5E Four New Elf Subraces in Unearthed Arcana
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    UA: Elf Subraces

    This month's Unearthed Arcana article gives us four new elf subraces to playtest. "After the positive response to the eladrin a couple of months ago in Unearthed Arcana, we decided to explore four more elf subraces: avariel (winged elves), grugach (the wild elves of Greyhawk), sea elves, and shadar-kai (deathly servants of the Raven Queen)."


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    Last edited by pukunui; Tuesday, 14th November, 2017 at 01:28 AM.
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    Let the complaints about the subrace overload begin!

    Avariel: They get wings that grant them a fly speed of 30 feet, and they know Auran (I guess because some of them live on the Plane of Air). That's it.

    Grugach: Greyhawk gets a mention. I'm sure that will excite some folks. Primitive elves with druidic magic. Oh, and they can't speak Common automatically. Just Elvish and Sylvan.

    Sea Elves: I suppose this one was inevitable, since we can already have half-sea elves thanks to the SCAG. They scan swim and breathe underwater (duh) and communicate with otters and crabs and little fishies (but not dolphins!). Oh, and they can all speak Aquan because some of them live on the Plane of Water.

    Shadar-Kai: This is going to make some people mad, I just know it. "How dare they turn my favorite emo humans into elves!" At least they've still got the pale skin and loads of piercings and such. And they're still tied to the Raven Queen's apron strings.
    Last edited by pukunui; Tuesday, 14th November, 2017 at 02:03 AM.
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  3. #3
    Shadar Kai aren't elves, if they wanted to make them a subrace, should have gone with a subrace of human, because they are descended from humans.

    I'll also point out that the Shadar Kai in FR have no tie to the Raven Queen.
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  4. #4
    All I can say is that I can't wait to see these cleaned up or not in the next book, these are not ready for my game. Shadar-Kai are human in the lore I follow.
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    The Shadar-kai thing reminds me of several times they have put something they wanted tested into a thematic UA which they probably don't intend on using in that way. Like the "maritime" UA way back when, or the "Raven Queen" warlock patron.

    They want to get a shadar-kai playtest out there, but don't have an "human variant" UA or "Shadowfell" UA lined up on the docket... so they throw it into the elf one so that people can still take a look at the features even though it "doesn't belong there".

    Of course, what'll now happen is that everyone will spend all their time complaining about the elf thing as opposed to actually looking at or testing the race features. But I guess they just take what they can get. LOL!
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  6. #6
    Avariel, f*ck yeeeeaaah.

    I miss the brittle bones aspect though. My characters were always nervous to take physically risky tasks or adventures in risky spaces. Cage/Bar fight? Heeeeeeeell NO. Dungeon crawl? Uh, this isn't a good idea guys!
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    Quote Originally Posted by gyor View Post
    Shadar Kai aren't elves ...
    They *weren't* elves. Apparently, now they are. But I'm sure they'll get loads of feedback along the lines of "How dare you make them elves!" so they'll probably go back to being humans again.

    I'll also point out that the Shadar Kai in FR have no tie to the Raven Queen.
    So? The grugach of Greyhawk have no ties to FR. What's your point?

    (By the way, "Grugach of Greyhawk" sounds like a tongue-twister. Say it out loud ten times fast!)
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    Any reason we get race after race and sub-race after sub-race of elves dwarves and halflings but we only get one race of humans? Why don't we get different races of humans in 5e?
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    Quote Originally Posted by guachi View Post
    Any reason we get race after race and sub-race after sub-race of elves dwarves and halflings but we only get one race of humans? Why don't we get different races of humans in 5e?
    Tradition. There are still a few more subraces of elves and dwarves that they haven't touched on yet ...

  10. #10
    Talk about power creep. The Shadar Kai get free cantrip AND teleport with resistances. That's better than all the high elf shinanigans right there. Granted, the three cantrips are kinda lackluster - Thaumaturgy is probably the best of the lot, and that's saying something. Chill Touch isn't bad for a necromancer type, but at this point in the game, the only CHA option is Shadow Sorcerer. Everyone else generally has better options available, and even then? I've found that despite the huge lists of cantrips, very few people take a ton of damage cantrips - usually two at most, leaving Mage Hand, Minor Illusion, Light and Prestidigitation-class spells. Light isn't exactly a big demand if race gives darkvision as well.

    Wing elf is going to be rated as OP, just like all the other winged races. Which is... pretty fair in this case. No +1, which means that they're going to lean towards DEX weapon classes, and we all know what that means - more gripes about kiting and flying while staying out of reach. We're literally designed to lean towards some of the worst flame threads of 5e.

    Grugach... yeah. Just huh? The only thing I see going on here is we have a Strength elf for maybe going barbarian? The druid cantrip is almost always going to be Guidance or Druidcraft - all the others rely on WIS in some way, and that's an off stat. People generally don't like off stats, in my experience.

    Sea Elf is pretty worthless outside of a sea game. Could see it taken for just that, but too situational to really care about it. I do love sea games, but you really need to enable the whole party, not just one person.

    All in all, lackluster.
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