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

pukunui

Legend
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'd be willing to even go so far as to make some races have more than one type.

Dragonborn could count as both humanoids and dragons, for instance. Warforged could be both humanoid and construct. Tieflings could be both humanoid and fiend, while aasimar could be both humanoid and celestial. And so on.
 

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AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
I'd be willing to even go so far as to make some races have more than one type.

Dragonborn could count as both humanoids and dragons, for instance. Warforged could be both humanoid and construct. Tieflings could be both humanoid and fiend, while aasimar could be both humanoid and celestial. And so on.
They tried that in the UA, and, like most good ideas, the community decided to shut it down immediately. I wish we had it, but apparently trying new things is a no-go for a lot of the D&D 5e community.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
The alignment is absent from the races, but remains present for the monsters.

In Witchlight, for example. The Humanoid "bullywug knight" monster statblock is "Typically Lawful Good". The Fey "boggle" monster statblock is "Typically Chaotic Neutral".



Regarding the technical terms:
• "Lineage" is the broad term.
• "Race" only refers to the player character traits of a certain lineage.
• "Monster" only refers to the non-player traits of a same lineage.

Despite belonging to the same lineage, the race and the monster can have different traits.



Indirectly, the lineages that a player can play remain stereotyped by a particular alignment, including Evil.

Even so, the phrase "Typically" clarifies there are also others who have different alignments.

Moreover, even for the same lineage, the monster statblocks can have different alignments. For example. While the "bullywug knight" is "Typically Lawful Good", the "bullywug royal" that the knights serve might be "Any Alignment". So even among the monsters of the same lineage, there is more fluidity in alignment. The alignment seems to depend more on the particular encounter concept, rather than the lineage itself. Multiple variations of the same lineage are possible.



The designers seem to thread the needle by empowering the players to be free from unpleasant stereotypes, while minimizing the number of D&D traditionalists who become apoplectic at the loss of alignment.

The compromise will annoy some among both progressives and traditionalists. Businesswise, empowering the player while allowing the DM to handle the monsters is probably shrewd.
 
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The compromise will annoy some among both progressives and traditionalists. Businesswise, empowering the player while allowing the DM to handle the monsters is probably shrewd.
As both a player and a DM I feel like the flexibility is all upside with no downside. I remember getting into an argument on reddit with some folks who felt that letting elves take a +2 to Str during character creation took worldbuilding power out of the DM's hands and ruined settings. It blew my mind that some people can play the game for 30 years and not get that the DM can make every NPC in the world function however they want regardless of how one player chooses to build their PC.
 

Scribe

Hero
It blew my mind that some people can play the game for 30 years and not get that the DM can make every NPC in the world function however they want regardless of how one player chooses to build their PC.
Or change Alignment, if a default recommendation is too much to accept.
 



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.
Even if you just don't stay high in the air when faced with opponents with highly effective ranged attacks, that is still a lot of creatures that you are just flat-out immune to, and many that you will take reduced damage from.
For the casters and ranged characters who would get the most out of this ability, the armour restriction - is not a significant restriction.

Plus, as you say, the ability to bypass a lot of exploration, stealth, obstacle-based challenges.
 



That's interesting about flight, because in my thread where try design the various Planetouched as custom lineages I generally equated flight with for example the spell-like abilities of a Tiefling (which I call the legacy trait) rather than their resistance trait (which I call the essence trait). But with fairies it's like flight is the equivalent of fire resistance.
 


Yaarel

Mind Mage
Other than separating the ASI, this isn't really new, just tipping their hands at what they had been doing internally since 2014 (though sometimes obscured by ribbon features).

Along with ability scores, I view alignment and physical appearance, as significant shifts. I agree the shift is part of a process that has been going on for years, even decades. But shifts of all three have become decisive.

The designers probably want to do more, but still are working within the D&D traditions thus constrained by them to some degree by the feedback concerning them.

It surprises me that alignment remains among the monsters of a humanlike lineage. No doubt this was because of traditionalists complaining about a loss of monsters with alignments. On the other hand, the bullywug monsters exemplifying different alignments, shows the designers are experimenting with how to implement alignments in a more sensitive way.

In the Witchlight adventure, there is a section with "roleplaying cards" for each of the unique characters. It combines alignment with the personality section: personality mannerism, ideal, flaw, and bond. This shift suggests that for player characters, alignment is personal and part of the 5e roleplaying tools. This makes sense anyway, and is part of the overall demechanization of alignment. But it is a decisive shift of section, no longer relevant to the race section or the class section. Earlier, the 5e Players Handbook explicitly listed "Alignment" as a trait for each race, while drow and orc emphasized Evil. I am confident, we will never see alignment again as a trait for the race of a lineage.

With regard to reallife sensitivities, there is a clear distinction. To the degree that a concept is nonhuman, there is no problem. But to the degree that the concept resembles a reallife human, problems can happen. For example, for the new races, the fairy has wings and the harengon has a rabbit head. These features are nonhuman and therefore, for the most part, neutral. However, when it comes to the gender, ethnicity, complexion, age, height and weight, and so on, these reallife human descriptions are inherently sensitive. Thus the player has total control over these reallife appearances. All humanlike races can have any humanlike appearance.

The mechanic of size, whether Medium or Small, awkwardly interferes with the choice of height and weight, but is still presumed to be within the choices in a range of reallife human sizes, regardless of the fantastical race.



Because there is a meaningful difference between reallife human features and nonhuman features, I am surprised that a monster of a humanlike lineage still perpetuates an alignment stereotype.

Personally, I feel the current term "Typically" remains problematic while assigning alignment, since it still perpetuates a reallife stereotype if a monster happens to be humanlike.

On the other hand, I like how the bullywug has different alignments for its knight and its royal. Its multiplicity shows the bullywug isnt inherently any particular alignment. Where a Lawful Good knight can easily be obligated to serve an Evil monarch, the alignment has less to do with the bullywug lineage and more to do with an interesting D&D encounter. In this sense, I might prefer a term like "Incidentally" an alignment, rather than "Typically" an alignment. Whatever the phrasing, it should emphasize that the alignment refers to the encounter concept, whether a social encounter or a combat encounter, rather than to the lineage concept.



In sum, I view decisive shifts for abilities, alignment, and personal appearance. But there is still tension between D&D tradition (standardization) and D&D progress (innovation). The reallife ethical goal is a process that remains incomplete and ongoing.
 
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Yaarel

Mind Mage
They tried that in the UA, and, like most good ideas, the community decided to shut it down immediately. I wish we had it, but apparently trying new things is a no-go for a lot of the D&D 5e community.
In Mordenkeinens, the eladrin race is Humanoid (implied by default because it is a subrace of the Players Handbook elf), but the eladrin monster is Fey.

Now with Witchlight establishing nonhumanoid types as legally possible, there is a precedence for eladrin having a choice between Fey and Humanoid.

Hopefully, all the races will gain an update that allows a choice of creature type depending on character concept.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Those rules seem to imply that goliaths and dwarves are now within normal human size ranges. WOTC editing strikes again!

The optional Tasha's rules for making all species more alike are still not being used in any game I run.
The precise phrasing is "typically".

"Player characters, regardless of race, typically fall into the same ranges of height and weight that humans have."

This means, the player can choose any height and weight that exists among reallife humans. At the same time, a player can also choose a height and weight that is nonhuman, albeit at this point, I prefer the player and the DM need to both agree on the nonhuman concept.

The examples of Mr Witch and Mr Light both being shadar-kai elves, but now with very different humanlike physiques, exemplify the new mechanic.
 

@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 flight becomes normal a lot of race options become available like large size or other powerful stuff.
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.

what would an aberration race be like as we have diet construct as it is?
 



Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Yep. If it was humans in hats before...
I’ve never found the humans in hats argument compelling. Racial traits are still a thing, and I think putting the bulk of what differentiates races on them, along with creature type, size, and speed instead of ability score modifiers is a step in the right direction. I just wish there was a bit more variation in PC sizes, speeds, and creature types. Hopefully there will be more such variation moving forward.
 

Scribe

Hero
I’ve never found the humans in hats argument compelling. Racial traits are still a thing, and I think putting the bulk of what differentiates races on them, along with creature type, size, and speed instead of ability score modifiers is a step in the right direction. I just wish there was a bit more variation in PC sizes, speeds, and creature types. Hopefully there will be more such variation moving forward.
That's fair. I'm about more differences, not less.

This whole custom lineage approach is....180 from anything I'd touch.

And yet Tiny/Large isn't good to go?

Yuck.
 

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