A Guide to DnD 5e Races

Published on June 10, 2020, Last modified on July 15th, 2020

Choosing your race is a huge decision when creating a character. You have to take into account what traits your race has and how that impacts your roleplay, you also have to take into consideration which classes with synergize well with your chosen race.

What is a Race in DnD 5e?

There are many different types of creatures that call the wondrous, fantastical lands of D&D home. These creatures vary wildly from your plain old humans to ax swinging Orcs to experimental creatures that have been fused together by magic. Many of these creatures started off as a stat block in one of the many monster sourcebooks that have been released by Wizards of the Coast, in order to widen the player’s and DM’s ability to shape their worlds, they have been made into playable races.

What DnD 5e Races Can I play?

According to the Player’s Handbook, the most common character races are dwarves, elves, halflings, and humans. There are more uncommon races such as Dragonborn, gnomes, half-elves, half-orcs, and tieflings. In Volo’s Guide to Monsters, it is mentioned that the supplemental races provided in the sourcebook are rarer than any of the “standard” classes presented in the Player’s Handbook.

Below is a list of all of the playable races and their subraces in D&D 5e. If you want to learn more about a race or their subclass, click on the link in the “Race” column to visit our Race Guide page. Keep in mind that your DM has the final say when it comes to which playable races are included in their campaign.

RaceLanguageSizeSpeedAbility Modifiers
AarakocraCommon, Aarakocra, AuranMedium252 DEX, 1 WIS
AasimarCommon, CelestialMedium30
Fallen   2 CHA, 1 STR
Protector   2 CHA, 1 WIS
Scourge   2 CHA, 1 CON
Variant   2 CHA, 1 WIS
BugbearCommon, GoblinMedium302 STR, 1 DEX
CentaurCommon, SylvanMedium402 STR, 1 WIS
ChangelingCommon, 2Medium301 DEX or WIS, 2 CHA
DragonbornCommon, DraconicMedium302 STR, 1 CHA
Draconblood   2 INT, 1 CHA
Ravenite   2 STR, 1 CON
DwarfCommon, DwarfMedium25
Gray (Duergar)Undercommon  2 CON, 1 STR
Hill   2 CON, 1 WIS
Mark of Warding   2 CON, 1 DEX
Mountain   2 CON, 2 STR
ElfCommon, ElvishMedium30
Aereni High   2 DEX, 1 CON
Aereni Wood   2 DEX, 1 WIS
Drow   2 DEX, 1 CHA
Eladrin   2 DEX, 1 CHA
Eladrin (Variant)   2 DEX, 1 INT
High   2 DEX, 1 INT
Mark of Shadow   2 DEX, 1 CHA
Sea Elf   2 DEX, 1 CON
Shadar Kai   2 DEX, 1 CON
Valenar High   2 DEX, 1 INT
Valenar Wood   2 DEX, 1 WIS
Wood   2 DEX, 1 WIS
FirbolgCommon, Elvish, GiantMedium302 WIS, 1 STR
GenasiCommon, PrimordialMedium30
Air   2 CON, 1 DEX
Earth   2 CON, 1 STR
Fire   2 CON, 1 INT
Water   2 CON, 1 WIS
GithCommon, GithMedium30
Githyanki   2 STR, 1 INT
Githzerai   2 WIS, 1 INT
GnomeCommon, GnomishSmall25
Forest   2 INT, 1 DEX
Mark of Scribing   2 INT, 1 CHA
Rock   2 INT, 1 CON
Deep   2 INT, 1 DEX
GoblinCommon, GoblinSmall302 DEX, 1 CON
GoliathCommon, GiantMedium302 STR, 1 CON
HalflingCommon, HalflingSmall25
Ghostwise   2 DEX, 1 WIS
Lightfoot   2 DEX, 1 CHA
Lotusden   2 DEX, 1 WIS
Mark of Healing   2 DEX, 1 WIS
Mark of Hospitality   2 DEX, 1 CHA
Stout   2 DEX, 1 CON
Half-ElfCommon, ElvishMedium302 CHA, 1 ASI
Half-Aquatic   2 CHA, 1 ASI
Half-Drow   2 CHA, 1 ASI
Half-High   2 CHA, 1 ASI
Mark of Detection   2 WIS, 1 ASI
Mark of Storm   2 CHA, 1 DEX
Half-Wood   2 CHA, 1 ASI
Half-OrcCommon, OrcMedium302 STR, 1 CON
Mark of Finding   2 WIS, 1 CON
HobgoblinCommon, GoblinMedium302 CON, 1 INT
HumanCommon, 1 AdditionalMedium301 to All
Mark of Finding   2 WIS, 1 CON
Mark of Handling   2 WIS, 1 ASI
Mark of Making   2 INT, 1 ASI
Mark of Passage   2 DEX, 1 ASI
Mark of Sentinel   2 CON, 1 WIS
Variant   2 ASI
KalashtarCommon, Quori, 1Medium301 WIS, 1 CHA
KenkuCommon, AuranMedium302 DEX, 1 WIS
KoboldCommon, DraconicSmall30-2 STR, 2 DEX
LizardfolkCommon, DraconicMedium302 CON, 1 WIS
LoxodonCommon, LoxodonMedium302 CON, 1 WIS
MinotaurCommon, MinotaurMedium302 STR, 1 CON
OrcCommon, OrcMedium302 STR, 1 CON, -2 INT
ShifterCommonMedium30
Beasthide   2 CON, 1 DEX
Longtooth   2 STR, 1 DEX
Swiftstride   2 DEX, 1 CHA
Wildhunt   2 WIS, 1 DEX
Simic HybridCommon, Elvish/VedalkenMedium302 CON, 1 ASI
TabaxiCommon, 1Medium302 DEX, 1 CHA
TieflingCommon, InfernalMedium302 CHA, 1 INT
Asmodeus   2 CHA, 1 INT
Baalzebul   2 CHA, 1 INT
Dispater   2 CHA, 1 DEX
Feral   2 DEX, 1 INT
Fierna   2 CHA, 1 WIS
Glasya   2 CHA, 1 DEX
Levistus   2 CHA, 1 CON
Mammon   2 CHA, 1 INT
Mephistopheles   2 CHA, 1 INT
Variant   2 CHA, 1 INT
Zariel   2 CHA, 1 STR
TortleCommon, AquanMedium302 STR, 1 WIS
TritonCommon, AquanMedium301 STR, 1 CON, 1 CHA
VedalkenCommon, Vedalken, 1Medium302 CON, 1 INT
WarforgedCommonMedium302 CON, 1 ASI
Yuan-Ti PurebloodCommon, Abyssal, DraconicMedium302 CHA, 1 INT

DnD 5e Races Ability Modifier Breakdown

We took a look at all of the D&D 5e Race’s Ability Modifiers and have come up with some interesting data that will help you when you are trying to pick a race that will mesh with your intended build. Keep in mind, this table excludes 11 Races that do not apply a +2 racial bonus to ability modifiers.

Looking at the tables above, we can see a number of interesting takeaways:

DEX is by far the most common +2 racial bonus

This is great news for Rogues, Rangers, and Monks, all of which draw their AC, Attack, Damage, Stealth, etc from their DEX modifier.

WIS and INT both have very few +2 racial bonus

An even more interesting conclusion is that only 2 of these races are from the PHB: the Rock and Forest Gnome. This can be quite limiting for the large majority of classes that use their WIS as their spellcasting modifier (Ranger, Druid, Cleric, Monk). That being said, both WIS and INT have the most common +1 racial bonus.

DEX + CON bonuses are more common than STR + CON bonuses

This certainly goes against the grain because STR based melee fighters are more likely to tank than DEX based fighters due to a higher AC.

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