Breaking down the various playable races in D&D
By Jacey Gibb, Distribution Manager
Welcome to Dinguses and Dragons, a weekly column aiming at demystifying and introducing the game of D&D to new and potential players
The D&D world is chock-full of incredible races, and choosing one is a big part of creating your character. Each race has its strategic advantages (more dexterous, stronger, faster speed, etc.) so this can be another way to beef up your character, depending on how you want to play them. Here is a general rundown of all the playable characters:
Humans: snooooooooze. In all seriousness, humans are a fairly well-rounded race to play, but they’re not particularly skilled in anything either. If you’re new to the game, I’d recommend playing a non-human race to further your roleplaying/get you thinking outside the box.
Elves: elves live up to 750 years old, which is pretty fun to play with character-wise. Plus, elves don’t have to sleep the full eight hours (like other races) to recover all their lost hit points and spells. PLUS, plus, they have “fey ancestry,” which gives you an advantage against being charmed.
Halflings: also known as hobbits in the LOTR films, halflings are short, dexterous, and come with great traits like being “lucky” (you get to re-roll a lot of your critical-misses) and “brave” (you’re less likely to be affected by the “frightened” condition).
Tieflings: my favourites! Tieflings have a demonic appearance and are often vilified because of it. They also have dope traits like resistance to any fire damage and some spells like hellish rebuke and darkness.
Dwarves: Gimli did the dwarves proud in LOTR. Dwarves are stout and hardy. Aside from playing a regular dwarf, you can also play a mountain or hill dwarf for added bonuses.
Half-elves: descendants from elves and humans, they have some elven abilities (like “fey ancestry”) and some human traits for a nice lil’ blend.
Dragonborns: bad-ass dragon people who also come with their own natural “breath weapon.”
Gnomes: not to be confused with halflings, gnomes come in a variety of sub-races (including deep gnome and rock gnome), but they all have “gnome cunning,” which gives you an advantage on saving throws against magic.
A whole slew of lesser-known races: you’ve got Tabaxis, which are basically cat humanoids; you’ve got Aarakocra, which are flying bird people; you’ve got Lizardfolk, not to be confused with the Illuminati. Seriously, if you’ve got time to kill, DnDBeyond has an impressive wealth of knowledge on all the playable races that not everyone hears about.
Basically, whatever the fuck you want: unofficially, you can “re-skin” a race, meaning you use the stats and abilities given to one race but change the physical appearance. I’m a big fan of making characters that are humanoid animals (think Bojack Horseman style) and I’ve never heard anyone complain. Just run it by your Dungeon Master beforehand.