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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

They are just going to go +2/+1, have fun, and another aspect of the game goes away.
Until they remove that from future printings of the PHB, which they've so far said they will not be doing, it's not going anywhere. DMs can (and should) set restrictions on what systems are used at their table. This is an optional system DMs can choose to use or not.
 

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Are reborn/revenant "Deathless monster type"? (undead, but healed by positive energy and hurt by necrotic)

Are vryloka a race yet, or only a dhampire subrace now?

Could a reborn to eat undead monsters? Because the player read the Chinese (echi) zombie post-apocalipse comic "Virus Girlfriend"/My Girlfriend is a Zombie". That hunger may be OP (when I played Diablo II with the Barbarian I searched all the corpses to collect lots of potions), or cause lot of troubles when the most of monster summoned by the DM are no-living, without vital fluids to be eaten.

Could be hexblood's magic token to be used with an animal companion to explore? Or a remote-control walking drone created by the gnome artificier.

Some PC races would be better with the option of to get special racial traits to alter or upgrade special racial traits.

---

The next step for the return of Ravenloft may be modules, updated adventures, and also some Van Ritchen's monster compedium, but this UA article is for a future player guide with crunch (maybe also with the blood hunter class?) and not only for Ravenloft but all gothic settings (useful for both, Innistrad and Ravenloft).
 


dave2008

Legend
A minotaur should in all but the most fringe of corner cases, be far more physically powerful than a halfling,
I tend to agree with you; however, I also see how it makes sense for a game to allow the most flexibility possible. Taking ability scores out of race helps do that.

You can always house-rule ability adjustments into your game (I do, along with penalties too), but for the mass market I think it is best to take them out and allow people to play the characters they want.

Of course I can do whatever I want in my home game.
 


dave2008

Legend
Until they remove that from future printings of the PHB, which they've so far said they will not be doing, it's not going anywhere. DMs can (and should) set restrictions on what systems are used at their table. This is an optional system DMs can choose to use or not.
I could see it being replaced in an anniversary 2024 update of the PHB though. An Anniversary Dungeons and Dragons if you will.
 

I tend to agree with you; however, I also see how it makes sense for a game to allow the most flexibility possible. Taking ability scores out of race helps do that.

You can always house-rule ability adjustments into your game (I do, along with penalties too), but for the mass market I think it is best to take them out and allow people to play the characters they want.

Of course I can do whatever I want in my home game.
I made a Half-Orc Artificer character that has a genetic disorder that makes him much physically weaker and less healthy than other orcs/half-orcs. It caused a huge storyline devoted to him trying to replace his worthless flesh limbs with magical prosthetics that would function better. It's a great way to make a character have a backstory-bound motivation, sub-plot, and character arc.

PCs are supposed to be the outliers. The weakest orc can be weaker than the strongest kobold. The dumbest human is less intelligent than the smartest dolphin. Races/Species can overlap. It's okay that they can.
 

Kurotowa

Legend
You know what this makes me want? A second stab at genasi using the the new lineage design model. Not just as a way to introduce better ability packages, but so you can mix and match their heritage and appearance more. Want your PC to look like a dwarf made of living stone or an elf with hair of flame? Great. Want to look like a more generic humanoid but stipulate that one or both parents were elves or dwarves and the elemental influences just predominated? That works too, same stats, no problem.
 

Faolyn

Hero
I mean...the RP around that is fine. Its still a stocky, thick limbed, short, powerfully built Dwarf.

Imagine a typical dwarf in a dwarven home. They probably have to learn how to do mining (hefting picks, lifting heavy rocks, hauling mine carts) or smithing (repetitively swinging hammers, lifting heavy ores). They eat hearty dwarven food and drink strong dwarven ales, and they tromp through well-built stone halls. They build up their bulky muscles--thick limbed, powerfully built, as you say.

But a dwarf raised by elves wouldn't have to engage in those activities, so their muscles are going to grow differently. They might have very strong arms built for dealing with bows, but that's a different type of muscle than what you'd get with mining or smithing. An elf-raised dwarf would be muscled, but it would end up with the physique of a swimmer or acrobat rather than a weightlifter.
 

You know what this makes me want? A second stab at genasi using the the new lineage design model. Not just as a way to introduce better ability packages, but so you can mix and match their heritage and appearance more. Want your PC to look like a dwarf made of living stone or an elf with hair of flame? Great. Want to look like a more generic humanoid but stipulate that one or both parents were elves or dwarves and the elemental influences just predominated? That works too, same stats, no problem.
EXACTLY THIS! Screw 5e's current genasi. Why do Genies only mate with humans? Why do the race's overall mechanics suck? If they did this, they could fix the freaking Genasi and let me play a Half-Efreeti Half-Goblin Fire Genasi!
 

My guess is Ravenloft, but I certainly could be wrong. Having two gothic horror fantasy settings would create a 2e-like self-cannibalization scenario, and Ravenloft is already established. Maybe if they found a way to combine the two, but I've a feeling fans of either wouldn't be happy with that.
Call it Madam Eva's Guide to the Realms of Horror and include player options, monsters, spells and two lengthy gazetteers of each world (with an emphasis on the areas that share monsters with the other world). It could be doable.

You're never going to please everyone, but if you give fans of Ravenloft or Innistrad a book where only 20% are so isn't of interest to them, that's a higher signal to noise ratio than most game books.
 
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Scribe

Hero
I tend to agree with you; however, I also see how it makes sense for a game to allow the most flexibility possible. Taking ability scores out of race helps do that.

You can always house-rule ability adjustments into your game (I do, along with penalties too), but for the mass market I think it is best to take them out and allow people to play the characters they want.

Of course I can do whatever I want in my home game.

The issue here, is that they will go the TCoE route, as we see in this UA, and then the other 'option' is not present at all.

The better solution, is to include the the format we had pre-TCoE, and then have 'Alternatively, you can have every race get +2/+1 as you wish, or simply disregard ASI completely'.

But that didnt satisfy people now did it?

An elf-raised dwarf would be muscled, but it would end up with the physique of a swimmer or acrobat rather than a weightlifter.
So a halfling or a gnome? lol

EDIT: What do I need to change in my diet to end up built and jacked like a Gorilla?
 

Rookie move - The pro antagonizer move would be to bring back Greyhawk...as a continent on Toril.

{ESTABLISHING SHOT: The Hasbro Mega Headquarters}

Crawford: So I was thinking, why don't we just combine Innistrad and Ravenloft?

Winninger: Well, if we did that, we'd manage to antagonize two fan bases at the same time ....

{LONG PAUSE}

Crawford & Winninger: BRILLIANT! (maniacal laughter)

I really don't know much about Innistrad other than the surface similarities to Ravenloft, so maybe? The Domains of Dread have always been nebulous, so it's probably flexible enough to actually handle that.

Honestly, that sounds amazing.

Yeah, if a player wants to make a sickly minotaur wizard with gold fur and hourglass eyes, I see no reason why they can't adventure alongside Swolewise Gamgee.

PCs are supposed to be the outliers. The weakest orc can be weaker than the strongest kobold. The dumbest human is less intelligent than the smartest dolphin. Races/Species can overlap. It's okay that they can.
 

lkj

Adventurer
That's why I don't like it, a universal floating +2/+1 is boring af. I'd rather use that design space to for a "feat and a half" of lineage specific cool stuff.
I don't disagree with that. Which is why it might be nice to have more options for swapping out ability score increases for other abilities. But still leave the ability score increase as an option for the person who wants the strong half orc etc.

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Faolyn

Hero
You know what this makes me want? A second stab at genasi using the the new lineage design model. Not just as a way to introduce better ability packages, but so you can mix and match their heritage and appearance more. Want your PC to look like a dwarf made of living stone or an elf with hair of flame? Great. Want to look like a more generic humanoid but stipulate that one or both parents were elves or dwarves and the elemental influences just predominated? That works too, same stats, no problem.
As long as it included possibilities for the para- and/or quasi-elementals, I'm in.
 

dave2008

Legend
The issue here, is that they will go the TCoE route, as we see in this UA, and then the other 'option' is not present at all.

The better solution, is to include the the format we had pre-TCoE, and then have 'Alternatively, you can have every race get +2/+1 as you wish, or simply disregard ASI completely'.

But that didnt satisfy people now did it?
Why is that better? Whenever you list something as alternate you going to a group that reject it just because it is alternate. It might be better for you, but is it universally better? With the proposed new paradigm you can get the same modifiers that the PHB provides, so is it better to default to a more restrictive option?

Would you he OK if the default as +2/+1 to any stat and then there are alternate rules for each race to get specific stat bonuses?
 

I could see it being replaced in an anniversary 2024 update of the PHB though. An Anniversary Dungeons and Dragons if you will.
I think it would be very hard for WotC to resist having a sixth edition come out in 2024. The fact that we're now getting bolt-on systems to address things in the PHB they refuse to change, since they don't want to split the user base, suggests we're pretty late in the development cycle.

When systems started changing dramatically in 2E, 3E and 4E, new editions were imminent and we often saw previews of what they were thinking about in the new edition. (Think the Book of Nine Swords with their abilities that foreshadowed how player characters would work in 4E and the later Monster Manual volumes that foreshadowed 4E monster design.)
 


There's a few different "Half-Vampires" in D&D's history, the Vyrkola and the Vampyre can be grouped into the Dhampir lineage.

I remember the one of the 3e Forgotten Realms books had a Hagspawn race, they definitely can be grouped under Hexblood.

A Reborn seems to be a redo of the Revenant race, it also covers the Nameless One from the CRPG Planescape: Torment (in the game it was just "Human" as his race).
 


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