D&D Race Guide: How to Play a Changeling
Changelings are an easy player race to overlook. But these shapeshifters can be a perfect option for a character with a troublesome streak.
One of the newer additions to the 5E playable race list, Changelings officially joined the crew in Eberron: Rising From The Last War. And as their name implies, they can do a fair amount of changing in appearance, making the Changeling a versatile character with nearly endless potential for fun role-play scenarios.
Changelings can shift their forms with a thought. Many changelings use this gift as a form of artistic and emotional expression. It’s also an invaluable tool for grifters, spies, and others who wish to deceive. This leads many people to treat changelings with suspicion.
If you decide to make your next character a Changeling, you’ll get a plus two to your charisma ability score as well as an additional plus one to any ability score of your choice. In theory, your Changeling can be very charismatic and good at talking to people and making friends. But with their special skill, the Changeling is most likely meant to use this Charisma boost for mimicking and deceiving.
Aside from ability score improvements, Changelings’ main special ability is Shapeshifting. They can change their appearance and voice, including specifics like hair length, gender, coloration, and even height and weight. But Shapeshifting doesn’t affect so much that a creature’s size will change. So Changelings are usually between 5 and 6 feet with a Medium size build, like humans, and cannot shapeshift into a small or large size.
Changelings also have good instincts. In practical terms, this gives your character proficiency in any two of their Deception, Insight, Intimidation, or Persuasion skills.
With a high charisma and a knack for changing into (almost) whoever they want, Changelings make excellent Rogues. Mimicking people would give them the ability to get into places they shouldn’t usually be, and a charisma boost will help them talk their way out of trouble if they get caught. Spywork and assassination would both be just a little easier with the specific natural abilities a Changeling possesses.
Another direction to go in with their high charisma is Bard. Their shapeshifting ability lets them borrow someone else’s voice, allowing your Changeling to be any of the greatest bards they’ve ever heard of. And with their charisma, you know they’ll get listened to.
Of course, if you want to go in a more magical direction, Changelings are best suited to be Sorcerers.
Tips & Tricks
Changelings are very cool characters who give their players a lot of potential for fun and dynamic role-playing scenarios. But they can also be easy to overlook and underutilize. Shapeshifting is their primary and most notable race trait, so be sure to use it whenever the situation arises. My advice in D&D will almost always revolve around how to make sure that you, the player, have as much fun at the table as possible. We’re playing a game after all, it’s supposed to be a good time. And when it comes to Changelings, the ‘change’ part of the character is almost guaranteed to provide the most fun.
Have you played a Changeling character? Have you had one in your party? Who was their favorite person to shapeshift into and did they use this power for good or chaos? Let us know in the comments!