For cat lovers who also happen to be D&D players, few races are more appealing than the Tabaxi 5e. The Tabaxi race means you can create a character with a feline’s agility, elegance – and fluffy, fluffy fur. In the most current 5e lore, the Cat Lord, a divine being from the Upper Planes, is said to have created these human-cat creatures, and this deity is most pleased when its creations act like the playful kitties they’re related to. Yes, this is permission for your D&D characters to adorably play with balls of yarn.
From a player’s point of view, one of the big pulls for any race is variety and versatility. The DnD Tabaxi 5e has these in spades. Each Tabaxi’s appearance and temperament can be customised to your heart’s content, and the presence of several different Tabaxi rules sets in 5e means this race can be used to suit a multitude of classes and character builds.
We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to the Tabaxi race. Here’s a tour of everything from Tabaxi names to which classes best suit your new feline friend’s traits. It’s time to make your purr-fect D&D character.
Here’s everything you need to know about the DnD Tabaxi 5e race:
Tabaxi names can be a complex affair. The first thing you need to know is each Tabaxi is part of a clan, and these clans are given names based on a distinct geographical feature in or near a clan’s territory. Clan names might include Snoring Mountain, Roaming Islands, Tranquil Shore, or Elder Lake.
Every Tabaxi is given a single, unisex name – one that’s based on their clan’s name, as well as astrology, prophecies, their clan’s history, and plenty of other factors. It’s no surprise that many Tabaxi choose to go by a slightly simpler nickname. For example, Cloud on the Mountaintop may just prefer to be called Cloud.
While complex names give you plenty of ways to be creative, we’ve got a list of Tabaxi names in case you need some inspiration. Here are some Tabaxi 5e names to choose from:
- Storm on the Horizon
- Seven Thundercloud
- Active Fang
- Sunshine at Night
- Left-Handed Hummingbird
- Fallen Twig
- Nimble Owl
- Breath of Fresh Air
Tabaxi traits and stats will differ depending on which DnD books you’re using, as there are technically three different Tabaxi builds in the current version of 5e.
Firstly, there’s the Tabaxi found in Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount (which is actually the same as the now-legacy version of Tabaxis found in Volo’s Guide to Monsters). Here are the Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount Tabaxi traits:
|Ability score increase||+2 Dexterity, +1 Charisma|
|Speed||30ft walk, 20ft climb|
|Features||Darkvision 60ft, Feline Agility, Cat’s Claws, Cat’s Talent|
Next, there’s the Monsters of the Multiverse (MotM) Tabaxi. This is the most recent version, and it gives the Tabaxi the same ability score increases as many other ‘fantastical races’. Here are the Monsters of the Multiverse Tabaxi traits:
|Ability score increase||+1 and +2 of any two, or +1 of any three|
|Size||Medium or small|
|Speed||30ft walk and climb|
|Features||Darkvision 60ft, Feline Agility, Cat’s Claw, Cat’s Talent|
And finally, you can create a third Tabaxi race build using the custom origin rules from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. Combining this with the Wildemount Tabaxi means you could create a Tabaxi with +2 and +1 to any two different ability scores (much like you can with MotM). You can also swap out the proficiencies offered by the Cat’s Talent feature (which we’ll explain in just a moment).
Whatever Tabaxi you create, you’ll have roughly the same features. Cat’s Talent gives your character proficiency in Perception and Stealth, and Feline Agility allows you to double your speed until the end of your turn when you move on your turn in combat (though you can’t use it again until you move zero feet on a turn).
Cat’s Claw’s allows you to make unarmed strikes with your claws that do slashing damage instead of bludgeoning damage. Be aware that the damage you do depends on your build – MotM Tabaxis do 1d6 + Strength modifier damage, while Wildemount Tabaxis do 1d4 + Strength modifier damage.
Given how many ways there are to build a Tabaxi, there are numerous different optimal Tabaxi classes you could go for. Cat’s Talent, Cat’s Claws, and the ability to climb are the only two rough constants across every Tabaxi version, so whatever way you want your cat to land, building a character that benefits from general agility is your best option.
A Tabaxi can make a suitably tanky combatant – the speed offered by Feline Agility means your character can always stay within melee range, and the option to perform unarmed strikes never hurts in a pinch. Plus, the MotM and Tasha’s Tabaxi builds mean you could easily take points in Strength – Barbarians, Fighters, and Paladins are all solid options here. None of these classes really benefit from the (Wisdom) Perception proficiency offered by Cat’s Talent, but a dextrous Fighter may get some use out of the Stealth proficiency.
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A jack-of-all-trades Bard can make the most of the extra proficiencies from Cat’s Talent (or use the Tasha’s build to swap Stealth and Perception out for more further optimised proficiencies). Plus, Feline Agility and climbing abilities mean they can stay away from danger to perform their party buffs.
Tabaxis also make strong scouts if you choose the Ranger class. You could use a build to buff the Tabaxi’s Wisdom as well as Dexterity – then you’re getting a lot of mileage out of the Perception proficiency as well as the Stealth options. Plus, those melee fighting options can come in handy.
We’ve saved the best classes for last, though. Given their original proficiencies and ability scores, Tabaxis were basically destined to be Rogues. There’s a lot of options with Charisma and Dexterity as your main ability scores, but using a more customisable Tabaxi build can open up some of the Rogue’s subclasses that are more reliant on Intelligence and Wisdom, too. Plus, darkvision, climbing, and the ability to move over long distances will come in very handy.
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A Tabaxi Monk is also an optimal choice. High levels of Dexterity and speed are useful here due to a lack of armour, and a more customised Tabaxi build can swap the Charisma bonus out for Wisdom. The MotM version of Cat’s Claws can give low-level Monks a slightly higher damage die for a bit, and Monks can boost this feature further by switching the Strength modifier out for a Dexterity modifier.