Inq. of the Week: PHB2 Races!

gnomeLast week, when asked what class from PHB2 you were most looking forward to playing, the answer was resoundingly sung out: BARD! Almost exactly a year ago, we had asked what class people most wanted to see kept around in 4e, and the answer was Bard then too. So it sounds like we have a bard-loving crowd out there. I personally wasn’t too excited until I actually got to read the class, and discovered that it was going to be a really awesome leader (and master of multiclassing). However, now that the Sorcerer (Wild Mage) is out, I’d definitely change my vote to that.

In second place in our poll was the mighty Druid, and interestingly enough, the brand new Warden class comes in third. The two classes that we know very little about, the Shaman and Avenger, came in the last two spots.

As an easy followup, and because I’ve been dealing with D&D races between my Book of Races review and Races feature, I’m asking:

[poll id=”110″]

While this list is mostly speculative, here’s the hints that we have so far towards what they are.

Devas: Believed to be the successors to the Aasimar with a less obnoxious sounding name, the Forgotten Realms Player’s Guide makes reference to them having lived multiple lifetimes. They may also be known for their singing voice and temper.

Gnome: Rarr, not just for monsters anymore. James Wyatt told us that his draft included reference to their friendship with burrowing creatures, and we already know from the Monster Manual that they are stealthy, predator-like critters. The Manual of the Planes also contains more information about their government and society in the Feywild. Maybe they will finally shed their reputation as being crappy Dwarves.

Goliaths: Originally introduced in Races of Stone, these guys were known for living in the mountains and being big. The information provided in the Forgotten Realms Player’s Guide seems to jive up with that, and probably is a bit easier to manage now that large size doesn’t have as many rules as it once did.

Half-Orcs: Removed from the PHB due to the “backstory implications” (I once had a DM tell me I couldn’t play one because even in those cases, the village kills the child immediately), these light-green-skinned outcasts might be making a comeback with some sort of solution to the backstory issue. Count on them being strong at the very least, and possibly getting a warrior’s surge like their orcish ancestors.

Shades: Again, all we know is speculative from the Forgotten Realms Player’s Guide, but these are Shadowfell-touched humanoids but aren’t Shadar-Kai. If that information holds true, I’d bet on them being smart and sneaky in some way, and gaining some kind of limited use insubstantiality power.

Shifters: Coming to us from the original Eberron Campaign Setting, Shifters (aka Weretouched) have some lycanthropy in their blood, and the only prescription is more shifting. The Monster Manual brings us two of the flavors: Razorclaw and Longtooth, while we may see the remainder of the aspects show up in PHB2.

About Dave

Dave "The Game" Chalker is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Critical Hits. Since 2005, he has been bringing readers game news and advice, as well as editing nearly everything published here. He is the designer of the Origins Award-winning Get Bit!, a freelance designer and developer, son of a science fiction author, and a Master of Arts. He lives in MD with e, their three dogs, and two cats.


  1. First vote – w00t!

    I can’t really say that any of these races just jump right out at me. As a huge fan of Eberron, I have to go with the shifter just because they were fun to play in 3.5.

    Devas don’t sound appealing, and neither do the shades. I wasn’t one of those who cried when the gnome was removed, though I will admit that I think the MM version of them sucks compared to what they once were. The half-orc was always a good face-bashing race, but I think we’ve got that covered so I don’t see a lot of need. And the Goliath really doesn’t appeal to me at this point because there has so far been a really big focus on melee classes and this is just one more for them.

    So, I’m going for the fun shifter race from Eberron.

    Psynister´s last post: Psynister Gains Power

  2. Yeah, Goliaths don’t do a whole lot for me either. Deva/Aasimar never seemed to have as many good hooks aside from being an “Extra Good” Paladin, whereas Tieflings were always more interesting.

    Half-Orcs are an old favorite for playing brutish/dumb characters, so I went with that.

  3. Alas, I actually think Deva is more obnoxious than Aasimar.

    Mad Brew´s last post: RPP-101: Defining Roleplaying Games

  4. Why on earth are they making Shades a PC race? There is already a template in FRCG for making a Shade. Hopefully they’re not as broken as the 3.5 versions…

  5. I could be totally wrong about Shades as a PC race, it’s a total guess from the FRPG.

  6. I voted for shifters, because I like how they’re done in 4e more than in 3.5e (I hated the idea of playing a race who could only do his special ability once a day). And I think shapeshifting is cool.

    I’ve never heard of ‘Shades’ before, though I lose interest when they seem to be a replacement for the Shadar-kai, who I have fallen in love with in 4e (the artwork and flavor and stuff is just awesome).

  7. I’m afraid I can leave all of those races. Nothing that just jumps out at me at all.

    Call me when Eberron adds the Warforged to the race list 😉

  8. I really can’t understand why anyone would want to play a bard. Unless we’re talking about about Bard of Laketown, you’re roleplaying a guitar toting poet. Is that heroic?

  9. Thasmodious says:

    Warforged were already given the full write-up in Dragon #364. I don’t know if they will be reprinted or expanded in Eberron, but the Dragon article is pretty complete – and actually substantially better than the race write-ups in the PHB.

    And Tom, don’t mock bards, I’ve got a lute and I know how to use it, Pete Townsend style.

    Oh, and I voted gnome mostly since one of my players is playing a gnome barbarian and the full write up would be good. Second place would be the shifter, and for the same reason.

  10. I have to concur with those that said that none of these jump out. I’ll just be happy to have more options.

  11. Bard preview looked AWESOME. A debuffer / trickster themed class. Has an attack that causes an enemy to be marked by one of your allies. Very much looking forward to the Bard class.

    Also, I sincerely doubt they’re going to do Shades as a PC race. Shadar-Kai get a write up in the next Dragon, and as I said before Shades are a template in FRCG.

  12. I have to agree with Mad Brew, the name Deva isn’t much less abusable than Aasimar (Ass-mar to my wife). Worse, to me the name Deva really sounds like an earth/subterranean race instead of a solar/angelic race, that or a bunch of prissy singers. 😀

  13. Bartoneus: Check the last line of my description of Devas.

  14. The Game: Yea, I was referencing that exact line, last time I play along with you! Check the last line of YOUR FACE.


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