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In D&D 3.5 there was a way to change type, like Animal, into a subtype, like Magic Beast (Augmented Animal)

Augmented Subtype

A creature receives this subtype whenever something happens to change its original type. Some creatures (those with an inherited template) are born with this subtype; others acquire it when they take on an acquired template. The augmented subtype is always paired with the creature’s original type. A creature with the augmented subtype usually has the traits of its current type, but the features of its original type.

I would want to homebrew some monsters and creatures for 5e, based on already existing ones. I would like to do it in a way that would change their type, but they would actually be an augmented versions of the originals, so connection to their original type should not be lost.

Is there a canonical way to do it in the 5e?

General rule from a sourcebook would be great, but if there isn't one (and I'm inclined to believe there isn't as I couldn't find it) then published 1st party monsters in sourcebooks, monster manuals or campaign settings books would suffice.

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The Augmented subtype didn’t seem to do anything—but cause confusion

There aren’t really any rules for the Augmented sutype actually changing anything about the creature—but it often seemed like there could or should be, and maybe in some cases the authors intended there to be. As such, I would call it pretty low-value. Unless you are planning on feats or magic that specify they can only be taken by, say, Augmented Humanoids (former humanoids, I guess), there doesn’t seem to be much value in it.

D&D 5e has made it an overarching goal to remove rules as much as possible for the sake of making it easier to learn. Arguably at the cost of specificity—there are plenty of situations where you’d expect a rule to exist to cover something, but they didn’t want to bog the rules down covering that (and every other) corner case. It’s part of the “rulings over rules” thing. (And this has proven to be very successful overall.)

So I can’t find anything like Augmented, and that doesn’t surprise me. I don’t think it exists because it’s pretty squarely the kind of thing that they have been removing from 5e in general, since it takes a bunch of words to explain and then rarely, if ever, does anything.

Rather, it seems to me that the expected place to find this kind of information in 5e is not in a creature’s statblock, but simply in their textual description. Certainly, even in 3.5e, a creature with an Augmented subtype would be expected to explain its precise relationship to the previous type in the text.

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5e just gives these creatures both creature types instead.

In the recent Unearthed Arcana articles detailing different racial Heritages, Wizards of the Coast introduced rules for characters who have two different creature types. For example, the Dhampir is both a Humanoid and Undead, and is fully affected by all effects that would affect either creature type.

I believe that some of the Heritages have been officially printed in the new Ravenloft book, but I don't have ready access to that book at the moment to check.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This is a good find, but it could definitely use a link to the Unearthed Arcana in question, and some extra details to explain that Unearthed Arcana isn't official and might not make it into the official rules. I would say that "5e does X" is a much too strong statement than can be supported by a single Unearthed Arcana. \$\endgroup\$ May 20 '21 at 4:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KamilDrakari It's supported by a series of 3 Unearthed Arcana, IIRC, not just one. \$\endgroup\$
    – nick012000
    May 20 '21 at 4:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ I only see it in Gothic Lineages out of recent UAs, but there might be older ones that mention it as well. Having it across multiple UAs supports the point a bit more, especially since at least one is recent, but it's still not the actual rules of 5e just a potential indication of what the rule might be. \$\endgroup\$ May 20 '21 at 4:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KamilDrakari There's the Gothic Lineages one, the one with the faerie Lineages, and the one with the Draconic Lineages. \$\endgroup\$
    – nick012000
    May 20 '21 at 4:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's also exclusive to Unearthed Arcana, and as we have seen with both Gothic Lineages and the old Centaurs and Minotaurs iterations, any race that held a dual type has then been published using a single type instead (as any other creature). \$\endgroup\$ May 20 '21 at 12:41

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