Like a lot of people, my money was on this month’s UA being the Artificer, but I guess that’s coming in September. Instead, we get four new races from the upcoming Ravnica setting. I’m excited about Ravnica overall, for virtue of being a new-to-D&D setting, though I’m less invested in new races than I could be. I come to Ravnica with very little prior knowledge.


I don’t know about you, but an elephant-headed player race is a wonderful thing in my book. I care about the mechanics, sure, but… what can I tell you, I guess Babar was more influential on me than I realize. Anyway, the loxodons get:

  • +2 Con, +1 Wis
  • Powerful Build: they carry loads as if they are Large. This is, of course, the typical signifier that a creature is riiight at the upper edge of what we can get away with calling “Medium,” but it’s incredibly inconvenient to have true Large PCs if you’re not careful.
  • Speed 30 ft.
  • Loxodon Bravery grants advantage on saves against being frightened.
  • Natural Armor provides them AC equal to 13 + Dex. Thematically, it’s hard to see them going big on Dexterity, but sorcerers and wizards don’t need to worry with mage armor, and it’s nice to have a favorable worst-case scenario for armor if and when you’re in scenes where wearing armor is inappropriate.
  • Mason’s Proficiency grants – obviously enough – proficiency in mason’s tools, to support some of the flavor text.
  • Stonecunning is stonecunning, and it’s here for the same basic reason as Mason’s Proficiency.
  • Keen Smell is because they have, uh, big noses. Advantage on Perception and Investigation, like y’do.
  • The Common language.

The mechanics suggest that you’ll have something helpful in a whole lot of situations. The bullet list doesn’t list “capable of fine manipulations with the trunk” as a feature, but if your DM doesn’t nudge things along so that that comes up at least once or twice in your campaign, ask for a refund. I’d play this, even though none of the features knock my socks off on their own.


Simic Hybrid

These subjects of magical experimentation are sort of your classic beastmen – an insane combination of animal features on a roughly humanoid chassis. More formally, that chassis might be human, elven, or vedalken. This is the perfect opportunity to port in your favorite kangaroo super soldiers from Tank Girl. Simic hybrids get:

  • +2 Con, +1 to one other ability score.
  • Age: Normally I wouldn’t even mention age, but because they age faster than humans, I’m also reminded of Taura in Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga. I suspect there are more than incidental similarities between Ravnica and Bujold’s planet of Jackson’s Whole, while we’re on the topic.
  • Speed of 30 ft.
  • 60-ft darkvision.
  • One animal feature at 1st level, from the following:
    • Manta Glide gives you manta-like wings that let you glide on air, in exactly the way that manta rays don’t. The feature itself is fine, though.
    • Nimble Climber gives you a climbing speed equal to you walking speed.
    • Underwater Adaptation makes you amphibious and gives you a swim speed equal to your walking speed.
  • Another animal feature at 5th level, chosen from this list or the 1st-level list:
    • Grappling Appendages gives you extra arms that you can use to attack, and when they hit you can attempt to grapple with them. It’s a cool feature, but no matter the balance concern, it’s hard to read that you lack the manual dexterity to do anything else with them. Of course you want to do interesting things with your claws or tentacles!
    • Carapace grants +1 to AC as long as you’re not in heavy armor. Useful for a whole lot of character types.
    • Acid Spit lets you spit acid as an action. It’s a single-target effect that deals 2d10 acid damage, increasing to 3d10 at 11th and 4d10 at 17th I’m… not sure who this is for. With no ability score modifier and no effect on a successful save, most classes probably have a better ranged option available by 5th level, so maybe barbarians and warrior types that don’t want to sheathe their weapons or stow their shields?
  • The Common and Elvish languages.

I feel like the Simic hybrid could afford to be a bit cooler, particularly before 5th level. I think most races that have one of their 1st-level features have a lot more going on alongside it. Maybe the sleepiness is making me underestimate those 5th-level options, though.



As far as I can tell, vedalken are Vulcans, but blue. A distant similarity to arcanes in Spelljammer as well, maybe? Vedalken are experimenters with a taste for micromanaging and cold rationality, which adds up to a real douchebag. If you’re playing one of these, think hard about how you’re going to play well with others. Vedalken get:

  • +2 Int, +1 Wis
  • Speed of 30 ft.
  • Vedalken Dispassion grants advantage on all Int, Wis, and Cha saving throws. So it’s Gnome Cunning without that pesky “against magic” limitation. This is the big deal of the vedalken features… out of the two.
  • Tireless Precision grants proficiency in one skill from a short list, and one tool. It further grants +1d4 to all ability checks you make with either of those proficiencies.
  • The Common language.

There’s very little to vedalken, and even as good as Vedalken Dispassion is, it’s hard to feel satisfied with this. Even if it is just a ribbon, something more would look better. Maybe this is one of those utterly arbitrary aesthetic things that… eh, probably doesn’t need to be indulged. But I have a hard time spinning up a lot of excitement about playing a vedalken.



These are ultra-high-energy bipedal reptiles. Their high energy manifests itself as all the things you expect out of Red in Magic: the Gathering, and they’re dangerously sharp on two of their six ends. Non-cowardly kobolds with razor-sharp tails, that kind of deal. I’m intrigued! Viashino get:

  • +2 Dex, +1 Str
  • Speed of 30 ft.
  • Their Bite deals 1d4 + Str damage. I’m wishing that their bite cooperated with their Dex bonus a bit better, but okay.
  • Their Lashing Tail lets them strike back against those who attack them, dealing 1d4 + Str damage. Again, could use better integration with their high Dex, but I’m glad they at least gain a Str bonus also.
  • Wiry Frame grants proficiency in either Athletics or Stealth.
  • The Common language.

This wouldn’t be my first choice of race for a Ravnica PC, unless I know I’m playing a one-shot. See, the voice I use to play dangerously high-voltage characters is super terrible for my throat, and wrecks my voice for 12-24 hours afterward. Viashino seem like they’d make good fighters, rangers, monks, and so on. There’s not a whole lot here for primary casters, though a Valor bard or the like could work. I really wish either the bite or the tail attack were finesse weapons so that viashino rogues could Sneak Attack with them.

Overall, I like the mechanics for the races of Ravnica okay. The loxodons are by far the most mechanically interesting. The other three feel like they should have just a little more going on. Three of the four races have, or can have, an extra limb that seems like it should be dexterous enough to do interesting things with – the trunk, the grappling arms, the lashing tail – but they all explicitly lack that level of control. It feels like a missed opportunity. (This point was made more eloquently in Twitter by @WalrockHomebrew. If D&D Twitter is your deal, Walrock Homebrew is absolutely worth a follow.)