D&D 5E Latest D&D Errata: Drow, Alignment, & More

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Sage Advice is a series of articles in which Jeremy Crawford, one of the D&D Studio’s game design architects, talks about the design of the game’s rules and answers questions about them.


D&D books occasionally receive corrections and other updates to their rules and story. This Sage Advice installment presents updates to several books. I then answer a handful of rules questions, focusing on queries related to Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons and Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos.


Official errata has been published for the following books:
Here's some of the highlights.
  • Alignment is removed from the Racial Traits section of races.
  • Drow have undergone lore changes which reflect the different types of drow. The 'darkness of the drow' sidebar which portrays them as only evil has been removed.
  • Storm King's Thunder alters references to 'Savage Frontier' and 'barbarians'; Curse of Strahd alters references to the Vistani.
  • The controversial Silvery Barbs spell has been clarified.
As a drow, you are infused with the magic of the Underdark, an underground realm of wonders and horrors rarely seen on the surface above. You are at home in shadows and, thanks to your innate magic, learn to con- jure forth both light and darkness. Your kin tend to have stark white hair and grayish skin of many hues.

The cult of the god Lolth, Queen of Spiders, has cor- rupted some of the oldest drow cities, especially in the worlds of Oerth and Toril. Eberron, Krynn, and other realms have escaped the cult’s influence—for now. Wherever the cult lurks, drow heroes stand on the front lines in the war against it, seeking to sunder Lolth’s web.
 
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Zardnaar

Legend
lol as I always ask, why does that matter?

If an Angel can fall, why cant a Demon ascend? If a being can think, why cant it be different than what it was 'made' to be?

I think that's possible but would be so rare. Being good requires effort being evil just go with your baser instincts.

Eg find $1000 on the ground pockwt it vs making the effort to find who it belongs to.

In D&D demons are often infused with the abyss so yeah without something like a helm if opposite alignment.

Impossible no but may as well be imho.

Note not a fan of Gnolls as demonspawn. I don't use that in my games and they're available to play in my next campaign as PCs.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Until Wizards provides Source Books that they refer to as Canon (again, which they have disavowed as of now) how can they be anything but?

No Culture.
No ASI.
No Size.
No Alignment.

A few special rules.
Have we seen any actual evidence that existing races will lose their size? Or that they won't describe any cultural norms?
Now if only they’d remove the murder is the best path to power stuff, the home invasion for fun and profit stuff, the kill everything and steal everything stuff, and all the conquistadors & colonizers stuff.
What remains in the game that actually leads to what you're talking about? I haven't seen a murder-hobo of the type implied by these elements younger than 35 in over a decade. Plenty of "righteous action hero" style murder hobos, but no "lets go invade a place where ugly folk happen to live and steal all their stuff" type murder-hobos.
Radically over stated, there are far more legitimate Brothels, and by that I mean slave and children free (mostly adult message parlors and stripclubs that allow or look the other way when talent offers "extras" as in most places Brothels aren't official legal in most places in North America which causes tons of harm and puts men and women in danger).
This is a very US-centric take, that ignores the situation in many African, Carribean, and South-East Asian, and some South American and Eastern European, countries,.
I know people who have escaped brothels.

And those who follow the Blood of Vol say "Once you're dead, you're gone. Those other fools might believe otherwise, but there's no proof of that. It's just a system for the gods to prevent us mortals from nurturing our own divine sparks into fullblown godhood. And that sucks. Any gods who would take part in something like that is inherently evil, and we reject them entirely. All we have is this life, and our community, and we'd better make the most of it."
Or even, "The Silver Flame isn't a god it's a power source, and the Sovereigns cannot be proven. Our priests are no less powerful than Sovereign priests. They're doing the same things, ours are just honest about. Divine Power comes not from outside our world, but from within it. From ourselves and those who share in faith and community with us. The gods exist only as storytelling archetypes to focus the faith of people who refuse to acknowledge their own divinity."
I always assumed that mind flayers were always some variation of evil because of the whole brain eating thing. Kind of hard to be good (or even neutral) when you have to munch down on the brains of other sentient creatures in order to survive. 🤷‍♂️

On the other hand I agree that it was a mistake to get rid of the frequency qualifier.
Yeah I honestly don't agree with Illithids ever being non-evil, but they have been possessed of the free will to decide to work against their nature in multiple editions, and it doesn't hurt my game at all for the rulebooks to say that they are only "almost always evil".
And even of you were right, WotC is still trying to sell those worlds. They're removing "problematic" elements from all their worlds, because they want to make money from them. Pretty straightforward.
I think even this overstates it a bit. There will still evil gods, factions, powers, etc. There will still be strife and suffering. They're trying to remove as much as they can of the elements that make people feel unwelcome. That's it. Almost certainly, some of what is removed will return someday, some of what they leave in will later be criticized and removed, etc.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
I disagree with the sole reason to call mindflayers evil being their biological imperative.

They're evil because they're poorly designed and don't want to die?

It'd be better to take away the imperative to eat sapient brains and a lot of them just don't want to chow down on cow or the Elder brains derive some power from sapient brains specifically.
 


BrokenTwin

Biological Disaster
I'm still salty about getting gnolls as a playable race in 4E only to have it snatched from me in 5E. As to the changes in general...

Non-evil mindflayers will never not be ridiculous to me. Vampires at least get the "I drink animal blood and/or small enough quantities of human blood to avoid affecting them" excuse, what's the mindflayer's excuse for literally surviving off of consuming the brains of still-living creatures?

In regards to the brothel removal... seems weird, but I guess I understand it. Most of my games feature sexuality at some level, this change isn't going to affect that (granted, most of my games aren't D&D anymore). I think the arguments that 'It's a kids' game" are just weird though. WotC's target audience is, like, teenagers at the absolute youngest. Teenagers know what sex is. And then there's America's weird hangups on sex vs violence that's already been covered.

With the direction they're going, I don't think I want to see them relaunch Dark Sun. I don't necessarily have anything against the direction they're taking the game, but Dark Sun is a setting where bad things are the norm.
 

Staffan

Legend
lol as I always ask, why does that matter?

If an Angel can fall, why cant a Demon ascend? If a being can think, why cant it be different than what it was 'made' to be?
The way I see it, alignment-based outsiders are basically made of good/evil/law/chaos. There is a remote possibility that an angel could fall or a demon ascend, but then they wouldn't be an angel/demon anymore.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I disagree with the sole reason to call mindflayers evil being their biological imperative.

They're evil because they're poorly designed and don't want to die?

It'd be better to take away the imperative to eat sapient brains and a lot of them just don't want to chow down on cow or the Elder brains derive some power from sapient brains specifically.
Actual mindflayers are barely indipendant beings in 5e lore, IIRC. They're basically extensions of Elder Brains, which are ancient Illithid. Illithid young are parasites that kill their host in the process of transforming their body into an adult Illithid body.

IMO all aberrations should be Evil. They are inherently inimical to the life of the material plane, and are an invasive corruption.
 

Scribe

Hero
Have we seen any actual evidence that existing races will lose their size? Or that they won't describe any cultural norms?

Existing races (factions is the other thread)? No I dont think so, but from the DMG Errata we have now this new tidbit.

[New] Creating a New Race or Subrace (pg. 285). The third bullet has been removed. In the fifth bullet, “the race’s history and culture” is now “the race’s history.”

Wizards certainly seems to be getting out of the business of defining culture.
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
The way I see it, alignment-based outsiders are basically made of good/evil/law/chaos. There is a remote possibility that an angel could fall or a demon ascend, but then they wouldn't be an angel/demon anymore.
Exactly. A demon is part of the Abyss. They're made of it. Chaotic Evil is no more a choice for them than fire is a choice for a fire elemental.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Existing races (factions is the other thread)? No I dont think so, but from the DMG Errata we have now this new tidbit.

[New] Creating a New Race or Subrace (pg. 285). The third bullet has been removed. In the fifth bullet, “the race’s history and culture” is now “the race’s history.”

Wizards certainly seems to be getting out of the business of defining culture.
Which isn't the same thing as what was claimed, far as I can tell.
 

Scribe

Hero
The way I see it, alignment-based outsiders are basically made of good/evil/law/chaos. There is a remote possibility that an angel could fall or a demon ascend, but then they wouldn't be an angel/demon anymore.
Thats assuming we accept Cosmic Evil/Good/Law/Chaos as the baseline.

Now, personally I do so, but I somehow doubt thats the path Wizards will cleave to.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
you are still saying that X being cannot think for themself, and has no free will.

So, that statement gets whipped around a lot, and it sounds awful, but it could use some unpacking.

First off, free will need not be digital - all on, or all off.

A radio-controlled to car, or a videogame avatar, has no free will. Every single action it takes comes from the controller. If you actually and literally have no free will, you cannot choose what to have for lunch, or what attack combinations to use in combat.

Now, it is possible for demons and angles to literally be extensions of some greater force, to be little bitty avatars - so they literally do not have a will of their own. But that's not usually how they are portrayed in the game. Instead, they have quite a bit of free will, but it happens that their will ultimately always bends towards the baneful.

But, that's not the same as having no free will at all.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Thats assuming we accept Cosmic Evil/Good/Law/Chaos as the baseline.

Now, personally I do so, but I somehow doubt thats the path Wizards will cleave to.

Wizards wants to leave space for people to do their own thing, and so will not tie it to a particular metaphysic that may not hold in all worlds.
 

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