Assume for a particular Pathfinder game that I am allowed to use two traits for my character. Do alternate racial traits count towards that number? I assume not since you are trading a built-in racial trait for a different racial trait, but I want to be certain.


Using alternate racial traits doesn't count toward your number of traits, and in fact they have no relation to the trait system at all.

It sounds like you're talking about two things: the alternate racial traits and, entirely unrelated, the trait system which includes a type of trait called “race traits”.

Despite their names, races & racial traits have no relation to the trait system & race traits. I've broken down the difference in this answer; you're not the first person to be confused by it either. Safe to say they shouldn't have given the same name to two entirely separate character feature systems, especially since they both apparently debuted in the same product (the Advanced Player's Guide).

Here's how these things interact:

  • Your chosen race has racial traits.
    • You can pick alternate racial traits to replace any of those. This is like picking a class archetype to modify your existing class.
  • Your character has character traits from the trait system, and you usually pick two for your character.
    • Among the types of character traits you can pick, one of them is race traits.

The racial traites and alternate racial traits simply have no interaction with your character traits and trait limit. (Likewise your race traits have no relation to the alternate racial trait system or your racial traits.)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Exactly so. I just wanted to be certain about it and your other answer wasn't specific about this. Also the trait system I am talking about is in Ch. 8 of the Advanced Player's guide. I haven't been a GM yet so I don't know if it is the same as the one in Ultimate Campaign, but they sound the same. \$\endgroup\$ – user1697999 Aug 26 '17 at 20:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener Actually, just to be difficult, Alternate Racial Traits ALSO debuted in the APG, not the ARG. \$\endgroup\$ – YogoZuno Aug 27 '17 at 10:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @YogoZuno Oh no. Why, Paizo. Whyyyyyyyyyyy. Thanks, I'll update when I get a chance. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Aug 27 '17 at 16:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe they felt they needed their own rival to the overuse of level ;) \$\endgroup\$ – YogoZuno Aug 27 '17 at 20:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @YogoZuno “If we overuse a different word, maybe ‘level’ will seem better by comparison!”? Genius! :D \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Dec 13 '17 at 19:01

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