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D&D 5E My critic on VRGtR

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
Whatever... race or lineage is exactly the same mechanic. It is just a change of word. I prefer "race" but for some the out of game context makes that word offensive. So lineage is as good as any but the mechanic will be same nonetheless.
That's not -exactly- accurate...

Lineages are "Special Races". They function as a template that you apply to a character of any race.

Been playing a Half-Orc Fighter for a couple months and he gets killed? Talk to your DM about applying the "Reborn" template to that character. He loses some of his Half-Orc stuff, but is back on his feet. Got killed by a Vampire? So apply the Dhampir template and the Half-Orc stands back up.

Still 6'3" and 260lbs of Muscle. Still with darkvision and pointy ears and tusks. But now he's a Reborn Half-Orc.

You can make that Reborn Half-Orc at level 1, or get the template applied later. There's nothing else like that in 5e. Even Reincarnate doesn't work that way, and you get brought back as someone else entirely.
 

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That's not -exactly- accurate...

Lineages are "Special Races". They function as a template that you apply to a character of any race.

Been playing a Half-Orc Fighter for a couple months and he gets killed? Talk to your DM about applying the "Reborn" template to that character. He loses some of his Half-Orc stuff, but is back on his feet. Got killed by a Vampire? So apply the Dhampir template and the Half-Orc stands back up.

Still 6'3" and 260lbs of Muscle. Still with darkvision and pointy ears and tusks. But now he's a Reborn Half-Orc.

You can make that Reborn Half-Orc at level 1, or get the template applied later. There's nothing else like that in 5e. Even Reincarnate doesn't work that way, and you get brought back as someone else entirely.
And in essence, you get a new sub race of whatever you chose to put the new tag on. It is not an elf, it is a wood elf. It is not a wood elf, it is a returned wood elf... which amount to new subrace and a new way to "avoid" a character perma death... Which is why this is far from my preferred part from the book. Not bad but not great. I would have preferred more of the domain generation stuff.

But the Reborn is still the best of all three as it can be applied to a whole group and spurr adventures about what happened to them...
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
And in essence, you get a new sub race of whatever you chose to put the new tag on. It is not an elf, it is a wood elf. It is not a wood elf, it is a returned wood elf... which amount to new subrace and a new way to "avoid" a character perma death... Which is why this is far from my preferred part from the book. Not bad but not great. I would have preferred more of the domain generation stuff.

But the Reborn is still the best of all three as it can be applied to a whole group and spurr adventures about what happened to them...
You could do the same with Hexblood, though.

A whole group of people wake up in a clearing around a campfire. All of them are Hexbloods. All of them know their languages, their skills, their class abilities, but have no recollection of who they are, or were... Go.

Did they make a deal with a Hag to steal their memories of a terrible crime and gain a new lease on life? Are they all cursed by Fey Magic? Was the beer at the kegger laced with potent and terrible potions?

Fun stuff!

It also creates the idea that these Lineage Ideas are fair game. So you could create your own lineages to replace character's race/subrace with in your campaigns.

Did your party's Barbarian -really- want to play a Werewolf...? wicked grin Write up a Werewolf Flavored Lineage and slap it on him when he gets bit.
 

My gripe on these two lineages is that they mean there are no downside to play either something that craves blood or to make a pact with hags. There is always a cost in playing these type of lineage. Dhampirs will have to fight the commoners' perception that they are vampire and the hags will not make a deal that they will not end up collecting.

The goal in playing such characters is to fight ill-conceived perceptions or to play someone doomed either seeking redemption or that was ready to pay a terrible price (becoming a hag) to get powers to have a revenge or something of the same. The doomed hero has aot of appeal for many.

Just like an informal patron warlock knows that one day or an other his patron will come to collect, so should the hexblood know that the hags will come too. But as written, it is all free bee with no drawbacks. Not my cup of tea.

Even without the "you will have to pay the price sooner or later" sword of Damocles type of trope, these lineages do not add that much that an other one can. You know what you are and what you did. With the Reborn, at least, there could be some mysteries and secret intrigues involved that could drive quite a story.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
My gripe on these two lineages is that they mean there are no downside to play either something that craves blood or to make a pact with hags.
Umm... Hexbloods are the downside to making a pact with hags. At least as they appear in the printed book, Hexbloods aren’t people who made contracts with hags, they’re the victims of pacts other people made with hags. They’re the firstborn who’s parents them sold to the fae, the children for whom the parents bartered with the fae to have, and the children left in the cribs of babies stolen by the fae.
 

Umm... Hexbloods are the downside to making a pact with hags. At least as they appear in the printed book, Hexbloods aren’t people who made contracts with hags, they’re the victims of pacts other people made with hags. They’re the firstborn who’s parents them sold to the fae, the children for whom the parents bartered with the fae to have, and the children left in the cribs of babies stolen by the fae.
That too, but the transformation into hag is a willing thing for any of the origins of a hexblood. So where is the downside? At a drow character has its culture to free herself from. A half orc must fight the bad reputation of his ancestry (if this is a thing in the campaign). The hexblood brings nothing new on table that can't be done with an other race/lineage in the PHB or Tasha or any other setting/reference book. Still not my cup of tea.

Other sections in the book would have been better served with the additional page count the removal of these two lineages would have saved. As I said, I really liked the book, but I was not impressed with the lineages...
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
That too, but the transformation into hag is a willing thing for any of the origins of a hexblood. So where is the downside?
The downside of transforming into a hag, you mean? The downside is... you know, becoming a hag. Hags are monsters, and the book explicitly states that the character becomes an NPC under the DM’s control, unless the DM rules otherwise.
At a drow character has its culture to free herself from. A half orc must fight the bad reputation of his ancestry (if this is a thing in the campaign). The hexblood brings nothing new on table that can't be done with an other race/lineage in the PHB or Tasha or any other setting/reference book. Still not my cup of tea.Other sections in the book would have been better served with the additional page count the removal of these two lineages would have saved. As I said, I really liked the book, but I was not impressed with the lineages...
I don’t agree, but that’s a perfectly valid opinion. I’m not trying to convince you to like either lineage, I just thought your stated reason for disliking Hexbloods seemed at odds with their lore as presented in the book. A character doesn’t become a Hexblood by making a pact with a hag, so their existence doesn’t demonstrate that pacts with hags have no downside.
 

1) The downside of transforming into a hag, you mean? The downside is... you know, becoming a hag. Hags are monsters, and the book explicitly states that the character becomes an NPC under the DM’s control, unless the DM rules otherwise.

2) I don’t agree, but that’s a perfectly valid opinion. I’m not trying to convince you to like either lineage, I just thought your stated reason for disliking Hexbloods seemed at odds with their lore as presented in the book. A character doesn’t become a Hexblood by making a pact with a hag, so their existence doesn’t demonstrate that pacts with hags have no downside.
1) Well, it seems you missed the fact that you won't turn into a hag if you do not want to. This one is pretty clear. So no downside save a funny look...

2) Yep, it does appear so, but again, no downside as the transformation into a hag is a willing event about which the player has the entire control... So again no downside. Which is unfortunate as the doomed hero trope could have been a very nice thing for a hexblood.

And I can imagine a hexblood making a warlock of infernal type and putting the Night Hag of his forced condition at odds with the devil with which he made a willing pact but said devil has a big animosity with the hag and both vie for the soul/body of the character. A character such as this could play both the devil and the hag against each other while trying to find a way out. Maybe something at la Constantine would make for quite an interesting RP. But by making the transformation into a hag a willing thing removes that possibility.
 

Stormonu

Legend
So far, I'm about half way through the book and really my only gripe so far is I wish they had devoted more pages to some of the other domains, rather than the single paragraph they end up getting. I kind of understand why there is no map for I'cath, but it would have been nice to give a dual map (awakened & dreaming) to give a starting point and sense of what it might look like. Almost feels like they ran out of time to detail more of the domains.

I do like the "islands of terror" rather than a static core map so I can arrange the domains junctions - if at all.

And they snuck the Shadow Rift into Hazlan's domain - but it fills like it fits there.
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
1) Well, it seems you missed the fact that you won't turn into a hag if you do not want to. This one is pretty clear. So no downside save a funny look...

2) Yep, it does appear so, but again, no downside as the transformation into a hag is a willing event about which the player has the entire control... So again no downside. Which is unfortunate as the doomed hero trope could have been a very nice thing for a hexblood.
I don’t understand you’re saying there’s no downside to. A hexblood character has not made any pact with anyone that would incur a downside (unless they’re also a warlock, obviously.)
And I can imagine a hexblood making a warlock of infernal type and putting the Night Hag of his forced condition at odds with the devil with which he made a willing pact but said devil has a big animosity with the hag and both vie for the soul/body of the character. A character such as this could play both the devil and the hag against each other while trying to find a way out. Maybe something at la Constantine would make for quite an interesting RP. But by making the transformation into a hag a willing thing removes that possibility.
That’s a very cool character concept, and I don’t think the transformation into a hag being voluntary removes the possibility at all. The hag’s task is just to convince the character to submit to their destiny, rather than to force them into it. That still puts the hag in direct competition with the devil.
 

Necrozius

Explorer
Ah you can bet that if I had a player interested in one of those Lineages (Hexblood or Dhampir), we’d agree to play up any thematic downsides. Luckily most of my players are aspiring authors, so this comes naturally to them. Ie, if you’re a hexblood, you have an inevitable Destiny to contend with. If you are a Dhampir... well even Blade and Vampire Hunter D had the occasional urges to resist (and deliberate social distancing).

edit: fixed dumb typo
 
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I don’t understand you’re saying there’s no downside to. A hexblood character has not made any pact with anyone that would incur a downside (unless they’re also a warlock, obviously.)

That’s a very cool character concept, and I don’t think the transformation into a hag being voluntary removes the possibility at all. The hag’s task is just to convince the character to submit to their destiny, rather than to force them into it. That still puts the hag in direct competition with the devil.
Yes the concept can be adapted. But it will not be as dramatic and exciting as if the treath is real and can be imposed on the character at any time. When the player is forced to use his/her guile and wits to delay the inevitable it becomes a mind chess game of manipulation of epic proportion. It is way better than a DM trying to convince a character to give up...
 

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