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DnD 5e - The Simic Hybrid Handbook

Last Updated: July 31st, 2020

Disclaimer

I will use the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks, which is simple to understand and easy to read at a glance.

  • Red: Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational.
  • Orange: OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances.
  • Green: Good options.
  • Blue: 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.

Introduction

Introduced in Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica, the Simic Hybrid is a novel race that hasn't been reused in other campaign settings. Created by one of Ravnica's guilds, the Simic Hybrid is a human magically altered with animalian features to make them more physically capable. But these aren't just animal people like a crab person or something like that; instead, picture a human with animal parts grafted onto their bodies like giant crab claws growing from an extra set of limbs.

Mechanically, the Simic Hybrid is really neat. They're the only published race with decision points past first level, gaining additional enhancements as your level increases and thereby gaining new racial traits. Their ability score increases are perfect for any class, they get Darkvision, and the Animal Enhancement options are diverse enough that most classes can find some helpful options.

Animal Enhancement

You get one choice of Animal Enhancement at 1st level and another at 5th. There are only 3 choices at each level. At 5th level you can choose a new option from the 1st-level list, but there's little reason to do so.

Level 1

  • Manta Glide: Feather Fall is a 1st-level spell which makes this almost totally obsolete.
  • Nimble Climber: Climb speeds aren't as good as fly speeds, but they're the next-best thing and you can still circumvent many obstacles by climbing.
  • Underwater Adaptation: Unless you're in an aquatic campaign, this won't see much use. Usually you can get spells to handle occasional encounters with water.

Level 5

  • Acid Spit: Single-target with mediocre damage. It's as much damage as a cantrip like Fire Bolt, and since it works on your Constitution modifier for the save DC it's going to have a lower DC than your attacks/spells until you can afford to increase your Constitution. Honestly the fact that this has limited uses is a pointless limitation. The ability isn't good enough that it needs a usage limitation.
  • Carapace: AC bonuses are always great, but it doesn't apply if you're wearing heavy armor so classes like the Fighter and the Paladin should look elsewhere. For other classes, this is the go-to option at this level.
  • Grappling Appendages: As much damage as a club, and after hitting you can grapple as a Bonus Action. If you're proficient in Athletics and have good Strength this can be a great combo. By this level martial classes have Extra Attack, so you can Shove a foe prone, hit them with a claw with Advantage since they're prone, then Grapple them as a Bonus Action to prevent them from standing or crawling away.

Classes

Because simic hybrids are good at literally anything I have neglected to provide my usual color ratings in the section below.

Artificer

Put the flexible ability score increase into Intelligence, and you're good to go. At 5th level pick up Carapace, and even in medium armor you can hit 20 AC before you look at all of your Infused Items.

Barbarian

Strength, Constitution, and Darkvision are a great start. Carapace at 5th level works great, and if you somehow manage 20 Dexterity and 20 Constitution you can have an AC of 21 totally naked (23 with a shield!).

Bard

Constitution, Charisma, Darkvision. You don't need much else, but Animal Enhancements may save you some spells.

Cleric

Constitution, Wisdom, Darkvision. You don't need much else, but Animal Enhancements may save you some spells.

Druid

Constitution, Wisdom, Darkvision. You don't need much else, but Animal Enhancements may save you some spells. Wild Shape will notably cause you to lose most of your racial features, so avoid Circle of the Moon.

Fighter

Grappling Appendages feels like it was made for the Fighter. If you miss, you'll have a bunch of additional attacks to try to set up the Shove+Claw+Grapple combo, then once they're on the ground you can use a two-handed weapon and deal big piles of damage.

Monk

The climb speed and the swim speed from the 1st-level Animal Enhancements both match your land speed, which means that the Monk's ever-increasing land speed also improves the additional movement type granted by your enhancement. At 5th level you could take Grappling Appendages if you like to grapple, but it will conflict with Martial Arts. Most likely you'll take Carapace instead, which is a great choice on a class with low hit points which is locked into melee combat.

Paladin

The Paladin is probably the Simic Hybrid's worst choice for a front-line martial class, though that doesn't mean that it's a bad choice. Your options for useful Animal Enhancements are really limited, and you won't benefit from Grappling Appendages as much as the Fighter because paladins get fewer attacks to capitalize on the Shove+Claw+Grapple combo.

Ranger

With Carapace you can match the AC of a heavily-armored character, and with the Constitution increase you can offset the relatively poor hit die compared to front-line martial classes like the Fighter and the Paladin. A Strength-based build could absolutely work here, but a Dexterity-based build will likely still be easier and more effective.

Rogue

Climb speeds are great for rogues since most enemies are accustomed to other creatures getting around on the ground. Tragically Grappling Appendages isn't great for Sneak Attack, so you're mostly locked into Carapace at 5th level. It's not a bad thing to be stuck with, but it would still be nice to have other viable options.

Sorcerer

Constitution, Charisma, Darkvision. You don't need much else, but Animal Enhancements may save you some spells.

Warlock

Constitution, Charisma, Darkvision. You don't need much else, but Animal Enhancements may save you some spells.

Wizard

Constitution, Intelligence, Darkvision. You don't need much else, but Animal Enhancements may save you some spells.