When making your character for DnD, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is the race of your character. There are many to choose from and it can be hard to decide. So, here we will take you through a list of the most common DnD races and give you our personal opinion on each, to help you decide!
The first of the DnD Playable races we will talk about is human. It’s one of the less popular but underrated races. Most people wish to pretend they’re something they’re not, and we’ve all had experience as a human. However, a human character can be extremely interesting because of their vast diversity when it comes to subrace and appearance due to migration.
They have most of the same features as a regular human from our world. They stand between five and a little over six feet tall and weigh from 125 to 250 pounds. Their skin colour is so variant depending on their human type that it could be from pretty much pitch black to pure white.
Humans are a friendly species that have pretty much mated with every different race at one point meaning human doesn’t necessarily have to be all they are. The variants for this dnd race type include:
- and ‘Turami’.
They age at the same rate as us and speak the common tongue (and one other language of your choice). In addition, their walking speed is 30.
Humans have an ability score increase of +1 to all of their stats when starting out. Some variants also have +1 to another two stats and also give you the opportunity for feats. This strengthens your character if you choose the right one.
If you want to know more about the human variants, you can find some good information on DnDBeyond.
Of all the races in DnD, Elf is definitely one of the more popular ones. They’re magical, they’re otherworldly and commonly, they’re a beautiful species.
If you’re not too sure what an Elf should look like, search for the ones in ‘the lord of the rings’, which truly stand out for their elegant flair. They’re slenderer than humans are and have a similar height range. Elf also weighs considerably less (100 to 145 pounds).
Male elves and female elves are very similar, the only real difference in build being that males are only slightly heavier. Their skin colour has the same properties as humans but can also reach to colours like copper and blue-ish white or grey. Their hair has some unnatural properties such as being green or blue. Their eyes are mystical and often gold or silver. They favour elegant and beautiful clothing like fine robes, but you can really do what you want.
One major difference to humans is that they can live for over seven hundred years making them very wise with past knowledge and experience.
Elves are great for classes that use magic such as a wizard or sorcerer, as they are a magical species, but that doesn’t mean they can’t kick ass at the same time. Elves are divided into three main subraces:
- ‘High elf’;
- ‘Wood elf’;
- And ‘Dark Elf’.
Elves are one of the greatest 5E races with their Darkvision, keen senses, and fey ancestry. They also look great in a fight and can be great to roleplay as. Having an elf in your group is always great especially if they’re a high elf and are a little bit of a snob, it adds humor to the game and really can be fun.
You can find more information on Elf’s subraces on DnD Beyond as well.
The DnD races all have their defining features. Tiefling’s defining features are definitely the fact that they look like demons from hell, and that is why Tieflings are arguably the coolest looking race in the game.
They have horns, and sometimes a tail. They also have the opportunity for a dark and gloomy past as Tieflings are often the outcasts, looked on with suspicion or fear, though that doesn’t mean they have to live up to those expectations. Their skin can look human or any shade of red and their eyes are solid colors with no pupil insight.
If you get inventive, who needs a weapon? You can just thrash them with your tail, bite them with your fangs or ram them into a wall with your sharp horns. Though they do look badass when holding a sword or a spear, and can truly strike fear into the heart of the enemy.
Tieflings are good sorcerers or warlocks, as they have infernal magic in their bones and are granted two spells ‘Thaumaturgy’ and ‘hellish rebuke’ even if they don’t have a magic-related class. They have a resistance to fire and Darkvision that can see within 60 feet of darkness. They can speak common and even infernal. There are only a small amount of Tieflings so they’re mysterious and rare. In addition, they have a boost to charisma and intelligence.
Tieflings are arguable one of the best races in DnD as they have that extra edge that just makes them that extra bit cooler.
Dwarfs are known for their short height and mighty fighting skills. They’re good minors and are often blacksmiths too. Their height starts well under five feet high but weigh just as much as a human would. This makes them much beefier than a halfling, which is more proportionally short.
Dwarves can live for more than four hundred years; they have great endurance and are determined and often extremely loyal to their friends. If your character is a dwarf, they are most likely adventuring for the sake of money, a god, or their ancestors and family. There are two main subraces:
- Hill dwarf – Wisdom score increases by one, your hit points maximum increases by one every level.
- Mountain dwarf – Strength score increases by two, and you have proficiency with light armour and medium armour.
A Dwarf’s constitution score goes up by two and has a walking speed of 25, making them slower than other races. However, they definitely aren’t weaker as they have a resistance to all poisons and are proficient with a battle axe, hand axe light hammer and war hammers. They also have proficiency in skills like smithing, brewing and woodworking. They also have Darkvision like some of the other races.
Dwarves are well-rounded and skillful. They’re friendly and wise and they’re great for classes like clerics and fighters. Dwarves can be great fun to roleplay. They’re definitely up there with the best dnd race types.
Gnomes are often ridiculed in a game of DnD for being pretty weak and lame, however there are some redeeming features for these tiny but excitable creatures.
They’re positive, friendly, and fun-loving. They weight forty to forty-five pounds and stand just over three feet tall. They have tan or brown skin mostly and are almost always smiling. They live long and fill their days with excitement and happiness, finding interest an enjoyment even when the day is most gloomy.
Many gnomes are engineers, inventors, or shop keepers as they seek a simpler life, but that doesn’t stop them from adventuring the big wide world. They live in hilly or woodland areas. Their intelligence score increases by +2 and their alignment are commonly good ao they’re never really evil.
Their walking speed is 25, much like a dwarf, and have an advantage in all intelligence, wisdom, and charisma saving throws. They also have two main subraces:
- ‘Rock gnome’ which have a higher constitution;
- And ‘Deep gnome’ which has superior Darkvision at 120 feet.
Gnomes can be enjoyable races to dabble in, but when it comes to fighting, they’re a little puny. For a one-off adventure with comedy in mind, a gnome is a great race to choose, but for a serious adventure, they can get a little annoying. That doesn’t mean to say they can’t be great, however, as it all depends on how you play them.
Despite the barbaric history of Full Orcs, Half-Orcs can be great adventurers and leaders. With an edge over their ancestors, they are far superior to any regular orc.
They have grey skin and prominent jaws with huge builds which allow them to range between five and seven feet, also usually weighing over 200 pounds. Half-Orcs are often scarred, and it differs between individuals whether they choose to show these scars off or hide them away.
Half-Orcs often live with regular orcs, often leading them with their advanced intelligence. But sometimes they dwell among humans or wander among a travelling party of adventurers. Unlike Elves and Dwarfs, Half-Orcs have shorter lives, rarely making it past age seventy-five. They lean towards chaotic alignments and have a base walking speed of thirty.
Darkvision is a trait Half-Orcs have because of their blood. They can see in darkness for sixty feet. Their build gives them an advantage in intimidation and the skill ‘relentless endurance’ allows you to drop to one hit point instead of zero when delivered a final blow.
Half-orcs are great fighters or barbarians as ‘savage attacks’ allow you to roll an additional damage dice on a critical hit. Half-orcs cans speak common and orcish. Half-orcs are fantastic for combat and their only downfall is a limited roleplaying ability. As being a brutish but strong half-orc can be a little dull, but why does that really matter when you can crack skulls with your overpowering strength?
Halflings are simple folk, running inns, blacksmiths, or other shops mostly. They typically live in farming towns and travel in groups playing songs. For a halfling, home is where the heart is. However, maybe your character is looking for something more exciting in life, or maybe they are unable to go home.
They are about three feet tall and can easily avoid confrontation from their unthreatening stature, meaning they can survive for many years. Their skin is much like a human and their hair is almost always brown or dark blonde. Halfling men do not have beards or mustaches but almost always have thick sideburns. They like to wear comfortable clothing suitable for their work.
Halflings are cheerful people and don’t often seek adventure. But when they do, it’s usually for purposes of finding new communities, new homes, or just plain curiosity. There are two kinds of halflings:
- Light foot halfling – light foot halflings can easily hide away and sneak by without suspicion, and their charisma skill increases by one. They are very stealthy and are good for classes like a rogue, who might need the light-footedness of a light foot halfling;
- Stout halfling – These halflings are stronger and are more like the dwarves, as their constitution score increases by one and have an advantage on saving throws against poison and resistance to poison.
All Halfling’s dexterity score increases by one and reaches adulthood at twenty and lives to be around two-hundred and fifty. They have a walking speed of 25 feet and their ‘Lucky’ trait also means if you roll a one on a D20, you may reroll that dice. They are also brave creatures and have an advantage against being frightened and they speak common and halfling.
Halflings are great, they’re nimble, they’re brave and they’re elegant. Halflings really can make a good character and are worth a lot more praise than they get.
A half-elf is born of a human parent and an elf parent. They’re gifted with some of the best qualities of both, so if you can’t decide between elf or human, a half-elf is perfect for you.
They have ambition and curiosity as well as a love of nature and art. Although harboring traits from both, halflings struggle to live with either humans or elves. They age much slower than humans, watching their friends die. At the same time, they also age much quicker than elves, which could make them feel lesser to watch themselves grow old while their friends stay young. This is what might cause them to join an adventuring party.
They share the same height range of elves and humans. Half-elf weighs between one hundred and one hundred and eighty pounds. Their charisma score increases by two and often exceed one hundred and eighty years of age.
Their walking speed is 30, they have 60 feet of Darkvision, fey ancestry, meaning they aren’t easily charmed or put to sleep and high skill versatility.
You can really make a half-elf shine with any class except for maybe barbarian or fighter. But even then, they aren’t too bad. With the outsider-like life, there’s room for an epic and edgy backstory for your character. There really isn’t much more to ask for from a half-elf, other than maybe a bit more muscle strength.
The last on DnD races list is Dragonborn. It’s possibly the most unique of the main character races to choose from.
Much like the Tiefling, many people regard Dragonborn as dangerous with their unusual appearance of what looks like a dragon standing on two legs without wings. Scales cover their body in colors such as bronze or red sometimes even gold or green. They’re tall at six feet and strong too. They weight over three hundred pounds and have talons stretching from three fingers and a thumb. Each Dragonborn has different dragon’s blood running through them, and this table below better explains their properties.
Their strength score increases by two, and their charisma increases by one. A Dragonborn’s walking speed is 30 and much like a dragon, they can use their ‘Breath Weapon’ to breathe a form of energy from their mouth. For example, fire or cold or acid (this is explained on the table above).
They also have resistance to the damage type associated with their draconic bloodline and they speak common and draconic. Dragonborn are perfect for Paladins or Fighters with their regal-ness and strength. They aren’t just good fighters, they’re charismatic and they look awesome, what more could you possibly want?
There are plenty of other lesser-known races for DnD, and we suggest to take a look at some of them because they’re really cool. These are just some of the most used and common dnd races, and our opinions on their skills and how they can be used in-game.
Now that you decided which of the dnd races to go after, read more about how do Hit Dice work!