The Best Wisdom Race Options in 5e: Perks Beyond Ability Scores

Firstly, how is Wisdom important in 5e? 

The 5e description is, “Wisdom reflects how attuned you are to the world around you and represents perceptiveness and intuition.”

Wisdom is the stat that the most common and important skill (Perception) is based on and is also the base for Survival, which comes into play.

If you’ve played any sort of dnd related game from any edition, you should know that perception is a VERY important skill, so having a decent Wisdom stat is good for any class, character, or playstyle.

Wisdom saving throws are also fairly common as there are a lot of spells and effects that result in the player having to make a wisdom saving throw. 

Wisdom is also the main stat for Clerics, Druids, Rangers, and Monks, making it an even more important stat if you plan on playing one of those classes. 

What Is The Best 5e Wisdom-Based Race? 

If you’re visiting this page, then you’ve obviously been stumped as to what the best race to choose is if you’re planning on rolling a high Wisdom-based character.

This chart should provide some clarity on which races have the highest Wisdom to start.

Please note that this doesn’t include ALL races, just the ones that provide a (+2) Wisdom stat bonus. 

Now, I know that’s a lot of information to absorb, but as you can see there’s a few options to take if you’re planning to run a Wis character.

As per the best option to take, there are a lot of factors to consider, such as the campaign itself, setting, class, group, and of course your personal play style.  

I’ve read the chart but I still don’t know what the best Wisdom race is…

It’s hard to determine the most optimal race since there are so many factors to consider, as mentioned above.

It really depends on which one you want to pick as they do all provide a (+2) Wisdom bonus and in some cases, such as the Variant Half-Elf or Variant Human as listed in the chart, you can technically achieve a (+3) to Wisdom if you apply that extra (+1) to Wisdom as well.

Since you’re still undecided, I’ve included the detailed information of some of the more commonly picked Wisdom Races listed in the chart above. It should help you make a more informed decision. 

Firbolg

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 2, and your Strength score increases by 1.
  • Age. As humanoids related to the fey, firbolg have long lifespans. A firbolg reaches adulthood around 30, and the oldest of them can live for 500 years.
  • Alignment. As people who follow the rhythm of nature and see themselves as its caretakers, firbolg are typically neutral good. Evil firbolg are rare and are usually the sworn enemies of the rest of their kind.
  • Size. Firbolg are between 7 and 8 feet tall and weigh between 240 and 300 pounds. Your size is Medium.
  • Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
  • Firbolg Magic. You can cast Detect Magic and Disguise Self with this trait, using Wisdom as your spellcasting ability for them. Once you cast either spell, you can’t cast it again with this trait until you finish a short or long rest. When you use this version of disguise self, you can seem up to 3 feet shorter than normal, allowing you to more easily blend in with humans and elves.
  • Hidden Step. As a bonus action, you can magically turn invisible until the start of your next turn or until you attack, make a damage roll, or force someone to make a saving throw. Once you use this trait, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.
  • Powerful Build. You count as one size larger when determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push, drag, or lift.
  • Speech of Beast and Leaf. You have the ability to communicate in a limited manner with beasts and plants. They can understand the meaning of your words, though you have no special ability to understand them in return. You have advantage on all Charisma checks you make to influence them.
  • Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common, Elvish, and Giant.

Source: Volo’s Guide to Monsters

Firbolg’s provide a lot of benefits to a player. They are an optimal choice for a Wisdom-based character.

They make excellent choices for Clerics and Druids as they have the ability to turn invisible and they already have access to detect magic and disguise self spells right off the bat.

It may not be the ideal race for you since they do have that +1 str attached to them, which may not be of great benefit if you’re playing a caster, but don’t let that discourage you from choosing Firbolg as your race.

They also live quite a long time (up to 500 years), which means you’ll outlive most other races. 

Gith

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence score increases by 1.
  • Age. Gith reach adulthood in their late teens and live for about a century.
  • Size. Gith are taller and leaner than humans with a more slender 6 feet in height. Your size is Medium.
  • Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
  • Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Gith.

Githzerai (Sub-Race/Variant)

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 2.
  • Alignment. Githzerai tend toward lawful neutral. Their rigorous training in psychic abilities requires an implacable mental discipline.
  • Mental Discipline. You have advantage on saving throws against the charmed and frightened conditions. Under the tutelage of monastic masters, githzerai learn to govern their own minds.
  • Githzerai Psionics. You know the Mage Hand cantrip, and the hand is invisible when you cast the cantrip with this trait.
    • When you reach 3rd level, you can cast the Shield spell once with this trait, and you regain the ability to do so when you finish a long rest. When you reach 5th level, you can cast the Detect Thoughts spell once with this trait, and you regain the ability to do so when you finish a long rest.
    • Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for these spells. When you cast them with this trait, they don’t require components.

Source: Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes

Gith (Githzerai) can be an optimal choice for a Wisdom based character. If you’re wondering why the name is familiar you’ve likely seen or heard of them when on the topic of Baldur’s Gate 3, where Gith are displayed as powerful dragon rider’s battling Mind Flayers.

Githzerai bring a few things to the table, including advantage against being charmed and frightened and their own spells.

Mage Hand is an extremely useful spell off of level 1. Shield and Detect thoughts are also useful, but you don’t acquire those until level 3 and 5, respectively.

Githzerai aren’t a common race choice in 5e. They’re usually overshadowed by others, but for a Wisdom race character, they make a great option. 

Kalashtar

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 2, and your Strength score increases by 1.
  • Age. Kalashtar mature and age at the same rate as humans.
  • 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 beings, but some kalashtar resist the virtuous influence of their spirit.
  • Size. 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 sleep. As such, you are immune to spells and other magical effects that require you to dream, like dream, but not to spells and other magical effects that put you to sleep, like sleep.
  • Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common, Quori, and one other language of your choice.

Source: Eberron – Rising from the Last War

Kalashtar have some very unique abilities and benefits, making them a top choice if you’re rolling a Wisdom character.

Firstly, they are the only official race that provides resistance to psychic damage.

In addition to this, you also have advantage on saving throws and are immune to spells that require you to dream. Dream spells aren’t common and are very situation specific, but it’s a bonus to have.

With their ability to telepathically communicate with other creatures (within a certain range, of course) they make playing a stealth-oriented ranger or even a stealth-oriented druid slightly more fun as you don’t need to speak aloud and alert everyone to your presence since you can just communicate telepathically, which can be pretty handy.

The downside to choosing Kalashtar for a Wisdom-based character is the +1 Str.

The majority of Wisdom-based classes don’t require a high Str stat as some of them even have Str as their dumb stat, but in the grand scheme of things, this is only a slight hindrance. 

At The End of The Day, It’s Up To You!

If you’re planning to choose the “best” or most “optimal” choice for a Wisdom-based race, then it’s ultimately up to you.

There is no clear option or choice for this, and there aren’t a whole lot of options in comparison to Str- or Dex-based races.

There are definitely some options that are better than others, but it depends on what features and bonuses you’re after.

Be sure to do some research, and pick the race that best suits you and your playstyle.