10 Best Races To Play That Are Not In The Player’s Handbook

The upcoming movie Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Thieves has been an exciting development for fans of the tabletop game, who are now eager to see Forgotten Realms translated to the screen. Although the film features various D&D classes, however, it seems to lack racial variety, as its main part only includes humans and a narrative.

Humans, along with halflings, gnomes, and elves, are common choices for D&D characters, not only because they’re featured in so many fantasy media, but also because they’re featured in the 5th edition of the player’s manual. For players looking for some of the more unusual races in the game, here are a few options outside of PH that provide unique abilities and create interesting characters.


ten Aasimar

Volo’s Guide to Monsters

Created to counter the tieflings, the aasimar are a human race with the blood of the celestials. They are a great race to play as they offer various interesting sub-races, which can lead to lots of creative character backgrounds.

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For a classically well-aligned angelic being, players can choose the aasimar protector, which includes the Radiant Soul trait that gives the character two functional angelic wings. However, players leaning out of the norm can choose the scourge or the fallen aasimar, for a morally gray or even evil character. Each aasimar subrace also gives a different ability score boost and receives their powers from different sources.

9 Genasi

Elemental Evil Player Companion

For players looking for a visually cool and unique character, genasi are a popular choice for a D&D run. These elemental humanoids can be one of four varieties: air, fire, earth, and water, and have physical characteristics that correlate with their element.

Gensai are also highly customizable. Each subclass, or item, has different ability increases and traits, so the player can choose from a variety of items depending on which stats and features they prefer, as well as what they visually wants for his character.

8 Loxodon

Guild Master’s Guide to Ravnica

Dungeons and Dragons features a variety of races based on real animals, and one of the most notable of these is the loxodons, which are a race of humanoid elephants that share the wisdom and toughness of their real-life counterparts.

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One of the advantages of playing a Loxodon is their trunk, which no other D&D race has. In the game, a Loxodon can use its trunk for many things such as grabbing, lifting, and even snorkeling. Unsurprisingly, this gives them the edge on any ability check involving smell.

seven Kenku

Volo’s Guide to Monsters

Another of the major animal races are the kenku, which are small flightless humanoid birds, often resembling crows. critical role fans might recognize this race because of Kiri, a young kenku girl who is voiced by Matthew Mercer.

Due to traits like Expert Forgery and Kenku Training, kenku are popular for players who want to create sneaky and thieving characters, especially within the rogue class. Players are also attracted to this race because of its unique role-playing challenge. Kenku can only speak within the range of words or sounds he has heard before, due to his Mimicry trait. While it’s a great run, many DMs would warn a brand new player to try another one to get the sea legs, so to speak.

6 Eladrin

Tome of Mordenkainen’s Enemies

The Eladrin are a specific type of fairy elves who can adopt the characteristics of the four seasons (summer, autumn, spring, and winter) in terms of coloring and mood. However, a single eladrin is not limited to a single gaze. A player can change the season of their eladrin as often as once per long rest.

Eladrin can change for a variety of reasons, such as a change in mood or to match their surroundings. This creates a fun and unique gameplay feature that leaves room for player creativity, as well as the ability to test out different traits. Each season offers different perks, whether it’s the Fey Step ability or personality traits, leaving an eladrin’s player never to be bored.

5 Changeling

Eberron: Coming out of the Last War

Changelings are one of the best playable races due to a remarkable trait: the ability to shapeshift. Although their base form is white-skinned and mute, they can transform into any being they have ever encountered as long as they share the same humanoid characteristics.

Changelings offer endless gameplay possibilities and work for any alignment. Whether protecting their true identities to avoid harm or using deception to steal or sneak into forbidden places, players can use the changeling’s Shapechanger trait to not only explore the depth of their own character, but also that of others.

4 Goliath

Volo’s Guide to Monsters

The Goliath race is a great fit for players looking for an indomitable character. Goliaths resemble humans but stand a shocking distance of seven to eight feet. They get advantages in both Constitution and Strength scores.

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Although goliaths don’t have much visual distinction aside from their size, they do offer a lot of stat bonuses in strength. These include the Stone’s Endurance trait, which includes the ability to ignore injury, or the Powerful Build, which provides assistance with lifting and carrying capacity.

3 Tabaxi

Volo’s Guide to Monsters

Tabaxi are another popular animal race, this time taking the form of humanoid felines. They are a good breed to choose for any cat lover, as they have fun feline traits such as endless curiosity and are known for their fleeting obsessions. They are also a good choice for those building a character grounded in strong dexterity.

Tabaxi make great nimble characters due to their Feline Agility trait, which allows for doubled speed, as well as claws that allow them to climb. Tabaxi lovers will be happy to know that they are ready to make a small appearance in Honor among thieves.

2 Warforged

Eberron: Coming out of the Last War

There is no D&D race like warforged. This is a popular race with players looking to transition from classic fantasy to steampunk, as warforged are robot-like automatons. First introduced into canon as mindless soldiers, these beings have developed sentience and feelings.

Due to their heavy lore in the D&D universe, the warforged backstory offers many good starting points for character creation, such as why a particular character became an individual. On top of that, warforged have many in-game bonuses, like natural armor, poison resistance, and they don’t have to eat, sleep, or drink.

1 Kalashtar

Eberron: Coming out of the Last War

The Kalashtar are a fascinating race because in terms of physical traits, they hardly differ from a human. Their specialty, however, comes from their connection to the dream realm and its guiding spirits.

While not visually unique, Kalashtars are notable for their ability to speak telepathically, which is an important trait in the game. Their broad connection to the dream world is also an advantage, as it leaves plenty of room to the player to develop an interesting backstory.

NEXT: Which Dungeons & Dragons Class Should You Play, Based On Your Enneagram Type?

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