5e SRD >Gamemastering >Monsters & Foes >Monsters By Type >

Humanoids

Humanoids are the main peoples of a fantasy gaming world, both civilized and savage, including humans and a tremendous variety of other species. They have language and culture, few if any innate magical abilities (though most humanoids can learn spellcasting), and a bipedal form. The most common humanoid races are the ones most suitable as player characters: humans, dwarves, elves, and halflings.

All Humanoids

Most humanoids should avoid toe-to-toe encounters with larger and stronger foes. This is especially true with smaller humanoids like goblins and their ilk.

Attacking from a distance or from hiding or cover should be the standard approach, as well as using terrain to their advantage.

  • Swarming, mobility, greater numbers, and limiting visibility are all useful approaches to gaining advantage or other bonuses in potentially lopsided encounters.
  • An organized mindset promotes practice fighting and develops coordinated tactics to overcome their natural disadvantages.
  • Ambushes and raiding rely heavily on stealth and choosing to encounter foes in locations that serve them well.
  • Those burdened with slipshod equipment will harrow and maneuver, keeping the PCs at arm’s length and wearing them down.
  • Surprise tactics, poisoned arrows, painful razor-cuts, pit traps, and uncommon demonstrations of violence that further even the odds.
  • Create unique warriors and spellcasters for various humanoid species.

These approaches may not achieve an outright tactical victory, but for creatures whose lives are nasty, brutal, and short victory, might amount to not being eradicated.

Outdoors, they may climb or use rough terrain to their advantage. Crumbling cliff edges, rickety bridges, quicksand patches are all excellent choices for lighter, more mobile humanoids to mount an ambush from.

Indoors, they find tight crevices and shadows to make situational defense points or attack from hiding. Couple this advantage with surprise tactics, poisoned arrows, barbed stakes, or pit traps, and you can send the party running or dragging them to their doom.

Utilize clever traps and stealthy ambushes to soften enemies and preserve their enemies.

  • Resist Diplomacy with an increased save.
  • Have immunity to emotional or illusion-based spells.
  • Embracing the minds of these beasts and begin to think like them.