It’s the middle of the night, and your character is about to get up for their night watch. The sliding sounds of sinuous slithering reach your ears… you startle awake, clutching your spear, and roll over, only to see…your Yuan Ti party member coming back from a bathroom break!
That’s right, Dungeons & Dragons has an option to play snake people. Some folks who are scared of snakes in real life might not appreciate the chance, but the Yuan-Ti Pureblood race is available from Volo’s Guide to Monsters and was recently updated in Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse. Let’s break down the basics of Yuan-Ti Pureblood.
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Yuan-Ti Pureblood Legacy Version (VGtM)
The original versions of Yuan-Ti are a people shrouded in sinister legends. Supposedly, they were once human, but their serpent gods slowly corrupted them into the serpentine creatures they are now. Those gods once protected them and allowed their civilization to flourish, but their greed was their downfall.
All Yuan-Ti are some combination of humanoid and serpent, which gives the player room to decide how their character looks. Yuan-Ti Purebloods are considered cold, calculating, manipulative, and rarely emotional for role-playing purposes.
Anger, sadness, jealousy, hurt, happiness, and love have all been sidelined by their culture and defined as weaknesses. This can be challenging to navigate in-game, but Yuan-Ti can be best described as stoic.
Yuan-Ti Pureblood Features
If you’re playing with the traditional rules, Yuan-Ti Purebloods receive a +2 to Charisma and +1 to Intelligence, making them ideal candidates for Charisma or Intelligence-based spellcasters. With the optional rules in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, you can change these Ability Score bonuses to fit any class.
You start knowing the Poison Spray cantrip with this trait. You can also cast the level 1 spell animal friendship an unlimited number of times each day, but you can only speak with snakes. Once your character hits 3rd level, you can cast Suggestion once per day.
If you have 2nd level spell slots available, you can also count Suggestion as one of your known, or always prepared, spells and cast it that way. Your spellcasting ability for these spells is Charisma.
One of the best racial features, Magic Resistance, grants Yuan-Ti Purebloods advantage on all saving throws made against spells and magical effects. This feature can be a serious lifesaver in combat or when you’re exploring that spooky mansion with trapdoors.
DnD doesn’t differentiate between poison and venom. Therefore, though a race of snake people should technically be venomous, they’re considered poisonous. This poisonous nature makes them immune to poison damage and the poisoned condition.
Yuan-Ti Newest Version (MotM)
As you can see from the name, there were some significant changes to the presentation of Yuan-Ti and their basic mechanics. One of the more puzzling changes was converting poison immunity to resistance. Considering their serpentine origins, we think the immunity made sense and was a fun and flavorful addition to the race.
These changes include:
- Yuan Ti no longer have poison immunity. Instead, they are only resistant to poison. Poison resistance allows a Yuan-Ti character to take half damage when the damage type is poison.
- Yuan-Ti are no longer immune to the poisoned condition but resistant. Yuan Ti characters now have advantage on saving throws made to resist the poisoned condition.
- The feature that gave Yuan-Ti advantage on all saving throws against spells and magical effects now only affects saving throws against spells. Yuan Ti no longer have advantage on saving throws against magical effects.
GameCows Tip: The poisoned condition gives a creature disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks. It’s definitely something you want to avoid!
Yuan-Ti Pureblood Stats
- Ability Score Increase: Their Charisma score increases by 2, and their Intelligence score increases by 1.
- Age: Purebloods mature at the same rate as humans and have lifespans similar in length to theirs.
- Alignment: Purebloods are devoid of emotion and see others as tools to manipulate. They care little for law or chaos and are typically neutral evil. So you’re not likely to see a lot of chaotic neutral ones.
- Size: Purebloods match humans in average size and weight. Their size is Medium.
- Speed: Their base walking speed is 30 feet.
- Darkvision: They can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. They can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
- Innate Spellcasting: They know the Poison Spray cantrip and can cast Animal Friendship an unlimited number of times with this trait, but you can target only snakes with it.
- Starting at 3rd level, they can also cast Suggestion with this trait. Once cast, they can’t do so again until they finish a long rest. Charisma is the spellcasting ability for these spells.
- Magic Resistance: They have advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
- Poison Immunity: Theyare immune to poison damage and the poisoned condition.
- 5e Languages: They can speak, read, and write Common, Abyssal, and Draconic.
Best Classes for Yuan-Ti Purebloods
Creating a character based on Magic Resistance is a great option, making for a very powerful character. Yuan-Ti Purebloods work well with any CHA or INT spellcaster due to their ability score increases.
The Yuan-Ti’s magic resistance is one of the best racial abilities in D&D. In a world of swords and sorcery most characters have no defense against magic.
The Artificer’s Flash of Genius ability allows them to add their intelligence modifier to their saving throws and combine that with their magic resistance Yuan-Ti Artificers are close to immune to magical effects.
Similar to the Sorcerer, the Warlock also takes full advantage of the +2 Charisma modifier and its innate spellcasting abilities.
The +2 Charisma isn’t as necessary with the Wizard, but they still get all of the resistances and spellcasting ability of the Yuan-Ti and a +1 Bonus to Intelligence.
Alexa spends the majority of her days explaining the ins and outs of DnD to her two cats, much to their dismay.