Dungeons & Dragons: Great Races Perfect For New Players
When making a character in Dungeons & Dragons, players have numerous ways to customize and personalize their character. One of the earliest decisions a player makes when creating their character is figuring out what race they are. D&D is filled with a wide range of races that each bring their own special flavor and abilities to the table. Every race in D&D is great in their own right, and players should use whatever races interest and excite them.
However, there are some racial abilities that are more accessibly useful to a player who is less familiar with the game’s mechanics, while other racial features are more complex. For example, unless you know a campaign is going to provide access to a plethora of water, a new player may want to avoid playing a Grungg, due to their water dependency. So today we’re going to examine some great and accessible races in D&D that offer abilities that are great for a newcomer to the game.
Originating in the Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica, Simic Hybrids are humans, elves, and Vedalken that have altered their biology, magically fusing themselves with various types of animals.
When a player makes a Simic Hybrid character and when they reach level five, they can select an Animal Enhancement that provides their character with a new ability such as the ability to breath underwater or quickly climb. This allows a player to choose the enhancements that most interest them, making a more personalized character.
A feline race much like the Khajiit found within The Elder Scrolls series, the Tabaxi are an excellent race that provides a character with substantial mobility. With a notable climbing speed of twenty feet, Tabaxi’s have access to the Feline Agility ability that doubles their speed during a given turn, allowing them to easily maneuver through a battle.
While this mobility is excellent in its own right, the race even provides a character with two additional proficiencies in perception and stealth.
One of the core races appearing in the Player’s Handbook, Tiefling are a humanlike people with infernal bloodlines. With a boosted starting charisma score, Tieflings are an excellent choice for any type of character that aims to make use of their charisma score.
In addition to having resistance to fire damage and dark vision, this race automatically gains access to the cleric-exclusive Thaumaturgy cantrip, regardless of their class, as well as the spells Hellish Rebuke and Darkness at levels two and five respectively.
Half-Elves are a versatile race that opens up a lot of options. With improved charisma, immediate access to three languages, and an ability from an elf-subrace of a player’s choice, Half-Elves are quite flexible and can function in pretty much any role a player is looking for.
The fact that Half-Elves’ Fey Heritage allows them to make saves against being charmed is an excellent bonus.
One of the most exciting and satisfying things that can happen when playing D&D is landing a critical hit. Another race in the Player’s Handbook, Half-Orcs are able to add an additional damage dice when rolling the damage of a critical hit!
Half-Orcs are also notably resilient, able to set their HP to 1 when their HP is dropped to 0 for the first time every day. This makes them a perfect option for players who are hoping to get up close and personal in combat.
Appearing in Eberron: Rising from the Last War, Changelings are a phenomenal race with a major selling point: you can change your appearance at will. For players looking to play characters that can easily go undercover or disguise themselves with ease, Changelings are a perfect choice.
They can alter anything from the character’s height and weight, their coloration, or even make them appear as another race! Paired with their access to conversation-based proficiencies, additional languages, and improved charisma, Changelings are an excellent choice for players looking to creatively talk and bluff their way out of situations.
Dragonborn are a potent race that appears in the Player’s Handbook, offering players a variety of options based on the various species of dragons in D&D.
In addition to having increased strength and charisma, all Dragonborn gain access to different resistances and breath weapons that reflect their draconic heritage, with the potency of said breath weapon improving as they level up.
Genasi are humanoid beings who are imbued with power from one of the four elemental planes, with every Genasi being linked to a given plane. While all Genasi have improved constitution, the elemental plane a genasi is linked to dictates resistances and special traits they have access to.
For example, an Air Genasi has the ability to indefinitely hold its breath and cast the Levitate spell at will once per long rest, while Water Genasi are amphibious, have an improved swim speed, and can cast Create or Destroy Water once per long rest.
We’re not going to beat around the bush. The selling point of playing the bird-like Aarakocra is the fact that they automatically have a 50-foot flying speed.
While they frankly don’t gain many other features of note, the ability to inherently flying up to 50 feet per round is incredible and versatile, allowing a player to have free reign over the Y-axis.
While it may seem boring at first to play as a Human when there are plenty of other fun options available, the Variant Human within the Player’s Handbook is easily the most flexible race in all of D&D, able to cater to any type of player.
This is because it can be built in any direction, allowing a player to choose a proficiency they want, which ability scores to improve, and even a Feat to start with! As many feats are varied and usefully, allowing a player to do things such as gain additional spells they couldn’t learn otherwise or even improve their movement, Variant Humans essentially allow a player to build the ideal race for their character.
Next: 10 Monsters From Dungeons & Dragons History That Still Aren’t In 5th Edition
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Staff Writer, Paul DiSalvo is a writer, comic creator, animation lover, and game design enthusiast currently residing in Boston, Massachusetts. He has studied creative writing at The New Hampshire Institute of Art and Otis College of Art and Design, and currently writes for CBR, ScreenRant, GameRant, and TheGamer. In addition to writing, he directs and produces the podcast, “How Ya Dyin’?”
He enjoys collecting comics, records, and wins in Samurai Shodown.
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