My friend showed me a D&D meme about centaurs (see below). This got me wondering if centaurs also having two sets of lungs, two livers, two hearts (like a Time Lord?), and so on, or if centaurs just have a more efficient humanlike arrangement of organs, or if they've another arrangement entirely.

What's the anatomy of a centaur according to official D&D lore? Is it like a human, a horse, both, or a combination? I'm not looking for physical limitations, but how centaurs are composed anatomically.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think we can give you information on known anatomy from lore, but the effects of that anatomy like you're listing are more for discussion unless the lore also has mechanical aspects that directly reflect those things. It may be better (up to you) to just ask about the anatomy of centaurs provided by lore. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Jul 23, 2019 at 15:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ We don't really do 'come up with' here. If you haven't yet, please take our tour to learn more about how we operate. We can give you the lore data, but interpreting that or extrapolating it is not something really do (unless it can be supported with how it went at a table - but that's not necessarily the actual lore anymore.) You can also join our Role-playing Games Chat if you'd like to try and finetune this. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Jul 23, 2019 at 15:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ Given the existence of the Plane Shift articles and the Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica, does Magic the Gathering lore count as DnD lore for the purpose of this question, since MtG worlds are now also DnD worlds? \$\endgroup\$
    – nick012000
    Commented Jul 23, 2019 at 17:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nick012000 Really good question! That may be worth a standalone question for the site itself. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Jul 23, 2019 at 17:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nick012000 I think it should count if you consider them to be from the same universe. \$\endgroup\$
    – KGlasier
    Commented Jul 23, 2019 at 17:13

1 Answer 1


There are some descriptions in official lore, but nothing really showing the actual anatomy. There is, however, an article in Dragon Magazine #103, describing (But not showing) the anatomy.

Rules Cyclopedia (1991) gives the following description (and this description is repeated in several sources):

A centaur is a creature with the head, arms, and upper body of a man joined to the body and legs of a horse. They are of average human intelligence and often carry weapons (clubs, lances, and bows; one weapon per creature). A centaur may use a charge attack with a lance.

Dragon Magazine #103 has an article titled "The Centaur Papers" that has a full page on anatomy, the pertinent parts are here:

Centaurs have two hearts, one in the upper body and one in the lower. Each is about three times the size of a human heart, and they beat together in a slow but powerful rhythm. There is also a pair of lungs in each chest cavity, though the lower pair is mostly a bellows for the peculiar but efficient upper respiratory system. The chests of a centaur expand and contract in unison. The overall construction of the centaur body is such that it is less vulnerable to injury than that of a human. Most of the major organs, such as those of the digestive system, are carried underneath the lower torso, where they are less easily reached by an enemy and well protected by less vital tissues. Many, such as the liver and kidneys, are proportionally smaller than in humans (as is common in larger creatures), and are therefore less likely to be hit. The area that appears to correspond to the vulnerable human abdomen is mostly composed of fat and muscle, with equivalents of the human windpipe, jugular vein, and such buried deep within it.

One sentence states that the equine portion also houses the reproductive organs:

The equine body carries the reproductive organs.

There is also further details concerning hair, morphology, diet, behavior etc.


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