The main character of Baldur's Gate 3 gazing over the city of Baldur's Gate.

Baldur’s Gate 3: Complete Race and Subrace Guide

It's not all about looks—the race you choose could give your character some serious bonuses.

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Carley is a professional JP-EN translator and writer currently based in Des Moines, Iowa. She has written hundreds of articles for popular sites such as Siliconera, Gameranx, and Otaquest, and has been playing games nonstop since 1996.

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Reyadh is a writer of fantasy, horror, and science fiction who loves to play video games full of monsters and magic. When he's not scribing unique and unrelenting speculative fiction or slaying demons in virtual worlds, he is writing strategy guides to help others reach their gaming goals.

Key Takeaway

There are 11 races in Baldur’s Gate 3. Eight of these races have subraces, bringing the total to 28. Each race comes with unique racial abilities and powers, and certain races pair well with certain classes depending on the buffs they bring to the table.

Races include:

  • Dragonborn
    • Subraces: Red Dragonborn, Green Dragonborn, Blue Dragonborn, Black Dragonborn, White Dragonborn, Gold Dragonborn, Silver Dragonborn, Bronze Dragonborn, Copper Dragonborn, Brass Dragonborn
  • Drow
    • Subraces: Lolth-Sworn Drow, Selderine Drow
  • Dwarf
    • Subraces: Duergar, Gold Dwarf, Shield Dwarf
  • Elf
    • Subraces: High Elf, Wood Elf
  • Githyanki
  • Gnome
    • Subraces: Deep Gnome, Forest Gnome, Rock Gnome
  • Half-Elf
    • Subraces: Drow Half-Elf, High Half-Elf, Wood Half-Elf
  • Halfling
    • Subraces: Lightfoot Halfling, Strongheart Halfling
  • Half-Orc
  • Human
  • Tiefling
    • Subraces: Asmodeus Tiefling, Mephistopheles Tiefling, Zariel Tiefling

On top of choosing your character’s class and background in Baldur’s Gate 3, race and subrace choices are vital. Each comes with a collection of unique abilities and powers, and many races pair perfectly with select classes, offering powerful buffs to essential attributes and strengths.

Table Of Contents

    About Races in Baldur’s Gate 3

    The race you choose grants your character special perks or features that can make their journey through the Forbidden Realms easier. While the class you choose determines your character’s abilities and fighting style, their race determines your character’s speed in battle, any elemental resistances, and more. Your character’s race can also influence their Weapon and Armor Proficiencies.

    Additionally, Baldur’s Gate 3 takes place in a rich world filled with storied histories. Your character’s race influences their appearance and how other characters in the world perceive and interact with them—for better or worse.

    It’s possible to pair any race with any class, but some races excel in specific classes. You can optimize your character’s strengths by choosing their race and class intelligently. For example, Dwarves are proficient with Battleaxes, making them well-suited for melee classes like Paladin or Barbarian. The Githyanki have increased move speed and a number of Armor and Weapon Proficiencies, making them excellent Fighters or Monks.

    There are 11 races and 28 subraces from which to choose. Many subraces grant additional bonuses on top of general racial features. For example, Wood Elves gain all Elven perks, along with an additional Feature boosting their movement speed by 1.5m.

    All Races and Subraces

    Below, we’ve compiled information on all Baldur’s Gate 3 race and subrace details to help you more easily make your decision at the Character Creation screen. This includes recommended classes for each race.


    A Dragonborn character in Baldur's Gate 3.
    • Description: A proud race that values clan and skills above all else. Once enslaved by dragons, they strive to be self-sufficient, not wanting to be beholden to anyone, not even the gods.
    • Speed: 9m per turn
    • Best Classes: Barbarian, Fighter, Paladin, Sorcerer, Warlock

    This noble race is a new edition to the world of Baldur’s Gate, as the class was only added to Dungeons & Dragons in 2006. On their homeworld, the Dragonborn spent millennia enslaved by Draconic overlords, and now seek their freedom in the Forbidden Realms.

    All Dragonborn have an elemental ranged attack: Breath Weapon. They also take half damage from whatever element they possess.

    The Dragonborn’s innate element and the range of their Breath Weapon attack depends on their subclass, as seen below.

    SubraceBreath Element/Resistance


    A Drow character in Baldur's Gate 3.
    • Description: Driven to the Underdark, most Drow have adopted a ruthless pragmatism. While the Lolth-sworn delight in the goddess’ evil tenets, the Seldarine reject her attempt to overthrow the leader of the Elven pantheon.
    • Speed: 9m per turn
    • Weapon Proficiencies: Shortsword, Hand Crossbow, Rapier
    • Best Classes: Bard, Rogue, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard

    Distrusted by many in Faerun, the Drow were originally Elves who were warped by their time in the Underdark by the spider goddess Lolth. While some Drow have sworn their allegiance to Lolth, others have managed to flee to the surface to be free from her overarching influence.

    The race features shared by all Drow include:

    • Superior Darkvision: Can see in the dark up to 24m.
    • Fey Ancestry: An Advantage on Saving Throws against being Charmed. Magic also cannot be used to put Drow to sleep.

    Unlike other subraces, the two Drow subraces don’t offer any inherent bonuses or perks. The only difference is which god they worship, which can influence dialogue and character interactions in-game.

    Lolth-Sworn DrowRaised by Lolth’s cult in the city of Menzoberranzan, these Drow extol the virtues of their corrupt and merciless goddess. Lolth marks her followers with bright red eyes so the Underdark will learn to fear Drow on sight.
    Seldarine DrowSeldarine Drow can be found seeking allies from all over Faerun, aiming to settle their conflict with Lolth – and each other – by any means necessary.


    A Dwarf character in Baldur's Gate 3.
    • Description: As durable and unyielding as their homes of stone, Dwarves are some of the finest warriors, miners, and smiths of Faerûn.
    • Speed: 7.5m per turn
    • Weapon Proficiencies: Battleaxe, Handaxe, Light Hammer, Warhammer

    Dwarves are known for being some of the best smiths and miners in all of Faerûn. What they lack in stature they more than make up for in strength, and members of this proud race fit well into melee classes.

    The race features shared by all Dwarves include:

    • Darkvision: Can see in the dark up to 12m.
    • Dwarven Resilience: You have an Advantage on Saving Throws against Poison, and Resistance against Poison damage.

    Each of the three Dwarven subraces has its own unique bonuses.

    SubclassDescriptionBonusesBest Classes
    DuergarOnce enslaved by the eldritch mind flayers, Duregar adapted to freedom with harsh practicality. Their cold demeanours and gift of stealth are well-known throughout the Underdark.•Duergar Resilience - You have Advantage on Saving Throws against illusions and against being Charmed or Paralyzed

    •Superior Darkvision - Can see in the dark up to 24m
    Barbarian, Cleric, Fighter, Paladin
    Gold DwarfThese Dwarves are known for their confidence and keen intuition. The culture of their Deep Kingdom values family, ritual, and fine craftsmanship.•Dwarven Toughness - Hit point maximum increases by one, and increases by one again each time you gain a levelBarbarian, Cleric, Fighter, Paladin
    Shield DwarfGreat losses in ancient wars against goblins and Orcs have led these Dwarves to adopt a cynical mindset, but they will endure anything to restore their ancestral homelands.•Dwarven Armor Training - Proficiency with Light and Medium ArmorBarbarian, Fighter, Ranger, Rogue


    An Elf character in Baldur's Gate 3.
    • Description: With ethereal countenances and long lifespans, Elves are at home with nature’s power, flourishing in light and dark alike.
    • Speed: 9m per turn
    • Weapon Proficiencies: Longbow, Longsword, Shortbow, Shortsword

    Known for their innate understanding of magic, Elves are blessed with agility and keen senses. They adore art, poetry, and music, and seek to be peacekeepers, as they have seen many wars over their long lives.

    All Elves are gifted with the Fey Ancestry feature, giving them an Advantage on Saving Throws against being Charmed. They also can’t be put to sleep using magic.

    There are two Elven subraces, each with an added bonus.

    SubclassDescriptionBonusesBest Classes
    High ElfHeirs of the mystical Feywild, High Elves value magic in all its forms, and even those who do not study spellcraft can manipulate the Weave.•Extra Cantrip slot from the Wizard spell listBard, Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard
    Wood ElfThese Elves spend their reclusive lives in Faerûn's forests. Decades of training in archery and camouflage are enhanced by an otherworldly swiftness.•Movement Speed increased by 1.5mBarbarian, Fighter, Monk, Ranger, Rogue


    A Githyanki character in Baldur's Gate 3.
    • Description: With a ruthlessness borne from mind flayer enslavement, Githyanki ride the Astral Sea atop red dragons, bringing their silver swords and psionic might to bear against any trace of the Illithid menace.
    • Speed: 9m per turn
    • Weapon Proficiencies: Greatsword, Longsword, Shortsword
    • Armor Proficiencies: Light Armor, Medium Armor
    • Best Classes: Fighter, Warlock, Wizard

    Hailing from the Astral Plane, the Githyanki were enslaved by mind flayers for centuries. They’re skilled in both swordplay and magic and often have an icy disposition as they continue their quest for vengeance.

    The race features shared by all Githyanki include:

    • Astral Knowledge: Gain Proficiency in all Skills of a chosen Ability.
    • Githyanki Psionics: Mage Hand (Cantrip): Create an invisible spectral hand that can manipulate and interact with objects.

    There are no Githyanki subraces.


    A Gnome character in Baldur's Gate 3.
    • Description: Small, clever, and energetic, Gnomes use their long lives to explore Faerûn’s brightest corners and darkest depths.
    • Speed: 7.5m per turn

    Although Gnomes can live for centuries, they often see the world around them with childlike wonder. Silly and playful, Gnomes can often be found telling jokes or playing pranks on unsuspecting people.

    All Gnomes share the Gnome Cunning feature, which grants an Advantage to Intelligence, Charisma, and Wisdom Saving Throws.

    Each of the three Gnome subraces also have their own unique bonuses.

    SubclassDescriptionBonusesBest Classes
    Deep GnomeMore guarded than their surface cousins, Deep Gnomes survive in the Underdark with darkvision and skillful stealth.•Superior Darkvision - Can see in the dark up to 24m

    •Stone Camouflage - Advantage on Stealth Checks
    Ranger, Rogue
    Forest GnomeEven smaller than their cousins and twice as reclusive, Forest Gnomes are a rare sight in Faerûn. They master magic and craftsmanship in their distant, idyllic groves.•Darkvision - Can see in the dark up to 12m

    •Speak with Animals - Gains a spell granting the ability to comprehend and communicate with beasts
    Druid, Ranger
    Rock GnomeThe most commonly seen Gnomes on Faerûn's surface, Rock Gnomes are named as such for their hardiness and affinity for metal.•Darkvision - Can see in the dark up to 12m

    •Artificer's Lore - Add twice your Proficiency Bonus to History Checks
    Bard, Druid, Rogue, Warlock, Wizard


    A Half-Elf character in Baldur's Gate 3.
    • Description: Curious, ambitious, and versatile, Half-Elves are welcome everywhere but struggle without a community to call their own.
    • Speed: 9m per turn
    • Weapon Proficiencies: Glaive, Halberd, Pike, Spear
    • Armor Proficiencies: Light Armor, Shields

    Straddling both the Human and Elven worlds, Half-Elves struggle to find a home in either. This versatile race maintains the stealth and magic proclivity of their Elven side while also gaining additional strength from their Human side.

    The race features shared by all Half-Elves include:

    • Darkvision: Can see in the dark up to 12m.
    • Fey Ancestry: Advantage on Saving Throws against being Charmed and can’t be put to sleep using magic.

    The three Half-Elf subraces each have their own unique bonuses.

    SubclassDescriptionBonusesBest Classes
    Drow Half-ElfMost Half-Drow result from liasons between Seldarine Drow and surfacers. While Half-Drow inherited a few magical gifts, they aren't usually raised in the Underdark.•Dancing Light Cantrip - Can illuminate a 9m radiusCleric, Monk
    High Half-ElfA touch of the Feywild remains in Half-Elves with this bloodline, and even those untrained in magic possess a hint of wild power.•Additional Cantrip from the Wizard spell list

    •Movement speed increased by 1.5m

    •More likely to succeed in Stealth Skill Checks
    Bard, Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard
    Wood Half-ElfLike their Wood Elf parent, these Half-Elves have a quickened stride and an eye for stealth. Yet many break away from isolation in Faerûn's forests to explore the rest of the Realms.•Movement speed increased by 1.5m

    •More likely to succeed in Stealth Skill Checks
    Monk, Ranger, Rogue


    A Half-Orc character in Baldur's Gate 3.
    • Description: Creatures of intense emotion, Half-Orcs are more inclined to act than contemplate—whether the rage burning their bodies compels them to fight, or the love filling their hearts inspires acts of incredible kindness.
    • Speed: 9m per turn
    • Best Classes: Barbarian, Cleric, Fighter, Monk, Paladin

    Half-Orcs are both natural leaders and affectionate companions. While they can be brutal on the battlefield, their rage is tempered by their non-Orc blood.

    The race features shared by all Half-Orcs include:

    • Darkvision: Can see in the dark up to 12m.
    • Reckless Endurance: If you’re reduced to zero hit points, you’ll regain one hit point instead of becoming Downed.
    • Savage Attacks: When you land a Critical Hit with a melee weapon, your damage dice are tripled instead of doubled.

    There are no Half-Orc subraces.


    A Halfling character in Baldur's Gate 3.
    • Description: Small yet capable, Halflings prefer the comforts of home and hearth—but their natural luck and dexterity make them fine adventurers.
    • Speed: 7.5m per turn

    Similar to Tolkien’s Hobbits, Halflings are a short humanoid race that excels at all things stealthy. They’re also known for their extraordinary luck, making them a boon to have on any dangerous adventure.

    All Halflings have the following race features:

    • Lucky: When you roll a one for an Attack Roll, Ability Check, or Saving Throw, you can reroll the die. You must use the new roll.
    • Brave: An Advantage on Saving Throws against being Frightened.

    There are two Halfling subraces, each with its own bonuses.

    SubclassDescriptionBonusesBest Classes
    Lightfoot HalflingStealthy but social, these Halflings travel all over Faerûn to make names for themselves.•Naturally Stealthy - Gains an Advantage on Stealth Checks.Ranger, Rogue
    Strongheart HalflingLegend has it that Dwarven blood gave Stronghearts their hardiness. Resistant to poison and wellsprings of endurance, these Halflings easily hold their own.•Strongheart Resilience - Advantage on Saving Throws against Poison. Resistant to Poison damage.Ranger, Rogue


    A Human character in Baldur's Gate 3.
    • Description: The most common face in Faerûn, Humans are known for their tenacity, creativity, and endless capacity for growth.
    • Speed: 9m per turn
    • Weapon Proficiencies: Glaive, Halberd, Pike, Spear
    • Armor Proficiencies: Light Armor, Shields
    • Best Classes: Any

    Humans aren’t the most interesting race, but they are adaptable, fitting into any class with ease due to their lack of specialization. Rather than having any unique racial perks, Humans get small bonuses to their Ability Scores.

    All Humans have the following race features:

    • Human Versatility: Players can select an additional Skill in which to be Proficient. Their carrying capacity is also increased by 25%.
    • Human Skill Proficiency: Players are granted a Proficiency bonus in one skill of their choosing. You cannot choose a skill that already has Proficiency from your background or class.

    There are no Human subraces.


    A Tiefling character in Baldur's Gate 3.
    • Description: Descended from devils of the Nine Hells, Tieflings face constant suspicion in Faerûn. Thankfully, their arcane abilities make them natural survivors.
    • Speed: 9m per turn

    Often victims of prejudice because of their connection with the Nine Hells, Tieflings often live on the outskirts of civilization. The best class for a Tiefling depends on the subrace you choose, with Asmodeus Tieflings excelling at spellcasting and Zariel Tieflings making excellent tanks.

    The race features shared by all Tieflings include:

    • Darkvision: Can see in the dark up to 12m.
    • Hellish Resistance: You have resistance to Fire damage, taking only half damage from it.

    The three Tiefling subraces each have their own unique bonuses.

    SubclassDescriptionBonusesBest Classes
    Asmodeus TieflingBound to Nessus, the deepest layer of the Hells, these Tieflings inherited the ability to wield fire and darkness from the archdevil Asmodeus' infernal bloodline.•Produce Flame Cantrip - Sheds light in a 9m radius and deals 1-8 fire damage when thrown.Bard, Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard
    Mephistopheles TieflingDescended from the archdevil Mephistopheles, these Tieflings are gifted with a particular affinity for arcane magic.•Mage Hand Cantrip - Creates a spectral hand that can manipulate and interact with objects.Bard, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard
    Zariel TieflingTieflings from Zariel's bloodline are empowered with martial strength, and can channel searing flame to punish their enemies.•Thaumaturgy Cantrip - Gain Advantage on Intimidation and Performance Checks.Barbarian, Bard, Fighter, Rogue

    Carefully pairing your character’s race and class together can make a huge difference in your playthrough of Baldur’s Gate 3. While there are no right or wrong combinations, you’ll want as much help as you can get to take down stronger enemies later in the game. If you made a mistake in Character Creation, don’t worry—you can change your character’s class at any time during your playthrough.

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