Specifically, there is a character in the Curse of Strahd (p. 133):

Hiding behind the barrels is a wounded elf named Savid (N male dusk elf scout).

Also, it's worth pointing out that (from p. 119):

[Dusk elves] have dark skin and hair, but otherwise they are similar to wood elves (as described in the Player's Handbook).

The only example I know of (in Curse of Strahd, at least) of an NPC statblock given to a non-human race is:

Kasimir, who's stats on p. 233 list the various changes to the mage statblock, including generic elf traits like darkvision and Fey Ancestry, but not wood elf specific traits like Mask of the Wild. It also doesn't mention ability score changes, such as the elves +2 to Dexterity or the wood elves +1 to Wisdom.

There is also Rahadin, p. 237, but he's given his own unique stat block, so he doesn't count, although he is also notably missing wood elf specific traits like Mask of the Wild.

In the former case, no changes are specified at all, only an alignment and a race. In the second case, a few changes are made, but not enough to be a fully fledged member of that race.

It seems that, RAW, no changes are supposed to be made to these statblocks except those that are explicitly given, but I'm wondering whether there are any generic rules for NPC stat blocks that I've overlooked that state that such NPCs should be given the relevant ability score adjustments to match that NPC's race, or any other racial traits as per the Player's Handbook?


2 Answers 2


Yes - the MM and DMG give tips on adapting the stat blocks.

On page 342 of the MM, in the "Appendix B: Nonplayer Characters" chapter, there is a section about "Customizing NPCs". It states:

There are many easy ways to customize the NPCs in this appendix for your home campaign.

Racial Traits. You can add racial traits to an NPC. For example, a halfling druid might have a speed of 25 feet and the Lucky trait. Adding racial traits to an NPC doesn't alter its challenge rating. For more on racial traits, see the Player's Handbook.

Furthermore, the DMG has a section on custom NPCs on pages 279-283. On page 282 specifically, there is a list of various races (including some monstrous ones) and their corresponding stat changes, so you get a quick overview instead of having to comb through the PHB.

Note that when using this table, if you change the ability scores of an NPC, you might have do adapt his CR, as stated on page 283.

In your example, the scout stat block specifically lists as its race "Medium humanoid (any race)", emphasis mine. Consequentially, I would give the scout the corresponding racial traits (such as darkvision), but not change the given ability scores.

  • \$\begingroup\$ that moment when you look up a question and read the answer, only realizing you wrote it yourself when you see the profile picture xD \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 19, 2021 at 15:51

You can, but you don’t have to

While the DMG (p.342) says you “can” add racial traits to a stat block, this is purely optional.

For an elf scout to have the same stats as an “any race” scout (which of course it is - elf being a subset of any) is not going to matter and will be indistinguishable at the table. You have to decide if the small reward is worth the moderate effort of making the change or if just giving them darkvision is good enough.


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