Review of Unearthed Arcana “Eladrin and Gith
This article adds a few more races to the game, the Eladrin sub-race for Elves and introducing into fifth edition, the Gith. Fans of the great video game “Neverwinter Nights 2” will recognize the Gith and their two sub-races the Githyanki and the Githzerai.
The Eladrin (also known as “High Elves”) are chaotic beings from the feywild and as such they have strong and swiftly changing personalities. This is represented by linking their mood swings to the four seasons: autumn for contentment, winter for sorrow, springtime for elation and joy, and summer for fury and excited energy. The idea behind these is that for each emotion you are currently feeling you have your own specific personality trait and flaw. The article includes random roll tables for the personality traits which I think is a cool thing to do but keeping track of your character’s emotions may become a bit too complicated a task as you stumble around trying to get the right traits organized in your mind. But for an experienced role player who is up for a challenge it could make for some great random fun.
The Eladrin’s racial bonuses are a +1 to intelligence or charisma, “fey step” a 30 ft teleport as a bonus action used once per day, and “shifting seasons” an ability that allows a player of this race to shift their seasonal alignment during a rest which grants them a new cantrip as mentioned in the following table. The Eladrin loses the previous season’s cantrip as a result.
Autumn – Friends
Winter – Chill touch
Spring – Minor illusion
Summer – Fire bolt
I think this race is pretty interesting and I think they would make a great bard or sorcerer. Due to their shifting personalities I feel that Charisma would be their strongest attribute and I would like to see an optional rule added that when the character suffers some great emotion or turmoil to make a charisma save or randomly switch seasons. This type of personality chaos should only be attempted by an experienced player as I think for beginners it may be a bit difficult to keep of your personality traits if you switch too often.
The Gith are a race of outsiders, much like Genasi or Teiflings, who were enslaved and tortured by the mind flayers. Eventually they grew a resistance to their master’s telepathy and won their freedom in a large revolution. The race disagreed on how to continue their fight against the Illithids and split into 2 sub-races, the warlike Githyanki and the monk-like Githzerai.
The Gith racial traits are: +1 to intelligence, size and age similar to humans albeit more slender, movement speed of 30, and their natural languages are Common and Gith. Then the player will choose between the two sub-races.
The Githyanki are trained from birth to be warriors and as such their traits are: Strength +2, tend toward lawful evil alignment, “decadent mastery” which permits the learning of any new language and either any skill or tool proficiency, they can use light or medium armor, and “Githyanki Psionics” which allows the Gith to learn the cantrip Mage Hand at level 1, Jump at level 3, and Misty Step at 5th level, the latter two you can cast once refreshed by a long rest.
The Githzerai focus more on mental discipline than physical and therefore make great clerics or monks. Their traits are: +2 to wisdom, tend toward lawful neutral alignment, “Monastic Training” which grants +1 to AC when not using shields, medium armor, or heavy armor, and “Githzerai Psionics” which grants the mage hand cantrip, shield at level 3, and detect thoughts at level 5, and they can cast the leveled spells once per long rest. Their spell casting ability is Wisdom as opposed to the Githyanki’s intelligence.
I have always been fascinated by the Gith and I’m glad to see an option for them to jump into 5e. I think these subraces are well thought out and balanced, as neither is obviously more powerful than the other. I was a little concerned about their psionic abilities as I think psionics is not implemented well into 5e and I am relieved to see the game designers have decided to interpret those psychic powers as a handful of pretty straightforward spells and cantrips. One thing I would add is resistance to psychic damage as I think it fits well with their lore and is not too overpowered an ability due to the rarity of that damage type.