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

Status
Not open for further replies.
E987FCF6-1386-4E95-9272-C02BF782C442.jpeg


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.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

log in or register to remove this ad

JEB

Legend
In the section on the Abyss, they changed one entry in the table from "Mad Ambition" to "Overwhelming Ambition".
Wonder if we'll see "Dungeon of the Mad Mage" get a rename, too. (Perhaps not "Dungeon of the Overwhelming Mage", though.)

Former employees of WotC have commented that the higher ups actively push mechanics into every single product they can because mechanics sell more books.
Sounds like a strategy going forward for sourcebooks could be more and more new more mechanics (because mechanics sell books) and less and less defined lore (because it's easier to remove potentially problematic lore than to fix it). Sounds kind of like... all the D&D books I tended to skip over in previous editions. (The 4E Monster Manual was what unsold me on 4E, for example; Monster Vault came along too late to pull me back.)

If something like that is the strategy for the future of 5E, should be an interesting test of the execs' theory. I'm a bit skeptical that any game can sustain its sales mainly on new mechanics, though...
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Li Shenron

Legend
Interesting that they are still making PHB technical changes after all these years... I am referring here to those couple of "nonmagical weapon" replaced by "nonmagical attack" and the Find Familiar changes.

Alignment-related changes are part of the general shift. Frankly I don't mind it one way or another, as usual it is up to the DMs to decide the alignment nature of creatures (individually and as a group) in their fantasy world, so it won't bother me if alignment sections are missing from new books while my copy of Volo's will still have them.

One change though seems overly callous to me: the removal of the "cultural alternations" paragraph from DMG. The way I read it, that paragraph is actually about your own freedom to vary the standard races (and doesn't even mention alignment, just other stuff) and I think this kind of freedom actually goes together with ending the alignment suggestions.
 

pukunui

Legend
One change though seems overly callous to me: the removal of the "cultural alternations" paragraph from DMG. The way I read it, that paragraph is actually about your own freedom to vary the standard races (and doesn't even mention alignment, just other stuff) and I think this kind of freedom actually goes together with ending the alignment suggestions.
I suspect the reason they got rid of that part is because it’s in the “creating a new race” section, and they’re trying to separate innate racial features from learned cultural traits.
 

JEB

Legend
One change though seems overly callous to me: the removal of the "cultural alternations" paragraph from DMG. The way I read it, that paragraph is actually about your own freedom to vary the standard races (and doesn't even mention alignment, just other stuff) and I think this kind of freedom actually goes together with ending the alignment suggestions.
Just noticed that myself. In addition to the excellent point you mention, it really makes me wonder how much support they plan to provide to DMs for designing cultures (for all races). Note they're not modifying this section, it's going away entirely. Taking away tools to inspire DMs to create unique cultures is going to discourage diversity, and encourage flat, stereotypical portrayals...
 

Just noticed that myself. In addition to the excellent point you mention, it really makes me wonder how much support they plan to provide to DMs for designing cultures (for all races). Note they're not modifying this section, it's going away entirely. Taking away tools to inspire DMs to create unique cultures is going to discourage diversity, and encourage flat, stereotypical portrayals...
It's redundant. Since DMs are no longer being told: "this is how it is" there is no need to tell them "but you can do it differently".
 

JEB

Legend
It's redundant. Since DMs are not being told: "this is how it is" there is no need to tell them "but you can do it differently".
Ha, guess that works out pretty well for Wizards, doesn't it? Now, when novice DMs rely on pop culture and memes to fill in the void for NPC behavior, and present elves and dwarves and goblins and orcs that are ten times more stereotypical than what D&D had in 2014, at least their hands are clean!
 

Ha, guess that works out pretty well for Wizards, doesn't it? Now, when novice DMs rely on pop culture and memes to fill in the void for NPC behavior, and present elves and dwarves and goblins and orcs that are ten times more stereotypical than what D&D had in 2014, at least their hands are clean!
It what we always did.
 

JEB

Legend
Errata for the following books, in PDF.

Curse of Strahd
Dungeon Master’s Guide
Player’s Handbook
Storm King’s Thunder
Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide
Tales from the Yawning Portal
Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything
Tomb of Annihilation
Volo’s Guide to Monsters
Interestingly missing from this list are Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes and Xanathar's Guide to Everything, which - like Volo's and Tasha's - are represented - partly and in full, respectively - in the upcoming Rules Expansion Gift Set. I wonder if we'll see errata for both by the end of the year, or if somehow they didn't merit the same sorts of changes. (I could buy that with Xanathar's, but not with Mordenkainen's.)
 


Alby87

Explorer
Maybe they will release a Forgotten Realms "something" setting (book, boxed or new kind of thing) that can scale based on sensitivity of the reader? For example, checkboxes on "mad", "cannibalism" and other sensible arguments. The base Volo's Book is for everyone, then you can adjust the cruent details based on some variable thing? (like adictional PDFs, D&D Beyond/WotcVTT texts, etc?)
 



So here's some excerpts from the current 5E Monster Manual description of the beholder:

One glance at a beholder is enough to assess its foul and otherworldly nature. Aggressive, hateful, and greedy, these aberrations dismiss all other creatures as lesser beings, toying with them or destroying them as they choose.
The disdain a beholder has for other creatures extends to other beholders. Each beholder believes its form to be an ideal, and that any deviation from that form is a flaw in the racial purity of its kind.
As alien as their creator, the rooms in a beholder's lair reflect the creature's arrogance. A beholder judges its own worth by its acquisitions, and it never willingly parts with its treasures.

I had naively assumed that changes to monster lore would be limited to the most humanoid ones and not include creatures like beholder and mind flayers, but now I'm wondering based on the removal of the "roleplaying Beholders" paragraphs in Volo's how they're planning to revise the beholder's description to deemphasize or remove traits such as these.
 

pukunui

Legend
I had naively assumed that changes to monster lore would be limited to the most humanoid ones and not include creatures like beholder and mind flayers, but now I'm wondering based on the removal of the "roleplaying Beholders" paragraphs in Volo's how they're planning to revise the beholder's description to deemphasize or remove traits such as these.
Yeah, I have to admit, I don't really understand the thinking behind some of the Volo's changes.

Beholders: The three paragraphs in the "Roleplaying a Beholder" section are useful. What does getting rid of that stuff and replacing it with "the following tables can be used for inspiration" really achieve?

Giants: Likewise, what does removing the section detailing how fire giants will sometimes ransom back their captives/slaves achieve? It can't be to make it so fire giants aren't slavers, because they haven't touched the preceding section entitled "Slaves: Lavor-saving Devices". Is it because it mentions that wealthier prisoners are more likely to be ransomed than poor ones?

Gnolls: Further, why remove the paragraphs on how to roleplay gnolls when it's clear they aren't changing their lore on gnolls? If anything, they're doubling down on making it so gnolls aren't a playable race by suggesting they'll change them to fiends instead of humanoids.

Kobolds: While I can understand removing the text on roleplaying kobolds, since they are a playable race, I think it would still be useful to leave it in there and just say "This is how NPC kobolds tend to behave. PC kobolds are exceptional and don't have to conform to this behavior." Or words to that effect.

Mind Flayers: Why remove the statement that mind flayers are inhuman monsters, etc etc. Why not just add the "use the following tables as inspiration" bit as an extra paragraph instead of a replacement one?

Orcs: I totally get why they've removed the "Orcs as Underlings" sidebar, the text under "Roleplaying an Orc", and the section on half-orcs since they're completely rewriting them not to be slavishly evil and barely capable of empathy, etc. This is fine.

Yuan-ti: I do not understand why they felt it was necessary to cut so much out of this entry. Yuan-ti are meant to be inhuman horrors. Is there some sort of racist language here that I'm just not seeing?
 

TheSword

Legend
I’m really conflicted on this issue. On one hand I just see this as the inevitable overlappping of a family brand, multiple writers, 30 years of products and twitter. Those things were never gonna play well together. The sanitizing of language to be less provocative was always going to happen.

Some of the changes do feel a bit bizarre. Like the removal of the sections on mind flayers and beholders. I honestly can’t see the gain at all. Particularly as the following tables are filled with a examples of evil and madness. Unless it’s just an attempt to be less prescriptive. I suspect the whole writing style of Volo’s guide was seen as too prescriptive. I’m just not sure errata is a good solution to that.

The rest of the stuff though, like PC races having no default alignment is a bit of a no-brainer. I’m struggling to see how that is particularly dramatic or controversial.

All and all, ‘who cares’ would be my answer. I’m not sure D&D will feel any different after these changes. Arguing that it is a step change in WOC’s approach seems a bit hyperbolic whichever side of the fence you’re sitting on.

I personally enjoy the way Lizardfolk are treated. Neutral and full of good and bad characters, but with the Lizardking/queen offshoot that is more aggressive, domineering and powerful. Those figures lead lizardfolk tribes to violence and aggression. I’m about to run Encounter at Blackwall Keep and it makes the lizardfolk dynamic far more interesting. I’m perfectly fine with the same applying to Priestesses of Lolth, and Priests of Grummsh fulfilling the same role.
 
Last edited:

Yeah, I have to admit, I don't really understand the thinking behind some of the Volo's changes.

Beholders: The three paragraphs in the "Roleplaying a Beholder" section are useful. What does getting rid of that stuff and replacing it with "the following tables can be used for inspiration" really achieve?

Giants: Likewise, what does removing the section detailing how fire giants will sometimes ransom back their captives/slaves achieve? It can't be to make it so fire giants aren't slavers, because they haven't touched the preceding section entitled "Slaves: Lavor-saving Devices". Is it because it mentions that wealthier prisoners are more likely to be ransomed than poor ones?

Gnolls: Further, why remove the paragraphs on how to roleplay gnolls when it's clear they aren't changing their lore on gnolls? If anything, they're doubling down on making it so gnolls aren't a playable race by suggesting they'll change them to fiends instead of humanoids.

Kobolds: While I can understand removing the text on roleplaying kobolds, since they are a playable race, I think it would still be useful to leave it in there and just say "This is how NPC kobolds tend to behave. PC kobolds are exceptional and don't have to conform to this behavior." Or words to that effect.

Mind Flayers: Why remove the statement that mind flayers are inhuman monsters, etc etc. Why not just add the "use the following tables as inspiration" bit as an extra paragraph instead of a replacement one?

Orcs: I totally get why they've removed the "Orcs as Underlings" sidebar, the text under "Roleplaying an Orc", and the section on half-orcs since they're completely rewriting them not to be slavishly evil and barely capable of empathy, etc. This is fine.

Yuan-ti: I do not understand why they felt it was necessary to cut so much out of this entry. Yuan-ti are meant to be inhuman horrors. Is there some sort of racist language here that I'm just not seeing?
These changes are not about racism, it's about removing things that might be too disturbing for a 10 year old reader (or, more importantly, their parents).
 


Yeah, I have to admit, I don't really understand the thinking behind some of the Volo's changes.

Beholders: The three paragraphs in the "Roleplaying a Beholder" section are useful. What does getting rid of that stuff and replacing it with "the following tables can be used for inspiration" really achieve?

Giants: Likewise, what does removing the section detailing how fire giants will sometimes ransom back their captives/slaves achieve? It can't be to make it so fire giants aren't slavers, because they haven't touched the preceding section entitled "Slaves: Lavor-saving Devices". Is it because it mentions that wealthier prisoners are more likely to be ransomed than poor ones?

Gnolls: Further, why remove the paragraphs on how to roleplay gnolls when it's clear they aren't changing their lore on gnolls? If anything, they're doubling down on making it so gnolls aren't a playable race by suggesting they'll change them to fiends instead of humanoids.

Kobolds: While I can understand removing the text on roleplaying kobolds, since they are a playable race, I think it would still be useful to leave it in there and just say "This is how NPC kobolds tend to behave. PC kobolds are exceptional and don't have to conform to this behavior." Or words to that effect.

Mind Flayers: Why remove the statement that mind flayers are inhuman monsters, etc etc. Why not just add the "use the following tables as inspiration" bit as an extra paragraph instead of a replacement one?

Orcs: I totally get why they've removed the "Orcs as Underlings" sidebar, the text under "Roleplaying an Orc", and the section on half-orcs since they're completely rewriting them not to be slavishly evil and barely capable of empathy, etc. This is fine.

Yuan-ti: I do not understand why they felt it was necessary to cut so much out of this entry. Yuan-ti are meant to be inhuman horrors. Is there some sort of racist language here that I'm just not seeing?
mind flayer playable race?

yuan-ti aside from the cool snake bits do have influences of mesoamerican and even Asian influences if you look back over them so maybe that personally I just say make them the logical endpoint of cobra from gi joe as that would both be evil and inoffensive.
 


Bagpuss

Hero
These changes are not about racism, it's about removing things that might be too disturbing for a 10 year old reader (or, more importantly, their parents).
Except they remove stuff like..

Paying the Price (p. 26) from the Fire Giants background which is about ransoming slaves they have.

Yet keep all the stuff about having slaves, and feeding the weaker ones to trolls.

What's the logic here? Paying a ransom is negotiating with terrorists/kidnappers so bad, not suitable for 10 year olds, but having slaves and feeding slaves to trolls is fine?

In Volo's just from Chapter 1 they have removed over 1,500 words chiefly roleplaying advice for DMs and replaced it with nothing.

If you get your books through D&D Beyond they are actually going to take that content off you.
 

Status
Not open for further replies.

Visit Our Sponsor

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top