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


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Yaarel

Mind Mage
Actually Ligers are fertile; just not with each other.

That explains how other branches of Homo were able to introduce genetic material into modern Homo sapiens during prehistoric times.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
@Lyxen, @Yaarel quoted the WotC Gothic Lineages Unearthed Arcana in a post on the first page of this thread.

The pertinent paragraph is

which states outright that monsters belong to a species or lineage (otherwise they couldn't belong to the "same species or lineage" as player characters).

NO. I'm sorry, but once more that sentence does not say that every single monster and NPC must belong to a species or lineage. It only says that IF they belong to a species and lineage, then the features do not have effects on them.

It... doesn't make sense to insist that people can't show you "a monster that has a lineage" when there is WotC documentation that explicitly states monsters and NPCs are members of a species or lineage.

Once more no, it does not, because said "documentation" says nothing of the kind.

That being said, all monsters and NPCs each belong to a species, for sure. And the famous sentence says that if a feature from a PC is linked to its species, it will have no bearing on monsters of the same species. Nothing more.

And it would mean the same thing for lineage, only there are, once more, no monster or NPC has been published that has one. But if someday that happens , or if you homebrew a monster or NPC with a lineage (which is perfectly fine), all the sentence says it that you are not bound to apply the same effects as for PCs on that monster or NPC.

And I hope that we have put the nail on the coffin of the idea that lineage = species, that sentence shows that they are not the same thing.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Computers are expected to pass the Turing Test in this decade, the 2020s, likely around 2025.

That doesn't actually mean much. Even Turing posited the imitation game being played by a computer that was not generally intelligent, but purpose-built to give "human like responses". That's a very large issue with AI to date - it does not generalize.

And, folks have been positing a machine to pass the Turing Test "within 20 years" since the 1980s, at least. When your target date rolls on by without the mark being hit, nobody will remember you made this prediction, or care if they do. Making predictions is easy and basically risk-free.
 

Dausuul

Legend
That doesn't actually mean much. Even Turing posited the imitation game being played by a computer that was not generally intelligent, but purpose-built to give "human like responses". That's a very large issue with AI to date - it does not generalize.

And, folks have been positing a machine to pass the Turing Test "within 20 years" since the 1980s, at least. When your target date rolls on by without the mark being hit, nobody will remember you made this prediction, or care if they do. Making predictions is easy and basically risk-free.
Yes to all this.

The Turing Test advanced the discussion around AI in two important ways: First, it was a black-box test, focused on observable behavior rather than knowledge of the AI's internals. And second, it introduced a control subject known to possess the desired level of intelligence (i.e., a human being). That made it possible to put down a marker.

The test itself, however, has a number of weak points; the biggest being that it's only as good as the human judges. If the judges fail to formulate questions that expose the AI's weaknesses, the AI can slide by. You can make the test more stringent by choosing expert judges and requiring extended/repeated conversations, but whatever you do, you will still only test the things the judges think to probe for.
 


Faolyn

(she/her)
Because it doesn't actually tell you what's going on. Like sure, if I say "humans, elves and dragonborn" you can conclude that these are actually different species as you're familiar with them, but if this was custom world, and I said "Oggs, Hyrrans and the Boobli" you wouldn't know if these were different species, or whether this was analogous to "French, Swedish and Chinese," cultures of one species.
You could always said "the anthro-shrimp Oggs, the viscacha-like Hyrrans, and the plant-based Boobli," if you wanted to make sure that people realized that they weren't humans.
 

Species is actually a very fluid concept.
And really has nothing to do with D&D races. Hybrid races are not species, warforged are not species, reborn are not a species.

Really, the word "species" needs to be dropped, it's a completely meaningless concept in a fantasy setting (and somewhat nebulous in the real word).
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Yes to all of the limitations of the Turing Test. But the point is the advancement of computer processing is happening. And the test is an important milestone.

With regard to the timing of the prediction. The year 2025 derives from the accelerating advancement of Moores Law. Even tho Moores Law derives from the thinness of copper wiring, and runs out before 2025, other technologies appear to be stepping in to continue the curve of acceleration.

This curve of acceleration of the processing power of computers has been used accurately to predict various applications for over 20 years now. Passing the Turing Test in 2025 is one of these applications.

The predictions are accurate within a year or two. So, if the Turing Test fails to happen when 2027 comes and goes, the prediction will be wrong, even if it happens 2028. But so far, everyting is still on schedule. The supercomputers are doing amazing things like having debate competitions with human experts. I expect a computer to pass the Turing Test in around 2025.
 

d24454_modern

Explorer
And really has nothing to do with D&D races. Hybrid races are not species, warforged are not species, reborn are not a species.

Really, the word "species" needs to be dropped, it's a completely meaningless concept in a fantasy setting (and somewhat nebulous in the real word).
I honestly prefer it to race and definitely prefer it to something as vague as lineage or ancestry.
 
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Lyxen

Great Old One
I honestly prefer it to race and definitely prefer to something as vague as lineage or ancestry.

Race is a good word that has been used badly since there are, in its scientific definitions, no races of man, only ethnicities, and species is better because D&D has so many fantastic creatures.

As for lineage and ancestry, they are fine at an individual level, but they are not OK to describe groups of individuals who are mostly unrelated except in a very long and indistinct past and who share extremely strong commonalities. They are therefore OK for player characters if you want them to be fully individualised (I don't, honestly, I don't think that anyone needs that many options to create interesting characters), but they do nothing for the masses.
 

d24454_modern

Explorer
Race is a good word that has been used badly since there are, in its scientific definitions, no races of man, only ethnicities, and species is better because D&D has so many fantastic creatures.

As for lineage and ancestry, they are fine at an individual level, but they are not OK to describe groups of individuals who are mostly unrelated except in a very long and indistinct past and who share extremely strong commonalities. They are therefore OK for player characters if you want them to be fully individualised (I don't, honestly, I don't think that anyone needs that many options to create interesting characters), but they do nothing for the masses.
I mostly dislike lineage and ancestry cause they sound even more pretentious than race which is the thing that WotC and other publishers should logically be trying to avoid.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
I mostly dislike lineage and ancestry cause they sound even more pretentious than race which is the thing that WotC and other publishers should logically be trying to avoid.

There is no "logically" here, they are being the focus of attention for mostly wrong reasons and they are doing their best not to be caught in a storm that is right at its center but which unfortunately has negative side effects. The good thing is that I think that they are succeeding, it's just that they have to make some compromises that alters the game and, for me, make it more bland and less epic/heroic than what I like in it. But honestly it's fine, our games are private and we can do whatever we want, and all the changes are options anyway (although some militants like to overinflate them and make them seem like they are totally core now).
 

There is no "logically" here, they are being the focus of attention for mostly wrong reasons and they are doing their best not to be caught in a storm that is right at its center but which unfortunately has negative side effects. The good thing is that I think that they are succeeding, it's just that they have to make some compromises that alters the game and, for me, make it more bland and less epic/heroic than what I like in it. But honestly it's fine, our games are private and we can do whatever we want, and all the changes are options anyway (although some militants like to overinflate them and make them seem like they are totally core now).
They are totally core now; they've said as much, and they plan to set them in stone in the core books in 2024. But that doesn't mean you have to use them in your game. You just have to (unfortunately) work a little harder to ignore them.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
I got Fizbans and am looking thru it, especially for its technical jargon.

There is ambiguity because Fizbans often uses terms, like "family", in both a technical sense and in a nontechnical sense.

What is clear is:
• "Type": Dragon
• "Family": Gem
• "Kind": Amethyst

There is also the term "dragonkind", but I suspect it refers to every member of the Dragon type, since a drake is (ambiguously) probably a member of dragonkind.



Interestingly, Fizban seems to test the waters to use the term "species", straightforwardly.

Fizban never uses the term "lineage" in a technical sense, but uses it several times in the nontechnical sense (at the individual level) of grandparent, parent, child, grandchild, etcetera.

Meanwhile, the term "species" appears several times in quasi-technical contexts. For example. The deep dragon disdains all "species" that are not dragons. A dragon art object casually mentions a "species" of bear. A silver dragon personality trait refers to oneself as a member of an elder "species".

In my opinion, species is the clearest and simplest term. The distinctiveness of the term is a benefit, because it is more likely to only find usage in technical contexts. The lack of ambiguity is helpful.

To many ears, "species" sounds too modern. But Crawford has defended the term species by noting it is a normal term during the reallife Medieval Period, and is appropriate for medievalesque flavor. Fizbans seems to see if the D&D community can get used to the term species.

If the choice is between species and lineage, for the technical term, I want species.



Surprisingly, the status of dragons as a "species" remains ambiguous, whether it is one or more species/lineages - despite the entire book being about dragons!

My current hypothesis is:

The gem dragon is a species. The chromatic dragon is a species. The metallic dragon is a species. The deep dragon is a species. And so on.

However, in the case of gem, chromatic, and metallic, each species is diverse.

The gem dragon species comprises a "family" of different "kinds" of gem dragons.

I will post later if I find verbiage in Fizbans or elsewhere from WotC to confirm or disconfirm they hypothesis that gem dragon is its own species.

Corroborating the hypothesis that gem dragon is its own species, is the fact that the gem dragonborn is its own player race.



Within the context of player options, the dragonborn "races" use the technical term "ancestry".

In the Players Handbook, the term ancestry seems to refer to creature type. So where the elf is the Humanoid type, it has "Fey ancestry", where Fey is a creature type. Relatedly, the dragonborn has "draconic ancestry", probably referring to the Dragon creature type, albeit is more ambiguous as an adjective.

However, in Fizbans, the ancestry of each dragonborn race refers to a dragon family, whether chromatic, gem, or metallic. Where the family is probably a species, the technical term "ancestry" might refer to a species as well as to a type.

In the case of gem dragonborn, the "ancestry" is used in the sense of a literal "ancestor", and suggests the gem dragonborn are members of the gem dragon family. Likewise for chromatic and metallic.



The dichotomy between "monster" and "player character" holds true. But awkwardly the term monster also appears in a nontechnical sense to mean an awful menace.

Interestingly, the contrast between "monster" and "Humanoid" appears. By implication, all members of the Humanoid creature type are potentially available for player character races. Other creature types are typically unavailable for player options.



In sum, tentatively, Fizbans jargon appears to be:

type

species

species = player race + nonplayer monster

every member of Humanoid type seems potentially playable as a race

player race can comprise "variants"

family = species that comprises different "kinds"

"variants" probably refers to "variant rules" rather than different "kinds"
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
They are totally core now;

No, just options in all official publications.

they've said as much, and they plan to set them in stone in the core books in 2024.

Maybe, but there is no proof of this. They might just keep them as options.

But that doesn't mean you have to use them in your game. You just have to (unfortunately) work a little harder to ignore them.

Not really in my case, but indeed it might unfortunately be the case for some DMs.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Henry Kissinger cowrote an article in the Wall Street Journal about Artificial Intelligence.

He mentions that the GPT-3 language model is now writing text that passes the Turing Test.

(The research company OpenAI "trained" the language model on a supercomputer involving artificial neural networks. Microsoft licensed the GPT-3 model for Azure. The model is still in its formative stage, including sometimes "learning" the hatespeech from internet chats. But companies are investing heavily, and increasing its supercomputer power. It can write professional texts, like newspaper articles. Microsoft wants it to write computer code.)

The point of Kissingers article is more about ... diplomacy.

To paraphrase.

Computer AI doesnt "think" the way that humans think. Therefore, reliance on computers changes the nature of reality itself, by placing inhuman computers in the center of decision making and truth. This decentering of humanity is an existential crisis.

However, the article advises a middle way that avoids the extremes of either (slavish) "deferring to AI" or (luddite) "resisting it".

The goal of human efforts is to shape AI with "the dignity and moral agency of humans".

Meanwhile the White House wants a "bill of rights" to protect Americans in an "AI-powered world".
 


Vaalingrade

Legend
AI is going to surpass 'flying cars' as an example of the failure of science's promises while ignoring its actual achievements that, when you actually look at the practical and logistical ramifications was never a very good idea at all in the first place.

And I say this as a someone who writes books that include AIs and flying cars.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
AI is going to surpass 'flying cars' as an example of the failure of science's promises while ignoring its actual achievements that, when you actually look at the practical and logistical ramifications was never a very good idea at all in the first place.

And I say this as a someone who writes books that include AIs and flying cars.

I would love to see the D&D game that GPT-3 creates after reading all of the 5e books, plus select texts from other editions and other literature.



Note, these are supercomputers and the developments are still formative.

The prediction for computers passing the Turing Test in 2025, still stands.
 

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