Teenage Mutant Scientist (Insert Like 5 Animals Here)
Why be one thing when you can be everything. The Simic Combine are the wardens of nature within Ravnica, but they’ve often felt mother nature could use some improvement. Grow gills, or maybe some giant crab claws since Simic hybrids are genuinely varied and you’ll get to take your pick. But now that you can grow armor or spit acid, should you? If you’re gearing up to play some hybridized goodness in Ravnica and you don’t know your chromosomes from your crinoids, don’t worry, just grab a few test tubes and a couple experimental specimens as we go through everything you need to know.
The Simic Combine
As a Simic hybrid, your character will be uniquely tied to not only the plane of Ravnica, but to the Simic Combine as well. Ravnica is a world-wide metropolis, a single city that envelops the entire planet, and this city is ruled by the joint efforts of 10 guilds, each controlling a different aspect of Ravnican society as a whole. The Simic in particular are the biologists, the doctors, and in many respects the mad scientists of Ravnica (or at least share the title with Izzet). The Simic guild works to understand biology and preserve the numerous species that were displaced by Ravnica’s rampant expansion. They also have a nasty habit of trying to improve biology, which has landed them in hot water in the past.
During the original Ravnica block, the Simic combine were the villains. Their leader Momir Vig wasn’t content with merely studying biology and medicine. Momir invented cytoplasts that could rewrite the DNA of Ravnican citizens against their will. A war broke out, mad science occurred, and a giant ooze monster was involved. Long story short, this era of the Simic Combine ended violently, left the guild in ruins, and was not remembered fondly.
It wasn’t until the Return to Ravnica block that the combine saw a resurgence with the return of Ravnica’s merfolk. Remember that whole world-spanning city? Apparently ancient Ravnican architects just built right over Ravnica’s oceans and thousands of years later people forgot all about them. Many city streets opened into giant sinkholes named Zonots, holes leading down into the long-hidden underground Ravnican oceans filled with merfolk. Now the merfolk seized the opportunity left by the empty guild seat and reclaimed the responsibilities of medicine and preservation of nature.
The Guardian Project
This is where your hybrid character comes in. The Simic Combine started a thing called “the guardian project”, a program that takes their members and splices them with animal DNA. Simic are usually pretty jazzed about this though, so it’s not like you were an unwilling guinea pig.
As a Simic hybrid, you were designed to serve a specific purpose, which usually involves protecting the Combine in some way as a “guardian”.
This gives you possibly the most freedom to design your character out of any other 5e race. Want to be part giraffe, part hermit crab? Done. Want a shark fin and a toucan beak? Done. Hybrids are the complete blank slate. Flick on a nature documentary and pick and choose the features you like the most. The result should feel like it was designed to do something, what exactly that means is up to you.
Monsters or Mutants
Simic Hybrids are lore locked quite hard onto Ravnica, but their stats represent a rather flexible opportunity for players to be “monsters” or “mutants”. If your player wants to roleplay an eldritch abomination or your setting involves some monsters or mutants, I recommend hand waving the lore for Simic Hybrids away and making use of their excellent and versatile racial stats.
Simic Hybrid Names
Hybrids usually maintain the names they were given by their parents, so hybrids that started out human, elven, or vedalken, will have human, elven, and vedalken names, respectively.
Your hybrid character has the following racial traits.
Ability Score Increase: Your Constitution score increases by 2, and one other ability score of your choice increases by 1.
Age: Hybrids begin their lives as adult humans, elves, or vedalken. They age at a slightly accelerated rate, so their maximum life spans are probably reduced somewhat. The Guardian Project has not been operating long enough to observe the full effect of this phenomenon.
Alignment: Most hybrids share the generally neutral outlook of the Simic Combine. They are more interested in scientific research and the standing of their guild than in moral or ethical questions. Those who leave the Combine, however, often do so because their philosophical outlook and alignment are more in line with a different guild’s.
Size: Your size is Medium, within the normal range of your humanoid base race.
Speed: Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Darkvision: You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Languages: You can speak, read, and write Common and your choice of Elvish or Vedalken.
Animal Enhancement: Your body has been altered to incorporate certain animal characteristics. You choose one animal enhancement now and a second enhancement at 5th level.
At 1st level, choose one of the following options:
- Manta Glide - You have ray-like fins that you can use as wings to slow your fall or allow you to glide. When you fall and aren’t incapacitated, you can subtract up to 100 feet from the fall when calculating falling damage, and you can move up to 2 feet horizontally for every 1 foot you descend.
- Nimble Climber - You have a climbing speed equal to your walking speed.
- Underwater Adaptation - You can breathe air and water, and you have a swimming speed equal to your walking speed.
At 5th level, your body evolves further, developing new characteristics. Choose one of the options you didn’t take at 1st level, or one of the following options:
- Grappling Appendages - You have two special appendages growing alongside your arms. Choose whether they’re both claws or tentacles. As an action, you can use one of them to try to grapple a creature. Each one is also a natural weapon, which you can use to make an unarmed strike. If you hit with it, the target takes bludgeoning damage equal to 1d6 + your Strength modifier, instead of the bludgeoning damage normal for an unarmed strike. Immediately after hitting, you can try to grapple the target as a bonus action. These appendages can’t precisely manipulate anything and can’t wield weapons, magic items, or other specialized equipment.
- Carapace - Your skin in places is covered by a thick shell. You gain a +1 bonus to AC when you’re not wearing heavy armor.
- Acid Spit - As an action, you can spray acid from glands in your mouth, targeting one creature or object you can see within 30 feet of you. The target takes 2d10 acid damage unless it succeeds on a Dexterity saving throw against a DC equal to 8 + your Constitution modifier + your proficiency bonus. This damage increases by 1d10 when you reach 11th level (3d10) and 17th level (4d10). You can use this trait a number of times equal to your Constitution modifier (minimum of once), and you regain all expended uses of it when you finish a long rest.
Simic Hybrids are a more complicated race than most since you’ll be getting to pick and choose your most powerful abilities as you go. Let’s really go through each trait and what they’ll mean for your next Simic hybrid character.
Ability Score Increase: +2 to Constitution and +1 to anything else. This is an intentionally versatile set, as every class can benefit from more hit points and you’ll get to put that extra point into whatever your class needs most.
Age: While the slight decrease in life expectancy is a bit ominous (and feel free to play around with that) it’s otherwise fairly standard and shouldn’t come up.
Alignment: The Simic are focused on their research and neutrality is the name of the game. As a Simic Hybrid, you’ll almost certainly work directly for the Simic or at least still have ties to the Combine. If you want to play a Simic Hybrid and work for a different guild, make sure you work out your backstory with your DM ahead of time.
Size: Nothing special, just standard medium size.
Speed: Normal 30-foot movement, not a huge boon but doesn’t hurt either.
Darkvision: Probably the most common racial trait other than the “core” ones, not special but also supremely useful in the right situations.
Languages: Common and either Elvish or Vedalken. This is trying to further represent your “base species” before you became a hybrid. Elvish probably has the most applications, but you should go with the flavor of your “backstory”.
Animal Enhancement: To start with at 1st level this gives you three options, all of which are essentially alternate movement types.
- Manta glide is definitely not as good as a fly speed, in practice it’ll function mainly as a permanent feather fall spell and occasionally you’ll be able to get where you need to go by jumping off something tall. This is going to be the best pick in most cases, but it’ll depend on the adventure you’re running and what situations you expect to find yourself in.
- Nimble climber is probably the weakest of the three options. You gain a climb speed equal to your movement speed, so you’ll have a 30-foot climb speed. Remember though, in 5e a climb speed doesn’t grant a special ability to climb, it just lets you do it faster. You’ll be able to scale a cliff at 30-feet movement, while your allies will likely climb at 15. Having a climb speed only very rarely grants you access to someplace you wouldn’t be able to reach anyway, just slower.
- Underwater adaptation grants you full water breathing and a 30-foot swimming speed. This is arguably better than the manta glide, however, you’re most likely going to be using this character while adventuring on Ravnica. Ravnica isn’t exactly known for its large bodies of water, tons of really tall buildings to glide from though. This is still situational though, and your DM may decide to explore the underground oceans beneath the city, you never know.
Then, at 5th level you get to pick from this next list of abilities. You also technically have the option to pick again from the 1st list, and there’s an argument to be made for taking manta glide and underwater adaptation together, but I’d recommend grabbing one from this 2nd list.
- Grappling appendages gives you a couple claws or tentacles that make natural attacks at a d6 + Strength with a free bonus action grapple pinned on. Natural attacks aren’t amazing in 5e, but that free grapple is particularly useful. I’d only take this if you’re building around it with a high Strength melee character, but it’ll really shine with that strategy in mind.
- Carapace is super simple and just racks up a free point of AC so long as you aren’t in heavy armor. While this isn’t the most fun or interesting ability, it’s likely the best from a statistical point of view, especially if you’re a spellcaster or any other class that can have difficulty pumping up your AC.
- Acid spit looks amazing, it’s not quite as good as it looks at first but it’s still pretty great. 2d10 is good damage output, but on a pass, they take 0 damage. I’d recommend only taking this if your Constitution score is at least 14, as a low con will make passing the Dexterity save much more likely.
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Last updated: January 27, 2019
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