I talked last time about what goes into a Pathfinder Second Edition ancestry, so today I’m building one. I decided to pull up my Pathfinder First Edition product, Run Amok Bestiary, and look there for a race to turn into an ancestry. There are two playable races in that product: ulqar (cannibalistic dwarves) and gyerfolk (honorable vulture-people). Since ulqar seem like maybe a heritage for dwarves rather than a whole new ancestry, I’m going to frame out the gyerfolk ancestry here. Their most obvious advantage is that they can fly, which no other ancestry in PF2 can do. I’ll be sure to address that in design. Let’s dig in!

Per the Run Amok Bestiary, Gyerfolk are stunted version of gyers, proud and wary vulture-people who live in insular desert communities, painstakingly craft shields that have a lot of cultural significance, and can change their shape into vultures. The word “gyer” is sort of akin to the German word for vulture. Gyerfolk hatch from eggs that a gyer had to abandon, and are therefore smaller (Medium in size rather than Large). Gyers harbor and train gyerfolk, but gyerfolk never attain the strength or magic of their larger kin. Truth be told, this was all just sort of a kludge because I couldn’t make gyers as tough as I wanted and still be a playable race, so I needed a “powered down” version for PCs. I called that weaker version the gyerfolk, with apologies to my friend James Case who dislikes the “-folk” suffix but whom I didn’t know when I wrote this book back in 2015. 

All this gyer/gyerfolk distinction isn’t necessary now. I plan to put all their cultural and rules stuff all together in a single ancestry, called gyers. I note for myself that changing shape into vultures is something they should be able to do at 13th level or so with an ancestry feat. PF2 is cool like that.

Anyway, here is my introduction for them, pulled significantly from the Run Amok Bestiary.


Humanoid vulture-people with a proud sense of community and a wary nature, gyers are desert-dwellers with a mastery of the sky.

You Might…

* Keep watch for danger to any group you join, as a readiness to intercept danger is the obligation of any member of the group.

* Speak deliberately and frankly, so your intentions and desires aren’t misconstrued.

* Bristle when compared to a common vulture.

Others Probably…

* Envy your ability to fly.

* Assume you eat nothing but carrion.

* Consider you proud or even a bit haughty. 

Physical Description

Gyers are tall, powerful humanoids with the black wings and distinctive bald heads of vultures. Wary and alert, they are almost never seen without a shield in hand. They inhabit desert climates, roosting in sheltered valleys or in thick groves of trees. Gyer scouts patrol the skies far from their homes, sometimes in the form of giant vultures, to deter dangerous creatures or trespassers from entering gyer lands. 

Gyers have a life cycle much like vultures; they hatch from clutches of eggs and are dependent upon their parents for survival in their earliest days. They learn to fly shortly after they learn to walk, and commonly live to be 40 or 50 years old. 

Gyers have an exceedingly varied diet, as their desert homes often have little sustenance to offer. Although they possess the strong stomach acid and hardy immune systems that allows common vultures to eat carrion, gyers eat carrion only rarely. In fact, gyer consider ordinary vultures to be a bit of an embarrassment, like dirty and ill-mannered pets. Comparing a gyer to a common vulture is a grave insult certain to invite a challenge to a duel.


Among their kind, gyers form small, tight-knit communities. Gyers value the safety of their kin over their personal welfare; a gyer’s greatest offense is to let another gyer come to harm when he could have prevented it. Gyer communities are typically 20 individuals or fewer. A community that grows larger often splits into smaller groups, determining which gyers must stay and which must leave by logical analysis rather than along nuclear family bonds. Gyer communities usually have two leaders: a chief scout called a kaliasah and a seer called a vakrah. Some kaliashahs and vakrahs are mated pairs or siblings, while others are proud rivals. The most talented kaliashahs can transform into vultures to more easily ply the skies, and the best vakrahs hold sway over death and life alike. 

Shields hold an important place in gyer culture. Gyer shields are painstakingly crafted, and usually formed of overlapping pieces of supple wood woven over a round, rigid frame and then lacquered. Gyers value their shields with a spiritual reverence, and even gyers who don’t know how to effectively use a shield in combat nevertheless carry one for devotional purposes. For a gyer, a shield is not mere armor but a symbol of vigilance, rigidity, and protection that reflects gyer cultural beliefs. Like their shields, gyers consider themselves ready to defend their kin at all times. They see a shield’s inflexibility as a representation of their strict honor code, from which no gyer may deviate without incurring shame or exile.

Gyers engage in limited trade with non-gyer desert outposts or trusted traders, offering their skillful crafts or information about the desert, but they prefer to have little interaction with non-gyers. Gyers located outside of their settlements, such as gyer adventurers, usually have a very serious reason for departing. Perhaps they are seeking a significant item or piece of information to return to their kin, or they may have been ostracized for some real or perceived violation of gyer honor.

Alignment and Religion

Gyers prefer to live within their traditional honor codes and societies. Most gyers are lawful, and are about evenly split between those who are lawful good and those who are lawful neutral. Only those gyers raised outside their culture expectations are chaotic. Most gyers revere spirits of the air and of their ancestors, and they meditate upon their shields to establish a religious connection with these spirits. Wicked spirits that linger—such as ghosts—are of particular anathema to gyer religion.

Names and Language

Gyer names tend to have harsh consonants they can easily form with their beaks. The most common vowel sounds in their names are, by far, a and e. Common is the language most frequently spoken in gyer communities near non-gyer lands; gyer communities in the deep deserts usually speak Auran. Lacking the right vocal structure to utter the long vowels in many Auran words, gyers have a distinct accent in Auran that other Auran-speakers can identify right away.

Sample Names

Dahyek, Eksel, Galluk, Imak, Kavek, Magiak, Vakki, Veskia