While the Vedalken have only been an official playable race since Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica was published in 2018, the race has actually been around since 2003.
In Magic the Gathering, they were introduced as a race that is typically aligned with blue cards.
To understand the Vedalken we have to look at the original purpose they filled in the classic card game. Much like D&D, Wizards of the Coast’s other fantasy properties include a host of exotic races and creatures.
MTG also contains what’s called the color wheel.
There are five colors:
Each of the colors represents different abilities and typically some sort of ideology shared among cards that have that color. Until vedalkens were created, merfolk were the token blue creature, but that ran (or swam) into some problems of limitation, seeing as merfolk are primarily found in water.
Vedalkens were brought into MTG to fill a much-needed space for a race that represented the ideology of blue cards, and who could still make sense in a wide range of settings.
So the vedalken were born, and those ideologies that they represent remain present in the version that has made its way into D&D. Vedalken are innate to logic and technology, and to paraphrase a simple description of blue cards they ‘seek perfection through knowledge’.
Vedalken are cool, rational beings who are far more focused on whatever goal they have in mind than sharing emotions. Not quite full vulcans, they feel much closer to spock; embodying the empathy and feeling that characterizes humans, while still using logic to subdue their emotions in favor of some nobler pursuit.
The noble pursuit most vedalken follow is that seeking of perfection I mentioned above. Of course, they are not a stupid people, they understand that absolute perfection is unattainable, but that doesn’t mean they can’t strive in it’s direction.
Their detachment from most forms of emotion means that relationships they build are based almost solely on mental stimulation. A vedalken’s friends are people who will challenge them to look at new perspectives.
They use their natural abilities and drive to fill roles in society such as lawmakers, mages, inventors, and scientists. In the Ravnica setting, which consists of 10 guilds, they are most often part of the Azorius Senate, Simic Combine, or even the Izzet League.
Vedalken Abilities and Traits: What Characterizes the Vedalken Race
- Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence score increases by 2, and your Wisdom score increases by 1.
- Age. Vedalken mature slower than humans do. reaching maturity around age 40. Their life span is typically 350 years, with some living to the age of 500.
- Alignment. Vedalken are usually lawful and non-evil.
- Size. Tall and slender, Vedalken stand 6 to 6 1/2 feet tall on average and usually weigh less than 200 pounds. Your size is Medium.
- Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
- Vedalken Dispassion. You have advantage on all Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma saving throws.
- Tireless Precision. You are proficient in one of the following skills of your choice: Arcana, History, Investigation, Medicine, Performance, or Sleight of Hand. You are also proficient with one tool of your choice.
Whenever you make an ability check with the chosen skill or tool, roll a d4 and add the number rolled to the check’s total.
- Partially Amphibious. By absorbing oxygen through your skin, you can breathe underwater for up to 1 hour. Once you’ve reached that limit, you can’t use this trait again until you finish a long rest.
- Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common, Vedalken, and one other language of your choice.
Let’s start this off by looking at those ability score increases. The vedalken is one of two official races to give you +2 to intelligence. If you’re looking for any sort of build-on intelligence, getting that +2 is basically essential.
Sure, you can be a variant human wizard and pick up some feats, but where’s the fun in that?
Then we get a few really nice racial features that feel very unique to the Vedalken, and do a great job of reflecting what kind of roles they fill in MTG.
We get Vedalken Dispassion, an ability tied to their tendency to push down emotions. They get advantage on saving throws for ALL of the mental stats. I mean, that’s just stunningly impressive. Imagine being so apathetic you could avoid being charmed or frightened.
A Mindflayer seeking to stun you with their tentacles? Meh, roll with advantage, there are more important things to focus on. This ability alone is worth it in my book.
Then we move on to Tireless Precision for a really cool ability. Not only does this grant you proficiency with a skill and a tool of your choice, but you also add a d4 to the check on top of your normal modifiers.
The skill choices are limited to six options, but all of them are decently common. And of course, a tool proficiency is as good as you make it, so putting some design thought into your character’s relationship with his toolset is a good idea.
Being partially amphibious is a bit lackluster, but still useful in the right situations. You’re not going to go down to an underwater city with an hour of oxygen, but you might be able to hide out in a moat, or partake in a navy seal-style stealth mission with no external help.
What Classes Are Well Suited to the Vedalken?
Finally, a class to bear the cross with gnomes. Vedalkens make amazing wizards, or artificers. On the basis of their intelligence boost alone, this is obvious, but their other abilities tie in excellently.
Wizard – Wizards, if you were unaware, are spellcasters. What this means for them is that they’ll often find themselves up against other spellcasters or magical entities. It’s not a written rule that casters go against casters, but it’s pretty common that you’ll see this. Getting advantage on those saving throws means that you’re far more secure than your average wizard of any other race, since you are protected from mental onslaught.
Artificer – Artificer’s automatically gain proficiency in the tools they need to get their job done, since tools are used for their spellcasting and infusing. Unfortunately, proficiencies don’t stack, but that doesn’t mean you can’t choose your preferred tool with the vedalken’s tireless precision as well, just to nab that extra 1d4 on top. Doing so will set you ahead of other artificers by bounds.
Vedalken Appearance: General Looks Found Among Them
Vedalkens, if you haven’t already guessed, are blue! These vulcan smurfs are tall, slender humanoids, standing generally about a foot taller than humans, while still weighing the same on average.
Their faces resemble a human’s face as well, with a few notable differences. Their eyes are dark blue or purple tones. They have no hair, not just on their head, but across their whole body.
They sport long oval ears that are pulled tight against their proportionately long heads. Their noses are broad and flat.
Vedalkens also tend to have six fingers, with the sixth acting like a second thumb on the other side of one’s hand.
Interestingly, there are vedalkens from other planes with different appearances. If you’re bringing your vedalken from a plane called Mirrodin, they likely have a few mutations that have become commonplace over the ages.
Mirrodin vedalken have four arms and gills, a result of a slow poisoning from spores released by an organism known as the mycosynth.
Vedalken Names: Male, Female
Vedalken naming culture follows a pretty standard procedure. Children are given names at birth, and then as they grow up some choose to take on new names.
Typically vedalkens avoid familial names.
Male Names: Aglar, Bellin, Daglid, Firellan, Koplony, Lovar, Modar, Ovlan, Uldin, Zataz
Female Names: Azi, Barvisa, Brazia, Direlle, Fainn, Hallia, Katrille, Koven, Ossya,