D&D General Tell us about the Races/Species of your world?


Dragon Lover
I’m not always the best when it comes to wording my posts, so I apologize in advance if the question sounds a bit odd. However I have wanted to make a thread like this for a while now.

For the past few months at least there have been many threads that have cropped up discussing several different PC races and people’s opinions on them. And sprinkled among the long posts debating the merits of many of these player races have been posts of how some DMs view them and how they have adapted them to their own worlds.

That got me curious, what are the various races of your own worlds like? Do you only use the core races from the PhB, or even remove one or several of the core races? Do you have a limited selection or an extended roster? Do they follow more traditional showings of these races, or follow the lore of a particular setting you enjoy, or did you come up with something wholly different for them? I would love to know.

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bedir than

Full Moon Storyteller
My primary racial options are bundled into three groups.

The Kin, the Peoples of Love and Companionship, are humans, halflings and goliaths. They bond with animals as part-family and part-tools, with them everywhere.

The Ken, the Peoples of Knowledge, are elves, dwarves and forest gnomes. They and the dragons aren't just knowers of magic, they control access to it.

The Kon, the Peoples of Technology, are goblinoids. Their society is smog-punk da Vinci using refluffed Artificers. They are a highly stratified Victorian social structure.

One player has been a warforged, the only known one and was created by the group of powerful people now worshipped as gods.


In my current 3.5 campaign, we started off on a small continent, Armaturia, about the size of Australia. On that continent, there are humans, dwarves, elves, half-elves, half-orcs, and the very occasional gnome. The orcs have been driven to the desert in the center of the continent, the sole remaining elven nation is confined to a large forest to the south, and the dwarves live on and beneath the mountains ringing Armaturia. Humans are now everywhere, with the occasional elf and dwarf sprinkled among the human cities and towns; gnomes have no lands of their own and are very rare, most having died off two millennia ago when humans first appeared on the shores. Likewise, most of the goblins have been slain, with those remaining either serving the other races in the cities or living a fearful, hidden existence in the trees of the forests, where they're believed to be no more than a myth. The human Emperor of Armaturia claims his ancestors drove the dragons from the continent; the dragons smile and let them believe that but mostly keep to their own continents, content to observe events in Armaturia as a curious case study from afar.

There's another, larger continent, Talonia, where the halflings live. That's also where the drow - a once-great, surface-dwelling civilization that was the progenitor to the lighter-skinned elves - come from, although their civilization has fallen and they now live in the ruins of their once-proud cities. As the campaign advances, the PCs will eventually discover a small nation made up of civilized undead (liches, ghosts, and the occasional vampire) hidden away in Talonia, protected by the many dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures roaming the continent. (I patterned my halflings after those of Eberron - they ride dinosaurs and their druids control huge, sea-dwelling creatures who pull massive ferries from continent to continent.)


James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Well, in my current campaign I'm working on, I have the following:

Dark Elves are the most common type of Elf encountered. Many years ago, the Light Elves and their cousins declared war upon the Dark Elves...and lost. While the rest of their race has retreated to hidden places far from civilization, the Dark Elves have prospered, and are accepted in large towns and cities, and are noteworthy for their exotic beauty. However, they do experience some suspicion in smaller settlements, especially in the frontier lands. Encountered Dark Elves have lived on the surface long enough to lose their ability to see in darkness, though their natural powers of stealth have increased to compensate.

Effectively, they are Drow that now live on the surface and integrated into civilization.

Dusk Elves are descendants of Elven prisoners the Dark Elves took as slaves. They all have Dark Elf blood, but are generally smaller in size than pure blood Dark Elves. They often have characteristics that are throwbacks to their Elven ancestors, such as lighter skin, or hair and eye colors not commonly found among the Dark Elves. While no longer slaves, they are often lower-class citizens compared to Dark Elves.

Smallkin (sometimes referred to in ancient texts as Lilka) are related to both Elves and Humans, suggesting a common ancestry to both races. While Humans and Elves cannot interbreed, they can have children with Smallkin (though the resulting children, while sharing some physical traits with their Human or Elven parent, are also Smallkin). The Smallkin remained neutral during the Elven Wars, and interactions between them and Dark Elves are polite, if reserved.

As their name suggests, Smallkin are about a foot and a half shorter on average than Humans, with slender builds and youthful features. Male Smallkin often sport mustaches and short beards to be taken a little more seriously. Smallkin have latent psionic abilities, which have helped them survive all manner of adversity, as well as a secret tradition of martial arts known as Vetchkunst, which is based around leaving the hands free for defense and attacking with powerful kicks, using tough-soled, reinforced shoes known as strijdclogs.

Dwarves are well known for their affinity to earth and stone, and their love of crafting and the treasures of the earth. What few realize is that they are actually Giantkin, though they lost their height due to an ancient curse. Dwarves have solid bodies with short legs and low centers of gravity. Though about a foot shorter on average than a Human, they are actually a little heavier than the average Human (so female Dwarf would have an average height of about 4' 4”, but might weigh 130-140 lbs.). The ancestral Dwarves possessed the power to increase their density, but it has all but faded. Dwarves can, however, increase their size if need be, though since this power doesn't generally affect their possessions, Dwarves favor tough, loose clothing. Conservative male Dwarves take great pride in their beards, but most young Dwarves favor shorter beards and shun mustaches.

Kentaurides are believed to be descended from Humans and Fey long ago. They possess the ability to transform into a creature that combines the strengths of Humans and Horses. While there were once males of this race, the Centaurs, all Kentaurides are female. They can mate with Humans and even, in theory, Smallkin, but such births are rare. They can also, however, reproduce via parthenogenesis, that is, producing offspring without a mate, though usually only once about every seven years, and even then, only if they have others who can help take on a parental roll to the child. The children of Kentaurides are always Kentaurides. If the female is a sole parent, her child will look identical to her. Kentaurides are all about the height of a Human Male, though Kentaurides with Smallkin ancestry might be a little smaller and lighter.

As shapechangers, Kentaurides tend to wear very little, as their transformation tends to destroy or damage most clothing worn below the waist. When the transformation is enacted, their bodies from the waist down take the appearance of small horses (with the waist extending from what would be the withers of a horse) or ponies. Their equine legs are short and stocky, and their hooves are shaped differently than a true horses, giving them a more human-like range of motion, and allowing them to simulate being able to rise to the balls of their feet. Their thick hooves do not require horseshoes (though some Kentaurides will wear magical horseshoes). Kentaurides do not often accept riders (who would have to be child-sized regardless), as this is analogous to intimate contact.

Sprites are a small race of Fey. They are very small in size, typically ranging from 8” to 1” in height, slender and graceful. They have hair in a variety of pastel shades, and wings similar to those of a dragonfly, butterfly, or moth. Though native to secluded forests and meadows, they are very inquisitive, and occasionally suffer from bouts of wanderlust, taking them far from their homelands.

Sprites have no gender, but can vary their appearance to appear more masculine or feminine, though they cannot grow facial or body hair. Their voices are childlike and they can be much louder than their diminutive size would indicate. Sprites do not normally wear clothing, but ones found in civilized areas are often fascinated by the concept, and will acquire lavish wardrobes for themselves- provided they can figure out where to keep their possessions!

Sprites apparently reproduce via parthenogenesis, like Kentaurides, but they do so very rarely when away from their homelands, and they tend to be very reticent about the details.

Mosura are humanoid race with some insect-like features, namely, large, moth-like wings and antennae. They are divided into two castes, based on gender, though outside of their native lands, males and females can assume whatever roles they desire. Mosura are very tall, with an average height 1 foot taller than humans, but their bodies are slender, and weigh half as much as one would expect. Female Mosura have a sort of ethereal beauty, and are traditionally the leaders and priestesses of their culture.

Male Mosura (also called “Batora”) are the soldiers and hunters of their people, and have physical adaptations suited to such roles.

While not Immortal, like Sprites, Mosura spiritual beliefs say that life is temporary, and upon death, your spirit is reborn in a new body. Though never seen outside their homelands, Mosura Queens are gigantic in size, and lay many eggs, each of which hatches when it receives a wayward soul. New souls are granted to the Mosura by their Gods rarely, keeping their population limited. While theoretically Mosura can live as long as humans, though it is rare to see an old member of this race. Mosura Queens, however, are said to live for centuries.

Drakelings are a small, reptilian race who claim descent from Dragons. They are a foot shorter on average than humans, and their skin is covered in scutes, and their coloration tends towards earth tones. Their eyes are large and amber, with slit pupils. Drakelings are a recent addition to civilized lands, having moved from their homelands after being driven out by dangerous monsters.

My last campaign was even crazier, with Galateans, humanoids descended from Mimics; Striga, who are wild elves with owl like wings; Winterborn, humans who made a pact with Winter Wolves; Wisplings, Halflings who were possessed by Will O' Wisps through a strange, arcane ritual, becoming a blending of both creatures; and the Zur'ahn, an advanced Lizardfolk culture that came to the world long ago from space!!!!!

Edgar Ironpelt

In my "Brotherhood of Rangers" game, the player-character races are the standard 3.5e PC races without any special variations. Notable NPC & "bad guy" races include orcs, hobgoblins, trolls, an evil variant of formians (ant creatures), various intelligent plant creatures, ogres, ogres shrunken to Medium size, an ogre-magi couple who experiment with shrinking magic (which accounts for the shrunken ogres), and two-headed cyclopian athaches (two heads with one eye each).

In my old "Etan" game that started as 1e AD&D, then switched to The Fantasy Trip and then to a homebrew based on TFT, the PC races are humans, elves, half-elves, orcs, goblins, giants, and lizardmen. The orcs are all male and breed with other races for continuity. The lizardmen are laid-back easy-going types who can be just as civilized as anyone else. In general, the "humankin" (PC) races are thoroughly cosmopolitan. Even among the barbarians, the individual bands may be monoracial, but the clans that the bands belong to are multiracial, with everyone considering fellow clan members to be kinfolk. (And there are solid if arcane in-world reasons for this.)

The two main NPC races of Etan are the dragons and the earthkin, with earthkin having the form of various mythical creatures (centaurs, etc.). They're fay, "poor country cousins" of the gods who survived the war that killed all the gods.


Follower of the Way
Overall, race is generally not something most folks care TOO much about--something I took from Zakhara--but there are certain things that matter, so I'll mention them. The only "major" races that haven't shown up at all are gnomes and halflings, so we as a party don't actually know what their deal is...yet.

Tiefling: The descendants of folks who consorted or, ahem, consorted with a fiend (a devil or demon, other kinds of fiends are unknown in this setting.) Rare but not unheard of. Most folks don't really blame them for their bloodline, there have been heroic or even literally saintly tieflings. Their blood does connect them to a specific devilish or demonic origin, however, which can have consequences.

Elf: The elves of today are, the party has learned, the somehow-transformed descendants of the remnant who intentionally stayed behind when the "El'Adrin" civilization departed the world to escape some kind of apocalyptic "change" to the world, which would have prevented their society from continuing as it was. Exactly what this means is not yet known, nor where exactly the El'Adrin went.

Dragonborn: Not too common in this part of the world, as their homeland seems to be across the sea, the land of Yuxia, "the Jade Home." A small minority does exist in the Tarrakhuna however, and a slightly larger minority further south in the "elf forests."

"Genasi": Not a formal thing, but it's widely known that many mortals today have at least one noble genie somewhere in their family tree. Folks who actually manifest magical powers are called "sha'ir," sorcerers, who are sometimes subject to discrimination, as their magic can sometimes surge without them intending for it to. But sha'ir in general are relatively rare, even though theoretically almost anyone could manifest as one.

Genies (noble and regular): Regular genies are like mortals, but with an inherent elemental connection. They have some minor magic, often elemental manifestations on their person (e.g. hair made of water or colored like actual copper or other metals, eyes that literally look like fire, etc.) or other markers of slightly-unusual but still human-like appearance. Regular genies live slightly longer than normal humans, but not a lot. Noble genies slowly gain prodigious power, eventually becoming fearsome sources of elemental might, assuming they live long enough; a noble genie will not die of old age, but illness and injury can still get them. The eldest among them often appear to retire from public life for no discernible reason.

Orcs (and half-orcs): Just another mortal race, much as minotaurs, ogres, and other "monstrous" races are fully integrated into the culture of the Tarrakhuna. A narrow majority of orcs choose to remain among the Nomad Tribes, however, rather than dwelling in the cities, though it's quite common to find orcs in cities too (e.g. one of the main Waziri librarians the party has worked with is an orc woman, they like her, she's no-nonsense without being humorless.) A number of the Nomad Tribe orcs earn money for the tribe by doing mercenary work, so they have a reputation of being...well, mercenary, but highly effective.

I think that's all of the ones that really stand out. The only other "race" that has appeared in any sense is the one mindflayer the players met, but he was a one-off and clearly alien to them.


It depends on the theme of the campaign I am running.

I normally run in a homebrew mashup campaign world which is part Golarion, part Ptolus, part others. So there is humanity, baseline D&D races, and room for lots. I have also run in Oathbound Wildwood, Ravenloft, and Greyhawk.

What I allow for PC is races are things that will go well with the theme of the campaign I am running, normally something that will be OK going into the villages or cities and will be compatible with the game I am trying to run. So normally very out there monster races who would constantly be dealing with their otherness or that will make lots of things awkward in the game I do not allow. So I have discouraged a bugbear concept in my current game, and I would not generally go with something like a centaur which causes all sorts of issues for maneuverability, even though I have had centaur stuff in my games.

In my current 5e game I am using the Iron Gods pathfinder adventure path and a Thundarr the Barbarian theme. PCs have been a robot (reskinned warforged), a kobold, an aasimar, and a space tortle. There have also been a Werewolf the Apocalypse themed werewolf (human druid reskinned) and werebear (shifter barbarian).

In my prior gothic horror in a D&D world 5e adventure path I wanted the PCs to have more human baseline perspectives, so I stuck to humans and core D&D races and part humans as suggested options. I did not want dragonborn and such where the PCs start out feeling very nonhuman as a baseline. The party ended up with a half elf, a half orc, and four humans. It worked well.

Before that in my Wildwood game of monsters and weirdness pulled into a themed survival of the fittest wilderness world the PCs were eclectic with things like vanilla humans and dwarves, but also a lizardfolk and tiger man concepts.

When I did a Freeport mercantile cosmopolitan trading hub setting game in my homebrew there were lots of options open.


Lately I've been running a basic FR campaign with mostly PHB races in their 'standard' role. There may be a few other races around but the players have not been taking them or my need to integrate them into the game.

Mind of tempest

(he/him)advocate for 5e psionics
presently I am working to hammer out a playable race that fits the idea of a fantasy alien that is pc sized much like Dragonborn are pc sized dragons.

I made a thread on it, needs some work as they keep accidentally becoming elves.


In my current campaign, I have all of the PHB races, with a few extras thrown in.

Genasi are a distinct race, having been created millennia ago to aid the elementals in their was against the titan (who created the giants and giant-kin) and the elder dragons (who created the dragonborn and kobolds). Genasi are related to humans, as their creation was brought about by imbuing humans with the elements. Where the elementals once held sway, the genasi are their inheritors, one nation is largely made up of humans and genasi, but it is the genasi who hold the political power.

I have various locations where the different races are centralised, but still small enclaves show up elsewhere.

Gnomes as a race tend to be centred around portals connecting the prime and the fey wild, their villages extending outwards on both planes. Finding them is difficult for outsiders due to powerful illusions masking them.

Halflings tend to be nomadic, travelling in small caravans within other kingdoms. One of my players was a bouncer at the carnival that she travelled with.

I have a fantasy version of Egypt based on Stygia, the ruling class are made up of 6 fingered tieflings who control the priesthood and quash any resistance to their rule. Their gods are their progenitor, Graz'zt, and his exalts who supplanted the worship of the primordials when they were cast back to the elemental planes by the gods.

Dwarves are pretty standard I guess, they live in vaults carved into the sides of mountains. Their old cities deep within the underdark largely abandoned once they found the sky.

Dragonborn, ruling much of what was once the territory of the dragon elders, have kingdoms and city states filled with with dragonborn and kobolds. They are on friendly terms with lizardfolk, their scaled cousins, though the yuanti as a rule, are killed wherever they are found so that their evil doesn't infect the rest of the scaled folk.

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