Races

In fantasy roleplaying games, race is fundamental. It both provides a starting point for character creation and sets the tone for a character as it progresses. Race mixes biology and culture, then translates those concepts into racial traits. Yet since both biology and culture are mutable—especially when one considers the powerful forces of magic—racial traits can be so diverse that two elves can be extremely different while still manifesting aspects of their shared heritage and culture. A race's traits, its history, its relations with other races, and the culture that all of these things imply—all of these frame your character. This is true whether you play to or against the stereotypes. A savage and bloodthirsty half-orc who lives only for battle is fun to play, but so is a stern and conflicted half-orc paladin constantly struggling to keep her bloodlust in check. Both fit comfortably within the theme of half-orc, but come off as very different characters around the game table.

Race is an important part of what makes characters who they are, yet it's often all too easy to gloss over the details. After all, most people know the basics: dwarves are short, elves live a long time, and gnomes are dangerously curious. Half-orcs are ugly. Humans are—well, human. To some players, choosing a race is simply a matter of finding which racial modifiers best fit a character's class. Yet there's so much more to race than that. From their deep halls beneath craggy mountains, dwarves sing mournful ballads that teach children of the heroes of old, helping them dream of the day when they might give their own lives in the stronghold's defense. In the spires of their forest cities, elves find a kinship with nature, as the great trees are some of the few non-elven friends who won't grow old and wither before their eyes. By exploring the cultures and traditions of a character's race, we can better understand where she comes from and what makes her tick, thus immersing ourselves that much deeper in the campaign world.

Core Races

The following races are the most common in fantasy settings.

Dwarf: These short and stocky defenders of mountain fortresses are often seen as stern and humorless. Known for mining the earth’s treasures and crafting magnificent items from ore and gemstones, they have an unrivaled affinity for the bounties of the deep earth. Dwarves also have a tendency toward traditionalism and isolation that sometimes manifests as xenophobia.

Elf: Tall, noble, and often haughty, elves are long-lived and subtle masters of the wilderness. Elves excel in the arcane arts. Often they use their intrinsic link to nature to forge new spells and create wondrous items that, like their creators, seem nearly impervious to the ravages of time. A private and often introverted race, elves can give the impression they are indifferent to the plights of others.

Gnome: Expatriates of the strange land of fey, these small folk have a reputation for flighty and eccentric behavior. Many gnomes are whimsical artisans and tinkers, creating strange devices powered by magic, alchemy, and their quirky imagination. Gnomes have an insatiable need for new experiences that often gets them in trouble.

Half Elf: Often caught between the worlds of their progenitor races, half-elves are a race of both grace and contradiction. Their dual heritage and natural gifts often create brilliant diplomats and peacemakers, but half-elves are often susceptible to an intense and even melancholic isolation, realizing that they are never truly part of elven or human society.

Half Orc: Often fierce and savage, sometimes noble and resolute, half-orcs can manifest the best and worst qualities of their parent races. Many half-orcs struggle to keep their more bestial natures in check in order to epitomize the most heroic values of humanity. Unfortunately, many outsiders see half-orcs as hopeless abominations devoid of civility, if not monsters unworthy of pity or parley.

Halfling: Members of this diminutive race find strength in family, community, and their own innate and seemingly inexhaustible luck. While their fierce curiosity is sometimes at odds with their intrinsic common sense, half lings are eternal optimists and cunning opportunists with an incredible knack for getting out the worst situations.

Human: Ambitious, sometimes heroic, and always confident, humans have an ability to work together toward common goals that makes them a force to be reckoned with. Though short-lived compared to other races, their boundless energy and drive allow them to accomplish much in their brief lifetimes.

Other Races

Aasimar
Android
Catfolk
Changeling
Dhampir
Drow
Duergar
Fetchling
Ghoran
Gillmen
Goblin
Grippli
Hobgoblin
Ifrit
Kitsune
Kobold
Lashunta
Merfolk
Monkey Goblin
Nagaji
Orc
Oread
Ratfolk
Samsaran
Strix
Suli
Svirfneblin
Sylph
Tengu
Tiefling
Undine
Vanara
Vishkanya
Wayang
Table: Racial Features
Core Races
Race Racial Traits Race Points
Ability Score Plus Ability Score Minus Size Type (subtype) Speed Starting Languages Senses Defensive Traits Offensive Traits Skill Bonuses Bonus Feats Spell-Like (Sp) or Supernatural (Su) Abilities
Dwarf Con, Wis Cha Medium Humanoid (dwarf) 20 ft. Common, Dwarven Darkvision 60 ft. AC bonus, Saving Throw bonus, CMD bonus Attack bonus, weapon familiarity Appraise, Perception - - #
Elf Dex, Int Con Medium Humanoid (elf) 30 ft. Common, Elven Low-light vision Elven immunities Weapon familiarity Perception - - #
Gnome Con, Cha Str Small Humanoid (gnome) 20 ft. Common, Gnome, Sylvan Low-light vision Defensive training, illusion resistance Hatred, weapon familiarity Perception, Craft or Profession - dancing lights, ghost sound, prestidigitation #
Half-elf Any None Medium Humanoid (elf, human) 30 ft. Common, Elven Low-light vision Elven immunities - Perception Skill Focus - #
Halfling Dex, Cha Str Small Humanoid (halfling) 20 ft. Common, Halfling - Fearless, halfling luck Weapon familiarity Perception, Acrobatics, Climb - - #
Half-orc Any None Medium Humanoid (human, orc) 30 ft. Common, Orc Darkvision - Orc ferocity, weapon familiarity Intimidate - - #
Human Any None Medium Humanoid (human) 30 ft. Common - - - - Any one - #
Featured Races
Race Racial Traits Race Points
Ability Score Plus Ability Score Minus Size Type (subtype) Speed Starting Languages Senses Defensive Traits Offensive Traits Skill Bonuses Bonus Feats Spell-Like (Sp) or Supernatural (Su) Abilities
Aasimar Wis, Cha None Medium Outsider (native) 30 ft. Common, Celestial Darkvision Celestial resistance - Diplomacy, Perception - daylight 15
Catfolk Dex, Cha Wis Medium Humanoid (catfolk) 30 ft. Common, Catfolk Low-light vision Cat's luck Sprinter Perception, Stealth, Survival - - 9
Dhampir Dex, Cha Con Medium Humanoid (dhampir) 30 ft. Common Low-light vision, darkvision, light sensitivity Undead resistance, resist level drain - Bluff, Perception - detect undead 11
Drow Dex, Cha Con Medium Humanoid (elf) 30 ft. Elven, Undercommon Superior darkvision, light blindness Elven immunities, spell resistance Poison use, weapon familiarity Perception - dancing lights, darkness, faerie fire 14
Fetchling Dex, Cha Wis Medium Outsider (native) 30 ft. Common Darkvision, low-light vision Shadow blending, shadowy resistance - Knowledge (planes), Stealth - disguise self, shadow walk, plane shift 17
Goblin Dex (+4) Str, Cha Small Humanoid (goblinoid) 30 ft. Goblin Darkvision - - Ride, Stealth - - 10
Hobgoblin Dex, Con None Medium Humanoid (goblinoid) 30 ft. Common, Goblin Darkvision - - Stealth - - 9
Ifrit Dex, Cha Wis Medium Outsider (native) 30 ft. Common, Ignan Darkvision Energy resistance - - - burning hands 6
Kobold Dex Str (-4), Con Small Humanoid (reptilian) 30 ft. Draconic Darkvision, light sensitivity Armor - Craft (trapmaking), Perception, Profession (miner) - - 5
Orc Str (+4) Int, Wis, Cha Medium Humanoid (orc) 30 ft. Common, Orc Darkvision, light sensitivity - Ferocity, weapon familiarity - - - 8
Oread Str, Wis Cha Medium Outsider (native) 20 ft. Common, Terran Darkvision Energy resistance (acid 5) - - - magic stone 6
Ratfolk Dex, Int Str Small Humanoid (ratfolk) 20 ft. Common Darkvision - Swarming Craft (alchemy, Handle Animal (+4), Perception, Use Magic Device - - 9
Sylph Dex, Int Con Medium Outsider (native) 30 ft. Common, Auran Darkvision Energy resistance (electricity 5) - - - feather fall 6
Tengu Dex, Wis Con Medium Humanoid (tengu) 30 ft. Common, Tengu Low-light vision - Swordtrained, natural weapon (bite) Linguistics (+4), Perception, Stealth - - 13
Tiefling Dex, Int Cha Medium Outsider (native) 30 ft. Common, Abyssal or Infernal Darkvision Fiendish resistance - Bluff, Stealth - darkness 13
Undine Dex, Wis Str Medium Outsider (native) 30 ft., Swim 30 ft. Common, Aquan Darkvision Energy resistance (cold 5) - - - hydraulic push 7
Uncommon Races
Race Racial Traits Race Points
Ability Score Plus Ability Score Minus Size Type (subtype) Speed Starting Languages Senses Defensive Traits Offensive Traits Skill Bonuses Bonus Feats Spell-Like (Sp) or Supernatural (Su) Abilities
Changeling Wis, Cha Con Medium Humanoid (changeling) 30 ft. Common Darkvision Natural armor Claws - - - #
Duergar Con, Wis Cha (-4) Medium Humanoid (dwarf) 20 ft. Common, Dwarven, Undercommon Superior darkvision, light sensitivity Duergar immunities, stability - - - enlarge person, invisibility 8
Gillman Con, Cha Wis Medium Humanoid (aquatic) 30 ft., Swim 30 ft. Common, Aboleth - Enchantment resistance - - - - #
Grippli Dex, Wis Str Medium Humanoid (grippli) 30 ft., Climb 20 ft. Common, Grippli Darkvision Swamp stride Weapon familiarity Stealth (+4) - - 6
Kitsune Dex, Cha Str Medium Humanoid (kitsune, shapechanger) 30 ft. Common, Sylvan Low-light vision - Natural weapon (bite) Acrobatics - change shape, dancing lights #
Merfolk Dex, Con, Cha None Medium Humanoid (aquatic) 5 ft., Swim 50 ft. Common, Aquan Low-light vision Natural armor, legless - - - - #
Nagaji Str, Cha Int Medium Humanoid (reptilian) 30 ft. Common, Draconic Low-light vision Armored scales, resistant - Handle Animal, Perception - - #
Samsaran Int, Wis Con Medium Humanoid (samsaran) 30 ft. Common, Samsaran Low-light vision Lifebound - Any two skills - comprehend languages, deathwatch, stabilize #
Strix Dex Cha Medium Humanoid (strix) 30 ft., Fly 60 ft. Strix Darkvision, low-light vision Suspicious Hatred Perception, Stealth - - #
Suli Str, Cha Int Medium Outsider (native) 30 ft. Common, 1 elemental (Aquan, Auran, Ignan, or Terran) Low-light vision Energy resistance 5 (acid, cold, electricity, and fire)
Diplomacy, Sense Motive
Elemental assault 16
Svirfneblin Dex, Wis Str, Cha Small Humanoid (gnome) 20 ft. Gnome, Undercommon Darkvision 120 ft., low-light vision +2 AC, +2 to all saving throws, spell resistance +1 attack vs. humanoids (reptilians) and humanoids (dwarvens) Stealth, Craft (alchemy), Perception; stonecunning
Constant—nondetection; 1/day—blindness/deafness, blur, disguise self 24
Vanara











8
Vishkanya











13
Wayang











#
Other Paizo Races
Race Racial Traits Race Points
Ability Score Plus Ability Score Minus Size Type (subtype) Speed Starting Languages Senses Defensive Traits Offensive Traits Skill Bonuses Bonus Feats Spell-Like Abilities
Android Dex, Int Cha Medium Humanoid (android) 30 ft. Common Darkvision, low-light vision - - Perception - - 16
Ghoran                         #
Monkey Goblin                         #
Lashunta                         #
                          #
X=replaced, (X)=optionally replaced, C=changed