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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Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Basically, I agree with all of this. "Race" and culture and background should be a rich design space, I think. It's already part-way there, and I'm mostly cool with the changes it seems like they'll be making. But to make "races" richer, I think they'll need to think about them very differently. Making them more modular is the only way I can think to do that, but that makes them more complicated. I don't have a solution, but it's something I think about, and I look forward to seeing how they handle it.
Just talking off the top of my head, but it could also be possible for each race to have features that come out at certain character levels, a bit conceptually (though likely not mechanically) like the "racial paragon" prestige classes from 3.5. We already have a bit of this where some races get more innate spellcasting at 3rd and 5th level, but imaging if every race, after already being beefed up to be an equal part of character creation at 1st level, also every race had booster at set later levels.

Okay, probably poorly balanced options, but just off the top of my head for an example. Humans might get expertise at 6th and an extra feat at 10th, and a third save at 16th, while the Goliath at 6th can spend a HD when they trigger Stone's Endurance, go up to size Large at 10th but lose Powerful Build, and at 16th they get Reliable Talent for STR and CON checks.
 

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HammerMan

Legend
Things a person likes being harmful does not mean the people who like them are harmful or bad people. The problem arises when they make the thing so big a part of their identity that it blinds them to the actual issues at hand because they are so set on defending 'themselves' from 'attack' rather than accept the truth that sometimes we like things that aren't perfect or even all that great.
or, and just go with me, we can improve things without trash talking people still alive and playing right next to us...
I liked a lot of people who have sense shown themselves to be just absolute garbage human beings (now that I think about it, almost inevitable if you liked sitcoms in the 90's). I just don't throw myself to their defense because I'm worried that liking their work somehow makes me bad.
Okay, but I also don't think you foster a positive conversation if you lead the way calling the 90's the dark ages.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Uh... you use the book you currently own rather than this new one if/when it comes out?
From the sounds of it, that's not an option for those using D&D Beyond as their point of reference.

It'll be interesting to see, after 10-20 years or so, whether there's been any real spike in aftermarket/collector pricing for the original versions of these books vs the errataed versions.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
or, and just go with me, we can improve things without trash talking people still alive and playing right next to us...
The point is, saying a certain thing is bad is not the same as trash talking its fans.
Okay, but I also don't think you foster a positive conversation if you lead the way calling the 90's the dark ages.
In a number of media including RPGs, they were literally the age where dark and gritty and purposefully and proudly culturally insensitive ran wild and free.

I know; I was there. It was a bad time.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
From the sounds of it, that's not an option for those using D&D Beyond as their point of reference.

It'll be interesting to see, after 10-20 years or so, whether there's been any real spike in aftermarket/collector pricing for the original versions of these books vs the errataed versions.
My wife thought exactly the same thing when I told her about this!
 

We're potentially on the cusp of that. Critical Role is getting long in the tooth and slowing down production, doing 3/4 weeks instead of their normal 4/4. WotC is in the process of an edition change / revision which will be the first time the majority of current players have gone through an edition chance / revision. They change too much and the fan base fractures again; they don't change enough and they potentially lose fans to boredom or system complaints. WotC has the numbers and they aren't sharing much of the finer details. We know the demographics of the game is wildly skewed younger and so that's the dollars the company is chasing. I think that's fundamentally a different stance than the Satanic Panic and D&D being under attack. The results might end up basically the same. We don't know yet.

So, from here, the only way to go is down.
And the end result of that "think of the children" period was the near-demise of the game.

Trying to market D&D to kids, while perhaps good for sales, IMO doesn't make the game any better at all.

Indeed. Let's hope the repeat pattern doesn't continue much longer, though, else we'll be into mid-90's TSR flounderings all over again and I think we can all do without that. :)
I don't think TSR's problems in the 90s primarily had to do with changes to the game, it was more the business strategy. I'm under the impression that their products sold well, but they had no coherent product line strategy, printed too many copies of certain products and too many products overall, and that things like boxed sets with full color maps were expensive to produce. That being said rival products were able to market themselves as "mature" and "edgy" compared to dnd (e.g. Vampire). But I think that had more to do with people tiring of traditional fantasy?

As for 5e, given that an errata has produced 24 pages of discussion, I'm not too concerned about their popularity. :p The bigger "worry" is that wotc won't be able to keep up their tremendous growth and profits, leading to investors getting upset and demanding drastic changes.
 

pukunui

Legend
Question about the Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan map. The TftYP errata says they've improved the readability of the map and provides a download link. I've compared this supposed new version to the one I've already got and it doesn't look any different at all. I wonder if they've uploaded the wrong map as the "fixed" one. Anyone else notice?
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
It'll be interesting to see, after 10-20 years or so, whether there's been any real spike in aftermarket/collector pricing for the original versions of these books vs the errataed versions.
That is a function of scarcity, which I doubt is going to be a thing for books that were reprinted over nearly a decade.
 


Faolyn

(she/her)
it is an oddiity.... I never said it was a breaking point... it is an odd prudish thing to do and it helps foster anti sexworker mindsets... but no, it isn't going to stop me from buying 5.5/6/anniversary edition
How does not mentioning a brothel foster anti-sexworker mindsets? The books probably don't mention mah jongg rooms either but that doesn't mean people are going to read it and say "hey, this book is against mah jongg!"
 

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