How to make fun and unique characters with the new Unearthed Arcana Gothic Lineages in D&D
The Unearthed Arcana Gothic Lineages that we saw this week are a cool, new — well, sort-of-new — idea for Dungeons and Dragons, but you may be wondering how to make use of them. So, in order to help, I’m going to make some example characters for you to look at.
Now, the Gothic Lineages are similar to the Custom Lineages from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, and until the Gothic Lineages are added to D&D Beyond, I’ll be using the Custom Lineage to model the new lineages. However, since there are some special things added, we’ll have to just use our imaginations for now to simulate those abilities.
A Ghostly Vampire? It’s more likely than you think
One example I have is the Dhampir Rogue, using the Phantom from Tasha’s as a subclass. The Dhampir’s native Spider Climb ability — which allows them to move up, down, and across vertical surfaces as well as upside down along ceilings, all while leaving their hands free — works extremely well for a Rogue, and combines well with the Phantom’s Wails from the Grave ability, since you can be making Sneak Attacks from any angle. Now, it’s kind of a DM ruling on whether the Dhampir’s bite attack should get to be a Sneak Attack — Vampiric Bite is a natural weapon, which means it does not add the finesse quality and thus is not eligible for Sneak Attack damage. If your DM decides to let you treat it as a finesse weapon, then Vampiric Bite and Wails from the Grave would combine very nicely.
Even if it isn’t ruled to be a finesse weapon by your DM, there are a lot of nice advantages to the Vampiric Bite ability for a Rogue. It can be used a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus to empower you, letting you heal hit points equal to the damage the bite inflicts, or it can grant a bonus on your next ability check or attack roll equal to the damage you deal with it. So you could use Vampiric Bite to take out a low level goon, then on your next turn, add the damage of the bite (1d4 + your Con modifier) to a ranged Sneak Attack roll to see if you hit with your bow. There’s nothing in Vampiric Bite that says you can’t bank the bonus and use it on the next fight you’re in, if you happen to not make another attack roll after you use it. This won’t work on Constructs or Undead, however, so it won’t work if you use it on the next type, the Reborn Monk.
How to make a Reborn Monk that will come back from the dead to punch people
For the Reborn Monk, I used a Warforged because the Reborn’s Deathless Nature is almost identical to the Warforged’s Constructed Resilience feature. The Way of the Long Death Monastic Tradition works exceedingly well with the Reborn, and the resistances and immunities granted by the Reborn will only get better as they gain Monk levels. Purity of Body is a little less good for a Reborn Monk than for other Monks due to their Deathless Nature already giving them resistance to Poison damage and advantage on saves against Disease and Poison, but it’s a nice thematic similarity. The advantage on death saves from Reborn is nice, and the Touch of Death ability from the Way of the Long Death means that every time you reduce an enemy to 0 hit points, you’ll gain up to your level plus your Wisdom modifier, which can get pretty good for a Monk.
This particular Monk is at level 10, so you’ll get to see them with their Monk abilities starting to get into their sweet spot. Note that unlike a Warforged, a Reborn can choose to be a construct (a stitched together Frankenstein’s monster type) or an undead (basically, a zombie or revenant like Eric Draven from The Crow) — I went with Construct here because that made Warforged an easy way to model the Lineage.
Making a Hexblood Hexblade for double the Hex, double the fun
For the final example, we’ll use a Custom Lineage again for the Hexblood Hexblade. This one chooses to be Small — perhaps their non-Hag ancestry is a Gnome or Halfling, or they’re a refugee directly from the Feywild and not related to Hags at all, up to you. You’ll have to assume the Hex Magic and Magic Token racial abilities, but they go well with the Hexblade. And you can use your Hex Magic spells with your Warlock slots, although with Warlock slots being at such a premium, you might want to save them. Or you can take Mask of Many Faces as one of your Evocations, which will basically make Disguise Self free entirely.
The Fey Resilience Lineage feature lets you have advantage on saving throws to avoid or end being charmed, which is nice for anybody, really. The Hexblade gets Hex as one of their spells, but you don’t have to take it, since you get it as a Hexblood, freeing up another spell for the notoriously short on spell slots Warlock.
All in all these new Lineages are a lot of fun, and can lend themselves to some interesting character concepts with their Origin tables. Hopefully you’ll get some inspiration. A Reborn Phantom might be really cool, or a Hexblood Sorcerer with Wild Magic, indicating a Fey origin, or a Dhampir Barbarian with Path of the Beast.
Please consider supporting our Patreon!
Join the Discussion
Blizzard Watch is a safe space for all readers. By leaving comments on this site you agree to follow our commenting and community guidelines.