Centaur (Dungeons & Dragons)

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DnD Centaur.png
An illustration of a centaur.
First appearancethe original Dungeons & Dragons set (1974)
Based onCentaur
TypeMonstrous humanoid
AlignmentNeutral Good

In the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, the centaur is a large monstrous humanoid. Based upon the centaurs of Greek myth,[1][2][3] a centaur in the game resembles a human with the lower body of a horse.

Publication history[edit]

The centaurs of Dungeons & Dragons are based upon the centaurs of Greek mythology,[1][2] though are much more civilized.

Dungeons & Dragons (1974–1976)[edit]

The centaurs first appeared in the original Dungeons & Dragons set (1974).

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (1977–1985)[edit]

The centaur appeared in the D&D Expert Set (1981, 1983) and the Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (1991). The centaur appeared as a character class in Tall Tales of the Wee Folk (1989).[4]

The centaur appeared in first edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons in the original Monster Manual (1977).[5] The sea centaur appeared in Dragon #116 (December 1986).

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1989–1999)[edit]

The centaur appeared in second edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons in Monstrous Compendium Volume One (1989) as the "sylvan centaur",[6] reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993).[7] The Abanasinian centaur, the Crystalmir centaur, the Endscape centaur, and the Wendle centaur appeared as the centaurs of Krynn for the Dragonlance setting in Monstrous Compendium Dragonlance Appendix (1990). The nomadic centaur and the learned ones of the Forgotten Realms setting appeared in The Horde Barbarian Campaign Setting (1990). The desert centaur of the Al-Qadim setting appeared in the Monstrous Compendium Al-Qadim Appendix (1992),[8] and the desert centaur of the Greyhawk setting appeared in the adventure module Rary the Traitor (1992). The centaur is presented as a playable character race in The Complete Book of Humanoids (1993),[9] which allows centaurs to be wizards, but not to advance beyond 12th level.[10] The centaur is later presented as a playable character race again in Player's Option: Skills & Powers (1995).[11]

Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 edition (2000–2002) and Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition (2003–2007)[edit]

The centaur appeared in the third edition Monster Manual (2000),[12] and the version 3.5 Monster Manual (2003). The hueleneaer (desert centaur) appeared in Dungeon #103 (October 2003). The centaur appeared as a player character race in Savage Species (2003), the Forgotten Realms book Races of Faerûn (2003), and in Races of the Wild (2005).

Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition (2008–2014)[edit]

The centaur appeared in the fourth edition Monster Manual 2 (2009).

Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition (2014–)[edit]

The centaur appears in the fifth edition Monster Manual (2014).[13] A playable centaur race was released alongside a playable minotaur for playtesting purposes in an Unearthed Arcana article released in May 2018 on the official Dungeons & Dragons website.[14]


Centaurs are typically found in temperate forests.

Typical physical characteristics[edit]

A centaur has the upper body of a humanoid, and the lower body of a horse. They are usually unclothed, except for a quiver of arrows and, on rare occasions, light armor. Centaur warriors are usually equipped with composite longbows and longswords.

Racial traits[edit]

A combination of the traits of humans and horses, along with their affinity for wilderness survival, gives the centaur incredible strength, slightly less than twice the strength of an average human and the dexterity of an average elven archer. They are also known for their astounding ability to take much punishment, and for their wisdom. They are as fast on land as a horse (usually up to 2000 feet a minute when running), and like dwarves and orcs, they have darkvision. Their favored class is ranger.


Centaurs generally live in tribal hunter-gatherer societies. They have good relations with elves, as they are both creatures of the forest. Their relations with elves are mutual, mostly trading gold and treasure from the tribe's horde for items in large supply in elven communities (mostly alcohol). Elves are welcome in centaur territory, and typically share land. Centaurs generally despise humans and dwarves.[citation needed] Neutral, jovial creatures such as halflings and gnomes are tolerated in centaur territory when not causing damage.


Centaurs revere their sylvan god, Skerrit the Forester, the god of Nature and Community.


Mythological creatures like the centaur were considered among the "standard repertoire of "Monsters"" of the game by Fabian Perlini-Pfister.[3]

Other media[edit]

Centaurs appeared in the D&D Miniatures: Harbinger set #17 (2003), the Centaur Hero appeared in the Deathknell set (2005), and the Centaur War Hulk appeared in the Blood War set (2006).

Other publishers[edit]

The centaur appeared in Paizo Publishing's book Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary (2009), on page 42.[15]


  1. 1.0 1.1 DeVarque, Aardy. "Literary Sources of D&D". Archived from the original on 2007-07-21. Retrieved 2007-02-23.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Weinstock, Jeffrey, ed. (2014). The Ashgate Encyclopedia of Literary and Cinematic Monsters. Ashgate Publishing. p. 192. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  3. 3.0 3.1 Bornet, Philippe (2011). Religions in play: games, rituals, and virtual worlds. Theologischer Verlag Zürich. p. 282. ISBN 978-3-290-22010-5. Retrieved 5 December 2019. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  4. Schick, Lawrence (1991). Heroic Worlds: A History and Guide to Role-Playing Games. Prometheus Books. p. 146. ISBN 0-87975-653-5. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  5. Gygax, Gary. Monster Manual (TSR, 1977)
  6. Cook, David, et al. Monstrous Compendium Volume One (TSR, 1989)
  7. Stewart, Doug, ed. Monstrous Manual (TSR, 1993)
  8. Baur, Wolfgang and Steve Kurtz. Monstrous Compendium Al-Qadim Appendix (TSR, 1992)
  9. Slavicsek, Bill. The Complete Book of Humanoids (TSR, 1993)
  10. Swan, Rick (May 1994). "Role-playing Reviews". Dragon. Lake Geneva, Wisconsin: TSR (#205): 102.
  11. Niles, Douglas and Dale Donovan. Player's Option: Skills & Powers (TSR, 1995)
  12. Williams, Skip, Jonathan Tweet, and Monte Cook. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2000)
  13. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2014)
  14. http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/unearthed-arcana/centaurs-and-minotaurs
  15. Bulmahn, Jason (lead designer). Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary (Paizo Publishing, 2009)

Further reading[edit]

  • Schutt, Matthew. "Professional Monsters." Dragon #163 (TSR, 1990).

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