Hi! Hello! Look who’s back! Your friendly neighbourhood GM, Chris! Missed me? Well, I missed you! I know it’s been some time and I’ll catch up with you in a future post soon. In this one, I want to catch up with Unearthed Arcana. I’m late to the party but I really want to check out this instalment. So, let’s jump in.
This Unearthed Arcana installment covers three new racial options called lineages. These are the Dhampir, the Hexblood, and the Reborn. What’s special about these three is that you can pick them at character creation but also at any time during a campaign.
The following are the same for all three of them.
Ability Score Improvement. You can get a +2 to one of your ability scores, and a +1 to another. If you choose a lineage after character creation, then you replace the previous improvements with the new ones.
Languages. You know Common and another language of your choice.
These two take care of broken situations, so I happily accept them.
Creature Type. How does dual typing sound to you? Personally, I have no issue with it. We have partially seen it in specific racial traits like Fey Ancestry.
Let’s move to the actual lineages now, shall we?
These are your half vampires. What I really like about them is that you can pick what you thirst for. Some can go with the classical thirst for blood, while others may go with a more exquisite route, like a thirst for psychic energy. That’s tons of fun and can be a nice source of character development. The same goes for the origins. Raised by vampires, but with no knowledge of your actual origins sounds pretty cool. Having a parasite in your body not so much, but to each their own.
Type. Well, when you are a half vampire, it’s pretty logical that you are humanoid and undead. Though, at some point I’d like to see non-humanoid vampires as a character option, but I think it’s very early for that. The new design needs to be further tested because it’s still playtest material.
Size. You can pick either medium or small. Kobold Dhampir sounds like a pretty fun idea.
Speed. Well, a faster than usual speed matches the characteristics of a vampire.
Darkvision. Regular 60ft darkvision. Kinda makes sense, doesn’t it?
Spider Climb. You have a climbing speed equal to your walking speed and at 3rd level you can move freely without using your hands. This is a nice flavour addition that you are going to appreciate, depending which vampire movies you have watched.
Vampiric Bite. This is an attack that uses your Constitution and deals 1d4 damage. So far, so good. Here’s where the fun part begins. If your hit points are at or lower than half your maximum, and the creature you hit isn’t a Construct or Undead, then you get to do some cool stuff. You can either regain hit points equal to the damage, or a bonus to the next attack roll or skill check equal to, guess, the damage you dealt with the attack. You can use the bonus part a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus between long rests.
Even though I am not a huge fan of vampires (liches for the win!), objectively I believe this is not a bad lineage. I like a lot of the aspects here and the Vampiric Bite is pretty cool.
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So the story with this one is that you either had a deal with a Hag or, at least, it has affected you in a way, which can be determined through the Hexblood Origins table. You are now a Hexblood, which is kinda like a state before becoming a Hag. You have various Hag like traits, but the most visible one is a crown like thing on your head.
Type. You are Fey and Humanoid. Checks out, I believe.
Size. You can be Medium or Small. I think that’s kinda the rule.
Speed. 30 feet. Nothing special to see here.
Darkvision. The standard 60ft one. Even though it fits for this one too, I think we’re getting a lot of darkvision.
Fey Resilience. You get advantage on saving throws against getting charmed or ending the condition. Since you are part Fey, it fits the whole theme.
Hex Magic. You know the Disguise Self and Hex spells. When you choose this lineage you get to choose your spellcasting ability for the spells (among Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma). You can cast these spells once per long rest, but you can also use your own spell slots for extra casting.Both spells fit the theme perfectly. Hags tend to change forms and have a thing for hexes. Plus, the spells are very helpful but not too overpowered.
Magic Token. You can take out a part of yourself, usually a nail, fang, or lock of hair, and give it to someone. Now, while this may be kinda creepy it has its advantages. If the owner of your token is within 10 miles of you, you can telepathically contact them. Additionally, you can spend 1 minute seeing and hearing from the token which is, afterwards, destroyed. This token, otherwise, lasts until your next long rest.
Overall, I like both the mechanics and the lore regarding this lineage. I think I prefer it over the Dhampir. Also, the part about becoming a full Hag through a ritual is very interesting and could definitely be used as a side story.
I would call this a kind of Revenant, to be honest, but a bit different. Through the Reborn Origins table you can choose how you turned into a Reborn and through Faded Memories you can try uncovering part of your forgotten past.
Type. You are Humanoid and either Construct or Undead. That depends on how you became a Reborn.
Size. You can be Medium or Small.
Speed. 30 feet. Again, nothing special.
Darkvision. I can kinda justify a Reborn having darkvision, depending on their Origin, but I’m not completely convinced it’s necessary.
Deathless Nature. Some pretty standard traits for an Undead or Construct. First one is advantage on saving throws against disease and poison, as well as resistance to poison damage. It’s nice this is not an immunity. Then there’s advantage on death saving throws, which is kinda cool and on theme. And, finally, we get the whole no need to eat, drink, and breathe, as well as needing only 4 hours of rest. Pretty standard, yet pretty practical.
Knowledge from a Past Life. I really like this one. When making an ability check using a skill, you get to roll a d6 and add it to the total of the roll. You can use it a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus. This happens because you get to remember long lost memories of your past life, and this is a concept I love.
Overall, this lineage is not a bad idea. I still prefer the Hexborn but I like this more than the Dhampir.
My opinion over the whole instalment is a positive one. I like the concept of lineages and I want to see more. I think there is a lot of room for improvement and would like to see different ways to combine races with lineages, meaning not losing all the previous race’s traits. However, this would require a lot of research and playtesting. But that’s why Unearthed Arcana exists, right?
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