D&D 5E Sell me on 5th…

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
4e had inherently evil demonic gnolls from the start as well but gave PC options fairly early on in dragon.

5e Orcs originally leaned hard into being inherently evil from Gruumsh's influence too which carried over to Half-Orcs in the PH descriptions but they gave us PC options in Volos for full Orcs. It seems a bit of an odd exception to keep gnolls as the one classic WotC humanoid non-PC option.

I have 3rd party Midgard 5e stuff for gnoll stats if I want civilized Hamunaptra style gnolls, it is just an odd gap for WotC, particularly with Eberron gnolls having broken their demonic ties.
I might quibble about gnolls being demonic in 4e, but that edition certainly played up their worship of Yeenoghu and attributed to them a savage, unrelenting brutality. 5e pushed that narrative even farther by making them literal demonic creations - basically uplifted hyenas.

And yeah, all of this is a pretty weird exception to WotC's treatment of other humanoids these days.
 

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Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
4e had inherently evil demonic gnolls from the start as well but gave PC options fairly early on in dragon.

5e Orcs originally leaned hard into being inherently evil from Gruumsh's influence too which carried over to Half-Orcs in the PH descriptions but they gave us PC options in Volos for full Orcs. It seems a bit of an odd exception to keep gnolls as the one classic WotC humanoid non-PC option.

I have 3rd party Midgard 5e stuff for gnoll stats if I want civilized Hamunaptra style gnolls, it is just an odd gap for WotC, particularly with Eberron gnolls having broken their demonic ties.
Level Up has PC gnolls too, in Adventures in Zeitgeist.
 

Voadam

Legend
I might quibble about gnolls being demonic in 4e, but that edition certainly played up their worship of Yeenoghu and attributed to them a savage, unrelenting brutality. 5e pushed that narrative even farther by making them literal demonic creations - basically uplifted hyenas.

And yeah, all of this is a pretty weird exception to WotC's treatment of other humanoids these days.
Its debatable as they are described in some places only as demon worshipping mortal instruments touched by him and not directly demons themselves. But there is 4e lore on Yeenoghu's influence on the entire race and there are a bunch of demonic gnoll monster entries.

The 4e MM "As the mortal instruments of the demon lord Yeenoghu, who is called the Beast of Butchery and Ruler of Ruin, gnolls constantly perform atrocities. When not scouring the land in Yeenoghu’s name, gnolls fight among themselves and participate in rituals that involve acts of depravity and self-mutilation."

From Dragon 364: "The Beast of Butchery was not always worshiped by the gnolls, for long ago these disparate tribes paid homage to a now almost forgotten god named Gorellik, their maker and the patron of hunting, beasts, and the wild. After murdering Gorellik during the ancient wars between the primordials and the gods, Yeenoghu absorbed the fallen god’s essence and laid claim to his children, forever after staining the race with his own foul corruption."

Dragon 367: "Gnoll legends trace the origin of their species to the demon prince Yeenoghu. Known as the Beast of Butchery and Ruler of Ruin, Yeenoghu sought to spread his hand across the mortal world by creating an army that would sow discord and terror across civilized lands. His demons numbered too few and could not remain in the mortal world indefinitely. But Yeenoghu took a few of his mightiest and most savage demons and fed them to a pack of mortal hyenas. The essence of the demons fused with the animals, and their children were the first of the gnolls—fierce humanoid creatures combining the traits of cunning hyena and vicious fiend. Yeenoghu charged the gnolls to spread horror in his name, bathing the lands in blood and bringing suffering to all things unfortunate enough to cross paths with the Children of Yeenoghu. Through this butchery, they earn a place of honor in the domain of the demon prince.
This is the tale gnoll mothers tell their pups and the story the scourge uses to exhort his troops. Whether it is truth or mere legend, it is easy to see the inspiration for the myth. A gnoll looks much like a humanoid hyena and shares many traits with the animal, including its haunting laughter. And the strength and savagery of these creatures is enough to suggest demonic blood; the typical gnoll band strikes without fear or mercy, tearing into enemies with the fury of fiends incarnate."
 


Voadam

Legend
The gnoll mythos would go a lot better if there was at least a group noted as trying to fix it, even if they failed.
4e had some of that to be not monolithic.

Dragon 367: "Gnolls agree that Yeenoghu crafted their race from demon and beast. But not all gnolls worship the Beast of Butchery. Though the fury of the fiend runs through the blood of the gnoll, some reject this demonic heritage and find solace in the spirit of the hyena that lies within them."

This made these groups typically culturally unaligned hunters instead of CE maruaders.
 

Yaarel

He Mage
@Dannyalcatraz

I suspect 2024 will be amazing for customizing a character concept.

• Species (possibly mixing any two species or more)
• Background (design it yourself for any concept)
• Background Feat (including for mundane, magic, class, and species options)
• Class
• Subclass
• Higher Feats
• Thematic alteration of spell effects (Tashas)
 

@Dannyalcatraz

I suspect 2024 will be amazing for customizing a character concept.

• Species (possibly mixing any two species or more)
• Background (design it yourself for any concept)
• Background Feat (including for mundane, magic, class, and species options)
• Class
• Subclass
• Higher Feats
• Thematic alteration of spell effects (Tashas)
5e is surprisingly versatile already - like I say 70% of the range of 3.5 for 30% of the effort

But what it will not do more than once in a blue moon is give you the meta-satisfaction of snapping together off-beat builds. It's designed to smooth out rather than amplify the effect of system mastery. And for all I enjoy system mastery I think the game at the table is better that way - and I can play other games away from the table
 


Yaarel

He Mage
5e is surprisingly versatile already - like I say 70% of the range of 3.5 for 30% of the effort

But what it will not do more than once in a blue moon is give you the meta-satisfaction of snapping together off-beat builds. It's designed to smooth out rather than amplify the effect of system mastery. And for all I enjoy system mastery I think the game at the table is better that way - and I can play other games away from the table
Yeah, 5e tries to minimize system mastery. It especially eliminates breakingly powerful options and combos. There is still need for mastery to avoid the many subpar options, tho even with these it is difficult to make an unplayable character. The playtests show an interest in beefing up some of the subpar options to make them more on par. Which is great for customization. When picking offbeat options for flavor, they need to be effective too.

When customizing a character, the player needs to have whatever concept in mind − and then find mechanics that can actualize the concept during the game. I feel 2024 will do even better here. The 2024 background will be an enormous amount of game design space − and the player has total control over most of it.
 

Voadam

Legend
Background (design it yourself for any concept)
5e already has that as a core option.

PH page 125:

CUSTOMIZING A BACKGROUND
You might want to tweak some of the features of a background so it better fits your character or the campaign setting. To customize a background, you can replace one feature with any other one, choose any two skills, and choose a total of two tool proficiencies or languages from the sample backgrounds. You can either use the equipment package from your background or spend coin on gear as described in chapter 5. (If you spend coin, you can't also take the equipment package suggested for your class.) Finally, choose two personality traits, one ideal, one bond, and one flaw. If you can't find a feature that matches your desired background, work with your DM to create one.

PCs in my games have done custom backgrounds like administrative secretary, gravedigger, and archaeologist.
 

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