Avoid Stereotypes with your D&D Character

"DnD Party Lineup IX (maybe)" | Art by hangemhigh13. Used with permission.

Dungeons & Dragons is the most popular tabletop RPG on the planet and offers a nearly endless list of races, classes, and adventuring archetypes to choose from. And because certain races offer certain bonuses, there are a lot of common combinations that you’re likely to see at a tabletop near you.

Half-elf paladins, wood elf rogues, and half-orc barbarians are great builds that maximize the strengths supplied by their lineage. But why not do something more interesting? Here are a few examples of characters that play against their racial typecasting and offer a whole new world of heroic story options.

Jebeddo Ningel  – Gnomish Barbarian

Barbarians are often created to be colossal meat shields: soaking up and dealing a ton of melee damage. What about a character whose physical size isn’t that impressive, but finds their power from another source?

Jebeddo had lived his whole life in Springwood Forest. For generations, his family has acted as guardians of the secluded wood, keeping the spirits of the forest in harmony and dealing with whatever minor threats would occasionally bare their teeth.

Jebeddo wanted nothing more than to be a druid like his grandfather, Darmic, and spent countless hours meditating with the spirits of the forest in hopes of forging a bond with them. During one of these sessions in the serene surroundings of the Springwood, a towering bear spirit crashed through the trees and spoke of a coming danger—an orcish horde bent on harvesting the forest into firewood and instruments of war.

The bear spirit offered itself to Jebeddo to aid in the defence of its home. “At last!” He thought. His moment as a druid of the forest had finally arrived. But instead, the spirit caused an eruption of strength to course through his veins and an animalistic rage to cloud his mind. With his tiny bare hands, he tore off a mighty branch from a nearby tree and stormed to meet the foolish orcs who would dare entreat upon this sacred land.

“Dwarven Monk Unleashes the Iron Butterfly kick” by Matt Forsyth (mattforsyth.deviantart.com).

Orsik Ironhand – Dwarven Monk

Dwarf characters often are given tank roles to compliment their high constitution and many weapon and armour proficiencies. What about a dwarf who entirely eschews weaponry for their bare hands?

The Ironfist clan were legendary warriors who could trace their lineage to the founding of Citadel Abdhor, and Orsik was no exception. She could hold her own against any member of her family with any dwarven weapon they chose.

One night, while she walked the streets of the citadel on her way to the training pits, she was attacked by a group of criminals who weren’t looking for a fair fight. Unarmed and unarmoured, Orsik was no match for the thugs and was beaten within an inch of her life.

From that night, she vowed that she wouldn’t need a weapon or armour to keep herself safe.

She sought out masters of unarmed combat and over years of intense training and discipline, mastered the Way of the Stone Fist—a fighting technique that utilized the strength of the earth to empower her every strike.

Though she never sought vengeance against those who assaulted her, some part of her waited for the next group of fools to assume she needed a weapon to defend herself.

Krendlack  – Half-orc Cleric

Clerics are almost always depicted as shining beacons of divinity, clad in platemail and tabards brandishing the symbol of a lawful god. But what would the normally shamanistic half-orcs look like in a similar role?

Krendlack had heard the calling of Luthic since he was a pup. While his brothers and sisters trained their bodies for slaughter and mayhem, he sought the strange peace of the Cave Mother’s blessing.

When the time for his first hunt arrived, he was clad not in the leathers of a hunter or the scale of a marauder, but in a suit of dark metal chain—a spiked mace in one hand and the skull of a cave bear in the other.

As his clanmates rushed forward consumed by their bloodrage, Krendlack called upon the strength of Luthic to restore their bodies, drawing from the abandoned souls of their slain foes.

Victory after victory came to their war parties, Luthic’s power growing stronger with every battle Krendlack took. It was then he heard her voice calling to him, summoning him to a new calling, something more fitting for the Cave Mother’s champion. There would be no stopping them now.

Jason Dueck

Jason Dueck

Staff Writer at Area of Effect
From Captain Kirk to Commander Shepard, Jason's love for science fiction extends to the final frontier. When he's not geeking out, Jason can be found studying communications at Red River College in Winnipeg.
Jason Dueck

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