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Pathfinder 2e - The Human Handbook

Last Updated: September 24th, 2020

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.
  • Orange: OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances
  • Green: Good options.
  • Blue: Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character.

Introduction

Mechanically, humans are a blank template. They have the ability to convert every one of their racial feats into general feats, and can even dip into other classes with Multitalented. They serve as a fantastic baseline for comparison to other races, allowing us to clearly look at a race and say "I want this thing from this race that I can't get from the Human". Their built-in customizability also means that they work in every class and nearly every build.

Human Racial Traits

  • Hit Points: 8 hit points is average. Be sure to invest in Constitution, and consider taking Toughness at first level.
  • Size: Medium. Medium and small size have few functional differences in Pathfinder 2e.
  • Speed: 25 ft. is standard.
  • Ability Boosts: Among the best reasons to play a human, 2 free ability boosts means that you can be good at any class. It's also easy to take optional ability flaws to get a total of 3 free increases and two flaws.
  • Languages: Common plus a free bonus language of your choice, and you can learn any common language rather than picking from a list of languages which your race has access to.
  • Senses: Boring, normal senses. If this is a problem for you, consider a Versatile Heritage which grants better senses.

Human Heritages

Your go-to option is Versatile Heritage, which will cover most builds. However, other Heritages offer useful options if you have a specific build in mind.

  • Half-Elf: Unless you specifically want to mix human and elf ancestry feats, there's little reason to do this. You do gain low-light vision, which is nice.
  • Half-Orc: With the current available source material, this is the only way to get access to Orc racial feats, and some of the options in the Core Rulebook are very tempting. You also gain low-light vision.
  • Skilled Heritage: Essentially two skill increases. Probably not as good as a feat, but if your character is going to be heavily invested in skills, this will help quite a bit.
  • Versatile Heritage: General feats offer a lot of options, and getting an extra feat at 1st level gives you a lot of room to customize your character. Characters with poor weapon or armor proficiencies can take Armor Proficiency or Weapon Proficiency, or you could take Toughness to pad your hit points. Unlike other heritage options which will remain unchanged as real-world time passes, every new rules supplement which includes new general feats will make this heritage better. However, unlike Pathfinder 1st Edition, a single additional feat at first level is not a crucially important build option. This is notably one of the only ways to get a General Feat at 1st level.

Human Feats

This section does not cover Elf feats (which are available to half-elves) or Half-Orc/Orc feats (which are available to half-orcs). Look forward to separate handbooks which will explore those options in the future.

Level 1

  • Adapted Cantrip: There are no cantrips that are so good that they justify taking this feat. If you want cantrips from another tradition, take one of the multiclass devotion archetype feats. Not only do you get cantrips from another spellcasting tradition, but you get two of them and they don't replace one of your existing cantrips. On top of that, you usually get a bunch of proficiencies. You'll probably need to deal with a second spellcasting ability if you go the multiclass route, but that's a minor hurdle and it's easy to avoid selecting spells which depend on your spellcasting ability modifier.
  • Cooperative Nature: Aid is generally not a good use of an Action in combat. The bonuses are too small to justify spending an Action on your turn and your Reaction unless you have a reasonably high chance of rolling a Critical Success. Cooperative Nature offers an impressive +4 bonus on your skill check to Aid, which significantly increases the likelihood of a Critical Success. At 1st level with a Trained skill, you'll get a bonus of 3 + your ability modifier, so if we consider a best-case scenario where it's a skill that uses your Key Ability Score you're looking at a +7 bonus against a DC of 20 to Aid. That's a 40% chance of success, which isn't great. Cooperative Nature raises that to 60%, which still isn't great. My advice: If you're going to build around Aid, you'll definitely want this feat but wait until your skill bonus is better.
  • General Training: While the current list of General Feats is small, that list is certain to grow as Paizo publishes additional sourcebooks, and even with the limited list of General Feats you have several good options. Remember: Skill Feats are General Feats, so those are options, too. This is notably one of the only ways to get a general feat at first level.
  • Haughty Obstinacy: Too situational.
  • Natural Ambition: Class Feats determine much of what your character can do, and they're some of the best feats available in many cases. Even while limited to 1st-level Class Feats, you still have several excellent options.
  • Natural Skill: Trained in a skill gets you quite a bit, and for many skills being Trained is all that you'll ever need. You do get Skill Increases as you gain levels, but the list of skills is long and getting more Trained skills at 1st level means that you can use your Skill Increases to improve your existing skills rather than learning new ones.
  • Unconventional Weaponry: Only Fighters are Trained in Advanced Weapons, so this is a great way for other classes to get access to a weapon which is a defining part of your build, like the Sawtooth Saber for a two-weapon fighting build. Even simple weapon users can benefit from better access to weapons, like rogues looking to use a Dogslicer or Filcher's Fork.

Level 5

  • Adaptive Adept: Much like Adaptive Cantrip, taking a multiclass archetype's feats is a better option. For the same two feats as Adaptive Cantrip and Adaptive Adept, you can take a multiclass devotion feat and the first multiclass spellcasting feat. Rather than forcing you to lock one of your limited known/prepared cantrips and one of your limited known/prepared spells, you get two additional cantrips and spells slots of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd level. Compared to being locked into a single 1st-level spell that you can't heighten, that's a massive improvement.
  • Clever Improviser: If your character has few Trained skills and you've chosen to invest your skill increases into improving the few skills that you have, you'll be Untrained in a wide variety of skills. Untrained Improvisation will grant you a number of useful options with very little investment, and Clever Improviser grants access to Train-Only Actions, giving you a massive library of new Action options. There's little way to guarantee that this will be useful unless you look for opportunities to make it useful, and it's less useful in a large party or in a party with one or more skill-focused characters, but at a bare minimum this covers every Lore skill so your party doesn't need to throw Skill Increases at Lore skills which they'll likely never use.
  • Sense Allies: This might be useful if you have multiple allies who like to be stealthy during combat so that you can still target them with buffs, healing, and other support effects.

Level 9

  • Cooperative Soul: Let's assume that you're using a skill in which you're at least Trained, and we'll add a +2 bonus for your Ability Modifier just for the sake of arguement, and we'll call that roughly average for skills where you're proficient to some degree and have an Ability Modifier that's positive. You also add the +4 bpnus from Cooperative Nature since it's required. At this level, that's a total bonus of +17. The DC to Aid is 20. On a roll of a 3 or higher, you match the DC 20 to Aid. If your total bonus is just a tiny bit higher, you're guaranteed to roll a Success unless you roll a Natural 1 (which drops your degree of success by one stage). So this is useful with some skills that you're not very good at for the very tiny window of levels 9 and 10, and after that all it does is protect you from natural 1's. Unless you're using Aid every turn and your luck is just impossibly awful, this is not at all worth the feat.
  • Group Aid: Too situational. Typically if you need to assist multiple allies you'll have enough time to assist each of them individually.
  • Hardy Traveler: Buy a mule.
  • Incredible Improvisation: The bonus is nice, and once per day is likely enough to cover important skill checks in skills where no one in your party is proficient, such as Lore skills. By this level a skill in which your trained has a bonus of +11 before considering Ability Modifiers, etc., and DCs will typically scale a bit to keep pace. Untrained Improvisation is intended to help cover skills in which you're not proficient, and Incredible Improvisation adds a bonus on top of that. At this level, Untrained Improvisation gives you a +4, and Incredible Imrpovisation adds +4 on top of that once per day. That +8 won't match the +11 for a Trained skill at this level, but it comes reasonably close.
  • Multitalented: Multiclass dedication feats are very good and can get you a lot of useful things depending on the class you choose. It's hard to recommend universally good options without knowing your class, but Alchemist gets you Alchemical Crafting, Champion gets you Heavy Armor Proficiency, and many classes get you spellcasting, all of which are good options on a variety of classes.

Level 13

  • Advanced General Training: While Ancestry Feats are often very powerful, sometimes you need more General Feats to get the build that you want. The level cap is a minor annoyance, but most General Feats are low level so this still opens up a huge number of options.
  • Bounce Back: Tempting for front-line martial characters who are likely to fall unconscious from time to time. You could compare this to Diehard, but negating one level of Wounded rather than raising your Dying cap is considerably more effective.
  • Stubborn Persistence: The DC for the Flat Check is too high to rely on this, so unless you're making yourself Fatigued on a regular basis (some barbarian options do this, like Second Wind), you won't attempt the check enough for this to be meaningful.
  • Unconventional Expertise: If you took Unconventional Weaponry, this is a must-have. Bonuses to attack rolls are simply too important to forgo.

Level 17

  • Heroic Presence: Zealous Conviction is a decent defensive buff, offering some temporary hit points and a bonus to many Will saves. With a 10-minute duration, you can activate this before walking into a fight, and you may be able to carry the effect through multiple fights if you don't need to stop to Refocus or anything like that.