Surki are bug-like humanoids that feed on magic and experience continuous metamorphosis and evolution as they grow. For players, this manifests in a variety of interesting feat options offering movement, healing, and magical abilities.

Surkies also have a unique “Evolution” mechanic, which lets you take the 9th-level Grand Metamorphosis Ancestry Feat to choose an additional benefit tied to your Heritage. This includes some cool abilities like the ability to generate a force field to reduce magic damage or the ability to fire a laser that deals damage in a line. Coupled with the Secondary Adaptation feat allowing you to select a second Heritage, the Surki has a lot of exciting options.

Table of Contents


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.

Surki Ancestry Traits

  • Hit Points: 8+ is standard.
  • Size: Medium. Medium and small size have few functional differences in Pathfinder 2e.
  • Speed: 25 feet is standard.
  • Attributes: With only two boosts, you can essentially default to the Alternate Ancestry Boosts rule.
  • Languages: Ancestry language plus Common is standard.
  • Senses: Darkvision.
  • Magiphage: No need to eat or drink except in exceptionally weird places, and you get to pick the tradition for all of your innate spellcasting. Choosing your tradition is minimally impactful in the remastered rules because spellcasting is now a single proficiency.

Surki Heritages

  • Breaker Surki (HotW): The unarmed strike is fairly typical for Ancestry-based unarmed strikes.
    • Evolution: Trading Agile for a slightly better damage die and the Razing trait isn’t enough, but Versatile Force means that you can make your claws deal a very reliable type of damage. This isn’t essential for an unarmed combat build, but it’s definitely appealing.
    • Evolution: Only situationally useful. Most enemies can’t forcibly reposition you, so the first benefit is rarely helpful. Similarly, not a lot of combat involves climbing. The Trench Digger benefit will rarely be useful unless your party finds some way to abuse it by forcibly moving you.
  • Elytron Surki (HotW): Only situationally useful, but falling is a common hazard for adventurers. Of course, this can be replaced by the ability to cast Gentle Landing.
    • Evolution: Flight is fantastic, but it’s only once per day and requires you to Sustain the spell, which is a huge burden. If possible, look for magic items which can help you fly.
    • Evolution: Sickened is a great debuff, and since this doesn’t have the Incapacitation trait you can use it reliably against powerful high-level enemies. If they critically fail, it’s probably worth the Action cost to maintain the effect and prevent them from reducing the penalty.
  • Hardshell Surki (HotW): Essentially breastplate with the Comfort trait. There’s very little reason to use this over manufactured armor.
    • Evolution: This will negate a critical hit 1 in 5 times. That’s not a great success rate, but if you’re your party’s Defender you’re going to get hit frequently enough that it will have an impact.
    • Evolution: If you’re facing enemy spellcasters, this can mitigate a huge amount of damage. It will affect at most 10 sources of damage, but it can block up to 100 damage per use. The duration is long enough to activate this before combat, and since you can use it once per hour you can walk into most encounters with this running. The difficult part is picking which tradition you want your abilities to use. I recommend Arcane since it has so many offensive spells.
  • Lantern Surki (HotW): Get a torch or cast Light. But the Evolution which lets you shoot a laser is pretty great.
    • Evolution: Lines are a difficult AOE, but even if you only hit one target this is as much damage as a cantrip but costs 1 Action. This is fantastic on literally any character.
    • Evolution: The cone is too small, the duration is too short, and the Action cost is too high.

Surki Ancestry Feats

Level 1

  • Sequestered Spell (HotW): Massively versatile. Remember that innate spells are Charisma-based, so unless you’re a Charisma-based spellcaster, stick to defenses and utility options.
  • Small Speak (HotW): Bugs are ubiquitous. They exist in nearly ever habitable biome in the real world, plus in a bunch that we consider uninhabitable. How useful this will be is certainly dependent on your GM’s willingness to roleplay a bug, but a decently permissive GM can make bugs a great source of information.
  • Surki Lore (HotW): Survival isn’t great, and pairing it with an Intelligence-based skill makes this a hard choice.
  • Surki Weapon Familiarity (HotW): Getting to pick your own axe or hammer offers a lot of options for classes that only get proficiency in simple weapons.
  • Vestigial Magic Sense (HotW): Too limited, too situational.

Level 5

  • Chemical Trail (HotW): Extremely situational.
  • Secondary Adaptation (HotW): The Surki’s Heritages aren’t great, but this does allow you to take a Versatile Heritage, then later take a regular Heritage so that you can get an Evolution.
  • Tunnel Roll (HotW): Amusing, but too situational and too costly to have a serious mechanical impact.

Level 9

  • Consume Magic (HotW): This is better than Counterspell. You’ll still have trouble matching spellcasting traditions, but being able to counter a quarter of all AOE spells can absolutely save your party’s lives.
  • Grand Metamorphosis (HotW): Some of the Evolution options are really good. See Surki Heritages, above.
  • Nodal Healing (HotW): Your party needs to invest in Medicine so that you can recover after combat. With that functionally mandatory capability, there’s little reason to bring healing options which work on the same timeline. Unless you have so many hit points that Treat Wounds takes a problematically long time, I don’t see a reason to take this.

Level 13

  • Generation Digger (HotW): Burrow speeds are fantastic.
  • Magitaxis (HotW): Only situationally useful. Once per creature per day, and it only works on one tradition. Your best bet is to use it on allies, but there’s no guarantee that them casting a spell will make it worthwhile for you to move toward them.

Level 17

  • Unlimited Pluripotency (HotW): Very cool, but very few characters will be able to use this to good effect. Changing a big part of your build overnight is rarely an improvement.
  • Nodal Regeneration (HotW): Regeneration prevents you from dying from hit points loss, and your Dying condition can’t hit a level where you would die. This effectively prevents you from dying to damage for a full minute, and you can use it as a Reaction when you hit 0 hp. There are many options that keep you up if you drop to 0 hp, but this is better than any of them.