In last month's column, I gave you an inside look into the back-and-forth within the R&D department -- among design teams, development teams, and management -- that led to the final form of the gnome and the half-orc in Player's Handbook 2. This time around, I'm going to do the same thing for the deva -- a "new" race that appears in PH2 this month, but which is the spiritual descendant, as it were, of a different race: the aasimar.
Ah, the aasimar. Depending on how you pronounce it, they come off sounding either a bit mule-headed or totally full of awesome. I never really had a problem with the name -- until a caption in Races of Faerûn doubled the S instead of the A. Even with that typo, though, I've always been fond of the race, in the same way that I've always enjoyed the concept of paladins and other holy characters. I don't mind an occasional walk on the dark side, but in general I like to play heroes who stand firmly on the side of right and truth and justice. The aasimar race lets me play a character who belongs there because of his nature, not just because of the moral choices he's made.
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About the Author
James Wyatt is the D&D Design Manager for Wizards of the Coast Roleplaying R&D. He was one of the lead designers for 4th Edition D&D and the primary author of the 4th Edition Dungeon Master's Guide. He was one of the designers of the Eberron Campaign Setting and is the author of several Eberron novels.