Elf — Sea Elf Subrace 5E

Hello adventurers! Welcome to my spellbook and thank you so much for checking out ninth episode of our elven subrace series. Today we’re going to be going over the sea elf. Not to be confused with the triton i feel like a lot of people do that but the sea elf is its own seperate thing and it is found in the mordenkainen’s tome of foes and is pretty much with the name suggests. It’s an elf that’s become acclimated to the sea. More specifically sea elves fell in love with the wild beauty of the ocean in the earliest days of the multiverse.

While other elves traveled from realm to realm, the sea elves navigated the deepest currents and explored the waters across a hundred worlds. Today they live in small hidden communities in the ocean shallows and on the elemental plane of water. Really cool stuff, they got a decent amount of lore attached to them from previous iterations of dnd. In any case let’s dive right in by first going over their traits.


  • Ability Score Increase: +1 Con
  • Languages: Speak, write and read aquan
  • Sea Elf Training: Proficiency with the spear, trident, light crossbow, and net.

First and foremost looking at their ability score: they gain a plus one increase to constitution. This is really good if you’re any spell caster or any character that’s planning on taking a lot of damage. Then also gain an extra language namely aquan which is one of the more exotic languages in the game. So that’s pretty neat. They also gain a Sea Elf training which gives them proficiency with the spear, trident, light crossbow and the net. The net is one of those interesting pieces of equipment where i feel like it is super underused and i think a large part of that has to do with the lack of proficiency with it. So this is a pretty good way of dealing with that. Now let’s move on to some of their other traits here.

Other Traits

They’ll also gain access to child of the sea: You have a swimming speed of 30 feet, and you can breathe air and water. This is really cool, i’ll get into why in a little bit. You also gain a friend of the sea: Using gestures and sounds, you can communicate simple ideas with any beast that has an innate swimming speed.

So first and foremost having the not only a swim speed but the ability to breathe air and water puts you in a fantastic position for any kind of stealthy, exploits or getting around and circumnavigating encounters altogether. There’s nothing to stop you from just swimming in the river while there’s enemy patrols on the coastline and not really interacting with them at all.

Especially seeing how your swim speeds 30 feet, you swim take it the dash action double that. You can very quickly get out of range of anyone who would wish you ill harm and the ability to communicate with essentially sea creatures is fantastic. I understand they can only communicate simple ideas but if you’re like walk up to some tropical fish in like a mobster’s room or something like that and you’re like “hey fishy did this guy kill this guy” and you hold up a picture of the mark you’re trying to find or what have you and the fish nods or shakes its head or whatever.

I think it’ll be really cool! giving you a lot of interesting role play opportunities. It’s not as good as being able to outright communicate with them but some DMs consider that to be pretty complicated anyways. So maybe this is a better way of doing it. This also isn’t a magical spell it’s just a magical ability or a magical trait if you want to look at it that way. So the limitations of spells don’t really apply to it, really neat stuff. Now let’s get on to my personal thoughts.


Overall i’m actually a really big fan of the sea elf and i’m surprised they don’t get played as much as they do. The plus one the constitution is really nice. Almost entirely regardless of class, constitution is never a bad thing to have and is almost never chosen as a dump stat.

The only exception to that might be rogues and that’s only because they’re planning on hanging in the back anyways but even then there are better dump stats to take. Getting an extra language although it is aquan it still is an exotic language and if you let your dm know about it there is a good chance they’ll be able to work into any campaign.

The sea elf training is okay! i really do think the net and the light crossbow are the better things you’re getting out of that. Although the spear is an incredibly versatile weapon and the trident is just pretty cool for just being a badass weapon in general. So maybe you can play around with it, maybe you can homebrew something with your dm to make them a little bit more viable in the late game.

And looking at their other traits…i’m already a super huge fan of the swim speed and the ability to breathe air and water having an entire seperate type of movement and being able to function in a completely different terrain with no ill effects is super awesome. Especially since it’s a terrain that can literally kill other people.

Drowning in 5E is pretty hard and it takes a decent amount of time at least if you’re in combat, however it’s still possible and it’s something that virtually every creature is affected by. So if you are a character that specializes in grappling there’s nothing to stop you from grappling them and dragging them into whatever pit of water is nearby and just suffocating them. It might be a little anticlimactic, might be a little bit cheesy but it is still a perfectly viable option as far as i can tell.

And i think friend of the sea is awesome. Lends itself to a ton of role play opportunities could very well change the way you gather and use information and as a direct result make your character far more useful and areas where they might otherwise be pretty weak.

You’ll see this in terms of like barbarians for example that really do struggle with the exploration and social pillars of the game. This might give them that added edge they need to be able to carry their own weight and maybe some of the other parties as well and make sure they are perfectly useful during all other aspects of the game.


That being said, let me know what you think of thos sea elf down beneath in the comment section. Be sure to mention any thoughts, questions, comments or concerns you have regarding them. And if you have any cool build ideas or even stories attached to them i’d love to hear that as well. In any case i hope you all have a great day and as always happy adventuring.

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