Dungeons & Dragons is Playtesting Gothic Lineages, Including a Dhampir

Dungeons & Dragons is playtesting three new Gothic-inspired race options for Fifth Edition, spurring more speculation about its upcoming products. Earlier today, Dungeons & Dragons revealed its latest Unearthed Arcana playtest, titled "Gothic Lineages." Included in the playtest are rules for playing as a dhampir (a kind of vampire spawn who is considered both living and undead), a hexblood creature transformed into a magical being, and a Reborn being that sounds awfully similar to Frankenstein's monster. Notably, all three options are "lineages" as opposed to a traditional D&D race. On a flavor level, this means that a player can be a dhampir dwarf or a reborn kobold - however, they only use the racial traits of their lineage instead of their character's original race.

This is the first playtest to use the customization rules from Tasha's Cauldron of Everything, and the playtest notes that racial options presented in future D&D books will all use those customization rules. That means that players will choose their Ability Score Increases and known languages when they create the character instead of being limited to specific rules. Additionally, there are no cultural characteristics (such as additional language or proficiency in certain abilities or tools) as these lineages are not limited to a particular group of people.

The new lineages themselves all have different traits that are strongly associated with their horrifying origins. The dhampir, a creature with ties to a vampire but isn't considered a full vampire, gains the ability to spider climb and a vampiric bite ability that grants healing abilities or a bonus to the next ability check or attack roll. The hexblood is an heir of hags and gains the ability to cast the spells disguise self or hex innately without using a spell slot and can create a magic token that can be used to send messages to its holder or to see and hear from the token from a distance. The Reborn is made from an incomplete resurrection or through horrific scientific experimentation, and has a deathless nature that grants them resistance to poison damage and advantage on death saving throws, as well as the ability to draw on knowledge from a past life, which grants them a limited number of buffs made to ability checks.

Obviously, the "Gothic Lineage" playtest raises some big questions about the next Dungeons & Dragons product. Fans are split as to whether these tie into a Ravenloft campaign setting book or are linked to another Magic: The Gathering crossover book, likely relating to Innistrad. We'll have to wait and see, but these new options are sure to have a lot of fans talking in the coming weeks.

You can check out the full Unearthed Arcana playtests on D&D's website.