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D&D 5e Tabaxi
So, you want to play a cat-person in Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. Luckily for you, there’s the Tabaxi to make it easy.
In this post, we’re going over what the Tabaxi are in 5e; their traits, naming conventions, appearance, and personality. And, you’ll see which classes make good Tabaxi characters.
Let’s start off with explaining what the Tabaxi are in D&D 5e.
What is a Tabaxi?
Tabaxi is a playable race in D&D 5e found in Volo’s Guide to Monsters. They’re basically catfolk; human-sized people with feline features including fur, ears, claws, and a tail.
That’s about all there is to the Tabaxi.
They’re catfolk. They have cat-like features including ears, eyes, and fur. And, each of these play a little part in how they play.
For example, the fact that they’re catfolk means Tabaxi can see in the dark. And, with their claws and feline-like agility, they have an easier time climbing obstacles.
With that, let’s dive into the racial traits of D&D 5e’s Tabaxi.
D&D 5e Tabaxi Traits
Tabaxi get loads of racial traits.
Along with the usual Ability Score Increase and racial descriptors (Age, Size, Alignment, Speed, and Languages), they get four more traits. Of course, each of these traits plays into the cat-like inspiration supporting Tabaxi in 5e.
The additional racial traits Tabaxi get are:
- Feline Agility
- Cat’s Claws
- Cat’s Talent
Now, since Tabaxi aren’t included in the Open Gaming License (OGL), I’m technically not allowed to give you specifics of these traits. But, we’ll go over what they generally do.
- Tabaxi Ability Score Increase
- Like every other race in D&D 5e, Tabaxi get a natural Ability Score bonus. The two Tabaxi get are Dexterity and Charisma. But, of course, if you’re playing with the new Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything rules, you can switch these Ability Scores with different ones.
- Tabaxi Age
- You might think that since they’re cat-like, Tabaxi might have shorter lifespans. But now, Tabaxi age at the same rate as humans in D&D. Meaning, they reach maturity around 20 years old and live to around 100.
- Tabaxi Alignment
- Playing into the capricious nature of cats, Tabaxi tend to gravitate towards chaotic alignments in the Forgotten Realms. As with anything alignment related, I suggest tossing this out and forgetting it ever existed.
- Tabaxi Size
- In base D&D, Tabaxi grow a bit taller than humans. So, they’re probably somewhere around six to seven feet tall. Regardless, Tabaxi are Medium-sized creatures.
- Of course Tabaxi get Darkvision. Why wouldn’t they? It’s not Superior Darkvision, at least.
- Feline Agility
- This is the trait most people clamor for when they build a Tabaxi player character. Basically, this trait lets you move faster on your turn with a burst of speed. It has a weird reset though. Instead of resetting on a rest (like most other traits), it resets when you don’t move on your turn, letting you use it again.
- Cat’s Claws
- Basically, this Tabaxi trait increases the damage from unarmed strikes. It also gives them a climbing speed which is, situationally, pretty cool.
- Cat’s Talent
- Tabaxi get proficiency in Perception and Stealth from the get-go. No need to waste those picks with your class or background.
- Tabaxi Languages
- Finally, Tabaxi know Common and another language. Easy as that.
Now that we’ve got the mechanic stuff out of the way, let’s look at some of the more roleplay focused stuff for Tabaxi starting with their names.
Example Tabaxi Names
In the Forgotten Realms, Tabaxi use gender-neutral names usually based on their clan’s history and traditions. Tabaxi then usually give nicknames based on their first name in short form. This first name precedes their clan name based on some geological feature instead of a family-specific surname.
Basically, take some astrological or esoteric idea, describe it in a unique way, and you get a Tabaxi name.
Here’s a list of 10 example Tabaxi names (if you use one, tag me on Twitter @RolePlayRespite):
- Amethyst Way (Ame)
- Deep Bog (Bog)
- Under the Water (Water)
- Voice on the Breeze (Breeze)
- Desert Spire (Desert)
- Crumbling Star (Star)
- Quiet Grove (Grove)
- Pearlescent Dream (Dream)
- Two Clouds (Two)
- Idyllic Sky (Sky)
Do you need to follow these naming conventions?
Absolutely not. In fact, I always encourage creative names over sticking exclusively to what’s included in the sourcebooks.
Tabaxi clan names basically identify a geological feature near their home. So, take some natural formation, give it a spicy descriptor (or not, I’m not your mom), and boom, you have a Tabaxi clan name.
Here’re a few example Tabaxi clan names:
- Red Bluff
- Quiet River
- Shining Cliffs
- Dark Bramble
- Purple Wood
- Spire Glade
- Humming Rock
- Split Mountain
- Gushing Water
- Green Spring
Plug the two together, and you have a Tabaxi name.
Like I said, I’d suggest breaking away from the naming conventions because they can get a little nuts.
There aren’t really any set-in-stone guidelines for how Tabaxi look. Usually, they vary based on the type of cat that inspires them.
Many Tabaxi draw inspiration from real-world big cats. Tigers, panthers, and lions are all examples of what a Tabaxi might look like. But, domestic cats may also inspire a Tabaxi’s appearance.
So, your Tabaxi may have ringed spots like a jaguar. Or, maybe they have a thick mane like a lion. Or, maybe they’re have a tortoise shell pattern.
At the end of the day, a Tabaxi’s appearance varies as widely as cat’s do in the real world.
In base D&D, Tabaxi tend towards a capricious nature. They hold fleeting interests and travel the world in search of stories and local lore.
If you’re using the base D&D lore, Tabaxi find adventuring easy. They’re natural born explorers and wanderers, traveling from place to place just because they can.
Tabaxi often don’t hold much stock in physical goods. Instead, they trade in stories, local lore, and legends.
But, as with any D&D race, you can do whatever you want.
I always encourage players to make a character they want to play. Don’t feel restricted by what’s in the book. If your Tabaxi is basically a housecat, find another reason for them going on an adventure other than a love for stories.
What Class is Good for Tabaxi?
The best classes for Tabaxi utilize their bonus mobility and benefit from their base Ability Score Increases. Monks, Paladins, Rogues, Sorcerers, and Warlocks all make good classes for Tabaxi characters.
Personally, Rogue is the best class for a Tabaxi. The bonus Dexterity means their attacks get a boost. And, their bonus mobility from Feline Agility makes them great for getting close to or running away from enemies.
That said, there are quite a few classes that work well as a Tabaxi.
To look at which class works best with, I won’t use the rules for Ability Scores in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. So, I’m basing this using the base Ability Score Increase Tabaxi get.
So, bear in mind, if you switch out the base Ability Scores, a Tabaxi works well as any class.
- Tabaxi don’t make great Artificers. With no bonus to Intelligence (the primary stat for Artificers) and their racial traits not really adding anything to the class, Tabaxi just don’t fit well as Artificers.
- Since they don’t get a bonus to Strength or Constitution, Tabaxi don’t work too well as Barbarians. Their once per turn movement bonus is great for quickly engaging enemies in melee combat. But, aside from that, they have a tough time as Barbarians.
- Bard isn’t a bad pick for Tabaxi. Since they get an Ability Score Increase in Charisma, they get a boost for a Bard’s spells. And, their extra movement lets them get away from enemies should the need arise.
- Clerics aren’t great for Tabaxi. You’ll usually prioritize Wisdom and Strength as a Cleric or maybe Dexterity depending on your build. But, Tabaxi won’t get the boost to a Cleric’s Wisdom-based spellcasting.
- Druid isn’t usually a good class for Tabaxi. They require Wisdom as their spellcasting Ability Score. So, since they don’t get a bonus to Wisdom, a Tabaxi Druid lacks in the spells department.
- Tabaxi Fighters work well as a pairing but only if you’re playing a Dexterity-based character. Luckily, that’s easy thanks to the Fighter’s versatility in combat styles. And, the extra burst of movement from Feline Agility is perfect for running up into an enemy’s face.
- Monk is usually one of the go-to classes for Tabaxi. Usually for the combination of Feline Agility, the Monk’s increasing bonuses to movement speed, and their Step of the Wind feature. But, it’s…actually not that great? The bonus Dexterity fits right in. And, it’s one of the fastest builds you can make. But, the lack of a Wisdom bonus means a Tabaxi Monk’s Armor Class and saving throws suffer.
- Paladin is actually a surprisingly good class for Tabaxi. It seems most people play Paladins with a high Strength and Constitution score. But, a Dexterity-based Paladin is perfectly viable (if a little less survivable). And, the Tabaxi’s bonus to Charisma fits right in with the Paladin spellcasting.
- Ranger is an okay class for Tabaxi. Their bonus to Dexterity works well for a lot of Ranger builds. But, their lack of a Wisdom Ability Score Increase hurts the little spellcasting Rangers get.
- Tabaxi make fantastic Rogues. All you really need is a bonus to Dexterity. But, their bonus burst of movement speed, climbing speed, and Darkvision are all amazing for an optimized Rogue build. The bonus to Charisma is great also since a lot of Rogues tend towards filling the Face role of the party.
- Sorcerer is an alright class choice for Tabaxi. Their bonus to Charisma helps in spellcasting. And, Feline Agility is great for getting out of danger. But, that’s about it.
- Warlock (like the other Charisma-based casters) is an okay class for Tabaxi. The Charisma Ability Score Increase and movement burst from Feline Agility work well for a Tabaxi Warlock. But, they aren’t an amazing combination.
- Wizard isn’t a good class for Tabaxi. A Wizard really needs a high Intelligence Ability Score and the Tabaxi doesn’t get anything to help that out-of-the-box.
Again, if your DM allows switching around Ability Scores, any class is a good pick for Tabaxi. Feline Agility is a great way to quickly get out of harm’s way and helps any of D&D 5e’s classes.
Also, don’t feel pressured into not playing any of the "bad" Tabaxi classes.
Honestly, a Tabaxi Artificer sounds like a really cool idea, thematically speaking. Or, a hulking Tabaxi Barbarian plays well into a lion-inspired character.
Play the Tabaxi you want to play.
Tabaxi 5e FAQ
What 5e Book Has Tabaxi?
Tabaxi come from the Volo’s Guide to Monsters sourcebook.
Is There a Tabaxi Language in 5e?
There is no Tabaxi Language in 5e. They speak Common and one other language from the existing options.
What Are the Tabaxi Saving Throws in D&D 5e?
Tabaxi don’t get saving throws on their own. Like other races, they rely solely on their class for their saving throws.
How Long Do Tabaxi Live?
Base D&D Tabaxi live about as long as humans. So, Tabaxi live to around 100 years old.
How Tall Are Tabaxi?
Tabaxi average a bit taller than humans in D&D. So, they trend somewhere between five-and-a-half feet to seven feet tall.
That about covers Tabaxi in D&D 5e. They’re cat-like race of people with bonuses to their speed and agility. In base D&D, they’re wanderers and vagabonds who trade in lore and stories. They make great Rogues, but fit in well with a variety of D&D’s classes. Have you played a Tabaxi before? Which class do you think works best for Tabaxi characters? Leave a comment below. Also, make sure to follow Role Player’s Respite to receive a notification whenever a new post goes live!
Summary of D&D 5e Tabaxi
That about covers Tabaxi in D&D 5e.
They’re cat-like race of people with bonuses to their speed and agility. In base D&D, they’re wanderers and vagabonds who trade in lore and stories. They make great Rogues, but fit in well with a variety of D&D’s classes.
Have you played a Tabaxi before? Which class do you think works best for Tabaxi characters? Leave a comment below.
Also, make sure to follow Role Player’s Respite to receive a notification whenever a new post goes live!