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Pathfinder 2e - The Human Handbook

Last Updated: August 20th, 2019

Disclaimer

I will use 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.

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 padd 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 not a good option. The bonuses are too small to justify spending two Actions on your turn and your Reaction.
  • 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 imrpoving 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. However, there's little way to guarantee that this will be useful, and it's less useful in a large party or in a party with one or more skill-focused characters.
  • Senses: Boring, normal senses.
Level 9
  • Cooperative Soul: Aid is still a terrible option.
  • Incredible Improvisation: The bonus is nice, but once per day simply isn't enough to justify a feat.
  • 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 unviersally good options without knowing your race, but Alchemist gets you Alchemical Crafting, and Champion gets your Heavy Armor Proficiency, both of which are good options on a variety of classes.
Level 13
  • Unconventional Expertise: If you took Unconventional Weaponry, this is a must-have. Bonuses to attack rolls are simply too important to forgo.