I'm playing a life cleric (following Ilmater, LG tending to LN) and recently our half-elf bard died for "story telling" reasons.

We assisted some priest-kinda npcs in some, GM driven, unknown ritual and the supposed reincarnate spell succeeded. The GM must have roled kinda funny and instead of our half-elven friend, a drow appeared.

As a "good" player my immediate reaction was to attack the evil creature instead of just taking it like a good rpg chump. And only letting up after being overpowered by the rest.

In my mind that seemed like a natural reaction if you are doing some sort of wonky ritual and now there's an evil drow in your midst. In my mind every social encounter will now be much harder as we are now travelling with some evil looking creature. The other players and the GM think it's no biggy and just a cool race.

What should be a proper way to react to a sudden change of a character with seemingly (at least in game) wider implications, i.e. a social character (good/neutral) changing its race to one perceived as evil-ish, players killing peasants/street urchins willy nilly and moving on, using obviously cursed or evil items as a power upgrade,...?

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    \$\begingroup\$ So the first reaction of your "lawful good" cleric of life was to straight up try and murder another sentient creature that wasn't threatening you? \$\endgroup\$
    – Phlyk
    Sep 5, 2016 at 14:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you asking how your character should react to this situation? Or is the bit that you actually care about the "In my mind every social encounter will now be much harder"? \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Sep 5, 2016 at 14:29
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I can't tell if you're venting or asking us how to play your character or how character alignment works or how to talk to your GM. Can you narrow it down to a real point? \$\endgroup\$ Sep 5, 2016 at 14:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ The edit which added the last paragraph (about killing peasants and using evil artifacts) has substantially changed the nature and focus of the question. In fact, it doesn't seem to have a lot of bearing on the specific incident, and seems to refer to a lot of things in the campaign that are not being mentioned. The question seems far to broad and ambiguous to receive a meaningful answer. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 6, 2016 at 3:50

2 Answers 2


The Setting

First of all, it's worth having a caveat that it depends on the setting you are playing in.

If your GM tells you that Drow aren't inherently evil, that it's not a big deal and that they are just seen as a "cool" race then take that at face value. That's simply the fictional world your characters are inhabiting and it may just be a misalignment of your expectations with those of your GM. If this is the case, then just sit down for a chat and work out what being a Drow actually means.

The rest of this answer is based on the principle that this isn't the case and that Drow are just outright, irredeemably evil.

The Reincarnation

Your character probably overreacted.

It seems you knew what kind of spell was being performed - a reincarnate - and, being a cleric, your character may well know that the new race is out of the control of the spellcasters. Being reincarnated as a Drow, whilst unusual, is not outside of what could be expected.

Even if you didn't know exactly what to expect, the fact that your party members were trying to hold you back could have tipped you off.

Me Me Me

If you think it's going to be tough handling social situations with a Drow following you around, imagine having to be the Drow. The poor Bard who formally made a living from being charismatic and inspiring has now taken on the appearance of one of the most hated creatures in the land. In fact they were just killed, reincarnated and then immediately attacked by one of their own allies. That's practically the definition of a bad day!

This bit of the story isn't about your character so much as it is about the Bard. Maybe you should consider feeling some compassion towards your poor friend who is now stuck in this unfortunate situation which is not of their own choice. Yes, things may be more difficult but surely you wouldn't turn your back on a close friend, would you?


It may take a miracle (or a Wish) to get your friend back to the way they were but in the long run it may be possible - just check out some of the suggestions here!

  1. Not all drow are evil.

  2. The existence of spells like reincarnate is frequently a known thing; your character may not have been aware of it, but in a world of magic it seems like even the most clueless adventurer would pause here to try to sort out what is going on. A single drow isn’t likely to be a huge threat to the populace or anything (things might be different if a major fiend or eldritch evil appeared, maybe).

  3. Merely having Evil alignment is not a capital offense in any published setting. Attacking a creature merely on the existence of an Evil alignment is battery; killing one is murder. A Lawful character presumably would be disinclined to do that. A Good character even more so. And that is when an Evil alignment has been confirmed (a difficult thing to do in 5e); merely suspecting an Evil alignment definitely does not qualify as justification for homicide.

  4. Reincarnate doesn’t affect a character’s memory. This drow is the same person as the half-elf that’s been replaced. In fact, drow have little, if any, biological disposition towards Evil—that mostly comes from their society, and reincarnate doesn’t give the drow née half-elf that. At best the character would be very slightly tempted to be a bit more callous or ruthless. This is not a sudden switch to the Evil alignment.

  5. Other people you meet may react negatively to a drow; that’s true. But if you can vouch for him and explain the situation, that may mitigate the problem. Even if not, that’s a roleplaying opportunity. The other players may very much want that challenge. Or, equally-possible, this may be a more casual game where complications like that are being ignored.

  6. The scare quotes you put on “‘story telling’ reasons” suggests that you dislike this event. And that does imply that the death was not because of some mistake the half-elf made, or even just bad luck, but something forced by the DM; that could be a bad sign. And changing a character’s race, particularly to one as socially problematic as drow, is a major change a DM should consult the player on first.

    If you are uncomfortable or unhappy with how this played out, you might want to speak up about it. But if you do, that is an out-of-character conversation that should happen outside a game session, and you need to be polite and avoid jumping to conclusions. Maybe the DM did consult with the former-half-elf’s player on this. And regardless, as you note, the other players are fine with this.

  7. You don’t seem to trust your DM here. You imply that the original death was forced, not fair, you imply that something dodgy was going on with the dice when drow was chosen, and so on. That is a serious problem. We have not even remotely enough information to judge whether you are right to be suspicious or if you’re being paranoid, but regardless, that is a situation you should resolve. This game absolutely relies on trust and I can guarantee you will not enjoy the game if you are suspicious of everything the DM does.

    You and the DM may have incompatible gaming styles; you may not really fit in with this group. It might be best, both for yourself and for them, for you to find another. Or you could just accept it for what it is and make the best of it. Or you might determine that you’re not being fair here, and get over it. Impossible to say which of these applies, but you really should be trying to figure it out.


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