The Players Handbook

The Players Handbook

As the orc war party continues to plunder the goods of the village, a blast of fiery light attracts their attention. 

As they turn to investigate, they are met by four figures silhouetted by a blazing fire. A large half-orc in a fur coat wielding a greataxe, a pale high-elf in long green robes holding a spellbook, a human woman in full plated armor wielding two scimitars, and a small halfling wearing tattered robes and wielding only it’s fists.

The Player’s Handbook is one of the few books made for Dungeons and Dragons that includes playable races and classes in the game. There are nine races to choose from, and some have subraces. 

A few example races are dwarves, elves, humans, and halflings. Each race has their own traits that give them advantages in certain situations, for example, when a half-orc dies they can choose to be at 1 health instead of 0, giving it time to fight longer. 

Another example would be how dragonborns have a breath weapon depending on their draconic heritage. 

However, players must be aware of how townsfolk or other players, will react to certain races. For example, a simple village may be home to people who instantly fear races such as tieflings or half-orcs. Or a city of elves may see other elves as good friends even if they just met. Players will also want to speak to their Dungeon Master to know what cities in the game have higher populations of their race.

The base nine races are as follows:

  • Dwarves
  • Elves
  • Half-lings
  • Gnomes
  • Dragonborns
  • Humans (Duh)

There are 12 classes to choose from, each one having their own pros and cons. Each class has their own special abilities, for example:

  • A Barbarian is a fierce warrior of primitive background who can enter a battle rage
  • A Bard is an inspiring magician whose power echoes the music of creation
  • A Cleric is a priestly champion who wields divine power in service of a higher power
  • A Druid is a priest of Old Faith, wielding the powers of nature-moonlight and plant growth, fire and lightning-and adopting animal forms
  • A Fighter is a master of martial combat, skilled with a variety of weapons and armor
  • A Monk is a master of martial arts, harnessing the power of the body in pursuit of physical and spiritual perfection
  • A Paladin is a holy warrior bound to a sacred oath
  • A Ranger is a warrior who uses martial prowess and nature magic to combat threats on the edges of civilization
  • A Rogue is a scoundrel who uses stealth and trickery to overcome obstacles and enemies
  • A Sorcerer is a spellcaster who draws on inherent magic from a gift or bloodline
  • A Warlock is a wielder of magic that is derived from a bargain with an extraplanar entity
  • A Wizard is a scholarly magic-user capable of manipulating the structures of reality

Every class asks for a high ability score, and each race compliments a different pair of abilities. For example, half-orcs have a plus two to strength and a plus one to constitution, this makes them ideal for Barbarians, Fighters, and Paladins. Half-elves have a plus two to Charisma and plus one to two other abilities of the player’s choice, this makes half-elves exemplary for Warlocks, Sorcerers, Rogues, and Bards. 

Dungeons & Dragons certainly would not be the same without Player’s Handbook, and I’m pretty sure it just wouldn’t work without it! With such a diverse span of races for players to choose from, just imagine if there were more! And imagine if there were more classes too! 

Believe it or not, there are even more races and classes to choose from! But we’ll cover that in the next article, Volo and Xanathar’s discoveries of The Realms!