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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Second, I would have the cap shift based on a lineages 'Primary Attribute'. So Half-Orc could 'naturally' get to 22 Strength, while a Dwarf could naturally get to 22 Con, a Gnome could get to 22 Int, and so on.
Increasing the cap is an interesting way to go. How would you handle magic items, like say an elf getting a magic item that increased their con to 22 (provided they had a 20 in there at the time of finding the item)?
 

Scribe

Legend
Increasing the cap is an interesting way to go. How would you handle magic items, like say an elf getting a magic item that increased their con to 22 (provided they had a 20 in there at the time of finding the item)?
Magic breaks the rules, I've got no problem with that personally. I'm more interested in establishing a 'logical' baseline in the early parts of the campaign.
 

JEB

Legend
You really cannot get over the fact that they said "if you want to use the player's handbook material, use the player's handbook material" can you?
No, I really can't get over the fact that in 2014 they only offered one way to apply racial traits for PHB races to NPCs, and it created NPCs that were consistent with the PHB guidelines for PCs. Not only is there no evidence at that at the beginning of 5E, the PC version of a character race was fundamentally different from the NPC version, but there's strong evidence that they were in fact not fundamentally different.

Then, in 2020, they say that PC racial traits are archetypes that don't reflect the race in general. That's either one heck of a coincidence at the beginning of 5E... or they changed their mind.

Yes, people have a preference for being told what to do. WoTC has said they are going to stop doing that. That is an objective fact of reality. Future Lineages will not be released with static ASIs. Full Stop. There might be a sidebar, it would be a kind gesture, but the official design has changed. And sitting here, telling us that the design should never change, because some people like the old way misses the point that some people like the new way.
We don't only have to have the "old way" or the "new way". We can have both, and it would be trivial for Wizards to support it. So yes, I'm going to criticize a design that will leave some players' preferences out unnecessarily, and support a design that lets some folks keep playing the way they did, while still enabling other folks to have the freedom they desire.
 

JEB

Legend
Incidentally, I realized earlier today Wizards hasn't provided any guidance for how, under the new paradigm, one would alter a generic NPC to reflect a PC race's traits. Extrapolating from the MM or DMG guidance would suggest using the racial traits listed for the PC race in whatever sourcebook, but officially, those don't correlate. You don't actually know that changelings can change their appearance, for example, that might just be a trait of PC changelings. In a few cases we get a version of the PC race later as a NPC statblock, like tabaxi and goliaths, but not always. I suppose every NPC of a particular PC race has to be constructed from scratch? Seems like a lot of extra work.
 

Magic breaks the rules, I've got no problem with that personally. I'm more interested in establishing a 'logical' baseline in the early parts of the campaign.
The tables I have played at tend to agree. Especially at that high of level, the balance between individual classes can be Grand Canyonish.
No worries! Assumption would be Standard Array + ASI, if doing it via rolls, I would have to implement caps.

First I would start with spreading ASI out. I would not have it tied 100% to lineage, as I have shown a few times. Then I would apply a cap based on Size. Small would not be able to get to the 20 Cap on Strength, and would instead get something to reflect a benefit of being Small. Small = Str Cap of 18. (Unless Barbarian, then they would get that +4 bonus at the end, and end up at 22.)
When you get time, would you mind explaining this a little more? Thanks.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
No, I really can't get over the fact that in 2014 they only offered one way to apply racial traits for PHB races to NPCs, and it created NPCs that were consistent with the PHB guidelines for PCs. Not only is there no evidence at that at the beginning of 5E, the PC version of a character race was fundamentally different from the NPC version, but there's strong evidence that they were in fact not fundamentally different.

Then, in 2020, they say that PC racial traits are archetypes that don't reflect the race in general. That's either one heck of a coincidence at the beginning of 5E... or they changed their mind.

They offered you a way to take the only existing racial traits in the game and apply them to the NPCs.

Then, in 2016, they had new racial traits for existing creatures that were different than their previous appearances. And, that was the first major expansion of racial traits and options in the game.

So, no, I don't think there is a major coincidence between there being zero printed monsters for human, elf, dwarf, halfling, gnome, dragonborn, half-orc and half-elf races, and there only being one version of those racial traits for siuch beings in the game, when the game was launched. And when we DID get NPC monster statblocks, and PC options for a race... they were different.

We don't only have to have the "old way" or the "new way". We can have both, and it would be trivial for Wizards to support it. So yes, I'm going to criticize a design that will leave some players' preferences out unnecessarily, and support a design that lets some folks keep playing the way they did, while still enabling other folks to have the freedom they desire.

In terms of design, you can't design something two different ways from the ground up, that simply doesn't work.

Now, they might offer a quick build side bar, but that isn't designing the lineage "the old way" that is offering build advice. It terms of design, there is a new way, and that is what is being supported. And any argument for not following the new design paradigm because some people don't like it ignores the fact that there are people who do like the new paradigm.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Incidentally, I realized earlier today Wizards hasn't provided any guidance for how, under the new paradigm, one would alter a generic NPC to reflect a PC race's traits. Extrapolating from the MM or DMG guidance would suggest using the racial traits listed for the PC race in whatever sourcebook, but officially, those don't correlate. You don't actually know that changelings can change their appearance, for example, that might just be a trait of PC changelings. In a few cases we get a version of the PC race later as a NPC statblock, like tabaxi and goliaths, but not always. I suppose every NPC of a particular PC race has to be constructed from scratch? Seems like a lot of extra work.

What are you talking about? You apply the racial traits, just like you always did.

First off all, as I have said, THIS CHANGES NOTHING ABOUT EXISTING RACES. Nothing. If you had no problem making a changeling NPC before, you should have no problem now, because the rules of Changelings have not changed one iota.

Now, if you want to make an NPC Hexblood... you give them their traits and give floating ASIs. Same as you would do if making an NPC Human.
 

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