I'm creating a character and looking for help on how to go about applying racial traits. My character's father is half human, half dwarf and her mother is half-elf.

I've only been playing for maybe two years, so I'm still new at this somewhat. I'm not creating a homebrew race just yet. I want to see how this character works out. I'm still learning about D&D.

I understand that the character would be 50% human and 25% of each of the other two. I'm unsure how to figure out which racial traits and what ability modifiers to use if.

Is there any guidance in the rules on how to approach such a racial mixture?

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    \$\begingroup\$ We also don't do "homebrew this for me"-type questions so if you're looking for help creating this homebrew then you may be better off with a forum. We do do homebrew reviews though so once you've got a final product you can post that here; but make sure you read How can I ask a good homebrew review question? Finally, if you're interested in D&D 5e then you may want to have a look at this question: How could I play a Half-Dwarf Half-Elf?. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 3, 2021 at 3:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not creating a homebrew race just yet. I want to see how this character works out. As for the setting we are D&D 5e. I'm still learning about D&D I understand that she would be 50%human and 25% of the other two. I'm unsure how to figure which racial traits and what ability modifiers to use if I would have know was this tough would not done this. But I want to learn as much as I can as I also DM a homebrew campaign. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 3, 2021 at 4:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ 5e is not a setting, but if you play vanilla 5e, your story is probably situated in the Forgotten Realms. Can you confirm this? \$\endgroup\$
    – Anagkai
    Commented Jan 3, 2021 at 11:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ Do you have access to Tasha's Cauldron of Everything? There is an answer to your question, but only useful if your table is using that supplement. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 3, 2021 at 16:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ What are you trying to achieve? Why do you even need to do something with racial traits? Racial traits are abstraction, they do not exist in the game world. For instance, you could create a character sheet for your half-dwarf-elf using the standard rules for "variant human", leaving this "father is half human, half dwarf and mother is half-elf." story as a part of the character's personal history, no need to fiddle with game mechanics at all. \$\endgroup\$
    – enkryptor
    Commented Jan 3, 2021 at 21:30

3 Answers 3


The simplest solution is to use a Custom Lineage

If your table uses, or has access to, Tasha's Cauldron of Everything, you can apply the Custom Lineage option (p. 8) to any mix that the books do not cover (and your combo is not covered in any of the books). Make sure to work with your DM: not all DMs like all of the supplements.

Creature Type. You are a humanoid. You determine your appearance and whether you resemble any of your kin.

Size. You are Small or Medium (your choice).

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Ability Score Increase. One ability score of your choice increases by 2.

Feat. You gain one feat of your choice for which you qualify.

Variable Trait. You gain one of the following options of your choice: (a) darkvision with a range of 60 feet or (b) proficiency in one skill of your choice.

Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and one other language that you and your DM agree is appropriate for your character.

With the above tools, your unusual mix of racial heritage can be accommodated by the choices you make.

With a little more work: create a player race per the DMG

Your other option is to work with your DM to create for you a custom race; the guidance for that is in the DMG in Chapter 9 under "Creating New Character Options" (p. 285). For the health of your table, this will work better if you and your DM arrive at it together - a collaborative effort works best in situations like this.


This kind of racial mixture probably doesn't exist

Is there any guidance in the rules on how to approach such a racial mixture?

Short answer — no there isn't. Racial mixtures isn't a part of the game rules at all. It's a part of the game setting. For instance, the Dark Sun setting has human/dwarf hybrids called Mul. These Mul are infertile, just like their real-world counterpart. Other settings like Faerûn doesn't mention human/dwarf hybrids at all, probably implying they are not possible.

Your character's father is "half human, half dwarf". This either means you've misunderstood the setting, or there are fertile half-dwarfs in the game world you're playing in. Since I'm not aware of official 5e settings featuring half-dwarfs, this is probably a homebrew setting. In this case, work with your DM to figure out the racial traits. Homebrew races require homebrew adjudications.

There is an easy way though. While complicated heritage can be a part of the character's concept, in term of game mechanics you can use the old good "human" racial traits (or "variant human", if your DM allows it). Racial traits is an abstraction, they do not exist in the game world. You are free to write "human" in the character sheet, even when your character are not "pure" human. Presumably, every human have some elf or dwarf blood in their veins, considering the compatibility. In this particular case, neither elven nor dwarvish blood just aren't strong enough to make a substantial difference.


There are no rules for mixing races, but...

There are no simple rules for mixing races, where the properties mix like they maybe would in the real world. That said, you have quite some options to realize your idea.

Cosmetic modifications pose no problem

You can always modify cosmetic properties of race and other character options without risking balance problems. This means that you can chose one of the races that are similar to your combination (elf, dwarf, human, half-elf) for the racial bonuses while completely making up your looks and so on. E.g. you say that you use human stats, but look like a dwarf with pointy ears. You can easily combine cosmetic modifications with the other suggestions detailed below.

Rules from TCoE allow for a lot of flexibility in features

Extensive customization options were only published in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything. The optional rules for Customizing Your Origin (TCoE p. 7-8) let you replace proficiencies and ability score increases for any race. Using these options lets you mix racial traits somewhat, by using one of the races that are similar to your combination and swapping some things to options that fit the rest. While this is not a method for mixing races, it allows flexibility which lets you assemble your vision of a mixed race.

There are some races that give many options

The Custom Lineage race option from TCoE explicitly calls out that you can make up whatever outfit you like, but you can do this with other races without balance issues as detailed above. In addition to the Custom Lineage, the variant human and half-elf race all give options to chose ability scores, skill proficiencies or even feats. These give you many options to customize things even without the Customizing Your Origin option. And while variant human and custom lineage are optional, half-elf at least is not.


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