I'm running the Second Darkness Adventure Path and between the books some players have changed out their characters. The Second Darkness Player's Guide had several campaign traits which were presented as a way to draw their characters towards the city and had specific bonuses. It says one of their starting traits has to be a campaign trait.

Since many of these traits are now not correct for circumstances (they're not looking for work anymore, the blot no longer exists and has pretty much been explained, and so on), what's the point of saying they need to have a campaign trait? True it balances out with the ones who have kept their character since the start.


2 Answers 2


Last I checked the campaign traits were not 'required'. The way we play with our current pathfinder group, one of your starting traits must be a campaign trait. After this point if your character dies and you bring in a new one, you select your own two traits normally.

it’s a way to quantify (and encourage) building a character background that fits into your campaign world. Think of character traits as “story seeds” for your background; after you pick your two traits, you’ll have a point of inspiration from which to build your character’s personality and history. Alternatively, if you’ve already got a background in your head or written down for your character, you can view picking his traits as a way to quantify that background, just as picking race and class and ability scores quantifies his other strengths and weaknesses.

To answer your question, there is no need. Ultimately it comes down to you as the DM to decide. Just keep in mind that the purpose of the traits is to promote and encourage development of a characters background.


For the people in the comments that were requesting the source, I linked it in the comments below but incase if you did not c atch that you can find the blockquote above on the pathfinder srd: d20pfsrd.com/traits.

For those who also had questions as to why I require my players (As a DM) to select a campaign trait for adventure paths and not when they re-make characters: simply put, it just makes sense. If you have ever ran an adventure path and one of your players died and had to remake a character, then you will be able to relate to the OP's question.

For adventure paths like Jade Regent, or Carrion Crown for example, it does not make sense for a starting character to be randomly invited to a dead mans funeral, and being mentioned in his will, without any history or relations to him. The campaign traits for Carrion Crown help introduce the players into the story so that they start the adventure with a purpose and goal. The same is true with the other adventure paths, Jade Regent for example you can choose to be a sibling of one of the NPC's. When you die however, does it make sense to bring in a character on the other side of the world that "Knew the professor, and was also there for his Will" (dead man), or "Surprise I'm a sibling of you too!". It doesn't, this is why the campaign traits are recommended for starting characters.

I would also like to apologize to HeyICanChan for when they first asked why I was giving replacement characters more freedom. I did not fully understand why this was being asked. It sounded to me like a question that a Player would have for their DM, "Why are you disallowing us to play X Race? or X class variant?". My answer would have been situational based off of the campaign that the DM was choosing to run. Perhaps that specific race or class does not fit into the storyline? Just as selecting a non-campaign trait does not give a character any incentive or or reason to be included in many of the early game scenarios.

The rules are more like guidelines, if you are a player and feel that none of the campaign traits fit your characters background, then talk to your DM about it. Campaign traits do not need to be restrictive.

  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I believe that is a question for the author/writer of the rules. My guess is the game was intended to be open to character creation and customization. \$\endgroup\$
    – DanceSC
    May 28, 2015 at 23:04
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Perhaps I was unclear. You say that in your group, a starting character must pick a campaign trait, but a replacement character can pick any traits. Why are replacement characters given more freedom? Further, what's the source of your quotation? \$\endgroup\$ May 28, 2015 at 23:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jason_c_o d20pfsrd.com/traits Could you please provide a reason why you feel a restriction should be applied in this scenario? If your players are traveling across the globe does it make sense that a local have a campaign trait from the other side of the world? \$\endgroup\$
    – DanceSC
    May 29, 2015 at 0:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jason_c_o adventure paths are designed to help transition a player through a story, I require players take 1 campaign trait because in scenarios like Jade Regent, the characters trait applies to the npc relations. If their character dies, they lose out on far more. \$\endgroup\$
    – DanceSC
    May 29, 2015 at 0:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ You might want to cite your quote: d20pfsrd.com/traits \$\endgroup\$ May 29, 2015 at 3:36

The Second Darkness Player's Guide is the first place they introduce the codified system of traits which has grown to become a common part of Pathfinder and all the APs.

In the player's guide, it does indeed say you "have to" take a campaign trait.

One of your Traits must be a Campaign trait chosen from the list starting on page 14—this trait ties your character into the Second Darkness storyline and gives you a built-in reason to begin the first adventure, “Shadow in the Sky.” Your other trait should be chosen from one of the four types of Basic Traits: Combat, Faith, Magic, or Social.

However, you need to get in the habit of not slavishly following the letter of some random sentence in a module. It even bothers to explain the rationale behind why it's doing this (a built-in reason to begin Shadow in the Sky and a free pass into the Cheat The Devil And Take His Gold tournament). You are right, once you're 3 books in that doesn't make sense and they're not in Riddleport any more. So do what makes sense, you're the Dungeon Master. This book is very much oriented towards players just starting the AP; nothing else in it will be relevant after the first two books either.


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