Centaur, Variant (5e Race)

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Tyson dropped the two warriors he was about to tie into a knot and jogged after us. He jumped on the centaur's back. "Dude!" the centaur groaned, almost buckling under Tyson's weight. "Do the words 'low-carb diet' mean anything to you?"
—Rick Riordan, The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #2)

Physical Description

A centaur warrior. (image source)

Centaurs are six-limbed monstrosities. They have the body of a horse or other equine creature, but from the withers up (where a head would normally be) the body continues vertically into a humanoid torso from the hips, with a pair of fully developed arms. Though their facial and upper torso features may closely resemble those of humanoid races, there are still clear hints of their non-humanoid descent. A thin, velvetine layer of fur covers most of their upper torso aside from their face and belly, they have pointed and mobile ears and their noses resemble strongly snubbed snouts.

Centaurs have very large and complex bodies, requiring a high degree of maintenance on their behalf. First and foremost, their body demands 4 times the normal food consumption, and twice the normal water consumption, of a human. They also have a high oxygen demand, and they breathe heavier than most horses, but their high lung capacity allows them to hold their breath for roughly the same duration as most humanoids.

Centaurs are born in much the same way as a horse, and their bodies mature rapidly. They reach physical maturity by the age of three, but are considered to be "adults" only after proving themselves in a number of different regards, including service to the group, completing training or education provided by the herd, undergoing a trial of maturity, combat, or survival, and other milestones set by the individual herd.

Centaurs grow hair in a thick mane starting at the top of the head and running down their spine to the base of their upper torso. They also grow long, thick tails. How they care for, trim, or tie their hair is one of the few genuine elements of centaur fashion. Insulting their hair in any regard is highly offensive.

The upper torso contains the impressively large lungs, heart, (Located roughly where a human's liver would be, though closer to medial) and primary stomach, as well as a number of periphery organs. The lower torso contains the remaining digestive system and organs.

Their digestive system is quite long and has four separate stomachs in a series. Each section of the digestive system is specialized to optimize extraction of certain types of chemicals. As a result, they are fully omnivorous. As a consequence, however, they are extremely sensitive to ingested poisons, particularly alcohol. Even a small amount of alcohol can fully inebriate an adult centaur in moments.

Many would imagine centaurs to be awkward and stiff due to their unusual anatomy, though this could not be farther from the truth. Most centaurs are flexible enough that they can touch every part of their body with their hands, and some can even touch their face to their rump or back heels. Centaurs are known for their graceful, deliberate movement, which contrasts against the halting, nervous movements of other hoofed creatures such as horses.


Stories speak of men who kept courtship with female goddesses and then the male gods curse them to be half human and half horse monstrosity. Other stories, however, tell about the male gods mating with wild mares and creating these creatures called the Centaurs. Regardless the origin stories of the centaurs there is no doubt that they have great stories of themselves to share. The centaurs main weapon of choice is the pike, an anti-cavalry weapon. This is mainly due to internal conflicts and wars, where centaurs have fought against one-another, and in their hands, it can double as a lance against other races. Many sources describe centaurs as intentional recluses, avoiding settled civilizations and their ideas of order, the centaurs prefer open wilderness and only build temporary, usually portable settlement structures. What permanent structures the centaurs leave behind are mostly large marker stones for later generations and funeral sites. The Centauromachy was an ancient war or battle fought with human clans. The full tale has been lost, but it had something to do with a human wedding gone horribly wrong. Centaurs were painted as lustful, drunken barbarians. A later conflict was also seemingly caused by alcohol, where a human hero visits his centaur friend (assumably an onocentaur, given his demeanour) and they are interrupted by a violent horde of wild centaurs, resulting in the accidental death of the hero's friend. Humans occasionally settle in the middle of an ancient centaur migration path, and this leads to many conflicts. For a human, this can be shocking and confusing. Why? Why not go around the settlement? Or straight through it? The bulk of surviving centaur related myths are about a centaur who is wise, kind, noble, and brave, an educator and friend to many rulers and heroes, who long-lived and in the end died only for a noble cause. Centaurs like elves and elves like centaurs, and have had a long-standing peace. Again, many humans are baffled by this seeming double-standard. What is it about elves that make peace, as opposed to blatant hostilities with humans? Aside from lifespans, what really sets us apart from elves for the centaurs? And how does this reflect on other human-like races, like dwarves and halflings?


Nomadic hunter-gatherers, centaurs organise themselves into massive migratory herds. Centaur migrations can span continents and take multiple generations to complete. A conflict between herds is rare, as crossing paths is usually a predictable and beneficial event- however, some herds have lingering animosity from long past conflicts.

Centaurs reach maturity very young but are not considered adults until they can prove themselves ready. Different herds, each with varying values, have different criteria for this. Most revolve around passing several natural milestones or tests, others focus on the individual completing education or apprenticeship to become a useful member of the herd, and a few more aggressive herds even have trials by combat or survival.

Elderly and sick centaurs who cannot keep up are left behind. Most are not long for the world when this happens, but a few linger on, taking up residence among settled people. Some settlements owe their very existence to the knowledge of such centaurs.

Though few centaurs wear much clothing at all, most do adorn themselves with practical articles, such as belts, or warm coverings in inclimate weather. Those few who join a settled culture usually wear some degree of clothing simply for the purposes of fitting in or reducing the reactions of others. In any case, fashion in any aesthetic sense is uncommon among centaurs.

Likewise, a shelter is uncommon among centaurs, rarely constructing so much as even tents. Centaurs prefer to live in the wilderness directly as a part of it, and so are often stereotyped as "talking animals" by many settled races.

Among settled people, especially humans, centaurs often find themselves ostracized. Most dwellings are not built to accommodate their oddly shaped bodies, and their hooves damage floors and track mud. As such, there are many businesses and estates which will flatly deny access to centaurs when faced with one. Worse, other races, particular humans, tend to gawk and stereotype centaurs. Part of this is due to their nudity and can be remedied by dressing oneself, though, at some expense, as few tailors study the art of clothing a horse and man as one. Still, though, their bestial facial features, unusual appearance, and strange customs make it difficult for them to homogenize. Among Dwarves, they are usually not turned away, as hooves do not ruin stone, but they often do not fit in Dwarven shelters very well. Elves have had a long-standing peace with centaurs, and the two races respect each other deeply.

Centaur Names

As far as can be discerned, centaurs do track names but do not name families or bloodlines. Rather, a centaur tracks its immediate family by their individual names. To ask a centaur who his family is is to invoke a long list of names, titles, and descriptions. Centaurs do not consider this to be problematic or burdensome, rather, they consider it a reasonable format to describe the many complexities and facets of "family" as opposed to the crude and narrow "bloodline" distinction used by "civilized" cultures. For instance, as part of their family, a centaur may name their best friend, the leader of their herd, and two kind and brave humans they have repeatedly crossed paths with, alongside their immediate parents, siblings, and children. The following list of names contains examples from fiction, myth, and whole-cloth creativity.

Male: Chiron, Nessus, Pholus, Centaurus, Sajacks, Elatus, Eurytion, Hylaeus, Latreus, Oreus, Oreius Rhaecus, Cyllerus, Polkan, Glenstorm, Ironhoof, Suncloud, Rainstone, Roonwit, Cloudbirth, Windmane, Firenze, Bane, Magorian, Ronan, Apis, Dantares, Gadfort, Jaro, Kashing, Pelle, Vankar, Varios, Pai.

Female: Endeis, Hippe, Melanippe, Euippe, Ocyrhoe, Carystus, Hylonome, Cybel, Dawn, Mae.

Centaur Traits

Design Note: You may want to read Large Races (DnD Guideline).

The nomadic horsefolk of the wilds.
Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 2, and either your Dexterity or Constitution score increases by 1 (your choice).
Age. Centaurs experience rapid maturity, reaching physical maturity at age 3, but they have expansive life spans. Ranging from 300-500 years old.
Alignment. Prone to maintaining ancient patterns and traditions while simultaneously defying the formal societal order, centaurs tend toward neutrality in all regards.
Size. Most centaurs stand between 6 and 7 feet tall, and their horse bodies are about 8 feet long. Your size is Large.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 40 feet.
Tauroid Build. Even though your size is Large, your upper, humanoid torso is still of similar scale to that of other humanoid races. You use equipment and wield weapons as if you were a Medium-sized creature. You have twice the carrying capacity of a Medium creature, and you require four times as much food and water as a Medium creature would.
Hooves. You are never unarmed. Your hooves are a natural weapon, which you can use to make unarmed strikes. When you make an unarmed strike with your hooves, the damage die for your unarmed strike is a d8. You are considered proficient in these strikes.
Nomadic Heritage. By the time a centaur reaches adulthood, they have become experts at navigating the lands that they are most familiar with. Choose one of the following environments: deserts, forests, grasslands, hills, mountains, or swamps. While you are traveling through the chosen environment, you add twice your proficiency bonus to Intelligence (Nature) and Wisdom (Perception and Survival) checks related to your immediate surroundings, instead of any proficiency bonus that you would normally apply. Additionally, you ignore difficult terrain while in your chosen environment.
Trample. When you use your action to take the Dash action on your turn, you may make one attack with your hooves as a bonus action.
Ungainly. You cannot make use of mounts and have trouble with things your humanoid counterparts may not such as climbing stairs, ladders, and rope.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common, Elvish, and Sylvan.

Random Height and Weight

Table: Centaur Random Height and Weight
Base Height Height Modifier Base Weight Weight Modifier
6′ 8″ +2d4 1,160 lb. × (2d6) lb.
(0 votes)

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