D&D 5E A Lineage and Its Variants: The New Race Format Going Forward


Great Old One
I pretty strongly disagree with you, but I am mostly wondering why you are choosing to enter this conversation with such a reductive argument painting a group of people (those who like this change) with a broad brush (power gamers). Do you really think that's going to help avoid "the same words repeated over and over"???

Noticed the "mostly" in my sentence ? The two groups are not equal, although I'm pretty sure that every power gamer likes this change, as demonstrated by people producing builds nowdays. After that, for some reason, people who claim not to be powergamers and still like the change still seem unable to explain why they like it so much apart from the technical options, especially since, as said, this only affects PCs and in particular not what WotC now refers to as species in some of their communication, while none of the settings which use them change.

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I agree that getting rid of 'race' is probably a necessary step. And 'species' does indeed feel too scientific for a fantasy game. That said, I don't like 'lineage' - it implies a line of descent that isn't always applicable - being such as the Warforged or Reborn for example. IMO, 'origin' or 'people' would be better. That said, I can live with 'lineage'.

But 'variant' is beyond terrible.


5ever, or until 2024
There will be a multi-year process before the new PHB, and plenty of consultation.

They will hopefully address balance issues, especially for humans that don't take feats (at level 1). I wouldn't mind some default guidance on where races could there stat increases, allowing a PCs to be different.

Also I don't care what they call it, but they they still use the term "race".


Great Old One
Also I don't care what they call it, but they they still use the term "race".

Of course they do. First, most of these threads are from people who try to push their own out-of-the-game ideas into D&D, and they read too much into what is published to try to influence people, whereas my feeling is that while the society i general and the company in particular are progressing (which is good), it's still a company and their announcements are usually tied in to company objectives to "cover" things which could be considered controversial by some people, like the release of Dark Alliance.

And as pointed out by @delericho , while "lineage" and "ancestry" is fine for one PC who can have mixed origins (which is a cool concept if it's not abused, the problem being that if you allow the option, most of the players will pick it up and not even play it apart from the technical benefits), species is indeed very technical. It's a bit sad when good words end up being used wrongly by bad people...


Great Old One
Sorry, but if some people are allowed to push some ideas into the community, I don't see why I should restrain from telling them that these ideas can also irritate other members of said community. I also thought that some debates were frowned upon around here, and I'm wondering if this is not one of those, especially since it's a recurring one and this particular thread doesn't bring anything new.


IMO, 'origin' or 'people' would be better.
If we are going to have construct 'races' then yeah, I think Origin works fine.

Mostly this thread is...I don't know, trying to redefine things that don't need it?

Wizards hasn't been consistently since Tasha's, hopefully they can find that consistency and pick a term that people can just hand wave and move forward with.

The Gothic Hero's are not the same thing as PHB, or really most anything else. They are the old template style race modifiers than anything else.

But as to this thread, good luck redefining things, for your own table. I don't think we get a final answer till 5.5 is printed.


Besides synthesizing and clarifying the available evidence coherently, the original post introduces new conversation, pointing out that the direction that the designers seem to be heading resembles a situation that core already has.

There is more than one player race option to mechanically represent the human lineage. There is no essence. Whichever mechanics for a human one wants is fine.

The mechanics are less important. It is the setting story that defines what a lineage is.

Expanding this mechanical fluidity for other lineages makes narrative more important in D&D. Any of several mechanical options can be the one that is most convenient to actualize a particular character concept of a member of a lineage. But it need not be the salient mechanic for every member of the lineage.


To stat a lineage as a player race is unlike to stat it as a nonplayer monster.

The race doesnt include culture. The monster can and does include culture.

For example. The human Bandit is an individual who happens to belong to a criminal subculture. The monster statblock of a human Bandit says little about what the human lineage is. The bullywug Knight is an individual who belongs to a royal military subculture. Most bullywugs arent Knights.

Even when the race options are multiple and fluid, the assemblage of the prominent race options are together a statement about what a lineage is. The race describes the innate physical and magical traits of a creature, whether dormant or expressed. Altho new options can add on and old options can discontinue, thus the lineage evolves, the race options describe the "nature" of a lineage.

"Nurture" is something else. Nurture is culture that derives from learning and training, including background and class, and their respective proficiencies and ability score improvements.

Race ≠ Culture

But the opposite is true for a monster statblock. The nonplayer statblock can be more accurately called an "encounter statblock". It is a mechanics of convenience to stat a specific instance that an adventurer might run into, but says nothing about lineage generalizations.

If an adventurer has an encounter with a human Bandit, there might be little or no difference from an encounter with a bullywug Bandit, or any other lineage.

Typically, a monster statblock makes no distinction between features that come from race (bite and claws) and features that come from culture (sword and bow).

The harengon Brigand and Sniper statblocks are statements about various native harengon cultures, which may or may not represent many harengons, and is unrepresentative of the innate nature of the entire harengon lineage.

Race stats are something, but monster stats are something else.


Looking at Fizbans, the language appears to be for subraces (or whatever one personally chooses to call them) all templated out, and you get a few unique rules per 'subrace'.

Which is fine, but man does it ever make for a lot of repetitive blandness and wasted text space.

Within the 'Traits' section.

Creature Type
X Ancestry
Breath Weapon
Draconic Resistance

1 Table for each of the 3 x 5 Dragon Types.

All of that is essentially a word or 2 different, copy pasted.

Thats a lot of wasted page space roughly a page and a half, instead of half a page, and thats not including the ASI section that is boring, and the Language section that of course can no longer assume Dragonborn know Draconic, because reasons.

I mean, this is an improvement?

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