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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.

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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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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Yeah, when this was discussed last year, I asked how many counter-examples to evil culture does it take to prove "not all drow". The answer I got was that there is no amount of "going against the grain" that is enough as long as the grain still exists. All, many, most, half, some, it doesn't matter.

The sentence line doesn't have to be alignment based either. "Dwarves are hard-working, dour craftsmen and miners who live underground" might not be offensive, but it's still a stereotyped monoculture and no better than evil sadistic drow. It doesn't matter if it refers to generic PHB dwarves, FR dwarves or Gauntelgrym dwarves. It stereotypes dwarves as one thing and no amount of mold-breaking examples fixes that.

So what, aside from some racial mechanics, defines a dwarf once cultural elements are gone?
The key is to separate the culture from the species. “Dwarves are like this” gets stereotypey and weird. “The people of Gauntlgrym are like this,” or better yet, “These factors affect the predominant culture of Gauntlgrym in these ways” isn’t uncomfortable in the same way.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
The Hafling vs. Goliath/Minotaur debate is silly. The rules allow a PC character, regardless of race, to have better stats than any NPC character.

The only thing that could stop Zidi from being stronger than every goliath in the world, is if there is another player who makes a goliath character that they also want to be the strongest.... in which they tie. Which is very funny, honestly.

Or the DM makes a custom statblock for a stronger goliath NPC, but that's neither her nor there.

If you, the DM, feel an orverriding need that a goliath SOMEWHERE must be stronger than Zidi, you always have that option by making a custom NPC of your own. Or you can just demand that Zidi's player uses the PHB rules, which you also have a right to (but don't be offended if that player decides to play at a different table).
 

OK, you could create an elf PC, Kalel von Kripton, stronger than a minotaur because she has got shen blood. She could jump over the trees like in "Tiger & Dragon" or other wuxia titles, and defeats troops as in a musou videogame, but thos characters are boring Mary-Sue. The fandom would rather "Baby Yoda" Grogu than Rey Skywalker. PC races need a strong and a weak point. They can't be the best for all.

A "weak" minotaur is possible, because he is too old, an injury in the battle, or a female who chose to learn the shaman's path because she didn't want, or couldn't to marry and conceive strong children.

Special subraces or bloodlines could allow some little changes with the racial traits. For example drows who aren't Lolth's worshipers but deep dragons subjects (Dragon Magic, 3.5 Ed pag 6) or dwars from a dinasty of earth god's clerics/theocrats.

An acrobat orc? Possible, maybe a former (female) slave trained to be a derviche or blade-dancer and she ran away when her owner was killed (by an assasin, but she was the main suspect). Later she become profesional gladiator/pit-fighter in underground arena, and the acrobacy helped her to become more popular in the "show".

Where is the fun and the surprise if David the gnome can defeat the goliath with simple strengh? This is D&D, not Dragon Ball or other mangas where a child warrior can kill the evil overlord (f.e. Dragon Quest: the adventures of Fly). This can't be only muscle and strategy and social skills are unnecessary.

* When is WotC to sell body pillows with waifu hexborn? It is for a friend who likes cute witches and gothic lolitas. :p

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Laurefindel

Legend
I gotta say, I think I’ve never been quote replied so much in 20 years as when I said I wanted to play a strong halfling.

That said, I’m done on the subject. I won’t be replying any further on the topic. It’s become very tedious for me!
It makes me feel for the people at WotC however.

Regardless which direction they go, streams of opposing comments must make it very tedious work for any designer
 

Keefe the Thief

Adventurer
You know, most won't get this reference and if you don`t, I don´t blame you, but... this thread reminds me on the PalAssassin wars on Planet AD&D shudders.
 

Looking at the Random table of origins, for both Dhampir and Hexblood I think there should be the obvious, "One of your biological parents was a Vampire (or Hag in the case of the later)"
 


Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Looking at the Random table of origins, for both Dhampir and Hexblood I think there should be the obvious, "One of your biological parents was a Vampire (or Hag in the case of the later)"

I don't think either can actually biologically reproduce, at least in D&D FR lore (seemingly the standard for their official books). But it does seem like an oversight when the most famous Dhampire (Alucard, Castlevania) is Dracula's son.
 

A strong halfling, are you talking about Krilin, Son Goku's best friend and Android18's husband?

* If my PC kills a dhampire name Edward Cullen, does he suffer a dark powers check?


* In my humble opinion the most famous dhampir is Eric "Blade" Brooks, the vampire-hunter from marvel comics. And Dracula also has a child, even this appeared in the Marvel Dracula anime. (yes, there was one from the 70's).


* A "sacred assasin" is possible, there was a prestige class, slayer of Domiel, in "Book of Exalted Deeds".

* If you use a polymorph spell on an anima and this becomes "humanoid", could be eaten by a dhampir? or to use a troll or other humanoid monster with regeneration power as food source.

* Could a hexblood to use the magic token with trained animals as remote-control drone to explore? Or to send a paper with a teletransportation rune to a far and tall zone to send the rest of the group. Or to use animate objects with a rat skeleton carring an explosive rune to a zone to cause a great damage, or to add special poison into a water tank.

* Can dhampirs and undead reborn be attacked by flesh-eater monsters? I am not kidding. Is there any risk to be hunted and eaten by walking dead? Some undead monster eat carrion.

And hurt by magic traps of positive energy or necrotic damage, created by an unknown divine spellcaster?

* I suggest as racial traits the spell-like power "invisibility to undead".

* What if a reborn subrace is "ushabti", like the younger brother of the mummies?

 
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I don't think either can actually biologically reproduce, at least in D&D FR lore (seemingly the standard for their official books). But it does seem like an oversight when the most famous Dhampire (Alucard, Castlevania) is Dracula's son.
I think Blade potentially competes for most famous Dhampir, even though that's a case of his mother being infected with vampirism while pregnant.
 

G

Guest 6801328

Guest
Thats already done though. Its not good enough within the eyes of the vocal court of public opinion.
It's funny (but more in the sense of "odd", not actually comical) how some people react to a decision they don't agree with by concluding that it must be the result of caving to pressure by a vocal minority. Like, it's not even possible that WotC has weighed the pros and cons, looked at survey data, and come to a rational conclusion. No, it's "I don't agree with it, and therefore the only possible explanation is that WotC is terrified of the left-wing Twitter mob."
 

G

Guest 6801328

Guest
Yes, but so are other players. If your strongest Halfling is stronger than the strongest Minotaur, then the player who wants to play the strongest Minotaur -- stronger than any Halfling -- does what?

You're avoiding answering the question.

We are talking to each other. And I'm asking: if you want to play an Elf that is 'stronger than the strongest Minotaur', what do I say to the guy who just rolled up a Minotaur and maxed his strength, hoping to be the strongest character?

You can't have it both ways. You can't have an Elf stronger than the strongest Minotaur in the same party or game world as a Minotaur that is stronger than the strongest Elf, unless you just don't care about logic.

Someone needs to be stronger, or they both need to be the same. I'm saying the Minotaur should be stronger; you seem to be saying they should both be the same. But if they're both the same, then Minotaurs are not stronger than Elves, despite the fact that they are described as especially big and strong in the racial descriptions ('large sized', over 6' tall, 'barrel-chested', with an 'imposing presence', etc.), and despite the fact that they were in fact stronger in earlier editions. The mechanics don't any longer match the description, the physiology, or the lore.
You seem to be under the mistaken impression that your paradox is somehow clever or insightful. As somebody upthread posted, what if two players both said, "I want to play the shortest halfing in the world!" That desire is perfectly in line with traditional halfling stereotypes, and yet it results in the exactly the same problem: two players have character concepts* that can't both exist.

In either case....your riddle, or the shortest halfling one...the problem is one of players being childish, not a problem with the rules.

*Not that I would really call any of these desires "character concepts".
 

Scribe

Hero
It's funny (but more in the sense of "odd", not actually comical) how some people react to a decision they don't agree with by concluding that it must be the result of caving to pressure by a vocal minority. Like, it's not even possible that WotC has weighed the pros and cons, looked at survey data, and come to a rational conclusion. No, it's "I don't agree with it, and therefore the only possible explanation is that WotC is terrified of the left-wing Twitter mob."
I find it funny as well, to not believe there is a link between the feedback to Tasha's being optional (it was not positive) and the fact it will going forward be the only official option.

When the solution was presented as an option, it was not acceptable, so they removed the other system, and that's it.

I mean read into it whatever you like. I work in a corporation, we know how this works.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I find it funny as well, to not believe there is a link between the feedback to Tasha's being optional (it was not positive) and the fact it will going forward be the only official option.

When the solution was presented as an option, it was not acceptable, so they removed the other system, and that's it.

I mean read into it whatever you like. I work in a corporation, we know how this works.
I don’t think @Elfcrusher was suggesting that the change wasn’t a response to feedback, only that the feedback isn’t coming from a vocal minority.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
If only there was another way, having options both fully supported!

If only...

What does "fully supported" mean?

How many options do you figure can be "fully supported" at a time? Because there's a whole lot of requests for various options for various things to be "fully supported".

Do include thoughts on playtesting in your answer, and consider how you can claim a thing is "fully supported" without testing it?
 

Anti-inclusive content
It's funny (but more in the sense of "odd", not actually comical) how some people react to a decision they don't agree with by concluding that it must be the result of caving to pressure by a vocal minority. Like, it's not even possible that WotC has weighed the pros and cons, looked at survey data, and come to a rational conclusion. No, it's "I don't agree with it, and therefore the only possible explanation is that WotC is terrified of the left-wing Twitter mob."
I'm sure they are weighing the pros and cons during this current moral panic similar to how TSR weighed them during the last one. The Problematic Panic and the Satanic Panic have much in common, they're just being spearheaded by a different set of blue-haired ladies.
 

I think in the case of Goliath's I'd give them some kind of specific feat - Incredible Strength or something like that. +1 Strength, raise their max Strength threshold to 22 and give them advantage on Strength based abilty rolls.

They definitely need something if you're going to use them. They're whole point is that they're the giant PC race. Having extra carrying capacity doesn't really cut it.
 

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