DnD 5e - The Reborn Lineage Handbook
Last Updated: May 25th, 2021
RPGBOT uses the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks, which is simple to understand and easy to read at a glance.
- : Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational.
- : OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances.
- : Good options.
- : Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character.
I will not include 3rd-party content, including content from DMs Guild, even if it is my own, because I can't assume that your game will allow 3rd-party content or homebrew. I also won't cover Unearthed Arcana content because it's not finalized, and I can't guarantee that it will be available to you in your games.
The advice offered below is based on the current State of the Character Optimization Meta as of when the article was last updated. Keep in mind that the state of the meta periodically changes as new source materials are released and this article will be updating accordingly as time allows.
The Reborn is an interesting lineage, and can serve as both a part-undead and part-construct option. You might play a zombie that regained its intelligence, a flesh golem (think frankenstein's monster), a person who was rebuilt as a machine, or any number of other similar concepts.
Mechanically, the Reborn is an interesting option which shares some of the durability of the Dwarf with some unique skill options, making them an enticing choice for front-line Defenders with numerous important skills. Combined with the option to get two skill proficiencies from Ancestral Legacy, they're flexible enough to fill a number of skill-based roles depending on your role in the party.
In combat, Advantage on Death Saving Throws makes falling to 0 hit points much less scary. Taken as a whole, the Reborn is a great option for players who consider themselves unlucky and who need some mathematical backup, as well as for players who tend to get themselves killed a lot.
What is a Lineage?
A lineage replaces your race's traits and sometimes adds some new flavor to your character. You can choose any race (or a combination of races or something more outlandish) and apply a lineage to it, allowing you to combine the "flavor" of your race(s) and the flavor and mechanics of your lineage. Mechanically, characters of a lineage uses the same "racial traits" regardless of how you describe your characters lineage, and you usually replace all traits provided by your race (though some lineages get the Ancestral Legacy feature) if you choose to select one in addition to your lineage.
All lineages provide the choice of a single +2 ability score increase and a single +1 increase or three separate +1 increases (the Custom Lineage is an exception, and cannot choose the three +1 increases as far as I can tell). Players are free to allocate these increases as they see fit, allowing lineages to function in a wide variety of classes, and allowing the lineage's other traits to come to the forefront where normally your ability score increases would heavily influence your viable class options. This flexibility in Ability Score Increases is available to every race if you're using the Customizing Your Origin Optional Rule, but it's the default for lineages.
As I understand things, lineages cannot take feats which require a specific race, even if you describe yourself as originally a member of that race. Jeremy Crawford clarified that the Custom Lineage is taken instead of a race, so you're not a specific race to qualify for race-specific feats. It's not totally clear yet, but I believe the intent is that other lineages follow the same rule.
This section assumes that you're not using the option "Customizing Your Origin" rules presented in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything. If you are using those rules, scroll up to the previous section.
Knowledge From a Past Life only applies to ability checks which use skills, which weirdly omits ability checks which use tools. That's not particularly important, but considering how much artificers like tools, it feels odd that your past lives somehow never involved using a tool.
The Artificer doesn't get any unique benefits from the Reborn. Deathless Nature is still good for front-line builds like the Armorer and the Battle Smith, and Knowledge From a Past Life will help with skills. I recommend using Ancestral Legacy to get a fly speed for non-melee artificers.
Deathless Nature works very well for the Barbarian. Lean into their high risk, high reward design, confident in knowing that if you do fall to 0 hit points Deathless Nature will tilt the odds of your Death Saves heavily toward survival so that you can fight another day. Knowledge Form a Past Life isn't especially useful for many barbarians because they get so few skills, but between Ancestral Legacy and the Primal Knowledge Optional Class Feature, you can have enough skills to make skills a worthwhile part of your character.
Between Jack of All Trades and Knowledge From a Past Life, you can be very successful with skills without worrying much about Proficiency. However, bards are still very frail, and while Deathless Nature will help keep you alive it won't solve that problem on its own. I recommend using Ancestral Legacy to get a fly speed.
The Cleric doesn't get any unique benefits from the Reborn. Deathless Nature is still good for front-line builds, and Knowledge From a Past Life will help with skills, but the Cleric typically isn't a skill-heavy class. I recommend using Ancestral Legacy to get a fly speed.
The Druid doesn't get any unique benefits from the Reborn. Deathless Nature is still good for front-line builds, and Knowledge From a Past Life will help with skills, but the Druid typically isn't a skill-heavy class. I recommend using Ancestral Legacy to get a fly speed for most druids, but Circle of Spores and Circle of the Moon may want the skills instead.
The Fighter benefits as much as any other front-line Defender from Deathless Nature. Fighters rarely use many skills, but Knowledge From a Past Life will be helpful with Athletics if you enjoy grappling.
Deathless nature is minimally useful, especially since monks become immune to poison, but Ancestral Legacy and Knowledge From a Past Life can make up the skill gap between the Monk and the Rogue.
The Paladin benefits as much as any other front-line Defender from Deathless Nature. Paladins are frequently their party's Face, but typically can't afford 20 Charisma until late in their career. Without the full Charisma of a Charisma-based spellcaster (bard, etc.) you're slightly behind those characters with your most important skills. Use Ancestral Legacy to get some extra skills, and use knowledge From a Past Life to make up the difference between you and characters with better Charisma.
Deathless Nature is as useful for the Ranger as it is for othermartial classes. Ancestral Legacy and Knowledge From a Past Life can make up the skill gap between the Ranger and the Rogue, especially if you're not using the Deft Explorer Optional Class Feature.
Sometimes Expertise just isn't enough to offset bad rolls, so Knowledge From the Past provides some extra insurance on important skill checks. Hopefully Deathless Nature won't matter much, but many rogues fight in melee despite low AC and hit points compared to other martial classes, so having the extra protection is really nice. If you plan to fight at range, consider using Ancestral Legacy to get a fly speed. Otherwise, it may be worthwhile to keep the two skills.
With d6 hit dice and no armor, the Sorcerer is extremely frail, so Deathless Nature is a great comfort. Knowledge From the Past will help with crucial Face skills, and you can get nonmagical flight from Ancestral Legacy.
While the Warlock isn't as frail as the sorcerer or the wizard, Deathless Nature still feels nice on the Warlock, especially if you're going to brave close quarters. Knowledge From the Past will help with crucial Face skills, and you can get nonmagical flight from Ancestral Legacy.
The Wizard's skills tend to be less crucial than those of many other characters, so Knowledge From the Past feels wasted here. Deathless Nature is still a great comfort with the Wizard's d6 hit dice and lack of armor.