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Humanoid was a general term for the enormous variety of sentient species that made up the world's primary inhabitants, both savage and civilized. Capable of language, culture, and, in many cases, of learning magic.[1]


Humanoids were typically biped.[1][2] Having two arms, two legs, and walking upright.[3][4] But they varied widely in terms of size and features.[3] Most did not have innate spellcasting abilities (notable exceptions included the drow).[1][2]


This was the term used to collectively refer to dwarves, elves, gnomes, and halflings.[5][6][7] What some humans viewed as being the "civilized",[8] generally benevolent non-humans.[9] The term "demihuman" was rooted in a humanocentric perspective, as some humans considered humans to be wholly distinct from other humanoids,[3] some even going so far as to claim that humans predated most humanoid races.[10]
Otherwise known as "goblinkin," was a term used to collectively refer to humanoids believed to be related to goblins. Such as hobgoblins and orcs.[11]


The most numerous humanoid societies were composed of dwarves, elves, halflings, and humans.[1]

A few other humanoid races were far more primitive, generally evil[1] or hostile,[5] such as gnolls, goblinoids, kobolds, lizardfolk, and orcs.[1] These species not considered demihumans often lived within clans or tribes.[12]

Sometimes these humanoids would go against the norms of their societies and take up the life of an adventurer, often facing prejudice along the way.[13] With inns having rules against serving them, shops refusing to do business with them, authorities watching them closely for signs of trouble,[14][15] as well as unscrupulous humans and demihumans fearing them or wishing to exploit them.[15] Some humanoids faced physical limitations, running into communities were built with smaller or larger humanoids in mind or those of a different body type.[14][15] And could require weapons specially designed for someone of their size.[16]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Christopher Perkins (2014-09-30). Monster Manual 5th edition. Edited by Scott Fitzgerald Gray. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 7. ISBN 978-0786965614.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (2014). Player's Handbook 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 978-0-7869-6560-1.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Bill Slavicsek (1993). The Complete Book of Humanoids. (TSR, Inc), p. 4. ISBN 1-5607-6611-5.
  4. David Cook (April 1995). Dungeon Master Guide 2nd edition (revised). (TSR, Inc.), p. 24. ISBN 978-0786903283.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Gary Gygax (1979). Dungeon Masters Guide 1st edition. (TSR, Inc.), p. 228. ISBN 0-9356-9602-4.
  6. David "Zeb" Cook (August 1989). Player's Handbook (2nd edition). (TSR, Inc.), p. 11. ISBN 0-88038-716-5.
  7. Eric L. Boyd (1998). Demihuman Deities. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 1. ISBN 0-7869-1239-1.
  8. Ed Greenwood, The Hooded One (2010-12-08). Questions for Ed Greenwood (2010). Candlekeep Forum. Retrieved on 2021-08-10.
  9. Ed Greenwood, Julia Martin, Jeff Grubb (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition (revised), A Grand Tour of the Realms. (TSR, Inc), p. 6. ISBN 1-5607-6617-4.
  10. Ed Greenwood (May 1993). “The Everwinking Eye: Something Is Rotten At The Citadel Of The Raven”. In Jean Rabe ed. Polyhedron #83 (TSR, Inc.), p. 29.
  11. Ed Greenwood (November 2000). “The New Adventures of Volo: Dragonwing Stew”. In Dave Gross ed. Dragon #277 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 94.
  12. Bill Slavicsek (1993). The Complete Book of Humanoids. (TSR, Inc), p. 100. ISBN 1-5607-6611-5.
  13. Bill Slavicsek (1993). The Complete Book of Humanoids. (TSR, Inc), p. 5. ISBN 1-5607-6611-5.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Bill Slavicsek (1993). The Complete Book of Humanoids. (TSR, Inc), p. 103. ISBN 1-5607-6611-5.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Bill Slavicsek (1993). The Complete Book of Humanoids. (TSR, Inc), pp. 105–106. ISBN 1-5607-6611-5.
  16. Bill Slavicsek (1993). The Complete Book of Humanoids. (TSR, Inc), pp. 112–113. ISBN 1-5607-6611-5.