Within the fantastic realm of Dungeons & Dragons, many races and backgrounds exist to have a diverse and extraordinary world filled with magic, mystery, and magnificent adventures. But knowing and understanding each of the races with their personality and skill traits, background histories, and their effect on ability scores can truly help develop and create the perfect character for joining in a campaign.
For an explanation of the basic classes in 5e please check out Dungeons & Dragons 5e Class Summaries and Tips for Classes in Their Non Preferred Environments to aid in the journey of character creation.
With a powerful allegiance to their dragonkin, The Dragonborn are a mighty race. Featuring scales and talons, the Dragonborn resembles a mix of dragon and human. Dragonborn do not have wings or a tail and stand bipedal, but have strong facial attributes to the dragon. Dragonborn are devoted and loyal to their dragon clans and are extremely proud of their dragonkin. They are hatched from eggs and are shaped by the Draconic Gods or Dragons themselves. Depending on the blood of the dragon gives them the attributes of their scales from their ancestries. Along with attributes, the ancestry of the Dragonborn also affects their resistance and the damage of the elemental powers of their breath weapon. The power of breathing fire, lightning, acid, poison, and cold at enemies all depends on the draconic ancestry.
Dragonborn ability score increases the Strength +2 and Charisma +1, as well as the Draconic Ancestry’s Damage Resistance. The Dragonborn is in no doubt a powerful race.
The Dwarf race is sturdy and powerful and can live to be over 400 years old. Due to this, the Dwarf may hold grudges due to their longevity and experiences in the past. With the stubbornness that may befall, if one dwarf runs into a predicament or feud, this could lead to the entire clan seeking vengeance. The Dwarven kingdoms are vast within the mountains and mines. The Dwarven race has a strong passion for metals, gems, and fine jewelry. There are two subraces of Dwarves which are the Mountain Dwarf and Hill Dwarf.
The Dwarf’s ability score increase is Constitution +2. There is a saving throw against the resistance of poison. Due to enduring life underground within the mines and tunnels, a Dwarf has Darkvision which gives vision up to 60 feet in front of them in dim light.
Magical, mystical, and graceful are the Elves. Unlike the Dwarves that live in mountainous and dark mines, the Elves live in forests of ethereal and divine beauty. With an immense appreciation and passion for music, art, beauty, poetry, and nature, the Elves live their life in such grandeur. Elves can live up to 700 years old, and use diplomatic and amicable responses towards violence and disorder. Due to the longevity of their lifespan, the Elf race tends to have a wanderlust of seeking adventures and exploration to faraway regions. Elves have 3 main subraces, High Elves, Wood Elves, and Dark Elves.
An Elf has an ability score increase of +2 Dexterity. Elves have Darkvision in which they can see up to 60 feet in front of them in dim light. A pretty cool trait that Elves have is called Trance; this is how the Elven race sleeps. They go into meditation for 4 hours and have the same benefits that a human does for 8 hours.
Joyous, energetic, and vibrant are the optimistic Gnomes. Living life cheerful and glee, the Gnomes find the best way to live life is to be full of exciting activities, laughter, and pranks. With a love for gems and unique items, the exploration of adventures and escapades is never dull for these bright and splendid characters. Even though the average Gnome is about 3 feet tall and up to 45 pounds, there is a big sense of life and good spirit within these tiny bodies. They also can live up to 3 to 5 centuries, so the Gnome race can truly live their life to the fullest of great adventures. There are a few subraces to the Gnome such as Deep Gnome and Rock Gnomes.
The Gnome has an ability score increase of +2 Intelligence. Deep Gnomes get a +1 to Dexterity. Rock Gnomes get +1 for Constitution. With Gnome Cunning, that gives this race has an advantage with Charisma, Wisdom, and Intelligence saving throws against magic.
Combining the best of both worlds of Humans and Elves, the Half-Elf lives their life of the great congenital benefits of their parents and ancestry. With Human curiosity and Elven creativity and magic, The Half-Elf has many advantages of their kind. But, because of their mixed race, there isn’t a steady place of belonging or a home to call their own. Most of the time, Half-Elves will live amongst the Humans. Some may live with the Elves, but they aren’t as welcomed. Due to this rift, there will always be a sense of being an outcast or feeling out of place.
The Half-Elf ability score increase is +2 to Charisma as well as +1 to any two other abilities of your choice. Their lifespan isn’t as long as the Elves, but closer to Humans as they typically live less than 200 years. Half-Elves have Fae ancestry that provides two great advantages. Magic cannot put Half-Elves asleep and there is an advantage of saving throws against being charmed.
With a love for the comfort of home and celebrations, the Halfling enjoys their good food, friends and family, and dainty and comfortable clothing. Generally happy and lively, the Halfling adapts to the other races around them and gets along with them well. The Halfling will typically adventure due to supporting and defending their communities or embracing their curiosities of the world. Standing about 3 feet tall, The Halfling has high spirits to make up for their short stature. There are two main subraces for Halflings which are the Stout Halfling and the Lightfoot Halfling.
Halflings have an ability score increase of +2 Dexterity. For Stout Halflings, there is an ability score increase of +1 to Constitution and a +1 to Charisma for Lightfoot Halflings. Brave is a trait that gives Haflings an advantage to saving throws against being frightened. Halfling Nimbleness is a trait that lets Halflings move through the space of any creature that is larger.
The powerful and robust Half-Orc, with the strength of an Orc and the brains of a Human, is born in a world where Orcs and Humans live in united forces of alliances. Just like the Half-Elf, the Half-Orc race is caught between two worlds. With their Orcish features, from their greyish and green pigmentation and protruding teeth, and their Human features standing 5 to 7 feet tall, the Half-Orc lives a well-balanced life with their Orc strength and Human emotions. The Half-Orc, although may seem intimidating with barbaric fury, enjoy delightful pastimes like feasting, wrestling, drumming, and dancing.
With an ability score increase of +2 Strength and +1 to Constitution, makes physical classes great choices. The Half-Orc has a few traits that give great advantages during battles and adventures. With Relentless Endurance, the life of the Half-Orc will stay stagnant at 1 when their health is dropped to 0. This can only happen once each long rest. The Menacing trait gains proficiency in intimidation skills.
With the most variety, diversity, and extensively customized backgrounds, the Human is typically the most popular choice of races within Dungeons & Dragons. Humans are easily adaptable in the world and they get along with most races. Human cities and towns are generally inclusive, where they will welcome nonhuman races, while other cities and towns of other races usually aren’t as welcoming. Human individuals are diplomats and have a wide variety of customs and tastes in the world. Humans have a very short lifespan and live only up to a century. Their size ranges from 5 feet to a little over 6 feet tall.
Humans have an ability score increase of +1 to each ability score. Humans also have a trait where they can learn an extra language other than their Common language. This includes speaking, reading, and writing.
With their features mix of human and demonic descent, the Tiefling lives their life full of mistrust from the other races around them. Due to the prominent attributes of their infernal bloodline, the Tielfling’s characteristics showcase their large horns, thick tails, and very sharp teeth. Tielfling eye colors are completely solid in the sclera with no pupils. Because of these factors with their appearances, the Tiefling may oftentimes be outcasted within their homelands due to fear. Homelands that typically are of Human cities and towns. This may create disdain emotions which the Tiefling will often grow into a thief or a crime lord.
The Tielfing has an ability score increase of +1 Intelligence and +2 Charisma. Tieflings have a fire-resistance due to their trait Hellish Resistance. Their other trait, Infernal Legacy, has a few benefits depending on the character’s level. At the 3rd level, you can cast the spell Hellish Rebuke as a second level spell, one time per each long rest. At the 5th level, you can cast the spell Darkness, one time per each long rest.
With so many different and diverse races and subraces within Dungeons & Dragons, it’s important to study up the race you’re interested in to create the best character for your campaign. Grab some awesome dice at Dice Domain and have a great time character building for your incredible adventures ahead!