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While reading the Pathfinder 2 APG, I encountered the Ancestral Blood Magic sorcerer feat, available at level 1, which says:

You gain your blood magic effect when you cast a non-cantrip spell you gained from a heritage or an ancestry feat.

This is conceptually cool, because it increases the number of ways a sorcerer could trigger their blood magic effect.

What has me perplexed, though, is the question of why this would be listed as Feat 1 in the APG. Every heritage with spellcasting benefits that I can find only provides access to cantrips, which are explicitly excluded. Moreover, even if there were a special non-human ancestry that provided access to a spell, they wouldn't be able to take a class feat until level 2.

Human characters can get the feat at first level, but only by taking Natural Ambition as their ancestry feat. Thus, even if an ancestry feat exists through which you can get access to a non-cantrip spell, it still wouldn't be possible for a human to have both that ancestry feat and the class feat until 2nd level.

Am I overlooking some special character build where the Ancestral Blood Magic would provide a non-zero character benefit if taken at level 1?

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2 Answers 2

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I don’t know if there is any way to make this feat useful at 1st level, but that isn't the answer I’m providing anyway. This is about why it matters that it’s available at 1st even if it is useless at 1st.

Future-proofing

Even if there is no way to benefit from this feat currently, that doesn’t mean there never will be. Perhaps they write some adventure where one gets an extra feat as a boon, or some variant allows starting with more feats, or what have you. If they do, they aren’t going to want to go through all their feats and deciding which ones should have been allowed under those rules.

Arguably less relevant, but more likely, are houserules in which a given GM allows an extra feat at 1st. This is less relevant because if the GM is houseruling that, they could houserule this—but it’s better if they don’t have to.

Character planning

Suppose there is another sorcerer feat you also want, and that requires 2nd level. As is, you can take this feat at 1st and that feat at 2nd, but if both required 2nd level, you couldn’t get both at 2nd, delaying when you could have both.

Game-design complications

It is useful, where possible, to design things in a vacuum. If the power level of this feat is appropriate for 1st, then its requirement should be 1st. Getting into “but what other feats exist that would work with this?” is an extra level of complication. And while they must consider such combinations often—including here, since this explicitly combos with other feats—it is worthwhile to minimize those considerations as much as possible. Even if they were unavoidable here, staying consistent with that principle still recommends not fiddling with the requirements here if you don’t have to.

In a simple sense, this mindset looks at the case for a 2nd-level requirement and asks, “but why?” What is the upside here? Yes, maybe someone will like the sound of it, think about making it their 1st-level feat, and then realize that’s pointless, wasting a bit of their time. That is a small cost. The downside, on the other hand, cannot be quantified: we do not know how it’s going to affect future situations.

In short, if they did this, there is a chance they’ll regret it later. If they don’t, there isn’t really. In an evolving game like this, regretting past decisions is inevitable, but when you get an easy opportunity to avoid that risk, you should take it.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ With the way Pathfinder 2e works, I would reword Character Planning to remove the portion about another Feat making it useful; the Feat is a Class Feat while the other ones references would not be. It's still useful, if you rephrase it that you might take it at 1st level, or 2nd level even, if there are other Class Feats you want that require levels closer to when Ancestral Blood Magic comes online. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 28, 2021 at 2:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Ifusaso I knew that, even had that in mind while writing this, and still messed it up. Will revise, thanks. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Dec 28, 2021 at 2:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ From my Watsonian perspective, I had suspected that the only solution would involve Character Planning -- like (e.g.) taking the first level Natural Ambition into Ancestral Blood Magic as preparation for the Tiefling Malicious Bane at L5 when you want C2 and C4 for an Archetype, but the Doylist game-balance solution is certainly a more straightforward answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – papidave
    Commented Dec 28, 2021 at 22:30
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Ancestral Paragon Variant Rule

If you are a human playing in an Ancestral Paragon game (an official rule variant from the Gamemastery Guide), you get two level one ancestry feats. This allows you to get Natural Ambition into Ancestral Blood Magic, and also pick up a spell through another feat, such as Tupilaq Carver, or from some other feats your heritage gives you access to.

I imagine, however, the real reasons the designers chose this are for what KRyan mentions in their answer, and not to support this really niche scenario. But this is still a possible current scenario their decision affects.

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