Introduction

A long-time fantasy staple, the Centaur is an iconic human-horse hybrid, appearing in real-world mythology as powerful warriors and as mentors to Greek heroes. There has been extensive debate about the precise anatomy of centaurs, as well as their diets, but this article will very intentionally not delve into those debates. I am not a biologist, and Pathfinder’s rules don’t particularly care, so I have the luxury of not caring either.

Mechanically, the Centaur offers several interesting build options. Large size makes them predisposed to being a front-line melee character, but that is not their only choice. The “speaker” options offer some innate spellcasting, some feat options support archery, terrain-specific stealth, running absurdly fast, crafting alchemical healing items, and a tiny handful support being ridden as a mount,. Surprisingly, the feat chains are very shallow and many feats in the chains lack prerequisites, so there is an unusual amount of flexibility compared to many ancestries with numerous feats supporting a specific concept.

Despite being one of the most logical ancestries to serve as a mount, and despite having the only feat in existence that supports doing so, the Centaur is little better at serving as a mount for their party members. The rules presented in Howl of the Wild present an intolerably high Action tax for doing so, and while the Centaur can negate their rider’s Action tax with a single feat, they cannot negate their own and they receive no benefit for suffering through the whole ordeal. Your best bet is to let small allies ride on your back outside of combat, then disembark them like a hostile clown car as soon as initiative is rolled.

Table of Contents

Disclaimer

RPGBOT uses the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks.

  • Red: Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational. Nearly never useful.
  • Orange: OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances. Useful sometimes.
  • Green: Good options. Useful often.
  • Blue: Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character. Useful very frequently.

Centaur Centaur Traits

  • Hit Points: 8 is standard.
  • Size: Large. You will take up more space in battle, but you will have a harder time hiding and finding cover.
  • Speed: 30 feet is faster than most Ancestries.
  • Attributes: Good Attributes for most Strength-based builds. Most Strength-based martial characters are happy with dumping Charisma.
  • Languages: Centaur language plus Common is standard.
  • Senses: Darkvision.

Centaur Heritages

  • Budding Speaker Centaur (HotW): Cantrips are always great. Remember that innate spells are Charisma-based, so unless you’re a Charisma-based spellcaster of the chosen traitiion, you should stick to defensive options and utility options.
  • Fleetwind Centaur (HotW): Another +5 feet makes you consistently faster than most creatures.
  • Ironhoof Centaur (HotW): Standard for Ancestry unarmed strikes.
  • Mottle-Coat Centaur (HotW): Too situational.
  • Ponygait Centaur (HotW): Most characters won’t benefit from large size, so dropping down to medium and getting a permanent bonus to Reflex Saves is an easy trade.
  • Stoutheart Centaur (HotW): Not impactful enough for this to cost your Heritage.

Centaur Centaur Feats

Level 1

  • Centaur lore (HotW): Two great skills for a Wisdom-based character.
  • Centaur Weapon Familiarity (HotW): Only improves the Lance and the Longbow. Not worth the feat.
  • Practiced Brawn (HotW): Excellent if you like to Shove in combat.
  • Skilled Herbalist (HotW): Alchemical Crafting and the ability to use Nature instead of Crafting makes alchemical healing items much more accessible to Wisdom-based characters.

    However, you need to compare this to Alchemist Dedication. Alchemist Dedication gets you the same feat, 4 formulae without the Healing restriction, and Infused Reagents. You would need to craft an irresponsibly large number of healing items to make Skilled Herbalist comparable to Alchemist Dedication. That said, if you’re Wisdom-based and want to craft permanent items, you might take both feats. It’s not a great idea, but it does work.

  • Steelhoof (HotW): A tiny improvement.

Level 5

  • Accomodating Mount (HotW): Sacrificing an Action every turn so that your ally doesn’t need to walk is not a good trade. If they want a mount, they can take the Pet feat or get an Animal Companion.
  • Distant Archer (HotW): Only situationally useful. Few fights take place at range long enough that range penalties are a major problem.
  • Proud Mentor (HotW): If you optimize Aid a bit, this can be a consistent source of temporary hit points.
  • Speaker in Training (HotW): The spells aren’t great.

Level 9

  • Herbal Foreger (HotW): Even with the Alchemist multiclass archetype feats, your Advanced Alchemy won’t match your full level. While the Infused Reagents from Alchemist Dedication are much more numerous, this can provide an item of any level, potentially even exceeding your own level. This is still only one item, but it could be an incredibly powerful healing item.
  • Fierce Competitor (HotW): A bit vague, but you can use this to give yourself and an ally a good bonus to a physical skill check. Try to make the competition something that won’t end before the 1-minute duration expires so that you can maximize the bonus. For example: Instead of “grapple that creature”, make it “pin that creature” because you can still get the +2 to grapple them without immediately ending the competition.
  • Mentor of Legends (HotW): Heroism is a good buff, especially with the temporary hit points, but as you gain levels it may feel lackluster since the spell doesn’t scale.
  • Ride On (HotW): Too situational to be this limited.
  • Speaker’s Defense (HotW): The spells are okay, but not amazing.
  • Stubborn Defiance (HotW): Static bonuses from feats like this are almost always Circumstance bonuses, so the +1 already great, but rerolling a mental save once per hour is absolutely amazing.

Level 13

Level 17

  • Merge With The Source (HotW): This is very late to introduce polymorph effects, but if you’re built for it, these options might diversify the forms available to you.
  • Starshot Arrow (HotW): Excellent for any archer.