• Justin Handlin

Unearthed Arcana: Gothic Lineages

Updated: Feb 20



In this episode, Crit Academy discusses the newest Wizards of the Coast Dungeons and Dragons playtest material, Gothic Lineages. The newest Unearthed Arcana brings forward three new racial features. Unlike the traditional fantastical races, your racial traits and features are determined by your lineage chosen. Not the race that you start off as or once were, but the new creature of the night that you become. We provide our own feedback on the mechanic designs and flavor of these playtest player options.


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Unearthed Arcana: Gothic Lineages


Main Topic: Unearthed Arcana: Gothic Lineages

The newest Unearthed Arcana: Gothic Lineages brings forward three new racial features. Unlike the traditional fantastical races, your racial traits and features are determined by your lineage chosen. Not the race that you start off as or once were, but the new creature of the night that you become.


Instead, your character has changed, either due to a transmittable disease, magical effect, experimentation, or a dormant genetic trait unique to one of your ancestors. The UA brings three new player options. The Dhampir, Hexblood, and Reborn. This is very cool because it doesn’t have to start at character creation, but can be an event that happens during your character's adventuring. This makes for excellent storytelling hooks and events.


Ability Score Increases

Following the new and more versatile format. When you determine your ability scores, increase one of those scores by 2, and increase a different one by 1.


Creature Type

Traditionally in 5th Edition, characters are categorized as Humanoid for the purpose of mechanics. The new lineages allow you to choose from a vast list including; construct, dragon, monstrosity, and more. This is a fantastic way to create a fun and unique race/creature to play. Going beyond just backstory and race.


Dhampir

Poised between the worlds of the living and the dead, dhampirs retain their grip on life yet are endlessly tested by vicious hunger. Their ties to the undead grant dhampirs a taste of a vampire’s deathless prowess in the form of increased speed, darkvision, and a life-draining bite. With unique insights into the nature of the undead, many dhampirs turn to the lives of adventurers and monster hunters. Their reasons are often deeply personal. Some seek danger, imagining monsters as personifications of their own hunger. Others pursue revenge against whatever turned them into a dhampir. And still, others embrace the solitude of the hunt, striving to distance themselves from those who’d tempt their hunger.

Features: The dhampir’s lineage grants it some cool, flavorful powers. Such as seeing in the dark, climbing on walls, and even biting an enemy and healing themselves.


Hexblood

Where wishing fails, ancient magic can offer a heart’s desire—at least, for a time. Hexbloods are individuals infused with eldritch magic, fey energy, or mysterious witchcraft. Some who enter into bargains with hags gain their deepest wishes but eventually find themselves transformed. These changes evidence a hag’s influence: ears that split in forked points, skin in wild shades, lengthy hair that regrows if cut, and an irremovable living crown. Along with these marks, hexbloods manifests hag-like traits, such as long life, darkvision, and a variety of magical methods to beguile the senses and avoid the same.


While many hexbloods gain their lineage after making a deal with a hag, others reveal their nature as they age—particularly if a hag influenced them early in life or even before their birth. Many hexbloods turn to lives of adventure, seeking to discover the mysteries of their magic, to forge a connection with their fey natures, or to avoid a hag that obsesses over them.

Features: Having the lineage of a hag imbues the character with some magical effects such as darkvision and resistance to charming effects. Much like a hag, the character can easily disguise themselves with magic. The most notable feature is that they can pull off different parts of their body such as a lock of hair or fingernail and they are imbued with a bit of magic for a short time. Anyone who processes the flesh item known as a magic token can communicate telepathically.


Reborn

Death isn’t always the end. The reborn exemplify this, being individuals who have died yet, somehow, still live. Some reborn exhibit the scars of fatal fates, their ashen flesh, missing limbs, or bloodless veins making it clear that they’ve been touched by death. Other reborn are marvels of magic or science, being stitched together from disparate beings or bearing mysterious minds in manufactured bodies. Whatever their origins, reborn know a new life and seek experience and answers all their own.

Features: While like the others darkvision is included, the reborn comes with some serious bonuses. The character has already suffered death, making them much more resistant to poison and disease. Nevermind the fact they don’t need to eat, drink or even breathe. The coolest aspect is that they get glimpses of their past life. Allowing additional rolls during ability checks to add to the characters' chance of knowing a piece of knowledge.


Overall, we are loving the changes and the direction these lineages are going. Not only does it allow for more versatility, but they allow the characters to be truly unique in the world of Dungeons and Dragons.


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Character Concept:

Captured Tomb Robber

You were born into slavery in the highlands. Barely escaping the life of servitude with clever and tactical placement of words, paperwork, and good ol fashion improvisation. You went on to become an expert thief and treasure hunter. You spent much of your youth stealing for the notorious crime lord Dol Darfin in a nearby city of Bowerrock before going into business for yourself after her death. Too daring for your own good, you managed to breach Imperial barricades and sneak into a sealed ruined city of Shadesmoor, gaining entry to a sacred lich’s tomb. There you were captured again. Your second stint into slavery landed you in the service of the Empire. It was there that once again you were forced to forge documents, manipulate the right people, and use additional good ol fashion improvisation to escape once again.


Monster Variant:

Dhampir Savage

Origin: Ogre Zombie

Lost Features: Large size(becomes medium), Morningstar


New Features:

Darkvision. The dhampir can see in dim light within 60 feet as if it were bright light and in darkness as if it were dim light.


Spider Climb. The dhampir can climb difficult surfaces, including upside down on ceilings, without needing to make an ability check.


Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft, one creature. Hit: 10 (2d6 +3) slashing damage. Instead of dealing damage, the dhampir can grapple the target (escape DC 12).


Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one willing creature, or a creature that is grappled by the dhampir, incapacitated, or restrained. Hit: 7 (1d8 +3) piercing damage plus 4 (1d8) necrotic damage. The target’s hit point maximum is reduced by an amount equal to the necrotic damage taken, and the dhampir regains hit points equal to that amount. The reduction lasts until the target finishes a long rest. The target dies if this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0.


Encounter:

For the Greater Good

When a large merchant ship secretly carrying a high-profile passenger is attacked by a group of raiders, the characters must defend the ship and eventually must decide the passenger’s fate.


The encounter starts with the characters onboard the transport bound for a major city. Starting off by talking to the passengers. One of the passengers, Evie Jogrothin (F, Tiefling, noble) wearing fine clothes, expresses concern with another ship trailing in the distance. No flag or identifying marks. Shortly after the conversation, the ship is attacked by the unidentified vessel and its crew. The characters must fight their way to the captain's cabin to decide on the next course of action.


Once they reach the captain, they learn the truth about Evie. That she is one of significant political influence and is likely the target of the attack. The characters learn that the raiders are after Evie. Once they have her, they will leave the ship and its passengers. Will the characters turn over one person to save the many? Or will they defend her and risk the loss of more lives?


Magic Item:

Ascending Wax

Records from the Lost Empire suggest that this wax, which induces weightlessness, was originally harvested directly from air elementals, specifically the invisible stalker. The reconstruction of this formula used by contemporary alchemists is a compound created by a sage who was a noted expert on elementals, specifically the plane of air.


Wondrous Item, Uncommon

This stiffy yellow wax makes anything it’s spread on lighter than air. This glass jar, 3 inches in diameter, contains 1d4 +1 doses of the stiff wax that smells of a fresh breeze.


As an action, you can spear the wax on yourself, and object or a Large or smaller creature within your reach. The target rises vertically, up to 20 feet, and remains suspended there for up to 1 minute. The wax can levitate a target that weighs up to 500 pounds. An unwilling creature that succeeds on a Constitution saving throw is unaffected.


The target can move only by pushing or pulling against a fixed object or surface within reach (such as a wall or a ceiling), which allows it to move as if it were climbing. When the effect ends, the target floats gently to the ground if it is still aloft.

Dungeon Master Tip:

Change aspects of magic items to make them feel different, example brazier of Commanding Fire elementals may become Flask of Commanding Water Elementals. Or maybe altering a Flame Tongue weapon into a Crackling Lightning blade. Simple changes like this can greatly alter the variety of weapons and armor that the characters can loot and find in the world of Dungeons and Dragons.


Player Tip: Don’t be a Dick

Share your Character Intentions

Share with the other players at the table what you want to do with your character. Ask questions about what other players want to do with their characters as well. Roleplaying games are a collaborative storytelling experience and it's good to see how you can not only synergize mechanics but also goals your characters seek to achieve.


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Check out the full Unearthed Arcana: Gothic Lineages Here


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Give Away: Jeff Stevens Games: Scourge of the Nightingale: Part 1 A Song of Love

A masked menace terrifies the region. The adventurers stumble into her scheme: the kidnapping of a famous performer known as Devon Artis. Their mission is to deliver a ransom and collect Devon.

Winner: Hinckleypm

Didn’t win? Np, head to www.critacademy.com and subscribe for your chance to win!


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