D&D General When Did Core PC Races Gain Magic?

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
In 5E, High Elves get cantrips, Tieflings get spells, and other races/sub-races get magical spells/effects/powers, and it got me wondering:

When (what edition) did playable PC core races get magic as part of their race?

Now, I know Drow in Unearthed Arcana in AD&D kept their innate spell use for a number of spells usable 1/day; but that wasn't until Unearthed Arcana was released and even then the only race.

So, when did it become more commonplace for PC core races to get magic? I never played much 3E and no 4E, so I figured it might have been before 5E. Anyone know?
 

log in or register to remove this ad

the Jester

Legend
1e Unearthed Arcana svirfneblin also had innate magic- they could summon elementals at high enough levels. I think. It has been a looong time since I cracked open my UA and it isn't handy at the moment.

Other than that, I think the first time a core race got innate spells was probably 5e. I think maybe half-elves in 4e got a power from a different class or something? Can't remember, only DMed 4e and didn't actually play it as a player. But if that's correct, they could have started with a spell at first level.
 




DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
1e Unearthed Arcana svirfneblin also had innate magic- they could summon elementals at high enough levels. I think. It has been a looong time since I cracked open my UA and it isn't handy at the moment.
Yep. I had forgotten about deep gnomes. It was at 6th level, they also had blur, blindness, etc. as well even at 1st level.

Oh yeah, that goes back to 1e! So depending on whether you count it, there you go.
Hmm... speaking with select mammals (not all animals like the spell) would be questionable for myself, but I probably wouldn't count it. Unearthed Arcana's Drow and Deep Gnomes definitely count, however.

Still, it seems like by comparison in 5E you have quite a bit more magic use by races, so I was curious if it was a 5E think or something that carried over from 3E or 4E?
 

Stormonu

Legend
Hmm... speaking with select mammals (not all animals like the spell) would be questionable for myself, but I probably wouldn't count it. Unearthed Arcana's Drow and Deep Gnomes definitely count, however.

Still, it seems like by comparison in 5E you have quite a bit more magic use by races, so I was curious if it was a 5E think or something that carried over from 3E or 4E?
I'd count it, as Speak With Animals, limited to burrowing mammals. That's a common theme throughout D&D, especially with elementally tied races - "works like this spell, but limited in this way (usually by element)".

2E Planescape I believe had a couple, as that was where we got the first appearance of tiefling, aasimar and if I recall correctly, genasi.

Races with spells (or spell-like abilities) tends to start appearing more often in 3E (and definately by Savage Species), especially late 3.5E in the Complete Races series.

In 4E, there were Eladrin who could teleport, that's coded as misty step in 5E, plus tieflings and a host of other races with supernatural backgrounds/abilities.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Limited innate spellcasting has been a thing for as long as I’ve played D&D, so at least 3.5e. It does seem like such race features have gotten more common with every edition though. In 3.5 there were a few races that could innately cast a spell or two once a day, and often they came with level adjustments. In 4e, most races had a unique Encounter Power, which were not spells as such, but functioned similarly enough. In 5e, a lot of those same abilities got translated into spells that a race could cast once and recovered on a short rest, and as we’ve seen, such abilities are now starting to get updated to Prof. times between long rests, and being usable with any spell slots you get from your class.

I’ll add that I don’t really recall many races granting free cantrips prior to 5e, but that seems fairly common now too.
 



Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top