D&D 5E Half races as sub-races? (+)

I can appreciate the idea, but I don't know if there is much design space there.

Right now we have a +2 Att, a +1 Att, and 3-4 ish abilities that come from race. Arguably some of that can come from culture. If some of those do come from culture, we should also take into account what bonuses are coming from the character's background. It seems to divide the pie a bit fine.

If for sub-races we could have enhancements as the character advances, I think that would grant more design space. Elves become more fae, dwarves become more dwarfy, humans become more ... human. I'm not quite sure where this would go to have something for the various races, but then an advantage for being "half-elf" could grant a choice between elven and human developments.

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I did something like this for planetouched races which could be chosen in place of subrace for any race so that a dwarf could be "azer-blooded" by selecting the fire soul subrace. I adjusted humans as well so that they could take these bloodlines and then removed the standard planetouched races.


Pathfinder's 2nd edition uses Versatile Heritages that can be used in place of an Ancestry's heritage (the equivalent of A5e's gifts). To be an Aasimar in PF2, you pick an ancestry. But instead of picking one of the ancestry's heritages, you pick the Versatile heritage that represents the Aasimar. To be a specific kind of Aasimar, though, you need a Lineage Feat

A5e's Mixed Heritage approach is easier to use.

I think that the most elegant way to make half-races work in a system where subraces are going away and races are not designed with consistent level of power or number of features is to give each race an associated feat that other races can take to get that flavor.

Want to be half-elf? Pick the Elf-blood feat for your human.
Want a little dragon ancestry? Dragon lineage feat.
Want to be half warforged? Forged Flesh feat.
Daddy was an orc? Orc-born feat.

If we're headed back towards a system where everyone gets a feat at 1st level, this is the most streamlined and simplest way to do things, even opening the door for multiple lineages on one character, if the DM allows.


Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I think subraces are going the way of the dodo. However, I could see half-races, as well as various plane-touched races, becoming lineages you can apply on top of a race, a la the Van Richten’s Guide lineages.

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'
Were I to make my own TTRPG, one of the components would be having distinct "lineages" within each overall grouping (5.5e is going to call them "ancestries," my terms are "kin" or "folk.") Humans, or "wanderfolk" as they're sometimes called (a stereotype of being restless and unwilling to settle down), would have a basic lineage (which would cover all IRL humans), a dual-blooded lineage covering all "half-X" options in a single overall structure, and a "starborn" lineage for those humans who were born in or changed by the eldritch nature of the spaces outside and between realities. (Think slann, or their D&D equivalent, elan: still human overall, but...different.) I would've liked to have four, since my goal with this was four lineages for each kin,

Other kin groups would have their own "lineage" options, all 100% separate from culture. E.g. dragonborn ("dragonfolk") might have draconic (the current standard), desert (think moloch/thorny devil), jungle, and aquatic lineage variants--or you might do metallic, chromatic, gem, and blended (aka the 4e version). I'd merge gnomes and halflings into a single hinnfolk group, with different lineages slightly adapted to particular ways of living (deep gnomes/ghostwise halflings in the deep underearth, rock gnomes in the near-surface caves, strongheart halflings on the plains, and forest gnomes/lightfoot halflings adapted to temperate arboreal forest). The differences between any two lineages of the same kin would be physiological in nature, e.g. "deep" hinnfolk have inherent latent psionics and eyes adapted to seeing in the dark, while "forest" hinnfolk have a climb speed; "aquatic" dragonfolk might be able to breathe water, while jungle ones might be immune to poison and disease), but would have no bearing on ability scores or non-physical skill bonuses (e.g., Acrobatics, Athletics, Survival, or Perception might be fine, but Arcana, Bluff, Insight, or Persuasion would not be.)

Looping back to the dual-blooded lineage, yes, the goal would be that, likely as a supplement, rather than in the "initial" release, there would be a broader "pick a pair, any pair" extension of this. Perhaps even having a points system weighting the various stuff, letting you be a "quarter-elf" or an orc/human/angel/elf blend, picking up bits and pieces from several sources. The price paid for this would be not getting features that are special to any particular lineage; you could only choose features universal to all characters of a particular kin, and would qualify for any feats or features that only work for someone of that kin.


An interesting concept, if i were to see it be done i think I’d have ‘half race template mix-and-match’ and ‘racial ancestries’

Half races all have their own statblocks (i think it would be interesting if some races only came as a half race like assimar, werewolves and the like) but divided into type categories (stuff like senses, physical, mental, societal, ect) some stuff you get from both (a dwarf/elf will know both dwarven and elven languages(and common)) but other things you have to pick between mutually exclusive options of the two races you’re building from (poison resistance and a +1 con vs trance and sleep immunity, dwarven armour training vs elven weapon training), maybe you get 1 category of your choice where you get to take the perks of both races, also humans are special by having slightly worse traits but not being mutually exclusive allowing you to take everything from both sides (based on the detail that all the previous half races were cross-human and a little bonus due to them supposedly being ‘boring’)

Ancestries on the other hand are small trait selection bundles emblematic of their respective races, that both full and half races can pick, you get to have up to two of them, one you pick at character creation and the other you can pick a feat ‘dual ancestry’ to get another later on, ancestries only add a dash of flavour of the chosen race, there would be special same type ancestries you could only pick if you were actually a member of that race if you didn’t want to be part whatever or just wanted your dwarf to be extra dwarfy.

Why are the halves only human.

Where are the Elflings, Dwarflings, and dwelfs?
Oh sure, engage in Punnett squares to your Mendelian heart's content. There's, what, n^2 / 2 choices? With just human, elf, dwarf, halfling, orc, and gnome that's 18 combinations. Add in teifling, aasimar, and gensai that's close to 40, right?


Oh sure, engage in Punnett squares to your Mendelian heart's content. There's, what, n^2 / 2 choices? With just human, elf, dwarf, halfling, orc, and gnome that's 18 combinations. Add in teifling, aasimar, and gensai that's close to 40, right?
I prefer to call it Heritage bingo.

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