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The Bladesinging subclass (Sword Coast Adventurer Guide, p. 141) of the Wizard class is restricted to Elves.

If a High-Elf with 4 levels in the Wizard (Bladesinging) class dies and is reincarnated in a Human body, then what happens?

Will they lose levels? Swap their sub-class? Keep their sub-class levels but become unable to progress any further?


I found a number of questions on how to handle racial traits after Reincarnation, but none that pertained to race-as-prerequisite for either sub-classes or feats.

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    \$\begingroup\$ the same issue arises for Battlerager Barbarians (which are normally exclusive for dwarves). However, due to different phrasing, the RAW answer might differ as well (RAI would probably be the same) \$\endgroup\$ – PixelMaster Oct 19 '19 at 13:26
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They're still a Bladesinger

If you take a real persnickety reading of the rules, the SCAG says specifically that:

Only elves and half-elves can choose the bladesinger arcane tradition. In the world of Faerûn, elves closely guard the secrets of bladesinging.

In order to choose the bladesinger arcane tradition, one must be an elf or half-elf. But you only choose your arcane tradition once, upon reaching second level; thereafter, you just have it. A bladesinger who is reincarnated as a non-elf remains a bladesinger because they were an elf at the time they chose their tradition and being reincarnated does not require them to choose those options again.

This works perfectly well with the lore given; the justification for the restriction is that "elves" (well known monolithic entity that they are) simply don't teach the secrets of the tradition to non-elves, not that it's anything which is innately tied to elven physiology. To be a bladesinger is to know these secrets, and you don't forget them just because your biology changed.

The rules also don't make any presumption that a character needs a trainer in order to advance their class features as they level up, so the reincarnated bladesinger should be able to continue progressing in the class even if there are no elves who would be willing to teach them the secrets of bladesinging in their new form. In the fiction, I would judge that once initiated into the ways of the class, it is possible for the character to make further progress in their class abilities by practice, self-study, experimentation and discovery.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Doesn't this ruling imply that any race can be a Bladesinger, so long as they chose the Arcane Tradition whilst an Elf and were subsequently Reincarnated? -- I really don't like Reincarnate :x \$\endgroup\$ – Matthieu M. Oct 19 '19 at 13:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MatthieuM. yes, that's what I would interpret by a strict reading. Personally I think reincarnate is fine, the problem is really the troublesome definition of "racial traits" and related features that mechanically conflate biology and culture; the RAW also allows for an elf who was born and raised amongst dwarves and never known another elf to become a Bladesinger - but of course, never a Battlerager, because those are specific to dwarven culture. \$\endgroup\$ – Carcer Oct 19 '19 at 13:53
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You're still a bladesinger.

The restriction is phrased as follows:

Only elves and half-elves can choose the bladesinger arcane tradition. In the world of Faerûn, elves closely guard the secrets of bladesinging.

RAW, you only have to be an elf when you choose the arcane tradition, so becoming a non-elf after gaining this class wouldn't matter.

Interpreting more freely, the phrase "elves closely guard the secrets of bladesinging" suggests that the reason for the restriction is that elves don't share their knowledge with outsiders. However, if you are an elf turned human after a Reincarnation spell, you would presumably still know your elf family, friends etc, so you probably wouldn't be considered an "outsider".

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I realize this is a bit old, but there might be a huge plot hole in trying to resurrect any elves aside Half-elves. Regardless of the kind of resurrection you would like to do, from reincarnation to cloning, the soul must be willing, which conflicts with Elvish lore.

In Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes, Chapter 2, there is a detailed history and lore on all kinds of elves that point out the lifecycle of elves and that soul's goal:

Drow have had their souls removed thus cannot comply to the rules.

The Shadar-Kai gave their souls to their elvish queen long ago to make her into a goddess. In return, she uses a fraction of that soul to basically create a clone of them, thus dying only means returning home, a nuisance if anything.

The rest of the elves are a limited number of souls that have foolishly fallen and are repenting for their crimes. As such, they view birth as a new chance to gain forgiveness from their main god Corellon, and death as their soul returning for a brief respite in their heavenly kingdom of Avandor. As this respite is an addicting experience for them, doing anything against Corellon's wishes, like willingly turning from his gift of respite to resurrect outside of the cycle, would be seen as blasphemy of the highest order.


All that together states that no elf has a soul unclaimed by a diety aside from Half-Elves, which seem to possibly have half a soul, and unclean in the resurrection cycle. Thus a half-elf bladesigner MIGHT be able to be resurrected into another race and keep such an ability, but your High Elf would accept death as a chance to regain his primal status and refuse the spell, or chance to have their soul further punished, as it would directly harm Corellon further.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ MToF includes the line "Notably, elves who have been revived from death by magical means seem to experience their first other-life memory earlier than they otherwise might", so I don't believe that the lore is meant to rule out the option of a soul's resurrection. Ideally, the elf wants to live a long and interesting life and die of old age, so resurrection for an elf who died prematurely is in keeping with that goal. Reincarnation admittedly might be a bit muddier. (Honestly, I'm not a fan of 5e's brand new default elf lore...) \$\endgroup\$ – Carcer Jun 4 at 9:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, and just because the elven outlook in general says a certain thing, doesn't necessarily mean that every individual elf is particularly happy about the idea that they will die and then their incarnation will become nothing more than memories some other elf experiences from time to time; nothing in the text implies that their souls are held in Arvandor if they should have the desire and the opportunity to return. \$\endgroup\$ – Carcer Jun 4 at 9:07

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