D&D General Thoughts On How To Get a New Race Over

Zardnaar

Legend
Over the years new races come and go most a forgotten fairly quickly. Most popular races are generally the PHB ones. With beyond and BG3 there's hard data over what's actually popular. The recent break out "star" is probably the Tieflings. By getting a race over I mean it becomes somewhat popular and people want it back.

Anyway some thoughts.

1. Popular edition. Fairly simple concept. More people see it more people play it. More people will want it back.

2. One of a few probably added in a setting or PHB. Up to 3 new races seems to be the magic number. Planescae let you play Tieflings,Darksun added Kreen and Half Giants. Less is more. 50 odd in Monster of the Multiverse means most won't care and nothing stands out.

3. Near human and/or conventionally attractive helps. Sex sells let's face it. No one's going to care to much about plasmoids. Elves are perpetually popular (pretty humans but better), Tieflings are the new hotness. Being evil/edgy helps (Drow, Tieflings, Half Vampires).

4. Appears in multiple editions with a high profile. Tieflings 2E debut, 3.0 FRCS, 4E and 5E phb, Baldurs Gate.

5. The X factor. Sometimes things just blow up in popularity for whatever reason (or none).

So some contenders who might be leading the charge in 5.5.

Aasimar.

Thos ones kinda been bubbling in the back ground for a whole. Getting promoted to the phb. Humans but pretter/better blood of angels. Only negative is good aligned (read boring) stereotype. Getting promoted to PHB.

Genasi.

Ticks a lot of boxes I highlighted and they're free on Beyond raising their profile. Kinda neglected lore wise but has break out potential.

Yuan Ti.

Snake people fairly common in fantasy. Typically thought of as evil so extra edgelord points available.

Gith.

A certain popular female BG3 character. She's probably the most popular character or top 3 on a lot of lists. Sexy (kinda ymmv of fourse), "evil" race, D&D exclusive with a lot of lore since 1E. Iconic as well.
 

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EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
The recent break out "star" is probably the Tieflings.
It is absolutely dragonborn, and this statement has nothing to do with my preference for them. It is purely based on their essentially unbroken streak of growth across 5e's run.

Dragonborn have overtaken half-elf. They are the second-most-popular non-human race, surpassed only by elves. Yes, tieflings aren't far behind, but tieflings have had since second edition to build up a following--and dragonborn surpassed them in popularity (based on the D&D Beyond data) years ago. Nothing more than vaguely like dragonborn existed 20 years ago, and proper dragonborn as we understand them now didn't happen until 4e. In less than two decades, they've gone from "obscure racial template" to "third-most-popular race in the entire game."

It is simply, flat inarguable that dragonborn are THE breakout star.

More than anything else, the X-factor is the dominant thing. You have to have the right combination of subtle things that aren't easy to control. I don't personally think your point 2 makes any difference, if it catches on it catches on, nobody cares how many other options are provided. Same for point 3. Gith are skeletally thin, yellow-green, have no nose (or at least no nostrils), and very intentionally pretty alien. Dragonborn get specifically talked up for being so (superficially) non-human--and most of them don't get special edgelord points.
 
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The Planescape Campaign Setting introduced Tieflings, Githzerai and Bariaur as new races. Tieflings were the most successful, Githzerai has moderate success and Bariaur have generally being forgotten. And other races introduced later on in Planescape like the Aasimar, Genasi, Githyanki and Rogue Modron have gotten more success than them. Only the Nathri and the Nethling have been less successful than the Bariaur.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
Much like what @Kobold Avenger did for Planescape above, I'm interested in exploring the races available in 4e that did or didn't "graduate" to 5e. Now, I moved on from 4e the second the D&DNext Playtest dropped, so my memory is fuzzy on the subject, but let's see...

Deva - very similar, but not exactly, to Aasimar. Close enough to be a wash.
Goliath - while Goliaths have been around before 4e, IIRC the way they look currently was defined in that edition. They're getting an upgrade in 5.24 when it comes to how closely their lore crosses over with giants, so they might look different, too. We'll have to see. They're certainly successful!
Gnoll - 5e for some reason decided to make ALL gnolls loathsome fiends, so they never made them playable. I'm fine with that, I guess, but shouldn't there ought to be playable dog-folk? Not that we don't have a ton of choices for a funny animal game.
Shardmind - Probably my least favorite race of all-time. They're just terribly named and have an uninspired/strange design. There might be room in the game for Psychic Crystal Folk, but they need a drastic redesign.
Shifter - I think these exist in 5e, but they had a much higher profile in 4e, IIRC. Werewolf-lite. Probably need to be MORE Werewolf to really catch on.
Wilden - Here I've come to a race that I think is actually missing in 5e. I wouldn't implement them exactly like they were in 4e, but I think there's a place for Fey Treefolk (perhaps relating them to Dryads would make them more popular).

Am I missing anything?
 
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Shardmind - Probably my least favorite race of all-time. They're just terribly named and have an uninspired/strange design. There might be room in the game for Psychic Crystal Folk, but they need a drastic redesign.
I didn't like them because we didn't get the Elan, Maenads, Dromites, Xephs or even Synad from 3.5e as races and instead got crystal people. Yes I know that Elan was some sort of paragon path in 4e, and would definitely be a Lineage like Dhampir or Reborn in 5e. That Maenad, Xephs and Synad are already very Human-like. Except for the rage-thing the Maenad has very little to do with the ones in Greek mythology. Xephs probably aren't too different from Githzerai all things considered. The three-in-one mind Synad might be an evolved form of the 1e monster the Tirapheg, they might be more suitable as some subclass or background. And the Dromites are some weird Bug-Halfling people.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
It is absolutely dragonborn, and this statement has nothing to do with my preference for them. It is purely based on their essentially unbroken streak of growth across 5e's run.

Dragonborn have overtaken half-elf. They are the second-most-popular non-human race, surpassed only by elves. Yes, tieflings aren't far behind, but tieflings have had since second edition to build up a following--and dragonborn surpassed them in popularity (based on the D&D Beyond data) years ago. Nothing more than vaguely like dragonborn existed 20 years ago, and proper dragonborn as we understand them now didn't happen until 4e. In less than two decades, they've gone from "obscure racial template" to "third-most-popular race in the entire game."

It is simply, flat inarguable that dragonborn are THE breakout star.

More than anything else, the X-factor is the dominant thing. You have to have the right combination of subtle things that aren't easy to control. I don't personally think your point 2 makes any difference, if it catches on it catches on, nobody cares how many other options are provided. Same for point 3. Gith are skeletally thin, yellow-green, have no nose (or at least no nostrils), and very intentionally pretty alien. Dragonborn get specifically talked up for being so (superficially) non-human--and most of them don't get special edgelord points.

Any recent data from beyond to back thst up?

Larian released BG3 data for example as well and yeah.

BG3 has outsold 5E for context and made in 6 months what D&D makes in years.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
Any recent data from beyond to back thst up?

Larian released BG3 data for example as well and yeah.

BG3 has outsold 5E for context and made in 6 months what D&D makes in years.
The most recent D&D Beyond data is 2023. It shows dragonborn ahead of tieflings.

Also, the more-recent BG3 data...shows dragonborn ahead of tieflings.


It also shows Paladin and Sorcerer as being dramatically more popular than Fighter. If you meant for BG3 to be showing that tieflings were somehow significantly ahead of anything else, you're sorely mistaken--and the data from BG3 is already at least a little divergent from clear, durable trends shown on DDB.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
I think it all comes down to Waifu :)

See whats popular in non-Western fantasy and you'll inevitably see the standard 'human, elf, pretty orc' and demon-chic.

After 50 years things have come full circle with DnD influencing modern ideas of fantasy now being influenced by its own spawn.
All the other races are second tier (except maybe Dragonborn - but they just need to be dragons) and I do wonder how a Neko race might fair
 

Zardnaar

Legend
The most recent D&D Beyond data is 2023. It shows dragonborn ahead of tieflings.

Also, the more-recent BG3 data...shows dragonborn ahead of humans.


Cheers mostly I'm talking about non phb races. The ones I listed as potential break outs are non phb ones.

Basically I expect most phb races to be more popular than non phb races.

That's fairly early in BG3 release and the closest thing to a default in BG3 (aka best story) is a Dragonborn.

Dark Urge (the DB) is best story in the game imho of course.
 

MGibster

Legend
With beyond and BG3 there's hard data over what's actually popular. The recent break out "star" is probably the Tieflings. By getting a race over I mean it becomes somewhat popular and people want it back.
I don't know if BG3's data can be entirely trusted here. I suspect there are a lot of people, myself included, who selected their character's species based on what a game guide said about how it synergized with a particular class.
 

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