The DnD changeling 5e race is gifted with the power to become someone else. Whether it’s to deceive, entertain, or simply express an emotion, these grey-faced creatures can appear as almost anyone. There are likely changelings blending into crowds in all DnD cities – but you’d never know they were there.
The changeling is such a malleable character that even their backstories have variations. The fifth edition changeling was originally introduced Eberron: Rising From the Last War, where changelings are humanoids who can change their faces thanks to an ancestral gift from Eberron’s deities, the Sovereigns. However, in the more recent Monsters of the Multiverse, changelings are said to originate from the Feywild.
It’s not just DnD changeling 5e lore that differs in D&D books. There are mechanical variations too. Plus, despite their changeable faces, the changelings aren’t the most malleable race for character builds. This means a good understanding of how to build a changeling character before playing is key – luckily, we’ve got all the info on names, traits, and classes you need to get started.
Here’s everything you need to know about the DnD changeling 5e race:
DnD changeling 5e names
There’s no guidance on changeling 5e names in Monsters of the Multiverse, but Eberron: Rising from the Last War offers some guidance on choosing a name. In fact, it’s not uncommon for changelings to have multiple names – they may have a name for each ‘mask’ (a physical appearance with no depth or backstory) and ‘persona’ (a physical appearance with its own identity and beliefs).
Even more options: Check out our DnD races guide
Changelings do have a true name, and this tends to be monosyllabic and gender-neutral (gender for changelings is often just another changeable feature). Some common examples of changeling names are Cas, Jin, Nix, Ruz, or Sim. Members of this race may be able to tell two changelings with the same name apart by subtle physical accents that are indistinguishable to everyone else – Cas-with-the-sharp-teeth and Cas-with-dark-hair are as different as night and day to the trained eye.
DnD changeling 5e traits
Since there have been multiple iterations of the 5e changeling, let’s keep this simple. Here are the changeling 5e traits you’ll find in Eberron: Rising from the Last War and Monsters of the Multiverse (MotM).
Before jumping in, it’s also useful to bear in mind that Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything allows you to customise your character’s racial origin further by choosing alternative ability scores and proficiencies.
Eberron changeling traits
|Ability score increase||Charisma +2, any other skill +1|
|Languages||Common, plus two of your choice|
Though you won’t see visible signs of ageing on a creature that can change their appearance at will, changelings actually mature slightly faster than humans, and they live to be a similar age.
The Changeling Instincts trait gives your character proficiency with two of the following skills – Deception, Insight, Intimidation, and Persuasion. Changelings also have the Shapechanger trait. This allows them to change their appearance at will, but there are a few rules to be followed.
Firstly, the changeling must have seen the visage they’re going to take on, and it needs to have the same basic shape (for example, the same arrangement of limbs – no spider-monsters here). Secondly, the changeling cannot change their size, equipment, or game stats via transformation. And lastly, the changeling must remain in this form until they use an action to revert to their true form or they die.
MotM changeling traits
|Ability score increase||+2 to any score and +1 to any other score, or +1 to three scores of your choice|
|Size||Choose Medium or Small|
|Languages||Common plus one of your choice|
This version of the changeling 5e still has the Changeling Instincts trait and the Shapechanger trait found in the Eberron changeling traits. However, you can now choose two proficiencies from Deception, Insight, Intimidation, Persuasion, or Performance. The only major difference to the Shapechanger trait is you can now shift size between Medium and Small.
DnD changeling 5e classes
While there’s a lot of freedom with a changeling’s ability scores, this race’s proficiencies are almost exclusively Charisma-based. Combine this with the Eberron build’s +2 Charisma, and it seems foolish not to build a character that benefits from skills like Deception, Intimidation, and Persuasion.
Basically, changelings seem destined for one of two classes – the charismatic Bard, or the sneaky Rogue. They’re both optimum from a mechanical point of view, and they have plenty of great roleplaying reasons to use those shapeshifting abilities.
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If the Bard doesn’t satisfy your spellcasting desires, you can easily build a strong Charisma-based spellcaster like a Sorcerer or a Warlock. The Cleric is also a pretty good choice – you can benefit from the one Wisdom proficiency available (Insight), and the MotM build can sway your strengths more towards Wisdom than Charisma. You don’t get a lot of spell-related proficiency bonuses with this build, though.
If you’re looking for a tanky fighter, this probably isn’t the race for you. Sure, you could manufacture a chunky changeling Barbarian or Fighter with the freedom of the MotM ability scores, but those Charisma-based proficiencies are wasted without an in-character reason to buff that skill.