Gaming Articles

Making An Awesome D&D Character: Step 2

Whether you've picked your class or need some help with races, you've come to the right place.

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Races

There are a three schools of thought when it comes to picking a race. You can pick the one that fits the flavour of your character, one that gives you the best mechanics in-game, and or a race have that has never been done before. Each of these have their merits. It comes down to play style and what’s important to you when you play. For example if your play style needs your character to be optimized for the best playing, then you may be best choosing a race that makes the most mechanical sense. If that’s less important, and story is more important, I’d recommend choosing flavour over mechanics.

Whether you’ve picked your class or need some help with races, you’ve come to the right place. Races in D&D can be overwhelming due to sheer number of Wizards of the Coast published races. Below, I will break down the ones in the System Resource Document (SRD), but will also list others and where to find my information on them.

Race Name Mechanics Typical Lore Examples
Dwarf Darkvision

+2 Constitution and +1 Wisdom

Resistant to poison and poison damage

Automatically knows some Dwarven weapons such as battleaxe, handaxe, light hammer, and warhammer

Gains proficinecy with Stonecunning to recognize origin or stonework.

Some varieties such as the Hill Dwarf gain extra HP every level.

Known as stout and steady people, the dwarves are generally a lawful, well-ordered society with a sense of fair play and the benefits of society being just. Glimi from Lord of the Rings
Thorin Oakenshield from The HobbitBinwin Bronzebottom from Acquisitions Incorporated
Elf Can see in the dark 60 ft as dim light
+2 Dexterity and +1 IntelligenceProficiency in PerceptionThey don’t sleep and their minds are trained against charms.

Knows how to use swords, bows, and a little bit of magic.

Elves are known for their love of freedom, their long lives, and their love of freedom, and self-expression. They value others freedoms as well. Legolas from The Lord of the Rings
Keyleth from Critial Role
Elves from the Elder Scrolls franchise
Halfling Fast and friendly: +2 Dexterity and +1 Charisma.

Can reroll natural 1s

Harder to be frightened

Can move through the space of any creature that is a size larger than theirs

Can hide behind creatures larger than themselves

Halflings are about half the size of a human, but are often seen as a friendly and kind-hearted race. They are known for their honour to tradition, their enjoyment of life, and community. Frodo, Sam, and other Hobbits from Tolkien’s fantasy books
Willow from the movie with the same nameAcorn from The 13th Kingdom
Human Generalists: they gain +1 to every ability I believe you’re very well acquainted with this race Think of any heroic human on Earth
Dragonborn Strong and forceful, they gain +2 to Strength and +1 to Charisma

Gain access to breath weapon and damage resistance determined by colour of dragon

Dragonborn are dragon-like humanoids who often see the world in extremes. Similar to Argonians in the Elder Scrolls franchise
Gnome +2 to Intelligence and +1 to Constitution

Darkvision

Better at resisting mind-affecting magics

Can tinker to create various toys and tools

The gnomes are a fun-loving, mischievous race who value freedom as much as the elves do. They are connected with the forest or mountains they call home and often spend time tricking outsiders with fantastic illusions or working on new inventions to keep their minds active. The Earthmen from The Chronicles of Narnia
Dobby and Critter from the Harry Potter series
Gnomeo from Gnomeo and Juliette
Half-Elf +2 Charisma and +1 to another ability of your choice

Darkvision

Can’t be put to sleep by magic and has advantage against being charmed

Gains proficiency in two additional skills

The union of an elf and a human or another half-elf, the half-elves fit in everywhere and nowhere at the same time. They are charismatic and skillful, but are not as long-lived as elves, and don’t quite fit in with humans. Terra Branford from Final Fantasy VI
Tanis Half-Elven from Dragonlance
Gardic from The Lady of the Lake
Half-Orc +2 to Strength and +1 to Constitution

Darkvision

Proficiency in Intimidation

When you’re reduced to 0 hit points, you can drop to 1 hp instead once a long rest

When you score a critical hit with a melee weapon attack, you deal one dice additional damage

The progeny of an orc and a human or a half-orc and a human, half-orcs are large, imposing humanoids with features that resemble an orc: notably skin and tusks. In orc culture, they are often seen as puny and weak while in human culture they are less trusted or even feared for their bloodline. As such, they have to work harder to be trusted and are often given more dangerous tasks. Harruq from the Weight of Blood
Agronak gro-Malog from Elder Scrolls: Oblivion
Nicolas Jakoby in Bright
Tiefling Intelligence +1 and Charisma +2

Darkvision

Resistance to fire

You know spells due to your infernal legacy

Either through the pairing of another tiefling or due to an infernal pact with a devil, Tieflings are often depicted with horns and a tail. Because they are so visibly entwined with evil, they are often avoided in social situations. Balthazar from Constantine

Crowley from Supernatural

Jester from Critical Role

For more options or information, check out the following resources below:

  • Player’s Handbook
  • Dungeon Master’s Guide
  • Elemental Evil Player’s Guide
  • Volo’s Guide to Monsters
  • Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes
  • Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide
  • Southlands Heroes
  • Planeshift: Zendikar

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