How To Build A Githzerai Character In DND

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  • Best Classes For A Githzerai
  • Roleplaying As A Githzerai

Born from conflict stemming from survival and freedom, the githzerai are a Dungeons & Dragons species with a deep and dark, illithid-filled history. Despite that, they have found a way towards peace. Githzerai are often tranquil and collected, moving away from the darkness and towards light.


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Still, they find themselves at conflict with the githyanki, a species that was once the same as the githzerai. The war between the githzerai and githyanki are an important part of their history and finding away towards peace is an admirable goal. The githzerai, however, are not weak-willed and will do what they must to survive.


Githzerai Overview

A Githzerai casting a spell while fighting a Githyanki on a dragon
Art via WIzards of the Coast

Githzerai have innate psionic power which grant them special abilities. Upon character creation, your githzerai knows the Mage Hand cantrip. Your version of the cantrip is also invisible. At 3rd level you learn the spell Shield and at fifth level you learn Detect Thoughts.

You are able to cast each of these spells once per day or more if you expend a spell slot of the appropriate level. You can choose between Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma as your spellcasting ability for these spells.

As a result of your psionic nature, you have advantage on saving throws against being charmed or frightened. You also have resistance to psychic damage.

Best Classes For A Githzerai

A spellbook
Wizard’s Spellbook by Iris Compiet

Githzerai can fit many different archetypes and molds. The spells granted to the species are helpful in many situations but can especially enhance the abilities of select classes. Below are noteable classes for a githzerai:

Class

Why it fits

Artificer

The githzerai plays very well to the strengths and weaknesses of the artificer. The githzerai’s advantage on saving throws against being charmed or frightened compensates for the fact that many Artificers do not have a high Wisdom score. Your innate access to the Shield spell builds upon the survivability and high armor class many artificers strive for.

Barbarian

A githzerai barbarian flips the traditional idea of the species from peaceful to rage-filled.Barbarians are very powerful combatants, capable of destroying waves of enemies. This also means that they are often chosen to be charmed or pitted against their own party due to their often low Wisdom scores. The githzerai’s resistance against those effects help to reduce this risk. Shield can also prove to be very useful in the heat of battle when surrounded by enemies.

Bard

All the githzerai’s spells are very helpful for a bard, both in a role play and mechanical sense. You can use Mage Hand to assist with performances or sneaking around, especially as it is invisible. Shield is a valuable spell typically not available to bards, so picking that up can be a lifesaver. Detect Thoughts is also great for a bard, being the social and occasionally manipulative class it is.

Monk

Githzerai are often depicted as monks so playing one is a natural choice. The features from the githzerai do not necessarily match with the monk class, but still work well. Shield is always a boon, and you will likely have a free hand to use it. Monks do typically have a high wisdom, however, so the advantage granted on saves against being charmed or frightened is not as potent.

Paladin

The githzerai are in a constant war against their githyanki counterparts. It only makes sense for some githzerai to take up the mantle of a paladin to fight for peace and natural order. Shield increases the armor class and defensive abilities already common for a Paladin and can add to their imposing presence. Paladins also typically shrug off wisdom so anything that helps with wisdom saving throws is good. The oath of redemption and oath of the crown subclasses work well with a githzerai, as they also strive for peace and order.

Rogue

The rogue survives on trickery, subversion, and stealth. As such, an invisible Mage Hand and the ability to Detect Thoughts would prove useful. It provides much more options and utility to a class which normally doesn’t involve magic. The advantage against being frightened and charmed is also helpful for a class without Wisdom saving throws. It is also explicitly said that the githzerai often become soulknife rouges.

Sorcerer

Shield is something most sorcerers end up taking anyway, and due to their limited number of spells known, it is especially helpful. Thematically, sorcerers are appropriate as their existence in limbo might have exposed them to the source of their magic. Consider the aberrant mind or wild magic origins for your sorcerer.

Warlock

Living in Limbo, it only makes sense for a githzerai to form a pact with a patron, such as the ones presented in the great old one subclass. Regardless of subclass choice, however, the githzerai’s spells, especially shield, compliment the class. This is even more the case if you’re playing a melee warlock such as a hexblade

Roleplaying As A Githzerai

A gnome strums a tune and sings by an open fire which is in the shape of a knight battling a dragon
Wish by Ekaterina Burmak

Gith of all types are often, but not necessarily, somewhat alien compared to other species. This is due to their origin and home in the plane of Limbo. It makes for a different perspective and culture. Keeping this in mind while making your githzerai can lead to an interesting character and memorable moments.

Still, githzerai are not a monolith and are unique individuals with their own thoughts and ideas. Whether you do or don’t want to take place in the cosmic war between the two sides of the Gith, you can always find other interesting aspects about the character.

Taking the typical, peaceful approach to your githzerai can result in a refreshing contrast to the more bloodthirsty characters you can find. But it can be equally interesting to have your character be jaded enough to embrace their more aggressive side. Being someone in the middle is also a valid option.

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