The best non-humanoid races to create characters

Build non-humanoid characters in Dungeons & Dragons give players the ability to get even further away from the real world. Playing as an elf or tiefling is fantastic enough, but playing as something partially or completely removed from humanoid form can provide some unique role-playing opportunities. Stepping into the mind of a centaur and trying to figure out how to maneuver a horse’s body around can be an exciting and interesting thought process.

Many character races in Dungeons & Dragons follow the standard humanoid form. Two legs bent forward at the knees, two arms with one elbow and one hand each, and a head atop a torso. Elves, dwarves, dragonborn, and tieflings all follow this mold without much deviation. Countering this tendency can lead to terrifying results, like how liches have become even scarier in J&D‘s Spelljammer by adding a tentacle and mouth to their torso. However, there are a growing number of official racing options for players that challenge the humanoid and introduce new and varied physiology.


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The best non-humanoid races in J&D introduce abilities beyond the standard fare available to strictly humanoid people. Humanoids are said to be able to move 25-30 feet, have maybe one or two magical abilities depending on lineage, and aside from horns or tails, be completely interchangeable in terms of physiology. Access to flight, strange abilities, or a different limb setup can drastically alter the way a character is played and create unique and memorable role-playing moments.

D&D’s Aaracockra lets players’ minds soar

D&D Flying Aaracockra Tomb of Annihilation

Apart from Dungeons & Dragons, humans have spent millennia trying to learn to fly before finally succeeding. Aaracockra can do this effortlessly. These avian marvels originate from the Elemental Plane of Air, where they can spend days in flight without landing. Their flight speed allows players to think vertically when figuring out how to infiltrate a museum for a daring heist or get the best vantage point to rain down arrows on the bandits who ambushed them. Choices like this and others J&D tactics make the combat system fun. When forced into melee combat, their talons provide more than enough reason for enemies to choose another target. In the recent print Mordenkainen’s Monsters of the Multiversethe aaracockra has acquired the ability to conjure up a gust of mystical wind by flapping its wings.

Centaurs bring pure power to D&D

Dungeons Dragons Centaur Playable Race Rules Details

Centaurs allow Dungeons & Dragons players to save money on a mount and look cool doing it. As creatures native to Feywild, they retain a bit of wild magic within their very being and are considered distinct from the humanoid creature type. Their powerful equine lower halves allow them to gallop at lightning speeds; perfect for tracking down any wallets trying to get away with their gold. They can carry as much as any pack horse, making those long treks to town laden with loot from the nearby dungeon a breeze. Normally players would actually interrupt the game with one of the J&Dspells to get such good benefits. Centaur hooves also make deadly weapons when it comes to dealing blows against aggressive enemies, especially after performing a weapon attack when using their carry ability. Centaurs offer the best of horse and man in one formidable package.

D&D grung is both colorful and deadly

D&D 5e Different Grung Showcase

In Dungeons & Dragons, grunge packs a poisonous punch. Their skin secretes a poisonous substance capable of incapacitating creatures many times their size. They also coat their weapons with this poison while being immune to it themselves. They are able to easily climb and jump through the trees of their jungle homes thanks to their frog-like limbs. When the forest ends and the river begins, the grung are not afraid thanks to their amphibious nature. Indeed, they must immerse themselves at least 1 hour a day or else they will shrivel up from exhaustion.

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While this may seem like a major drawback compared to other land races, grung more than make up for it with their poisonous skin and increased mobility. They have defense built into their biology, both to hurt any enemy that attacks them and to ward off larger threats. With that in mind, the perks of being a grung in J&D outweigh the disadvantages.

D&D’s Harengons are leaps and bounds

A D&D Herringon jumping in a swamp

Whether jumping into the fray or jumping on a stool at the local tavern, Dungeons & Dragons’ herringbone are perfectly suited to the life of cunning adventurers. Their hare trigger ability allows them to spring into action at the start of combat with a bonus to initiative rolls. Their highly heightened leporine senses augment their regular and passive perception, meaning that danger rarely sneaks up on them, even in the bustling market of a big city. Their powerful legs allow them to leap great distances, up to five times their proficiency bonus in feet, without fear of being hit. These lucky feet ensure they always have a soft landing, granting them a free d4 to add to any failed Dexterity saves.

Locathah brings brine to any D&D campaign

A Locathah and a seal from D&D 5E

While the deep ocean may be a source of fear for some people, Dungeons & Dragons’ Locathah calls him home. The mighty aquatic race possesses a set of naturally hardened scales, capable of rivaling most armor when it comes to absorbing blows. This armor is difficult to penetrate, such as what makes the Dark Sun setting hard to integrate into the Multiverse. Their time swimming in the deep, dark ocean currents made them naturally shrewd and strong, gaining proficiency in their perception and athletic skills. Their history as an oppressed race has left them resistant to all forms of mental aggression, as their leviathan willpower allows them to ignore willpower checks that would shatter other creatures. Not only comfortable in the depths, Locathahs can visit the surface whenever they want and breathe well, as long as they submerge at least once every 4 hours.

Turtles prove that in D&D, slow and steady can win the day

The base art for a turtle in D&D 5e

Although most turtles prefer an easygoing existence, those who feel the call of adventure can do amazing things. Dungeons & Dragons player characters. Although unable to wear conventional armour, their carapace more than makes up for it, allowing them to ignore even the most lethal blows. If that fails, however, they can retreat into their shells to turn into a nearly immovable rock, making them harder to fight than J&Dinvisible enemies. If defense is not an option, turtles rely on their sharp claws to ward off unsuspecting attackers. Outside of combat, turtles are happy to enjoy their time above or below the waves, able to hold their breath for up to an hour without issue.

The objective of Dungeons & Dragons is to explore fantastical new settings while fully inhabiting a character and controlling their growth and development. While playing as a human, elf, or dwarf can help with believableness and make character dressing easier, trying out a character from a completely different race than a player is used to can lead to some truly memorable moments. Whether leaping as a herring, giving rides to party members as a centaur, or soaring among the clouds as an aaracockra, Dungeons & Dragonss provides the tools to become anyone or anything and have fun doing it.

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