4e Racial Traits (4e Guideline)

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4e Racial Traits[edit]

This is an overview of racial traits used in official 4e races. If you are designing a race, compare your traits to those listed here - they should be no more powerful.

In general, no trait should be as powerful as a feat.



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Small - As a Small creature, this race has restrictions in combat. They cannot use a two-handed weapon unless it has the small property. When they use a versatile weapon such as a longsword, they must use it two-handed but they don't gain the normal +1 damage for using it in that manner.

Tiny - Tiny creatures have the same restrictions as Small creatures. Unless mitigated by another trait, they also have Reach 0 and do not occupy any space.


Speak with Beasts - The race can communicate with natural beasts and fey beasts.

  • Examples: Pixie

Telepathy - The race can communicate telepathically with any creature within 5 squares that has a language.

  • Examples: Shardmind


Bonus Initiative - +2 racial bonus to initiative checks

  • Examples: Githzerai


Earth Walk - The race ignores difficult terrain if that terrain is the result of rubble, uneven stone, or earth.

Forest Walk - The race ignores difficult terrain if that terrain is the result of trees, underbrush, plants, or natural growth

  • Examples: Hamadryad

Ice Walk - The race ignores difficult terrain if that terrain is the result of ice or snow.

Swamp Walk - The race ignores difficult terrain it that terrain is the result of bog, mud, or shallow water.

Improved Shift - The race ignores difficult terrain when they shift.

  • Examples: Elf

Encumbered Speed - The race moves at its normal speed even when it would be reduced by armor or a heavy load. Other effects that limit speed (such as difficult terrain or magic) affect them normally.

  • Examples: Dwarf

Force Movement Resistance - When an effect forces the character to move - through a pull, a push, or a slide - they can move 1 square less than the effect specifies. In addition, when an attack would knock you prone, you can make a saving throw to avoid falling prone.

  • Examples: Dwarf

Fast Charge - +2 bonus to speed when charging.

  • Examples: Half-Orc

Shifting Second Wind - When the race uses their second wind, they can shift 3 squares as a free action.

  • Examples: Githzerai

Skills and Proficiencies[edit]

Skill Training - The race is automatically trained in one specific skill, or a skill of choice

  • Examples: Shade, Eladrin

Class Skill - One specific skill is always a class skill for this race.

  • Examples: Satyr

Group Skill - The race grants allies of dissimilar race within 5 squares a +1 racial bonus to a specific skill.

  • Examples: Elf

Weapon Proficiency - Proficiency with one or two simple or martial weapons.

  • Examples: Dwarf, Eladrin, Elf

Reroll Skill Task - When the race makes a skill check to perform a specific skill task, they can roll twice and use either result.

  • Examples: Goliath (Athletics, jump/climb)

Stealth in Cover - If the race has any cover or concealment when they make an initiative check, they can make a Stealth check.

  • Examples: Gnome

Survival - The race is granted a +5 racial bonus to Endurance checks to resist the effects of starvation, thirst, or suffocation, and they can survive for twice the normal time period before they are required to make such checks.

  • Examples: Hamadryad

Saving Throws[edit]

Improved Save vs Damage - +5 racial bonus to saving throws against one of the following damage types: poison, radiant, necrotic, fire, cold, acid, lightning, thunder

  • Examples: Dwarf

Improved Save vs Keyword - +5 racial bonus to saving throws against effects with one of the following keywords: charm, fear, illusion

  • Examples: Eladrin, Halfling, Gnome

Improved Save vs Condition - +5 racial bonus to saving throws against one of the following conditions: daze, dominate, stun

Grouped Save - +2 racial bonus to saving throws against two or three related damage types, keywords or conditions.

  • Examples: Daze, Dominate and Stun (Hamadryad, Githzerai)

Double Save - The player can make saving throws both at the start of their turn and the end of their turn against an effect that a save can end, of one of the damage types, keywords or conditions listed above.

  • Examples: Satyr

Hit points, Healing Surges, Resting[edit]

Unnatural Vitality - When dropped to 0 hit points or fewer and is subjected to the dying condition, the player can choose to be dazed, instead of falling unconscious. They make death saving throws as normal, and if they fail one, they fall unconscious instead of being dazed.

  • Examples: Revenant

Ferocity - When dropped to 0 hit points or fewer, play can make a melee basic attack as an immediate interrupt.

  • Examples: Minotaur

Improved Surge - The race's healing surge value is equal to one-quarter of their maximum hit points plus an ability modifier

  • Examples: Dragonborn

Recovery - The race regains 1d8 additional hit points for each healing surge the spend during a short rest.

  • Examples: Satyr

Resilience - The first time the race is bloodied in an encounter, they gain temporary hit points: 5 at heroic, 10 at paragon, 15 at epic.

  • Examples: Half-Orc

Resistances - Resist to one or two damage types equal to 5 plus one-half level. Alternately, resist 5 at heroic, 10 at paragon, 15 at epic.

  • Examples: Tiefling, Deva, Shardmind

Vitality - One additional healing surge.

  • Examples: Minotaur

Doesn't Sleep - The race does not require sleep, but must meditate (trance, or similar action) at least four hours each day. This meditation grants the benefits that other races receive from an extended rest. While meditating, they are fully aware of their surroundings and notice approaching enemies and other events as normal.

  • Examples: Hamadryad, Eladrin

Living Construct - The race does not eat, drink, breathe or sleep. They never make endurance checks to resist the effect of starvation, thirst or suffocation. All other conditions and effects affect the race normally.

  • Examples: Shardmind, Warforged

Attack Rolls and Damage Rolls[edit]

Bloodied Attack - +1 racial bonus to attack rolls when bloodied.

  • Examples: Dragonborn

Attack vs. Bloodied - +1 racial bonus to attack rolls against bloodied foes.

  • Examples: Tiefling


Will - +1 racial bonus to Will

  • Examples: Eladrin (Int/Dex), Goliath (Con/Str)

Fortitude - +1 racial bonus to Fortitude

Reflex - +1 racial bonus to Reflex

  • Examples: Hengeyokai

NAD Choice +1 racial bonus to Will, Fortitude or Reflex

  • Examples: Wilden

Defense vs. Bloodied - +1 bonus to all defenses against attacks made by bloodied creatures.

  • Examples: Deva


  • vs Opportunity Attacks - +2 racial bonus
      • Examples: Halfling
    • Provoked during a charge - +2 racial bonus
      • Examples: Minotaur


Origin - The race is considered to be an aberration, fey, shadow creature, immortal or elemental for the purpose of effects that relate to creature origin. Without this trait, the race is considered to be of natural origin.

  • Examples: Hamadryad, Shade, Pixie, Satyr, Eladrin, Elf, Deva, Gnome, Wilden

Undead - The race is considered an undead creature for the purpose of effects that relate to the undead keyword. The race is also considered a living creature.

  • Examples: Revenant

Living Dead - If a power has different effects on living creatures and undead creatures, the player may choose which effect applies to them.

  • Examples: Vryloka

Shared Prerequisite - The race is also considered a member of some other race for the purpose of meeting prerequisites, such as feat or paragon path prerequisites.

  • Examples: Revenant, Half-Elf

Racial Heritage - The race gains a +5 racial bonus to Bluff checks made to pass as some other race.

  • Examples: Vryloka


Cantrip - Use one wizard cantrip as an encounter power, minor action.

  • Examples: Gnome

Other At-will - Use one 1st level at-will attack power from a class different to the characters, as an encounter power.

  • Examples: Half-Elf


Fragile Mortality - The race has one fewer healing surges than normal.

  • Examples: Shade

Blood Dependency - When the character is bloodied, their healing surge value drops by 2.

  • Examples: Vryloka

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