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Humans’ empires and nations are vast, sprawling things, and their citizens carve names for themselves with the strength of their sword arms and the power of their spells. Humanity is both diverse and tumultuous, running the gamut from cruel to kind, from sinister to saintlike. and while humans build large nation states and free cities alike, many of them venture forth to explore, leaving their homes to map uncharted realms, search for long-lost treasure, or lead mighty armies to conquer their neighbors for no better reason than because they can.

Human variety also manifests in their governments, attitudes, and social norms. Though the oldest of human cultures trace their histories thousands of years into the past, when compared to the societies of the elves or dwarves, human civilizations seem to be in a constant state of flux, as empires fragment and new kingdoms subsume the old.

Humans typically reach physical adulthood at the age of 18. A typical human can live to be around 90 years old. Humans often intermarry with other peoples, giving rise to children who bear traits of both parents. The most notable half-humans are half-elves and half-orcs. Humans worship a wide range of gods and practice many different religions.

For many humans, adventuring serves as a means to an end, whether that end is accumulating wealth, striving for acclaim, increasing in social status, or uncovering arcane knowledge and power.

Human Adventurers

Some backgrounds make particularly good choices for humans. You might choose the farmhand background if you have just left home, the gladiator background if you’ve just earned your freedom, or the sailor background if you’ve recently returned from the roiling sea. You should look for a background that complements your class, granting you a boost to an ability score that the class values.

Languages Common One additional language, selected from those to which you have access

Hit Points 8 | Size Medium | Speed 25 feet

Bonus Languages

At 1st level, if your Intelligence score is 14 or higher, you can also select one of the languages from the list of common languages or from other languages you have access to.

Humans have exceptional drive and capacity to endure and expand. Though many civilizations thrived before humanity rose to prominence, humans have built some of the greatest and the most terrible societies throughout the course of history, and today they are the most populous people in the realms.


A half-elf is born to an elf and a human, or to two half-elves. The life of a half-elf can be difficult, marked by a struggle to fit in. Half-elves don’t have their own homeland, nor are populations of half-elves particularly tied to one another, since they often have very disparate human and Elven heritages. Instead, most half-elves attempt to find acceptance in either human or Elven settlements.

Half-elves often appear primarily human, with subtly pointed ears and a taller stature than most full-blooded humans. Half-elves lack the almost alien eyes of their elf parents, though they do carry a natural presence—and often a striking beauty—that leads many to become artists or entertainers. Despite this innate appeal, many half-elves have difficulty forming lasting bonds with humans or elves due to the disconnection they feel from both peoples as a whole.

Half-elves live longer than other humans, often reaching an age around 150 years. This causes some of them to fear friendship and romance with humans, knowing that they’ll likely outlive their companions.

Playing a Half-Elf

You can create a half-elf character by selecting the Half-Elf human ancestry feat at 1st level. This gives you access to elf and half-elf ancestry feats in addition to human ancestry feats, from which you can select ancestry feats at a later level.


A half-orc is the offspring of a human and an orc, or in some cases, the offspring of two half-orcs. Because some bigoted humans see orcs as more akin to creatures than people, they sometimes hate and fear half-orcs simply due to their lineage. This commonly pushes half-orcs to the margins of society, where some find work in drudgery or as mercenaries, and others tragically fall into crime or cruelty. Many who can’t stand the indignities heaped on them in human society find a home among their orc kin or trek out into the wilderness to live in peace.

Humans often assume half-orcs are unintelligent or uncivilized, and half-orcs rarely find acceptance among societies with a large concentration of such folk. To an orc tribe, a half-orc is considered intelligent enough to make a good war leader but weaker than the other orcs.

Consequently, many half-orcs end up having low status among orc tribes unless they can prove their strength.

A half-orc has a shorter lifespan than other humans, living to be roughly 70 years old.

Playing a Half-orc

You can create a half-orc character by selecting the Half-Orc human ancestry feat at 1st level. This gives you access to orc and half-orc ancestry feats in addition to human ancestry feats, from which you can select ancestry feats at a later level.

Human Ancestry Feats

At 1st level, you gain one ancestry feat, and you gain an additional ancestry feat every 4 levels thereafter (at 5th, 9th, 13th, and 17th levels). As a human, you choose from among the following ancestry feats.

Adapted Spell Feat 1

Prerequisite(s): You are a spellcaster.

Study of multiple magical traditions reveals how to alter a spell to suit your spellcasting style. Choose one cantrip from a spell list other than your own. If you have a spell repertoire or spellbook, replace one of the cantrips you know or have in your spellbook with the chosen spell. If you prepare spells without a spellbook (if you’re a cleric or druid, for example), one of your cantrips must always be the chosen spell, and you prepare the rest normally.

If you swap or retrain this cantrip later, you can choose its replacement from the same alternate list or a different one.

Clever Improviser Feat 1

You’ve learned how to handle situations when you’re out of your depth. You gain a +1 circumstance bonus to skill checks in which you’re untrained.

Cooperative Nature Feat 1

A short human life span lends perspective and has taught you from a young age to set aside differences and work together to achieve greatness. You gain a +2 circumstance bonus to your check when you use the Aid reaction or Assist action.

General Training Feat 1

Your adaptability manifests in your mastery of a range of useful abilities. You gain a 1st-level general feat.

Special You can select this feat multiple times, choosing a different feat each time.

Half-elf Feat 1

Either one of your parents was an elf, or one or both were half-elves. You have pointed ears and other telltale signs of elf heritage. You gain the elf trait. Select two of the following benefits: Elven speed (increase your Speed by 5 feet), Elven tongue (add Elven to your list of languages), gifted speaker (you are trained in Diplomacy), or low-light vision (you can see in dim light as well as you can in bright light). In addition, you can select elf, half-elf, and human feats whenever you gain an ancestry feat.

Special You can select this feat twice. The second time, it loses the heritage trait and you gain the other two benefits.

Half-orc Feat 1

Either one of your parents was an orc, or one or both were half-orcs. You have a green tinge to your skin and other indicators of orc heritage. You gain the orc trait. Select two of the following benefits: intimidating visage (you are trained in Intimidation), low-light vision (you can see in dim light as well as you can in bright light), orc tongue (add Orcish to your list of languages), or orc toughness (gain 2 Hit Points). You can select orc, half-orc, and human feats whenever you gain an ancestry feat.

Special You can select this feat twice. The second time, it loses the heritage trait and you gain the other two benefits.

Haughty Obstinacy Feat 1

Your powerful ego makes it harder for others to order you around. If you succeed at a saving throw against a mental effect that attempts to directly control your actions, you critically succeed instead.

If a creature fails to Coerce you using the Intimidation skill, it treats the result as a critical failure instead (so it can’t try to Coerce you again for 1 week).

Natural Ambition Feat 1

You were raised to be ambitious and always reach for the stars, causing you to progress quickly in your chosen field. You gain a 1st-level class feat for your class.

Skilled Feat 1

Your ingenuity allows you to train in a wide variety of skills. You become trained in two skills of your choice.

Unconventional Weaponry Feat 1

You’ve familiarized yourself with a weapon from another ancestry or culture. You gain access to an uncommon weapon with an ancestry trait of your choice. This doesn’t change your proficiency for that weapon.

Half-elf and Half-orc Ancestry Feats

A human with elf or orc blood is called a half-elf or half-orc, which is represented by the corresponding heritage feats. If you have the Half-Elf or Half-Orc heritage feat, you can select from additional ancestry feats not available to other humans.

Half-elf Ancestry Feats

The following feats are available to half-elves.

Inspire Imitation Feat 5

You inspire your allies to great feats through your own actions. Whenever you critically succeed at a skill check, you automatically qualify to take the Aid reaction when attempting to help an ally at the same skill check, even without spending an action to prepare to do so.

Supernatural Charm Feat 5

The Elven magic in your blood manifests as magic that makes you more appealing or alluring. You can cast 1st-level charm as an innate arcane spell once per day.

Half-orc Ancestry Feats

The following feats are available to half-orcs.

Orc Ferocity Feat 1

Frequency once per day

Trigger You’re reduced to 0 Hit Points.

Fierceness in battle runs through your blood, and you refuse to fall from your injuries. When this feat is triggered, you avoid being knocked out and remain at 1 Hit Point.

Orc Sight Feat 5

Your orc blood is strong enough to grant you the keen vision of your orc forebears. You gain low-light vision, allowing you to see in dim light just as well as you can in bright light. If you have low-light vision (from the Half-Orc feat), you instead gain darkvision, allowing you to see in darkness and dim light just as well as you can in bright light. Your vision in darkness is in black and white.

Orc Weapon Carnage Feat 5

Prerequisite(s): Orc Weapon Familiarity (see below)

You are brutally efficient with the weapons of your orc ancestors.

Whenever you critically hit using a two-handed weapon of the axe or sword group, or with an orc weapon, you apply the weapon’s critical specialization effect.

Orc Weapon Familiarity Feat 1

You favor the brutal weapons of your orc ancestors.

You are trained with the greataxe and falchion.

In addition, you gain access to all uncommon orc weapons. For the purpose of proficiencies, you treat martial orc weapons as simple weapons and exotic orc weapons as martial weapons.

Superstition Feat 1

Orcs have a distrust of magic, and you have picked up these misgivings. You seek inner strength from your superstitions, granting you a +1 circumstance bonus to saves against spells and other magical effects until the start of your next turn.