Lineage Guide 5e

Published on April 15, 2022, Last modified on May 16th, 2022

Arcane Eye may earn a small commission from affiliate links in this article. Learn more.

What is this guide?

This guide is meant to give you an idea of whether or not the lineage will be right for your 5e character build.

The color code below has been implemented to help you identify, at a glance, how good that option will be for your lineage. This color coding isn’t a hard and fast rule; there are plenty of sub-optimized options out there that will be viable to your party and will be fun to play.

  • Black is a trait shared by many races and or will not impact the effectiveness of your character build
  • Red isn’t going to contribute to the effectiveness of your character build at all
  • Orange is an OK option
  • Green is a good option
  • Blue is a great option, you should strongly consider this option for your character
  • Sky Blue is an amazing option. If you do not take this option your character would not be optimized

Tasha's Cauldron of Everything Update

Tasha's Cauldron of Everything has added the "Customizing Your Origin" option that may affect the ability score increases, languages, and proficiencies in this guide. To read more about this, visit our D&D Race Guide.

What are Lineages in 5e?

Source: Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft

Lineages represent magical transformations that your character has undergone that change their physiology. Whether you have been bitten by a vampire, infused with eldritch magic, or reborn into a new life, these lineages will provide you with additional features and traits that represent your new-found abilities.

All of the below subraces allow you to choose a “base” race, which will provide skill proficiencies and movement options. These traits carry over for your character, the rest of the base race’s traits are replaced with the lineage’s traits.

Lineage 5e Subraces

Dhampir

Speed: Extra movement speed is never wasted.

Ancestral Legacy: Being able to keep your previous race’s movement options allows for some substantial buffs if you were to choose a base race that had a natural flight speed. When balancing races, a fly speed was taken into consideration so races with flight at 1st level typically have less strong traits to make sure they’re not overly powerful. The lineage’s Ancestral Legacy feature allows you to add a fly speed to your character’s race, on top of all the other benefits offered by the lineage.

Darkvision: 60ft of Darkvision is always nice.

Deathless Nature: Not needing to breathe is situationally useful when you need to travel underwater or encounter poisonous gas. 

Spider Climb: The climbing speed at 1st level is alright, but being able to move up vertical surfaces or across ceilings while keeping your hands free can enable a ton of advantageous in battle. Especially for builds that want to stay out of their enemy’s range and attack from afar.

Vampiric Bite: Most natural weapons aren’t particularly strong. While the Vampiric Bite only does 1d4 + CON, it comes with some additional effects that you can use a number of times up to your proficiency modifier once per long rest. The first effect allows you to regain hit points equal to the damage, which is a solid way to self-heal for martial characters. The second effect gives you a bonus, equal to the amount of damage you landed on your hit, to the next ability check or attack roll you make. More often than not the self-heal option will be chosen, but the second option can be useful if you’re setting up an attack that simply needs to land, like a paladin’s smite or rogue’s sneak attack.

Hexblood

Creature Type: Being the fey creature type allows you to avoid some pretty nasty spells, like hold and dominate person. You are more susceptible to other spells, like hallow and protection from evil and good, but these aren’t as bad as the spells you gain immunity to. Your biggest worry with being a fey is the banishment spell, though this is more effected by your backstory than your creature type.

Ancestral Legacy: Being able to keep your previous race’s movement options allows for some substantial buffs if you were to choose a base race that had a natural flight speed. When balancing races, a fly speed was taken into consideration so races with flight at 1st level typically have less strong traits to make sure they’re not overly powerful. The lineage’s Ancestral Legacy feature allows you to add a fly speed to your character’s race, on top of all the other benefits offered by the lineage.

Darkvision: 60ft of Darkvision is always nice.

Eerie Token: Both of the abilities offered by this trait are fairly easy to recreate with spells. The messaging trait is essentially a consistent, free use of sending. Unfortunately, the message can only travel 10 miles and can’t be responded to which makes it much less effective. The other trait is similar to the effect granted by find familiar, in which you can see through your familiar’s eyes. Seeing as the creature has to be holding your token in order for you to activate this, it’s quite narrow in its usefulness.

Hex MagicDisguise self and hex are both amazingly useful spells that can fit into a wide range of builds. Seeing as hex is normally restricted to the warlock’s spell list, this is a great way to get access to a tightly restricted spell that can boost damage for martials as well as spellcasters. While builds without spellcasting can only cast each of the spells once per long rest, those will spellcasting will be able to cast them using spell slots of the correct level.

Reborn

Ancestral Legacy: Being able to keep your previous race’s movement options allows for some substantial buffs if you were to choose a base race that had a natural flight speed. When balancing races, a fly speed was taken into consideration so races with flight at 1st level typically have less strong traits to make sure they’re not overly powerful. The lineage’s Ancestral Legacy feature allows you to add a fly speed to your character’s race, on top of all the other benefits offered by the lineage.

Deathless Nature:  There is a lot to unpack in this trait. First, you get resistance against being diseased, being poisoned, and poison damage. Poison damage is relatively common, which makes this a solid durability boost right off the bat. The second trait gives you advantage on death saving throws, which is stellar for characters who may not have a cleric or paladin to back them up with revivify. Not needing to eat, drink, breathe, or sleep are all situational benefits. All in all, this trait provides a bit of extra durability but not much more.

Knowledge from a Past Life:  Adding a bonus d6 to skill checks equal to your proficiency modifier per short rest will always come in handy, especially for skill monkeys, stealthy characters, or social characters that will be making plenty of checks. 

Which 5e Classes Work With Lineages?

Artificer:

  • Hexblood: Between Eerie Token and Hex Magic, the hexblood offers a solid amount of utility for artificers.

Barbarian:

  • Dhampir: Some extra movement is useful for closing with enemies and the Vampiric Bite will be at it's best with your pumped out CON modifier.

Bard:

  • Hexblood: While the extra spells from Hex Magic and utility offered by Eerie Token are great, bards can't make great use of the hexblood's biggest asset, hex. Bard's are typically more concerned with keeping a powerful buff or debuff up, rather than the small damage boost hex would provide.

Cleric:

  • Hexblood: While the extra spells from Hex Magic and utility offered by Eerie Token are great, clerics can't make great use of the hexblood's biggest asset, hex. Cleric's are typically a lot more concerned with keeping spiritual guardians or a party buff up than the bit of extra damage that hex provides.

Druid:

  • Hexblood: Using disguise self can help save a wild shape usage for combat, rather than infiltration. The real boon here is being able to cast hex, which will work wonderfully to cast before wild shaping into a bear and wreaking havoc on your enemies. The hexblood probably works best for Circle of the Moon druids for this reason alone.

Fighter:

  • Dhampir: Some extra movement is useful for closing with enemies and the Vampiric Bite will be at it's best with your pumped out CON modifier.
  • Hexblood: A free bit of utility from disguise self and the Eerie Token effects. The best feature here is definitely hex, which can result in a ton of extra damage because of the fighter's multitude of attacks. The Eldritch Knight subclass definitely would like the ability to cast hex even more because they can cast it multiple times per day.

Monk:

  • Dhampir: Extra movement can help monk's navigate the battlefield. Monks are typically pretty multi-ability dependent, so they may not have a lot of ASIs for their CON after they pump their DEX and WIS. Regardless, the Vampiric Bite will be a solid feature to enable self-healing.
  • Hexblood: A free bit of utility from disguise self and the Eerie Token effects. The best feature here is definitely hex, which can result in a ton of extra damage because of the monk's multitude of attacks.

Paladin:

  • Dhampir: Some extra movement is useful for closing with enemies and the Vampiric Bite will be at it's best with your pumped out CON modifier.
  • Hexblood: If your paladin doesn't already use a lot of concentration spells, hex is an insanely good value spell to help boost your damage. The utility from disguise self and the Eerie Token effects is a cherry on the cake.

Ranger:

  • Dhampir: The dhampir lineage will work best for melee rangers who will be pumping their CON and want to be up close and personal to their targets. Ranged rangers can still make quite good use out of the Spider Climb ability.
  • Hexblood: If your paladin doesn't already use a lot of concentration spells, hex is an insanely good value spell to help boost your damage. The utility from disguise self and the Eerie Token effects is a cherry on the cake.

Rogue:

  • Dhampir: Rogues are pretty single ability dependent, meaning they will have plenty of ASIs to pump their CON after maxing out their DEX. This, combined with the rogue's battlefield mobility and tendency to be in the fray can make Vampiric Bite a solid ability for self healing and ensure you hit on sneak attacks.
  • Hexblood: A free casting of disguise self is every rogue's dream. The additional utility and a free casting of hex helps make this class a decent pick up for a rogue.

Sorcerer:

  • Hexblood: A couple extra spells and their resulting free once-a-day casting is okay for a sorcerer, especially one that uses cantrips for damage more often than not. The Eerie Token utility can also help due to your restricted spell list.

Warlock:

  • Hexblood: The free spells and free castings are solid for warlocks, who will likely want to stock and cast disguise self  and hex anyways. The utility offered by Eerie Token can also help due to your restricted spell list.

Wizard: None of the lineage options provide anything particularly exciting for wizards.

Sources Used in This Guide

Mike Bernier

Mike Bernier is the lead content writer and founder of Arcane Eye. Outside of writing for Arcane Eye, Mike spends most of his time playing games, hiking with his girlfriend, and tending the veritable jungle of houseplants that have invaded his house. He is the author of Escape from Mt. Balefor and The Heroes of Karatheon. Mike specializes in character creation guides for players, homebrewed mechanics and tips for DMs, and one-shots with unique settings and scenarios. Follow Mike on Twitter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Use the buttons below to fine tune the content you see in our guides.