D&D 5E Wow! No more subraces. The Players Handbook races reformat to the new race format going forward.

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Mind Mage
Regarding the elf traits specifically.

I am super-happy with how the designers clarify Trance. The elf remains fully "conscious" (as opposed to "semiconscious" which is an undefined and confusing term mechanically, and made the trait worthless). But now, Trance is intentionally useful to guard teammates while resting. And it is the rationale for immunity to sleep, since they remain conscious instead of sleeping. Excellent.

Fey Ancestry only relates to charm resistance, which is fine, but which I hope can increase to spell resistance and eventually to all magic resistance at higher levels. Fey dont normally have "charm" resistance specifically, but do normally have magic resistance generally. This magic resistance also meets the old school drow elf tradition. Really, any Fey creature should be able to access magic resistance as a trait.

I feel Darkvision should simplify mechanically.

Brightvision (normal human vision):
• See color in bright light.
• See black-and-white in dim light.
• Blind in darkness.

• See color in dim light.
• See black-and-white in darkness.
• Blind in bright light. (Rely on spells and mist to obscure light.)

For Age, I feel all elves should have eternal youth and be immortal. But at least the astral are officially. The rest are easy to handwaive − where the other elves now live "over" 750 but no ceiling is given.

I love the new way of thinking about Creature Type. The elves exist on several planes and can be various creature types. So far we have Humanoid and Fey (Eladrin monster statblock). I am unsure if "Shadow" or "Shade" will be a creature type for the Shadowfell, since the Shadar-kai arent Undead. Probably the Shadar-kai will remain Humanoid, but the Shadowfell could have altered their Creature Type.

It seems that the "Humanoid" creature type will specifically mean capable of wide-ranging cultural and ethnic diversity, similar to the human race. This ability to learn new ways to live also implies free will.

I notice that the Autognome race is a "Construct", rather than a Humanoid-Construct. So it seems a creature can only be one Creature Type, whichever one is dominant. But it has a True Life trait to modify this Construct Creature Type. Traits like Ancestry and True Life can modify the one choice of Type.

I am satisfied with the new approach to Creature Type for races.

Trance Proficiency is great. After each trancing, the character can swap proficiency with tool or weapon. This is great for redefining the old school sword-bow trait. For an example, an elf Wizard can still wield a bow. But now it is in a way that is noncultural, they are accessing memories of other lives during the trancing. Moreover, it taps into the Norse elf as an artificer. Also, it is a versatile trait now. This is a trait with great "elf" flavor.

Astral Fire is a choice of cantrip: Light, Dancing Light, and Sacred Flame. It depends on any mental ability. It resembles the High elf choice of cantrip. But now adds other traits in addition that so feels more balanced to me. The Players Handbook High elf always felt underpowered to be compared to Wood elf, Drow, and half elf. The "solar" flavor of these three cantrips is perfect for Norse elf flavor, who live in the sky and personify sunbeams. Heh, elves in space is kinda a Norse thing.

Radiant Soul looks powerful, albeit situational. You heal hit points (mental ability + proficiency bonus) on a successful save. This means, the elf has a good chance of surviving dying. Albeit, one never wants to be in the situation to use it, and an enemy could still coup-de-grace. The flavor taps into the elven immortality.

All in all, I am happy with these elf options.


Mind Mage
It's not really that hard to define what a core elf (or other) race is, they already have, they just need to update it for the new paradigm. Not saying they can't also do a full write up for each subrace but I also don't think they will need to if they want to save on page space. A full write up might not take up much space, but after a number writeups, it will add up.
Heh, what I dont want is a million elf subraces.

I would rather have one fluid elf race that is inherently diverse. Let the player choose which traits one wants for their own elf character concept. It is ok if a setting preselects these traits for a "typical" elf in that setting, as long as the player has the final say for their own elf character.

I think "no more subraces" is interpolating too much into the decision to present things in the most clearly comprehensible format (race/subrace-wise) for this UA. I personally like presenting things with subraces when multiple subraces are presented together with the race like in the PHB or the Volo's section on Aasimar, but it is irritating when you encounter subraces on their own to need to reference back to some other source for the race, and much more irritating if it involves bringing an extra book to the table to play your character.


Heh, what I dont want is a million elf subraces.

I would rather have one fluid elf race that is inherently diverse. Let the player choose which traits one wants for their own elf character concept. It is ok if a setting preselects these traits for a "typical" elf in that setting, as long as the player has the final say for their own elf character.
That's basically how Pathfinder 2 does it. In PF2, these are the traits common to all elf PCs:
  • 6 hit points (this is a one-time adjustment, in addition to the N+Con bonus/level you get, and 6 is pretty low).
  • Size Medium.
  • Speed 30 ft (faster than average).
  • Low-light vision.
  • The common and elven languages, plus Int modifier languages chosen from a default list that can specifically be expanded by other languages available in your region.
  • A boost (+2) to Dexterity and Intelligence as well as any one other stat, and a penalty (-2) to Constitution.
In addition to these, you choose a Heritage, which to some degree fills the same role as a 5e subrace, but on a smaller scale. These are (with some exceptions) not directly linked to any ethnical groups, though some are more common in some groups than others. These are the ones from the core book:
  • Arctic Elf: Adapted to cold climates, get some cold resistance and reduce the effects of environmental cold.
  • Cavern Elf: You gain darkvision.
  • Seer Elf: Can cast Detect Magic at will, and get a bonus to identify magic or decipher writing on magic.
  • Whisper Elf: Finely tuned hearing lets you Seek for invisible creatures in a larger area than normal, and with a bonus if they're within the normal area.
  • Woodland Elf: Can climb faster in woodlands and has an easier time finding cover in woodlands terrain.
In addition to these, you also get to choose an ancestry feat. At higher levels, you get more ancestral feats, and access to more powerful ones. At 1st level, an elf using the core book can choose:
  • Ancestral Longevity (requires 100+ years of age): Each day you can choose a skill to treat as Trained, as you recall skills you once learned but that now has mostly atrophied.
  • Elven Lore: You become trained in Arcana, Nature, and Elf Lore.
  • Elven Weapon Familiarity: You become trained in traditional elf weapons.
  • Forlorn: Save bonus against emotion effects.
  • Nimble Elf: +5 ft Speed.
  • Otherworldly Magic: Learn an arcane cantrip you can cast at will.
  • Unwavering Mien: Reduce the duration of Mental spells by 1 round, and gain a save bonus against sleep effects.
I really like this way of doing ancestries. The effect is that "elf" is a very wide umbrella, but it's still fairly distinct from "dwarf". And for outlier cases, there's a general feat you can take that unlocks another ancestry's feats for you, as long as those feats aren't based on that ancestry's physiology (as determined by the GM). For example, an elf with Adopted Ancestry (Orc) couldn't take the Tusks feat, because elves don't have tusks.


A suffusion of yellow
Yeah I think that may be jumping the gun, its an example build in a UA article, not a standard on how the next Players Handbook is going to be structured.


Registered Ninja
An alternate explination of why it's presented as its own race is because they made several changes to the base elf abilities like fey ancestry and trance, and it's simpler to just write that out as a full race than to say, "you get all the base elf traits, but not the dex bonus and these ones are changed, see sidebar."

They are probably testing these core changes for the 2024 update.


One option is that they have a "core" dwarf (or whatever) race then have an options list to pick from with defaults. Maybe some sort of point allotment with different options having different costs.

I wouldn't be surprised if there's rules for more detailed custom race options, likely in the DMG. Time will tell.
I don't expect points system.
I could see all Dwarves getting to choose between 3 of Armor Training, Darkness Training, Magic Training, Rune Training, Smith Training, Strength Training, Toughness Training, or Weapon Training,

Then they give suggestions.

Hill would be Smith, Toughness, Weapon
Mountain would be Armor, Strength, Weapon
Dark would be Darkness, Magic, Strength
Mul/Half would be Smith, Strength, Toughness
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