D&D 5E Recent Errata clarifications

pukunui

Legend
The D&D Studio Blog / Sage Advice article with the most recent errata has been updated to include some clarifications by Ray Winninger. Here is his piece in full:

CLARIFYING OUR RECENT ERRATA

Updated 12/16/21 by Ray Winninger

We recently released a set of errata documents cataloging the corrections and changes we’ve made in recent reprints of various titles. I thought I’d provide some additional context on some of these changes and why we made them.

First, I urge all of you to read the errata documents for yourselves. A lot of assertions about the errata we’ve noticed in various online discussions aren’t accurate. (For example, we haven’t decided that beholders and mind flayers are no longer evil.)

We make text corrections for many reasons, but there are a few themes running through this latest batch of corrections worth highlighting.

1) The Multiverse: I’ve previously noted that new setting products are a major area of focus for the Studio going forward. As part of that effort, our reminders that D&D supports not just The Forgotten Realms but a multitude of worlds are getting more explicit. Since the nature of creatures and cultures vary from world to world, we’re being extra careful about making authoritative statements about such things without providing appropriate context. If we’re discussing orcs, for instance, it’s important to note which orcs we’re talking about. The orcs of Greyhawk are quite different from the orcs you’ll find in Eberron, for instance, just as an orc settlement on the Sword Coast may exhibit a very different culture than another orc settlement located on the other side of Faerûn. This addresses corrections like the blanket disclaimer added to p.5 of VOLO’S GUIDE.

2) Alignment: The only real changes related to alignment were removing the suggested alignments previously assigned to playable races in the PHB and elsewhere (“most dwarves are lawful;” “most halflings are lawful good”). We stopped providing such suggestions for new playable races some time ago. Since every player character is a unique individual, we no longer feel that such guidance is useful or appropriate. Whether or not most halflings are lawful good has no bearing on your halfling and who you want to be. After all, the most memorable and interesting characters often explicitly subvert expectations and stereotypes. And again, it’s impossible to say something like “most halflings are lawful good” without clarifying which halflings we’re talking about. (It’s probably not true that most Athasian halflings are lawful good.) These changes were foreshadowed in an earlier blog post and impact only the guidance provided during character creation; they are not reflective of any changes to our settings or the associated lore.

3) Creature Personalities: We also removed a couple paragraphs suggesting that all mind flayers or all beholders (for instance) share a single, stock personality. We’ve long advised DMs that one way to make adventures and campaigns more memorable is to populate them with unique and interesting characters. These paragraphs stood in conflict with that advice. We didn’t alter the essential natures of these creatures or how they fit into our settings at all. (Mind flayers still devour the brains of humanoids, and yes, that means they tend to be evil.)

The through-line that connects these three themes is our renewed commitment to encouraging DMs and players to create whatever worlds and characters they can imagine.

Happy holidays and happy gaming.
I, for one, appreciate that Ray has made this clarification. This is precisely what I was hoping for.
 
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Staffan

Legend
But... Athasian Halflings are the Goodest and most Lawfully halflings of all!
I smell some sarcasm, but the OG Dark Sun boxed set portrayed an interesting duality to them. They were really strongly community-minded within their own tribes, and went to great length to settle inter-tribal differences peacefully, and harming (and especially eating) other halflings was a major taboo. It was only non-halfling intruders to their lands they would eat. And any halfling that was part of such an intrusion was expected to be a prisoner of some sort which should be rescued, not harmed (regardless of how much they'd protest they were there of their own free will – they're probably mind-controlled or something).

That kind of thing is pretty hard to fit into the D&D alignment system.
 





WAIT!!! He said mind flayers tend to be evil. That means not all of them are evil.

My world is crashing down on me. 40 of the best years of my life given to this hobby, and they turn and stab me in the back.

You never met a vegetarian Mind Flayer? Or the ones that survive on Impossible Brains™? ;)

But on a serious note, if some vampires, depending on setting, can survive on the blood of non-sentient creatures, why can't some Mind Flayers do the same with non-sentient brains? Those rare few could at least be played a Neutral.
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
WAIT!!! He said mind flayers tend to be evil. That means not all of them are evil.

My world is crashing down on me. 40 of the best years of my life given to this hobby, and they turn and stab me in the back.

What’s next, druids in metal armor?
I mean, with the Gnome Ceremorphs from Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden (which you can see as my new-ish profile picture), it's kind of canon now that Mind Flayers don't have to always be evil.
 

Kurotowa

Legend
WAIT!!! He said mind flayers tend to be evil. That means not all of them are evil.
I am totally down for the rare mind flayer on the run from the elder brains who's forsworn eating sentient brains and subsists on a specially cultivated magical fungus instead. Most don't because the fungus is like a cheap soy-meat brain substitute that's almost unpalatable, but the option exists for ones who want to take a hard principled stand and co-exist with humanoids. Of course, the ones that do aren't exactly popular. Humanoids find them disturbingly alien even without the threat of eating brains, and most still have a relaxed attitude about telepathic intrusion and mind control. Many of these lone exiles end up in shadowy lines of work, either for criminal organizations or government spy agencies.
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester (he/him)
I am totally down for the rare mind flayer on the run from the elder brains who's forsworn eating sentient brains and subsists on a specially cultivated magical fungus instead. Most don't because the fungus is like a cheap soy-meat brain substitute that's almost unpalatable, but the option exists for ones who want to take a hard principled stand and co-exist with humanoids. Of course, the ones that do aren't exactly popular. Humanoids find them disturbingly alien even without the threat of eating brains, and most still have a relaxed attitude about telepathic intrusion and mind control. Many of these lone exiles end up in shadowy lines of work, either for criminal organizations or government spy agencies.
Wasn't there like one Yeerk in Animorphs that was like that and swore off possessing people's brains and enslaving them? I think they eventually gave it morphing power and then forced it to be trapped in the body of a whale or something lest that morphing ability was used against it. So the one good Yeerk could live free.

It would be like that.
 

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