From automaton gnomes to hippofolk, there are a lot of interesting races that come with the Spelljammer setting. When it comes to the mechanics of these races, the Astral Elf is especially strong. This racial choice makes for a strong spellcaster but is also capable of filling any role in a party. Learn about the spacefaring elf with our Astral Elf 5E guide.
Astral Elf 5E
The Astral Elf is one of six new racial options for D&D 5E. Published in Spelljammer: Adventures in Space, this race shares some similarities with the elves of the Feywild or Faerun, but with a cosmic vibe. it is a good thematic fit for Wildspace, but the Astral Elf is playable in almost any setting.
What are Astral Elves in D&D?
Astral Elves trace their roots to the Feywild like most elves do, but they are very different from their brethren. The time these elves have spent in the Silver Void has imbued them with a spark of divine energy. Their proximity to the Gods leaves them with a notable starry gleam in their eyes. Mechanically, Astral Elves have some innate spellcasting and other spell-like effects that make them very powerful.
Building an Astral Elf Character
For most of the recent D&D releases, new races have not received the set attribute bonuses older players have come to expect. For that reason, new races are not often forced into certain classes for the sake of optimization. Like the plasmoid race, Astral Elves do not include set bonuses for abilities. Instead, you have a number of choices on how to build your character.
In total, you have two options for determining your ability score bonuses. This approach works no matter how you roll for or select your underlying abilities. Your first option is to take a +2 bonus to one ability, and a +1 bonus to another. Alternatively, you could take a +1 bonus to three abilities of your choice. This method provides flexibility for building the character you want without being saddled with suboptimal choices.
When you roll up an Astral Elf character, you do not automatically pick up a specific language like Sylvan. However, all new characters in a Spelljammer campaign know common and have the ability to take proficiency in one more language. Your chosen language is up to you, but in the section covering Spelljammer backgrounds, the book suggests taking either Celestial or Gith.
- Creature Type: You are a Humanoid. You are also considered an elf for any prerequisite or effect that requires you to be an elf.
- Lifespan: Your lifespan is roughly 750 years.
- Size: You are Medium.
- Astral Fire: You know one of the following cantrips of your choice: dancing lights, light, or sacred flame. Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma is your spellcasting ability for it (choose when you select this race).
- Darkvision: You can see in dim light within 60 feet of yourself as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You discern colors in that darkness only as shades of gray.
- Fey Ancestry: You have advantage on saving throws you make to avoid or end the charmed condition on yourself.
- Keen Senses: You have proficiency in the Perception skill.
- Starlight Step: As a bonus action, you can magically teleport up to 30 feet to an unoccupied space you can see. You can use this trait a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest..
- Astral Trance: You don’t need to sleep, and magic can’t put you to sleep. You can finish a long rest in 4 hours if you spend those hours in a trancelike meditation, during which you remain conscious.
Whenever you finish this trance, you gain proficiency in one skill of your choice and with one weapon or tool of your choice, selected from the Player’s Handbook. You mystically acquire these proficiencies by drawing them from shared elven memory and the experiences of entities on the Astral Plane, and you retain them until you finish your next long rest.
If you thought these traits look familiar, you are probably right. The Astral Elf shares many similar traits with the Eladrin as well as other elven subraces. This shouldn’t come as a surprise given their shared lineage, but the differences between Astral Elves and Eladrin are minor.
Like the Eladrin, Astral Eleves have a non-spell version of misty step that they can use a number of times per long rest. This is slightly weaker compared to the Eladrin, who gets some add-on effects at higher levels that lets the Eladrin charm, damage, or teleport other creatures. However, Astral Elves have one trait the Eladrin do not: Astral Fire. With Astral fire, you get the choice either dancing lights, light, or sacred flame as a cantrip. You also get to choose the spellcasting ability for it. These are all useful cantrips in any campaign.
The rest of the Astral Elves’ traits are familiar to anyone who has played an elf before. You get Keen Senses that gives you proficiency in Perception. You also have Darkvision, advantage on saves from being charmed, and no need to sleep. This race gets a lot of useful bits that combine into a very strong option for most players.
Best Classes for Astral Elves
I’m a big proponent of playing whatever you want. I feel like the gang at Wizards of the Coast agrees, given the changes they have made to ability score modifiers for new races. With this new flexibility, you can make an optimal Astral Elf build for virtually class and subclass combinations.
Of course, the other traits could really shine with certain archetypes. Starlight Step gives you the chance to extract yourself from tight situations multiple times per day. This is a great option for a hexblade warlock, especially since you can get out of a jam without burning a precious spell slot. Astral Elves are also good options for dedicated casters as well, as the addition of a free cantrip is always welcome. This race is one of the few ways you can pick up sacred flame outside of playing a cleric, too.
How to Play an Astral Elf
Astral Elves are typically ancient beings. They aren’t just old – creatures don’t age in the Astral Sea. That means that many Astral Elf adventures have seen more in their lifetime than most. Most Astral Elves adventuring in the Wildspace do so out of curiosity, as they have little in the way of pressing material needs. Given their age, experience, and outlook on life, it could make sense to roleply your Astral Elf character as aloof and bemused, especially when in the presence of those who did not originate from the Astral Sea.
Astral Elf Names
An unfortunate omission in Spelljammer: Adventures in Space is the lack of name suggestions for any of the new races. This is true for the Astral Elves as well. While there isn’t official guidance on choosing names, it is worth turning to some of the notable Astral Elves in the adventure Light of Xaryxis for suggestions. They include names like Xedalli and Xeleth. In fact, most of the elves in this adventure have familiar elven names with the addition of more Xs and Zs than you might expect. If you need suggestions, be sure to see our high-elf naming guide.
Conclusion – Our Astral Elf 5E Guide
that concludes our guide to the Astral Elves of Spelljammer. While this new Spelljammer race works in Wildspace campaigns, Astral Elves fit in most fantasy settings. I think that mechanically this is a very strong race. Is well suited for any party role or class. Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comment section.
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