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I made an Eladrin Ranger and the DM wouldn't allow it. I'm confused. Did something happen to Eladrin?

I'm wondering because none of my three gaming groups' DMs would allow my character. They just told me to make a new character. They once let me play a Sea Elf in a desert (not saying it went well), but if I can't play an Eladrin in the Feywild (where we are currently) then I figure that something probably happened to it.

I have the Player's Handbook, though it may be outdated.

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You appear to be using a sourcebook from the wrong edition of D&D.

Based on your comment that you used an outdated version of the Player's Handbook to create an eladrin player character, and that it was rejected by three seperate DMs, it appears that you are attempting to use the D&D 4th edition Player's Handbook to create a character for a D&D 5th edition game.

You can't do this. D&D 5th edition characters can only be made with the D&D 5th edition rules and sourcebooks. The two rulesets are incompatible.

This is particularly important between 4th and 5th edition, as the rules changed so much between these editions of the rules that they're almost entirely different games.

For reference, the 4th edition Player's Handbook is the one subtitled "Arcane, Divine, and Martial Heroes". The front cover depicts a yellow-green lizardlike dragonborn fighter and a female spellcaster with a staff, and the book is credited at the bottom to Rob Heinsoo, Andy Collins, and James Wyatt.

Cover of the D&D 4th edition Player’s Handbook

In the earliest editions of D&D, particularly Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st and 2nd edition in the 1980s and 1990s, it was common for players to mix-and-match content from different editions of the rules in this manner. However, this practice is no longer commonplace, since rules now change so much between editions.

I recall a player in an online D&D 5th edition game I ran making a similar mistake. First, he attempted to play a psion, which turned out to be a fan-made content from dandwiki.com that he had mistaken for official. When I rejected this, he attempted to create a tiefling, but did not actually own the Player's Handbook, and used Google to find a D&D 4th edition D&D Insider PDF article of optional tiefling powers, which he mistook for 5e core rules and promptly added to his character sheet.

As KorvinStarmast's answer notes, however, you can play an eladrin ranger in D&D 5th edition; you just need to use the 5th edition version of rules to do it (in Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes or the Dungeon Master's Guide). Note that if you happen to play in official Adventurer's League groups, there's a limit to how many sourcebooks you can use to build one character. If you're not too attached to the eladrin and don't have access to these other sourcebooks, it may be simpler just to play one of the types of elves in the D&D 5th edition Player's Handbook.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ They've also now mentioned the Warlord class in a comment. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Nov 14 at 18:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ same thing though right? with the warlord \$\endgroup\$ – RandomPerson Nov 14 at 19:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes. The warlord class is in the same boat. (Or edition, as it were) \$\endgroup\$ – Sable Dreamer Nov 14 at 20:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RandomPerson Warlord is a class in the 4th edition Player's Handbook, but it's not in the 5th edition Player's Handbook. The edition of the game rules should be named in the back cover of the book. \$\endgroup\$ – Quadratic Wizard Nov 14 at 21:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RandomPerson That's odd. Is it a physical book or a pdf? \$\endgroup\$ – mattdm Nov 15 at 14:01
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The Eladrin are in Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes

The Eladrin1 are also an optional playable sub-race of elf - At The DM's Option - in the DMG (p. 286).

  • In a general sense, a DM is not required to have all playable races or sub-race from all supplements in play in their campaign world, but it never hurts to ask.

    Ultimately, the Dungeon Master is the authority on the campaign and its setting, even if the setting is a published world (Players Handbook, p. 6)

Your path forward

  1. Ask about if you can play the Eladrin Option from the DMG (p. 286): is the DM OK with that? If not (apparently it is not) then get your hands on Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes and present that material to the DM.
  2. Ask the DM if that Eladrin is OK for you to play. If the DM is OK with that, then great, but if not ... it didn't hurt to ask, however, the DM has the final call on their campaign world.

  3. In the case of the above double "No" answer, before you create yet another character, first ask your DM:
    "What PC races are allowed in this campaign?"
    The reason to ask that is so that you don't create another character only to get another "no" response. That is frustrating, to be sure; I ran into it twice in previous editions so I learned to ask - before I build a character - from that experience.


1 The version of the Eladrin in the DMG is used as an example of how to create a sub-race when a DM wants to do a little home brewing. (As in "Which kind of elf are you? High elf, wood elf, drow, or eladrin?") I got to play one for a one shot adventure: they fit into play well enough, but we didn't start at level 1. We were sixth level PCs. The 2d level misty step spell once per short or long rest, at low levels, is quite a bit more magic than most other PC races have. That might be a reason for a DM to not wish to start your PC as an Eladrin (from the DMG) at level 1. Having it once per long rest is a bit closer to "balanced" with other PHB races.


enter image description here

The book on the left is a supplement, the book on the right is the PHB for 5th edition D&D.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @mattdm They are a sub race of elf in the DMG, while the aasimar are a whole 'nother race. I'll flesh out that point. Thanks. I don't want to wander off into too much 4e ism since the asker seems to be wanting to play 5e with the group. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Nov 15 at 3:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Pedantically, the 5e PHB also comes in a shiny red-and-black special edition. \$\endgroup\$ – Joel Harmon Nov 15 at 3:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JoelHarmon Indeed it does, but I am trying to stick to basics as we seem to have an edition confusion situation here, among other things. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Nov 15 at 3:39
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Eladrin were a core race in only one edition: D&D 4e. They’re not a core race in D&D 5e and in 5th they’re available as PCs only with DM permission.

If you’re used to 4th edition, it might seem weird that eladrin aren’t a standard option in 5th, but 4th is the edition that is unusual—it was the edition that added eladrin as a PC race never before seen in D&D.

It’s also not really a matter of “what happened”. Nothing happened other than just not being included. Each edition is a separate game with its own incompatible set of options and rules. Each edition always has a different set of available PC races and classes.


If you’re using a 4th edition Player’s Handbook and the character has been rejected by three different DMs, as the comments on the question suggest, that’s because you can’t use a character made using a 4th edition PHB in a 5th edition game. They’re completely incompatible game systems, like trying to play an Xbox disc in a PlayStation console. You have to use 5th edition character creation rules for a 5th edition game.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Each table and setting also has limitations on which races they will be playing... never hurts to remind players of that. \$\endgroup\$ – Slagmoth Nov 14 at 18:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ Like what you added there about Xbox/PS console analogy. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Nov 15 at 3:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ More like Sega Saturn discs in a Dreamcast - at least they're the same company. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Nov 15 at 15:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @T.J.L. A bit more precision in that analogy, but though I know I was around for those consoles, for those who’ve never heard of either it’d be a less immediately understandable analogy. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 15 at 15:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie heh, I guess we are that old, since I got the ref as well. Here have some Geritol, I have some left. 8^) \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Nov 15 at 23:28

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