So… you wanna play a Human.
I can see why. You—the person—reading this, are a human being (if you’re an extraterrestrial or a cryptid reading this though, I don’t judge. Dungeons&Dragons is to be played by all species). You’ve read many years-worth of stories about ordinary men, women, and everyone in between going on fantastic adventures or doing incredible things both awesome and terrible! You want your turn to be a hero in your own story, so buckle in as we breakdown the scrappy and resourceful Humans in 5e D&D.
Page-wise, the Human entry starts on page 29 of the PHB and right off the bat it tells you that Humans are the “Last In-First Outs” of the D&D multiverse. Imagine this: you live in a world saturated with magic and wonders beyond your comprehension, there are races of people and monsters surrounding you that will outlive you for several decades on the low-end and centuries at the high-end. At minimum, you only have about 70-80 years to live; maybe even a whole century if you’re either very lucky or very smart.
What’re you gonna do? What are you going to do in a world where almost everything will either outlive, kill you, or do both in a moment’s notice? You’re gonna live! You’re gonna make a mark on the world in someway before your time is up. You’re gonna show the elves, dwarves, gnomes, dragons, and everything else in this world the power of Human ingenuity and grit!
[Side note: Don’t forget about the little flavor text boxes that sum up how other races feel about the race that’s being featured, they’re fun little things to skim through; it’s a delightful read.]
But what does that translate to in terms of numbers and stats? Here, I’ll show you.
Humans by the numbers
The Human Traits are broken down as follows [PHB pg. 31]:
- Ability Score Increase: Your Ability Scores each increase by 1.
- Age: Humans reach adulthood in their late teens and live less than a century.
- Alignment: Humans feel no pull to any particular alignment.
- Size: Average height is between 5-6ft, so Humans count at Medium size.
- Speed: Humans have a walking speed of 30ft.
- Language: Humans can read, write, and speak Common along with one other Language of choice.
Ah, there’s also the Variant Human traits that replace that +1 to your Ability Scores. Those are as follows [PHB pg. 31]:
- Ability Score Increase: Two different Ability Scores of your choice increase by 1.
- Skills: You gain proficiency in one skill of your choice.
- Feat: You gain one Feat of your choice.
But these only apply if your DM allows it, so run it by them before you implement the Variant traits, okay?
Yeah, yeah I know you can clearly see the different ethnicities in the Human section of the book, but those are mainly for when you’re dealing with campaign settings and premade adventures that are baked into the established DnD lore. If you’re playing a homebrew game—a game with a setting that’s made up by your friends and your DM–you have much more flexibility about these things.
But yeah, that’s the gist of being Human in DnD5e. Now get out there, roll up your sleeves and show those longer-lived races what you’re made of!
And that’s the end of this first entry of the “So You Wanna Play A ___” race breakdowns. I hope this guide helps you and that you had fun reading it; I know I had fun writing it. As usual if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or follow me on Twitter–I’d love to hear from you guys.
Have a good day, take care of yourselves, and roll high my friends!
Source: Crawford, Jeremy, James Wyatt, Robert J. Schwalb, and Bruce R. Cordell. Players Handbook: Dungeons & Dragons: Everything a Player Needs to Create Heroic Characters for the Worlds Greatest Roleplaying Game. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast LLC, 2014. pgs. 29-31.