Building non-humanoid characters in Dungeons & Dragons give players the opportunity to remove themselves even further from the real world. Playing as an elf or a tiefling is already fantastical enough, but playing as something partly or completely removed from the humanoid form can provide unique opportunities for roleplaying. Getting into the mind of a centaur and trying to figure out how to maneuver a horse body everywhere can be an exciting and interesting thought process.
Many of the character races in Dungeons & Dragons follow the standard humanoid shape. Two legs bent forward at the knees, two arms with one elbow and one hand apiece, and a head at the top of a torso. Elves, dwarves, dragonborn, and tieflings all follow this mold without much deviation. Bucking this trend can lead to terrifying results, like how Liches became even scarier in D&D‘s Spelljammer by adding a tentacle and mouth to their torso. However, there are an increasing number of official player race options that buck the humanoid and introduce new, varied physiology.
The best non-humanoid races in D&D introduce abilities beyond the standard fare available to the strictly humanoid ones. Humanoids are assumed to be able to move 25-30 feet, have maybe one or two magical abilities depending on the bloodline, and aside from horns or a tail being completely interchangeable in terms of physiology. Access to flight, weird abilities, or a different configuration of limbs can radically alter how a character is played, and create unique and memorable roleplay moments.
D & D’s Aaracockra Let Players’ Minds Take Flight
Outside of Dungeons & Dragons, humans spent millennia trying to learn how to fly before finally achieving it. Aaracockra can do it without any effort. These avian wonders hail from the Elemental Plane of Air, where they can spend days on the wing without touching down. Their flying speed allows players to think vertically when determining how to infiltrate a museum for a daring heist or get the best vantage point to rain down arrows on the bandits that ambushed them. Choices like this and other D&D tactics make the combat system fun. When forced into close combat, their talons provide more than enough reason for enemies to pick another target. In the recently printed Mordenkainen’s Monsters of the Multiversethe aaracockra gained the ability to conjure a mystical gust of wind by flapping their wings.
Centaurs Bring Sheer Horsepower To D&D
Centaurs allow Dungeons & Dragons players to save money on a mount and look cool doing it. As creatures native to the Feywild, they retain a bit of wild magic in their very being and are considered distinct from the humanoid creature type. Their powerful equine lower halves allow them to gallop at blinding speeds; perfect for chasing down any cutpurses trying to make off 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 have to actually break the game with one of D&D‘s spells to get benefits that good. Centaur’s hooves also make deadly weapons when it comes to rearing blows against aggressive foes, especially after making a weapon attack when they use their charge ability. Centaurs provide the best of horse and man in one formidable package.
The Grung Of D&D Are Both Colorful And Deadly
In Dungeons & Dragons, the grunge pack a poisonous punch. Their skin secretes a poisonous substance capable of incapacitating creatures many times their own size. They also coat their weapons with this poison while being immune to it themselves. They are able to climb and leap through the trees of their jungle homes with ease thanks to their frog-like limbs. When the forest ends and the river begins, grung have no fear thanks to their amphibious nature. In fact, they must submerge themselves at least 1 hour a day or risk shriveling up with exhaustion.
While this may seem like a major drawback when compared to other land-dwelling races, the grung more than make up for it with their poison skin and increased mobility. They have defense built into their biology, both to hurt any enemy attacking them and get away from bigger threats. With that in mind, the advantages to being a grung in D&D outweigh the drawbacks.
The Harengon Of D&D Are Leaps And Bounds Ahead
Whether it’s leaping into the fray or hopping up to a stool at the local tavern, Dungeons & Dragons’ harengon are perfectly suited to lives as wily adventurers. Their hare-trigger ability allows them to jump to action at the beginning of combat with a bonus to initiative rolls. Their highly tuned leporine senses increases their regular and passive perception, meaning that danger rarely sneaks up on them, even in the bustling market of a major city. Their powerful legs mean that they can leap great distances, up to five times their proficiency bonus in feet without fear of being hit. Those lucky feet of theirs ensure they’ll always have a smooth landing, granting them a free d4 to add to any failed dexterity saves.
Locathah Bring The Brine To Any D&D Campaign
While the deep ocean can be cause for fear in some people, Dungeons & Dragons’ Locathah call it home. The mighty aquatic race boasts a naturally hardened set of scales, capable of rivaling most armors when it comes to absorbing blows. This armor is tough to penetrate, like what makes the Dark Sun setting difficult to fit into the multiverse. Their time swimming in the dark deep ocean currents has made them naturally perceptive and strong, gaining proficiency in their perception and athletics skills. Their history as an oppressed race has left them resilient to all forms of mental assault, as their leviathan will lets them shrug off tests of will that would break other creatures. Not just at home in the depths, the Locathah can visit the surface whenever they like and breathe fine, so long as they submerge themselves at least once every 4 hours.
Tortles Prove That In D&D, Slow And Steady Can Carry The Day
Though most tortles prefer an easy-going existence, those that feel the call of adventure can make for incredible Dungeons & Dragons player characters. Though unable to wear conventional armor, their shell more than makes up for it, allowing them to shrug off even the most mortal of blows. If that fails, however, they can retreat into their shells to turn themselves into a near-immovable rock, making them harder to fight than D&D‘s invisible enemies. If defense is not an option, tortles rely on their sharp claws to ward off any unsuspecting attackers. Outside of combat, tortles are happy to enjoy their time above or below the waves, able to hold their breath for up to an hour without issue.
The goal of Dungeons & Dragons is to explore new and fantastic settings while completely inhabiting a character and controlling how they grow and develop. While playing as a human, elf, or dwarf can aid in the verisimilitude and make inhabiting the character easier, trying a character of a race completely different than what a player is used to lead to some truly memorable moments. Whether jumping around as a harengon, giving rides to party members as a centaur, or soaring among the clouds as an aaracockra, Dungeons & Dragons provides the tools to become anyone or anything and have fun doing it.
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