D&D 101: Choosing a Race for Your Dungeons & Dragons Character – Posts

To play Dungeons & Dragons, you may must create a personality to tackle adventures that your Dungeon Grasp will run. Even earlier than selecting your class, you may choose a race on your character.

Fifth-edition D&D incorporates all kinds of ancestries to select from, and each gives totally different options that make your character distinctive. In case you are new to the sport, one of the best place to start out studying concerning the recreation’s races is within the free primary guidelines or the Participant’s Handbook (in order for you barely extra choices). As you develop extra aware of the sport, you can look to different books for extra character creation choices. For instance, Tasha’s Cauldron of All the pieces provides guidelines for customizing your race. For the sake of this tutorial, we’ll cowl simply the racial choices within the Participant’s Handbook.

Signal as much as begin making your character

D&D Past is an official digital toolset for Dungeons & Dragons. Your free account means that you can use the character builder, which walks you thru the method of creating a D&D character. In case your Dungeon Grasp has a Grasp-tier subscription to D&D Past, they’ll share books they’ve bought within the market with you. That is useful if you wish to discover races, subraces, and non-compulsory guidelines discovered exterior of the essential guidelines however aren’t prepared to purchase something within the market.


Dragonborn are descendants of mighty dragons and are usually depicted as robust martial heroes who deeply worth their clans. They’re reptilian-like and get a breath weapon primarily based on the kind of dragon their lineage is tied to. Wish to breath fireplace in your enemies? Then you may need to play a dragonborn whose bloodline comes from crimson dragons!

Nice causes to play a dragonborn:

  • You get to be a quasi-dragon. Positive, you don’t have wings, however you’re nonetheless draconic!
  • Dragonborn have breath weapons. Relying in your draconic ancestry, you may select from all kinds of breath varieties, starting from the normal fireplace breath of crimson dragons to the poison breath of inexperienced dragons. Your breath offers 2d6 harm on a failed save (the DC is 8 + your Structure modifier + your proficiency bonus), half as a lot on a profitable save, and slowly scales as you degree up.
  • Dragonborn are immune to the harm kind related to their ancestry. So, when you breathe fireplace, you’re resistant to fireside harm.

Dragonborn gamers ought to remember:

  • Dragonborn don’t have darkvision, which common dragons and most different races within the Participant’s Handbook possess.
  • The dragonborn’s breath weapon makes use of up a whole Motion and may solely be used as soon as per quick or lengthy relaxation. Some gamers argue that its harm output is weak, particularly when foes make their saving throws.


Dwarves in D&D possess a knack for mining and a love for his or her clans and kingdoms, which stretch far into the earth. All dwarves are nice for martial courses, although dwarven spellcasters are additionally widespread. The subraces within the Participant’s Handbook embrace the hill dwarf and the mountain dwarf. Hill dwarves boast a better Knowledge rating and hit factors. Mountain dwarves profit from better Power.

dwarfNice causes to play a dwarf:

  • Dwarves can take lots of harm. Their Structure rating will increase by 2, and Dwarven Resilience offers them benefit on saving throws in opposition to poison and resistance to poison harm. The Dwarven Toughness trait of hill dwarves additionally imparts successful level most improve of 1 with each degree.
  • Dwarves begin with many weapon proficiencies that different races lack, together with hard-hitting armaments just like the battleaxe and warhammer. Even a dwarven wizard who’s out of spell slots received’t be rendered helpless so long as hammer is close by.
  • When you’re setting out on a dungeon crawl marketing campaign like Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage or an underground journey like Out of the Abyss, a dwarf is a useful alternative due to their darkvision and their Stonecunning trait, which lets them discern the origins of stonework.

Dwarf gamers ought to remember:

  • Whereas dwarves make good druids, clerics, and wizards, if you wish to play a warlock or sorcerer, remember the fact that dwarves don’t get a bonus to Charisma, which is essential for these courses.
  • With a velocity of 25 toes and an emphasis on Power and Structure somewhat than Dexterity, dwarves are much less nimble than different races.


Elves are D&D’s longest lived race. Most elves possess an ethereal magnificence harking back to the Feywild, in addition to the potential to excel in each martial and magical pursuits.

There are three elven subraces within the Participant’s Handbook: excessive elves, who concentrate on magic; wooden elves, who’ve a deep relationship with nature; and the drow, subterranean dwellers who’ve tailored to a world with out gentle.

Nice causes to play an elf:

  • Elves dwell for a extremely very long time. An elf solely reaches maturity at 100 and lives till 750. Until you’re enjoying a geriatric elf, this longevity implies that sure monster results which trigger growing older — just like the ghost’s Horrifying Visage — are comparatively innocent to an elf.
  • Elves don’t must sleep. They will profit from a lengthy relaxation from a mere 4 hours of meditation. This implies you may spend extra time at night time maintaining look ahead to enemies or doing different duties.
  • Two of the three elven subraces begin with free magic. Excessive elves can select a wizard cantrip of their alternative, whereas drow start with the dancing lights cantrip and study faerie fireplace and darkness as they degree up.

Elf gamers ought to remember:

  • When you’re enjoying a drow, concentrate on Daylight Sensitivity, which causes drawback on assault rolls and Knowledge (Notion) checks in direct daylight. The subrace’s long-standing standing as “evil elves,” epitomized by the cruel tradition of the drow metropolis Menzoberranzan, can also be one thing to be cautious of, although the heroic Drizzt Do’Urden proves that noble drow are current and plentiful on the earth.
  • Like dwarves, elves are maybe essentially the most conventional of D&D’s races. These used to the standard depiction of the aloof, distant elf who received’t intrude with the issues of the world may discover these pointy-earned people boring. However the energy is inside your palms to create a singular character that defies all tropes.


gnome crafter

Gnomes are tinkerers, inventors, and lovers of life. They relish in profiting from their years, and out of all the races within the Participant’s Handbook, gnomes arguably possess essentially the most infectious humor and fascination for the world.

Gnomes have two subraces. Forest gnomes dwell in woodland areas and befriend animals. Rock gnomes are ingenious and professional crafters.

Nice causes to play a gnome:

  • Gnomes have quite a lot of strong traits proper off the bat. They’re the second longest-lived race within the Participant’s Handbook and have darkvision and Gnome Crafty, which grants benefit on all Intelligence, Knowledge, and Charisma saving throws in opposition to magic.
  • Forest gnomes achieve minor phantasm as a free cantrip, a Dexterity rating improve of 1, and the power to talk with Small animals. These are all nice traits for a ranger who dashes out and in of the woods or a druid who likes to commune with nature.
  • Rock gnomes can assemble a number of units, together with a clockwork toy, a fireplace starter, and a music field. These can function each flavorful roleplaying aids in addition to useful instruments for distracting enemies in the course of a stealthy journey!

Gnome gamers ought to remember:

  • Like dwarves and halflings, the gnome life implies that you need to take care of a gradual motion velocity of 25 toes.
  • Gnomes obtain an Intelligence increase of two, which is great for wizards however much less so for many different courses.


Half-elves are one aspect of the “caught between two races” fantasy trope. (Half-orcs are the opposite.) Half-elves are sometimes not totally accepted by people nor their elvish brethren, however some handle to effortlessly exist inside each worlds just like the cultural chameleons they’re. Importantly, this race is an effective match for many courses due to traits that mirror their human and elvish halves.

Nice causes to play a half-elf:

  • Half-elves get the flexibleness of people alongside the Fey Ancestry and inherent darkvision of elves. This implies they’ll’t be charmed or put to sleep by magic, have the power to see at the hours of darkness, and begin with proficiency in any two expertise of their alternative.
  • Half-elves have nice versatility due to their Potential Rating Improve characteristic. They get a Charisma rating improve of two — making them a wonderful match for Charisma-based courses like bards and warlocks — and so they can improve any two different capacity scores of their alternative by 1.

Half-elf gamers ought to remember:

  • Until you are enjoying a spellcaster who depends on Charisma or desire a character who is sweet in social encounters, the Charisma bonus may go to waste.


Halflings on a farm

Halflings are light folks proper out of The Hobbit who benefit from the pleasures of residence. Halflings who do take to the street are usually defenders of their communities or have wanderlust.

When you’ve ever dreamed of enjoying as Bilbo or Frodo Baggins, or maybe need to roleplay a Small character who seeks to defy expectations in an enormous world, halflings are the race for you. There are two halfling subraces within the Participant’s Handbook. One is geared extra towards stealth, and the opposite is geared extra towards hardiness.

Nice causes to play a halfling:

  • Halflings can keep away from catastrophic rolls due to their Fortunate trait, which lets them reroll a 1 on the d20 for an assault, capacity verify, or saving throw.
  • Halflings have benefit on saving throws in opposition to being frightened. Additionally, when you select the stout halfling subrace, you’ll have benefit on saving throws in opposition to poison, and resistance to poison harm as nicely.
  • Lightfoot halflings make nice rogues due to their Naturally Stealthy capacity, which lets them disguise in the event that they’re obscured by a creature one dimension bigger. Mix this with the Halfling Nimbleness trait, which lets halflings transfer via any bigger creature’s house, and also you’ve bought a tremendous little acrobat who can tumble all around the battlefield.

Halfling gamers ought to remember:

  • Like dwarves and gnomes, halflings’ small legs imply that they solely have a strolling velocity of 25 toes. This decrease velocity can be noticeable when you’re enjoying a melee character and wish to shut the hole on enemies.


Half-orcs are the opposite aspect of the “caught between two races” trope. Not like elves, nonetheless, orcs have historically been painted as villains in D&D. Extra nuanced portrayals are current in fifth version, however many half-orcs nonetheless carry a chip on their shoulder as a result of means society treats their orcish aspect. For many who need to play as a martial powerhouse or delve into a personality navigating a posh relationship with their heritage, half-orcs are the best way to go.

half-orcNice causes to play a half-orc:

  • Half-orcs are supremely hardy, and Relentless Endurance is one in every of their greatest traits. As soon as per lengthy relaxation, if a half-orc falls to 0 hit factors and isn’t killed outright, they’ll as an alternative drop to 1 hit level. This capacity can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
  • Savage Assaults is one other glorious trait that lets half-orcs roll a weapon harm cube an extra time and add it to the additional harm of a crucial hit.

Half-orc gamers ought to remember:

  • Half-orcs in D&D are restricted to human/orc hybrids, identical to half-elves. Earlier editions of D&D additionally hinted that many half-orcs had been the results of unwilling unions — a disturbing lore alternative that has largely been retconned nowadays.
  • The Participant’s Handbook says that half-orcs grapple with evil tendencies due to the lingering affect of Gruumsh, the god who created orcs. Gamers excited about half-orcs ought to be cautious of this stereotype, and solely have interaction with it in the event that they need to.
  • New gamers may marvel why full-blooded orcs aren’t listed as a race within the Participant’s Handbook, since each elves and half-elves are current. The straightforward reply is that orcs have historically been the “unhealthy guys,” and if you wish to play one, you’ll want Volo’s Information to Monsters or Eberron: Rising from the Final Warfare.


People are essentially the most populous and self-explanatory race in D&D. Their temporary lifespans compared to longer-lived races implies that people are sometimes the movers and shakers who propel dramatic world occasions ahead.

People might sound uninteresting, however when you’re enjoying in a recreation the place the Dungeon Grasp means that you can play a variant human, the power to take a feat at 1st degree is staggeringly good. Additionally, generally one of the simplest ways to face out in an adventuring group stuffed with all types of colourful creatures is to decide on the seemingly “mundane” possibility!

Nice causes to play a human:

  • People have strong stats throughout the board, with their capacity scores every rising by 1.
  • Variant people can forgo rising every of their capacity scores by 1 in favor of accelerating solely two scores by 1, and gaining one ability proficiency and a feat.
  • The variety of people is unsurpassed, and their capacity to suit into any D&D world makes them essentially the most versatile race from a backstory-formulating perspective.

Human gamers ought to remember:

  • People don’t have any of the particular traits that different races have. No magical breath, no innate magic, no lengthy life, and no darkvision. In different phrases — they’re vanilla, particularly in a recreation the place variant people aren’t allowed.


tiefling characters

Tieflings are people with the blood of devils flowing of their veins, usually because of pacts crafted between their ancestors and varied denizens of the 9 Hells.

Sometimes boasting horns and tails that reveal their devilish origins, tieflings in lots of D&D worlds should take care of the identical troubles as half-orcs. Nonetheless, these youngsters of Asmodeus are extremely charismatic folks who often handle to outwit others via attraction or trickery.

Nice causes to play a tiefling:

  • Due to their infernal bloodline, all tieflings have resistance to fireside harm in addition to darkvision — to not point out nifty horns and a tail!
  • Tieflings get an Intelligence rating improve of 1 and a Charisma rating improve of two, making them glorious spellcasters. The tiefling warlock or sorcerer is a standard mixture, as is the tiefling bard or wizard.
  • Tieflings have an innate command of sure magics, starting with the helpful thaumaturgy cantrip. At third degree, they’ll solid hellish rebuke as a 2nd degree spell, and at fifth degree, they’ll solid darkness. Each spells can solely be used as soon as per lengthy relaxation, however are glorious freebies.

Tiefling gamers ought to remember:

  • Though the Charisma and Intelligence bonus is useful for lots of courses, the shortage of a bonus to Structure or Dexterity implies that you are liable to be much less hardy and fewer dexterous than different characters within the occasion.
  • As with drow and half-orcs, tieflings may garner a certain quantity of mistrust in conventional D&D settings, and the Participant’s Handbook states that many develop into bitter because of this prejudice and switch villainous. As at all times, keep in mind that your tiefling character is whoever you need them to be — not what lore dictates.

Let’s make a personality

As soon as you’ve got chosen a race on your character, it is time to begin fascinated by their class. Will your human character be a fighter who has risen the ranks of the town guard? Will your elf be a druid who worships nature and protects it from wrongdoers? Take a look at the courses within the primary guidelines or within the Participant’s Handbook (for extra choices) to start out studying about them.

If you would like extra path for creating a personality, here is a video on how you can rapidly make one utilizing D&D Past. Under that, you may see extra tutorial articles.

Jeremy Blum (@PixelGrotto) is a journalist, gaming blogger, comedian e book aficionado, and fan of all types of storytelling who rolled his first polyhedral cube whereas dwelling in Hong Kong in 2017. Since then, he is by no means regarded again and loves roleplaying video games for the prospect to inform the tales which were swirling in his head since childhood.

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