New D&D Unearthed Arcana adds Gothic Lineages, letting you play Frankenstein’s monster and other horrors
As a DM and a player I love Unearthed Arcana and the way it always brings me new things to play around with in my games. We’ve covered these playtest options before, and in our monthly D&D game I’m currently playing a Leonin Rune Knight, so I’ve definitely made use of things from UA before and will in the future. The latest UA is Gothic Lineages, new race replacement options that feel crafted for a potential Ravenloft style game. The Dhampir, Hexblood, and Reborn serving as a means to essentially replace your character’s race with something a bit more unusual.
First up, it’s worth mentioning that this UA brings the Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything changes to how “race” functions in D&D forward. The changes to race and abilities made in that product are now the default in Dungeons and Dragons, with you being able to pick whatever abilities you want to apply your bonuses to, choose whatever languages you want, and they impose no alignment choice upon you. Your race is now only about immutable characteristics — like having darkvision — and says nothing about who your character is or what they’re good at. We expected this to happen, but it’s still cool to see it reiterated here and moving forward.
But what about these new Lineages? Let’s take a look at the Dhampir, Hexblood, and Reborn.
Gothic Lineages let you swap race for a new, spookier origin story
These three Gothic Lineages replace one’s race, so you could play a Dhampir who was born a Human or an Elf or Dwarf without having to worry about overly complicating it — you’re a Dhampir now, however that came to pass. Each of the three Lineages presented here have special Origin tables, where you could randomly roll (or just choose) how your character ended up this way. Your Hexblood could be the result of a bargain your parents made with a Hag, or perhaps you were a fey creature that became a humanoid being through an arcane accident, or you grew up in the woods raised by animals.
These Origin tables are actually very cool, in my opinion, as they could be the source of an interesting and unexpected complication in your character’s backstory. Your Reborn was made out of spare body parts and has no memory of their previous life, existing as a stitched together mockery of a man? Great, that sound interesting to roleplay.
Here are the three new Lineages:
- Dhampir: Of the three, Dhampir captures the classical Blade fantasy of using the traits of a vampire to battle monstrous foes.
- Hexblood: The classic idea of a changeling — not the D&D kind, the torn between weird and world type, where you can play as a fey or Hag-descended person.
- Reborn: These are exactly what you’d expect — beings who returned from death itself changed in some fundamental way, allowing you to play as Frankenstein’s creation Adam, or even Eric Draven from The Crow comic books.
Of these, the Reborn is probably the most powerful, with their ability to choose between Construct and Undead traits in addition to Humanoid ones; the ability to go without sleeping, eating, drinking, breathing; advantage on poison, disease, and death saves; and resistance to poison damage. That’s a pretty strong set of features.
But they’re all fun — I recommend the Hexblood and would love to see a Hexblood Hexblade. Head over to Unearthed Arcana on the D&D website for a look at all three.
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