With their unearthly grace and fine features, elves appear hauntingly beautiful to humans and members of many other races. They are slightly shorter than humans on average, ranging from well under 5 feet tall to just over 6 feet. They are more slender than humans, weighing only 100 to 145 pounds. Males and females are about the same height, and males are only marginally heavier than females.

Elves’ coloration encompasses the normal human range and also includes skin in shades of copper, bronze, and almost bluish-white, hair of green or blue, and eyes like pools of liquid gold or silver. Elves have no facial and little body hair. They favor elegant clothing in bright colors, and they enjoy simple yet lovely jewelry.

Ancient divides among the elven people resulted in three main subraces: high elves, wood elves, and dark elves, who are commonly called drow.

High Elves

The high elves have a keen mind and mastery of at least the basics of magic. They are haughty and reclusive, believing themselves to be superior to non-elves and even other elves.

They often have hair of silver-white, black, or blue, but various shades of blond, brown, and red are not uncommon. Their eyes are blue or green and flecked with gold.

Wood Elves

The wood elves have keen senses and intuition, and their feet carry them quickly and stealthily through their native forests. They are are reclusive and distrusting of non-elves.

Wood elves’ skin tends to be copperish in hue, sometimes with traces of green. Their hair tends toward browns and blacks, but it is occasionally blond or copper-colored. Their eyes are green, brown, or hazel.

Dark Elves (Drow)

Descended from an earlier subrace of elves, the drow were banished from the surface world for following the goddess Lolth down the path of evil. Now they have built their own civilization in the depths of the Underdark, patterned after the Way of Lolth. Also called dark elves, the drow have skin that resembles charcoal or obsidian, as well as stark white or pale yellow hair. They commonly have very pale eyes (so pale as to be mistaken for white) in shades of lilac, silver, pink, red, and blue. They tend to be smaller and thinner than most elves.



A gnome’s energy and enthusiasm for living shines through every inch of his or her tiny body. Gnomes average slightly over 3 feet tall and weigh 40 to 45 pounds. Their tan or brown faces are usually adorned with broad smiles (beneath their prodigious noses), and their bright eyes shine with excitement. Their fair hair has a tendency to stick out in every direction, as if expressing the gnome’s insatiable interest in everything around.

A gnome’s personality is writ large in his or her appearance. A male gnome’s beard, in contrast to his wild hair, is kept carefully trimmed but often styled into curious forks or neat points. A gnome’s clothing, though usually made in modest earth tones, is elaborately decorated with embroidery, embossing, or gleaming jewels.

Rock Gnomes

The rock gnomes have a natural inventiveness and hardiness beyond that of other gnomes. They are famous for their love for magic items, alchemical objects and mostly for technological devices.

Forest Gnomes

Th forest gnomes,you have a natural knack for illusion and inherent quickness and stealth. In the world of Faerun, forest gnomes are rare and secretive. They gather in hidden communities in sylvan forests, using illusions and trickery to conceal themselves from threats or to mask their escape should they be detected. Forest gnomes tend to be friendly with other good-spirited woodland folk, and they regard elves and good fey as their most important allies. These gnomes also befriend small forest animals and rely on them for information about threats that might prowl their lands.

Deep Gnomes

Deep gnomes seem more like creatures of stone than flesh. Their leathery skin is usually a gray, brown, or dun hue that acts as a natural camouflage with the rock around them. Their bodies are gnarled with hard muscle or fat, and they are heavier than their small stature suggests; deep gnomes often weigh 100 pounds or more but rarely stand much more than 3 feet tall.

Deep gnomes are well adapted for their subterranean existence. They have excellent darkvision, and many of them have magical talents that rival the innate spellcasting of the drow and duergar. They are surprisingly strong for their size, enduring toil and danger that would overwhelm most other people.


Bold and hardy, dwarves are known as skilled warriors, miners, and workers of stone and metal. Though they stand well under 5 feet tall, dwarves are so broad and compact that they can weigh as much as a human standing nearly two feet taller. Their courage and endurance are also easily a match for any of the larger folk.

Dwarven skin ranges from deep brown to a paler hue tinged with red, but the most common shades are light brown or deep tan, like certain tones of earth. Their hair, worn long but in simple styles, is usually black, gray, or brown, though paler dwarves often have red hair. Male dwarves value their beards highly and groom them carefully.

Two main subraces of dwarves populate the world of Faerun: hill dwarves and mountain dwarves.

Hill Dwarves

The Hill dwarfs have keen senses, deep intuition, and remarkable resilience. They are aloof, confident and sometimes too proud for their one good. The Hill dwarfs are known to be particularly stalwart warriors and shrewd traders. Thy are distinguishable by their light brown or tanned skin, significantly darker than that of most dwarves, and their brown or hazel eyes. Hill dwarves have black, gray, or brown hair, which fade to light gray over time.

Mountain Dwarves

The mounten dwarves are strong and hardy, accustomed to a difficult life in rugged terrain. Once the rulers of mighty kingdoms across Faerûn, they have since fallen by the wayside after centuries of warfare with their goblinoid enemies. Since then, mounten dwarves have been less commonly seen throughout Faerûn. They have light skin that is fair or lightly tanned and green or silvery blue eyes with long light brown or red hair, growing white or gray with age.


The diminutive halflings survive in a world full of larger creatures by avoiding notice or, barring that, avoiding offense. Standing about 3 feet tall, they appear relatively harmless and so have managed to survive for centuries in the shadow of empires and on the edges of wars and political strife. They are inclined to be stout, weighing between 40 and 45 pounds.

Halflings’ skin ranges from tan to pale with a ruddy cast, and their hair is usually brown or sandy brown and wavy. They have brown or hazel eyes. Halfling men often sport long sideburns, but beards are rare among them and mustaches even more so. They like to wear simple, comfortable, and practical clothes, favoring bright colors.

Halfling practicality extends beyond their clothing. They’re concerned with basic needs and simple pleasures and have little use for ostentation. Even the wealthiest of halflings keep their treasures locked in a cellar rather than on display for all to see. They have a knack for finding the most straightforward solution to a problem, and have little patience for dithering.

There are two main kinds of halfling, lightfoot and stout, and they are more like closely related families than true subraces.

Lightfoot Halflings

The lighfoot halflings can easily hide from notice, even using other people as cover. They are inclined to be affable and get along well with others. In Faerun, lightfoot halflings have spread the farthest and thus are the most common variety. Lightfoots are more prone to wanderlust than other halflings, and often dwell alongside other races or take up a nomadic life.

Stout Halflings

Stout halflings are hardier than average and have some resistance to poison. Some say that stouts have dwarven blood. These halflings are also called stronghearts, and they’re less common than their lightfoot cousins.




Dragonborn look very much like dragons standing erect in humanoid form, though they lack wings or a tail. The first dragonborn had scales of vibrant hues matching the colors of their dragon kin, but generations of interbreeding have created a more uniform appearance. Their small, fine scales are usually brass or bronze in color, sometimes ranging to scarlet, rust, gold, or copper-green. They are tall and strongly built, often standing close to 6½ feet tall and weighing 300 pounds or more. Their hands and feet are strong, talonlike claws with three fingers and a thumb on each hand.

The blood of a particular type of dragon runs very strong through some dragonborn clans. These dragonborn often boast scales that more closely match those of their dragon ancestor—bright red, green, blue, or white, lustrous black, or gleaming metallic gold, silver, brass, copper, or bronze.

To any dragonborn, the clan is more important than life itself. Dragonborn owe their devotion and respect to their clan above all else, even the gods. Each dragonborn’s conduct reflects on the honor of his or her clan, and bringing dishonor to the clan can result in expulsion and exile. Each dragonborn knows his or her station and duties within the clan, and honor demands maintaining the bounds of that position.

A continual drive for self-improvement reflects the self-sufficiency of the race as a whole. Dragonborn value skill and excellence in all endeavors. They hate to fail, and they push themselves to extreme efforts before they give up on something. A dragonborn holds mastery of a particular skill as a lifetime goal. Members of other races who share the same commitment find it easy to earn the respect of a dragonborn.

Though all dragonborn strive to be self-sufficient,  they recognize that help is sometimes needed in difficult situations. But the best source for such help is the clan, and when a clan needs help, it turns to another dragonborn clan before seeking aid from other races—or even from the gods.

Half Elf

To humans, half-elves look like elves, and to elves, they look human. In height, they’re on par with both parents, though they’re neither as slender as elves nor as broad as humans. They range from under 5 feet to about 6 feet tall, and from 100 to 180 pounds, with men only slightly taller and heavier than women. Half-elf men do have facial hair, and sometimes grow beards to mask their elven ancestry. Half-elven coloration and features lie somewhere between their human and elf parents, and thus show a variety even more pronounced than that found among either race. They tend to have the eyes of their elven parents.

Half-elves have no lands of their own, though they are welcome in human cities and somewhat less welcome in elven forests. In large cities in regions where elves and humans interact often, half-elves are sometimes numerous enough to form small communities of their own. They enjoy the company of other half-elves, the only people who truly understand what it is to live between these two worlds.

In most parts of the world, though, half-elves are uncommon enough that one might live for years without meeting another. Some half-elves prefer to avoid company altogether, wandering the wilds as trappers, foresters, hunters, or adventurers and visiting civilization only rarely. Like elves, they are driven by the wanderlust that comes of their longevity. Others, in contrast, throw themselves into the thick of society, putting their charisma and social skills to great use in diplomatic roles or as swindlers.

Half Orc

Half-orcs’ grayish pigmentation, sloping foreheads, jutting jaws, prominent teeth, and towering builds make their orcish heritage plain for all to see. Half-orcs stand between 5 and 7 feet tall and usually weigh between 180 and 250 pounds.

Orcs regard battle scars as tokens of pride and ornamental scars as things of beauty. Other scars, though, mark an orc or half-orc as a former slave or a disgraced exile. Any half-orc who has lived among or near orcs has scars, whether they are marks of humiliation or of pride, recounting their past exploits and injuries. Such a half-orc living among humans might display these scars proudly or hide them in shame.

Half-orcs most often live among orcs. Of the other races, humans are most likely to accept half-orcs, and half-orcs almost always live in human lands when not living among orc tribes. Whether proving themselves among rough barbarian tribes or scrabbling to survive in the slums of larger cities, half-orcs get by on their physical might, their endurance, and the sheer determination they inherit from their human ancestry.


With their penchant for migration and conquest, humans are more physically diverse than other common races. There is no typical human. An individual can stand from 5 feet to a little over 6 feet tall and weigh from 125 to 250 pounds. Human skin shades range from nearly black to very pale, and hair colors from black to blond (curly, kinky, or straight); males might sport facial hair that is sparse or thick. A lot of humans have a dash of nonhuman blood, revealing hints of elf, orc, or other lineages. Humans reach adulthood in their late teens and rarely live even a single century.

Humans are the most adaptable and ambitious people among the common races. They have widely varying tastes, morals, and customs in the many different lands where they have settled. When they settle, though, they stay: they build cities to last for the ages, and great kingdoms that can persist for long centuries. An individual human might have a relatively short life span, but a human nation or culture preserves traditions with origins far beyond the reach of any single human’s memory. They live fully in the present—making them well suited to the adventuring life—but also plan for the future, striving to leave a lasting legacy. Individually and as a group, humans are adaptable opportunists, and they stay alert to changing political and social dynamics.


Tieflings are derived from human bloodlines, and in the broadest possible sense, they still look human. However, their infernal heritage has left a clear imprint on their appearance. Tieflings have large horns that take any of a variety of shapes: some have curling horns like a ram, others have straight and tall horns like a gazelle’s, and some spiral upward like an antelopes’ horns. They have thick tails, four to five feet long, which lash or coil around their legs when they get upset or nervous. Their canine teeth are sharply pointed, and their eyes are solid colors—black, red, white, silver, or gold—with no visible sclera or pupil. Their skin tones cover the full range of human coloration, but also include various shades of red. Their hair, cascading down from behind their horns, is usually dark, from black or brown to dark red, blue, or purple.

Tieflings subsist in small minorities found mostly in human cities or towns, often in the roughest quarters of those places, where they grow up to be swindlers, thieves, or crime lords. Sometimes they live among other minority populations in enclaves where they are treated with more respect.

Lacking a homeland, tieflings know that they have to make their own way in the world and that they have to be strong to survive. They are not quick to trust anyone who claims to be a friend, but when a tiefling’s companions demonstrate that they trust him or her, the tiefling learns to extend the same trust to them. And once a tiefling gives someone loyalty, the tiefling is a firm friend or ally for life.

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