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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Arial Black

Adventurer
In D&D?

I wouldn't.

D&D can't possibly handle it. No edition of D&D has ever done. D&D is not a game about even semi-accurately modeling the size differences between different beings. A 12' tall 1000'lb humanoid should kill 6' 200lb ones pretty much instantly. The energies involved mean it would be a joke. That's like having a fist-fight with a rhino or an elephant or something, except the elephant has a sword larger than your entire body.

D&D is a game of abstractions. It literally always has been. The core of D&D is abstraction. People trying to force such an abstracted game into a simulationist approach like you describe trying to shove a square peg through a triangular hole half the size.
Rubbish!

This is an example of 'the perfect being the enemy of the good'.

Just because D&D cannot perfectly model the different effects from 30lbs versus 600lbs does not mean we shouldn't model it somehow!

The idea that a mouse is as strong as an elephant is absurd! The idea that the mouse's Str score is a result of their cultural preference for being weak is absurd. The idea that elephants are only strong because they have a culture of wanting to be strong is absurd.

The idea that a PC mouse should be stronger than a PC elephant if the mouse pumps iron and the elephant reads books is utterly absurd!

Yet that is the effect of allowing mouse PCs to have +2 Str and PC elephants to move their +2 Str bonus to Int.
 

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So you're arguing from ignorance again then?

You accept that you have no idea how it works... then say it won't work. This to you is an effective argument?

No, I'm expressing skepticism. Skepticism isn't an argument. It's really strange that you're trying to say a simple expression of skepticism is an "argument". Can you explain why you're doing that? It doesn't make basic sense. I mean, if I say "Maradonna was the greatest footballer who ever lived", and you say "I'm not sure about that...", are you making an argument? No. You're expressing skepticism. This is weird stuff dude. An argument would be expanding on why he wasn't.
 

Hurin70

Adventurer
Also, can't the halfling just plow their development points into not sucking at fighting and thus foil the entire scheme?
There's a level cap to how much skill (ranks) you can have in any skill. So if the Troll maxes out Blades, he and the Halfling will hit the same cap, and the Troll will likely have a higher bonus.

However, the Halfling will have more development points to buy other skills, like say Bows (remember that all skills need to be bought), and Stealth (Stalking/Hiding), and you can also buy Feats (talents) like Sharpshooter or Quickdraw. So whereas the Troll might be better with one weapon, the Halfling can be better with Bows and other skills.
 

Hurin70

Adventurer
No, I'm expressing skepticism. Skepticism isn't an argument. It's really strange that you're trying to say a simple expression of skepticism is an "argument". Can you explain why you're doing that? It doesn't make basic sense. I mean, if I say "Maradonna was the greatest footballer who ever lived", and you say "I'm not sure about that...", are you making an argument? No. You're expressing skepticism. This is weird stuff dude. An argument would be expanding on why he wasn't.
Fair enough. I'm telling you your skepticism is unfounded. It works well.
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Why do you think the player's choice of class leading to meaningful discrepancies is totally fair, but the player's choice of race leading to meaningful discrepancies is inherently unfair?
What’s inherently unfair is the player’s choice of race leading to meaningful discrepancies in their efficacy as a member of their class. Your choice of class doesn’t lead to meaningful discrepancies in your efficacy as a member of your class, nor as a member of your race for that matter.
 

Rubbish!

This is an example of 'the perfect being the enemy of the good'.

Just because D&D cannot perfectly model the different effects from 30lbs versus 600lbs does not mean we shouldn't model it somehow!

The idea that a mouse is as strong as an elephant is absurd! The idea that the mouse's Str score is a result of their cultural preference for being weak is absurd. The idea that elephants are only strong because they have a culture of wanting to be strong is absurd.

The idea that a PC mouse should be stronger than a PC elephant if the mouse pumps iron and the elephant reads books is utterly absurd!

Yet that is the effect of allowing mouse PCs to have +2 Str and PC elephants to move their +2 Str bonus to Int.

Rubbish huh lol?

That's a laughably weak argument, because right now, a Halfling has no STR bonus, and plenty of quite large and strong races have no STR bonus. In fact the "elephant" PC race in 5E, Loxodons are 8' tall, 400lbs, and have no STR modifier. They do have a non-ASI modifer - Powerful Build, IIRC. That's the case right now, in 5E. Not the future, not this post-ASI world. Right now.

Basically you seem to be saying you want a "fig leaf". A tiny, pointless modifier for the sake of what, a "realism" that D&D is antithesis of?

Right now 5E already has a situation where a 4' 120lb Dwarf can have +2 STR, where an 8' 400lb elephant-man has 0 STR mod.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Rubbish!

This is an example of 'the perfect being the enemy of the good'.
Assuming one thinks it's good. I mean, I don't. alot of people don't. That's why we're here picking fights with each other over it.
The idea that a mouse is as strong as an elephant is absurd! The idea that the mouse's Str score is a result of their cultural preference for being weak is absurd. The idea that elephants are only strong because they have a culture of wanting to be strong is absurd.
My magic elf can clap bat poop between her hands and make people explode from two rooms away.

Multi-ton hexapods are the mascots.

Drow society managed to last more than a year.

Strong mice are the least of our problems if we start pretending 'absurd' is bad. Also, why shouldn't elephants not have a high INT? They mourn their dead, the females select mates in response to not only the environment but to poachers, they actively hunt said poachers for revenge, they get jobs and paint... how is 'smart' not their thing instead of Strongliness? Is it because they're fat?
 

Fair enough. I'm telling you your skepticism is unfounded. It works well.

Ok, that's good to hear. My skepticism was based on how I'd seen Rolemaster play out in the late '90s and early '00s, but I suspect the game has changed a fair bit since then. Certainly in something like GURPS, which tends to be less combat-heavy, and where combat is often "who shot first" rather than "who has better damage mods" because of the high lethality, it is true that you can balance those things.

I guess my question though is, are we trying to push D&D towards Rolemaster/GURPS? Because I don't think that'd be to D&D's advantage.
 

Arial Black

Adventurer
"Has to be reflected somehow". Er, you're going to "have to" back that up with an actual logical argument, as you're claiming it is as a matter of fact, a necessity, rather than something you'd prefer.

D&D hates realism. It loves abstraction. Nothing about D&D is realistic. It is one the least realistic RPGs in gaming history. HP are a bizarre and completely unrealistic thing. Levels are an insane concept, demented. The d20-based combat and skills frequently produce results that one really struggles to make any sense of, as do things like the complete of a CdG in 5E or the way people can't be one-shot if they have enough HP.

D&D is so abstracted and bizarre, that ultimately, it has more in common with Apocalypse World (particularly Dungeon World, of course) than, say, Rolemaster or GURPS or other more simulationist-oriented RPGs.
"D&D hates realism. It loves abstraction" you say?

Fair enough. In that case the game has to abstractly reflect the impact of those differences.
 

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