Core Races of 4E

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Havard
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Core Races of 4E

Post by Havard » Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:49 am

PLAYERS HANDBOOK 1
  • Human
  • Dragonborn
  • Dwarf
  • Eladrin
  • Elf
  • Half-Elf
  • Halfling
  • Tiefling
PLAYERS HANDBOOK 2
  • Deva
  • Gnome
  • Goliath
  • Half-Orc
  • Shifter
PLAYERS HANDBOOK 3
  • Githzerai
  • Minotaur
  • Shardmind
  • Wilden
Above is a list of the Core Races available under the Fourth Edition. Its funny to think back about the controversy about not including Gnomes in the players handbook, when it was probably planned from the beginning that they would appear later on, along with tons of others. It is interesting to see all of these races be considered part of the core of D&D. Dragonborn, Tieflings and Eladrin were much talked about before the edition was released, but they hardly seem controversial now compared to obscure races like the Crystal-like Shardminds and the Plant-like Wilden.

While most editions of D&D has included the option of playing a wide range of races, 4E is unusual in that they bring so many races into the core rules. I also think there are some surprises in the list of included races and those left out. I am for instance surprised that Orcs are still missing from the list. Hobgoblins could have been another option. Centaurs is another race I would have liked to see included personally, although their inaptitude towards dungeon crawls and general power level may be reason for them not appearing. Other races were saved for the various setting books.

Would you allow all of these races in your campaign (existing or hypothetical)? Are there any races you think are missing from the list?

-Havard

Edit: Half-Orcs moved to PHB2, thanks Rabindranath :)
Last edited by Havard on Tue Oct 18, 2011 11:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Core Races of 4E

Post by Paladyn » Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:52 am

There are some some races included in campaign setting, but obviously they are not in 'Core' category.

When I ran Dark sun campaign I had banned those not mentioned in Campaign Guide and it turned out one of players wanted to create deva, so instead he went with thiefling.

For now, I plan to run Neverwinter and will be open to any core and FR races.

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Re: Core Races of 4E

Post by rabindranath72 » Tue Oct 18, 2011 11:39 am

There is no way I am allowing all those races in a game. I may be a grognard at core, but I still believe that Humans should be THE main choice, strictly followed by demihumans not too different, in physiology and social behaviour, from humans.
Otherwise roleplaying is next to impossible, and what you end up playing is just a "human plus." A poor excuse for a human with some weird abilities.
The most blatant example were the Thri-kreen in Dark Sun. I have never found a player capable of playing one "correctly" nor I managed to play one well myself in the last 20 years. It's simply something so alien to identify with, that it's practically useless as a PC race. Some things were meant to be monsters for a reason, and in this respect I totally agree with Gygax's view in the DMG.

EDIT: Note that half-orcs are not in the PHB1.

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Re: Core Races of 4E

Post by Birchbeer » Tue Oct 18, 2011 2:08 pm

I actually hate the way 4E does gnomes as it's more like a brownie of some other kind of fey than the old Gnome (I use Mystara as my base campaign). I just use Halflings for the stats. However... if someone wanted to play a leprechaun or brownie, then gnome it is :)

Races I think that are missing from 4e: Lupin and Rakasta. Granted they are Mystara specific, but I think based upon the amount of write-ups from old Dragon there's good material there for it. I think they're better than Shardmind/Wilden.

Also, you may want to include heroes of Shadow and Feywild as three more races are in each: Revenant, Shade, Vryloka, hamadryad, pixie and satyr.

It's funny you posted this... for my world I was thinking of what races I'd allow. I go back and forth over this. One of the things I liked from the old computer game Phantasie was all the different races you could pick. It's one of the things I like the best about it.

Edit: Also, there's been a few Dragon magazine subscriber races too which I am not sure of at the present :(

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Re: Core Races of 4E

Post by Havard » Tue Oct 18, 2011 2:20 pm

Birchbeer wrote:I actually hate the way 4E does gnomes as it's more like a brownie of some other kind of fey than the old Gnome (I use Mystara as my base campaign). I just use Halflings for the stats. However... if someone wanted to play a leprechaun or brownie, then gnome it is :)
From a Mystara perspective I would agree with you, but outside of that I actually like the brownie-like Gnome. Gnomes in earlier editions seem like they needed a niche, so the Fey path makes sense. Alternatively they could have taken the gadgeteer road and give them gunpowder or something.
Races I think that are missing from 4e: Lupin and Rakasta. Granted they are Mystara specific, but I think based upon the amount of write-ups from old Dragon there's good material there for it. I think they're better than Shardmind/Wilden.
Probably better for a Mystara Sourcebook, but I agree with you that Shardmind/Wilden are probably my least favorite races from the current selection.
Also, you may want to include heroes of Shadow and Feywild as three more races are in each: Revenant, Shade, Vryloka, hamadryad, pixie and satyr.
Cool, I didnt know that. I only included the PHB races in the original list as these are considered core products, but it is interesting to see the various options. Dryad and Satyr are races I would have liked to see as part of the core earlier on. Again, Dryads would have worked better than Wilden IMO. I have no idea what a Vryloka might be...
It's funny you posted this... for my world I was thinking of what races I'd allow. I go back and forth over this. One of the things I liked from the old computer game Phantasie was all the different races you could pick. It's one of the things I like the best about it.
I used to love playing Phantasie III! I remember the Gnolls there looking almost cute. :D

With there being talk about new editions, it will be interesting to see what will be carried on from 4E, the way Goliaths, Shifters and Warforged seem to have been legacies of the 3E era...

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Re: Core Races of 4E

Post by BotWizo » Tue Oct 18, 2011 5:18 pm

Really it depends on how you define core, but if you use character builder you might as well just say all available races are core.

Many 4e players i have played with don't distinguish between core races and races from other books since most use character builder.
I have to say one of the things I think 4e did correctly was the large selection of races a player is able to choose.
The DM can then limit the players to subsets of races according to the campaign, but at least the choice is still there.



Which nets you all of the following races;
This list should have every race current up to heroes of Shadow, I will add to it when heroes of Feywild is available in the builder.
Species | Book |
  • Human | PH |
    Kalashtar | E PG |
    Shadar-Kai | MM1 |
    Genasi | FR PG |
    Changeling | E PG |
    Half-Elf | PH |
    Half-Orc | PH II |
    Mul (Half-Dwarf) | DS CS |
    Dragonborn | PH |
    Goliaths | PH II |
    Deva | PH II |
    Tiefling | PH |
    Shifters | PH II |
    Warforged | E PG |
    Shardmind | PH III |
    Wilden | PH III |
    Thri-Kreen | DS CS |
    Revenant | HoS |
    Shade | HoS |
    Vryloka | HoS |
    Dwarf | PH |
    Duergar | MM2 |
    Elf | PH |
    Eladrin | PH |
    Drow | FR PG |
    Halfling | PH |
    Gnome | PH II |
    Goblin | MM1 |
    Hobgoblin | MM1 |
    Bugbear | MM1 |
    Minotaur | PH III |
    Bladeling | MotP |
    Githzerai | PH III |
    Githyanki | MM1 |
    Orc | MM1 |
    Gnoll | MM1 |
    Kobold | MM1 |
    Bullywug | MM2 |
    Kenku | MM2 |

As you can probably tell when I am DM i only allow certain races for certain campaigns, and some campaigns all races are available.
So my answer would be yes I allow all races if it fits the campaign.

edit:
I have changed the fluff for several of the races depending on the campaign as well. I always change the fluff for Devas and Shardminds, but not the crunch.
Last edited by BotWizo on Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Core Races of 4E

Post by Bonetti » Tue Oct 18, 2011 11:39 pm

Havard wrote:Would you allow all of these races in your campaign (existing or hypothetical)? Are there any races you think are missing from the list?
I allowed all but Shardmind (although it would "unlock" later, once the Paragon tier adventures start), plus the Genasi from the FR book. I was also going to allow War-forged (Eberron), but only once the party had access to a golem-capable culture (Glantri or Alphatia, preferably the latter).

Most of the monstrous races would've had a hard time just due to prejudice, but if the player was willing to deal with it...

The initial party ended up being two Elves, a Deva, a Genasi, a Dwarf, and a Wilden. One elf swapped for an Eladrin when we rebuilt his character, the Deva and Genasi dropped group when they moved, and we added a Half-elf.

It worked out fine.
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Re: Core Races of 4E

Post by agathokles » Wed Oct 19, 2011 7:28 pm

Havard wrote: Would you allow all of these races in your campaign (existing or hypothetical)? Are there any races you think are missing from the list?
I'd say it would strictly depend on the setting. In a Mystara campaign, I'd only allow as written Human, Dwarf, Elf, and Halfling.
I'd allow with different flavoring and names the Eladrin (as Sidhe), Gnome (as Brownie), and maybe Shifter (Rakasta & Lupin), and non-PHB races (e.g., all the goblinoids if appropriate to the campaign).

In Dark Sun, I'd only allow Human, Elf, Half-Elf, Dwarf and Halfling, plus Mul and Thri-Kreen from the Dark Sun books (no Goliaths, thanks -- Half Giants would be NPC only, appearing as elite monsters at lower levels).

In Birthright, I'd only allow Human, Eladrin (as Elf), Dwarf, Elf (as Half-Elf) and Halfling. I might allow, with reflavoring, Tiefling, Deva, Goliath, Half-Elf, Genasi and/or Shifters as various divine Bloodlines, depending on how I'd represent Bloodlines. If playing on the "evil" side, Shades, Gnolls, Goblin, Hobgoblin and Bugbears would be acceptable.

In Ravenloft, I'd only allow the most basic options -- it plays better with just humans. Half-Elf, Elf, Dwarf and Halfling would still be available, but I'd probably ask the players to limit the number of non-humans.

In Al-Qadim, I'd allow Human, Elf, Dwarf, Halfling, Half-Elf, Half-Orc, and all goblinoids, plus Genasi.

In Planescape, I'd allow most if not all races, though only Human, Half-Elf, Dwarf, Genasi, Githzerai, Deva (as Aasimar) and Tiefling as Planars. I'd have to consider whether to drop Eladrin, since Eladrins in Planescape are an outer-planar race, not terribly suitable for play, except in a Warriors of Heaven campaign.
Most other non-2e races would be constrained w.r.t. their world of origin, as in the previous lists.

GP

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Re: Core Races of 4E

Post by Havard » Sun Nov 30, 2014 9:59 pm

I've been looking at BotWizo's list again.

Bladelings, Shadar-Kai and Goliaths are three of the races that caught my attention during the 3E/4E eras that I might enjoy playing.

-Havard

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Re: Core Races of 4E

Post by Bouv » Mon Dec 01, 2014 2:40 pm

The Dungeoneer's Survival Guide has a few more options for playing Kobolds, Goblins, and Svirfnelvjskoldfjlsakdfjsadljk (deep gnomes).

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Re: Core Races of 4E

Post by BotWizo » Tue Dec 02, 2014 8:48 pm

I think there were a few last races in one of the last books, but I must not have added the last 2-4 races to my spreadsheet, so I wiould have to try and figure out the last 2-3 4e books to figure out which races that were given as pc races for 4e.

It's something I always mean to do, but have not been able to get back to it, we moved on to 5e and back to BECMI/1e.

I do use some of these races and other 4e features in my campaigns going forward so this list was and is great to have.
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Re: Core Races of 4E

Post by JimmytheQuick » Wed Jun 08, 2016 10:02 am

If the player's backstory fits then I'll accept anyone into my campaigns. All races welcome :)

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Re: Core Races of 4E

Post by Big Mac » Thu Jun 16, 2016 8:29 am

Nice list BotWizo. I'd love to see people who play 4e help you find the races that you missed.

And, Havard, I'd love to see you add a couple more sections to list the various non-core races that BotWizo found. It looks like there are few enough of them, that they would easily fit into your top post. :-)
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Re: Core Races of 4E

Post by Tim Baker » Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:49 am

In the playtest of a 13th Age mega-adventure/sandbox, new races are introduced in an appendix at the end. The GM is advised to only allow players the opportunity to play one of the new races as they're "unlocked" in the adventure/setting. Since the adventure is filled with opportunities to stumble across ancient races that have been trapped for ages, it was an interesting approach.
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