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Flying Monkey Pirates?
The Travelers of the Multiverse unearthed arcana seems to have finally confirmed that a 5e spelljammer book is on the way and we’ve got a bunch of new interplanar races to play with. The hadozee are basically the “flying squirrels” of humanoid ape-folk, with skin flaps between their arms and legs that let them glide. And on top of that they’re usually sailors or pirates on spelljammer ships, giving us the absolutely marvelous phrase “flying monkey pirates” to enjoy. But how do these apes play? Hold your sword in your teeth as you scramble up into the rigging and we go through everything you need to know.
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Hadozee don’t have a whole lot of lore to lean on, and the new UA offering doesn’t give us that much more to work with. We get a bit of generic “community and friendship” lore that we didn’t get before but really all we have to go to earlier editions. Physically they’re described as taller and thinner than most apes making them a bit more like baboons. However, basically any sort of ape or monkey fur patterns and themes are on the table here. They also have enough fur to go around without clothes and you’ll see them with just a few accessories rather than full outfits in their art. They’re curious, optimistic, and often very emotional with apish hoots, whoops, and bearing their ape fangs when they’re angry. They don’t often philosophies or care much about morality, they usually just want to do their work, and have fun doing it. Honestly though, I anticipate most of this old lore to get updated (since it was weak and thin to begin with), so look forward to a new take on hadozees when they hit a real book release.
Just like all the other newly released races the hadozees are a “lineage” rather than a “race”. This means that the ability score increases are up to you and the selection is all about the features. This 5e baboon like race’s list of features is short and sweet so let’s quickly go through each of them and what they’ll do for your new interdimensional hippo character:
Creature Type. You are a Humanoid.
Size. You are Medium or Small. You choose the size when you select this race.
Speed. Your walking speed is 30 feet, and you have a climbing speed equal to your walking speed.
Dexterous Feet. You can take the Use an Object action as a bonus action.
Glide. If you are not incapacitated or wearing heavy armor, you can extend your skin membranes and glide. When you do so, you can perform the following aerial Maneuvers:
- When you fall, you can move up to 5 feet horizontally for every 1 foot you descend.
- When you would take damage from a fall, you can use your reaction to reduce the fall’s damage to 0
So, if you’ve ever wanted to play a squirrel in dnd 5e you could potentially play close to one, or ask your dm if you can “reskin” the hadozee. Honestly very few here but that last one packs a whole lot of utility, let’s go through each feature and get a better feel for what they actually do for your character:
Creature Type: Humanoid is standard fare that 90% of your player race options have. It isn’t adding anything special but it’s not a detriment at least.
Size: We’re seeing these more and more where you can just pick between small or medium, which is excellent for roleplay (you can be a big whooping ape or a cute little monkey) it does really showcase how little difference there is between the two. Pick what feels right for your character and just remember the few limitations on small characters when it comes to heavy weapons or grappling.
Speed: Hadozee get the standard movement and a full climbing speed (which makes sense). Remember though that climbing speeds don’t give you any special capacity to climb things, you’re just not slowed down when climbing things where other people would need to move at half speed.
Dexterous Feet: Using an object as a bonus action is BIG, because this means among other things you can drink healing potions as a bonus action. Some DMs are nice enough to let people do this normally but using the rules as written you’re stuck using a normal action for drinking that all-important healing potion. Getting “Use an Object” as a mere bonus action means that so long as you keep a good stock of healing potions you can heal every round without “wasting your turn” healing. If your dm already allows the drinking a potion as a bonus action, you might ask them if you can use it as a free action.
Glide: I find the wording on this to be just a little awkward and I expect it’s going to get reworked. Functionally this feature gives you free and constant Feather Fall avoiding any fall damage, and you get to move a LONG distance when falling. This feature gives you 5 feet of horizontal movement for each 1 foot you fall, so if you fall 10 feet, you could land 50 feet away from where you started. And remember, in 5e you fall 500 feet a round normally. And since this feature doesn’t do anything to slow your fall and just adds horizontal movement, jumping off a 10-foot-high wall lets you essentially travel 50 feet instantly. Now imagine you jump off a 100-foot-tall building, you’d travel 500 feet in any direction that round and land safely! I fully expect this to get completely reworked but enjoy breaking it while you can! Now, also, it’s important to remember that you could end up being very far from your baboon’s allies, and end up taking many melee weapon attacks as a result. With this glide you can effectively split the party…
Building an Hadozee Character
There’s no more ability score matching now with the “lineages”, so there’s also no real “ideal” classes anymore. However, the hadozee has a couple features that can work amazingly well with certain strategies. The Dexterous Feet ability lets you “use an object” as a bonus action, which means super-fast trap disarming for Artificers and Rogues since using your tools utilizes the “use an object” action. Beyond that practically any class can make use of faster healing potions so long as you aren’t normally using your bonus action during your turn for other things. Classes like the Cleric, Fighter, Paladin, Sorcerer, Wizard, and Warlock can all make great use of it (so long as they don’t dual-wield or run out of potions).
It’s been pointed out that the specific description of hadozee’s backstory is very problematic. Polygon goes into it in detail here.
DO I GIVE THEM THE RED POTION OR THE REALLY RED POTION? Know before you throw with our Healing Potions in DND 5e Guide
Space Hamsters? Ooze PCs? Check out our Spelljammer Adventures in Space review
Want to be a rugged frontier adventurer? Check out our Ranger 5e Multiclass Guide
Last updated: January 27, 2019
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