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Races of Destiny is a 192-page sourcebook for Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 released in December 2004.

It explores the humans, half-elves and half-orcs of the D&D world, and introduces the illumians.

Official synopsis[]

Heroes Adapted to Adventure

Hailing from towns and villages in every corner of the world, resourceful and resilient adventurers emerge from among the races of destiny: humans, half-elves, half-orcs, and illumians. With an unparalleled drive to explore and experience, these diverse individuals have created names to last throughout the ages.

This supplement for the D&D game provides detailed information on the psychology, society, culture, behavior, religions, folklore, and other aspects of the races of destiny, including the illumians—a new race presented here. In addition to new subraces and monster races playable as characters, Races of Destiny also provides new prestige classes, feats, spells, magic items, equipment, and guidelines for crafting memorable adventures within human settlements.

To use this supplement, a Dungeon Master also needs the Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, and Monster Manual. A player needs only the Player's Handbook.


The book focuses on human and human-derived races.

Chapter 1: Humans explores humans in D&D, including their psychology and culture, language, and how they construct settlements. Two races share Chapter 2: Half-Elves and Half-Orcs, focusing on their experience of exclusion from the cultures of their parent races and challenges of stereotypes. Chapter 3: Illumians introduces a new race, the illumians, descended from humans who learned an ancient ritual to become something other than human.

Chapter 4: Other Races of Destiny, explores other part-human races: the aasimar, doppelganger, half-ogre, mongrelfolk, sea kin, sharakim, skulk, tiefling, and underfolk.

Chapter 5: Prestige Classes introduces the chameleon, loredelver, menacing brute, outcast champion, scar enforcer, shadow sentinel, and urban soul. Chapter 6: Character Options, introduces new uses for existing skills; new feats, including initiate and tactical feats; and racial substitution levels, which are class variants for half-orc and half-elves of some classes.

Chapter 7: Magic introduces the spells animate city, choose destiny, city lights, city stride, city's might, commune with city, delay death, discern bloodline, friendly face, greater bestow curse, insignia of alarm, insignia of blessing, insignia of healing, insignia of warding, locate city, mass charm person, mass unseen servant, omen of peril, phantom guardians, proud arrogance, rooftop strider, scholar's touch, shadow guardians, skyline runner, stalwart pact, urban shield, warp destiny, and winding alleys; and the psionic powers anticipatory strike, realized potential, synchronicity, and urban strider.

Finally, Chapter 8: Campaigns of Destiny adds various details for running a campaign, including cityfolk and social status.

Development and release[]


Races of Destiny was written by David Noonan, Eric Cagle, and Aaron Rosenberg. Art was provided by Dee Barnett, Ed Cox, and Wayne England.

The book followed in the footsteps of Races of Stone (2004), which explored dwarves, gnomes, and a new race, the goliaths. Races of Destiny focused on humans, half-elves, half-orcs, and a new race, the illumians.

The book's title was inspired by the fantasy notion that while races such as dwarves and elves are depicted as possessing millennia-old monoculture, humans are a relatively young race whose culture changes frequently and whose destiny is not set. The new illumians were designed to be versatile as a reference to the versatility of humans in D&D 3.5.[2]

In exploring half-elves and half-orcs, Andy Collins wished to treat half-elves and half-orcs as more human than their other half. The book depicted half-elves as seeking to integrate both halves of their ancestral cultures, while half-orcs were depicted as abandoning both to form their their own culture.[2]


Races of Destiny was released by Wizards of the Coast in December 2004 for $29.95 US, or $44.95 Canadian.[1]

A web enhancement was released for the book, titled The Finalveil Cabal, a short adventure module for 7th level characters.

On 1 February 2005, Races of Destiny and Complete Adventurer (2005) received digital releases at DriveThruRPG as PDFs with Adobe DRM.[3] It would later be pulled from sale when Wizards of the Coast changed their opinion on digital books.

On December 31, 2013, it was re-released in digital format. It is currently available on DriveThruRPG and Dungeon Masters Guild for $14.99.

Reception and influence[]

Critical reception[]

As of 2023, Races of Destiny reached the rank of Electrum seller on DriveThruRPG.

Influence on other works[]

Wizards of the Coast went on to publish a third "Races" book, Races of the Wild (2005), exploring the elves, halflings, and new raptorans. With all core races covered, the subsequent Races of the Dragon (2006) introduced the dragonborn and spellscale races, and explored the kobolds.

Illumians were mentioned in Tome of Magic (3e) (2006). They appeared in the Living Greyhawk adventures BIS6-04 Face of Copper, BIS7-06 The Golden Masque, and BIS8-2 Wealth Beyond the Measure of Coin, all written by Cameron Logan. They received a mention in Manual of the Planes (4e) (2008) as a vanished race, in The Plane Above (2010), and in Illumian Echoes, Dragon #392 (Oct 2010).

The spell locate city would gain notoriety in the D&D community as part of a strategy called the locate city nuke. Since the spell had an area of effect of "10 miles/level radius circle, centered on you", this could be exploited by adding damage-dealing modifiers to create a massive area effect spell.

External links[]


Dungeons & Dragons 3.5
Core rules
Player's HandbookDungeon Master's GuideMonster ManualDungeons & Dragons Basic Game
Book of Exalted DeedsCityscapeComplete AdventurerComplete ArcaneComplete ChampionComplete DivineComplete MageComplete PsionicComplete ScoundrelComplete WarriorDraconomiconDragon MagicDrow of the UnderdarkDungeon Master's Guide IIDungeonscapeElder EvilsExpanded Psionics HandbookFiendish Codex I: Hordes of the AbyssFiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine HellsFrostburnHeroes of BattleHeroes of HorrorLibris MortisLords of MadnessMagic Item CompendiumMagic of IncarnumMiniatures HandbookMonster Manual IIIMonster Manual IVMonster Manual VPlanar HandbookPlayer's Handbook IIRaces of DestinyRaces of the DragonRaces of StoneRaces of the WildSandstormSpell CompendiumStormwrackTome of BattleTome of MagicUnearthed ArcanaWeapons of Legacy
Expedition to Castle RavenloftExpedition to the Demonweb PitsExpedition to the Ruins of GreyhawkFantastic Locations: Dragondown GrottoRed Hand of Doom