Human (Dungeons & Dragons)

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First appearancethe original 1974 Dungeons & Dragons boxed set

Humans are a race available for player characters in the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy roleplaying game. Although short-lived by comparison, humans are the most populous of all Dungeons & Dragons races. They are renowned for their diversity and ambition, and although they lack specializations like other races, they can excel in many areas. Subspecies of humans include the planetouched aasimar, genasi, and tieflings, as well as Vashar, the human equivalent of drow.

Publication history[edit]

Humans first appeared as a player character race in the original 1974 Dungeons & Dragons boxed set.[1]

Benefits and penalties[edit]

In first and second edition AD&D, humans were the baseline race (with most playable non-human races being called 'demihumans') and as such lacked special abilities. On the other hand, they had no penalties, were exempt from level caps for most classes, and were the only race to be able to dual class. They were also the only race able to become a member of certain classes such as the Paladin.

In 3rd edition D&D, a human can take any class as its favored class. Furthermore, humans get feat and skill bonuses.

While not usually having as direct an effect on a character, it has been widely shown that humans are the most capable of interbreeding with other races. With most "half" races (half-orcs, half-elves, half-ogres, and even half-giants), the "half" almost always refers to a human half. Thus, this could be seen as a "benefit" should a player wish to have their character reproduce.

In 4th edition D&D humans gain a bonus to any one stat of their choice, and gain a bonus feat and bonus trained skill, mirroring their third edition bonus. They also have a choice of a bonus At Will attack or the power Heroic Effort which allows them once per encounter to add +4 to a d20 roll that they've just made.

Campaign settings[edit]


In the Dragonlance campaign setting, humans are the most common civilized species on Krynn. They were created by Gilean, a neutral god. He gave them short lifespans to be neutral, and so in this short life they are likely to be of many and varied alignments, unlike elves or ogres. Most countries are populated by humans, with few exceptions, chiefly Qualinesti, Silvanesti, and Mithas.


  1. ^ Tresca, Michael J. (2010), The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, McFarland, p. 62, ISBN 078645895X

Further reading[edit]