also been a nickname or euphemism for the Devil, and Pathfinder's Hobgoblins were, according to in-universe speculation, a creation of the long-disappeared Devil Canzoriant, who wanted something more robust and obedient for his slave warriors.
- Proud Warrior Race: Their entire society is organized around their military.
- Slave Mooks: Hobgoblins were created from regular goblins by a now long-forgotten faction in order to provide armies of magically-controlled soldiers with whom to attack the then-powerful elven civilization.
- The Starscream: Despite being militant and well organized, this is the reason they aren't a bigger power; any high-ranking hobgoblin spends as much time watching his back from underlings as planning conquest.
- The Spartan Way: Their childhoods aren't fun.
Reclusive guardians of nature, leshies are nature spirits incarnated within bodies grown from plants, and return to nature when they die rather than entering the River of Souls. While they have normally avoided humanoid civilization, recent upheavals have driven many of their kind to venture into the broader world to more proactively champion their wildernesses' well-being.
Some leshies, born from weaker spirits, can only form diminutive bodies and are sometimes taken as companions by their larger kin or other beings. For tropes pertaining to these non-playable leshy familiars, see the Plants character page.
- Artificial Human: They're created rather than born — their bodies are grown through special magic rituals much like normal plants, at which point a magic ritual is used to call a nature spirit to animate them.
- Cranium Compartment: Gourd leshies' heads are hollowed out during their creation, leaving them with empty craniums and a "lid" where their pumpkins were originally cut into. They can take advantage of this to store small items inside their heads.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Fungus leshies usually look monstrous and frightening, and are treated with fear by other beings, but they're no more evil than any other leshy.
- Mushroom Man: While most leshies are born from plants, mushroom leshies are created from fungi and resemble humanoid toadstools.
- Plant Person: Their bodies are grown from vegetable manner much like normal plants, and as such they resemble humanoid clusters of vegetable matter. Their specific type depends on what specific sort of vegetable organisms went into growing their bodies, resulting in gourd leshys, seaweed leshys, fungus leshys, leaf leshys, etc.
- Pumpkin Person: Gourd leshies have heads made from gourds, squashes or pumpkins that are carved, hollowed and decorated during their creation.
- Reincarnation: Of a sort. The spirits that animate them remain in existence after their corporeal bodies die, and can be summoned to animate a new leshy. They can thus inhabit any number of physical bodies of any and all sorts of leshys over time, although each death robs them of all but a few faint memories of their corporeal lives.
Reptilian humanoids that live in swamps and marshes, the lizardfolk — iruxi, as they name themselves — are one of Golarion's most ancient species.
- Ape Shall Not Kill Ape: They take loyalty within a tribe very seriously.
- The Beastmaster: Lizardfolk are quite skilled at taming large, powerful animals — typically reptilian ones — to serve as mounts, beasts of burdens and war animals. They typically use dinosaurs of almost any species in this role, but will sometimes keep wyverns as well.
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: The main cause of their conflicts with other races. For example, they view sending one's greatest fighters to war instead of keeping them to guard the young to be completely insane.
- Fantastic Racism: They refuse to deal with elves do an unknown betrayal in their past, deeply distrust humans do their long history of territorial conflict and absolutely loathe boggards, whose society they consider a degenerate mockery of their own. On the other hand, they get along fine with dwarves and gnomes.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Lizardfolk aren't particularly malicious about it. To them, having someone die and not letting their nutrients be used to help someone would be disrespectful.
- Large and in Charge: The Lizard Scions, a sub-race of lizardfolk, are much larger than their kin, and usually hold positions of authority.
- Lizard Folk: Human-sized, bipedal reptiles who live in tribal societies and inhabit swamps.
- Noble Savage: Lizardfolk society, while primitive by the quicker-breeding races' standards, has a great degree of cultural sophistication and artistic capability.
- Swamps Are Evil: Played with. Most reside in these locations and environments, but, while sometimes antagonistic towards outsiders, lizardfolk are more survival-focused than evil.
Hybrid RacesRaces resulting from the intermingling of heritage, whether through interbreeding or magical influence.
Humanoids touched by the blood or power of benevolent divine beings and imbued with some of their strength. For unknown reasons, the rate of aasimar births has increased at a steady pace since the death of Aroden.
- Beauty Equals Goodness: They tend to be Good-aligned and exceptionally, even preternaturally, pretty. One racial trait exploits and subverts the trope by making an aasimar so angelic and innocent-looking that it gives them a huge edge in lying to people.
- Belief Makes You Stupid: A common Start of Darkness for aasimar villains is being harassed by superstitious people with a limited grasp of what their parentage actually means who want blessings they can't grant and get... unhappy when they don't.
- Blessed with Suck: Aasimars are born with the blood of celestials in their veins, supernatural beauty and endurance, enhanced lifespans, and more often than not a good magic trick or two up their sleeves. They're often pariahs in their communities, as their peers and neighbors tend to view them with a mix of envy, superstitious awe and fetishistic attraction, they're often targeted by evil creatures and governments and their beauty and skills make them popular targets for the slave trade.
- Light Is Good: Zig-zagged. Their magic, aesthetics, and morality lean strongly this way by default, but the ones who fall to evil tend to be exceptionally depraved.
- Mystical Pregnancy: Some aasimars are the result of a benevolent god answering a devout follower's prayer for a child, or a mortal being impregnated by a celestial in the form of a sunbeam or a gust of wind.
- Semi-Divine: Most are distantly descended from Good-aligned outsiders like angels.
- So Beautiful, It's a Curse: The otherworldly beauty of aasimars can lead to this, depending on how the people treat them.
- Superhuman Trafficking: They're often targeted for slavery due to their beauty, the strength and resilience granted them by their heritage, the prestige of owning aasimar slaves, and the fact that their rarity means they almost never have their own communities to protect them.
- True-Breeding Hybrid: Aasimars can breed true to produce more of their kind. This is often a moot point due to how rare they are — it's uncommon for more than a couple to live in the same settlement at any given time — but the Tian Xian nation of Tianjing is populated almost exclusively by aasimars.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Evil-aligned aasimars find they can metaphorically (and sometimes literally) get away with murder.
- Half-Human Hybrid: The offspring of humans and Deep Ones.
- In the Blood: Played with. The hybrids' bodies are condemned to turn into full deep ones... but given how it's stated the transformation actually kills them, it's implied the hybrid and the deep one born from their corpse are two different beings, although the fact that said transformation is stated to work like the reincarnate spell somewhat muddies the waters on the matter.
- Metamorphosis: Similar to changelings, they're the larval stage of the deep ones. Deep One hybrids have it worse, though. While changelings can avoid their fates by simply ignoring the call of their mothers, the only way for a hybrid to escape their fate is to die before sixty; otherwise, they've got a year at most to live before their body agonizingly reforms into a Deep One.
- Public Domain Character: The entire race is lifted from the works of H. P. Lovecraft.
Half-alive children of vampires and mortals.
- Dark and Troubled Past: As a rule. Most cause their mothers' Death by Childbirth and are ostracized by society from then on.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Downplayed. They are not Always Chaotic Evil, but their undead legacy and the Fantastic Racism they tend to suffer mean a lot of them have a good chance of succumbing to evil. Some, however, do resist and turn out well.
- Day Hurts Dark-Adjusted Eyes: Without the "Dayborn" alternate race trait, dhampirs are left dazzled by daylight.
- Dhampyr: The half-living children of vampires and living mortals, dhampirs are technically living beings but are animated by negative, rather than positive, energy, and inherit their undead parents' aversion to the sun.
- Fantastic Racism: They get it pretty bad.
- Revive Kills Zombie: Like their undead forefathers, positive channeled energy can leave a nasty sting, even kill them, while negative channeled energy heals them.
- Then Let Me Be Evil: A common motivation for evil dhampir.
- Expy: They're renamed, but otherwise functionally identical, versions of Dungeons & Dragons' genasi, planetouched humanoids descended from elemental beings.
- True-Breeding Hybrid: All genie-kin orientated from the intermingling of air elementals, usually genies, and mortal humanoids. They're entirely capable of having children with each other, however, and in the present day most are born to parents of their own kind.
- Expy: Of fire genasi.
- Fantastic Racism: Like many other planar races, they're often looked down on for their heritage. This is especially true in Qadira, where genies are seen as servants to be bound — not equals to have children with — and in the City of Brass, where pure-blooded efreeti treat them firmly as second-class citizens.
- Horned Humanoid: Ifrit often bear horns, a trait inherited from the efreeti.
- Personality Powers: They tend to be both literally and metaphorically hot-headed.
- Playing with Fire: They can produce flame as a spell-like ability.
- Beware the Quiet Ones: They tend to be quiet and reserved, but almost unstoppable when provoked.
- Call a Pegasus a "Hippogriff": In myth, oreads were nymphs of the mountains — beyond a general association with things of earth, they don't have much in common with Pathfinder's genie descendants.
- Dishing Out Dirt: And all the variants thereof, depending on racial traits, due to their own heritage from the Plane of Earth.
- Expy: Of earth genasi, down to the dwarven ancestry.
- Non-Human Humanoid Hybrid: Not quite, but close. A significant portion of oreads are descended from dwarves instead of humans.
Sulis are typically descended from the multi-elemental genies known as jann.
- Elemental Powers: Sulis get their pick of these.
- Power Fist: Sulis can sheath their hands (or the weapons held in them) in any of the four classical elements.
- Blow You Away: Descended from humans and those from the Plane of Air, they have a limited connection to weather and air, including limited use of Feather Fall as a spell-like ability.
- Expy: Of air genasi.
- Stalker Without a Crush: Their usual strategy when someone strikes their interest.
- Expy: Of water genasi.
- Fish People: They're usually portrayed with traits such as blue skin and fins, which contrasts considerably compared to the other elemental plane-touched races but harkens back to some early depictions of water genasi from Planescape. Despite this, they can't all actually breathe underwater.
- Making a Splash: They can use Hydraulic Push and Create Water as spell-like abilities and are descended from creatures native to the Plane of Water.
- True-Breeding Hybrid: They're a particularly notable example among the genie-kin, and maintain self-sustaining populations on the Plane of Water that are large and common enough for people to suspect them to be making a bid for becoming one of the plane's major powers in their own right.
To lycanthropes as tieflings are to fiends and aasimar are to celestials.
- Our Werebeasts Are Different: Skinwalkers come in many variants, such as the werebear-blooded coldborn, the wereboar-blooded ragebred, the werecrocodile-blooded scalehearts, and the wereshark-blooded seascarred.
- Our Werewolves Are Different: Played with. Skinwalkers aren't lycanthropes per se since they aren't sired by lycanthropes, but rather have one somewhere in their family tree.
- Skin Walker: To the point where skinwalkers are usually connected to Arcadia.
- Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism: Their Bestial form is less than that of a true lycanthrope's hybrid form, roughly coming off as Little Bit Beastly to Beast Man.
The flip side of aasimars, tieflings are touched by fiendish origins, whether directly descended from a demon, the result of a Deal with the Devil, or simply tainted by unholy energy in the womb. For unknown reasons, the rate of tiefling births has increased at a steady pace since the death of Aroden.
- Beast Man: Rakshasa-descended tieflings, known as beastbrood, often develop traits such as fur, fangs or animal eyes. Many end up looking like Cat Folk, as most rakshasas resemble tigers themselves.
- Casting a Shadow: One of their racial powers is to create magical darkness.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Despite their unsettling nature and darkness-related powers, they have no innate tie to their ancestors' evil and are free to choose their path in life.
- Death by Childbirth: Qlippoth-spawn are notorious for almost always killing their mothers on the way out, to the point that they're often referred to as the motherless.
- Fantastic Racism: Tieflings get this worse than just about every other race in the game. Even in openly Hell-aligned Cheliax they get looked down on; the locals see their deals with devils as purely professional, so a hybrid being born is treated like someone being indiscreet with the maid (by both sides).
- Horned Humanoid: Most tieflings, especially those with demonic, infernal or div heritage, sport horns as an outward sign of their ancestry.
- Humanoid Abomination: Qlippoth-spawn tieflings, also known as the motherless, have a tendency to look like this. While all tieflings have obvious physical traits setting them apart from their neighbors, the motherless are so heavily adorned with tentacles, barbed tendrils, fangs, distorted faces and limbs, carapaces or scales and other deformities that they're barely recognizable as members of their parent species.
- Semi-Divine: Tieflings have at least one fiendish ancestor.
- Then Let Me Be Evil: Some tieflings respond to the prejudice they face by figuring that, if they're going to be seen as fiends and monsters no matter what they do, they might as well act the part — why bother to try to change people's minds when it's never going to work? At least thieves and assassins don't much care about their associates being evil.
- True-Breeding Hybrid: Tieflings can reproduce with each other same as any other species, and are in fact likelier to breed true than other planar races, although their relative rarity often precludes the formation of truly self-perpetuating tiefling populations.
Artificially Created Races
A race of outsider-constructs that were introduced in the Mummy's Mask Adventure Path, they are created to bear the punishment of the sins of mortal kings.
- The Ageless: They have biological immortality and will never die of old age, but can still be killed.
- Artificial Human: In theory, they could be artificial versions of anything — it just takes mortals with the proper magical know how to make one to take their place in the afterlife. As a result, they're biologically sterile and can't sexually reproduce.
- Amazing Technicolor Population: Their skin comes in gold, ivory, ebony, and jade.
- Chrome Champion: Superficially. Their gold skin is cool to the touch but isn't actually metal.
- The Scapegoat: Their purpose; kings will have them made so that they will be punished in the afterlife for the excesses of the mortals whose likeness they bear. This pisses Pharasma off to no end, and her agents free the Shabti wherever they are found.
- Sculpted Physique: They're created to look like idealized versions of mortals, appearing like living statues.
Small wooden constructs created as assassins by a wizard, the wyrwoods killed their master and stole the secret of creating more of their kind.
Other Races on Golarion
Mysterious, psychically inclined humanoids introduced in Bestiary 5.
Dark folk, remnants of the Azlanti driven underground eons ago; Caligni is both an umbrella term occasionally used by the dark folk themselves for the various dark folk subraces such as stalkers, creepers, and dancers, and a term for the unique variant that are suitable as player characters.
- Day Hurts Dark-Adjusted Eyes: While not blinded by the light, they are dazed in bright light.
- The Exile: Caligni often end up suffering an unfortunate accident before adulthood (apparently they tend to end up annoying the powers that be) unless they anticipate this and leave first. This is naturally an excuse for a caligni PC to be where the other PCs are, and for the GM to introduce complications into the PC's life.
- Expy: They're basically to humans what drow are to elves, though not quite as bad. They're also not dissimilar to fetchlings but remain humanoid as opposed to being outsiders.
- Human Subspecies: Dark folk, in general, are this; humans altered by the extraplanar owb into creatures of shadow after having fled Earthfall; they're not so monstrous or degenerate as the morlocks, but are still usually malevolent. Caligni specifically are genetic throwbacks among dark folk; they're closer to what the race was before the owbs began breeding them into specialized subraces.
- Innate Night Vision: All dark folk have the "see in darkness" ability, which allows them to see perfectly even in supernaturally dark places (which block the more typical darkvision).
- Light 'em Up: Oddly for a race shrouded in darkness; when they die, they explode in a flash of light that blinds all those within five feet of them.
- The Quisling: Evil caligni tend to be this, working closely with the Owbs who enslave their race.
- Slave Race: To the Owbs. Caligni may rebel, or not.
A race of anthropomorphic cats native to southern Garund, but whose restlessness and curiosity often brings them to every corner of the world.
- Cat Folk: A fairly typical species of fantasy humanoid felines, generally native to the tropics and distinguished by very feline curiosity.
- Cat Girl: Their official artwork tends to flip-flop on their anthropomorphism, and at the most human-like end they tend to resemble humans with minor feline features.
- Beast Folk: At the far end of their portrayals' anthropomorphic zigzagging, they resemble bipedal felines whose only concessions to anthropomorphism are opposable thumbs.
- Depending on the Artist: As mentioned, catfolk have yet to be consistently represented in artwork. They vary between the cat girl trope, one that is more evocative of the Khajiit, and one that looks like something out of Thunder Cats. James Jacobs, the creative lead, prefers the cat-girl look, but fan opinion is mixed. Inner Sea Races seems to have worked this inconsistency into the species' lore, saying that catfolk can run the whole spectrum mentioned above, "varying wildly between regions or even between families".
Changelings are secretly conceived by hags from mortal fathers. When they grow up, their mothers call them back to complete their transformation. Not all of them are willing.
- Child by Rape: Hags tend to take mates by trickery or by force.
- Femme Fatalons: Changelings have dangerously sharp fingernails.
- Half-Human Hybrid: The offspring of human men and hags.
- Metamorphosis: Changelings are essentially the "larval" version of hags. Though some resist the call, most end up succumbing to the lure of power and transform into hags like their mothers.
- Mismatched Eyes: The easiest way to figure out if someone is a changeling is to check her eye color — all changelings have mismatched eyes.
- One-Gender Race: All changelings are female in first edition. Averted in second edition, where male changelings exist but never become hags and are Beneath Notice as a result. Don't think too hard about why their mothers don't kill them.
- Parental Abandonment: The standard procedure for hags is to leave their children for someone else to rear. If the changeling is lucky, she ends up Happily Adopted and her birth mother never comes back.
- Witch Species: Though they don't have to become hags or even witches.
Similar to aasimar and tieflings, ganzi are humanoids who've been affected by one of the outer planes; in their case, the swirling chaos of the Maelstrom. Unlike other native outsiders, they aren't the result of intermingling between mortals and outsiders, but rather the result of mutation in mortals who reside close to fonts of pure chaos.
- Body Horror: Some ganzi are unlucky in their mutations and end up like this, missing major features such as eyes or ears.
- Eye Color Change: Ganzi eyes and hair are constantly but slowly shifting in color over the course of weeks or months. This isn't so much related to mood or appearance, just an expression of their chaotic and mutable natures.
- Mutants: No two ganzi are exactly the same; each one manifests their chaotic mutation differently. This can lead to some Blessed with Suck cases.
- Winds of Destiny, Change: They have the power to influence probability. In game terms, this means once per day they can force any creature to re-roll a single d20 roll.
Small fey humanoids with wings made up of a symbiotic woody plant.
Humanoid plants originally created by human wizards as a source of food, ghorans attained sentience and have become a culture unto themselves.
- Anthropomorphic Food: The intelligent humanoid descendants of magically bioengineered mobile vegetables.
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: Inner Sea Races explains that their psychology is fairly alien to most humanoids; they don't experience emotion in the same way we do, and their thought process, in general, is completely different.
- Dying Race: Ghorans lack the ability to reproduce naturally; the only way to make a new ghoran is for an existing ghoran to plant its seed in the ground and then die. Ghorans can, however, be permanently killed if their seed is destroyed, and this is often done by those who illegally harvest ghorans for food and don't want to be identified by the ghoran once it is reborn. As a result, the ghoran population has only shrunk since their race was created. On the other hand, they made it into Starfinder's second Alien Archive, so they do manage to beat the odds.
- Expy: While not one to one, they do have some similarities with Sylvari.
- Fantastic Racism: They're the victims of it; they aren't recognized as people in most of the world and are looked at as a food product. In the one nation that does acknowledge them an give them some rights, they're still second class citizens at best and are often preyed upon and sold on the black market.
- Plant Person: Shelled, tree-like people, specifically.
- Resurrective Immortality: They can invoke this option by sprouting a seed that germinates into their replacement if they're killed.
- Slave Race: They were harvested as food for centuries in their homeland of Nex. Currently, they're afforded citizenship and rights there, but this doesn't extend very far beyond, so they're forced to remain in the one nation that knows how delicious they are.
- Took a Level in Badass: The artwork for them in Inner Sea Bestiary was well done but made them look fairly harmless. Inner Sea Races and Bestiary 5 make them look much more formidable.
- We Are as Mayflies: Resurrection notwithstanding, an individual Ghoran body lasts only about twenty years at most before they die and are reborn.
- You Taste Delicious: Their flavor is so good as to be a drawback in combat — one of their special abilities, "Delicious", means that opponents that bite them get a bonus against being shaken off.
Humanoid hyenas, infamous for their savagery and laziness.
- Always Chaotic Evil: They tend to be portrayed this way, though some exceptions exist.
- Beast Folk: Leaning more towards the "animal with generally humanoid anatomy" than the "human with animal features" side of this trope, they are bipedal hyenas with human-like arms and opposable thumbs.
- Fate Worse than Death: Gnolls consider exile to be this — they're very social creatures, and fear dying far less than they fear being alone. In gnoll society, the death penalty exists but is used for crimes that, while serious, are not considered the worst possible. The most serious crimes, such as heresy, treason or freeing slaves, are all punished with exile.
- Heinous Hyena: They're humanoid hyenas known for their tremendous slothfulness and horrific savagery, with lifestyles centered chiefly on raiding other people for food, supplies and slaves. Most worship Lamashtu, the Chaotic Evil Mother of Monsters. That said, they are also noted to have some positive qualities: they are immensely loyal to their packs, and never war against or enslave other gnolls.
- Klingon Promotion: The default response of a gnoll tribe to regicide is to make the old leader's killer their new leader.
- Lazy Bum: Their laziness is their defining attribute.
- Pet the Dog: In spite of being cannibalistic demon-worshipping monsters, gnolls are often fiercely loyal to their "pack", and many become depressed or unhinged without one. This is often given as a reason for gnolls to become adventurers: to find a new family.
- Made a Slave: They tend to be extremely lazy, and take slaves of other species to do the necessary but tedious work they refuse to do themselves.
- We Are as Mayflies: Most gnolls never live past the age of thirty-five, dying either violent deaths or withering away in a horrifically rapid fashion. This is theorized to be due to their connection with the demon Lamashtu.
Frog-people that tend to live in marshes. Distantly related to Boggards.
- Frog Men: Literally two-and-a-half-feet-tall bipedal frogs.
- Cunning Like a Fox: They have a reputation for trickery, often well-earned.
- Fox Folk: Their base forms are human-sized, anthropomorphic foxes.
- Humanshifting: Regardless of class, they can each take a specific, single human form of the same sex as them as a standard action. The Realistic Likeness feat upgrades this ability, allowing them to copy others' appearances.
- Kitsune: They don't have much in common with Japanese folklore's shapeshifting spirits beyond the name and base species, but they do get a feat for growing additional tails, which can be taken eight times and grants more spell-like abilities with each tail.
- Lovable Rogue: Arguably, their Rogue Racial Archetype runs on exploiting this view. The Kitsune Tricksters use their guile and charms to get what they want.
Short, profoundly unpleasant reptilian humanoids with delusions of grandeur.
- Abhorrent Admirer: Kobolds worship true dragons (both metaphorically and literally, depending on the circumstances), which they see as the greatest beings in creation and the only things genuinely superior to themselves; they also proudly claim draconic heritage, which is the source of their claims to being the true masters of the world. The dragons, on their part, find the kobolds as weak and contemptible as everyone else does, and their fawning admiration as anywhere between acutely embarrassing, kind of pathetic or downright insulting, depending on the dragon in question.
- Absolute Xenophobe: For the most part, other species are to be tormented, killed, avoided, or distracted with flattery until they slip up.
- Breath Weapon: A very rare variety of kobolds, the dragonbreath kobolds, are capable of using the breath weapon associated with the breed of chromatic dragon that their scale color matches — corrosive gas for green-scaled kobolds, fire for red-scaled ones, acid for black ones, frost for white ones and bolts of electricity for blue ones.
- Combat Pragmatist: Since one-on-one melee combat usually turns out badly for kobolds, they love to use ambushes, traps, skirmish tactics, and the advantage of numbers.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Kobolds of Golarion states that while kobolds are weak, they should never be underestimated. There are a lot of them, they work marvelously well together, they're the ultimate Trap Masters, and they taste too terrible for Darklands predators to eat them.
- Draconic Humanoid: While they are reptilian humanoids, they boast about how they are more related to dragons, and they physically do bear some resemblance to their greater kin — most notably, their scale colors match those of chromatic dragons, and some very rare kobolds can use draconic Breath Weapons. The immensely proud and powerful dragons find these links to such weak, cowardly creatures profoundly embarrassing.
- Dirty Coward: Their hat. Although with proper characterization, they can be promoted to Lovable Coward since they're more pathetic than obnoxious.
- Evil Counterpart: They often come across as this to the dwarves. Both species traditionally live in extensive underground settlements, are dedicated and untiring workers who consider a life spent toiling productively to be a life well-spent, and are often noted to be extremely skilled at creating things out of stone and metal. They both lean towards predominantly lawful alignments, and are often depicted as actively at odds with each other over living space and mining grounds.
- Long-Lived: Well not as Long-Lived as the elves, their lifespans are still quite long by the standards of most humanoids. Kobold life expectancy is usually 30 — 40 years due to their tough lives, but some can live up to 140 years if they survive.
- Our Kobolds Are Different: Much like their Dungeons & Dragons predecessors, they're small, reptilian humanoids distantly related to dragons. Second edition reimagines them as squatter beings with almost toadlike faces and broad, backwards-pointing horns. Their myths generally link them to dragons in some manner, usually with kobolds being dragons who were stripped of their power in some manner or with dragons having been created by empowering preexisting kobolds. In the modern day, kobolds live underground in mazelike warrens behind layers of deadly traps, are ancestral enemies of goblins, dwarves and gnomes and worship dragons as living gods. The vastly more powerful dragons, in turn, mostly see kobolds as a cheap source of expandable minions and as a source of mild embarrassment otherwise.
- All kobolds have the scale color of one of the five types of chromatic dragon (white, black, green, blue and red). This is normally purely cosmetic, but a very rare variety, the dragonbreath kobolds, are able to use the Breath Weapon of their associated dragon type (respectively ice, acid, poison gas, lightning and fire).
- Culturally, kobolds are defined by strictly hierarchical societies, profound xenophobia towards anything that isn't a kobold or a dragon, fanatical devotion to their tribes and a vastly overwrought sense of self-importance — kobolds believe themselves to be the true rulers of the world and as the creators of most forms of technology and civilization.
- While most kobolds live in complex tunnel systems underground, some tribes of green-scaled kobolds live nomadically deep within ancient forests.
- Small Name, Big Ego: They like to play up their draconic heritage in order to compensate for their obvious inferiority to their actual dragon ancestors. It's a big sore point.
- Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: An entirely literal example: apparently they taste too terrible for even the predators in the Darklands to eat them.
- Trap Master: Their specialty. Kobold lairs are almost always riddled with numerous, creative and deadly traps, and they have several racial bonuses and archetypes to help with trapmaking.
A savage, cannibalistic race that inhabits the westernmost islands of the Shackles.
- Always Chaotic Evil: They're essentially the Shackles' answer to orcs.
- Body Paint: A distinctive quality of theirs; it might be blood though.
- Day Hurts Dark-Adjusted Eyes: They're sensitive to the light.
- FaceHeel Turn: They were once a peaceful race native to the Shackles. They were driven to the Cannibal Isles by encroaching pirates, and the Blood Queen's influence turned them into what they are today.
- I am a Humanitarian: They habitually eat other humanoids: the islands they inhabit are even known as "the Cannibal Isles".
- Man Bites Man: They have a natural bite attack and gain temporary hit points from consuming the blood of their enemies.
- Meaningful Name: In real life, kuru is a prion-based disease that affects the nervous system, chiefly characterized by violent trembling and spasms. It is primarily contracted through cannibalism.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Their eyes are naturally solid red.
- Religion of Evil: They worship a monstrous entity known as the Blood Queen.
Reclusive inhabitants of the ocean depths, the merfolk are secretive to the point of paranoia. Unknown to many, they're among the numerous servitor species created by the aboleths in ancient times, and are known as the sapiaquali-oth in the aboleth tongue.
- Absolute Xenophobe: While they generally don't seek out other species to kill, they defend their own territories mercilessly and view all other species as invaders and enemies.
- Odd Friendship: With the aboleths, of all things. The aboleth were their creators, and to this day they're the only creatures the merfolk think of as allies.
- Our Mermaids Are Different: Amphibious, pointy-eared and extremely reclusive, but otherwise fairly standard.
- Servant Race: They were created as the aboleths' first foray into creating humanoid servitor species, and to this day often serve the fishlike aberrations as agents and unwitting wardens.
Snake-like, scaled people.
- Dumb Muscle: Nagaji have a racial bonus to Strength, a penalty to Intelligence, and a lack of understanding for logic and education.
- Poisonous Person: Some nagaji are capable of spitting venom.
- Servant Race: According to legend, nagaji were created by the naga as servants. They claim to be okay with it.
- Snake People: They are scaled, snake-like people.
Nymphs who watch over rivers, lakes and other bodies of freshwater, naiads are far more likely to interact with nearby humanoids than other nymphs are, visiting their towns and on occasion even becoming adventurers themselves.
- Heal Thyself: Passively so, at least. Naiads steadily recover their hit points while in a body of water they are bonded to.
- Making a Splash: Unsurprisingly, naiads have a fair bit of control over water — most notably, they can create a direct powerful waves when near their bonded body of water.
- Nature Spirit: Inhabitants, embodiments and guardians of freshwater environments.
- Our Nymphs Are Different: Female, humanoid fey who watch over and protect bodies of freshwater, and inspired by the minor Greek deities with the same name and role. They were distinct creatures from "true" nymphs in 1st edition, but are reclassified as part of a broadened nymph species in 2nd edition's reshuffling of creature categories.
A race of small, reclusive, apelike hunter-gatherers related to Sasquatches.
Ancestral enemies of the dwarves, they were driven to the surface before the advancing dwarves in their Quest for the Sky, and have been a scourge on the surface ever since. On Golarion, most live in the hold of Belkizen.
- Always Chaotic Evil: Being pretty much the Trope Codifier, they usually suffer from this, mostly due to having evil gods and Demon Lords as patrons.
- Arch-Enemy: Dwarves; their oldest and most hated enemy, the dwarves have shattered orc empires both above and below ground.
- An Axe to Grind: The greataxe is a favoured weapon among orcs, and synergizes well with their brute strength.
- Blood Knight: Their culture revolves around combat.
- Day Hurts Dark-Adjusted Eyes: Of course, there's an alternate racial trait to avert this, like others, described as the result of an Orc staring into the sun for long periods rather than "be defeated" by it.
- Determinator: Similar case to half-orcs, but don't need an additional feat to keep fighting.
- Dumb Muscle: They receive the second highest strength bonus out of any race in the game, surpassed only by the trox. They also receive penalties to all mental scores.
- Fantastic Racism: They view elves and dwarves with hatred and resentment, halflings and gnomes with hatred and contempt, and humans with plain hatred.
- Proud Warrior Race: Of Blood Knights, though they tend to view things like honor and loyalty as getting in the way of brute force.
- Worthy Opponent: They see humans as this, partly because they see them as being just as bloodthirsty as they are.
Child-sized, quick-witted anthropomorphic rats.
- Bash Brothers: As part of the below trope and their "Swarming" racial trait, it's possible for a pair of Ratfolk to go Back-to-Back Badasses and use a teamwork feat to draw weapons from each other's gear.
- Close-Knit Community: They resolve conflicts to be mutually beneficial among their people if it can be helped, and care deeply for their kin. They even get a racial trait that allows a pair to share the same square.
- Expy: Their original Bestiary entry makes them one for Jawas. Their racial class archetypes are eerily similar to the Skaven.
- Plague Master: The Plague Bringer Alchemist, their Animal Stereotype archetype.
- Rat Men: Humanoid rats about the size of a halfling, who live in large groups within twisting warrens, are strongly associated with disease and common rodents, and are typically highly distrusted by other species.
- Thinking Up Portals: Ratfolk created a special discipline of psychic magic called Ranatagi, which allows them to detect and manipulate rifts in reality. The most gifted practitioners were said to guide entire caravans across vast reaches of space to distant worlds, which would explain their presence on Akiton, Golarion, and Castrovel.
- Underground Monkey: The ratfolk from Akiton, called Ysoki, have red fur but are otherwise identical to their Golarion-born cousins.
- You Dirty Rat!: Averted. They tend towards neutrality and have close family ties. Some actually are so against the Animal Stereotype they get an alternate race trait for it.
A group of blue-skinned humanoids who reincarnate rather than reproduce conventionally.
- Alien Blood: It looks like water.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: A common reaction to their reincarnation is to see it as a curse, much like the Rakshasa. They disagree.
- Expy: Built to function as expies to magical Tibetan Buddist monks.
- Reincarnation: Samsarans reincarnate in an eternal cycle in search of enlightenment. Each time they are reincarnated, they retain some faint memories of their past life, but might have a vastly different personality.
Black-skinned Winged Humanoids who primarily live on isolated peaks and mountain ranges around Cheliax.
- Close-Knit Community: Despite their bad reputations.
- The Exile: A strix PC is likely to be this as they otherwise generally don't venture far from their mountains, but as it turns out the whole of the Inner Sea strix community views themselves this way; their mythology holds that they were banished from their homeland in Arcadia by the gods — likely the Syrinx — for some unknown offense, and that all of the misfortune they've suffered since is the result of this curse.
- Fantastic Racism: Strix loathe humans due to having been hunted by them to near extinction.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: This is part of their philosophy; they rarely attack first, but take great vengeance against any offense, such as killing dozens of humans to avenge the death of a single strix. This hasn't done anything to help relations between the two races.
- Slave Race: They were originally bred to be this by the syrinx.
Cerebral, philosophical, wholly evil owl-like humanoids who seek to build a perfect enlightened culture — with them at the top, and everyone else in chains.
- Fantastic Racism: They believe that they have the right to mastery over every other race, especially the ones without wings.
- Light Is Not Good: A race of gold-feathered philosophers who desire to bring peace to all lands that they lay eyes upon. By conquering and enslaving them.
- Ominous Owl: Of the anthropomorphic variety — the syrinx are evil, imperialistic slavers seeking to conquer the world.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: Their justification for mass enslavement.
- Wicked Cultured: Their culture highly values art and philosophy. It's also solidly Lawful Evil.
Crow-like, bird-headed humanoids.
- Bird People: Hunched-over crow people, normally lacking wings.
- Fantastic Racism: They receive this, being one of the beastly races that, while not actively chased out of town, are only just tolerated.
- Good Luck Charm: They've cultivated a reputation as "Jinx Eaters" among Inner Sea pirates who believe that they soak up the bad luck from people around them. They exploit this to get a measure of acceptance and protection.
- Master Swordsman: They are trained from birth with every kind of blade, and considered proficient with all sword-like weapons.
- Power Gives You Wings: The "Tengu Wings" racial feat in a nutshell.
- Shapeshifting: Two racial feats grant them this ability: one allows them to become long-nosed humans, the other allows them to become Large crows... though the latter requires Tengu Wings first.
A long time ago, the tritons came to Golarion from the Plane of Water. Having dwelled in the material plane for ages, the tritons now consider Golarion their home and live in all of its major seas and oceans.
- Amazing Technicolor Population: They're usually depicted with blue or blue-green skin.
- Arch-Enemy: Tritons oppose all evil creatures on principle, but have a particular loathing for aboleths and krakens.
- Blow That Horn: They have a tradition of shaping conch shells into large horns, which they can blow to summon marine creatures to their aid; some have different effects, such as causing supernatural fear in the blower's enemies or battering them with jets of water. They cannot be used by members of other species, but inspired the creation of triton's conches.
- Fish People: Downplayed. They're mostly humanoid, but breathe water, have blue skin and fins, and have either fish tails for legs or frog-like webbed feet.
- Horse of a Different Color: They often ride sea creatures such as dolphins, sea turtles and giant seahorses.
- Prongs of Poseidon: Fitting a race of aquatic warriors named and designed after Poseidon's herald, they usually wield tridents.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: They typically have white, silver, blue, or light green hair.
A hulking subterranean insectoid race with a history of really bad neighbours.
- The Big Guy: The only standard race to be in the "large" category.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Though scary in appearance and very short-tempered, their violent attitudes are due to a history of abuse, and they were originally agents of the Forever Queen of Nchak, a Lawful Good deity, before they were enslaved.
- Dumb Muscle: They're very big and very strong, but they also have a penalty to all their mental ability scores.
- Multi-Armed and Dangerous: They have four smaller arms that they use for grappling.
- Slave Race: The descendants of a docile race who were enslaved by the Duergar and bred to be brutes. Some escaped to the surface... where more races wanted to enslave them.
- Super Strength: Trox outdo Orcs by having a natural +6 to their base strength.
- Tunnel King: The only 0 hit die race to have a burrow speed.
- Unstoppable Rage: Any time Trox take damage, they go into a frenzy. It's basically a watered-down, minute-long rage, but it stacks with a Barbarian's Rage.
- Blank White Eyes: Whether they have these or Hellish Pupils varies Depending on the Artist, but either way they are usually the only noticeable tell that they are not human.
- Poisonous Person: Vishkanya have poisonous fangs, and delight in coating their weapons with a layer of poisonous saliva before attacking.
- Snakes Are Sexy: Some sourcebooks go in this direction. (Justified since they're based on seductive assassin-courtesans in India historical legends).
- Supernatural Gold Eyes: One of their defining traits, alongside the scales.
Derivative RacesRaces that came about as mutated offshoots of other races, usually the core races.
The descendants of the elves who chose not to flee the planet before Earthfall. They were forced underground and eventually were corrupted by the forces of the Darklands and their growing hatred of their kin who left.
- Always Chaotic Evil: Subverted. The Advanced Race Guide states that most fit this trope, but actual character creation doesn't give alignment limits. In theory, the drow species as a whole is evil by nature due to being elves that were transformed by the evil in their own nature (the Second Darkness Adventure Path actually shows this happening), but it's possible for a (second generation or later) drow to be non-evil. The tricky part is surviving in drow society long enough to reach adulthood and escape. Most non-evil drow are found out and either killed or turned into driders long before then.
- Body Horror: Their fleshwarping does this to anyone unlucky enough to be caught by them.
- Card-Carrying Villain: These guys developed vegepygmies so that even their vegetables could be made to suffer.
- Day Hurts Dark-Adjusted Eyes: Without the "Surface Infiltrator" alternate race trait, drow, like dhampirs, are left dazzled by daylight.
- Fantastic Racism: They hate all non-drow, but their dislike of surface elves tends to be most noteworthy.
- Klingon Scientists Get No Respect: Drow society is built on the backs of its legions of slaves, but their contempt for their thralls means that drow slavemasters are afforded extremely little standing or respect.
- Matriarchy: Men have very little status within drow society, and are generally restricted to serving as low-ranking soldiers and servants. Female drow hold all positions of power and authority, and non-drow are advised to have the women in their group do the speaking when dealing with them in order to be taken with anything approaching respect.
- Our Elves Are Different: Archetypal dark elves — subterranean, cruel to the point of absurdity, black- to blue-skinned and with a tendency towards less than modest clothing styles.
The ancestors of duergar were those dwarves who refused to undertake the Quest for the Sky. Most of them fell to worshiping Droskar, the god of endless toil.
- Bald of Evil: Unlike surface dwarves, duergar men can't grow hair on their scalps.
- Deal with the Devil: After centuries of losing battles against Darklands monsters drove the dwarven remnant to the brink of extinction, Droskar offered them survival in exchange for their absolute obedience. They reclaimed much of their empire with his backing, at the cost of becoming the duergar.
- Fantastic Racism: They despise surface dwarves above all others and usually kill them on sight, though they hate drow almost as much.
- Horse of a Different Color: Duergar traditionally use giant insects as mounts and beasts of burden; chapel beetles, a type of especially large stag beetle-like creatures, are the favored steeds of Droskar's priests.
- Invisibility: Most duergar can go invisible as a spell-like ability.
- Made of Iron: Some duergar can use the Ironskin ability.
- Never My Fault: Duergar rarely accept personal responsibility for failures, preferring instead to blame their misfortune on others. This extends to a cultural level; they do not enjoy their servitude to Droskar, but would rather blame everyone else, especially other Darklands residents and the rest of the dwarven race, for their lot rather than admit their own faulty choice.
- Our Dwarves Are Different: Evil, subterranean offshoots of the main dwarf race whose culture of tradition and physical work has curdled into dogmatism and joyless toil.
- Psychic Powers: Very rarely, duergar are born with innate psychic abilities. As the duergar believe such powers to be a blessing from Droskar, such inviduals are held in high esteem in their society.
The mutated offspring of the few Azlanti to survive Earthfall.
- Fish People: Some official art depicts gillmen as this, though text suggests they actually look more like average humans, albeit with purple eyes and gills on their necks.
- Slave Race: Remnants of the Azlanti who were mutated and enslaved by the aboleths after they destroyed the Azlanti Empire during the Earthfall.
A goblin subrace from Mediogalti Island off the coast of Garund, they're distinguished by their prehensile tails and tree-dwelling nature.
- Human Sacrifice: They're believed to practice it.
- Prehensile Tail: Their main distinction from other goblins is their prehensile, monkey-like tail, which they can use as an additional grasping limb.
- Pyromaniac: Like regular goblins, they love them some fire. It's suspected that their current city is at least the fifth site to bear the name, the previous incarnations having been burned down by its inhabitants.
- Religion of Evil: They're suspected to be demon-worshipers.
- Tree Top Town: Ganda-Uj is an especially primitive example of this.
A race of human-descended albinistic psychics who dwell Beneath the Earth, the munavri sail the lightless seas of Orv and make up the only non-evil faction of any real size in the bowels of the world..
- Born Under the Sail: They descend from Azlanti seafarers who were pulled along with the seas as they rushed into the Darklands and maintain their ancestors' maritime traditions, sailing the breadth of the Sightless Sea on ivory ships and living on floating island-cities. Not all munavri take to the sea — most priests and craftsmen never leave their islands — but sea travel still plays an important part in their culture and all young munavri are expected to build a skiff and learn how to sail.
- Crafted From Animals: Their distinctive ivory ships are crafted from the bones and teeth of the monsters of the Sightless Sea.
- Day Hurts Dark-Adjusted Eyes: Munavri do not handle bright light well, due to their subterranean lifestyles and their albinism.
- Human Subspecies: They're descended from ancient Azlanti humans who were trapped in the depths of Orv when their empire fell, and developed their albinism and telepathy as side effects of inhabiting mysterious, magical islands and being forced to adapt very rapidly to survive the hostile environment they found themselves in. Albinism aside, they still largely resemble their human ancestors.
- No Social Skills: Munavris have little reason to engage in spoken conversations with one another and have thus very little familiarity with common social etiquette. When non-telepaths have to interact with them, munavris will routinely go off on lengthy tangents, overshare personal problems and private information, and completely miss their speaking partners' cues to end the discussion. In general, conversations with a munavri tend to be both rather uncomfortable and a lot longer than they need to be.
- Psychic Powers: All munavri are natural psychics, having gained the ability shortly after coming to Orv. Telepathy is present universally, as is the ability to instantly tell an object's purpose and nature, but other powers can manifest as well.
- Purposely Overpowered: Outside of Azlanti humans, munavri are the most overpowered race not to have any racial hit dice; they gain bonuses to all of their ability scores, only taking a slight penalty to strength, and have a plethora of other bonuses, with only slight mechanical weaknesses. On the other hand, they live in an isolated cavern beneath the earth on a separate continent from where most of the action in Golarion takes place, meaning they are particularly impractical and implausible for them to be PCs in most adventures without a convoluted backstory — and by the time an adventure can make its way to where they live, most enemies will be even more ludicrously overpowered anyway.
- Telepathy: Munavri are natural telepaths, and almost never speak aloud to one another.
- Witch Species: All munavri are psychic.
An offshoot of the gnomes, inhabiting the subterranean Darklands.
A rare winged offshoot of kobolds, whose closer association with dragons gives them great prestige among their people.
- Beware My Stinger Tail: Inherited from their wyvern ancestry.
- Draconic Humanoid: They're crossbreeds of kobolds and wyverns, which gives them something of a canine look, only with scales and dragon wings.
- Dragon Hoard: Like most dragonkin, they're largely driven to build their own. Their constantly shifting borders due to conflict with neighbors means that there are multitudes of treasure caches hidden throughout the areas where they occupy, left abandoned after they were driven back.
- Winged Humanoid: They're otherwise regular kobolds — diminutive Lizard Folk — with draconic wings, a mark of great status among their kind.
Alien RacesRaces that originate from worlds other than Golarion.
Creations of the technologically advanced society of Androffa, androids are a race of Artificial Humans (quite literally — the Androffans are as human as Golarian's own) with subdued emotions and symbiotic colonies of nanites living in their blood. The androids of Golarion were the crew and constructions of a spaceship that crashed on Golarion long ago after a battle with the mysterious alien empire known as the Dominion of the Black. Unsure of their origins and unlike any other lifeform on Golarion, the androids now make their own way in the world.
- Artificial Human: The most notable aspect of them. The difference between them and normal humans is Androids are often depicted as unusually pale (almost white), with unnatural hair colors and Tron Lines on them.
- Marked Change: When the tattoos that cover their body start to glow, that means that they've activated the nanites in their blood, giving them a huge bonus to one roll.
- Mechanical Lifeforms: Androids are Ridiculously Human Robots, "bleed" watery coolant and even have souls. There are multiple times that reinforce that Androids are purely synthetic Artificial Humans, but respond to healing magic and have souls as organic creatures do. They breathe and eat much as humans do, but through artificial organs, and they circulate their healing nanites like blood through their bodies via pale fluids. They are inexhaustible, immune to diseases and resistant to other biological effects, and fortified against mental effects, but also suffer the same maladies and vulnerabilities of constructs and are susceptible to supernatural curses, including lycanthropy.
- The Nth Doctor: Inverted, the same body is host to a succession of different people.
- Reincarnation: Inverted. When an android dies of old age, its nanites go into an accelerated repair mode. But once the body is repaired just like new, a brand new soul will come to inhabit it. They call this "renewal".
- Ridiculously Human Robots: So Ridiculously Human they aren't actually constructs! They can generally pass as human despite "awkward mannerisms", but bleed watery coolant. Moreover, they actually have souls.
- Robot Wizard: They can become spellcasters as easily as any natural race, and in fact tend to have keen interest in magic and spiritualism.
- Tron Lines: These cover their bodies when they use their nanites.
These smaller dragons share the planet of Triaxus with the natives and other dragons of all kinds. Though small, they have developed opposable thumbs, allowing them to use weapons much like the smaller humanoids around them.
- Breath Weapon: Dragonkin have the respective attacks their scales would indicate.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Subverted. Dragonkin come in the full range of colors as Chromatic and Metallic Dragons, but this has no bearing on their alignment.
- Draconic Humanoid: Dragonkin can stand on their hind legs and have opposable thumbs that allow them to wield weapons as humanoids do.
- Dragon Rider: Inverted. Dragonkin can form bonds with a humanoid, whom they will allow to ride them into battle.
- Psychic Link: The bond between Dragonkin and Rider is one of these.
Four-armed aliens from a barbaric desert world who were brought to Golarion in the same spaceship that spawns the androids.
Telepathic aliens from the planet Castrovel that resemble humanoids with antennae.
- Expy: At least partly inspired by the Cupians from Ralph Milne Farley's ''The Radio Man," in being telepathic humanoids with antennae who hail from a fantasy version of Venus and are at odds with formians.
- Green-Skinned Space Babe: Female Lashunta look like "idealized human or elf women", are renowned for their beauty, and live on a hot planet that is most comfortable in minimal clothing. Subtle.
- Proud Scholar Race: Lashunta are drawn to scholarly and magical pursuits and gain a bonus to Intelligence.
- Psychic Powers: They have minor telepathic abilities, which they can learn to amplify to aid their allies and Bond Creatures, and their home planet is renowned for its psychics.
- Rubber-Forehead Aliens: Their most alien feature is their antennae.
- Sexy Dimorphism: Female Lashunta are tall, lithe, commanding, and graceful; male Lashunta are short, burly, brusque, and hirsute. Starfinder states that this is/was mostly due to rigid gender roles at this point in their history.
- Space Elves: The women. The men are more like Space Dwarves.
Bipedal reptiles from another planet, or perhaps another plane.
- Alien Invasion: They're prepping for one.
- The Reptilians: Shapeshifting lizard aliens sent to infiltrate society, gain positions of power, and prepare for the invasion.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Like kitsune, they get one specific humanoid form they can transform into. Unlike kitsune, reptoids can alter their humanoid form with a week of preparation.
The natives of Triaxus, a planet in Golarion's solar system with a long, elliptical orbit that gives it decades-long seasons. Triaxus is primarily divided between the Drakelands, a continent dominated by evil dragons, and the Allied Territories, who fight for their survival alongside good dragons.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: Triaxians are seasonally dimorphic: summer and winter on Triaxus last for several generations each, so the species has developed different-looking variants that are more suited to either summer or winter.
- Dragon Rider: Triaxians live alongside dragonkin, lesser dragons with opposable thumbs that can form bonds with humanoids. Only the ones in the Allied Territories will, however.
- Little Bit Beastly: Triaxians have pointed ears, and in winter grow a coat of short fur, giving them a slightly catlike look.
Bizarre, tapir-snouted aliens whose world was devoured by bholes long ago, yaddithians are now a race of wanderers scattered throughout the universe.
Extraplanar RacesRaces native to planes besides the Material Plane.
- Amazing Technicolor Population: Downplayed Trope. Their adoptive home has drained their hair and skin of bright colors. Their complexion ranges from stark white to deep black, and includes all the various shades of gray between those two extremes.
- Casting a Shadow: They have in-born shadow magic that lets them Lie to the Beholder and eventually shift into the Plane of Shadow.
- Creepily Long Arms: Artwork of the male and female fetchling show their arms are incredibly long, reaching past their knees.
- Do Not Call Me "Paul": Many fetchlings consider the term fetchling an insult and prefer the term "kayal", which means "shadow people". The reason behind this is that the term "fetchling" was given to them by humans who saw them as tools to "fetch" unique and rare resources from the Shadow Plane. However, many Fetchlings do work as merchants and tradesmen between the Material Plane and the Shadow Plane which just fuels the term and the way humans might still see them.
- Expy: They're conceptually similar to D&D's shadar-kai and shades in origin, if not in personality.
- Human Subspecies: They're magically changed, but still descended from humans. That said, they're counted as a separate ancestry, even in Second Edition where the concept of versatile heritages is introduced. They're too warped to be of the same ancestry, similarly to how drow are descended but distinct from elves. This makes them closer to a species of Homo than a subspecies of Homo sapiens.
- Monochromatic Eyes: Their eyes are pupilless and pronounced, and they typically glow a luminescent shade of yellow or greenish yellow, though rare individuals possess blue-green eyes.
- Stealth Expert: They're humans who were trapped in the Shadow Plane and developed an affinity to it, eventually becoming another planar-themed human offshoot.
- Casting a Shadow: They even have a bard archetype built around shadow puppetry.
- Covered in Scars: It's part of their body art.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Their philosophy of Dissolution strives to merge with the Shadow, but they tend to be shy, averse to conflict, and uninterested in the extremes of Evil (or Good, for that matter).
- Hidden Elf Village: When not in the Shadow Plane, they try quite hard to avoid notice.