D&D 5E Half races as sub-races? (+)

Stormonu

Legend
Something I’ve been thinking on for a little bit now is would it be beneficial to transform the various half-races into universal sub races that could be applied to a variety of races.

For example, the classic Half-Elf. Right now, it is considered a full-blown race by itself. Instead, what if it became a sub race - you could choose to be Human, with a sub race of Half-Elf to get the typical “half elf” of the PHB. But… you could also do something like choose Halfing as your base race, and choose Half-Elf to get a . Or maybe something even odder - start with Orc and take Half-Elf as your sub race.

It will likely mean ALL races need to have a base + subclass build, so that tacking on a half-something doesn’t give you all the base abilities plus more. I don’t personally think it will be compatible with the Tasha’s changes, but I’m fine with that - and I’d personally rather add subrace concepts that can cross multiple races than +1 here, +2 there broad spectrum abilities.

Some half sub races for consideration:

Half-Elf
Half-Orc
Half-Human
Half-Demon (Cambion)
Half-Celestial (Aasimar)
Half-Devil (Tiefling)
Half-Vampire (Dhampir)
Half-Hag (Hagborn)
Half-Dwarf (Mul)

Some base + (very rough) sub race ideas for races:

Human
  • Culture
  • Neapolitan (Variant)

Goblin
  • Tribal
  • Feral

Kobold
  • Wilderness
  • Mine

etc…

Ideas? Reactions?
 

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aco175

Legend
I'm not sure the term sub-race will be well received, but works for the thread.

What would be the difference with a human / half-elf and a elf / half-elf?

I also do not get the point about having a orc who is also a half-elf (which is part human and part elf)?
 

I think as we approch 2024 subraces are going to die out... BUT

I am firmly in the 'half elf, half orc, teifling, and aasimar' should have been subraces of human camp.

I also think we should have a mul in there

I also think we can then create OTHER halfbreeds... 'an elf demon isn't a teifling'
 

I probably wouldn't mind them becoming a form of Template that is applied on top of the race. 5E, officially, has a few templates already that are applied to monsters.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Something I’ve been thinking on for a little bit now is would it be beneficial to transform the various half-races into universal sub races that could be applied to a variety of races.

For example, the classic Half-Elf. Right now, it is considered a full-blown race by itself. Instead, what if it became a sub race - you could choose to be Human, with a sub race of Half-Elf to get the typical “half elf” of the PHB. But… you could also do something like choose Halfing as your base race, and choose Half-Elf to get a . Or maybe something even odder - start with Orc and take Half-Elf as your sub race.

It will likely mean ALL races need to have a base + subclass build, so that tacking on a half-something doesn’t give you all the base abilities plus more. I don’t personally think it will be compatible with the Tasha’s changes, but I’m fine with that - and I’d personally rather add subrace concepts that can cross multiple races than +1 here, +2 there broad spectrum abilities.

Some half sub races for consideration:

Half-Elf
Half-Orc
Half-Human
Half-Demon (Cambion)
Half-Celestial (Aasimar)
Half-Devil (Tiefling)
Half-Vampire (Dhampir)
Half-Hag (Hagborn)
Half-Dwarf (Mul)

Some base + (very rough) sub race ideas for races:

Human
  • Culture
  • Neapolitan (Variant)

Goblin
  • Tribal
  • Feral

Kobold
  • Wilderness
  • Mine

etc…

Ideas? Reactions?
The main problem the same as universal Subclasses: bot all Raves have Subraces, and those that do are not priced the same way in the underlying math.

Another major problem is that Sunrave seems to be going away in the new rules evolution.

However, one possibility I've been mulling recently is racial lineage Background Feats, following the model of the recent Dragonlance Unearthed Arcana. So instead of a "Half-Elf" or "Half-Orc" Rave as such, you can take an "Elvwn Heritage" or "Orcish Heritage Feat that gives some key Elf-y or Orc-y flavor and abilities.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
I also think we can then create OTHER halfbreeds... 'an elf demon isn't a teifling'
The term "halfbreed" is pretty much as bad as "sub-races" tbh. For some folks probably worse.

My most recent games we've been leaning away from having "half" anything. Hearkening back to my BECMI days there are no half-elves or half-orcs, but you can have an elf/orc with one parent who is human and the other elf/orc or a human with one parent who is an elf/orc and the other human.
 

delericho

Legend
Yeah, I'd be tempted to offer an "X ancestry" race modifier (or possibly even feat, if we're going down the path of everyone getting one at 1st level - amongst other things, a feat would allow characters to discover an ancestry they previously didn't know they had...). Then, if they add one of these each time they add a race, they can very quickly enable people to mix and match.
 

I probably wouldn't mind them becoming a form of Template that is applied on top of the race. 5E, officially, has a few templates already that are applied to monsters.

I've sometimes felt that D&D should do a better job of making half-XXXXes unique based on what they're paired with.

For example, IMNSHO, if dwarves have Darkvision and humans have normal vision, a half-dwarf should have Low Light Vision. But a half-dwarf/half-orc should still have Darkvision. For another, if Elves are immune to sleep effects and human aren't, half-elves should have advantage against sleep effects, but half-elf/half-dwarves might still get full sleep immunity. You could get even more creative if you wanted. What if, due to a weird genetic fluke, half-elf/half-rock gnomes ended up being taller than both elves and gnomes? I think there's a lot of untapped potential there.

The one downside that I see to your idea is that it makes this harder. Making everything a template guarantees that the half races are are generic as possible. I'm not sure I like that. But it's not like WotC is really taking advantage of half-race uniqueness now, so I guess nothing would be lost, either.
 
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beancounter

(I/Me/Mine)
Well, like I've mentioned before, if we stop calling them different races, and started calling them what they really are - different species, being a "half" something wouldn't be such a loaded term.
 
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Laurefindel

Legend
Well, like I've mentioned before, if we stop calling them different races, and started calling them what they really are - different species, being a "half" something would be such a loaded term.
Ironically however, If they are different species there cannot be any sustainable half-lineages…

On the other hand, this may explain why only some of them are compatible enough to produce offsprings. Half-elves are the liger of D&D, and half orcs are the zorses, all sharing the same genus? Should they be sterile!?!
 




deganawida

Adventurer
Personally, I'd love to see half races removed entirely. Not just because "humans are horny devils" is eyeroll worthy, but it makes other races too mundane (even if they are things like half elf and half orc instead of half elf and half human).

That said, if you have to have them, sub-races are the way to go.
 


Horwath

Hero
If we get bonus feats at 1st and 4th level as per latest UA, we could get Aasimar, tiefling, shifter or similar as 1st level only heritage feats.
Something like 3.5e regional feats.

4th level feat could work more on that heritage if one feat would be too "cheap" to get all features of a sub-race/heritage/whatever.
 

Stormonu

Legend
I'm not sure the term sub-race will be well received, but works for the thread.

What would be the difference with a human / half-elf and a elf / half-elf?

I also do not get the point about having a orc who is also a half-elf (which is part human and part elf)?
Orc/half-elf has no human. You may have been thinking half-orc/half-elf, which would be a human/orc/elf mix.

Also the assumption is you can’t take a “half” of the same base race - so no elf/half-elf.
 

Laurefindel

Legend
Orc/half-elf has no human. You may have been thinking half-orc/half-elf, which would be a human/orc/elf mix.

Also the assumption is you can’t take a “half” of the same base race - so no elf/half-elf.
Well, we DO have quarterhorses so, quarter-elf? :)

...back to the OP. I enjoy the current set-up because it offers a broad(er) diversity. If base human was a bit more crunchy, having subraces for human would make more sense but I don't see how half-orc/elf/aasimar/tiefling could be transcribed as such without becoming very same-y. Maybe I'm wrong; they all have darkvision after all, but that's not something they inherited from the basic human package.

At the moment, half-elf / half-orc feels more like variations on elves and orcs than on humans. If anything, I'd suggest making half-elf a subrace of elf. Then again, the half-elf is the only race that has both "halves" in the PHB; there is no full orc to slap a half-orc subrace on, let alone celestial or fiend...
 
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Corinnguard

Explorer
You might want to check out Level Up. They've got a simple, general way to do any mix of heritages.
Niklanna is right above Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition. In A5e, race is broken up into Heritage (who your parents were) and Culture (the society you were raised in). Currently there are 8 heritages in A5e (Dragonborn, Dwarf, Elf, Gnome, Halfling, Human, Orc and Planetouched). Each heritage gives you traits that you have in common with other members of your heritage plus 1-3 heritage gifts. To make something like a Half-Elf, all you need to do is pick up a heritage and make it your base heritage, and then pick one of the other heritage's gifts.

So you could pick the human heritage and one elven gift, or pick the elf heritage and one human gift to make your Half-Elf.

No need for templates. Just the Narrator's approval.
 

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