D&D 5E Unearthed Arcana: Gothic Lineages & New Race/Culture Distinction

The latest Unearthed Arcana contains the Dhampir, Reborn, and Hexblood races. The Dhampir is a half-vampire; the Hexblood is a character which has made a pact with a hag; and the Reborn is somebody brought back to life. https://dnd.wizards.com/articles/unearthed-arcana/gothic-lineages Perhaps the bigger news is this declaration on how race is to be handled in future D&D books as it joins...

The latest Unearthed Arcana contains the Dhampir, Reborn, and Hexblood races. The Dhampir is a half-vampire; the Hexblood is a character which has made a pact with a hag; and the Reborn is somebody brought back to life.

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Perhaps the bigger news is this declaration on how race is to be handled in future D&D books as it joins other games by stating that:

"...the race options in this article and in future D&D books lack the Ability Score Increase trait, the Language trait, the Alignment trait, and any other trait that is purely cultural. Racial traits henceforth reflect only the physical or magical realities of being a player character who’s a member of a particular lineage. Such traits include things like darkvision, a breath weapon (as in the dragonborn), or innate magical ability (as in the forest gnome). Such traits don’t include cultural characteristics, like language or training with a weapon or a tool, and the traits also don’t include an alignment suggestion, since alignment is a choice for each individual, not a characteristic shared by a lineage."
 

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Scribe

Legend
It would be so easy for them to simply take the reigns and place the new rule as optional. But that is not the direction they are going.

My own suggestion would be to build the optional rules based off the themes presented in the DMG. Gritty could have a variant rule set, where epic fantasy a different rule set. Maybe one does roll 3d6 and the other everyone starts with two 18s.
It would. I dont even care with one (pre-Tasha's or Tasha's) is official and which is the option. I simply dont want to do the work. lol

In the end, there are folks that will do it, its not even a ton of work at the most superficial of levels (its more than the 'remove ASI' folks would ever have to do, but hey), but it would be nice for Wizard's to continue to support a model that they have pushed since (checks wikipedia) 2014.
 

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JEB

Legend
I don't hate the idea of having, say, racial traits represented by more features in the vein of Powerful Build - "agile build" rather than Dex +2, for example. But my question at that point is, what IS Strength? What is Dexterity? If its functions are now taken over by racial features, what's the point of them?
 

Scribe

Legend
I don't hate the idea of having, say, racial traits represented by more features in the vein of Powerful Build - "agile build" rather than Dex +2, for example. But my question at that point is, what IS Strength? What is Dexterity? If its functions are now taken over by racial features, what's the point of them?
I mean at their most basic, they are abstractions that provide modifiers that allow for the scaling of encounters and provide a sense of 'growth' over time while impacting the most basic functions of your chosen class.

I know it was probably a rhetorical question, but that is fundamentally the issue.

Class X is driven primarily (in some cases entirely) by a given Attribute. The game is built in such a way that for optimization or min/max purposes getting that Attribute as high as possible has very meaningful impacts over time.

It would be likely extremely complex to (aka full rewrite) to rip all of that crunch out of the game, and people would probably recoil anyway if we are being honest with eachother.

If you COULD just strip it out and put it into feats, then you are not fixing the issue, you just are moving it to a different point.

Racial ASI ~= Racial Feats.

They would still be tied to race, and so for some (me) thats fine, for others thats unacceptable, even seemingly as an OPTION.
 

The common argument about races and ability scores in this thread is word-for-word the exact same argument as those who used to want women to have strength penalties in D&D, just with the word 'women' and 'men' replaced with 'halflings' and 'minotaurs'. I suspect it's also the same people, but I can't tell for sure.

Don't want to open a sub thread in this sense but I find your comment enlightening (no irony). It is more acceptable to remove potentially offensive game mechanics from game when it is done in regard to sexual differences because all we recognize the problem of inclusivity in this regard for we are talking of an aspect of fictional world that can be mapped 1:1 to reality. On the other hand we don't have halfling and minotaurs in the real world so, being able to see this difference, we do not find it offensive. From a strictly physiological point of view it's true that an average human female is less strong than an average human male and there would exist an ASI for that. You are right.
So, thanks to your comment we have done another step in completing the analysis of the problem. Thank you.
 


I find the idea that there's something offensive about modelling the difference between a 3ft Halfling and a 8ft Goliath or Minotaur somewhat absurd.

I'm receptive to the idea that the game-play consequence of this modelling can be anti-fun, especially when if it leads to some races being unsuitable for some classes and other classes ubiquitous. (And that PCs are the exceptions)

But frankly I think if someone considers that the modelling the difference in size in practical ways that follow on expressly from the fiction is offensive in itself then I don't see why one would have Halflings and Goliaths at all. If the idea that different species in a game in general have different levels of strength is offensive, then by all means just get rid of them and play humans.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
At some point I assume people will realize that consistently arguing for their viewpoint here on the boards will not actually result in anything, yes? That if you actually want to try and change the minds of the WotC employees who have put these new ideals into place within the game that you're much better served saving all of your opinions for when the Survey comes out? After 70 pages it's pretty plain that everyone is just retreading the same ground.
 

I would really like to address this.
An extra +1 to hit and +1 damage at first level has some effect. Your group of two fighters is engaged with a darkmantle. AC 11, HP 22. The difference between a +4 to hit and a +5 to hit is the difference between rolling a 7 versus a 6. We will say the combat lasts four rounds. (Run simulator) In ten different, four round fights against a darkmantle, the amount of times the +5 fighter outpaces the +4 fighter is 2. So there are two rounds that the +5 fighter hits and the +4 fighter doesn't. In 40 rounds!
The difference in damage is even more minimal. As the +5 fighter will have done approximately 2 more points of damage than the +4 fighter. In 40 rounds! 2 points - 40 rounds.
And if we move them up to level 4 and have one take a feat and the other doesn't, well, there is no math for that. And that is point, everyone argues that the +1 is such a big deal. It isn't.
What it does do is it creates a clear path for people to see what they think is "better." For others, it creates a path for them to see beyond the +1, and focus on something different.

EDIT: I would like to add this doesn't even take into account initiative, which is dex based. So if your +4 fighter was a halfling, odds are they might be faster than the +5 fighter, thus getting to go first, and quite possible ending the round on their turn.

This is not even possibly correct, mathematically. I don't know what simulator you're using, but as a simple matter of math, there is zero possibility, that over 40 rounds, and presumably at least 40 attacks, even if some of them miss, a +1 damage on every hit translates to just 2 more damage.

You've screwed that up in some way. Or the simulator is not working right. +1 damage on every hit, dude, and hitting more often. If you point me to the simulator I can probably spot your error. Also, you say there are two rounds where the +5 Fighter hits and the +4 one doesn't, yet you're claiming only 2 more damage? Do you not see the obvious problem there? They'd have to have hit for only 1 damage each time - and to have done 0 damage more on every round where both hit. I mean what? Come on dude - this is why they still try to teach kids to do basic maths without a calculator - you need to be able to recognise when you've got an obviously-wrong result because your input was in error.

(One obvious error here could be you somehow set them to doing exactly 1 damage each on a hit - that would result in what you're describing.)

The only non-error possibility I see is if it's a weird mathematical artifact of choosing a Darkmantle specifically (low AC, high HP) resulting in some kind of overkill - this would be especially likely if you were using a fixed damage value. If so though, that's still an error on your part, just in the failing to think it through or understand the maths part, rather than an actual error-error.

I mean, just looking at a straightforward DPR calculator, for 1 attack and AC11, I'm seeing 7.35 DPR for +5, and 6.4 DPR for +4, which makes sense. Over 40 rounds that should mean the +5 Fighter does 38 points more damage.

As soon as you get an extra attack, the DPR difference is doubled, too - and that's level 5. Advantage also helps the +5 Fighter more, because it means he's more likely to land an attack when the +4 guy misses (please don't make me get into the detail maths here, it should be obvious to you why this is).

I find the idea that there's something offensive about modelling the difference between a 3ft Halfling and a 8ft Goliath or Minotaur somewhat absurd.

Good thing no-one has suggested that then, eh?

It's not offensive, but it is a fool's errand to try and "model" that sort of thing in D&D combat-relevant rules, given how poorly D&D models everything and how abstract it is. It's actually bad game design if you put your "modelling" ahead of the game working well.

Weirdly 5E does have a good way to model this difference which doesn't cause combat problems, too - Powerful Build. Even if you don't track encumbrance this can come up a lot for dragging things, carrying people around and lifting unreasonable objects (in my experience it does). The vast majority of races which are either "big bois" or have +STR get it. But randomly some don't - Dragonborn and Minotaurs do not, for example, despite being larger than some races who do and having +2 STR (Orcs, Hobgoblins).

(Weirdly 5E PC Minotaurs are quite small - they average 6'1" and 238lbs. That means I'm bigger than the average PC Minotaur, which troubles me. That's a whole other discussion though.)

Also Powerful Build more reliably models greater strength due to size/leverage than +1 STR mod does even. Right now, if you make, say, lifing a 1000lb portcullis into a STR or Athletics check, a Halfling with +3 STR mod and a Goliath with +4 STR mod can, RAW, do it almost equally well (I think most DMs would question how FAR the halfling could lift it lol but that's beside the point), with just the obvious 5% chance difference. Whereas if you look at the weight and compare it to max lift, then the Goliath with STR 18 should be able to auto-lift it, as they can lift 1080lbs thanks to Powerful Build. But the STR 16 Halfling who is both size S and doesn't have Powerful Build can only lift 240lbs. Even if the Halfling was STR 18, he could only lift 270lbs.

That, to me, is a much better way to "model" strength/size differences. And it's already in the game...
 
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Waller

Legend
At some point I assume people will realize that consistently arguing for their viewpoint here on the boards will not actually result in anything, yes? That if you actually want to try and change the minds of the WotC employees who have put these new ideals into place within the game that you're much better served saving all of your opinions for when the Survey comes out? After 70 pages it's pretty plain that everyone is just retreading the same ground.
It's just a conversation. People have conversations all the time! I had one with my sister just yesterday!
 

Aldarc

Legend
Because the PCs and NPCs are just people in the setting, belong to the same species, are made of the same stuff. I understand that some people want the PCs to be some sort of unique superheroes that are not bound by normal limitations, but not everyone wants to play like that.
Sure, but 5e has been mostly built like that since the beginning. And the designers are fairly transparent about how superheroes have influenced the design of many subclasses. There are likely better editions of D&D for the sort of fantasy you want.

Yep. And it is also pretty weird that there has been so much talk about halflings needing to be able to start with strength 16 to be able to be good fighters and barbarians, yet certainly them being unable to use heavy weapons is a far greater detriment? I fully expect people to start demanding that this limitation is removed next.
When all other arguments fail,
slippery slopes will prevail!
 

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