Review: New spells, races in D&D’s Elemental Evil free PDF


“You can do a lot of things with fire, but almost all of them are bad ideas.”

Well said. That’s part the disclaimer from the new free Player’s Companion for D&D’s upcoming Elemental Evil storyline, “Princes of the Apocalypse.”

This week, Wizards of the Coast and D&D dropped the free PDF.

First off, we love that they’re releasing this kind of player information for free. It means you can play the game and use the relevant game information without having to spend $50 on a book that you may not use except to glean new races and spells.

And that brings us to the content of the Player’s Companion: Four races and a host of new spells.

Newly available races include the aaroakocra (bird person), deep gnome (a new gnome subrace), genasi (genie-like humanoids) and goliath (near-giants that are just this side of a medium classification).

Let’s break it down, shall we?

Aaroakocra – Bird people! I am very interested in working up a aaroakocra ranger and raining death from above. Flight speed of 50 ft is killer even if you have to be wearing light armor to do it. But why is the race nerfed in D&D’s Adventurers League organized play? If it’s legal for my home table, it should be legal for AL.

Deep Gnome – Now we get a deep underground take on the gnome to compliment forest and rock gnomes. (Hey, if elves get drow and dwarves get duergar, why can’t there be deep gnomes?) This could make for some fun role play, and the gnome cunning and stone camouflage traits are pretty excellent. And if I were a deep gnome, I’d definitely take the Svirfneblin Magic feat as soon as possible to cast some tricksy little spells.

Genasi – These half-genies can be really fun to play and I enjoyed them in past editions. Here they get a 5th edition update with choices between air, earth, wind and fire types. Will I play a fire genasi and utilize its fire resistance, flame-fueled darkvision and flame-related spells? You bet I will. Genasi offers some really fun options for role play and character creation.

Goliath – You want to play a giant, and now you can. Mostly. At 7 to 8 feet tall, you still count as a medium creature for most things, but why is your walking speed the same as a humans? I know it might make the creature a tad overpowered, but an extra 5 feet would make sense in this case. Still, the Stone’s Endurance trait is awesome, and I’d love to run around as a Goliath Thief. (Yes, I’m into weird and hilarious character builds.)


What about those spells?

The Player’s Companion brings us spells for bards, druids, rangers, sorcerers, warlocks and wizards. So, basically everyone, right?

Look over the spell lists and you’ll notice that everything has an elemental flavor to it. Bards get some new thunder, earth and fire spells, and wizards get to make flames, cause earthquakes, fire flame arrows and create dust devil companions.

Let’s look at some of our favorites, shall we?

 Abi-Dalzim’s Horrid Wilting – It’s an 8th level spell, and dang is it powerful. You could crush a combat encounter with this one.

Aganazzar’s Scorcher – Like a laser blast of flame, this one takes down everything in its path.

Catapult – This spell is hilarious to me for some reason. I can see it now: “Hey, give me that sword.” “I cast catapult on the sword.” Woosh!

Earthbind – I imagine this is going to be very useful in the “Princes of the Apocalypse” story with all its flying monsters and NPCs.

Flame Arrows – A classic.

Ice Knife – Fun and wicked. Plus seeing a wizard fling an ice shard across a battlefield sounds awesome.

Investiture of Wind/Stone/Flame/Ice – Any elementalist is gonna need this one.

Maximillian’s Earthen Grasp – Stone hand erupts from the earth and grabs a creature? Yes!

Melf’s Minute Meteors – Meteors swirl around your head and smash into anything within 120 feet. That’s wicked dangerous.

Whirlwind – Suck up anything in a 10 foot radius and make it smash around. That sounds like complete chaos and a way to crush your enemies.

OK, I need to create a spellcaster and use all of these spells. They all seem so much fun. What I love the most: D&D is going back to spells featuring proper names as if Melf the wizard created the spell.

» Download the Elemental Evil Player’s Companion from D&D

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