Centaur (Races of the Wild)

"Swift and sure, that is the way of the centaur." - Absyxius Bruile, centaur courser

Far stronger and faster than other humanoid races, centaurs rule huge swathes of the wild. They build peaceful, idyllic communities, hunting what and where they wish.

Centaurs inhabit the plains and forests in tribes of varying size. Even though they build permanent shelters and live in one place for many years at a time, centaurs roam from their homes on a regular basis, ranging over great distances in relatively short amounts of time. Centaurs regard such excursions as essential to understanding the world around their homes, and they greatly enjoy such activity for its own sake. Although their crafts have not reached the level of some of the humanoid races, it is only because centaurs prefer to venture from their homes often rather than to stay in one place and ply a single trade.

Centaur Racial Traits

With the lower body of a large horse and the upper torso and arms of a human, centaurs combine speed and strength in their powerful forms. A centaur is as big and heavy as a horse, standing about 7 feet high and weighing about 2,100 pounds. Brown dominates most of a centaur's coloring, the long hair on the top of the head and the glossy fur of the horselike body ranging from a light tan to a deep, dark brown. A centaur's humanlike torso has a swarthy, earthy complexion. In some isolated tribes and rare individuals, other colorings emerge, such as white, gray, or black, but these are extremely uncommon.

Centaur Society

The tribal society of the centaurs regards freedom and personal choice as the highest virtues. As long as an individual's choices do not hinder the welfare of another centaur of the tribe, these peaceful creatures leave all decisions in the hands of the individual. The seemingly unorganized society of the centaurs is actually bound by an openness and camaraderie that more civilized cultures have long since lost.

Lands: Centaurs make their lairs in forested areas and prefer to range through temperate plains and forests. Although centaurs have permanent dwellings, their culture has more in common with nomads and hunters than with the city-building races of humanoids. Like nomadic cultures, centaur tribes range farther north during the warm months and concentrate in southern temperate regions during the winter.

Settlements: Centaur lairs look little like the permanent structures of other races, consisting of a series of beautiful forest glades, peaceful streams, and perhaps a few scattered lean-tos. Although these lairs seem simple and unprotected, they provide more protection than even the stoutest walls by allowing the swift-moving centaurs to encircle approaching foes or easily flee if pressed too hard.

Power Groups: A centaur druid is usually a tribe's designated leader and speaker, but groups of centaur warriors hold great sway in any given tribe, mainly because their choices of where and what to hunt greatly impact how well the tribe will eat in the coming weeks. These hunters, brave and free-spirited as they are, have their passions tempered by the wisdom of the centaur druids who study the wilderness through which the tribe roams. Although these groups rarely have lasting conflicts, the hunters and druids often wish to pursue differing short-term goals.

Beliefs: Centaurs love and worship nature, and most who wish to devote themselves to a higher power or cause become druids. Nearly all centaur clerics (who are rare) worship the centaur deity Skerrir. Clerics of this nature deity can choose any two of the following domains: Animal, Good, or Plant.

Relations: Centaurs shun humans. Although they bear them no serious ire, they prefer open lands to the closed-in cities that humans invariably build. Centaurs get along well with elves and with many of the wandering races, such as catfolk and halflings. Centaurs have had too many dangerous skirmishes against tribes of vicious gnolls to be anything other than suspicious of the hyena-headed humanoids, but they are open-minded and intelligent enough to get along with an individual gnoll that proves itself trustworthy.

Centaur Characters

Because of their unique physical abilities and physiology, centaurs make versatile warriors and scours. Centaurs who take a few levels in druid or (more rarely) cleric combine powerful ranged attacks with minor spellcasting abilities much like a multiclass humanoid spellcaster does.

Adventuring Centaurs: Centaur adventurers don't have the problems with outsiders that most centaurs do. Through a combination of confidence, curiosity, and ambition, these brave centaurs have come to view the cities and communities of other cultures as places to learn and explore rather than places to avoid.

Centaurs view adventurers as cultural outsiders. Many other races of the wild, such as gnolls and catfolk, see only a small difference between an accomplished hunter who provides food for the tribe and an adventurer, but centaurs feel quite differently. Although centaurs do not shun adventurers of their own race in the same way that they shun humans, orcs, and some other humanoids, they never make centaur adventurers feel truly welcome, and usually encourage such a character to move on to another area or community after a short time among them.

Character Development: Centaur characters have 4 racial Hit Dice and a +2 level adjustment. As a result, many of a centaur's early choices are simplified. In the early stages of their careers, centaur characters often have fewer hit points than other humanoid warriors of an equal level, causing many centaurs to favor ranged combat. Mastering the use of a powerful composite longbow allows a centaur character to take advantage of his strength, and his high speed allows him to keep his distance from most foes. For melee combat, centaurs prefer two-handed weapons that allow them to take full advantage of their high strength, such as longspears, greatswords, and greataxes.

When playing a centaur, remember that the race's unique anatomy causes problems in certain circumstances. In a four-member party, it's quite likely that if the centaur character falls in combat, the party will lack the physical strength to move him. In addition, as pointed out on page 7 of the Monster Manual, some creatures simply aren't made for certain types of physical activity. Centaurs, despite their great strength, are not capable of climbing sheer surfaces, nor do they have much chance of walking a tightrope. In these situations, the DM is the final arbiter of in-game logic.

Character Names: Centaur given names are multisyllabic and commonly include the letters "z," "x," "r," and "y." Centaur family names usually have only one syllable. Centaurs use a single given name and a family name.

Male Names: Brynzin, Denryx, Kezzryn, Tyrrox, Zerrn.

Female Names: Allyri, Byss, Rynna, Zerry.

Family Names: Bri, Gyr, Hop, Tor, Zym.

Roleplaying A Centaur

The most striking difference between centaurs and humanoid characters is obviously their physiology, but there are interesting differences in their outlooks as well. Centaurs cover great distances easily, and therefore they have less attachment to places and possessions than many humanoid races.

Personality: Most centaurs tend to be easygoing, almost mild-mannered; they are usually uninterested in interacting with members of the humanoid races. Centaur adventurers, however, have an innate curiosity that overcomes the typical centaur hesitation to interact with others, and they are generally friendly and outgoing. Even so, centaur adventurers tend to prefer halflings and elves over adventuring companions of other races.

As thinking, civilized creatures, centaurs frown upon those humanoids who look on them as potential mounts. It is a grave insult to ask a centaur to serve as a mount, and centaurs usually offer to carry their companions only in dire circumstances.

Roleplaying Application: You should roleplay the tension between your own curiosity and the stereotypes that your people hold toward members of other races. When you interact with a member of another race, try to convey that you have preconceptions about the character but that you are trying to keep an open mind.

Serving as a mount is beneath you. Only when the life of a close companion is at risk should you deign to carry a humanoid.

Behaviors: Centaur adventurers know that they can expect a cold welcome should they attempt to return to their homes, and for that reason many view themselves as permanent wanderers. This attitude is greatly comforting, rather than confining, to the swift-moving centaur adventurer. Because of this mind-set, however, such characters seldom own more than they can carry on their broad backs.

In combat, centaurs see running as the natural approach to beginning a battle, using their speed to establish a comfortable range before the fighting begins.

Roleplaying Application: Use your increased carrying capacity to be ready for any situation. You are comfortable making your home nearly anywhere, but you do not expect to stay in one place for long. You might seek to collect tokens or mementos from the exotic places that you visit, filling your backpacks with these items in the same way that a human might line his mantle with mementos of his own travels.

In combat, you should encourage your companions to fight like centaurs, even to the point of urging them to learn feats such as Spring Attack and Shot on the Run.

Language: Most centaurs are slow to share their thoughts with others, but this reticence seldom hinders their social skills. When communicating with most humanoids, centaurs keep their statements short and to the point; they are more comfortable and outgoing around halflings and elves.

Roleplaying Application: Although you are neither shy nor intimidated by others, consider your thoughts carefully before sharing them. One carefully worded statement is better than a long, ill-advised discourse. Two favored centaur battle cries are "Swift!" and "Run fast, run sure!" Try to differentiate the way you talk to most humanoids from the way you interact with halflings, elves, and your trusted friends. There should be a marked difference between the ways you interact with these two groups.

Centaur Encounters

Centaurs love running battles. The centaur courser described here makes an effective leader for a patrolling group of centaurs, especially when they are able to use their preferred tactic during a fight.

Centaur Courser: Centaur barbarian 3; CR 9; large monstrous humanoid; HD 4d8+12 plus 3d12+9; hp 64; Init +5; Spd 70 ft.; AC 22, touch 13, flat-footed 17; Base Atk +7; Grp +17; Atk +13 melee (2d8+9/19-20, masterwork greatsword) or +12 melee (1d6+6, hoof) or +12 ranged (2d6+7/x3, +1 composite longbow); Full Atk +13/+8 melee (2d8+9/19-20, masterwork greatsword) and +7/+7 melee (1d6+3, 2 hooves), or +12/+7 ranged (2d6+7/x3, +1 composite longbow) or +10/+10/+5 ranged (2d6+7/x3, +1 composite longbow with Rapid Shot); SA rage 1/day; SQ darkvision 60 ft., fast movement, trap sense +1, uncanny dodge; AL CG; SV Fort +8, Ref +11, Will +8; Str 23, Dex 21, Con 17, Int 6, Wis 14, Cha 10.

Skills and Feats: Jump +28, Spot +9; Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot.

Languages: Elven, Sylvan.

Rage (Ex): Once per day, a centaur courser can enter a state of fierce rage char lasts for 8 rounds. The following changes are in effect as long as he rages: hp increase by 14; AC 20, touch 11, flat-footed 15; Grp +19; Ark +15 melee (2d8+12/19 - 20, masterwork greatsword) or +14 melee (1d6+8, hoof); Full Ack +15/+10 melee (2d8+12/19-20, masterwork greatsword) and +9/+9 melee (1d6+4, 2 hooves); SV Fort +10, Will +10; Str 27, Con 21; Jump +30. At the end of his rage, the centaur courser is fatigued for the duration of the encounter.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex): This centaur courser retains his Dexterity bonus to Armor Class even when flat-footed or targeted by an unseen foe (he still loses his Dexterity bonus if paralyzed or otherwise immobile).

Possessions: +1 mithral chain shirt, masterwork greatsword, +1 composite longbow (+6 Str bonus) with 20 arrows, gloves of Dexterity +2, cloak of resistance +1, potion of bear's endurance, 2 potions of cure moderate wounds.

Height, Weight, And Age

The following tables can help you determine your character's starting height, weight, and age. Remember that you are also free to simply choose these descriptive elements of your character, but you can roll on the tables below if you wish.

Random Starting Ages
30 years+2d6+4d6+6d6
Aging Effects
Middle AgeOldVenerableMaximum Age
75 years112 years150 years+3d10 years
Random Height and Weight
GenderBase HeightHeight ModifierBase WeightWeight Modifier
Male6' 5"+2d62050 lb.x (4d6) lb.
Female6' 2"+2d61900 lb.x (4d6) lb.
¹ At middle age, -1 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
² At old age, -2 to Str, Dex, and Con; +2 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
³ At venerable age, -3 to Str, Dex, and Con; +3 to Int, Wis, and Cha.

Centaur Adventures

Centaurs often shun outsiders, and therefore adventurers may find themselves unwelcome and unwanted in centaur lands. In the rare situations where centaurs find themselves unable to flee from a more powerful foe, they have turned to adventurers for assistance. In addition to these extremely rare situations, centaurs have been known to overcome their distaste for the company of other races long enough to help a group of adventurers locate some monster or foe that threatens their lands. By guiding the adventurers in this way, centaurs usually minimize the time that the adventurers spend within their lands and make it more likely that the adventurers will inadvertently aid them by driving off or at least weakening one of their foes.


Monstrous Humanoid

Proud and noble beings with the strength and speed of horses and a fondness for archery, centaurs are guardians of the forest. Centaur tribes trade with many elf communities, and each agrees to protect the other in times of need. It is under agreements such as these that centaurs may be found traveling with bands of elves, lending their muscles and hooves to defend against evil creatures and despoilers.

The centaur is a strong class suitable for any player who enjoys nature-oriented characters. It has few special abilities and reasonable ability score modifiers, making a centaur character more than capable of holding his own in a fight compared to barbarians, fighters, and rangers. Over the levels of this class, a centaur's Strength and Constitution increase to an impressive level, he becomes faster and larger, and he deals more damage with his great hooves.

Racial Traits

Note that these traits are not identical to the regular centaur's full suite of racial traits because the centaur's ability scores and racial Hit Dice increase with level as shown below.

Class Skills

The centaur's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Spot (Wis), and Survival (Wis).

Class Features

All the following are class features of the centaur monster class*.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Centaurs are proficient with all simple weapons, longswords, and longbows, but with no armor or shields. Centaurs count as nonhumanoid creatures for the purpose of determining the cost of armor.

Feats: A centaur receives one feat at 1st level and another one at 4th level. After 6th level, he gains feats normally according to his Hit Dice, as shown on Experience and level-Dependent Benefits.

Natural Armor: A centaur's natural armor bonus improves to +2 at 3rd level and to +3 at 5th level.

Speed: At 5th level, a centaur's base land speed increases to 50 feet.

Large Size: At 6th level, a centaur becomes large, with a space of 10 feet and a reach of 5 feet. He gains a -1 penalty to AC, a -1 penalty on attack rolls, a -4 penalty on Hide checks, and a +4 bonus on grapple checks. His lifting and carrying limits become double those of a Medium quadruped.

LvlHDBABFortRefWillSkill ptsCRSpecial
1st1d8+1+0+2+2(2 + Int mod) x 41Feat, +1 natural armor, 2 hooves 1d4
2nd2d8+2+0+3+32 + Int mod2+2 Str, +2 Wis
3rd2d8+2+0+3+3 - 2+2 Str, +2 Con, +2 natural armor
4th3d8+3+1+3+32 + Int mod3Feat, +2 Str, +2 Dex
5th3d8+3+1+3+3 - 3+2 Str, +2 Con, speed 50 ft., +3 natural armor
6th4d8+4+1+4+42 + Int mod3Large size, 2 hooves 1d6

*For information on Monster Classes see Savage Species

Other Races and Monster Races
Races of Faerûn
Character Creation

Source: Races of the Wild