Monday, 11 May 2015

Let's take a look at the Elemental Evil Player's Companion



Wizards of the Coast continues to offer free goodies, this time in the form of the Elemental Evil Player's Companion, an expansion to the Player's  Handbook that ties in to their Elemental Evil campaign storyline.

First off, let's look at what WotC are currently doing with their newest iteration of the classic Temple of Elemental Evil, which is set to be the huge new marketing cross-over for the company. It's a great idea from a brand level - take all your assets: MMOs, videogames, boardgames, literature and the tabletop game, and create a storyline that encompasses them all. While I'll only ever probably play the classic game, it's great that the company is offering multiple ways to experience the story.

Elemental Evil is all about apocalyptic cults, each devoted to a prince of elemental evil led by a nihilistic and corrupt prophet. These funky customers are using devastation orbs, created from raw elemental power, to bring all kinds of devastating chaos to Faerûn. As if that wasn't bad enough, these barmy cults have decided to join forces are creating an underground dungeon temple dedicated to the mysterious Elder Elemental Eye. Shit's getting real, son.

The Elemental Evil Player's Companion is both an expansion to the Player's Handbook, offering up three new races, a sub-race and a bunch of new spells, while also being a supplement to Princes of the Apocalypse, the tabletop campaign at the core of the story.

New Races

Aarakocra: This is a race of birdfolk hailing from the Elemental Plane of Air, first appearing back in the Fiend Folio (AD&D 1e). The companion has some great flavour about their habitats, colonies and history.

In terms of traits, level 1 Aarakocras have flight (which means no medium or heavy armour), and talons that deals 1d4 unarmed strike damage. Suitable backgrounds include sage, hermit and outlander and they are likely to be rangers or fighters.

Deep Gnome: A sub-race, also known as the Svirfneblin, that appeared first in module D2 Shrine of Kuo-Toa and as a playable race in Unearthed Arcana. They have superior darkvision, gnome cunning (advantage on int, wis and cha saves against magic), stone camouflage (advantage on stealth checks to hide in rocky terrain) and the optional feat of Svirfneblin magic.

Genasi: By far the most interesting race presented in the book, the Genasi are a hangover from Planescape's Planewalker's Handbook which later became integrated into the Forgotten Realms. The Genasi are the offspring of mortals and genies, with the power of the elemental planes inherent within their blood. Unlike in 4e, where the Genasi were a single race, 5e has once again split them into subraces: Air, Earth, Fire and Water. Each has its own traits and personalities, although the Earth Genasi seems to have got the short end of the stick, with a couple of relatively lame abilities.

Goliath: One of the more recent races, showing up as a player character back in 3.5's Races of Stone, Goliaths are massive mountain beings that make natural warriors. Goliaths get a +2 strength increase, athletics proficiency and Goliath mainstay Stone's Endurance, which allows a once-per-day d12 reaction roll to reduce damage.

New Spells

To finish off the book, we get a bunch of spells for rangers, bards, warlocks, druids, sorcerers, and wizards - so no scrimping on the spells. Of course, all these spells are based on the elements, such as control flames, earth tremor and frostbite. I was particularly glad to see the return of this baby:

Abi-Dalzim’s Horrid Wilting
8th-level necromancy
Casting Time:
 1 action
Range:
 150 feet
Components:
 V, S, M (a bit of sponge)
Duration:
 Instantaneous You draw the moisture from every creature in a 30-foot cube centered on a point you choose within range. Each creature in that area must make a Constitution saving
throw. Constructs and undead aren’t affected, and plants and water elementals make this saving throw  with disadvantage. A creature takes 10d8 necrotic damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Conclusion

I guess you can't beat free, can you? Sure, you could see the EEPC as a way of drawing in players to buy into the Elemental Evil campaign, because it absolutely is, but I think it's a great little addition to the PB. Download it here.