D&D: Unearthed Arcana – Elf Subraces

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Another Monday, another batch of new elves to try out.

It’s the 2nd Monday of the month, and that can only mean one thing–well, two I suppose, but I feel like we all already know that communism was always a red herring.

And that just leaves us with the knowledge that it is also time for this month’s Unearthed Arcana, featuring elves, elves, and other, more different elves. That’s right, it’s all about subraces this week, with Unearthed Arcana introducing (or reintroducing) the Avariel, the Grugach, Sea Elves, and the Shadar-Kai, or as I like to call them, flyby elves, wild elves, damp elves, and emo elves.  These four different subraces each bring their own flavor to the table, adding a little spice to the baseline Elf recipe.

So on top of darkvision, keen senses, fey ancestry, tame, and +2 Dex, each race gains just a little something to make them stand out. Let’s take a look.

via Wizards of the Coast

Avariel

A classic from the old 2nd Edition days, many a gamer’s first encounter with the Avariel may well have been Baldur’s Gate II, when they befriended, and possibly fell in love with, Aerie, the formerly winged elf, raised by gnomes. One of few non-gnome clerics of Chiktikka Fast-Paws, she proved am invaluable addition to the party.

Players testing out this subrace, though, will find themselves not in a wingless plight, but rather beautifully winged, and capable of taking to the skies. Indeed, that’s about all they get: a 30ft fly speed. Though, this is in addition to the normal elf traits. For best results play a winged caster, ranger, or some other ranged class, and rain down death from above.

Grugach

These guys are the barbarians of the elves. Less about unnatural grace, and more about unnatural strength. They  get a +1 Strength, a Druid cantrip, some weapon proficiencies, and of course you can only speak Sylvan for free from the outset. You’ll have to pick up common and other languages from elsewhere.

For best results, Barbarian or Fighter or maybe even Paladin. Either way, these guys are the Wild/uncivilized elves out of Greyhawk. It’s cool seeing them get brought back into the fold.

Sea Elves

Like Elves, but aquatic. With +1 Constitution, water breathing, a swim speed, and a gnome-esque ability to speak with sea creatures, the Sea Elf gains a lot. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of these in the future, as they’re very solid. And because of their secondary stats, they’re fairly adaptive too.

Shadar-Kai

Ah, now this one hails from 4th Edition. The gloomiest and darkest of the elves, these worship the Raven Queen who grants them some small measure of power. This takes the form of a death-related cantrip, like Spare the Dying or Chill Touch. And then layer on top of that all the normal elf powers and you’ve got a recipe for successipe. Especially since Shadar-Kai also get a +1 to Charisma and can teleport up to 15 feet once per rest, but when you do this, you gain resistance to all damage for the end of a turn

Surprisingly, these make excellent Paladins. If a little curiously flavored.


And that’s a look at the Elves of Unearthed Arcana folks. Add always, you can find the full link/story below.

Read the Elf Subraces Unearthed Arcana

What do you think of these Elven variants?

  • Paul Reynes

    Shadar Kai were Humans who went to the Shadowfell… they’re no Elves

  • GiftoftheMagi

    I have always hated the huge number of elven subraces, so I eliminated them all. My campaign world has different elven CULTURES, but no subrace. I even killed off the drow.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      Easy enough to re-skin these as other races.

      • GiftoftheMagi

        Nah. I’ll just make them subcultures, keep the stats the same and just change up starting skills and such.

  • Red_Five_Standing_By

    Weird, Shadar-Kai are Elves now? Interesting.

  • NNextremNN

    Ahh Aerie all those memories I just wish I could have spend more time with her and our child.

    I should play the game again.

  • yama

    Shadar-Kai first appeared (as fey) in 3e I believe, not 4e.