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

Yaarel

Mind Mage
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.
Notice that the Fizban races likewise "repeat the same things over and over".

No big deal. Looks fine and is more convenient to reference.
 

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Lyxen

Great Old One
Correct, "race" features only refer to player character creation.

Glad we agree.

Technically, the eladrin is a member of the elf lineage/species.

No. Lineage is just simple NOT USED for Monsters / NPCs. If you think it is, prove it, but I'm not worried as it would be stupid to say that all monsters are just "lineages".

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

Glad we agree.

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

Correct, they are both PCs.

Explicitly, a "monster" or an "NPC" is a "member of a lineage".

No they are not. Prove it if you think it's true.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Prove it if you think it's true.

For example. Diagram these two sentences.

Here:
• A "monster is a member of a lineage".
• A "race" and a "monster" can both be members of the "same lineage".



"
(Finally)
(going forward)

the term “race”
(in D&D)

refers

(only)

to the suite
(of game features)
(used)
(by player characters).

Said [race] 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).
"



Altho both race and monster can belong to the same lineage, their respective features have no bearing on each other.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
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.
At no point did I restrict it to PHB only. I want all the backgrounds. Some of them do not include any cultural points and I have asked repeatedly how you intend to add culture to them. The fact that the core book contains the majority of the list of ones that your plan does not work with is not my restriction at all.

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.




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.
So, an elven acolyte in what you are saying will lose all of their elven culture feats, but can sub in some from backgrounds. Which you can already do -"Custom Background" is part of the core rules.

So background remains the same power, and the elf race loses power. That was one of the options I put forth.

So, that isn't compatible with existing characters, so it's not what they are doing. Easy peasy.
 

Yyeah, I've said this before. The removal of cultural traits from race leaves characters with fewer aspects of differentiation. There is no where to put these things mechanically without changing the character creation aspect of the game, which would be incompatible with existing rules. So either that stuff is just gone, or WotC will go back on their claim of backwards compatibility at some point. Even money on which one it will be.
At no point did I restrict it to PHB only. I want all the backgrounds. Some of them do not include any cultural points and I have asked repeatedly how you intend to add culture to them. The fact that the core book contains the majority of the list of ones that your plan does not work with is not my restriction at all.


So, an elven acolyte in what you are saying will lose all of their elven culture feats, but can sub in some from backgrounds. Which you can already do -"Custom Background" is part of the core rules.

So background remains the same power, and the elf race loses power. That was one of the options I put forth.

So, that isn't compatible with existing characters, so it's not what they are doing. Easy peasy.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
At no point did I restrict it to PHB only. I want all the backgrounds. Some of them do not include any cultural points and I have asked repeatedly how you intend to add culture to them.
All backgrounds are culture. Albeit some cultures are international, like Sailor, Farmer, etcetera. Many nations have some comparable way to supply these backgrounds.

The fact that the core book contains the majority of the list of ones that your plan does not work with is not my restriction at all.
Notice that the Baldurs Gate adventure setting REWRITES the Player Handbook backgrounds to represent more accurately the local culture of the City of Baldurs Gate. This city is one of the more prominent cities in the Sword Coast region, and has an international flavor with a diverse cosmopolitan urban culture.

So, an elven acolyte in what you are saying will lose all of their elven culture feats, but can sub in some from backgrounds.
Not sure what you mean by "culture feats"? Do you mean Xanathars race feats? Do you mean Player Handbook race features like Elven Weapon Training? If the latter, the UA Trance Proficiencies feature seems to replace the PH Elven Weapon Training feature.

Background can supply various cultural features, including learning to use a certain tool, knowing a certain language, and so on.

Which you can already do -"Custom Background" is part of the core rules.
My point exactly. Several official WotC settings are already taking advantage of customized backgrounds, to provide setting-specific features.

So background remains the same power, and the elf race loses power. That was one of the options I put forth.
I feel the races in the Players Handbook are unequal to each other. Some subraces are more powerful and some are less powerful.

So far, the recent races that use the format update feel equal to each other in power. I am very happy with this amount of design space.

When 5e updates the Player Handbook, such as for 50e, anything that is removed or relocated will be filled in with something else to fill out the design space.

So there is no loss in overall power.

Apparently, a 50e elf Wizard can use the new Trance Proficiencies feature to wield a longbow. But the elf Wizard might want to spend a background to gain this proficiency permanently. In any case, the elf features will be sufficiently powerful, and a cultural bow proficiency worthwhile for a Wizard to invest in.

So, that isn't compatible with existing characters, so it's not what they are doing. Easy peasy.

In terms of overall power,

50e elf + background ≈ PH elf + background




The designers want backward compatibility. So, a player can choose whether to build a Tashas elf or a 50e elf. Each variant will be comparable in power. No problem.
 
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Lyxen

Great Old One
For example. Diagram these two sentences.

Here:
• A "monster is a member of a lineage".

You invented this sentence, if you want to prove it, provide an exact quote, and where it comes from.

• A "race" and a "monster" can both be members of the "same lineage".

No, this is not a quote, it's your own personal mish-mash that you invent to push your agenda. The paragraph that you quote does not say that monsters and NPCs have a lineage. Some of them might have one if you decide it (although the rules make no provision for it), but they can also have just a species, which is normal for most of the monsters of the Monster Manual.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
You invented this sentence, if you want to prove it, provide an exact quote, and where it comes from.



No, this is not a quote, it's your own personal mish-mash that you invent to push your agenda. The paragraph that you quote does not say that monsters and NPCs have a lineage. Some of them might have one if you decide it (although the rules make no provision for it), but they can also have just a species, which is normal for most of the monsters of the Monster Manual.
"...
dont have any bearing
on monsters and NPCs
who are members
of the same species or lineage
..."

→ "monsters are members of the lineage"
 

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.
This is the downside of tossing subraces. They have to reprint 8,878 different elves with the same repeated trance text.

I generally liked the race + subrace paradigm of original 5e but I can see how going back to the old system of every single subrace getting its own full write-up potentially gives more room for variation if they do want to axe something from the original race. The Wildemount dragonborn, for instance, have clunky text telling you what to swap out on the OG dragonborn and it would have been cleaner to just give them a unique race write-up.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
"...
dont have any bearing
on monsters and NPCs
who are members
of the same species or lineage
..."

→ "monsters are members of the lineage"
You really need to work on your logic skills. There is no inference from the sentence above that monsters have to be part of any lineage. It only says that IF monsters are part of the same lineage as a PC (but I am still waiting for you to provide even a single example of ONE monster that is part of a lineage), then whatever is said about the PC lineage would not affect the Monster. And that is absolutely all it says.

And the same for the species, but that is a much more common case as all monsters are part of a species. So the sentence above is perfectly true if monsters are part of a species and never a lineage.

Now, unless you can show me a monster that has a lineage (and again, I’m pretty sure that you can’t, I’ll be waiting), this discussion is over.

At the current time, and waiting for monsters that have a lineage, the most likely case is of an NPC having a lineage and therefore being unaffected by what is written about said lineage for a PC. And even today, I challenge you to find ONE official NPC that has a lineage.
 

"Race" in D&D has never meant "species" - half orc and half elf are not, by any scientific definition, a species. Indeed, their existence implies humans, orcs and elves all belong to the same species.

5e linages, as presented in VGR, are even less a species. You can have a reborn who is basically a golem, or undead, or the result of a raise dead spell gone wrong. You can have dhampirs who feed on psychic energy, or spinal fluid. If a linage is anything, it's a theme. The character's genetic heritage is being made a purely cosmetic choice.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
"Race" in D&D has never meant "species" - half orc and half elf are not, by any scientific definition, a species. Indeed, their existence implies humans, orcs and elves all belong to the same species.

Or, perhaps more usefully, their existence suggests that our concept of "species" does not hold in the fictional magical world.

The character's genetic heritage is being made a purely cosmetic choice.

Indeed, I would recommend dispensing with the idea that "genetics" or "genes" are things in the magical world. Gregor Mendel would tear is hair out trying to figure out how traits are passed in the Forgotten Realms. I mean, your magical world doesn't have to have chemistry in the same way ours does, much less have DNA and genes for passing traits along.

Your character is a big bag of humors. Alchemy works. Embrace it.
 

HammerMan

Legend
intresting idea... build a third choice in (5th/10th depending on how you count) Heritage/race background and culture.

SO my elf heritage with the sage background can have the eladrin culture.
 

Helpful NPC Thom

Adventurer
Trying to make sense of these changes from an in-game perspective is futile. The purpose of the changes is two-fold: it sidesteps potential controversy because of the discontent over fixed racial ability score adjustments, and it allows race-and-class combinations that would otherwise be discouraged by prior game design.

It's like asking why a fighter can't learn magic without a feat, multiclassing, or picking an archetype that grants spellcasting abilities. Because that's how the mechanics work. For those discomfited by these alterations, I offer an easy solution: fixed ability score adjustments.

When determining your character’s ability scores, increase one of those scores by 2 and increase a different score by 1, or increase three different scores by 1. Follow this rule regardless of the method you use to determine the scores, such as rolling or point buy.

Elves, for example, get the following choices:
  • +2 Dexterity, +1 Charisma or Wisdom.
  • +1 Dexterity, +1 Charisma, +1 Wisdom.
  • +2 Wisdom, +1 Dexterity or Charisma.
Customize according to your desires.
 



Ligers are not fertile. If lions and tigers could produce fertile offspring they would be the same species, rather than just very closely related species.
Are half elves and half orcs fertile? Perhaps they're not, which explains why they're relatively rare and world is not filled with 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, etc elves and orcs. Also the fertility definition of species is a simplification for school children. In reality it is far more nuanced than that. For example see ring species. Also, some mules are actually fertile.
 

Elves, for example, get the following choices:
  • +2 Dexterity, +1 Charisma or Wisdom.
  • +1 Dexterity, +1 Charisma, +1 Wisdom.
  • +2 Wisdom, +1 Dexterity or Charisma.
Customize according to your desires.
This is somewhat similar to how I did this in my home game. There are no ASIs and all ability scores are bough with the same pool of points, but races have favoured abilities that allow them to buy a higher starting score than would otherwise be possible. This has the benefit that it is not actually super imbalanced if the races don't have the same number of favoured abilities, as they still get the same number of ability points.
 



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