Everyone makes mistakes. Especially in Dungeons & Dragons. In most cases, these mistakes cannot be redone, or reattempted; it’s up to the person to simply move on. However, if the mistake ends with the life undone, the only way to redo the mistake is by magic. Well… Magic, and with Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft, the supernatural. The Reborn 5E lineage is applied to a creature who has a second shot at life, and has come back with plenty of vitality to spare. How will you spend your new life? This guide will help you out.
Reborn Lineage 5E
The Reborn have, somehow, still lived. They have clear scars and wounds that show that they have passed. Their flesh is pale, and they have clearly been touched by death. However, by a miracle of science, magic, spirits, or more… The Reborn has defied death once again. This leaves them with faded memories, only activated by moments of trauma or dwelling on the past. They may never return to the life that they once had… No matter how often they dream of it.
You may have became an undead for many, many different reasons. However, you might find solace in Har’Akir, Lamordia, or Mordent. These Domains of Dread are particularly handy for Reborn, since that’s where active possessions, mad scientists, or the Apparatus constantly revive new spirits. Ask your DM if these make sense for your campaign, or if a different way of becoming a Reborn makes more sense.
What is a Lineage?
A Lineage is a template applied to a base race, or it can be a race all by itself! For example, you can make a Reborn, or you could make a Dwarf Reborn. The Base Race is mostly for flavor and backstory, though it may change a few tiny mechanics of your Lineage. Keep it in mind as you build out the rest of your character’s stats and backstory!
All lineages start with your choice of stat boosts; +2 to One and +1 to Another, or +1 to three different scores. These bonuses are always your choice, no matter if you chose a base race or not. So, you can always have the perfect stats for your race, no matter what you started as!
The lineages also start with Common and one language to be decided between player and DM. Alternatively, if you have a Base Race, you can instead just have that race’s languages. For example, a Dwarf Reborn might have Common and Dwarf. Or, because the Dwarf was a servant of a demon for years before being released, it might instead know Common and Infernal. This should be talked about with your DM to find out what makes the most sense for the situation.
Finally, some lineages change your creature type. The Reborn changes your type to Humanoid. Talk to your DM about if this makes sense for your race; a Satyr Reborn might stay a Fey if a specific situation happens that changes it into a Reborn. It’s kinda situational!
Reborn Lineage Traits
The Reborn replaces most of your base race’s traits with the following attributes.
- Humanoid Type.
- Small or Medium Size. Usually, this should correlate with your base race. However, if a specific situation comes up, you might want to change your size anyways. Small creatures are better for finding cover and sneaking around like the gremlins they are, while Medium creatures are more likely to be seen and targeted; good for tanky classes like Barbarian or Paladin.
- 30 ft Speed. Average speed, you’re tying almost every race in the game in a footrace. Move your 6 squares with pride, you not-quite-undead butterfly!
- Ancestral Legacy. By default, this is 2 free skill proficiencies of your choice. You can build your character just like you want them to be. That’s handy for out-of-combat utility. However, you can pull from your base race if you want extra movement speed types or specific skills. Usually, this won’t be useful. If you want to optimize this, you might want to be an Aarakocra, Lizardfolk, Tabaxi, or similar race. Those races have alternate ways of moving (flight, swimming, climbing, respectively). Flight is great, but the Lizardfolk and Tabaxi both also come with 2 skills for free. You can optimize it, or it can just be 2 skill proficiencies. And, to be honest, optimizing it isn’t even that much better than the default!
- Deathless Nature. This is your primary ability. And it’s good!
- Poison Damage is fairly common, as long as you’re fighting standard Undead enemies. This gives you resistance to this common damage type, advantage against the poisoned condition… Heck, you can even avoid getting Diseased as easily! Those are a series of good buffs.
- Death saving throws are horrifying, and you can thankfully avoid dying quite as fast. This should never come in handy, but you’ll be very happy when it does.
- Eating, drinking, and breathing rarely comes up. However, when it does, it’s usually because the party is strapped for resources, or about to get poisoned. You’re immune to those party tricks now! Keep this in mind, but don’t expect this to save you from every single situation.
- You get immunity to sleep effects, which will come in handy very rarely. Sure, it might save you from another trap the DM sets up, or a low-level caster. But this is not a life-saving buff. However, you sleep for 4 hours. That’s nice! You can be the main watch most of the time, which means that you can keep people alive very, very easily. Heck, you can stay motionless while leaning against a wall, and sleep while you are looking out! That’s actually great! Just, make sure your Perception is worth waving a finger at.
- Knowledge from a Past Life. Basically, you can give yourself Bardic Inspiration for ability checks. You can also roll it after you roll your D20, which means that, if you know about what DC you’re going for, you can always make this ability useful. For example, if you know the DC for a Persuasion check is 14, and you roll a 13, then you can spend this ability to get a success guaranteed. That does mean you understand your DM’s expectations pretty well… And it is pretty metagamey. Use it with caution!
In general, this is a highly defensive race that spends a lot of it’s time being one step away from being an Undead. You’re relying on the usefulness of Deathless Nature a lot… And Deathless Nature is basically a bunch of situational buffs (and only sleeping 4 hours, which is nice).
This is the weakest Lineage, but that doesn’t mean that it’s weak. It’s still insanely flexible, thanks to the Ability Score boosts. And you have some legitimately strong utility here. Great option for any class, especially with a spellcaster; 4 hour spell refreshes!
What Class is Best for Reborn in 5E?
Although the reborn is arguably the weakest lineage released with Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft, it does have some utility. Thanks to the flexible ASI, you don’t have to worry about muddling through with suboptimal ability scores. The other bonuses related to the Reborn can make for a number of strong class and subclass options, too.
College of Lore Bard
See our Lore Bard 5E Guide
When it comes to maximizing skill checks, the Reborn Lineage is an excellent option thanks to Knowledge from a Past Life. If there’s one subclass that screams “maximize your skill proficiencies,” it’s the college of lore bard. The lore bard gains additional skill proficiencies, plus Peerless Skill at level 14. Knowledge from a past life gives you essentially extra uses of bardic inspiration for your skill checks, which is a perfect use of this subclass. What’s more, Ancestral Legacy has the potential to load you up with even more skills!
Oath of Redemption Paladin
See our Oath of Redemption Guide
The reborn lineage makes for a strong paladin regardless of our subclass. Paladin builds usually have decent charisma but not a lot of skills to use it on. The reborn gives paladins more than the average number of skills to use that Charisma along with Knowledge From a Past Life. What’s more, having advantage on death saving throws is always helpful for frontline combatants. As far as the Oath of Redemption goes, the benefits of getting more out of those charisma skills works great with the theme of this subclass.
Barbarian Path of the Zealot
See our Path of the Zealot Guide
The best part of playing a zealot barbarian is Rage Beyond Death. At level 14, when you would normally go unconscious you can keep fighting as long as you keep up your rage. You make death saves like normal, but you only die for good if you fail three death saves and remain at zero HP when your rage ends. With the reborn’s advantage on death saving throws, you are even more likely to survive.
Reborn 5E FAQ
Do Reborns Have Blood?
The reborn can have blood, but they do not always. This is because some reborn carry the marks of their untimely demise. This can include ashen flesh or bloodless veins, among other things. Whether or not a reborn character has blood is largely a matter of flavor. Discuss with your DM if this is your intention for your character.
Is Reborn Considered Undead?
The reborn lineage is not considered Undead, as its creature type is officially Humanoid. However, the reborn has an obvious undead theme, including certain undead traits like not needing sleep or air.
Does Reborn Race Have Darkvision?
The reborn race does not have darkvision in the official lineage released by Wizards of the Coast. This is a deviation from unofficial UA version of this lineage, which did include the darkvision feature.
Do Reborn Need to Long Rest?
The reborn do not need to sleep due to their undead nature. While they can avoid the negative effects of exhaustion due to lack of sleep, they still require a long rest to refresh many of their abilities. One of the major benefits of this lineage is that they can accomplish a long rest in just four hours.
What Book is Reborn in 5E?
You can find the reborn lineage in Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft.
Concluding our Reborn Lineage 5E Guide
The Reborn is a relatively weak lineage even compared to the Hexblood lineage, but a great race flavor-wise. If you’ve always wanted to play as an Undead abomination, but never wanted to homebrew stuff, this is the closest you can get. And it’s actually super easy to put into most campaigns! Give it a try if you have an idea for a revived character.