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D&D 5E Witchlight publishes the new official format for player character races.

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Witchlight uses the new official format for player character races. While presenting two new races, the fairy and the harengon, the format frames them within descriptions that appear to now be true for all races.

Most of the format is what we expect from the earlier WotC announcements. But Witchlight confirms some things that raise eyebrows. For example. The format mostly adheres to the Custom Lineage format in Tashas, except: A race no longer needs to be the "humanoid" creature type, where the fairy race is "fey" instead, and any other creature type is possible. Every race will come enjoy a choice of ability scores improvements: either +2 and +1, or three +1s instead. But the Players Handbook races as-is will still remain backwards-compatible. Each setting and even each campaign will determine independently which races are present − and which planes. Inferably, some settings wont include certain Players Handbook races − such as Dark Sun not including gnome, but this setting-dependence or campaign-dependence now seems the general principle rather than Dark Sun being an exception to the rule. Inferably as well, there could be old school settings like Dragonlance that wont have some of the more recent race traditions like Drow or Tiefling in the 5e Players Handbook. Players will choose whatever height and weight they want for their character concept "regardless of race", and enjoy broad control over their physical appearance. The "typical" size of any race is human-like. Thus inferably a Small size is assumed to be like a small human child? If a race has innate magic as a race trait, it will allow the player to choose any mental ability for its spellcasting, whether Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma. Judging by the stats for the fairy race, where Flight by itself is a powerful feat, the equivalent to the darkvision trait appears to be more mechanically satisfying, worth about half of a feat: here equivalent to a cantrip at level 1, a slot 1 spell at level 3 and slot 2 spell at level 5. In sum, the Custom Lineage appears to be the new format for all races, except now the format allows more variety of possibilities.

A race is now: type, size, speed, feat, and a trait (worth about half a feat).

Ability score improvements, alignment, languages, and notably physical appearance, are no longer aspects of race. Instead, these other traits appear to be cultural or unique.

The following are quotes from the Witchlight adventure.



"
RACES

All the characters races presented in the Players Handbook are well suited for this adventure, as are fairies and harengons (both presented below).

If you allow players to create fairy or harengon characters for this adventure, they should assume that their characters are from the same world as the other player characters and have never set foot in the Feywild despite their fey heritage.

Creating Your Character

At 1st level, you choose whether your character is a member of the human race or of a fantastical race. If you select a fantastical race, such as the fairy or the harengon in this section, follow these additional rules during character creation.

ABILTY SCORE INCREASES

When determining your characters ability scores, increase one score by 2 and increase a different score by 1, or increase three different scores by 1. Follow this rule regardless of the method you use to determine the scores, such as rolling or point buy.

The "Quick Build" section for you characters class offers suggestions on which scores to increase. You can follow those suggestions or ignore them, but you cant raise any of your scores above 20.

LANGUAGES

Your character can speak, read, and write Common and one other language that you and your DM agree is appropriate for the character. The Players Handbook offers a list of languages to choose from. The DM is free to modify that list for a campaign.

LIFE SPAN

The typical lifespan of a player character in the D&D multiverse is about a century, assuming the charactr doesnt meet a violent end on an adventure. Members of some races, such as dwarves and elves, can live for centuries. Fairies and harengons, however, have a lifespan of about a century.

HEIGHT AND WEIGHT

Player characters, regardless of race, typically fall into the same ranges of height and weight that humans have in our world. If youd like to determine your characters height or weight randomly, consult the Random Height and Weight table in the Players Handbook, and choose the row in the table that best represents the build you imagine for your character.

CREATURE TYPE

Every creature in D&D, including each player character, has a special tag in the rules that identifies the type of creature they are. Most player characters are of the Humanoid type. A race in this chapter tells you what your characters creature type is.

Heres a list of the games creature types in alphabetical order: Aberration, Beast, Celestial, Construct, Dragon, Elemental, Fey, Fiend, Giant, Humanoid, Monstrosity, Oooze, Plant, Undead.

These types dont have rules themselves, but some rules in the game affect creatures of certain types in different ways. For example, the Cure Wounds spell doesnt work on a Construct or an Undead.

"



"
FAIRY TRAITS

As a fairy, you have the following racial traits.
Creature Type. You are Fey.
Size. You are Small.
Speed. Your walking speed is 30 feet.

Fairy Magic.
• You know the Druidcraft cantrip.
• Starting at 3rd level, you can cast the Faerie Fire spell with this trait.
• Starting at 5th level, you can also cast the Enlarge/Reduce spell with this trait.
• Once you cast Faerie Fire or Enlarge/Reduce with this trait, you cant cast that spell with it again until you finish a long rest. You can also cast either of those spells using any spell slots you have of the appropriate level.
• Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells when you cast them with this trait (choose when you select this race).

Flight. Because of your wings, you have a flying speed equal to your walking speed. You cant use this flying speed if your wearing medium or heavy armor.



FAIRY

The Feywild is home to many fantastic peoples, including fairies. Fairies are a wee folk, but not nearly as much so as their pixie and sprite friends.

The first fairies spoke Elvish, Goblin, or Sylvan, and encounters with humans prompted many of them to learn Common as well.

Infused with the magic of the Feywild, most fairies look like small elves with insectile wings, but each fairy has a special physical characteristic that sets the fairy apart. For your fairy, roll on the Fey Characteristics table or choose an option from it. Youre also free to come up with your own characteristic if none of the suggestions below fit your character.

"



Notice. According to this official race format, the only traits that define a "race" are: type, size, speed, plus a feat and a trait (worth about a half feat).

Things like ability scores, languages, alignment, and even the specific appearance of the character, are no longer part of a race, and now seem "cultural" or uniquely "individual".
 

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Scribe

Hero
even the specific appearance of the character, are no longer part of a race, and now seem "cultural" or uniquely "individual".
Yeah, makes total sense.

Edit: Reading over it again, I'll not purchase this, because of this. :D
 
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Witchlight uses the new official format for player character races. While presenting two new races, the fairy and the harengon, the format frames them within descriptions that appear to now be true for all races.

Most of the format is what we expect from the earlier WotC announcements. But Witchlight confirms some things that raise eyebrows. For example. The format mostly adheres to the Custom Lineage format in Tashas, except: A race no longer needs to be the "humanoid" creature type, where the fairy race is "fey" instead, and any other creature type is possible. Every race will come enjoy a choice of ability scores improvements: either +2 and +1, or three +1s instead. But the Players Handbook races as-is will still remain backwards-compatible. Each setting and even each campaign will determine independently which races are present − and which planes. Inferably, some settings wont include certain Players Handbook races − such as Dark Sun not including gnome, but this setting-dependence or campaign-dependence now seems the general principle rather than Dark Sun being an exception to the rule. Inferably as well, there could be old school settings like Dragonlance that wont have some of the more recent race traditions like Drow or Tiefling in the 5e Players Handbook. Players will choose whatever height and weight they want for their character concept "regardless of race", and enjoy broad control over their physical appearance. The "typical" size of any race is human-like. Thus inferably a Small size is assumed to be like a small human child? If a race has innate magic as a race trait, it will allow the player to choose any mental ability for its spellcasting, whether Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma. Judging by the stats for the fairy race, where Flight by itself is a powerful feat, the equivalent to the darkvision trait appears to be more mechanically satisfying, worth about half of a feat: here equivalent to a cantrip at level 1, a slot 1 spell at level 3 and slot 2 spell at level 5. In sum, the Custom Lineage appears to be the new format for all races, except now the format allows more variety of possibilities.

A race is now: type, size, speed, feat, and a trait (worth about half a feat).

Ability score improvements, alignment, languages, and notably physical appearance, are no longer aspects of race. Instead, these other traits appear to be cultural or unique.

The following are quotes from the Witchlight adventure.



"
RACES

All the characters races presented in the Players Handbook are well suited for this adventure, as are fairies and harengons (both presented below).

If you allow players to create fairy or harengon characters for this adventure, they should assume that their characters are from the same world as the other player characters and have never set foot in the Feywild despite their fey heritage.

Creating Your Character

At 1st level, you choose whether your character is a member of the human race or of a fantastical race. If you select a fantastical race, such as the fairy or the harengon in this section, follow these additional rules during character creation.

ABILTY SCORE INCREASES

When determining your characters ability scores, increase one score by 2 and increase a different score by 1, or increase three different scores by 1. Follow this rule regardless of the method you use to determine the scores, such as rolling or point buy.

The "Quick Build" section for you characters class offers suggestions on which scores to increase. You can follow those suggestions or ignore them, but you cant raise any of your scores above 20.

LANGUAGES

Your character can speak, read, and write Common and one other language that you and your DM agree is appropriate for the character. The Players Handbook offers a list of languages to choose from. The DM is free to modify that list for a campaign.

LIFE SPAN

The typical lifespan of a player character in the D&D multiverse is about a century, assuming the charactr doesnt meet a violent end on an adventure. Members of some races, such as dwarves and elves, can live for centuries. Fairies and harengons, however, have a lifespan of about a century.

HEIGHT AND WEIGHT

Player characters, regardless of race, typically fall into the same ranges of height and weight that humans have in our world. If youd like to determine your characters height or weight randomly, consult the Random Height and Weight table in the Players Handbook, and choose the row in the table that best represents the build you imagine for your character.

CREATURE TYPE

Every creature in D&D, including each player character, has a special tag in the rules that identifies the type of creature they are. Most player characters are of the Humanoid type. A race in this chapter tells you what your characters creature type is.

Heres a list of the games creature types in alphabetical order: Aberration, Beast, Celestial, Construct, Dragon, Elemental, Fey, Fiend, Giant, Humanoid, Monstrosity, Oooze, Plant, Undead.

These types dont have rules themselves, but some rules in the game affect creatures of certain types in different ways. For example, the Cure Wounds spell doesnt work on a Construct or an Undead.

"



"
FAIRY TRAITS

As a fairy, you have the following racial traits.
Creature Type. You are Fey.
Size. You are Small.
Speed. Your walking speed is 30 feet.

Fairy Magic.
• You know the Druidcraft cantrip.
• Starting at 3rd level, you can cast the Faerie Fire spell with this trait.
• Starting at 5th level, you can also cast the Enlarge/Reduce spell with this trait.
• Once you cast Faerie Fire or Enlarge/Reduce with this trait, you cant cast that spell with it again until you finish a long rest. You can also cast either of those spells using any spell slots you have of the appropriate level.
• Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells when you cast them with this trait (choose when you select this race).

Flight. Because of your wings, you have a flying speed equal to your walking speed. You cant use this flying speed if your wearing medium or heavy armor.



FAIRY

The Feywild is home to many fantastic peoples, including fairies. Fairies are a wee folk, but not nearly as much so as their pixie and sprite friends.

The first fairies spoke Elvish, Goblin, or Sylvan, and encounters with humans prompted many of them to learn Common as well.

Infused with the magic of the Feywild, most fairies look like small elves with insectile wings, but each fairy has a special physical characteristic that sets the fairy apart. For your fairy, roll on the Fey Characteristics table or choose an option from it. Youre also free to come up with your own characteristic if none of the suggestions below fit your character.

"



Notice. According to this official race format, the only traits that define a "race" are: type, size, speed, plus a feat and a trait (worth about a half feat).

Things like ability scores, languages, alignment, and even the specific appearance of the character, are no longer part of a race, and now seem "cultural" or uniquely "individual".


Flying is worth way more then a feat and the Harengon get a whole bunch of things.
 



Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Yep. An easy way to analyze feats like that is to compare them to what they replicate. A permanent 3rd level spell? That's significantly more powerful than darkvision or existing feats like magic initiate.
not just any spell, fly, one of the best 3rd ed spell there is. If you had say, a feat that gave you permanent speak with dead - it would be a good feat, but most PCs wouldn't take it. But fly? hot damn.
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
Yep. An easy way to analyze feats like that is to compare them to what they replicate. A permanent 3rd level spell? That's significantly more powerful than darkvision or existing feats like magic initiate.
not just any spell, fly, one of the best 3rd ed spell there is. If you had say, a feat that gave you permanent speak with dead - it would be a good feat, but most PCs wouldn't take it. But fly? hot damn.
The thing is, it's not equivalent to a permanent 3rd level spell. Fly lets you cast it on other people and gives you (or them) a fly speed of 60 feet. No race that gets an innate fly speed gets the ability to give other people their fly speed, and their fly speed is also always less than 60 feet. The fastest flying race, the Aarakocra, gets a 50 foot fly speed, and even then they have to get that in exchange for a 25 foot walking speed, and barely any other racial features. (I mean, seriously, Aarakocra get flight, talons, and a couple of languages, and that's it.)

Flight isn't as good of a feature as most people pretend it is, anyway.
 
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Yaarel

Mind Mage
@Henadic Theologian, @Ancalagon, @Sacrosanct, @AcererakTriple6, etal

I agree, the availability of Flight at level 1 is shocking. In my campaigns, this seems overpowered.

Apparently, the designers are intentionally normalizing flight within D&D generally. I suspect future adventures will assume the presence of flight, thus have combat encounters with ranged attacks and exploration encounters with traps that flight cannot bypass.

Flight is such an amazing archetype − from superheroes to Potterverse broomsticks − I look forward to it being a more normal part of D&D even at the lowest tier.

Even if flight becomes more normal, it still seems more powerful than other feats. I suspect it eats into the mechanical value of the additional half-of-a-feat trait, thus resulting in the trait stretching out across five levels before becoming fully available.
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
@Henadic Theologian, @Ancalagon, @Sacrosanct, @AcererakTriple6, etal

I agree, the availability of Flight at level 1 is shocking. In my campaigns, this seems overpowered.

Apparently, the designers are intentionally normalizing flight within D&D generally. I suspect future adventures will assume the presence of flight, thus have combat encounters with ranged attacks and exploration encounters with traps that flight cannot bypass.

Flight is such an amazing archetype − from superheroes to Potterverse broomsticks − I look forward to it being a more normal part of D&D even at the lowest tier.

Even if flight becomes more normal, it still seems more powerful than other feats. I suspect it eats into the mechanical value of the additional half-of-a-feat trait, thus resulting in the trait stretching out across five levels before becoming fully available.
If it were up to me choosing between a Feat that gave flight and Fey Touched, I would choose Fey Touched 9 times out of 10. Flight is good, but it's not gamebreaking in my opinion (nor in my experience), and I'd way rather have Hex/Hunter's Mark and Misty Step for free 1/day, and a mental ASI. The same applies to a ton of feats, like GWM/Sharpshooter, Eldritch Adept, and so on.

It's good. It's useful. However, I disagree with the claim that it's somehow better than every feat available in the game.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
If it were up to me choosing between a Feat that gave flight and Fey Touched, I would choose Fey Touched 9 times out of 10. Flight is good, but it's not gamebreaking in my opinion (nor in my experience), and I'd way rather have Hex/Hunter's Mark and Misty Step for free 1/day, and a mental ASI. The same applies to a ton of feats, like GWM/Sharpshooter, Eldritch Adept, and so on.

It's good. It's useful. However, I disagree with the claim that it's somehow better than every feat available in the game.
The value of flight seems campaign-dependent. While some experiences might find the fairy race overpowered because of flight, other experiences (such as that of @FryMinis) find the fairy race underpowered.
 
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grimslade

Doddering Old Git
Flight is a great trait. It is not comparable to the Fly spell. Flight is self only, limited to walking speed, and negated by wearing medium or heavy armor. It is great if you have it, but there is magic and items/mounts to enable the ground-bound races.
 


Yaarel

Mind Mage
The Harengon likewise follows the new race format. Descriptions paraphrased for brevity.

HARENGON
Creature Type. Humanoid.
Size. Choice of Medium or Small.
Speed. 30 feet.

Worth about a feat
Lucky Footwork. Reaction to add d4 to Dex save. (≈ Dex save advantage.)

Worth about half of a feat
Hare Trigger. Add proficiency to Initiative. (Contrast: Alert.)
Rabbit Hop. At level 1, bonus to jump 10 feet, twice per long rest; improves with proficiency bonus.
Leporine Senses. Perception proficiency.
 
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AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
The Harengon likewise follows the new race format. Descriptions paraphrased for brevity.

HARENGON
Creature Type. Humanoid.
Size. Choice of Medium or Small.
Speed. 30 feet.

Worth about a feat
Lucky Footwork. Reaction to add d4 to Dex save. (≈ Dex save advantage.)

Worth about half of a feat
Hare Trigger. Add proficiency to Initiative. (Contrast: Alert.)
Rabbit Hop. At level 1, bonus to jump 10 feet twice per long rest; improves with proficiency bonus.
Leporine Senses. Perception proficiency.
This format seems to (more-or-less) match how the Lineages from Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft are formatted.
 

I agree, the availability of Flight at level 1 is shocking. In my campaigns, this seems overpowered.
Currently playing a low level character with flight. You obviously haven't considered the potential downside: falling can easily be a death sentence. If you drop to 0 HP, you are getting a minimum of 1 failed death save. If falling from high enough, especially at lower levels, you can be killed outright. Depending on where you fall, the healer may not be able to get close enough to do so. The solution to this is to land at the end of every turn of combat, which minimizes the benefit of flight in the first place. Flight can a major problem for exploration challenges though, so they require more thought and preparation.
 

I'm not a fan of the fairy stats for multiple reasons but I feel like the variable ability score bonuses and general flexibility of the new PC building is a huge step forward. Creatures type, for instance, doesn't have a lot of mechanical weight outside of a few spells like hold person, and yet the designers have been super gun shy about letting people play anything that isn't humanoid. Make some fey, or construct, or aberration races and let folks have some flavor diversity.
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
I'm not a fan of the fairy stats for multiple reasons but I feel like the variable ability score bonuses and general flexibility of the new PC building is a huge step forward. Creatures type, for instance, doesn't have a lot of mechanical weight outside of a few spells like hold person, and yet the designers have been super gun shy about letting people play anything that isn't humanoid. Make some fey, or construct, or aberration races and let folks have some flavor diversity.
The only non-humanoid creature type that you can play so far in 5e is Fey. Centaurs, Satyrs, Hexblood, and now the Fairy. I would love to have other options, like Celestials (Bariaur, anyone?), Fiends (Cambions?), and Aberrations (maybe a Ceremorph lineage, like the Gnome Ceremorphs from Rime of the Frostmaiden).

But, yeah, so far there's only two creature types that you can play, and IMHO it sucks.
 

The only non-humanoid creature type that you can play so far in 5e is Fey. Centaurs, Satyrs, Hexblood, and now the Fairy. I would love to have other options, like Celestials (Bariaur, anyone?), Fiends (Cambions?), and Aberrations (maybe a Ceremorph lineage, like the Gnome Ceremorphs from Rime of the Frostmaiden).

But, yeah, so far there's only two creature types that you can play, and IMHO it sucks.
I loved the flavor of the daelkyr half-blood in 3.5 and just getting something like aberration as a creature type does a lot for me, conceptually.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
I am very much looking forward to this book because my 10 year old daughter is just learning to play, is playing a fairy druid, and it seems this book will fit well with her play preferences. She doesn't like combat as much as exploration and social, and I suspect this book will satisfy those interests well.
 

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