The world of Dungeons & Dragons is a melting pot boasting diverse styles, beliefs, and chiefly races. Many humanoids coexist in the Material Plane living in relative peace despite their considerable differences, which is astounding considering the vast number of different races. Dungeons & Dragons’ base books and various expansions provide players with a wide selection of races to choose from.


Dungeons & Dragons: The Best & Worst Thing About Each 5e Race

Every race in Dungeons & Dragons has its pros and cons. What makes each race shine — and what areas does each leave something to be desired?

Although dozens of choices are available to the community, many inventive individuals have expanded this list offering endless possibilities. Everything, from homebrewed variants to races and subraces, is available to those seeking to make a distinct character. However, some creations exceed all others for their inventiveness, effectiveness, and roleplaying capabilities.

Updated on January 29, 2024, by Mara Cowley: When creating a character for a D&D campaign, choosing which race to play is equally important as class. Race can determine what kind of bonuses they will receive that may or may not be beneficial for the specific build they have in mind, and may influence what backstory they pen for their character. While there is a good spread of official races for fans to choose from, players should also take a look at D&D Homebrew Races too, as they might find the perfect one for them.

18 Vampire

Revel or Rebel Against the Hunger for Blood

castlevania dracula

  • Size: Medium
  • Alignment: Any, Evil
  • Ability Score Bonus: Charisma +2, Any ability of your choice +1
  • Racial Traits: Darkvision, Bloodlust, Sunlight Sensitivity, Vampiric Resistance
  • Languages: Common, One language of your choice
  • Subraces: Dhampir, Psychic Vampire
  • Suitable Classes: Bloodhunter, Rogue, Sorcerer
  • Creator: SammiechuThePikachu
  • Link: Vampire

While the Ravenloft supplement book added the lineage Dhampirs to allow players to create a not fully-fledged vampire, homebrew creators have taken it a step further, allowing their players to become full-blooded vampires with the thirst and tendency to perform evil along with it.


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This creates many exciting and fun possibilities, as players will need to manage their bloodlust and choose whether to conceal their true nature or bare their pointy fangs to the party and hope they aren’t staked for their trouble. And with their tendency to be evil, players could choose to role-play the struggle between holding onto their humanity while feeding the beast within, a la Vampire: the Masquerade. Will they submit, or hold on to hope? That choice is up to the players who choose the Vampire Race.

17 Kitsune

These Beings Can Easily Puppet Others, but Can Also Defend Themselves in a Pinch

League of Legends Ahri

  • Size: Medium
  • Alignment: Any
  • Ability Score Bonus: Charisma +1, Dexterity +2
  • Racial Traits: Darkvision, Shapeshift, Tails, Kitsune Magic, Natural Weapons, Agile
  • Languages: Common, Shou, Sylvan
  • Subraces: None
  • Suitable Classes: Warlock, Sorcerer, Bard
  • Creator: Thraintar
  • Link: Kitsune

Kitsune are creatures from Eastern mythology, known for their fox-like appearance, many tails, and their trickster-like nature that paints them as mischievous beings that can beguile those around them. Though D&D incorporates many things from different cultures such as Gods, there has been little in the way of races.

One creator decided to take things into his own hands, proposing a playable Kitsune race to allow people to take on the role of these mythical magic tricksters themselves. This opens the doors for a player to craft a character meant to deceive or trick their enemies to benefit themselves or their allies, making it perfect for Charisma classes such as Bards, who can sway minds with music or enchantment.

16 A.D.A.M. Unit

The Warforged but with More Technological Flair

2B Nier Automata (2017)

  • Size: Medium
  • Alignment: Any, Neutral
  • Ability Score Bonus: Constitution +2, Wisdom +1
  • Racial Traits: Artificial, Weapon of War, Solid Metal, Integration, Reclaimed Soul, Immortal Body
  • Languages: Common, One language of your choice
  • Subraces: None
  • Suitable Classes: Fighter, Barbarian, Artificer
  • Creator: dfaseraser
  • Link: A.D.A.M. Unit

While the Warforged race allows players to play a construct of some sort, ADAM takes it a step further by adding more technological flair to this construct class, races of units made for a single purpose: combat. ADAM units must survive waves of battles upon their creation, or be destroyed. And so they start life knowing nothing other than violence, which provides an interesting starting point for a player character.

This offers the chance for players to develop and learn that there is more to their artificial life than battle and that they can be more. If the androids in games such as Nier: Automata can learn things like friendship and love, why not these ADAM units in D&D?

15 Abandoned

An Eerie Race Perfect for Horror Campaigns

Dark Souls hollow

  • Size: Medium
  • Alignment: Any
  • Ability Score Bonus: Intelligence +2, Wisdom +1
  • Racial Traits: Magically Touched, Hollow, A Past Life
  • Languages: Common
  • Subraces: None
  • Suitable Classes: Sorcerer, Wizard, Warlock
  • Creator: CyanatheFurious
  • Link: Abandoned

Being made from magic and then subsequently left to rot, the Abandoned dwell in places that have been forgotten as much as the condemned race have. Their unsettling appearance makes them perfect for a setting filled with horror and hopelessness, such as Ravenloft or any other Domains of Dread.


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These Dungeons & Dragons creatures are so frightening they’re likely to give nightmares to any adventurer who encounters them.

As such, playing one of these cursed creatures could pose a challenge, as players would need a reason to think of why they ventured out of their dwelling place, and more so why they decided to join a party of adventurers. Maybe in that withered, hollow body one last ember of hope flickers, or the memories of a past life drove them to seek out the family they barely remember. The Abandoned are a challenging race, but could also be one of the most rewarding.

14 Abomination

Empowered by the Magic in Their Veins

Dnd licj evil caster abomination

  • Size: Medium
  • Alignment: Any, Evil
  • Ability Score Bonus: Strength +2, Constitution +2, Intelligence +2
  • Racial Traits: Darkvision, Abberant Hide, Powerful Build
  • Languages: Common
  • Subraces: None
  • Suitable Classes: Sorcerer, Wizard, Warlock
  • Creator: BGATB
  • Link: Abomination

Magic is a force that can be used for good or for evil in the worlds of Dungeons and Dragons. It can help turn the tides in combat, animate objects, and heal wounds. Its essence flows through the world just as it flows through the veins of this homebrew race.

The Abominations earn their names not through an outwardly hideously monstrous appearance, but rather through the degradation of their minds that can lead to madness or evilness, depending on the players’ choice. The magic flowing through them makes them the perfect choice for players who want to pick a caster class but add some unique flair of their own.

13 Aab’Shagua

Bewilder the Minds of Others with An Ethereal Being and Obscure Knowledge

Dungeons & Dragons Homebrew Aab'Shagua

  • Size: Medium
  • Alignment: Any
  • Ability Score Bonus: Intelligence +2, Any ability of your choice +1
  • Racial Traits: Highsight, Strangers To Nowhere, Arcane Appraisal
  • Languages: Primordial, Any three languages of your choice
  • Subraces: None
  • Suitable Classes: Fighter, Rogue, Wizard
  • Creator: HandwashBigpan
  • Link: Aab’Shagua

The Aab’Shagua are a peculiar race of humanoids native to the Ethereal Plane. They are nomadic peoples that travel throughout the Ethereal Plane, using it to visit the expanses of their respective universes. As such, the Aab’Shagua hold a greater understanding of the planes. They collect various wares and trinkets during their travels as well. Thus, making Aab’Shagua impressive merchants with goods valued throughout the universe.

The Aab’Shagua’s lives are full of excitement and peril. So much so that an adventurer’s lifestyle is considered tame. Regardless, Aab’Shagua makes for exceptional and legendary adventurers. Their superior sight and knowledge of obscure lore are beneficial in most quests. Overall, the Aab’Shagua race is perfect for players wishing to play an otherworldly being.

12 Aarakocra Penguin

Adds New and Unique Flair to a Classic Race


  • Size: Medium
  • Alignment: Any, Good
  • Ability Score Bonus: Dexterity +2, Wisdom +1
  • Racial Traits: Icy Resilience, Waddles, Aquatic
  • Languages: Common, Aarakocra, Aquan
  • Subraces: None
  • Suitable Classes: Monk, Ranger, Rogue
  • Creator: Neal_for_Real
  • Link: Aarakocra Penguin

The Aarakocra are a bird-like race resembling avians like eagles, vultures, and — with this homebrew creation — penguins. Unlike other members of their race, Aarakocra Penguins reside in both frigid tundras and oceans. While many would suffer under these conditions, these Aarakocra not only live comfortably but prosper as well.

Aarakocra Penguins have adapted to their harsh and unforgiving environment granting them unique traits. Although they cannot fly, they are excellent swimmers capable of traveling fifty feet each turn. Additionally, Aarakocra Penguin’s time in the tundra has granted them incredible resistance against the cold. Those looking to play a versatile and fun variant of the Aarakocra should take this race.

11 Aberrant Ooze

Gains the Benefits of Being a Humanoid and an Ooze

D&D Aberrant Ooze

  • Size: Medium
  • Alignment: Any
  • Ability Score Bonus: Constitution +2, Strength +1
  • Racial Traits: Darkvision, Acid Resistance, Amorphous, Corrosive Touch, Liquid Movement
  • Languages: Common, Any language of your choice
  • Subraces: None
  • Suitable Classes: Barbarian, Fighter, Monk, Rogue
  • Creator: Richard_Handler
  • Link: Aberrant Ooze

Aberrant Oozes are a race of amorphous oozes that have gained sentience through a nodule of collected cells that have formed a separate core from their host ooze and survive being outcast from the main body — a rare and miraculous event resulting in an aware humanoid being. Although now with a humanoid form and intelligence, Aberrant Oozes must continue feeding on nutrients to retain its shape and intellect. Those Aberrant Oozes that manage this can live for centuries as living, breathing entities with a place among the populous, albeit a strange one considering their circumstances.

Aberrant Oozes benefit from their existence as humanoids and oozes, granting them various characteristics that lend themselves well to unique characters and diverse builds. The most advantageous features of this race are its amorphous and acidic body, which allows it to evade constraints, pass through small spaces effortlessly, and corrode anything it comes in contact with. In addition to these distinctive traits, Aberrant Oozes are mighty and resilient, making them excellent choices for characters leaning toward a take-it-and-dish-it-out melee playstyle; however, their shapeless body compliments roguish types. The Aberrant Ooze is a great choice overall.

10 Animated Armor

A Balanced Creation that Opens Up Interesting Role-Play Possibilities


  • Size: Medium
  • Alignment: Any.
  • Ability Score Bonus: Constitution +1
  • Racial Traits: Antimagic Susceptibility, Blindsight, Construct, False Appearance, Mendable, Soul Transfer
  • Languages: Common, Any language of your choice
  • Subraces: Heavy Armor, Medium Armor, Light Armor
  • Suitable Classes: Barbarian, Fighter, Rogue
  • Creator: Sheperd_of_Souls
  • Link: Animated Armor

Armor is an invaluable asset to nearly any adventurer, however, some sets can undergo journeys alone. Animated Armors are a race of living and thinking individualistic sets of armor given life by magic. Typically, they carry out a specific task given to them, yet they will forgo their duties to carry on pressing matters, such as a world-saving adventure.


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Although Animated Armor possesses significant strengths it has equally impactful weaknesses. It does not require necessities i.e., food or water, and gains traits depending on its armor type. Since Animated Armor relies on magic, however, dispelling its armor will render it useless. Players wanting a roleplaying challenge should try and bring life to this — literally and figuratively — empty being.

9 Arachne

A Class Befitting Righteous Adventurers, Despite their Appearance

Dungeons & Dragons Homebrew Arachne

  • Size: Medium/Small
  • Alignment: True Neutral
  • Ability Score Bonus: Dexterity +1
  • Racial Traits: Darkvision, Claws, Spider Build, Hybrid Nature, Web Sense
  • Languages: Common, Undercommon
  • Subraces: Araneichne, Latrodachne, Lycachne, Saltichne, Sicarachne, Solifachne, Therachne
  • Suitable Classes: Any
  • Creator: Wolpertinger17
  • Link: Arachne

Arachne is a race of humanoid spider hybrids similar to Centaurs. Despite their monstrous appearance, the Arachne are hospitable and accepting of others. Even so, other races view them with great disdain and even disgust. The contempt the Arachne endure inspires them to alter the perceptions of others, whether through gracious or heroic acts.

In their plight for commendation, an Arachne may take on the role of a righteous adventurer. Such a lifestyle is suitable for them, as they possess many beneficial skills. Moreover, the Arachne are versatile, making for imposing soldiers, studious magic users, and cunning assassins. The vast number of subrace options allows for numerous builds. The Arachne race is an excellent choice for all players, especially those seeking to overcome.

8 Awakened Skeleton

A Unique and Adaptable Race

Dungeons & Dragons Awakened Skeleton

  • Size: Medium
  • Alignment: Lawful, Any
  • Ability Score Bonus: Constitution +2
  • Racial Traits: Darkvision, Organless, Dead Resemblance, Undead Nature, Free Willed
  • Languages: Common
  • Subraces: Arcane Soul, Armored Soul, Shadow Soul
  • Suitable Classes: Barbarian, Rogue, Warlock
  • Creator: WarfrontJack
  • Link: Awakened Skeleton

Awakened Skeletons are undead servants made conscious through supernatural means, typically magic. Regardless of how it came into being, an Awakened Skeleton is always a remarkable creation. They renounce their servitude and pave their path, despite having no experience with individuality. So, Awakened Skeletons are among the most ambiguous creatures imaginable.

Awakened Skeletons take advantage of their newfound freedom by adventuring. Doing so allows them to act unhindered and discover who they are – or who they will be. Awakened Skeleton’s skillset depends on what their master intended them to be. They can be hearty warriors, knowledgeable mages, or masters of espionage. Players looking for a unique and adaptable race should look towards Awakened Skeletons.

7 Bearkin

Multiple Subraces Present Players with Plenty of Choice

D&D Bearkin

  • Size: Medium/Small
  • Alignment: True Neutral
  • Ability Score Bonus: Strength +2
  • Racial Traits: Keen Smell, Animal Knowledge, Claws
  • Languages: Common, Ursine
  • Subraces: Black Bearkin, Brown Bearkin, Kola Bearkin, Panda Bearkin, Polar Bearkin
  • Suitable Classes: Barbarian, Cleric, Fighter, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue
  • Creator: OptimusGrimus
  • Link: Bearkin

The Bearkin are a race of bear-like humanoids with an unclear origin; most believe they are the product of wicked druidic rituals, and others assume they are guardians from the Feywild, but there is no clear answer. What is certain is that they are unyieldingly loyal to their families and clan, deeming anything outside of their inner circle as unimportant or dangerous unless it can aid them. As such, Bearkin rarely find themselves involved in grander events, conflicts, or alliances, preferring to devote their immeasurable strength and penchant for protection toward their own; hence, they remain secluded in overlooked regions and involve themselves only in affairs with other clans.

Bearkin possess the combined capabilities of humanoids and bears, making them competent and overwhelming warriors. Their strength is considerable and primal, allowing them to meet or overpower the prowess of most opponents, and their connection to the wild gives them a keen understanding of it. Every kind of Bearkin shares these traits but differs significantly elsewhere depending on their subrace. Some Bearkin subraces have powerful builds that make them strong combatants and staunch protectors, while others are small and dextrous, lending themselves to ambushes. Regardless of their subrace, Bearkin are a versatile race any player would find fun to use.

6 Demigod

Gain a Taste of Godly Powers with this Divine Race

Dungeons-And-Dragons-Demigod jumping over a log

  • Size: Medium
  • Alignment: Lawful, Good
  • Ability Score Bonus: Constitution +1
  • Racial Traits: Parent’s Assistance
  • Languages: Common, Any language of your choice
  • Subraces: Child of Apollo, Child of Ares, Child of Artemis, Child of Athena, Child of Demeter, Child of Dionysus, Child of Hades, Child of Hephaestus, Child of Hermes, Child of Poseidon, Child of Zeus
  • Suitable Classes: Any
  • Creator: Bxnes
  • Link: Demigod

Throughout history there are many tales of mortals with divine powers, however, these Demigods do not exist in Dungeons & Dragons. They are like any other half-breed, although, they receive more admiration than they do disdain. Demigod’s direct connection to divinity garners them fame and recognition, which can be rewarding yet dangerous, as it attracts the attention of mortals and gods alike.

Their abilities and traits depend greatly on the concentration of their divine parent. For instance, being the offspring of the god of war will grant a Demigod incredible fighting prowess. Regardless of their godly parent, they will always possess a fortitude, unlike that of any mere mortal. Players looking for a divine connection unlike any other should pick the Demigod.

5 Dryad


  • Size: Medium
  • Alignment: Lawful or Chaotic, Neutral
  • Ability Score Bonus: Charisma +2, Wisdom +1
  • Racial Traits: Darkvision, Speak With Beasts And Plants, Fey Blessing, Woodland Magic, Forest Step, Treebound Armor
  • Languages: Common, Elvish, Sylvan
  • Subraces: None
  • Suitable Classes: Cleric, Druid, Warlock
  • Creator: VillainTheory
  • Link: Dryad

Fey are among Dungeons & Dragon’s most mystical creatures and the opportunity to play one is a magical experience. Of the numerous fey races, none spark as much wonder as the homebrewed Dryad. Born from a tree by a powerful fey, Dryads are the guardians of the forest and its inhabitants, yet they may leave their position to carry out a higher purpose.


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Being a fey and woodland protector grants it a unique bond with nature unlike any other. A Dryad’s ties allow it to control the environment around it chiefly to defend itself or others. In addition, they may commune with both plants and animals to gather information. Players looking for a deeper and more potent connection to nature should take on the Dryad.

4 Elf-Orc

Combines Two Half Races into One


  • Size: Medium
  • Alignment: Chaotic, Good/Evil
  • Ability Score Bonus: Strength +1, Dexterity +1, Constitution +1
  • Racial Traits: Darkvision, Elven Gift, Fey Ancestry, Aggression, Erratic Dodge,
  • Languages: Common, Elvish, Orc
  • Subraces: None
  • Suitable Classes: Barbarian, Fighter, Ranger
  • Creator: VillainTheory
  • Link: Elf-Orc

Half-breeds are typically the product of a human player and another humanoid, however, combinations like Elf-Orcs are possible. These rare hybrids are the product of a taboo relationship that both races look down upon. This causes a great deal of internal conflict in Elf-Orcs and regardless of their efforts, they may never truly find closure.

Elf-Orcs hold the strengths of each race making them an unpredictable and deadly adversary. Their elven blood grants them magical power — depending on the subrace — and dexterous movements. However, their orcish blood makes them durable and aggressive in their assaults. If players want to become an immensely conflicted half-breed, the Elf-Orc is their best choice.

3 Gnoll

Players Can Finally Choose to Play a Classic D&D Creature

D&D Gnoll

  • Size: Medium
  • Alignment: Chaotic, Evil
  • Ability Score Bonus: Strength +2, Intelligence -1
  • Racial Traits: Darkvision, Natural Weapon, Reavers,
  • Languages: Common, Gnoll
  • Subraces: Mystic, Scout, Warrior
  • Suitable Classes: Barbarian, Fighter, Ranger, Warlock
  • Creator: ItsADnDMonsterNow
  • Link: Gnoll

Gnolls are something many fans of Dungeons & Dragons are familiar with; the corrupted spawn of the Demon Prince Yeenoghu supposedly formed from one of his onslaughts. As such, they are often wicked creatures with a fondness for destruction, death, and ruthless rampages. Gnolls have a reputation as beastly butchers, scavengers, raiders, and anything unsavory, but not all are the mindless marauders many think them to be. In truth, there is debate as to whether the violent behavior of Gnolls is learned or inherent; however, considering the existence of some rational and relatively peaceful Gnolls, it is safe to assume their behavior is not innate.


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Nothing says Dungeons & Dragons more than these beasts and their fascinating lore.

Gnolls, regardless of their upbringing, are terrifying beings with the combined fury of the hyena and demon-infused blood. They are naturally strong and possess an unmatched fury in battle, allowing them to overcome most foes through sheer might or ferocity. However, with this strength and wrath, Gnolls suffer in terms of intellect, which takes a backseat. While most are similar, Gnolls vary in their breed, which lends them to different proficiencies and talents. Their breed can cater to mastery over magic, archery, or close-quarters combat, affording them variety and distinction. Gnolls are a great choice for players looking to lean into an evil character or one aiming to undermine negative preconceptions.

2 Mousefolk

Adorable Appearance, Yet Still Able to be Formidable When Needed


  • Size: Small
  • Alignment: Neutral, Good
  • Ability Score Bonus: Dexterity +2
  • Racial Traits: Keen Senses, Mousefolk Weapon Training, Nimble Dodge
  • Languages: Common, Squeak Speak
  • Subraces: Meadowguard, Softpaw
  • Suitable Classes: Monk, Ranger, Rogue
  • Creator: GmCorsair
  • Link: Mousefolk

There are many animalistic humanoids in the Material Plane, however, none are quite like the homebrewed Mousefolk. While they are seemingly unimpressive, Mousefolks are an immensely proud and virtuous race. Their stalwart moral code and distinct characteristics shape them to become masterful warriors or knowledgeable scholars.

The Mousefolk are naturally dextrous and perceptive, although their backgrounds dictate their specialty. Meadowguards are formidable fighters with a deep connection to nature and its creatures. Softpaws, however, are studious intellectuals with mastery over tools or instruments. Those seeking to be small yet proficient adventurers should become Mousefolk.

1 Succubus

Have the Innate Ability to Sway Others


  • Size: Medium
  • Alignment: Any, Evil
  • Ability Score Bonus: Dexterity +1, Charisma +1
  • Racial Traits: Charm, Darkvision, Fiendish Nature, Shapechanger, Silver Tongue, Small Wings
  • Languages: Common, Abyssal/Infernal
  • Subraces: None
  • Suitable Classes: Bard, Rogue, Warlock
  • Creator: 5thDimension
  • Link: Succubus

Succubi are fiends that reside throughout the Lower Planes, chiefly the Nine Hells and the Abyss. These infernal beings live only to tempt mortals and lead them toward a path of evil. Although Succubi typically act under higher beings as seducers, they may forgo this role entirely to carry out personal goals or missions.

Their fiendish and lustful nature grants them many powers meant to fulfill their position as tempters. Succubi may shapeshift to conceal their true appearance or become alluring to a particular individual. Moreover, they bear an innate ability to sway others towards acts they would not normally do. Those seeking an infernal background with an interesting twist should try out the Succubus.


Dungeons and Dragons
Dungeons & Dragons

Original Release Date

E. Gary Gygax , Dave Arneson


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