Centaur 5E

Posted by Andrew E. on

Gallant Knight & Noble Steed Combo

Noble and stoic denizens of the forest, centaurs are about as iconic as they come. They’ve been galloping through D&D ever since the 1st edition and finally in 5th edition, we’ve been given a chance to take the reins. Monsters to some, trusted friends to others, wild and never tamed, centaurs are raring and ready for adventure. Previously only listed as monsters, we now have playable centaurs in both Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica and Mythic Odysseys of Theros.
Get ready to ride into battle as we go through everything you need to know.

Centaur Culture

Centaurs have existed in countless fantasy worlds and their cultures vary depending on your setting. The places you’ll most likely encounter centaurs are the Forgotten Realms, Ravnica, and Theros.

Centaurs of the Forgotten Realms

Strong and proud, most centaurs in the Forgotten Realms live in harmony with nature either alone or in small tribes. Often, they’ll have close ties to elven communities as their outlooks about the natural world usually align. But centaurs are given to wanderlust, and since even a single centaur needs to consume quite a bit to keep going, they tend to migrate regularly, so they don’t damage the ecosystem. This high intake often spills over to ale and spirits and many centaurs have a bad habit of overindulging into drunkenness. Among most peoples centaurs make excellent companions and even offer rides to trusted allies, though any work resembling that of a “pack animal” is always met with derision.

Centaurs of Ravnica

The centaurs of Ravnica have the same connection to nature and a love of wide spaces to roam, loves they must consolidate with the cramped and notably artificial city streets of Ravnica. Ravnican centaurs favor what open spaces are to be had within the world city, mainly the wide and verdant plazas of Selesnya and the wild rubblebelts within Gruul territory. Centaurs are loyal to their families, and to their guilds. Most centaurs either embrace a Gruul clan and fully embrace their wild nature or their role as a protector of life and growth within the Selesnyan conclave.

Centaurs of Theros

The centaurs of Theros are divided into two major groups: the far-reaching and industrious traders of the Lagonna band, and the proud and fierce raiders of the Pheres band.

Lagonna band centaurs travel in family groups that trade between the major poleis. Each group or guri must be self-sufficient and includes merchants, scouts, warriors, and anything else the guri needs to survive. Most centaurs remain with their guri until they reach adulthood and set out on their protoporos, a journey of self-discovery that can take years. The Lagonna believe each centaur must undertake the protoporos to find their place in the world, whether that be back with their guri, somewhere else, or amongst the upper echelons of legendary heroes. The Lagonna are the centaurs most encountered in Theros, either through business dealings or undergoing their protoporos. While their shrewd business dealings can be fierce, they’re a calm and peaceful mirror to their brutal Pheres cousins.

Pheres bands often come together into vast herds to perform raids on outlying human settlements, pillaging them for loot, supplies, or whatever else catches their eye. According to an old Pheres legend it was a Pheres leader that first taught the primordial humans how to hunt and fish, and as such was entitled to half of what they caught. This little myth is used to justify countless raids, as it’s not the fault of the Pheres that the humans simply “forgot” this little arrangement. The Pheres value strength, speed, and prowess on the battlefield and on the hunt. They are brutal, greedy, and clever, and are usually galloping away by the time you’ve picked yourself out of the rubble.

Centaur Appearance

Centaur 5e Race DnD

Centaurs have humanoid upper bodies down to the waist. Below the waist they have the bodies of horses. Their human half can display any number of skin and hair color combinations found across humanity, though they tend to have slightly pointed ears and wide, square jaws. Their horse half similarly can display any equine combination of fur and pattern, even including zebra-like stripes or complex spot patterns. Centaurs don’t see a “divide” between these two halves and will often style the hair on their heads and their tails in similar styles for a cohesive appearance.

Centaur Names

Just as their cultures are wildly different by plane, centaur names will be quite different depending on where your centaur came from.
Forgotten Realm Centaur Names
Centaurs of the Forgotten Realms don’t have a hard naming tradition and their names will often vary by region. Most commonly though they will follow their first name with a surname inspired by nature.

First Names: Athemir, Dandid, Getha, Gwes'zu, Harath, Hygret, Maldrar, Nerlugend, Rildronis, Roder, Toldreld, Vrokri, Zael, Zeflovet, Zold
Surnames: Autumnrest, Birchdancer, Craterblossom, Earthenleaves, Hailcrest, Hillshadow, Rainreveler, Snowtemper, Springwatch, Sunrusher, Thornleaper, Willowbreaker,

Ravnica Centaur Names

The Centaurs of Ravnica have no family names, but instead have unique symbols that they wear, tattoo, or weave into their hair that represent their family line. Centaur parents then impart the names of recently departed to keep the memories and the souls of loved ones alive.

Male Names: Bonmod, Boruvo, Chodi, Drozan, Kozim, Milosh, Ninos, Oleksi, Orval, Radovas, Radom, Rostis, Svetyos, Tomis, Trijiro, Volim, Vlodim, Yarog
Female Names: Daiva, Dunja, Elnaya, Galisnya, Irinya, Kotyali, Lalya, Litisia, Madya, Mira, Nedja, Nikya, Ostani, Pinya, Rada, Raisya, Stasolya, Tatna, Zhendoya, Zoria

Theros Centaur Names

Lagonna centaurs tend to have 3 to 4 syllable names they borrow from the cultures they trade with. Pheres centaurs tend to have short and simple names, sometimes embellished with titles of honor gained in past victories.

Female Lagonna Names: Honotia, Kelitia, Lileo, Meloe
Male Lagonna Names: Aughus, Dririos, Ormasos,Volien
Female Pheres Names: Bido, Daxa, Saya, Tesia
Male Pheres Names: Eno, Roth, Skelor, Stihl
Pheres Honorifics: Threekills, Razorhoof, Unsleeping, Daggereye, Silentstep

Centaur Traits

Your Centaur character has the following racial traits.
Ability Score Increase: Your Strength score increases by 2, and your Wisdom score increases by 1.

Age: Centaurs mature and age at about the same rate as humans.
Alignment: Centaurs are inclined toward neutrality. Lagonna centaurs tend to be more lawful, while Pheres centaurs are more often chaotic.
Size: Centaurs stand between 6 and 7 feet tall, with their equine bodies reaching about 4 feet at the withers. Pheres centaurs tend to be slightly larger than Lagonna centaurs. Your size is Medium.
Speed: Your base walking speed is 40 feet.
Fey: Your creature type is fey, rather than humanoid.
Charge: If you move at least 30 feet straight toward a target and then hit it with a melee weapon attack on the same turn, you can immediately follow that attack with a bonus action, making one attack against the target with your hooves.
Hooves: Your hooves are natural melee weapons, which you can use to make unarmed strikes. If you hit with them, you deal bludgeoning damage equal to 1d4 + your Strength modifier, instead of the bludgeoning damage normal for an unarmed strike.
Equine Build: You count as one size larger when determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push or drag.
In addition, any climb that requires hands and feet is especially difficult for you because of your equine legs. When you make such a climb, each foot of movement costs you 4 extra feet instead of the normal 1 extra foot.
Survivor: You have proficiency in one of the following skills of your choice: Animal Handling, Medicine, Nature, or Survival.
Languages: You can speak, read, and write Common and Sylvan.

Centaurs have a couple of tricky abilities so let’s go through each one and parse out what they’ll do for your new centaur character.

Ability Score Increase: +2 to Strength and +1 to Wisdom. Strength pushes you hard into a melee build and several classes really rely on Wisdom. The classes that want both are mainly the melee builds of Clerics, Druids, Rangers, and some Monks.

Age: Standard age isn’t a help or a hindrance.

Alignment: The alignment we showed here is from Theros specifically, but across most planes centaurs tend towards neutral but have enough wiggle room for you do play them however you’d like.

Size: Another casualty of the “big but not large” trend. You’re a boring medium (I wish they weren’t afraid to allow large size player characters).

Speed: This right here is the centaur’s strongest ability. 40 feet is the fastest official non-flying movement speed available to player races. In most cases you’ll be able to run exactly where you want in any given round, and that’s without stacking a bunch of speed buffs...

Fey: This is also sneakily powerful because you’re a fey instead of a humanoid, not in addition. This gives you a rather janky immunity to spells like hold person or charm person because they specifically target humanoid creatures. You’re also vulnerable to a few random things that specifically target fey creatures but those are usually a bit rarer.

Charge: A lot of melee classes want to use their bonus action for other things, so you’ll get mixed results out of this. If you aren’t using your bonus for much than this can be a sweet extra smack every now and again.

Hooves: Natural weapons aren’t that great in 5e since they’re typically outclassed by any actual weapon you can wield and take the same action. Think of them as an emergency backup weapon though, as you’ll never be without them even when all your weapons get taken away or your hands are full and all you’ve got left is some kicking power.

Equine Build: Here’s where we get to represent your actual centaur-ness with the standard “lift power” they grant to things that should have been large-sized and a nerf to your climbing abilities. Basically, if it’s a ladder or anything a horse would have trouble with, you’re going to move slow as molasses. Usually not a problem when you’re just exploring but try hard not to be caught on a ladder during combat.

Survivor: Bonus skills are always appreciated. Survival is probably the most often used of these options, but as with any skill option trait like this, simply pick whatever you're missing out on from your class and background.

Languages: Common and Sylvan. To quickly clarify, animals don’t know Sylvan in 5e, they can’t speak at all. Sylvan is still a useful language though, as most fey and any magical creature “of the forest” usually speaks it. Of the languages to snag this is one of the more often used ones.

Alternate Centaur Stats

Currently, there are two officially released sets of centaur traits, one from Ravnica and one from Theros. Both are correct and are identical in everything except for some lore-specific fluff.
There is also a version of Centaur from an Unearthed Arcana still floating around. This early build is honestly a lot stronger, but it’s still an out of date version that you probably shouldn’t use and/or won’t be allowed to use. Simply make use of either the Ravnica or Theros versions.

Centaur Build

5e is easy to build with and your new centaur character can really fit any role. However, if you’re interested in something that takes the most out of the centaur’s abilities then the following build is a good starting point:

Drunk Horse

Centaurs already line up well with Monks, but they work mechanically and even flavorfully well with the way of the drunken master. Your already high movement speed gets even faster, and the drunken technique gives you even more speed and makes it all act as a disengage every turn you use your flurry of blows. At 3rd level you’ll be able to do a full flurry while drunkenly swaying around the battlefield 60 feet every turn without provoking attacks of opportunity.

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Last updated: January 27, 2019

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