D&D 5E Favorite Unusual Races/Lineages

Paul Smart

Hello everyone. I am curious, what are your favourite unusual races/lineages? Why those races?

I will go first. My top 5 in order are:

1) Tortle - Mechanically robust (17 AC to start is excellent for spellcasters) Interesting racial backstory. For me, they are just fun.
2) Lizardfolk - There is just something fantastic about the alien mindset they have—a fun RP challenge.
3) Warforged - I have been playing since the 1980 box sets and remember survival games. Not having to eat or breathe takes away so many issues. The ultimate soldiers, as far as I am concerned. Honourable mention to Reborn for the same reason.
4) Fairy - What is not to love about the flying races and out of them, the fairy is my favourite. Now, if only they would allow us to play fairies or sprites.
5) Genasi - Not the most powerful but one of the most favourable. Want to play Korge - Earth Genasi. A character with flaming hair - Fire Genasi. Too much fun.

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Unserious gamer
1) Aasimar. Loved them since Planescape. Just love the aesthetics of a part-angel.
2) Changeling - Look like anyone or anything, just filled with roleplaying hooks.
3) Leonin - I had a werelion character in a short-lived White Wolf game, and since then I've loved the lion-man aesthetic.


Limit Break Dancing
So since Unusual = Not in the Player's Handbook (as clarified in Post #4):

Eladrin: I like my elves to be heavy on the Fey flavor, and the Eladrin delivers.

Genasi: Elemental ancestries fit perfectly in my campaign. I'd even like to see this class expanded to include the "para-Elementals" of older editions: Smoke (air & fire), mud (earth & water), Dust (air & earth), etc.

Yuan-ti: they make ssssuch good ssssorcssserersss.


Good question Scribe. I will define unusual as any race/lineage not in the players' handbook for the purpose of this question. So humans, elves, dwarves, halflings etc. are normal. Something like a lizardfolk, that is unusual.
In that case, I think I'll go Fairy, and Satyr. I'm on a Fey kick right now. :D


Heretic of The Seventh Circle

Changeling. I mean, what's not to love? Pick whatever aesthetic you want, make a very versatile character, go man go.

Shadar-kai. They're just so goth. And I've got a whole mythology for them in my games that is tragic and compelling and tied in with a bunch of themes and plotlines. I homebrewed a full race version for 5e that gets the teleport on a short rest, stealth proficiency, +5ft speed in dim light or darkness, and they roll a death saving throw any time they would normally fail automatically, such as taking damage while dying.

Vryloka. These are similar to dhampyr, but they aren't descended from vampires, or half turned, they are of a bloodline with a vampiric "gift". In my worlds I like to use them as the bigger buffer side of the same coin as the shadar-kai, using them as descended from the same race. I've homebrewed two subraces for my games. One can turn into a wolf, the other into mist.

Various Anthro People. Harengon, Tortles, Tabaxi, etc. IMO these have a more prominent place in the public consciousness than most DnD races, so it is odd that they get such a tertiary place in DnD. I think I've had more people ask if they could play some kind of animal person when introduced to DND than any PHB race.
Especially frog people. I love little frog dudes.

Satyrs/Fauns. Loved these folks since Narnia. Athletic, musical, charming, fun. Awesome.

Honorable mention to Warforged, Firbolgs, Bugbears, and Dryads.


1) Wemic. savage lion centaurs, just what isn't cool about that?
2) Dragonborn. Even though they are in the PHB, they haven't always. I wanted to play a dragon man all the way back in 1E days
3) Centaurs. For when you can't play wemics
4) Rhakasta/Tabaxi/Leonin. For when you can't play wemics and feel like more like being a cat
5) Warforged. Magical golems that can look at the human condition from the outside (Ala, Data from STNG) - yes, please.

For my part, in no particular order, probably Minotaur, Eladrin, Satyr, Aasimar (or rather the Deva from 4e), Changelings, and Genasi.

Edit: oh, wemic are also cool. A proto-setting idea I have includes them.


B/X Known World
Lizardfolk. Bullywugs. Minotaurs. Orcs. Goblins. Yuan-Ti. Thri-kreen. Dryads. Satyrs. Treants. Fairy Dragons.

Because they're unusual. Uncommon. Mostly monstrous and depicted as the baddies or they're just interesting.


Great Old One
And for those saying that Tasha did not implement power creep and that Floating ASIs are not a powergamer option: "1) Tortle - Mechanically robust (17 AC to start is excellent for spellcasters)..." But at least, it's clear and assumed.

As for me, I have not often seen an unusual race being roleplayed very unusually. These day, we have a fantastic lizardfolk called "hunts-the-monkey" in our Avernus campaign, whose personality is almost opaque to every member of the group and whose cultural gestures (painting scales, clacking his teeth) are almost always misunderstood. We have a great Medusa from Odyssey of the Dragonlords, but it's the effect of a curse, not really a racial thing, and she's more an amazon at heart. And I played a Yuan-ti bard to great effect, but the campaign was extremely unusual.

3) Warforged - I have been playing since the 1980 box sets and remember survival games

I thought Eberron came out in 2004 ?...

From play experience (not really in order):
Tortle - Maybe it’s just the TMNT influence, but this is some of the most fun I’ve had playing D&D

Yuan-ti - You get to talk like thisssss

Genasi - Elementals are easy to understand thematically and give a strong foundation for building character concepts. In the past couple of years I’ve had the chance to do a trilogy of Genasi characters: fire, air and earth

Kenku - A cursed flightless bird that mimics sounds? What’s not to like?

Githyanki - Classic D&D race, also psionics are cool

I really want to try:
Warforged - does this one even need an explanation?
Tabaxi - I’m a cat person, but I want to be a cat-person
Minotaur - I played an albino Minotaur back in 2E, would like to reboot that character idea someday in 5E
Githzerai - See Githyanki

There are plenty of others, but they’re the first things that come to mind.

thri kreen four arms, cool bug look, mind powers they are nearly perfect for me.
shardmind mind power, no need to eat, turns into a razor swarm cool.
struggling from here my you guys likely get what I want a diet aberration at this point like what Dragonborn are to dragons.


Jewel of the North
Big fan of larger goblinoids, I dont know why.
Orcs and Half-orcs are pretty cool too.

From 4e, I'm an uber fan of Shardmind, Deva and Wilden.

Fauns/Satyr (especially my ''tiefling-esque'' take on them) and pixies are pretty cool when I'm on a fey trip.


Some of my favourites are:

Firbolg: I really like the aesthetic of these guys.

Changeling: Had a lot of fun with my Changeling in Eberron. They had three distinct forms and personalities they took on from their rogue class: a writer of pulp fiction, a detective and a "new age" healer type.

Tortle: Haven't played one or had one in my game but I like them a lot.

Eladrin: I really like the seasonal aspects.

Kalashtar: Interesting with a lot of role play potential.

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