New Race Feats Appearing in D&D's 'Xanathar's Guide to Everything
Todd Kenreck: I talked to Jeremy Crawford about the new race feats that are included in Xanathar's Guide to Everything that will allow you to be the most Orcish Orc or the most Elvish Elf that you can be.
Jeremy Crawford: So Xanathar's Guide includes an array of feats that you can take, each of which is tied to one or more races in the player's handbook. The idea behind these feats is for a player who basically decides, "I want my Elf to be the Elfiest Elf." You now have an option. "I want my Dragonborn to be the most Dragonborny Dragonborn." You now have an option or two here that you can take that delves into a particular aspect of one of these playable races, either their culture or their physical makeup or their magic, their history. These feats delve into things that are sometimes hinted at in the races' descriptions, but might not have in the Player's Handbook a game mechanic tied to them.
So, for example, Elves often in our stories are referred to as having amazing accuracy with their weapons. Now there is a feat that is all about that Elven accuracy. Similarly, Drow in many of our stories have various magical abilities that the Player's Handbook Drow don't have, but you can now take a feat that gives you some of those other abilities that often appear especially in some of our Forgotten Realms fiction. Similarly, High Elves, Wood Elves can take feats that tap into, in the case of Wood Elves, their ancient connection to primeval forests, and High Elves can take a feat that taps into them having a bit stronger connection to the Fey wild than other Elves, except for their Eladrin cousins.
Now one of the things that people asked about when we first previewed some of these feats that were originally written by Robert Schwald, but we previewed some of them, and on our Unearthed Arcana, people were wondering, some of these involve a transformation. They imply physical change, they imply gaming of knowledge suddenly, and if you use the optional feat rule, you are getting feats not at first level, because since a feat replaces your ability improvement class feature, you're gonna be getting it at a higher level the first level, unless you're a variant human, in which case you get a feat at first level. So people are wondering, does this physical transformation just suddenly happen? The book talks about that very thing, that depending on the story you decide on with your DM, a transformation might indeed occur.
Transformation is a huge deal in not only fantasy fiction, and I've talked about this before. It is also a big deal in myth and folklore, of fantasy figures because of an important story event, because of touching some ancient artifact or wandering into a place of special, supernatural significance, of them being transformed in some way. So we invite people who take these feats, particularly ones who involve some kind of physical change, to think about a neat story for why is my character changing.
The other neat thing to then get to incorporate is the fact that so many of our non-humans in D&D have a magical heritage. These are people, like in the case of Elves, Elves are literally all descended from a god. You have Dragonborn, who are connected to the extraordinary Dragons who have Tieflings whose ancestry is tied to the Fiends of the lower plains. All of them, because of that magical connection, are ripe for some kind of neat transformation story. People, I'm hoping, will think, what has happened to my character to unlock this aspect of my race within me?
So I think these feats, in addition to giving us some new toys to play with in terms of game mechanics, are also gonna spark some fun new storytelling.
Todd Kenreck: You can find all of those feats in Xanathar's Guide to Everything. That book is available for purchase on D&D Beyond, and you can find pre-order bonuses as well by clicking on the link in this video description. I'm Todd Kenreck; thank you for watching.