Thursday, June 4, 2015

Races of Pathfinder: Centaur

Centaurs are half men, half horses who have been pervasive in mythology since the Bronze age here on Earth.  Their powerful ability scores, natural armor, and speed make them ideal for melee characters.  They are also advanced races with 28RP, so they are good at quite a lot.

Racial Traits:
Ability Scores: +4 (+6) Strength, +2 (+0) Dexterity, +2 Constitution  +2 Wisdom is just about the ideal for a melee character. However, they are also happy to play Wisdom casters.  Even classes with virtually no obvious synergy, such as a Sorcerer, will benefit from such high ability scores. The extra 2 strength and -2 Dexterity comes from the Large size. 

Type: Centaurs are monstrous humanoids, and as such as immune to charm person, enlarge person and other spells that just target humans.

Size: Centaurs are large.  This gives them bonuses to CMB and CMD, but it also gives them some penalties to AC and attack.  Centaurs do gain +2 Strength and -2 Dexterity for being large.  Because they are quadrupeds, they use medium sized weapons.  Without reach, a medium sized Centaur would probably be better.

Speed: Centaurs have a 50 foot move speed, (40 + 10 feet for quadruped) which is great, particularly for melee.

Natural Armor: +2 natural armor is hindered by the AC penalty for being large, but it still great.

Quadruped: +4 against tripping!  But Centaurs have to use medium weapons as a result.

Darkvision: Darkvision is best vision!

Let's start off by saying this:  Centaurs are an Advanced race. As such they are going to be better than most other races.  As a result, you are going to see more sky-blue and less Red than with most races.  For the Centaur, this is going to be pretty extreme.
Centaurs are melee fighters, and any class that can be a melee fighter will benefit. The Fighter, Barbarian, Rogue, Paladin, and Ninja are all good choices. Even better are those melee guys who have a bit to gain from Wisdom: The Monk, Inquisitor, and Ranger.  Even the melee Cleric and Druid are going to have a great time.
Next come those who can't quite take full advantage of everything, but will still appreciate the crazy bonuses. The Bard and Magus will love the buffs, but don't get bonuses to their casting ability score. The Empyreal Sorcerer does, but can't appreciate the crazy bonuses as much.  The Gunslinger similarly doesn't get a Dex bonus, does get a Wisdom bonus, and still appreciates being a beast.
The Cavalier is an interesting one, and fraught with GM fiat.  You probably can't ride an animal, but I can't find anything in the rules that says that quadrupeds can't.  You can also see if you can get your GM to agree to considering the centaur mounted at all times.  Probably not any more game breaking then allowing the Centaur in your game at all, and definitely flavorful.  There should really be a racial archetype for this.  Still, the Cavalier is a martial and will benefit from the big buffs all the same.  Maybe choose a mount-less Samurai instead?
A melee Oracle will rock melee with bonuses that overcome a lack of Charisma buff.
Next comes the Alchemist and the true casters: everybody else.  Even classes such as the Sorcerer and Wizard are going to appreciate the bonuses at least a few times in their careers, and it will certainly improve their CMDs and survivability.  The Witch will have some bite to her attacks, and the Summoner might be able to get in there and mix things up with his summons.
In short, anybody can be a Centaur because they are generally just good, but melee classes will benefit exponentially more.

Racial Trait:
Centaur Vengeance: Why pick +2 against a very rare Will save (a dragon's frightful presence), when you can instead just pick +1 against all Will saves. Skip.

Natural Jouster: Now this is fun!  You gain proficiency in the lance, can wield it one handed, and deal double damage while charging.  This is a strong argument to use a lance for any melee Centaur you make.


  1. Technically they have a 50 foot move speed, since being a quadruped alao gives a 10 foot speed bonus

  2. For your centaur cavalier, see if your DM will allow the Charger Archetype: