5th Edition D&D Player's Handbook Review - A Greatest Hits Collection

5th Edition D&D Player's Handbook Review - A Greatest Hits Collection

We got our hands on the 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook and put it through the wringer to see how it measures up to previous installments.

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Drow are only boring if you make 'em boring. Next time I'm in NC, I'll give you a fuckin' drow.

Also, I've been digging the shit out of 5th Ed since we nabbed books early last week. My Eldritch Knight is a delight, tossing Chromatic Orbs at owlbears like a fucker!

So far, I'm loving the player's handbook and I'm looking forward to the monster manual and DMG. Having playtested the hell out of this edition, I'm glad to finally see it hit shelves and make waves. It's great fun.

So, exactly what I saw in the Starter set and the BASIC rules...
Mostly the problems and all the sore thumbs sticking out you mentioned.

Sucks about Drow, but I am totally rolling up one with twin scimitars. I already did weeks ago in fact and played him too. But from what I read adding Guenhwyvar will only make it suck, as the animal companion for rangers is very weak and not fun.,,

So what you're saying is that this doesn't innovate or really improve anything, it's just picks a few pieces from previous editions and more than a little from Pathfinder and calls it a day?

Because D&D need a year of fan feedback to do that.

And "Dragonborn" are still around. Because they were so unique and fun.

I wanted to try and play it but there's no one to play it with. I also don't want to gamble and get a shitty DM again.

SnakeoilSage:
So what you're saying is that this doesn't innovate or really improve anything, it's just picks a few pieces from previous editions and more than a little from Pathfinder and calls it a day?

Because D&D need a year of fan feedback to do that.

And "Dragonborn" are still around. Because they were so unique and fun.

The confusing thing about Dragonborn is that there's also still the sorcerer prestige-class analogue for dragon-blooded where you gradually turn part dragon, which is what the dragonborn were intended to displace. So... yeah, count me puzzled, too, though they may have just wanted to make converting characters from other setting easier.

As for you assessment... you've more or less got it, but I'd argue that that's not a bad thing. It's essentially a shallower but significantly more new-player accessible version of Pathfinder; same general setting and mechanics, but you can take someone that's never actually played any tabletop game and get them rolling with a character and completely competent in about half an hour, and experienced players can build a character in minutes. The spellcasting system and advancement is much more streamlined to avoid weird outlier bonuses, and there's essentially no such thing as a perfect defense or offense, everything's got a miss/hit chance beyond nat 1/ nat 20 for most of the game.

So... yeah, if all of you have played before and you're doing an extended campaign, go with Pathfinder. If you have a new player, or just only want to play a few sessions and do some RPing, 5e is actually really good at letting you do generally what you build the character to do and roleplay without anything tripping you up from number-micromanagement.

The big weakness, honestly, is that advancement is straight-up broken. Just... do not use the xp system in 5e, flat-out. The challenge rating system's of dodgy value and the rewards are just completely nonsensical.

SnakeoilSage:
And "Dragonborn" are still around. Because they were so unique and fun.

I personally like dragonborn. They're big lizard people who "(fluff-wise) fit somewhere between noble warriors and savage creatures, which is fun. And it beats having endless variations of elves. What's you're opposition to them?

OT:

You can tell it's the core rules because the section outlining the core rules is a short, sweet 27 pages. D&D hasn't been this straightforward in decades.

Somewhere quietly, you can hear the sound of "Taps" being played as the 4E Essentials are lowered into the ground, the last stake driven through their paperback hearts.

Personally, I think that Advantage and the loss of a grid are both failings. Dungeons and Dragons is, at it's core, about going into dungeons and fighting dragons. It can handle other stuff as it comes up in play, but backroom politics and the construction of a trade empire were never the system's strong suit. Stripping out some of the combat crunch makes the game feel sorta lackluster in the area where D&D always excelled, especially when other rules exist that remind you of the missing pieces, like cover and speed in feet. Narrative combat is a lot of fun, but that involves letting go of the stuff that D&D players still want.

Jim_Callahan:
The confusing thing about Dragonborn is that there's also still the sorcerer prestige-class analogue for dragon-blooded where you gradually turn part dragon, which is what the dragonborn were intended to displace. So... yeah, count me puzzled, too, though they may have just wanted to make converting characters from other setting easier.

As for you assessment... you've more or less got it, but I'd argue that that's not a bad thing. It's essentially a shallower but significantly more new-player accessible version of Pathfinder; same general setting and mechanics, but you can take someone that's never actually played any tabletop game and get them rolling with a character and completely competent in about half an hour, and experienced players can build a character in minutes. The spellcasting system and advancement is much more streamlined to avoid weird outlier bonuses, and there's essentially no such thing as a perfect defense or offense, everything's got a miss/hit chance beyond nat 1/ nat 20 for most of the game.

So... yeah, if all of you have played before and you're doing an extended campaign, go with Pathfinder. If you have a new player, or just only want to play a few sessions and do some RPing, 5e is actually really good at letting you do generally what you build the character to do and roleplay without anything tripping you up from number-micromanagement.

The big weakness, honestly, is that advancement is straight-up broken. Just... do not use the xp system in 5e, flat-out. The challenge rating system's of dodgy value and the rewards are just completely nonsensical.

My opinion is if I wanted to mock a new player by insisting on playing "Little Lord Fauntleroy's First Big Boy RPG" I'll pushed D&D 5th Edition into his hands. If I want a new player to feel like he/she can actually pursue the wild ideas new players tend to have when they get into the game, I'll bring out Pathfinder and instead of waiting for him/her to get the rules, I'll support him in his/her endeavor to comprehend the mathematics. Because ultimately if you can't get your head around it, you won't have fun with Tabletop RPG's and no amount of "dumbing it down for the filthy casuals" is ever going to improve it for them. It will in fact only make it more infuriating for those of us devoted to learning the game and playing it frequently.

If you want to get people into D&D and other RPG's, create a tasty yet limited sampler. Not just starter kits or beginner's adventures, do something fun like make a proper HeroQuest-style board game that skims over the basic rules and introduces new gamers to things like dice roll mechanics, spells, and combat. Those kinds of games are fun for everyone, and if the new blood is enthralled with the idea of a more open and diverse version of the game, then you can introduce him to Pathfinder, because Pathfinder is just superior in my eyes and doesn't need whopping dollops of whipped cream artwork to disguise its lack of polish.

WotC isn't reinventing the wheel for this edition, and that I feel is a good thing, but it's rolling out an older wheel that they more or less pinched off someone else's truck. Some five years after Pathfinder was released and WotC brings us what? Basically, Pathfinder Basic. The "Bud Lite" of Pathfinder.

*Sigh* Sorry. I'm ranting like crazy here. I'm done now.

Thunderous Cacophony:
I personally like dragonborn. They're big lizard people who "(fluff-wise) fit somewhere between noble warriors and savage creatures, which is fun. And it beats having endless variations of elves. What's you're opposition to them?

My problem is they have no substance. They're so generic and shallow they don't even have a proper name for themselves, no real culture, no real personality out of the most vague of terms. It's like using "Action-Packed Thrill Ride!" to describe your movie.

"However, advantage speeds up the game so much that the lost granularity is a sacrifice players will be willing to make."

Not me. Advantage is just too simple and bland. I like it in addition to a stack of modifiers, but not replacing them entirely.

Huh. I could almost swear they're taking inspiration from the New WoD games with the Inspiration thing (I know 3.5 had something like that, but I've never seen it used for anything but maybe bonus XP). Either way, I'm looking forward to this.

Kinda wish there was a shot of a powers list or something, but either way, it looks pretty easy to read. I bought 3.5 splatbooks for reading material, because I'm a gargantuan nerd, but 4ed's books were almost invariably hard on my eyes (especially power lists, which even made 3.5's spell lists look dynamic).

JonB:
Drow - that's Dark Elves - are back, for the record, and precisely as boring as ever. There's even a sidebar explaining how Drow are basically only an option because of Drizzt. Yawn.

Oi! >:(

Jimothy Sterling:
Drow are only boring if you make 'em boring. Next time I'm in NC, I'll give you a fuckin' drow.

Fight the good fight, Mr. Sterling, sir!

JonB:
You can't say that the new D&D is the best fantasy game on the market...

This line begs the question: what IS the best fantasy game on the market?

Edit: or did you mean to say, "You can't say conclusively..."?

delroland:

JonB:
You can't say that the new D&D is the best fantasy game on the market...

This line begs the question: what IS the best fantasy game on the market?

Edit: or did you mean to say, "You can't say conclusively..."?

IMO, one with a single player campain.

Forgive me if I missed it in the article, but is D&D 5th edition playable with three people? I've read it's recommended for four to six people.

delroland:

JonB:
You can't say that the new D&D is the best fantasy game on the market...

This line begs the question: what IS the best fantasy game on the market?

Edit: or did you mean to say, "You can't say conclusively..."?

First you need everyone in the tabletop RPG community to agree on what constitutes a "fantasy game". I GM an apocalyptically morose "fantasy game" modeled after Dark Souls in GURPS; I also play in a light-hearted JRPG-inspired "fantasy game" in (a heavily modified) Pathfinder - switching the systems around for those two campaigns would change their mood disastrously .

I think a "perfect fantasy game" is whatever fits your current campaign. At the moment, D&D 5e is nice, but I feel it fits only its own little sword&sorcery niche. It throws a bunch of its "iconic" spells, races and setting-assumptions at you, not letting you make up your own. "Pick a path at lvl3 to get spoonfed abilities throughout your career" isn't customization; I much prefer the way Pathfinder's rogues or magi do it - every so often, choose one out of ~20 thematic abilities. Don't lock us into character concepts early!

I'm probably asking the wrong things from 5e. I know it has to lean on brand-recognition heavily to compete with Paizo, and that means everything D&D-iconic gets pushed to the forefront. But in my book, Pathfinder trumps it in sheer breadth of content and options, and new-age narrative-focused systems like 13th Age and FATE are gulping up newcomers to the genre.

SnakeoilSage:
/snip

The problem with Pathfinder (and this is coming from one who has played it for a LONG time and still does) is that it tends to start breaking at 12th level or so. After that the GM has to fudge rules/dice/etc in order to keep an adventure as well as combat interesting. The power bloat makes the game way too hard to run at later levels.

Shayman:
Forgive me if I missed it in the article, but is D&D 5th edition playable with three people? I've read it's recommended for four to six people.

Yes it is, to an extent. A lot of party-based tabletop games are based around having 4 main roles filled- The Fighter (hits stuff real good), The Cleric (the healer/technician) The Wizard (full of useful spells that makes tough challenges easy) and The Rogue (sneaks around and performs general skill-monkey work). You can have a three-person party, but the DM will need to keep that in mind while running the game, especially if you are using a premade adventure (having no Fighter or Cleric will make fights exponentially harder, no Wizard severely limits the optional routes the party can take, etc.)

If you want to run it with 3 people (along with a DM), it's totally doable, but I would recommend thinking about getting another player (or even trying a different system, like Apocalypse World).

SnakeoilSage:

Jim_Callahan:

[quote="Thunderous Cacophony" post="6.857928.21265927"]I personally like dragonborn. They're big lizard people who "(fluff-wise) fit somewhere between noble warriors and savage creatures, which is fun. And it beats having endless variations of elves. What's you're opposition to them?

My problem is they have no substance. They're so generic and shallow they don't even have a proper name for themselves, no real culture, no real personality out of the most vague of terms. It's like using "Action-Packed Thrill Ride!" to describe your movie.

IIRC, they are given the same rough outlines as other races in terms of culture and personality. They are the remnants of an ancient empire that was shattered in the past, scattering most of the dragonborn. Their warlike tendencies and physical strength lend them to the rough work of adventuring, and many maintain old traditions and ideas of honour, pining for their lost dominion. Kinda generic, maybe, but no more so than "Dwarves are master smiths who live underground and love to drink", which is their basic description in most products. Personally, I've always thought of the dragonborn as Jews if the latter had stuck to martial traditions rather than the economic roles they found themselves in. (But on the other hand, "a bit like Jews" is about as common as fantasy tropes go).

And what's wrong with the name? It evokes a mental picture in even people who don't know what a dragonborn is, and it hints at a higher mythology, history, or legendary origin. It sounds like the translation of the name of a Aboriginal tribe, which is fitting given that the dragonborn would have spoken Draconic originally and the Common name would have been invented by humans/other non-dragonborn.

Shayman:
Forgive me if I missed it in the article, but is D&D 5th edition playable with three people? I've read it's recommended for four to six people.

It's playable with three people. Hell, you can DM it for just a single player. Just make sure you're doing it for the story, and don't expect a lot of synergistic tactical gameplay.

Technically we won't know what's the "recommended" party size until the Dungeon Master's Guide comes out; it will (well, should) have instructions on how to build challenging encounters, and adapting them for smaller or bigger parties.

Makabriel:

SnakeoilSage:
/snip

The problem with Pathfinder (and this is coming from one who has played it for a LONG time and still does) is that it tends to start breaking at 12th level or so. After that the GM has to fudge rules/dice/etc in order to keep an adventure as well as combat interesting. The power bloat makes the game way too hard to run at later levels.

I concede that point. I've rarely played a Pathfinder game past level 10 because of that broken progression. But D&D 5th has the same problem. Hell, if I needed more evidence that D&D just re-wrote the Pathfinder OGC, it would be the fact that both games have ridiculous level progression.

Thunderous Cacophony:
IIRC, they are given the same rough outlines as other races in terms of culture and personality. They are the remnants of an ancient empire that was shattered in the past, scattering most of the dragonborn. Their warlike tendencies and physical strength lend them to the rough work of adventuring, and many maintain old traditions and ideas of honour, pining for their lost dominion. Kinda generic, maybe, but no more so than "Dwarves are master smiths who live underground and love to drink", which is their basic description in most products. Personally, I've always thought of the dragonborn as Jews if the latter had stuck to martial traditions rather than the economic roles they found themselves in. (But on the other hand, "a bit like Jews" is about as common as fantasy tropes go).

And what's wrong with the name? It evokes a mental picture in even people who don't know what a dragonborn is, and it hints at a higher mythology, history, or legendary origin. It sounds like the translation of the name of a Aboriginal tribe, which is fitting given that the dragonborn would have spoken Draconic originally and the Common name would have been invented by humans/other non-dragonborn.

The other races might have a trope to them, but at least it's a more specific one than the Dragonborn get. "Master smiths who love to drink" is more telling than "remnants of an ancient empire that shattered," because that's literally the definition of 90% of the races you see in D&D. Being devoted warriors is nothing because there are three dozen human cultures like that and a handful of other races embrace it as well. Dwarves make fine warriors; half-orcs, goliaths, warforged (another annoyingly generic race), the list goes on and on. The attempts to make them distinct are skin-deep and vague at best.

Now if you came out and said Dragonborn like dancing or that the race has some of the finest singing voices, or that the race in general is older than the elves and remember a time when they were just tree-swinging folk craning their necks to behold the majesty of the Dragonborn's onion-domed kingdoms, you get a better impression of who they are as a people. What do they eat? What do they do when they're not being adventurers?

Why can't I see a Dragonborn being a farmer or a bartender or a prostitute? Because if I can't see them being anything but "adventurers" then I don't see them as a race worth playing. They're just numbers on a character sheet.

And "Dragonborn," a compound word like "warforged" and "thingobject" just reeks of creative emptiness. You could literally have made up any name for them. Daromar. There. A new name that sets them apart from something banal like "lizardfolk." I mean what is "dragonborn" anyways? Do dragons give birth to them? Even Skyrim addressed this issue, weaving "Dragonborn" as a concept into the idea that you are a mortal born with a dragon's soul, and you get a unique name, "Dovahkiin" to distinguish yourself. There's nothing distinguished about the Dragonborn. They might as well be the faction of another race. I give dwarves, elves, and halflings a bit of leeway because they're terms taking from a much older work of fantasy fiction, but the point is WotC had the chance to make something really unique and interesting and they just threw two words together on a Monday brainstorming sessions when everyone was hungover and didn't care what the result was.

SnakeoilSage:
snippy

Also, if I may interject, does anyone else feel that the Dragonborn don't quite fit into the new edition's visual aesthetic? Like, at all? I don't even recall seeing them outside of their race entry, e.g. in group shots and spell illustrations.

I've always felt their design was part of that (thankfully waning) "dungeonpunk" visual style that inexplicably overtook 4th edition and Pathfinder: wide snout, beady eyes, toothy mouth, sloping forehead, dreadlocks - the very image of the mid-2000s "hollywood monster." 5e is mercifully steering clear of that aesthetic, yet they still included the dragonborn, looking like they do. Eh.

Makabriel:

SnakeoilSage:
/snip

The problem with Pathfinder (and this is coming from one who has played it for a LONG time and still does) is that it tends to start breaking at 12th level or so. After that the GM has to fudge rules/dice/etc in order to keep an adventure as well as combat interesting. The power bloat makes the game way too hard to run at later levels.

Pathfinder, like 3.5 in general, doesn't really "start" until 3rd level and begins to break down after 7th level. Really, the 3-7 range is ideal for that system. It doesn't start becoming unplayable until 12th level, which is why Pathfinder Society maxes out at level 12. One thing 5th edition has going for it is reducing this bloat and making level 1 more interesting. It's still mainly more of the same, but at least it's a better rendition of the same. From what I've seen, 5th edition looks like it might compete with Pathfinder amongst those who aren't still feeling burned by 4th edition.

NeutralDrow:

Kinda wish there was a shot of a powers list or something, but either way, it looks pretty easy to read. I bought 3.5 splatbooks for reading material, because I'm a gargantuan nerd, but 4ed's books were almost invariably hard on my eyes (especially power lists, which even made 3.5's spell lists look dynamic).

Way more fun, flavorful, and readable than 4E ever was. Definitely buyable if you just like them as entertainment.

Shayman:
Forgive me if I missed it in the article, but is D&D 5th edition playable with three people? I've read it's recommended for four to six people.

You can certainly play it with two people. You'll mostly do very small encounters early on in the game, though, and you'll vary your rates of giving out things like healing potions if they don't have a healer. It can be really rewarding though!

Thunderous Cacophony:

SnakeoilSage:
And "Dragonborn" are still around. Because they were so unique and fun.

I personally like dragonborn. They're big lizard people who "(fluff-wise) fit somewhere between noble warriors and savage creatures, which is fun. And it beats having endless variations of elves. What's you're opposition to them?

OT:

You can tell it's the core rules because the section outlining the core rules is a short, sweet 27 pages. D&D hasn't been this straightforward in decades.

Somewhere quietly, you can hear the sound of "Taps" being played as the 4E Essentials are lowered into the ground, the last stake driven through their paperback hearts.

Personally, I think that Advantage and the loss of a grid are both failings. Dungeons and Dragons is, at it's core, about going into dungeons and fighting dragons. It can handle other stuff as it comes up in play, but backroom politics and the construction of a trade empire were never the system's strong suit. Stripping out some of the combat crunch makes the game feel sorta lackluster in the area where D&D always excelled, especially when other rules exist that remind you of the missing pieces, like cover and speed in feet. Narrative combat is a lot of fun, but that involves letting go of the stuff that D&D players still want.

I, on the other hand, look at the passing of the grid and say "good fucking riddance!" I never used it before 4E, and I got sick of 4E about 30 minutes into my first combat encounter. 4E brought some good things to the table, but reliance on and manipulation of absolute positioning was not one of them. I will not miss it.

Also, your assertion that D&D has always been about combat is largely a personal anecdote, and not some universal truth. Hell, most old school D&D players(i.e. players from the Gygaxian era of publishings) will tell you that being forced to actually fight was a failure state in older editions. It wasn't until XP gain was shifted from being tied to loot to monster defeat that combat became a primary focus of the system.

For my part, 5E is shaping up to be my favorite D&D. It's already my favorite WotC era D&D, but I'll need a lot of sessions under my belt before I can properly compare it to my 2E experiences. That said, I am optimistic.

SnakeoilSage:
snip

I can't say I agree with you about dragonborn being generic, but I understand where you're coming from (especially with regards to the name).

Scars Unseen:

Also, your assertion that D&D has always been about combat is largely a personal anecdote, and not some universal truth. Hell, most old school D&D players(i.e. players from the Gygaxian era of publishings) will tell you that being forced to actually fight was a failure state in older editions. It wasn't until XP gain was shifted from being tied to loot to monster defeat that combat became a primary focus of the system.

To the best of my knowledge, BECMI gave you XP equal to the value of the monsters defeated to achieve a goal, as well as treasure. 1st had the instructions, "...the Dungeon Master will award experience points to the character for treasure gained and opponents captured or slain and for solving or overcoming problems through professional means." [Players Handbook, page 106]. 2nd made treasure XP (and the other non-combat systems for gaining XP) optional. Combat, and the XP derived from it, were always non-optional parts of the system regardless of edition (and optional XP for story goals is something that continued through at least 4th edition).

I've never known someone to view combat as a whole as the failure state of D&D. There are less than optimal situations for battle, to be sure, and you rarely want to get forced into a fight that you don't want or didn't prepare for, but D&D is based on a wargame; it would be a very odd campaign where the party absolutely avoided violence to try and steal their way to godhood.

Thanks for all the responses, I think I'll pick it up!

While I've played video games based on d&d since the 90s, I've never done any table top until recently when I got invited into a group using the 5th edition rules. The plan was to do introductions, world building and such until the handbooks were out. I have to say, it was great fun. I'm looking forward to more of it.

NeutralDrow:
Huh. I could almost swear they're taking inspiration from the New WoD games with the Inspiration thing (I know 3.5 had something like that, but I've never seen it used for anything but maybe bonus XP). Either way, I'm looking forward to this.

The Inspiration mechanic is a lite version of Fate points from FATE, although other indie RPGs have similar mechanics, too.

delroland:
This line begs the question: what IS the best fantasy game on the market?

Burning Wheel. But 5E is the best D&D (clones included).

I'm gonna chime in with my 2 cents on this whole thing. So far everything I've read for the new D&D i'm liking it a lot.

I stared with back when it was just D&D. you could play or or a fighter or halfling blah blah. The came along advanced D&D. Now you could play your favorite race and be class! Woot woot super exciting stuff, but wait level caps for non human W** is this garbage? Then 2nd edition came along. lets fix some things and break others shall we? Speed factor for example and and lets make archers and throw weapons all but useless when other people are engaged in melee combat with them. *bangs head against wall* Now comes along 3rd edition the birth of D20! Exciting new rules that can seem to work but get little confusing at times and the whole grid thing.Player:"Wait you mean I have use miniatures now to play this game?" DM " Well we don't have to but it will help." pauses for second after reading an example of combat "I take it back yes we have to miniatures now." Along comes 3.5. Let fix some of these classes so they work better. Yes you still must use grids. Then Pathfinder. Hey we are sick of working for you guys we are take your rules set improve all the classes and combat maneuver system and outsell you! Ha! D&d counter well we make 4 ed rules and turn D&D into a Warhammer miniature MMO. In sense this opened table gaming to a new generation of people who had played on PC. To us old school gamers it was like pissing in Gary's coffee cup. Which bring us to 5th.

5th edition is a step in the right direction for us old school guys but the optional use of grid system won't scare away those that only played 4th. The idea of actually have to role play out encounters rather them just be rolled is a breath of fresh air. I like this advantage/disadvantage mechanic. I'm high up a grassy knoll with bow/crossbow I had advantage. Rather than trying to figure a whole bunch of numbers to plug target is prone/target is moving/ ext ext you either have advantage or disadvantage sure there are things that still affect this like cover. But talk about way simpler math. Skill system refined. No longer crazy DC of 30 making it nigh impossible to make said skill checks. (I haven't quite finished reading this part of the rules but I'm hoping they put a 1 always fails on skill check and 20 always succeed. This way even the most skilled person can fail if they get unlucky or even the most unskilled person could get lucky).

Classes: Really liked this part. No class truly outshines the other. As one my favorite reviewers wrote: Bards no longer die horribly in dungeons while singing. Mages (and by mages I mean anyone can use magic wizard, sorcerer ext ext) now have at least one cantrip that combat offensive always available to them if they chose one. No longer at first level well guys I have used my magic missile I need to rest for 8 hours before we can any further or else i'm pretty much useless for the rest of this dungeon. Nope Nope now I can do as many Firebolts as I want! You have lots of great options when making and choosing your class your class. Heck they even followed pathfinders and fixed hit dice for classes. Which by the way giving everyone starting max hit points is wonderful. No longer the 1st level wizard tripped on stick and is dead.

I could go on and on. but my advice is give 5th edition a try and I think you will be pleasantly surprised. Well done Wizard of the Coast, well done.

One thing that throws me about 5ed is the absolute lack of alignment requirements for character classes like paladins and monks. Did I just miss it somewhere? o_O

If so I don't necessarily mind the change. Now you can have plenty of Chaotic Good elven monks. A favorite background piece in my personal fantasy writing is that monastic traditions among the humans of my world emerged from elven "martial dances" aka martial arts. Now I don't have be distracted by the standard issue Chaotic Good elven culture having blocks of Lawful Good or Lawful Neutral martial artists.

 

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