D&D Race Guide: How to Play a Githzerai
Cousins of the Githyanki, the Githzerai are a little different and a little more mindful, and a very good choice for your next character.
Though similar in many ways to their cousins, the Githyanki, Githzerai are more contemplative and explorative. Mental discipline is important to them as they explore the multiverse.
“Githzerai migrated to the Everchanging Chaos of Limbo after the ancient schism that split their ancestors from their cousins, githyanki. Limbo is a roiling maelstrom of matter and energy, collapsing and reforming without purpose or direction, until a creature exerts deliberate will to stabilize it. Through their potent psionic power, githzerai carved a home for themselves amid the chaos. As the ages passed, githzerai explorers ranged out to other planes and worlds of the multiverse.”
With slender builds and speckled green or yellow skin, Githzerai physically looks a lot like Githyanki. Which makes sense as they were once one and the same. They are also medium-sized humanoids with a base walking speed of 30ft; all very standard.
In Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse, a Githzerai character has the freedom to increase one ability score by two and another by one. But after all of that pretty normal stuff, they start to get fun.
Picking a Githzerai character will give you access to their brand of Psionics. In practice, this will give you the Mage Hand cantrip, the Shield spell at level three, and Detect Thoughts and fifth, all without requiring components. Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma can all be chosen at character creation as your spellcasting ability. This same ‘Mental Discipline’ also means that Githzerai characters have advantage on saving throws against being charmed or frightened and a natural resistance to psychic damage.
Going by Monster of the Multiverse, there are a lot of ways you can build a Githzerai. Points can go anywhere, many any Stat your strong ones, and the psionics and mental boosts would honestly be good for almost anybody.
But the Githzerai also show up in Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes. We’ll get into all the ways the two books are different in a moment, but first and foremost, Githzerai here have a +2 to Wisdom and a +1 to Intelligence. And for that mixture, I’d recommend making a Cleric or Druid. The added points to Wisdom will be especially helpful with these classes, and Cleric may just give you some armor and weapon proficiencies they wouldn’t otherwise get, to boot.
As I mentioned, we’ve primarily talked about Githzerai as they appear in Monsters of the Multiverse. But a slightly different version of the playable race can be found in the Tome of Foes.
In addition to the specified ability score improvements, Tome of Foes also goes into a few more specifics regarding the Githzerai aging and alignment. Aside from that though, Mental Dicipline, and Psionics are almost identical.
The only other thing that’s different is a handy table of Githzerai traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws for you to form or roll for. If you’re somebody who likes a little help with character creation, this might be very helpful. But if you’re instead somebody who likes to make everything special and unique, this table is probably a good baseline to help get your Githzerai bearings.
Tips & Tricks
If you’re looking to play a Gith, you’re going to want to familiarize yourself with both the Githyanki and the Githzerai at least a little. Both are fun race options with a lot of potential for very fun adventures. But they’re different and can produce slightly to very different playing experiences.
From there, a big part of the Githzerai experience is going to be that logical, useful, and wise persona. Your character doesn’t have to be the standard, but the culture that they come from is going to influence who they are at the very least. And in an RPG, roleplaying the personality is half the fun, so have fun with it.
Have you played a Githzerai character? Have you had one in your adventuring party? Which version do you think you’d choose to play? Let us know in the comments!