Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition: Subrace Directory
Born of dragons, as their name proclaims, the dragonborn walk proudly through a world that greets them with fearful incomprehension. Shaped by draconic gods of the dragons themselves, dragonborn originally hatched from dragon eggs as a unique race, combining the best attributes of dragons and humanoids. Some dragonborn are faithful servants to true dragons, others form the ranks of soldiers in great wars, and still others find themselves adrift, with no clear calling in life.
- The most evil-tempered and vile of the chromatic dragons, black dragons collect the wreckage and treasures of fallen peoples. These dragons loathe seeing the weak prosper and revel in the collapse of humanoid kingdoms. They make their homes in fetid swamps and crumbling ruins where kingdoms once stood.
- Vain and territorial, blue dragons soar through the skies over deserts, preying on caravans and plundering herds and settlements in the verdant lands beyond the desert's reach. These dragons can also be found in dry steppes, searing badlands, and rocky coasts. They guard their territories against all potential competitors, especially brass dragons.
- The most gregarious of the true dragons, brass dragons crave conversation, sunlight, and hot, dry climates.
- Bronze dragons are coastal dwellers that feed primarily on aquatic plants and fish. They take the forms of friendly animals to observe other creatures of interest. They are also fascinated by warfare and eagerly join armies fighting for a just cause.
- Copper dragons are incorrigible pranksters, joke tellers, and riddlers that live in hills and rocky uplands. Despite their gregarious and even-tempered natures, they possess a covetous, miserly streak, and can become dangerous when their hoards are threatened.
- The most powerful and majestic of the metallic dragons, gold dragons are dedicated foes of evil.
- The most cunning and treacherous of true dragons, green dragons use misdirection and trickery to get the upper hand against their enemies. Nasty tempered and thoroughly evil, they take special pleasure in subverting and corrupting the good-hearted. In the ancient forests they roam, green dragons demonstrate an aggression that is often less about territory than it is about gaining power and wealth with as little effort as possible.
- The most covetous of the true dragons, red dragons tirelessly seek to increase their treasure hoards. They are exceptionally vain, even for dragons, and their conceit is reflected in their proud bearing and their disdain for other creatures.
- The friendliest and most social of the metallic dragons, silver dragons cheerfully assist good creatures in need.
- The smallest, least intelligent, and most animalistic of the chromatic dragons, white dragons dwell in frigid climes, favoring arctic areas or icy mountains. They are vicious, cruel reptiles driven by hunger and greed.
Kingdoms rich in ancient grandeur, halls carved into the roots of mountains, the echoing of picks and hammers in deep mines and blazing forges, a commitment to clan and tradition, and a burning hatred of goblins and ores — these common threads unite all dwarves. Dwarves are well liked and widely accepted, and are well known for their work ethic, whether they are a blacksmith, baker, or politician. Stereotypes tend to cast dwarves as being overly fond of both money and alcohol, though in truth most will put family and clan above all else.
- Hill Dwarf
- As a hill dwarf, you have keen senses, deep intuition, and remarkable resilience.
- Mountain Dwarf
- As a mountain dwarf, you're strong and hardy, accustomed to a difficult life in rugged terrain. You're probably on the tall side (for a dwarf), and tend toward lighter coloration.
Elves are a magical people of otherworldly grace, living in the world but not entirely part of it. They live in places of ethereal beauty, in the midst of ancient forests at in silvery spires glittering with faerie light, where soft music drifts through the air and gentle fragrances waft on the breeze. Elves love nature and magic, art and artistry, music and poetry, and the good things of the world.
- Descendants of an earlier, dark-skinned race of elf, the Drow were banished from the surface for following the goddess Lolth down her path of evil and corruption. Drow adventurers are very rare, and may not be allowed in all campaigns.
- High Elf
- As a high elf, you have a keen mind and a mastery of at least basic magical theory. In many of the worlds of D&D, there are two kinds of high elves. One type (which includes the gray elves and valley elves of Greyhawk, the Silvanesti of Dragonlance, and the sun elves of the Forgotten Realms) is haughty and reclusive, believing themselves to be superior to non-elves and even other elves. The other type (including the high elves of Greyhawk, the Qualinesti of Dragonlance, and the moon elves of the Forgotten Realms) are more common and more friendly, and often encountered among humans and other races.
- Wood Elf
- As a wood elf, you have keen senses and intuition, and your fleet feet carry you quickly and stealthily through your native forests. This category includes the wild elves (grugach) of Greyhawk and the Kagonesti of Dragonlance, as well as the races called wood elves in Greyhawk and the Forgotten Realms. In Faerûn, wood elves (also called wild elves, green elves, or forest elves) are reclusive and distrusting of non-elves.
A constant hum of busy activity pervades the warrens and neighborhoods where gnomes form their close-knit communities. Louder sounds punctuate the hum: a crunch of grinding gears here, a minor explosion there, a yelp of surprise or triumph, and especially bursts of laughter. Gnomes take delight in life, enjoying every moment of invention, exploration, investigation, creation, and play... Curious and impulsive, gnomes might take up adventuring as a way to see the world or for the love of exploring. As lovers of gems and other fine items, some gnomes take to adventuring as a quick, if dangerous, path to wealth.
- Forest Gnome
- Forest gnomes have a knack for stealth and illusion, and are generally rather secretive. They gather in hidden forest communities, befriending the local fey and animals.
- Rock Gnome
- Rock gnomes are naturally inventive and quite hardy for such a small creature. Also known as tinker gnomes, they are well known for their contraptions, ranging from revolutionary to eccentric.
The comforts of home are the goals of most halflings' lives: a place to settle in peace and quiet, far from marauding monsters and clashing armies; a blazing fire and a generous meal; fine drink and fine conversation. Though some halflings live out their days in remote agricultural communities, others form nomadic bands that travel constantly, lured by the open road and the wide horizon to discover the wonders of new lands and peoples... The diminutive halflings survive in a world full of larger creatures by avoiding notice or, barring that, avoiding offense. Standing about 3 feet tall, they appear relatively harmless and so have managed to survive for centuries in the shadow of empires and on the edges of wars and political strife.
- Lightfoot Halfling
- As a lightfoot halfling, you can easily hide from notice, even using other people as cover. You're inclined to be affable and get along well with others. In the Forgotten Realms, lightfoot halflings have spread the farthest and thus are the most common variety. Lightfoots are more prone to wanderlust than other halflings, and often dwell alongside other races or take up a nomadic life.
- Stout Halfling
- As a stout halfling, you're hardier than average and have some resistance to poison. Some say that stouts have dwarven blood. In the Forgotten Realms, these halflings are called stronghearts, and they're most common in the south.
Walking in two worlds but truly belonging to neither, half-elves combine what some say are the best qualities of their elf and human parents: human curiosity, inventiveness, and ambition tempered by the refined senses, love of nature, and artistic tastes of the elves. Some half-elves live among humans, set apart by their emotional and physical differences, watching friends and loved ones age while time barely touches them. Others live with the elves, growing restless as they reach adulthood in the timeless elven realms, while their peers continue to live as children. Many half-elves, unable to fit into either society, choose lives of solitary wandering or join with other misfits and outcasts in the adventuring life.
Whether united under the leadership of a mighty warlock or having fought to a standstill after years of conflict, orc and human tribes sometimes form alliances, joining forces into a larger horde to the terror of civilized lands nearby. When these alliances are sealed by marriages, half-orcs are born. Some half-orcs rise to become proud chiefs of orc tribes, their human blood giving them an edge over their full-blooded orc rivals. Some venture into the world to prove their worth among humans and other more civilized races. Many of these become adventurers, achieving greatness for their mighty deeds and notoriety for their barbaric customs and savage fury.
In the reckonings of most worlds, humans are the youngest of the common races, late to arrive on the world scene and short-lived in comparison to dwarves, elves, and dragons. Perhaps it is because of their shorter lives that they strive to achieve as much as they can in the years they are given. Or maybe they feel they have something to prove to the elder races, and that's why they build their mighty empires on the foundation of conquest and trade. Whatever drives them, humans are the innovators, the achievers, and the pioneers of the worlds.
- Variant Human Traits
- (A purely mechanical variant found in the Player's Handbook allowing the character to acquire a Feat at level 1.)
To be greeted with stares and whispers, to suffer violence and insult on the street, to see mistrust and fear in every eye: this is the lot of the tiefling. And to twist the knife, tieflings know that this is because a pact struck generations ago infused the essence of Asmodeus — overlord of the Nine Hells — into their bloodline. Their appearance and their nature are not their fault but the result of an ancient sin, for which they and their children and their children's children will always be held accountable... Tieflings have large horns that take any of a variety of shapes: some have curling horns like a ram, others have straight and tall horns like a gazelle's, and some spiral upward like an antelopes' horns. They have thick tails, four to five feet long, which lash or coil around their legs when they get upset or nervous. Their canine teeth are sharply pointed, and their eyes are solid colors — black, red, white, silver, or gold — with no visible sclera or pupil. Their skin tones cover the full range of human coloration, but also include various shades of red.
Please note that this site contains no mechanical information. Its purpose is not to supplant the need for any 5th Edition material, but rather to act as a reference to it.
Descriptions are sampled from D&D 5th Edition official source material and are copyright Wizards of the Coast
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