D&D has always offered a palette of races to choose from, both checking the boxes of a lot of fantasy tropes from works like Lord of the Rings or the Shannara series and giving players options for creating a unique and colorful character. And Fifth Edition, in particular, has broadened the possibilities with new playable races popping up regularly, from the Aasimar and Tabaxi added via Volo’s Guide to Monsters to the Warforged from Eberron: Rising from the Last War to the Harengon from Wild Beyond the Witchlight.
Among these wider options are those from the Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica, which draws from the Ravnica setting from Magic: The Gathering to add both familiar creatures (like the centaur and minotaur) as well as new races as additional character race options worth considering. And to help you with that consideration, we’re going to take a closer look at those (mostly) gentle giants from Ravnica – 5E’s elephant race, the Loxodon.
What are Loxodon?
In simple terms, Loxodon are elephant-people. That is, they are humanoid creatures. Loxodon appearance is very similar to African elephants (the name Loxodon actually comes from the name of the African elephant’s genus, Loxodonta).
Loxodon have a thick, leathery gray hide; large, flapping ears; ivory tusks; and a long, prehensile snout. Unlike actual elephants, however, they’re bipedal and have somewhat meaty hands with three fingers and an opposable thumb. They are medium-sized creatures, but only just – standing from 7 to 8 feet tall and weighing between 300 and 400 pounds.
A generally peaceful, methodical people, Loxodon tend toward lawful alignments, and usually toward good. They usually adopt a nearly meditative calm, though if adequately provoked – usually by some threat to kith or kin – they can make truly fearsome displays of rage.
They are, by nature, extremely loyal and group-oriented – betrayal of one’s herd, whether a birth family or an adopted group of friends, is generally unthinkable for them. Likewise, they tend to expect the same loyalty from companions in return and can judge harshly any failures in that regard.
With their serene patience, it’s no surprise that Loxodon can become skilled artisans, devoting themselves to their craft with a sublime focus. They have a particular affinity for stonework, with an intuitive talent for it that is unrivaled – and which is so instinctive they are usually at a loss when trying to teach their techniques to other races.
Clothing for Loxodon can vary from place to place (and herd to herd). Loxodon warriors of whatever type will usually wear impressive, ornate armor, while those of a more peaceful bent often cap their tusks, if not clip the ends altogether as a sign of their non-violent tendencies. Loxodon of all sorts commonly adorn their tusks and trunk, often as a sign of office, social status, or possible associations.
Loxodon have a tonal element in their language. Both male and female Loxodon names often have subtle tonal variations or harmonics that can signify family or societal connections or status. In dealing with non-Loxodon (who are of course unable to replicate such tonal subtleties, and can seldom even detect them), Loxodon often add titles or other honorifics to their names to convey the same information.
Loxodon are extremely long-lived – about 450 years, on average. They mature at about the same rate at humans, though culturally they don’t consider any Loxodon below the age of 60 to be an adult.
Loxodon Traits – Racial Characteristics
In their new incarnation as a race for D&D 5E, Loxodon receive a +2 to Constitution and a +1 to Wisdom. As previously mentioned, they are medium-sized, and have a base walking speed of 30 feet. They also have a few racial traits that make them an intriguing choice for player characters:
Due to their bulk, Loxodon are considered one size larger for weight restrictions – both carrying capacity and their push/drag/lift weights.
The practiced calm of the Loxodon give them advantage on saves against being either charmed or frightened.
Loxodon Natural Armor:
A Loxodon’s thick hide gives them extra protection, making their base AC 12 + their CON modifier. This natural AC would be used in place of armor if the armor AC were lower. For instance, a Loxodon in half-plate would probably use that AC (15 + DEX) – though if their DEX bonus was 0 and their CON bonus was 4, the Natural Armor would still apply instead (16 Natural vs 15 for the half-plate). Likewise, the Unarmored Defense feature for monks or barbarians wouldn’t stack with natural defense – you would simply use whichever one was better. Note that shield bonuses do stack with the Natural Armor trait.
One of the more unique traits for the Loxodon, their trunk can act as an extra limb with a reach of 5 feet, capable of grappling or other gross motor functions (lifting, dropping, pushing, making an unarmed strike, etc.). You can’t hold a weapon or shield in your trunk, nor can you use it for fine motor functions like using tools, writing, or providing the somatic functions for spells. Additionally (since it’s your actual nose), the trunk can be used as a snorkel when underwater or any other situation where you need to reach for breathable air.
Keen Smell: Another benefit of the trunk is its refined sense of smell, giving advantage on Wisdom (Perception), Intelligence (Investigation), or Wisdom (Survival) checks that involve smell.
Best Classes for Loxodon 5e Characters
With these racial traits in mind, what character classes best suit a Loxodon? What builds make for the best optimization for the Loxodon character? Let’s take an in-depth look:
Unlike other hefty races in D&D, like the half-orc, Goliath, or fellow Ravnica import the minotaur, Loxodon don’t get a bonus to Strength. Granted, a Constitution bonus has its merits for any sort of front-line warrior, but that would only make sense if you already had decent Strength or Dexterity absent a racial bonus – and in that case, it would make far more sense to pick a race that would buff those more critical stats instead. So, while their imposing size would make them seem to make them a good fit, the simple truth is that the fighter class and Loxodon just don’t do anything for each other.
Only a slightly better option, since the Paladin at least, can make better use of the Natural Armor trait. Since paladins ideally want high numbers in multiple stats, particularly Strength and Charisma, relying on Natural Armor and the boosted Constitution would allow a paladin build to sacrifice Dexterity without compromising AC. Still, there’s just not much here that makes the best use of the Loxodon’s traits.
This one suffers from the same issues as the first two. Unarmored Defense wouldn’t stack with Natural Armor, and would likely outperform it, so there’s no value there. The Loxodon’s lack of a Strength bonus make this, like the other melee-oriented classes, a mismatch.
While the Loxodon’s Constitution and Wisdom bonuses would benefit a monk build, this choice likewise doesn’t play to the Loxodon’s strongest suits. Note that, as with the previous classes, this doesn’t mean you can’t make a decent or even good build with a Loxodon – just that, on balance, there’s no way to make the most optimal build with a Loxodon.
With no Intelligence bonus, the Loxodon has no special affinity for the Artificer class.
As with the Artificer, the Loxodon’s lack of an Intelligence bonus hurts them here – though a CON bonus could help with survivability, and the Natural Armor trait could make for spellcaster with an unusually good AC.
Since this class’s most critical stat is Charisma, the Loxodon’s bonuses don’t offer anything in terms of spellcasting. However, as for the Wizard, the Natural Armor and potential bonus HP are at least worth considering, though – as for the Wizard – it would only be worth it if your spellcasting stat is already good enough.
Another Charisma-based spellcaster, the warlock has the same pros and cons as the sorcerer. The Loxodon’s traits can make a nice supplement to the class, but probably won’t help it reach its full potential.
Try to juxtapose the ideas of “hulking bipedal elephant” and “stealth” in your mind. Not sure how much more would need to be said on that, except that, again, the Loxodon’s stat bonuses don’t line up with this class’s primary stats.
Now we’re getting somewhere. Unlike paladins, rangers use Wisdom for their spellcasting stat, making the Loxodon’s Wisdom bonus useful. The Loxodon still suffers from the lack of a Strength or Dexterity bonus, however. And since rangers generally like bows or other DEX-friendly weapons, the Loxodon’s Natural Armor likely won’t be useful – though a ranger with a more Strength-oriented build might disregard Dexterity, rely on the Loxodon’s Natural Armor, and make a decently effective ranger.
This one is a better choice. Another class that can make use of the Loxodon’s Wisdom bonus, but also benefit from a good Constitution to keep the group’s healer alive and give them a fighting chance against poisons and a number of spell effects. There’s nothing worse than losing your healer early in a melee. A Loxodon cleric is less likely to suffer that fate.
Pretty much the best option, from an optimization point of view. Not only does the druid, like the cleric, benefit from the Wisdom bonus, but the Natural Armor trait covers one of the typical weaknesses of druids – their armor limitation. A Loxodon druid is the best possible alignment of a class’s needs with the Loxodon’s benefits.
The only official version of the Loxodon in D&D 5E is the standard Ravnica version. However, in the original source game, Magic: The Gathering, there are two variants that could make possible homebrew additions at the DM’s discretion:
Roaming nomads on the plane of Mirrodin, in terms of game mechanics these Loxodon would likely be little different from the official version – so much so that it’s questionable whether the addition is even worthwhile. One possibility, however, is to adjust the bonuses to +1 CON, +2 WIS instead. This would make Mirrodin Loxodon even more ideal for the Druid/Cleric role than the Ravnica version.
A very different version of the Loxodon, the Tarkir variant more resemble bipedal mammoths than elephants and tend to live in icy climates. Covered in wooly fur, these Loxodon would trade the +1 WIS bonus for a +1 STR, making them much better suited for melee-oriented roles. They would lose Keen Smell but gain advantage on saves against cold weather and are treated as proficient on Wisdom (Survival) roles in arctic climates (and double their proficiency bonus on checks in such climates if already proficient). Culturally, Tarkir Loxodon are decidedly less placid and more easily stirred to bestial rage and are more widely known as warriors rather than artisans like their Ravnica cousins.
Note that these are just suggestions for how to handle these variants. As always when it comes to making homebrew options you – with help from your DM – are free to work up your own ideas for them.
Yes, Loxodon race are one of a set of character races imported from Magic: The Gathering in the Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica campaign setting.