D&D (2024) How the Aardling should be reintroduced in the future. With a fiendish bestial counterpart

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Part of the reason why the aardling wasn't accepted by the community was because the race/origin/lineage/species seemed to not be tied well to the base cosmos and mythology of D&D.

The other is that many felt that the aardling was taking the spot of the established aasimar.

But imagine if aardling were linked to another race/origin/lineage/species and evil one.

I was prepping for a session and thinking about using a special barghest as the dominant force in a goblin warren. Then it hit me.

The Barghest is a goblin-wolf hybrid fiend that can shapeshift into a off-color goblin with slightly bestial aspects. A fiend who is secret out to kill the goblins it pals around with.

What if there are more humaniod-beast hybrid fiends out there causing havoc. And they mingle with humaniods to make fiendish offsprings. But instead of tieflings, they create something else.

You have the Aardlings, humaniods with animal heads and celestial beast ancestors, fighting the Ghests, humaniods with animal limb and skin and fiendish beast ancestors, in a secret war as divine proxies over the souls of humaniods across the cosmos.

Because Aardling and Ghests are mortal and have free will, some joins the war, others don't and simply live their lives. And some switch sides. And this is why you don't see them often and they are new concepts. They've been hunting each other in the shadows for millennia. Those not in the fight attempt to hide themselves or pretend to be cursed in another fashion. And the deities are not revealing their secret agents to the widely world either.

Aardlings, being almost indistinguishable from a human, elf, orc, goliath, or dwarf from the neck down, would be mostly like the 2nd playtest version. They would get a some amount of divine magic and their animal ancestry would manifest mostly as the movement type of the ancestral animal
  • Climber
  • Flyer
  • Jumper
  • Racer
  • Swimmer
Whereas, the Ghest, wearing the skin over parts a normal humaniod form, would be closer to the D&D beastfolk of more predator animals. They would get additional AC due to their partial animal hide and a natural weapon that would offer a new way to use their unarmed attacks.
  • Claws
  • Fangs
  • Horns
  • Legs
  • Stringer
  • Tail
The ultimate goal is that a DM can drop a hidden Aardling or Ghest into one of the groups in a dungeon or have the denizens of the dungeon are war due to the opposite factions egging them on from the shadows.

This way aardling have their own separate story away from aasimar and the two can coexist without stepping on their toes.
 

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I almost wonder if aardling could be reworked into the feywild/shadowfell versions of aasimar, tieflings, and genasi. Or even the chaotic counterpart to the glitchling.

We don't have a planetouched for any of those realms yet.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
The angelic furry combo is an invitation to create headaches. Changing that to fiendish furry is just asking to expand upon the "let me tell you about my fursona ... Well that whole chapter is really important to MY backstory, why don't you the GM change X & Y world/setting elements to [120%] accommodate since I am playing an [angelic/fiendish] being" loredump problem of players expecting to rewrite the world. Just going with owlbear/kenku justification for their existence works great & fits just about every setting fine.
 

They should consider bringing back the Hengeyokai, but maybe with a different name, if they're thinking of a bringing in a bunch of bestial humanoids. They're main thing is they can shift between very Human-like to a tiny or small animal, to a possible hybrid from. And then they can establish how they're different from Shifters which are different from Aardlings.
 

Clint_L

Hero
Although I did think the Aardling as initially presented bit into the Aasimar's celestial angle, that wasn't my primary objection. My primary objection was that we already have a lot of animal/humanoid species in the game, so this added another layer of animal/species hybrid that was more generic and narratively confusing. Is that person a Tabaxi? An Aardling?

Your proposal does not eliminate that objection, but your idea is conceptually far more interesting than WotC's proposal, and integrating existing lore through the "ghest" faction is extremely clever!
 

I just find it odd that they decided to do yet another celestial planetouched, when four planes don't have their planetouched versions at all.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
They need to just drop Aardlings and let celestials have any head they like, an octopus headed Aardling rising from the ocean would be awesomex,

I do like the Ghest lore youve come up with though
 

Mecheon

Sacabambaspis
They should consider bringing back the Hengeyokai, but maybe with a different name, if they're thinking of a bringing in a bunch of bestial humanoids. They're main thing is they can shift between very Human-like to a tiny or small animal, to a possible hybrid from. And then they can establish how they're different from Shifters which are different from Aardlings.
Hengeyokai are the most over genericified option in the game's history. They're supposed to be kitsune, tanuki, mujina, all of the various shapeshifting creatures

But like. Those creatures are all different things. Kitsune run the gambit from "Incredibly divine spirits" to "One of the most evil things was one who was sealed in a stone that broke in March 2022". Tanuki meanwhile would have none of this because their whole thing is entirely different. Yet these two entirely different things are just, grouped together as one option. You also group in neko-mata into this, because this is kind of the only option to play as the shapeshifting cats who'll eat a dude, shapeshift into them, and then steal their life.

Like, imagine merging dwarves, elves, trolls, kobolds and goblins all into one option. That's basically what hengeyokai are.

Meanwhile shifters are different because they're basically just light versions of lycanthropes
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
They should consider bringing back the Hengeyokai, but maybe with a different name, if they're thinking of a bringing in a bunch of bestial humanoids. They're main thing is they can shift between very Human-like to a tiny or small animal, to a possible hybrid from. And then they can establish how they're different from Shifters which are different from Aardlings.
Yes, so much this. I don’t know enough to judge if the name needs changing, but in concept they’re the perfect catch-all beastfolk. Just have them pick a CR 0 or 1/8 beast and let them shapeshift into it (as with 2014 wild shape) prof times per day, then at 3rd level give them Alter Self prof times per day.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Like, imagine merging dwarves, elves, trolls, kobolds and goblins all into one option. That's basically what hengeyokai are.
Which is pretty much what they do do with goblins-hobgoblins-bugbears-tasloi-dekanters etc even orcs and ogres have been squished into that goblinoid group.

Its just a grouping in the MM doesnt mean they have to be treated the same in play.
 

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