OneDnD Ardlings, Shifter and Hengeyokai as different variations on animal people

They're similar in that they all come from a variety of animals as opposed to a specific ones (like the Tabaxi and Kenku).

Ardlings being from the Beastlands are based more on the conceptual idea of animals, or alternatively be seen as "lets play a full on furry", and they toned down the celestial bit.

Shifters are sort of Lycanthrope/Werewolf-lite, and might be the most tied to the Material Plane of the bunch. I guess they can be seen as "part-time furries" by some.

Hengeyokai which haven't appeared in 5e yet, are more like Spirit Animals who can become Human-like. They're probably Fey, and related enough to the Celtic Pooka/Puca/Puck that they might be the same thing with a different name.
 

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Incenjucar

Legend
As I stated elsewhere, since they decided to lean into the animal side to give more space to aasimar, they should provide a fully-animal option, possibly just letting them pick up a second animal feature instead of the flexible cantrip. I also see value in letting them pick arcane and primal instead of divine. The divine sort can be the most common and core, and give us a reason to dress them in rad ancient Egyptian getups, while also covering a lot of other bases at once.
 

Hengeyokai which haven't appeared in 5e yet, are more like Spirit Animals who can become Human-like. They're probably Fey, and related enough to the Celtic Pooka/Puca/Puck that they might be the same thing with a different name.
I mean, Hengeyokai are an incredibly toned down version of just a general thing in Japanese myth where an animal that lives long enough can gain human form. They're kitstune, tanuki, all that fun stuff

Which is why I'm not keen on Hengeyokai coming back as I'd much rather a dedicated one for those options
 

Incenjucar

Legend
I feel a good, and realistic practice is to start with a flexible generic option where possible and then get more detailed if popularity allows. There was a time when the elf of the month club made sense, but still good to start with just an elf or three.
 


Lojaan

Adventurer
I second that ardlings should be fey, and I would add that Owlin, Harengon, Tortle, Leonin, Loxodon, and yes even Tabaxi and Bullywug, should be rolled into ardling. For species that have a lot of separate lore or history (like Bullywug, Giff and Tabaxi) you can have it that they migrated from the Feywild so long ago that although they were originally ardling, they are now considered their own thing.

Then you make some clear distinctions between fey (ardling), lycanthrope (shifter), monstrous (minotaur, dragonborn, thri-kreen) origins and just species that are 'natural' but non-human like lizardmen, who are not actually combination of humans and lizards, and are just called that because of their appearance.

Or you can make them ardlings too /shrug

Basically I am really loving having an option that I can point people to when they say I want to play a cat/mouse/fox/bunny person.
 










Lojaan

Adventurer
The celestial angle ties them to guardinals and various mythical figures from around the world, and of course the Beast Lords which are very old D&D lore.

Fey things have often been granted celestial attributes. Look at the unicorn.

But yes, there is a little known celestial place where there are beast people.

I guess this comes down to which book the ardlings are in -
  • If it is in the PHB then they should be fey. People are going to interact with the fey much more than an obscure celestial plane.
  • If it is in planescape, however, then it makes more sense for them to be celestials. Not decendants of guardinals, but guardinals themselves.
 
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I second that ardlings should be fey, and I would add that Owlin, Harengon, Tortle, Leonin, Loxodon, and yes even Tabaxi and Bullywug, should be rolled into ardling. For species that have a lot of separate lore or history (like Bullywug, Giff and Tabaxi) you can have it that they migrated from the Feywild so long ago that although they were originally ardling, they are now considered their own thing.
I disagree on this one strongly. You'd lose a lot of the neat individual stuff that these groups have by themselves. Plus, well, those races have a history. They're not related and don't have anything feywild to 'em. Certainly more viable to have seperate beast-people race than 7 different types of elves

I still do like the thing of D&D's Generic Beastman Race being celestial related, when it tends to be demonic in other stuff
 



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