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D&D Character Creation: A Comprehensive Guide to Races

by Hale L. on January 22, 2023

Welcome to the world of Dungeons and Dragons (D&D), where the possibilities are endless and the choices you make shape the story. One of the core elements of the game is character creation, and one of the most important decisions you’ll make is choosing your character’s race. Each race has its own unique strengths, weaknesses, and cultural background that will affect how your character interacts with the world around them. In this article, we will be taking a look at the different races in D&D, starting with the core races from the Player’s Handbook and expanding to include some examples of additional races from expansion materials.

Races from the Player’s Handbook:

Human:

Humans are a diverse and adaptable race. They have no inherent bonuses or penalties to their ability scores. They have proficiency in one additional skill of their choice.

Mechanically

Humans have the ability to choose one additional skill proficiency which allows them to be versatile characters.

Roleplay

Humans are known for their adaptability and diversity. They can be from any background, and have no inherent cultural ties.

Popular classes for Humans include any class, as their versatility allows them to excel in any field.

Dwarf

Dwarves are a stout, hardy race known for their love of mining and crafting. They are typically around 4 feet tall and weigh around 150 lbs. They have a natural affinity for the earth and often worship Moradin, the dwarven god of creation.

Mechanically

Dwarves have increased hit points, darkvision, proficiency in saving throws against poison, and resistance to poison damage. They also have proficiency in the use of battleaxes and hammers. This makes them great tanks and damage dealers.

Roleplay

Dwarves are known for their strong sense of tradition and loyalty, which can be appealing for players who enjoy playing characters that are deeply connected to their culture and history.

Popular classes for Dwarves include Cleric, Fighter, and Rogue. Clerics who worship Moradin can use their increased hit points to tank in combat and their proficiency in saving throws against poison can be useful in certain scenarios. Fighters can use their proficiency in battleaxes and hammers to deal great damage, and their increased hit points will help them to stay alive longer. A rogue can use their increased hit points to survive in combat, and their proficiency in saving throws against poison will be useful in certain scenarios.

Elf:

Elves are a tall, slender race known for their grace and agility. They are typically around 5 to 6 feet tall and weigh around 110 to 140 lbs. They have a deep connection to nature and often worship Corellon Larethian, the elven god of magic and beauty.

Mechanically

Elves have increased dexterity, darkvision, proficiency in perception, and advantage on saving throws against being charmed. They also have proficiency in longswords, shortswords, shortbows, and longbows. This makes them excellent archers, and their increased dexterity makes them very hard to hit.

Roleplay

Elves are known for their love of nature and their natural affinity for magic. They also have a long lifespan, which can be appealing for players who enjoy playing characters that have lived through many different experiences.

Popular classes for Elves include Sorcerer, Ranger, and Rogue. Sorcerers can use their increased dexterity to dodge attacks and their proficiency in perception to spot hidden enemies. Rangers can use their increased dexterity to hit with ranged weapons and their proficiency in perception to spot hidden enemies. A rogue can use their increased dexterity to move stealthily and their proficiency in perception to spot hidden enemies.

Halfling:

Halflings are a small, nimble race known for their resourcefulness and luck. They are typically around 3 feet tall and weigh around 40 lbs. They have a strong sense of community and often worship Yondalla, the halfling goddess of protection and fertility.

Mechanically

Halflings have increased dexterity, advantage on saving throws against fear, and advantage on ability checks to move stealthily. They also have proficiency in throwing weapons and slingshots. This makes them great at moving stealthily and dodging attacks.

Roleplay

Halflings are known for their resourcefulness and their love of comfort and good food. They are also known to be very brave and to not be easily scared.

Popular classes for Halflings include Rogue, Bard, and Cleric. A rogue can use their increased dexterity to move stealthily and their proficiency in throwing weapons to deal damage from range. Bards can use their increased dexterity to move stealthily and their advantage on saving throws against fear to stay calm in dangerous situations. Clerics who worship Yondalla can use their increased dexterity to move stealthily and their advantage on saving throws against fear to stay calm in dangerous situations.

Gnome:

Gnomes are a small, curious race known for their love of invention and magic. They are typically around 3 feet tall and weigh around 40 lbs. They have a strong connection to the earth and often worship Garl Glittergold, the gnomish god of trickery and humour.

Mechanically

Gnomes have increased intelligence, advantage on saving throws against illusions, and advantage on ability checks to investigate. They also have proficiency in tinker’s tools. This makes them great at solving puzzles and creating gadgets.

Roleplay

Gnomes are known for their love for invention and their natural affinity for magic. They are also known to be very curious and to enjoy exploring new places.

Popular classes for Gnomes include Wizard, Bard, and Artificer. A wizard can use their increased intelligence to cast powerful spells and their proficiency in tinker’s tools to create magical devices. A bard can use their increased intelligence to solve puzzles and their proficiency in tinker’s tools to create musical instruments. An Artificer can use their increased intelligence to create magical gadgets and their proficiency in tinker’s tools to repair them.

Dragonborn:

Dragonborn are a race of dragon-like humanoids. They have a natural breath weapon and increased strength.

Mechanically

Dragonborn have increased strength, a breath weapon, and damage resistance.

Roleplaying-wise

Dragonborn are known for their strong sense of honour and their cultural ties to dragons. They often worship the dragon god Bahamut.

Popular classes for Dragonborn include Paladin and Sorcerer, as their breath weapon and increased strength make them great damage dealers, and their strong sense of honour makes them great Paladins.

Half-Elf:

Half-Elves are a mix of human and elven heritage. They have the ability to adapt to any situation and the charm to make friends easily.

Mechanically

Half-Elves have increased charisma and proficiency in two skills of their choice. They also have darkvision and advantage on saving throws against being charmed.

Roleplay

Half-Elves are known for their adaptability and their ability to fit in with any group. They often struggle with identity issues as they don’t fully belong to either human or elven society. Popular classes for Half-Elves include Bard and Paladin, as their increased charisma makes them great leaders and their adaptability allows them to excel in any field.

Half-Orc:

Half-Orcs are a mix of human and orc heritage. They are known for their physical strength and ferocity in battle.

Mechanically

Half-Orcs have increased strength and proficiency in the Intimidation skill. They also have darkvision and advantage on saving throws against being frightened.

Roleplay

Half-Orcs are known for their physical strength and fierce nature. They often struggle with societal prejudices and discrimination. Popular classes for Half-Orcs include Barbarian and Paladin, as their increased strength and proficiency in Intimidation make them great fighters, and their strong sense of honor makes them great Paladins.

Tiefling:

Tieflings are a race with infernal heritage. They have natural magical abilities and a tendency towards mischief.

Mechanics

Tieflings have increased intelligence and proficiency in the deception skill. They also have darkvision and resistance to fire damage.

Roleplay

Tieflings are known for their natural magical abilities and their tendency towards mischief. They often struggle with societal prejudices and discrimination.

Popular classes for Tieflings include Warlock and Rogue, as their natural magical abilities and proficiency in deception make them great spellcasters and tricksters.

Other races

In addition to these core races, there are also many other races to choose from in expansion materials such as Volo’s Guide to Monsters and Spelljammer. Some examples of unusual races include Aasimar, Kenku, and Goliath. These races offer unique abilities and cultural backgrounds that can add an exciting twist to your character. However, creating a home-brew race can be complex and requires careful balancing to ensure that it is fair and balanced in the game.

In conclusion, the race of a character in D&D is an important aspect of the game, as it determines their physical and cultural characteristics, as well as their mechanical abilities. Each race has its own strengths and weaknesses, and players should consider how the mechanical elements of a race will synergise with their chosen class before making a decision. Additionally, players should also consider the roleplaying aspect of a race, as this can greatly affect how they interact with the world and other characters. Ultimately, the choice of race is a personal one and should be based on the player’s playstyle, level of experience and the character they wish to create. Whether you choose a core race or something more unusual, the possibilities are endless in the world of D&D.


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