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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

Scribe

Hero
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?
Absolutely yes.
 

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Athenas and Sparta may be good examples of same lineage but different nurture. Even two half-brother living in the same city (King's Landing, for example) could have got different nurture because one is a member of the nobility and the other a bastard surviving in the underground.

* If a dhampire needs psychic energy.... could a psionic PC spend psionic points to feed them? It shouldn't be too different when magic is used to create food and water.

Are you thinking about dhampires and any house-rule about "hunger points"?

* Sorry, but when we talk about Gothic D&D I feel the lore of WoD+CoD are too strong. I imagine a noirpunk mash-up of Ranveloft where arcologies (super-building, taller event the current skycrappers) of the cities are like Gotham City from Tim Barton's Batman movies, and with all my favorite factions by WW, but with some "tricks" to explain how the "local ecosystem" can survive too many supernatural predators, one of them is ghosts are used as food source, or fuel for infernal machines, until the penance for their sins ends (then the ghost isn't destroyed only allowed to enter the celestial realm because the punishment ended, villains don't worry about this fate when they can be hired as mercenary helltouched/mistouched petitioners).
 



dave2008

Legend
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.)
I can see what your saying, but the changings and additions to 5e have been so minor to this point (and so few), I don't see it as a preview to major changes that warrant a new edition. WotC have even talked about making 5e a legacy edition. Now, I could see, and actually anticipate, a 5.1e that has updated PHB and DMG (maybe MM, but I don't know if that is needed) that include all the updates in XGtE and TCoE and other future books. However, incorporating these changes and maybe some more it still be compatible with 5e. Thus, it wouldn't be a new edition IMO. For example, I think they could issue a new MM, but they wouldn't need to because the current MM would be 100% compatible. A new one might remove alignment or tweak a few things hear and there, but it would be required to play 5.1e
 


I can see what your saying, but the changings and additions to 5e have been so minor to this point (and so few), I don't see it as a preview to major changes that warrant a new edition. WotC have even talked about making 5e a legacy edition. Now, I could see, and actually anticipate, a 5.1e that has updated PHB and DMG (maybe MM, but I don't know if that is needed) that include all the updates in XGtE and TCoE and other future books. However, incorporating these changes and maybe some more it still be compatible with 5e. Thus, it wouldn't be a new edition IMO. For example, I think they could issue a new MM, but they wouldn't need to because the current MM would be 100% compatible. A new one might remove alignment or tweak a few things hear and there, but it would be required to play 5.1e
At this moment, I think a 6E would be more like a 5.5E -- comparable to the differences between 1E and 2E at most -- but probably just called the Golden Anniversary Edition, or something, to paper over the issue with the general public.

But we still have several years to go. If we have even more dramatic systems changes/options in 2022, 2023, 6E could be another big break between editions.
 

Presumably there's a lot of crossover between the two (though like I said, I am mostly unfamiliar with Innistrad). A hybrid book that presents both could work - if I recall correctly, the 3e book Heroes of Horror wasn't 100% Ravenloft.

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.
 

dave2008

Legend
At this moment, I think a 6E would be more like a 5.5E -- comparable to the differences between 1E and 2E at most -- but probably just called the Golden Anniversary Edition, or something, to paper over the issue with the general public.
I think the 1e- 2e comparison is largely accurate. Basically a cleaning up of the rules and pretty much compatible. If that transition happened today it would probably be 1.1e (or whatever digit) not 2e.
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester
Well, I'm guessing we're getting "Van Richten's Guide to Monsters" or some such as a Player's Options + Monsters book this October. We're overdue for a Monsters book, for sure. And monstrous ancestries and spooky subclasses would fit in well.
 

Faolyn

Hero
Well, I'm guessing we're getting "Van Richten's Guide to Monsters" or some such as a Player's Options + Monsters book this October. We're overdue for a Monsters book, for sure. And monstrous ancestries and spooky subclasses would fit in well.
I adore Ravenloft, but I actually would prefer this to an RL setting. I didn't like how they handled Barovia in CoS and I'm not sure I need yet another description of all the domains. They'd have to really revamp the setting somehow. A Van Richten's Guide with examples of how to individualize existing monsters, plus new horror creatures, and maybe an expansion of the Environmental Hazards from Tasha's for more horror tropes, would be amazing.
 

cbwjm

Hero
These races aren't one which interest me but looking through them, it looks like the options of Tasha's are no longer options which could lead to some weirdness if players are using different books for there game. I see what they're doing with the new options and almost feel like this is 5e's essentials. With all the options coming out, I'm also in the camp that they should, if not do a completely new edition, do a completely new PHB with the options added in, including making the optional class abilities that don't replace anything part of the standard class.
 


Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
This playtest document is going to be different, mostly because it's a new design philosophy more so than new mechanics. Occasionally they like to show off their new design tech in UAs, but if anything felt like a prelude to 5.5, this does.

Creating your character.
When a vampire and a mortal get written on a fanfiction site...

Anyway, here is the really juicy bit that has been glossed over:
“If you choose a lineage, you might have once been a member of another race, but you aren’t any longer.”
This line is subtly important, it means that you can't qualify racial feats that belong to your other half. Your Half-Elf Dhampir(for instance) can't pick up Elven Accuracy. Which was a question raised by the Custom Lineage Humanoid from Tasha's. Does this mean racial feats are being outmoded too? I hope not entirely, some of them were really fun to play with.

Ability Score Increases

+2,+1 is the common stat boosting spread. Of note:

“These increases can’t raise a score above 20.”

That's a really strange call out. Not even a way of future proofing yourself, there is currently no way to raise a stat beyond 20 at level 1, even if you roll for stats and give a bonus feat, the existing rules for stats preemptively nip that problem in the bud.

Languages

Common + one that your DM assigns to you, unless you are replacing your lineage, in which we find out that lineages don't stack at all in the strangest bit of text possible.

Creature Type

Now for something that does stack. Another feature that needs to be retroactively appended to past material.

And finally to wrap up the introduction, we get a handy gray box that confirms this is the new way of doing things.

Dhampir
Totally not a vampire spawn.
First up, you get two tables here, which allow for you to make a potentially less squicky child of the night if you aren't into blood. And also potential ways to become a Dhampir other than the traditional one (which isn't listed)

Traits

Type You get two types, for double the weaknesses and none of the resistances.

Size Pick your own, which can lead into you somehow becoming smaller than you used to be.

Speed 35 is faster than most, nice for hunting down people.

Darkvision Standard.

Spider Climb Now here is something interesting. You get a climb speed that evolves at level 3 into true spider climbing. I like scaling abilities because they let you have fun stuff without totally destroying lower levels.

Vampiric Bite. Ok now it's time to pull the rug out from all of this work.
Here is an attack, which uses constitution, on a linage that ostensibly lets you pick your own ability score boosts. Do you see the problem with this? It's time to implement some new tech. Something like “Pick one of the ability scores you increased with your Ability Score Increase Racial Trait, use that modifier for this.”

Other than that, it's a natural and simple weapon that you can use all the time, and one that gets advantage whenever you are bloodied. Imagine the possibilities for a monk riding the HP line (they can swap it to dex thanks to it being a simple weapon). Additionally, PB times per long rest, you can empower the bite to heal yourself. Which is a way to prevent a short rest healing situation but it has a strange feel because of that.

Hexblood
Gannayev-of-Dreams wishes he was like this. This is a “not-half-hag” who can later become a full hag.

Traits
Type/size I have nothing new to say, Speed 30 is better than most for a small race though. Standard Darkvision.

Fey Resilience. Advantage against charmed, but not sleep.

Hex Magic. Disguise Self once per day isn't going to out Changeling the Changeling. Adding Hex to your spell list is a huge boon though.

Magic Token. A handy and flavorful long range scanning tool, that can even be used to give feedback.

Reborn.
What can change the nature of a man? Planescape being confirmed.

Your Frankenstein's monster get a few tables to figure out what their flavor of memory loss and origin is. Alternatively you could just be a talking skeleton or a living doll, which is cool too, but it's a huge range of character types for one linage.

Traits.
Construct is a better type than undead, and also lets you be a Pretender Warforged for all those people who like to make their constructs look like dolls.

Darkvision, even though you might not technically have one as a construct. Maybe do the thing where they can replace it with a proficiency here.

Deathless Nature. This is basically the same feature that the Warforged have, the one that lets you walk around without having to do all the annoying upkeep to stay alive.

Knowledge from a Past Life. A D6 on a skill check, when you want it, PB/LR. I haven't had the usual opportunity to bemoan dice stacking yet, so here is my chance. At least with this one being a linage feature, it won't get to stack with other racial features.
 
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Scribe

Hero
These races aren't one which interest me but looking through them, it looks like the options of Tasha's are no longer options which could lead to some weirdness if players are using different books for there game.
Honestly this is my only issue (because it cannot just be ignored) with the Tasha system.

If these new races/lineages, whatever you want to call them only get a 'do whatever +2/+1' there is no option here. There is only the Tasha system.

For people who do not want that, it is absolutely not just an alternative system. I mean the PDF makes it clear.

"Following in that book’s footsteps, the race options in this article and in future D&D books lack the Ability Score Increase trait..."

So yeah, people who want the restrictions and the system as it has been for however many years/decades, dont get that anymore. Instead you get +2/+1, flat, grey, generic.

As @dave2008 mentioned, go ahead and make +2/+1 the default, I do not care whatsoever, but unless they also provide the restriction system used previously, its not like we gain anything, we simply lose another layer of the game.

They got too much push back against Tasha's being an 'option' (when every game can do whatever the DM wants anyway!) and now we lose the system we have had forever*.

Thanks WotC, I hate it.

* I dont know if it was like that in 1e, but I'm going to say forever anyway.
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester
Honestly this is my only issue (because it cannot just be ignored) with the Tasha system.

If these new races/lineages, whatever you want to call them only get a 'do whatever +2/+1' there is no option here. There is only the Tasha system.

For people who do not want that, it is absolutely not just an alternative system. I mean the PDF makes it clear.

"Following in that book’s footsteps, the race options in this article and in future D&D books lack the Ability Score Increase trait..."

So yeah, people who want the restrictions and the system as it has been for however many years/decades, dont get that anymore. Instead you get +2/+1, flat, grey, generic.

As @dave2008 mentioned, go ahead and make +2/+1 the default, I do not care whatsoever, but unless they also provide the restriction system used previously, its not like we gain anything, we simply lose another layer of the game.

They got too much push back against Tasha's being an 'option' (when every game can do whatever the DM wants anyway!) and now we lose the system we have had forever*.

Thanks WotC, I hate it.

* I dont know if it was like that in 1e, but I'm going to say forever anyway.
If you hate that so much, why not set +2/+1 restrictions for each ancestry option AT YOUR TABLE?

All this does is state openly what tables have been doing for years, and shows WotC is putting their mouths where our money is. The majority of players wanted the decoupling, so we got it. But it's EXTREMELY easy for your table to make it more restrictive.
 

Scribe

Hero
If you hate that so much, why not set +2/+1 restrictions for each ancestry option AT YOUR TABLE?

All this does is state openly what tables have been doing for years, and shows WotC is putting their mouths where our money is. The majority of players wanted the decoupling, so we got it. But it's EXTREMELY easy for your table to make it more restrictive.
I will be doing so, and I'll be letting Wizards know in the survey that if they do not provide a framework, the same as they have been, again, forever, that they wont be getting any of my money.

It does not need to be either or. It can be both. WoTC caving to a vocal segment over something that as you say they could do themselves, and have been for apparently years, and is EXTREMELY EASIER to do (since its just a flat 2/1..) well fine, but give me my option too?

To be clear: I do not care if Tasha's is the default. Simply do the work and include OPTIONS, for those of us that see no issue in the system we have had forever, or they should not expect to get paid for me to do the work for them.

EDIT: But we both know they wont. It will be Tasha's going forward, its clear as day.
 

I've just read the current UA's writing on the Bite.

Divine Smite adds to the damage that the bite does. This means, whenever you Divine Smite with your Bite, you can either regain HP equal to 1d4 + your Constitution modifier + Divine Smite dice, or add this total to the next ability check or attack roll you make.

Assuming you're a level 10 paladin or lower with a 14 CON, you're going to be able to either regain an average of 13.5 hit points or add an average of 13.5 to the next attack roll or ability check, just using a 1st-level divine smite.

To absolutely abuse this to the max, you're going to want to be at least a Level 13 Paladin (any subclass works) and at least level 1 Hexblade as a level 17+ character. Using Spirit Shroud, Hexblade's Curse, Improved Divine Smite, and a 5d8 Divine Smite, you're going to deal 1d4 + CON mod. + 6 piercing damage + 6d8 radiant damage + 1d8 necrotic/radiant/cold damage.

(Assuming a CON of 20) That's an average of 51 damage, which you get to either regain in HP or add to your next Ability Check or Attack Roll. +51 to hit the Tarrasque? Yes, please!

At most with a normal hit, that's going to be 71 damage. If it's a critical hit, that's an average of 79 damage. If it's a critical hit with maximum damage, that's going to be 131 damage.

There are other ways to increase this damage, too. An ally Grave Cleric could use their Channel Divinity to double this damage to 262. You could replace Spirit Shroud with a smite spell to crank up the one attack's damage even more.

RAW, this is crazy broken. They need to fix this. I'm going to give this feedback once the survey is out.

Before people pounce on me, I do this with every UA in order to alert WotC of the combo. If they feel that it needs to change (this definitely does), they will change it. I did the same for the Class Feature Variants' Favored Foe being combo'd with Hex. They decided they didn't want that to be allowed, so they changed it.
 

A dhampir monk who always has advantage on unarmed strikes or with monk weapon fangs whenever bloodied could be powerful. Slap on a source of temporary HP and go to town.
The fangs count as a simple melee melee weapon, you can't make unarmed strikes with them.

Probably to try and stop monks increasing the damage die, and hence the bonus. You can get round it by designating your fangs as your Dedicated Weapon though.
 


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