Last Updated on January 22, 2023
The Kalashtar are a strange, bilateral culture, formed from the union of humans and immortal spirits – renegades and rebels from the plane of dreams – the synthesis of two worlds.
These spirits, called Quori, fled their home plane and the evil entity that arose many centuries ago to control it.
Unable to exist within the material world alone, these good-aligned spirits entered into multi-generational compacts with members of the Kalashtari people.
The Kalastar bound themselves and their bloodlines to these Quori spirits, creating a new compound race with powerful psionic abilities, fortified minds, and telepathy.
Welcome to our guide to the Kalashtar, a race made playable in Dungeons & Dragons 5e through The Wayfinder’s Guide to Eberron and the later campaign setting sourcebook Eberron: Rising from the Last War.
In this guide, we’re going to break down the history of the Kalashtar people, how they came into being, and everything you need to know to play one in your next campaign.
Also, because the Kalashtar are tightly bound up in the lore of the Eberron campaign setting, we also go over some of the ways that you (if your dungeon master allows it) can translate a Kalashtar character into other settings like Greyhawk, The Forgotten Realms, or your homebrew campaign world.
Who Are the Kalashtar? What We Know About Their Culture and History
“I am Kalashtar, born of two worlds. Over a thousand years ago, my ancestor bound her bloodline to the spirit Kalashtai, and I am a child of that union.”
– Lakashtai, servant of the light; Eberron: Rising From the Last War
The Kalashtar are a people born of two halves. One half is human, an ancient people called the Adar, who bound themselves and their descendants to spirits – the Quori – from Dal Quor, the plane of dreams.
While the Kalashtar are seen as beautiful, compassionate and wise by many, there’s no mistaking their fundamentally alien nature.
Each Kalashtar’s connection to their Quori spirit expresses itself differently, but they all share a mixture of traits and abilities granted by their permanent link to the plane of dreams.
These traits include telepathy, resistance to psionic attack, and a subtle grace that allows them to influence those around them.
The Kalashtar also cannot dream. Instead, when they sleep, they cycle through the memories of their Quori spirit, reliving its past life both in the material plane and in Dal Quor.
Long ago, the Quoris’ home in the plane of dreams fell to a great evil. A dark presence manifested a living, planet-sized nightmare at the heart of the plane, known as the Dark that Dreams.
This malevolent force overtook Dal Quor, and some legends say that it created the Quori.
While many of the Quori came to side with it or were forcibly bound into servitude, a group of renegade good-aligned dream spirits stood against the Dark that Dreams (also known as il-Lashtavar) and the sinister conspiracy of Quori who served it.
They fled from Dal Quor (which was cut off from Eberron in a war ages past between il-Lashtavar and the giants) to the material plane, finding refuge in the souls and bodies of humans.
As a result, Kalashtar tend toward good alignment and often lead lives of monastic contemplation and self-control.
Basically, they’re a combination of joined Trill and Vulcans from Star Trek.
Kalashtar tend to be reserved and tranquil, and they spend significant time deliberating before springing into action. They aren’t necessarily cold or calculating; rather, they express caring for others rationally.
It’s not known precisely why the Kalashtar (who primarily live in monastic communes far away from populated areas) control their emotions so strictly, but it’s thought that the twin nature of their conjoined souls (not to mention the trauma of the renegade Quoris’ escape from the plane of dreams) creates a great turmoil within them that must be carefully managed.
Many Kalashtar follow a doctrine known as the Path of Light, dedicated to serving goodness and turning back the dark, although this can take the form of either introspective contemplation or a more proactive approach.
Though the plane of dreams is now cut off from Eberron itself, the Dark That Dreams and the Quori who serve it still seek to exert their influence over the world, influencing factions throughout Eberron to seek out and destroy Kalashtar.
Kalashtar raised among their own people tend to have an awareness of the Quori spirit to which they are bound.
They usually know its name and have a sense of its nature – although it’s important to note that no Kalashtar can speak to their spirit and their Quori never fully manifests in the material world, although they can be glimpsed hovering behind a Kalashtar in moments of strong emotion.
Orphaned Kalashtar raised among other cultures might not know or understand the spirit attached to them, and they may even see it as a curse or a demon.
Kalashtar Abilities and Traits
When you choose to create a Kalashtar character, you gain the following traits.
Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 2, and your Charisma score increases by 1.
Age. Kalashtar develop physically at the same rate as humans do and have similar lifespans.
Alignment. The noble spirit tied to a Kalashtar drives it toward lawful and good behavior. Most Kalashtar combine strong self-discipline with compassion for all sentient beings, but some Kalashtar resist the virtuous influence of their spirit.
Size. Kalashtar are similar in build to humans, though they are typically a few inches taller. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Dual Mind. You have advantage on all Wisdom saving throws.
Mental Discipline. You have resistance to psychic damage.
Mind Link. You can speak telepathically to any creature you can see, provided the creature is within a number of feet of you equal to 10 times your level.
You don’t need to share a language with the creature for it to understand your telepathic utterances, but the creature must be able to understand at least one language.
When you’re using this trait to speak telepathically to a creature, you can use your action to give that creature the ability to speak telepathically with you for 1 hour or until you end this effect as an action.
To use this ability, the creature must be able to see you and must be within this trait’s range.
You can give this ability to only one creature at a time; giving it to a creature takes it away from another creature who has it.
Severed From Dreams. Kalashtar sleep, but they don’t connect to the plane of dreams as other creatures do. Instead, their minds draw from the memories of their otherworldly spirit while they slumber.
As such, you are immune to magical spells and effects that require you to dream, like the Dream spell, but not to spells and effects that put you to sleep, like the Sleep spell.
Languages. You can read and write Common, Quori, and one other language of your choice.
Let’s break this down. First of all, an innate bonus towards two non-physical ability scores pushes all Kalashtar firmly in the direction of spellcasting or non-martial classes (druids being the exception) and can feel a little limiting.
However – before you go running for the Custom Lineage options in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything – the Kalasthar’s racial traits are among the best in all of 5e, especially if you’re playing in a campaign where there’s a heavy emphasis on psionics.
Advantage on all Wisdom saving throws (as well as advantage on a social skill of your choice) is huge.
Most spells that affect agency and perception target your Wisdom, so being able to burn a reaction to counter those effects can be really useful.
Resistance to psychic damage is also pretty darn good. It’s probably not going to crop up as often as a red dragonborn or tiefling’s fire resistance, but monsters that deal psychic damage tend to be seriously nasty, and having a way to counter them could be a literal life saver.
The Kalashtar’s mind link ability looks really good on paper.
If your DM prefers to rule that players discussing options at the table are also talking in game, it can be a great way to pass secret information back and forth with party members – although limiting the number of creatures who can actually respond to you to one at a time could be a little frustrating, as is the fact that your telepathy relies on sight.
The Best Class Options for Playing a Kalashtar
When it comes to picking a class for a Kalashtar character, our suggestions are going to focus on a mixture of thematic and mechanical synergy.
Any class that uses Wisdom (where Kalashtar get +2) as a primary stat is going to be a good place to start.
With a natural tendency toward lawful and good alignments, a nice bonus to their Wisdom scores, and their cultural tendency to follow the Path of Light, Kalashtar are pretty much perfect clerics.
Their careful, considered demeanours make them sync up well with a classic cleric of the Light, Order, Knowledge, or Peace domains, although you could conceivably play any subclass you want.
Druid (Circle of the Moon)
Like the cleric, just about any subclass of druid is a good fit for a Kalashtar character, but their natural telepathy makes them the best fit for the Circle of the Moon.
As you’ll be spending most of your time in animal form (and therefore unable to talk) the Kalashtar’s telepathy is a good workaround.
Monk (Way of the Astral Self)
This option is mechanically fine but thematically fantastic.
Monks who follow the Way of the Astral Self can manifest spiritual limbs, faces, and other elements of some spiritual form, which could very easily be reflavored to be manifestations of your Quori spirit.
Also, Kalashtar are repeatedly referred to as having a very monastic culture, so playing a monk just feels right, you know?
Playing a Kalashtar Outside Eberron
The history and nature of the Kalashtar is pretty tightly bound up with the lore of the Eberron setting, and they don’t officially appear in any other source material for 5e.
If you’re playing in an Eberron game, no problem. But if you’re not, we’re going to have to do some fun legwork to bring the Kalashtar into a different setting like Greyhawk or the Forgotten Realms.
I think the best way to do this would be to hang onto the idea of a spirit but lose the backstory of Dal Quor and the Dark that Dreams.
Why can’t it just be a regular old ghost? Maybe it’s the lost soul of an ancestor, bound to help and protect its descendants; or maybe just the echo of some ancient hero that’s not ready to leave the mortal realm yet.
Personally, I love the idea that your “quori” spirit is the escaped soul of a lich (maybe even that of the most powerful of liches, Vecna – or Acererak if you prefer) that’s broken out of its phylactery in search of a way to destroy the evil creature its body has become. I’d play that character.
You could also reflavor Quori spirits as nature sprites, powerful fey, or even demons (or celestials) bound to the mortal plane.
You could give your character a darker twist by making the relationship one of enforced servitude – a powerful wizard who tied their soul to a demon from the abyss or an eldritch being from the Far Realms in exchange for power undreamed of.
Have fun with it, is what I’m saying.
Since their bodies are human, Kalashtar appear – at first glance at least – to be human. They tend toward being tall and thin with angular, very symmetrical features, although they come in all shapes and sizes.
Kalashtar eyes glow when they focus or experience strong emotions, and sometimes their Quori spirit can be glimpsed hovering in the air behind and around them.
Quori spirits are very much not human. Their appearances are varied, but features like multiple limbs and too many eyes tend to feature prominently.
They also don’t seem to be very closely bound to the geometric and physical rules of our own universe.
Your Quori spirit could resemble a vicious glowing green wolf, a writhing non-euclidian mass of eyes and tentacles (BE NOT AFRAID!), or just about anything else you care to imagine.
Going back to Star Trek for a second, Kalashtar names follow similar conventions to the Trill – one part symbiote, one part host.
A Kalashtar adds their own short personal prefix to the name of the Quori spirit to which they are bound. Their names have no correspondence to gender.
Quori Names: Ashana, Ashtai, Ishari, Hareth, Khad, Kosh, Melk, Nari, Tana, Tash, Ulad, Vakri, Vash
Personal Prefixes: Ara, Bal, Cor, Dhan, Goy, Hala, Kor, Lanh, Mal, Mol, Niv, Qui, Ros, Val
Kalashtar Names: Coratash, Dalavash, Dolishara, Halakosh, Khoratari, Molavakri, Nevitash, Sorashana, Torashtai, Vishara
Only Kalashtar raised among their own people are named in this fashion; orphaned Kalashtar raised among other cultures will likely have a name that follows the conventions in which they are raised.
- About Author
- Latest Posts
I played my first tabletop RPG (Pathfinder 1e, specifically) in college. I rocked up late to the first session with an unread rulebook and a human bard called Nick Jugger. It was a rocky start but I had a blast and now, the better part of a decade later, I play, write, and write about tabletop RPGs (mostly 5e, but also PBtA, Forged in the Dark and OSR) games for a living, which is wild.