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5E Out of the Abyss PC Races

Werebat

Villager
So I'm about to start the Out of the Abyss campaign. While discussing character generation, one of my players actually said they wanted to play a drow ranger with two scimitars. :erm:

Immediately after, another expressed an interest in a deep gnome, and then another, and then a fourth player wanted to play a myconid.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the assumption for the campaign that the PCs are NOT a group of Underdark races? It looks to me like they're supposed to be surface races trying (at least initially) to ESCAPE the Underdark, and unfamiliar with it, not native locals who know all about the place.

I don't want to limit my players, but I also don't want to regret allowing them to create an all-Underdark party. And I don't even know what the stats for a myconid would be.

One idea I had was to insist that anyone playing an Underdark race take the alternate background ability granting familiarity with Underdark cultures. It might be a slight deterrent that might result in a more mixed party.

What do you think?
 

Affekonig

Villager
Howdy.

I am actually starting that campaign this weekend. The only thing I told my players is that it takes place underground basically trying to hint that a race with dark vision would be most helpful. Other than that I would discourage them from playing strictly underdark races. I think that would take some of the fun away from them trying to play around their limitations.
 

pukunui

Adventurer
Hmm. Personally I would tell the players that Underdark races are off-limits to start with. The initial premise of the adventure is set around the PCs being surface races who've been kidnapped and brought down into the Underdark.

If you allow players to choose Underdark races, it'll take away a lot of the mystery. They'll know how to survive in the Underdark. They'll probably know their way around as well. They'd also probably have a better sense of what was going on in the Underdark.

I suppose you could rule that they're all from far-off Underdark realms and thus aren't familiar with the Darklake region. But even so, I'd be inclined to say no Underdark races to start with. Once the PCs escape from Velkynvelve and make their way to various Underdark locales, however, I think it would be fine to let the players replace dead or recaptured PCs with locals.
 
I think that the opening premise of being captured by the drow could work for surface or Underdark PCs. The Underdark is so vast and unfriendly that the PCs might still be considered out of their element.

There are only two tricky parts that I see. One is the early motivation of trying to escape the Underdark. Since that quickly dovetails into “investigating the demon menace” I think that’s easy enough to manage. Either that or their homelands are somewhere outside the given map – some place northeast, I’d imagine. The second potential issue is the half-way point, where the PCs potentially return to the surface until summoned to Gauntlegrym. Again, not a big deal, you just might need to come up with another section of the Underdark as a safe area.
 

gyor

Adventurer
Duergars in the Underdark are superpowerful, they long rest magic becomes short rests to regain in the Underdark, that means Enlarge and Invisiblity as short rest spells,plus suppior darkvision, and all the basic Dwarven goodies.
 
S

Sunseeker

Guest
I would say anything goes as long as the background of the player is not in alignment with demons or the drow.

However, I wouldn't allow anything that hasn't explicitly been written as a playable race in any of the official books. So I'd at least nix myconid.
 

Pjack

Explorer
Quick fix: Let them play underdark races if they like, but make sure they have a backstory that explains why they've been living on the surface world and why they're eager to return there. Drow, duergar, and deep gnomes are rare on the surface world, but not unheard of. Maybe they're prisoners of the drow because an old enemy arranged for them to be kidnapped & returned to the underdark...

Duergar, by the way, are apparently a playable race in the new Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. I think a myconid PC could give you problems, though. Maybe a character who has really deep ties with the myconids. Or maybe a Warlock who made a pact with that gigantic fungus? Just reskin a Fey pact to be mushroom-related...
 

jodyjohnson

Villager
Only one of the captive NPCs in OotA knows their way around. I'm going to have his head explode next week.

Being an Underdark race is no guarantee of knowing your way around.
 
S

Sunseeker

Guest
Duergar, by the way, are apparently a playable race in the new Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. I think a myconid PC could give you problems, though. Maybe a character who has really deep ties with the myconids. Or maybe a Warlock who made a pact with that gigantic fungus? Just reskin a Fey pact to be mushroom-related...
It wouldn't be unreasonable to use the demon-pact with Zug or Jubi, but this might cause problems down the road.

A druid who is fungus themed might work. Could be an interesting twist on a drow druid.
 

Istbor

Explorer
I think it really depends on what your party wants from the campaign Werebat. When I brought up running this adventure, I obviously left out many details but asked if they were okay with the general theme that pervades the Underdark. Usually that consists of alien terrain and cultures, twisted creatures and endless tunnels. The struggle to survive and prevail in an unknown and VERY hostile environment.

My players wanted that, it is how we all grew up understanding the underdark.

Perhaps your group differs, they don't want to overcome foraging for food and finding their way. Learning about 'new' cultures and mastering new languages. If they want to just fight against evil Drow and demonic forces, and not worry about basic survival, I would not try and stop them. It may take some retooling of the adventure however, but that is often times par for the course in D&D I find.
 

SunGold

Villager
Well, you could try what my DM did (I'm playing OotA here on the boards). To paraphrase him, "I'm not going to tell you what to play, but I will tell you that this will be a lot more fun and interesting for you all if you play surface races." So we did.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Selling it as "you'll really only be cheating yourselves" rather than "you can't, because I'm the DM and I said so" was really smart.
 

Cody C. Lewis

Villager
Totally agree with a lot of the suggestions given here; specifically [MENTION=6801670]Istbor[/MENTION] and [MENTION=6801671]itcomeswithamap[/MENTION]

Basically, the point of a setting like this one is that it can be a unique experience. Sell them on it if you believe you can deliver something memorable. The underdark, especially if foreign to both player and characters, can be that change of pace that will get your group's juices going.

So just be honest with them. "Guys I really think this can be amazing and am afraid that a bunch of characters that are familiar with the setting might take away some of the fun. But ultimately play what you want."
 

Werebat

Villager
Maybe a character who has really deep ties with the myconids. Or maybe a Warlock who made a pact with that gigantic fungus? Just reskin a Fey pact to be mushroom-related...
Tell me more about this gigantic fungus... The one Zuggt is fixing to marry? Would it have a reason to want the party to prevent that from happening? I haven't read that section yet. As it turns out, one of the players wants to play a Warlock with the Fey pact and was actually talking about having a pact with some kind of spore mushroom thing (this was a half baked idea of his, but if it would WORK...)
 

Celtavian

Dragon Lord
Half my group are drow. It hasn't caused any alterations in the adventure. Underdark races fit fine into Out of the Abyss. In fact, I find it more interesting because I can use them as a replacement for a prisoner to deliver information an Underdark denizen may know such as the various places the PCs can choose to travel to. I would let the players play the races they feel like playing. They don't often get to play a drow or duergar and have it be appropriate to the environment. I'd let them have fun playing one now that they're in a place where they don't have to justify the reason why they're there.

I do not think it makes it any less interesting to play an Underdark race. The environment is still strange for the players. I think it would be exceptionally fun for a player that's always wanted to play a denizen of the Underdark in the Underdark because that experience is extremely rare as well.
 
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So I'm about to start the Out of the Abyss campaign. While discussing character generation, one of my players actually said they wanted to play a drow ranger with two scimitars. :erm:

Immediately after, another expressed an interest in a deep gnome, and then another, and then a fourth player wanted to play a myconid.
Did he want to play a Myconid whose hands had been chopped off by the drow ranger, and the deep gnome would be polymorphed into a Hook Horror? :p
 

Pjack

Explorer
It's mostly quiescent, and would be opposed to the "marriage". The pact could come in the form of dreams.
 

Werebat

Villager
It's mostly quiescent, and would be opposed to the "marriage". The pact could come in the form of dreams.
Auramycos? I see a little blurb about it but not much else. I wondered if it would be opposed - most likely. I could see it being a Great One sort of warlock patter as well.

Where can I read more about Auramycos?
 

Pjack

Explorer
Not sure; there's a little detail in the Foetid Wedding chapter, but not much. Just make it weirdly alien. Maybe it encourages its followers to mulch their enemies.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
Hmm. Personally I would tell the players that Underdark races are off-limits to start with. The initial premise of the adventure is set around the PCs being surface races who've been kidnapped and brought down into the Underdark.

If you allow players to choose Underdark races, it'll take away a lot of the mystery. They'll know how to survive in the Underdark. They'll probably know their way around as well. They'd also probably have a better sense of what was going on in the Underdark.

I suppose you could rule that they're all from far-off Underdark realms and thus aren't familiar with the Darklake region. But even so, I'd be inclined to say no Underdark races to start with. Once the PCs escape from Velkynvelve and make their way to various Underdark locales, however, I think it would be fine to let the players replace dead or recaptured PCs with locals.
This is what I would have said had it not already been posted.

I'm quite content I managed to get three out of five players to choose a surface race w/o darkvision.
 
After picking up the SCAG, I suspect that someone is going to want to play a Duergar, but that most will be playing surface races. If so, I’ll admit, I’ll be looking forward to the “halftime” break in the module when they can return to the surface…that disadvantage on attack rolls in sunlight will be a nasty surprise.
 

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