Changeling Guide 5e
Published on August 30, 2021, Last modified on June 7th, 2022
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What is this guide?
This guide is meant to give you an idea of whether or not the changeling will be right for your 5e character build.
The color code below has been implemented to help you identify, at a glance, how good that option will be for your changeling. This color coding isn’t a hard and fast rule; there are plenty of sub-optimized options out there that will be viable to your party and will be fun to play.
- Black is a trait shared by many races and or will not impact the effectiveness of your character build
- Red isn’t going to contribute to the effectiveness of your character build at all
- Orange Situationally good, but a below-average option otherwise
- Green is a good option
- Blue is a great option, you should strongly consider this option for your character
- Sky Blue is an amazing option. If you do not take this option your character would not be optimized
Tasha's Cauldron of Everything Update
Tasha's Cauldron of Everything has added the "Customizing Your Origin" option that may affect the ability score increases, languages, and proficiencies in this guide. To read more about this, visit our D&D Race Guide.
What are Changelings in 5e?
Source: Eberron: Rising from the Last War
Changelings exist everywhere, whether the people around them know it or not. They may co-exist in a small village with farmers and traders, or live in nomadic changeling clans that wander the world in homage to their god the Traveler.
Able to completely change their voice and appearance at will, it is not uncommon for people to distrust them, though many changelings use this ability for good. They are rarely seen in their true, colorless form, and are much more likely to assume a shape to express an emotion or for a specific task. Some of their shapes become integral to their personality, and a changeling may take this form many times over their lifetime as they are exposed to similar situations or emotions.
Changeling 5e Traits
Ability Score Increase: +2 CHA is obviously great for casters that need it, but the free ability score means that any character that wants to be the face of the party could consider being a changeling.
Size: Medium is the typical size of most races, and is neither good nor bad.
Speed: Changelings have a standard walking speed of 30 feet.
Shapechanger: Shapechanger is the reason to play a changeling, you can actually change your appearance and voice to any Medium sized, four-legged creature you have seen before. This is great because it doesn’t rely on spell slots and can be used an unlimited amount of times. The biggest downside is that you will still need to find appropriate clothing and equipment if you plan to deceive others with your changed appearance, and you will still need to act appropriately. The latter can be done if you roleplay intelligently and make use of the CHA skill proficiencies you get from the Changeling Instincts trait.
Changeling Instincts: Free skills are always welcome racial traits, and the ones here fit perfectly both thematically and with the CHA boost. Choose the two face skills that you think you will use the most. Deception seems like an obvious choice as you will likely use your Shapechanger trait to convince others that you’re somebody you’re not.
Changeling 5e Subraces
In the Monsters of the Multiverse, changelings are now considered to be fey, and their racial traits have been improved.
Creature Type: Fey
Shapechanger: This incredibly useful trait is now even better, allowing you to also choose whether to you wish to be Medium or Small in size.
Changeling Instincts: Adding to the long list of useful proficiencies, you can now also choose Performance as an option here. This makes a lot of thematic sense.
Which 5e Classes Work With Changelings?
The absolute best options for changelings are classes that use CHA for their spellcasting ability. Every class will benefit from Shapechanger and bring some utility to their party, though multi-ability dependent builds that have no real use for CHA will struggle to make things work well.
Artificer: Artificers can use the free ability score increase for INT, though they would much rather see +2.
- Updated: Artificers can now grab +2 INT.
Barbarian: Barbarians can use the free ability score increase for STR, though they would much rather see +2. CHA isn't all that effective on Barbarians, though it may be quite funny to have one that is the face of the party.
- Updated: Barbarians can now get their +2 STR, though they don't have anything in their toolkit to synergize with the changeling's racial traits.
Bard: Bards are the perfect choice for changelings. The CHA is perfect for spellcasting, and bards are naturally the big talkers of the group so they will love the free CHA skill proficiencies.
- Updated: With the slight improvements to the changeling, bards are still a fantastic choice here.
Cleric: Depending on your build you can pick up STR, DEX, or WIS with the free ability score increase. The Trickery Domain or even the Knowledge Domain would be good choices if you want to play a character that is the face of the party. You could also use Guidance on yourself to make social interactions even more likely to succeed. Despite this interesting combination, a changeling cleric won't be as effective as a race that gets something more useful than CHA.
- Updated: Taking a combination of WIS and STR, DEX, and/or CON as a Trickery or Knowledge Domain cleric makes the updated changeling better than the original for this class.
Druid: Druids can use the free ability score increase for WIS, though they would much rather see +2. CHA isn't usually a focus for druids as they have terrible AC, so they would be much better served with DEX or even CON. On top of this, druids can already turn into beasts if they want to hide their true form.
- Updated: Free choice of ASIs doesn't really help the druid much here since they don't have anything to synergize with the changeling's traits.
Fighter: Fighters can use the free ability score increase for STR or DEX depending on their weapon of choice. CHA isn't the most useful stat for fighters, though the Battle Master and Purple Dragon Knight at least mention CHA-based skills in their traits.
- Updated: Free choice of ASIs doesn't really help the fighter much here since they don't have anything to synergize with the changeling's traits.
Monk: Monks just need +2 DEX or +2 WIS too badly for a Changeling to be a good choice.
- Updated: Free choice of ASIs doesn't really help the monk much here since they don't have anything to synergize with the changeling's traits, though they can at least pickup +2 DEX.
Paladin: CHA is perfect for spellcasting and combines nicely with the free skill proficiencies from Changeling Instincts.
- Updated: Not much changes for the paladin with the updated changeling as they will still likely take some combination of CHA, STR, and DEX.
Ranger: DEX is the only choice for the free ability score increase. The CHA is largely wasted and will just make your Ranger feel like a budget Rogue.
- Updated: This still isn't a great choice for rangers as they will likely not choose to take CHA, rendering the skill proficiencies less effective.
Rogue: Rogues are the best option for changelings. They are already the go-to class for deception and infiltration, and with the Shapechanger trait they will have just about every tool in their back pocket for that task. With the two free skill proficiencies a rogue changeling will be proficient in more skills than not. DEX is the best choice for the free ability score increase.
- Updated: Rogues still are the best option for changelings, with improved racial traits and more freedom when it comes to ASIs.
Sorcerer: +2 CHA is the best stat boost for a pure CHA caster, and the free ability score increase can be used on either DEX or CON depending on your needs. Since they have access to so many spells, a sorcerer could use Shapechanger in combination with a whole host of Illusion spells to make a pretty sly character.
- Updated: Not much changes for the changeling sorcerer as they will still take CHA. The racial traits are slightly improved, making the updated changeling an upgrade over the original.
Warlock: +2 CHA is the best stat boost for a pure CHA caster, and the free ability score increase can be used on either DEX or CON depending on your needs. Shapechanger is also a nice alternative for achieving goals without the use of magic as Warlocks have very few spell slots available to them.
- Updated: Not much changes for the changeling warlock as they will still take CHA. The racial traits are slightly improved, making the updated changeling an upgrade over the original.
Wizard: Wizards can use the free ability score increase for INT, though they would much rather see +2. Since they have access to so many spells, a wizard could use Shapechanger in combination with a whole host of Illusion spells to make a pretty sly character.
- Updated: This still isn't a great choice for wizards as they will likely not choose to take CHA, rendering the skill proficiencies less effective. At least they can cast Illusion spells to help their deceptiveness and take +2 INT.
Sources Used in This Guide
- BR: Basic Rules
- SotDQ: Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen
- ERLW: Eberron: Rising from the Last War
- EEPC: Elemental Evil Player’s Companion
- EGtW: Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount
- FToD: Fizban's Treasury of Dragon
- GGtR: Guildmasters' Guide to Ravnica
- MotM: Monsters of the Multiverse
- MToF: Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes
- MOoT: Mythic Odyessys of Theros
- PHB: Player's Handbook
- SAiS: Spelljammer: Adventures in Space
- SCoC: Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos
- SCAG: Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide
- TCoE: Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything
- TTP: The Tortle Package
- WBtW: The Wild Beyond The Witchlight
- VRGtR: Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft
- VGtM: Volo's Guide to Monsters
- XGtE: Xanathar’s Guide to Everything
Roland Drews is a content creator and editor at Arcane Eye. When he isn't watching basketball or noodling on his guitar, you can find Roland reading, writing, or playing D&D. He currently lives in Bonn, Germany with his girlfriend Jess.