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

Lyxen

Great Old One
"Monsters who are members of the same lineage" as the player character race, means:
The way do such a selective snipping of the quote shows that you know you are wrong in this. The sentence is "monsters and NPCs who are members of the same species or lineage".
 

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Yaarel

Mind Mage
The way do such a selective snipping of the quote shows that you know you are wrong in this. The sentence is "monsters and NPCs who are members of the same species or lineage".
As mentioned several times earlier:

lineage = species

Hence:

lineage/species = PC race + NPC/monster
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
I feel languages are strictly the jurisdiction of a setting.

Some settings might only have a handful of languages (like Forgotten Realms), some settings might have thousands. (Today, reallife humanity is understood to have roughly 7000 languages.)
Oh, sure, it should be based on the setting.

But I feel that it's likely that, in a world where people (and their languages) didn't evolve normally, there wouldn't be nearly that many languages. In the real world, a distance of a few dozen between societies might be far enough for a different accent, dialect, or even entire language to develop because traveling that distance would be difficult and rarely needed. In a gaming world, where magic and flying mounts and even flying intelligent people are a thing--and have always been a thing--that distance isn't so insurmountable.

I mean, I'm all for having more languages anyway (or having far fewer, depending on the setting--I can even see a world where there's only a single main language, because everything was created by a single pantheon of gods). I just think having inborn racial languages (that are part of the racial/heritage/lineage traits) is silly, though.

For Forgotten Realms, it seems plausible to me that the "human language" (Common) could become an inter-lineage language of commerce and inquiry. Creating a new artificial language for commerce seems less plausible.
I assume that "Common" is actually a creole of whatever languages the primary traders use. If the biggest traders in a particular are/were, say, humans, halflings, gnomes, and hobgoblins (and for the most part, elves, dwarfs, orcs, etc. sell things via middlemen rather than engage in direct trade), then Common would use words from all of their languages.

(Or if Countries A, B, and C, are/were the primary traders, then Common would have evolved out of their languages.)

I suppose that if one group of humans have "trader" as their hat, or had at some point conquered most of the known world, then that would explain Human and Common being synonymous. Humans are rarely depicted in that manner, though.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Well, what sort of mechanical differences would there be between a smith from Cormyr and a smith from the Sword Coast?
The point was that if Yaarel was right about taking culture out of races, things like elven weapon proficiencies, which we have NOT seen, and using background to replace them, it would be overloaded onto Background.

So they are presenting that the background: Myth Drannor (famous for elves) Acolyte would have elven cultural traits, such as languages and elven weapon training, as well as the parts of the Acolyte background. A Sword Coast Acolyte would have the Acolyte background ... and need balancing cultural traits. Not that I know what they are, I think the idea of overloading background with culture is the wrong move.

What I can see that you can't have one background granting the background's worth of traits PLUS a bunch of additional bonuses for what's currently racial cultures, and another background giving a subset of those, just for the background itself. So all of those cultures would need to have "equal" traits designed for them if you want to follow Yaarel's plan.

My plan is exactly like they have already done in Tasha's - allowing trades of things like languages, skills, and armor/weapon proficiencies to meet the culture you are trying to portray, same as drow are different than high elves back in the PHB. In other words, go with the official route.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
The point was that if Yaarel was right about taking culture out of races, things like elven weapon proficiencies, which we have NOT seen, and using background to replace them, it would be overloaded onto Background.

So they are presenting that the background: Myth Drannor (famous for elves) Acolyte would have elven cultural traits, such as languages and elven weapon training, as well as the parts of the Acolyte background. A Sword Coast Acolyte would have the Acolyte background ... and need balancing cultural traits. Not that I know what they are, I think the idea of overloading background with culture is the wrong move.
That's why I'm liking Level Up, which has heritage and culture and background as three separate things, and has skill specializations so could further show your character's interests and abilities.

And here's where you'd ask if there's legitimately enough differences between the Sword Coast and Cormyr that they warrant two different cultures, or if they could be one type of culture that has a "pick two skills from this list" trait. I don't know from the Realms.

What I can see that you can't have one background granting the background's worth of traits PLUS a bunch of additional bonuses for what's currently racial cultures, and another background giving a subset of those, just for the background itself. So all of those cultures would need to have "equal" traits designed for them if you want to follow Yaarel's plan.

My plan is exactly like they have already done in Tasha's - allowing trades of things like languages, skills, and armor/weapon proficiencies to meet the culture you are trying to portray, same as drow are different than high elves back in the PHB. In other words, go with the official route.
Yeah, you can do it like that. I mean, a lot of culture doesn't have to be anything mechanical. It can be, of course. But a lot of it could just be writing down a short list of things from Culture X and using them when you RP your character.

But that's where my question came in: what are the mechanical differences between a smith from one place and a smith from another? The actual difference in this case is basically nil: both people would be proficient in smith's tools. Any mechanical differences between the Cormyran and... Swords Coastian smith are due to their places of origin, not their job. Even if you assume that people from Cormyr use a different smithing technique than people from the Swords Coast do, that's not important for your character. So if you want to play someone who's both an Acolyte and a smith, then you just ask the DM if it's OK to swap out one of your skills or languages (from your lineage, background, or class) for smith's tools.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
@Blue

The UA astral elf has a race feature called "Trance Proficiencies", which appears to delete the PH Elven Weapon Training feature and reinvent it as a new feature that is magical-physical instead of cultural. The elf gains the proficiency from attuning earlier lives during a trance. The new Trance Proficiencies expands the available proficiencies to include tools, and feels like an appealing elven race feature.



Regarding "culture" and "backgrounds".

The PH offers "generic" backgrounds, meaning international backgrounds that prevail in a medieval-esque Euro-esque setting.

But an adventure book like Rage of Demons: Baldurs Gate: Descent into Avernus rewrites some of these PH backgrounds in ways that are specific to the local culture of the City of Baldurs Gate. For example, the Acolyte background becomes an inter-faith knowledgeability because of the many faiths that are part of this city. Likewise, it rewrites the Soldier background to mention obligatory duties toward the wealthy uppercity Watch or the less wealthy lower city Flaming Fist patrols. Criminal mentions the local Guild. Sage mentions the academic community of the High Hall and its libraries. And so on. It also adds a new background Faceless for characters who establish a secret identity.

Meanwhile, other books list culturally specific backgrounds including Sword Coast AG, Curse of Strahd, Tomb of Annihilation, Eberron, and Magic The Gathering settings.

Backgrounds can and do flesh out the mechanical features of specific cultures, including local, regional, and planar.

A background includes a special noncombat asset feature. This feature can be anything and can be highly specific to a culture.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
As mentioned several times earlier:

lineage = species

No, sorry, I see nothing of the kind, this is patently false and a ridiculous claim in general and in particular when they write sentences such as "monsters and NPCs who are members of the same species or lineage", if it's the same thing, why write both ?

You mention this several times and over several threads hoping that it will somehow make it come true, but once more your absence of real quotes and your selective snipping shows that you are just pushing an agenda without actual support.
 

Scribe

Hero
As mentioned several times earlier:

lineage = species

Hence:

lineage/species = PC race + NPC/monster

Then they have changed what linage means after the Spooky UA.

Essentially, they still have not arrived at a consistent place, but I believe they will continue to use 'race' as the technical/crunch term, because of backwards compatability.
 


Yaarel

Mind Mage
Then they have changed what linage means after the Spooky UA.

Essentially, they still have not arrived at a consistent place, but I believe they will continue to use 'race' as the technical/crunch term, because of backwards compatability.
The UA Gothic Lineages uses the terms species and lineage interchangeably.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Regarding "culture" and "backgrounds".

The PH offers "generic" backgrounds, meaning international backgrounds that prevail in a medieval-esque Euro-esque setting.

But an adventure book like Rage of Demons: Baldurs Gate: Descent into Avernus rewrites some of these PH backgrounds in ways that are specific to the local culture of the City of Baldurs Gate. For example, the Acolyte background becomes an inter-faith knowledgeability because of the many faiths that are part of this city. Likewise, it rewrites the Soldier background to mention obligatory duties toward the wealthy uppercity Watch or the less wealthy lower city Flaming Fist patrols. Criminal mentions the local Guild. Sage mentions the academic community of the High Hall and its libraries. And so on. It also adds a new background Faceless for characters who establish a secret identity.

Meanwhile, other books list culturally specific backgrounds including Sword Coast AG, Curse of Strahd, Tomb of Annihilation, Eberron, and Magic The Gathering settings.

Backgrounds can and do flesh out the mechanical features of specific cultures, including local, regional, and planar.

A background includes a special noncombat asset feature. This feature can be anything and can be highly specific to a culture.
Again, you are attempting to subvert the issue into specific cultural backgrounds. My issue is with all backgrounds.

PLEASE, address the actual point instead of continually moving to a subset that doesn't have the issue and then declaring it solved. You've done that several times; I don't think you are acting in bad faith but you haven't actually addressed it.

I have "elven cultural" traits currently in their racial write up such as languages and elven weapon training. I wish to take a general backgrond such as Acolyte. Are parts of the elven traits just lost (making them a weaker race), are they automatically grafted onto the background because of the chosen race (which means races is actually granting them and nothing has effectively changed), or is there an "Evermeet Acolyte" background which grants everything the Acolyte background does plus the elven language and weapons training, which is either (a) significantly now more powerful than "just" Acolyte (so not balanced) or do we come up with every cultural variation of Acolyte in a massive profileration and need to design and rebalance because not every race has the save value of cultural traits currently.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
When people mention a trait as a "ribbon", to what do they refer?
A "ribbon" is D&D community slang for a mechanical ability that grants little or no increase in character power.

For example, I consider an extra language a "ribbon". A DM could grant a hundred languages and it wouldnt significantly buff a character.

I even consider the elf sword proficiency to be a "ribbon", because any class that can use it, already has it or something comparable to it. Other classes like Wizard should avoid a sword because they are less survivable in melee combat.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Again, you are attempting to subvert the issue into specific cultural backgrounds. My issue is with all backgrounds.

PLEASE, address the actual point instead of continually moving to a subset that doesn't have the issue and then declaring it solved. You've done that several times; I don't think you are acting in bad faith but you haven't actually addressed it.

I have "elven cultural" traits currently in their racial write up such as languages and elven weapon training. I wish to take a general backgrond such as Acolyte. Are parts of the elven traits just lost (making them a weaker race), are they automatically grafted onto the background because of the chosen race (which means races is actually granting them and nothing has effectively changed), or is there an "Evermeet Acolyte" background which grants everything the Acolyte background does plus the elven language and weapons training, which is either (a) significantly now more powerful than "just" Acolyte (so not balanced) or do we come up with every cultural variation of Acolyte in a massive profileration and need to design and rebalance because not every race has the save value of cultural traits currently.
I have NEVER restricted "backgrounds" to Players Handbook only.

You did that. Not me.

D&D 5e has many backgrounds beyond the PH, and they detail mechanical and narrative features for different cultures.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
I have "elven cultural" traits currently in their racial write up such as languages and elven weapon training.
According to the new race format, every race is presumed to know two languages: Common and one other language that both the player and the DM agree on.

If you want your other language to be Elven, that is no problem.

Not every elf needs to know how to wield a sword. And if your character is an Ancients Paladin or a Fey Ranger or Eldritch Knight, you already know how to wield a sword anyway, regardless of background.


I wish to take a general backgrond such as Acolyte. Are parts of the elven traits just lost (making them a weaker race), are they automatically grafted onto the background because of the chosen race (which means races is actually granting them and nothing has effectively changed), or is there an "Evermeet Acolyte" background which grants everything the Acolyte background does plus the elven language and weapons training, which is either (a) significantly now more powerful than "just" Acolyte (so not balanced) or do we come up with every cultural variation of Acolyte in a massive profileration and need to design and rebalance because not every race has the save value of cultural traits currently.

Moreover, backgrounds can swap proficiencies. If you already have skill or tool from elsewhere (such as class), you can instead pick any other proficiency that you want. Also, DMs and players are encouraged to design their own backgrounds.

Personally, I have no problem switching any two skill proficiencies for one specific martial proficiency, such as a longsword.



Consider a High Elf Acolyte background. Perhaps it is more animistic and knowledgeable about various Fey and Elemental creatures and cultures, and their significance to cultures in the Material Plane.

The choice of proficiencies might be:
• Nature
• Arcana or Religion
• Longsword

Then the special asset might be contacts and privileges in a specific elven faith community in a specific elven city.

Each background depends on the culture and the character concept.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
The UA Gothic Lineages uses the terms species and lineage interchangeably.
Ah so they did not say "lineage = species", you just inferred that, once more to push tour own agenda, from what was just a UA so not even a published book, and you took that from an article which is not only mostly about only PC options (which is something that you reproached those of us of doing when speaking about Fizban). Moreover, you are not even quoting that source properly since that source also states "
Said features don’t have any bearing on monsters and NPCs who are members of the same species or lineage."

Once more proving that they are NOT the same thing, as it would be stupid to use the word twice if it meant the same thing.

It said the same thing then than Fizban says now, that what is said for races has no impact on NPCs and Monsters: "Said features don’t have any bearing on monsters and NPCs who are members of the same species or lineage, since monsters and NPCs in D&D don’t rely on race or class to function." And that is all it meant, nothing more, what is being done on races has no impact on monsters and NPCs since these don't rely on race or classe for their build. They are not impacted, and that is all it says.

Please let it drop, even your precious UA shows that you are wrong in this. Stop trying to force your interpretation on us, it is clearly wrong.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Ah so they did not say "lineage = species", you just inferred that, once more to push tour own agenda, from what was just a UA so not even a published book, and you took that from an article which is not only mostly about only PC options (which is something that you reproached those of us of doing when speaking about Fizban). Moreover, you are not even quoting that source properly since that source also states "
Said features don’t have any bearing on monsters and NPCs who are members of the same species or lineage."

Once more proving that they are NOT the same thing, as it would be stupid to use the word twice if it meant the same thing.

It said the same thing then than Fizban says now, that what is said for races has no impact on NPCs and Monsters: "Said features don’t have any bearing on monsters and NPCs who are members of the same species or lineage, since monsters and NPCs in D&D don’t rely on race or class to function." And that is all it meant, nothing more, what is being done on races has no impact on monsters and NPCs since these don't rely on race or classe for their build. They are not impacted, and that is all it says.

Please let it drop, even your precious UA shows that you are wrong in this. Stop trying to force your interpretation on us, it is clearly wrong.
WotC sources refer to "elf", "dwarf", "dragonborn", etcetera as a "lineage".

A race and racial features only refer to a player character that is a member of the lineage.



The stats for player characters and the stats for nonplayer characters can and do include different features despite belonging to the same lineage. For example, an eladrin PC only has charm resistance, but an eladrin NPC has full-on magic resistance.

Even PC race stats can have different features, such as the feat human versus the featless human.
 
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loverdrive

Makin' cool stuff (She/Her)
(read only first page as of now)

I don't like all these "race", "ancestry", "lineage" and "species". I'd call it "blood" and be done about it.

As of the new template, it wastes a lot of space on repeating the same things over and over, which is fine for Beyond but weird for a paper book.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
WotC sources refer to "elf", "dwarf", "dragonborn", etcetera as a "lineage".

And as you have pointed out yourself, this is ONLY IN THE CONTEXT OF CHARACTER CREATION.

The stats for player characters and the stats for nonplayer characters can and do include different features despite belonging to the same lineage. For example, an eladrin PC only has charm resistance, but an eladrin NPC has full-on magic resistance.

And this is exactly what the UA and Fizban tell you, that whatever is set for player character as part of their race has no bearing whatsoever for the Eladrin species and any NPC member of it. These are not part of any lineage, this is ONLY a PC term.

Even PC race stats can have different features, such as the feat human versus the featless human.

And again, because you are trying way to hard to impose what is being said about PCs to the rest of the universe when WotC tells you plainly that lineage and all the changes to races (and they are still using race in that context, and no longer lineage in an official published book that is more recent than the UA) DO NOT APPLY TO SPECIES FOR MONSTERS AND NPCS.

And this is why WotC is being very clever not to touch the races/species in the universe (as it would be very complicated to do so), they are just placating people like you with changes to PC hoping that it will be enough for people to stop harassing them about these concepts in a fantasy world.
 

Look: ultimately in the end, you can do whatever you want with the new formats or not. The old stuff is still backwards compatible. Yes even the cruddier PHB Dragonborn can still be used.(Although you can always have it where said PHB Dragonborn can "earn" the Fizban changes/upgrades via notable deeds/service/gaining renown to a Dragonic Patron or whatever.)

If you want your Dragonborn, regardless of version, to automatically know Draconic when your DMing. Then just do it. I look up the various Pathfinder 2 Ancestries/Third Edition races and add their Weapon Familiarity to the same/appropriate race options in 5E as Racial/Heritage Weapons. Which would not only allow said races to treat those weapons as "Simple" but also allow them to spend Downtime trainging/finding an appropriate trainer to allow those races to raise the Damage Die of their Racial/Heritage weapons by one Damage Die permanently. Whatever makes your games work, do it.

You can live by the standard racial modifiers or go the Tasha's Route. There's the system now to do both.

Editor's Note: Yes this all goes out the window if your AL or your DM is a hardcore by the books type of DM, but kitbash it all. That or take out your DM in Mortal Kombat, absorb their power Highlander style, and then become the new DM. Just watch out, the life of a DM is a vicious circle.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
And as you have pointed out yourself, this is ONLY IN THE CONTEXT OF CHARACTER CREATION.
Correct, "race" features only refer to player character creation.

And this is exactly what the UA and Fizban tell you, that whatever is set for player character as part of their race has no bearing whatsoever for the Eladrin species and any NPC member of it.
Technically, the eladrin is a member of the elf lineage/species.

Correct, what is true for a PC elf is not necessarily true for an NPC elf.

Indeed, what is true for one variant PC elf might not be true for an other variant PC elf.

These are not part of any lineage, this is ONLY a PC term.
Explicitly, a "monster" or an "NPC" is a "member of a lineage".
 

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