Tabaxi Explained – D&D 5e Guide

So, you want to play Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition as a cat person. You’re lucky because there’s the Tabaxi to help.

In this post, we’ll talk about what the Tabaxi are in 5e, including what they look like, how they act, and how they are named. You’ll also find out what classes make good Tabaxi characters.

Let’s start off by explaining what the Tabaxi are in D&D 5e.

What is a Tabaxi?

Volo’s Guide to Monsters lists the Tabaxi as a playable race in D&D 5e. They are basically cat folk or people who are the size of humans but have feline traits like fur, ears, claws, and a tail.

About all, there is to know about the Tabaxi.

They are cat people. They look like cats because they have ears, eyes, and fur. And all of these things have a small effect on how they play.

For example, Tabaxi can see in the dark because they are cat folk. And because they have claws and move like cats, it’s easier for them to get over obstacles.

So, let’s take a look at Tabaxi’s race in D&D 5e.

Tabaxi Features

Source: Volo’s Guide to Monsters

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2, and your Charisma score increases by 1.
  • Age. Tabaxi have lifespans equivalent to humans.
  • Size. Tabaxi are taller on average than humans and relatively slender. Your size is Medium.
  • Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
  • Darkvision. You have a cat’s keen senses, especially in the dark. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
  • Feline Agility. Your reflexes and agility allow you to move with a burst of speed. When you move on your turn in combat, you can double your speed until the end of the turn. Once you use this trait, you can’t use it again until you move 0 feet on one of your turns.
  • Cat’s Claws. Because of your claws, you have a climbing speed of 20 feet. In addition, your claws are natural weapons, which you can use to make unarmed strikes. If you hit with them, you deal slashing damage equal to 1d4 + your Strength modifier, instead of the bludgeoning damage normal for an unarmed strike.
  • Cat’s Talent. You have proficiency in the Perception and Stealth skills.
  • Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and one other language of your choice.

D&D 5e Tabaxi Traits

Tabaxi is a race with a lot of traits.

They get four more traits in addition to the usual ability score increase and racial descriptions (Age, Size, Alignment, Speed, and Languages).

Each of these traits, of course, fits with the cat-like idea behind Tabaxi in 5e.

The other things that make Tabaxi unique are:

  1. Darkvision
  2. Feline Agility
  3. Cat’s Claws
  4. Cat’s Talent

Now, since Tabaxi aren’t part of the Open Gaming License (OGL), I can’t really tell you more about these traits. But we’ll talk about what they often do.

Example Tabaxi Names

In the Forgotten Realms, Tabaxi uses names that don’t specify a gender. These names are often based on the history and traditions of their clan.

Then, Tabaxi usually give nicknames that are short forms of their first names. Instead of a family-specific last name, this first name comes before their clan name, which is based on a natural feature.

Take an astrological or otherworldly idea and explain it in a unique way, and you have a Tabaxi name.

Here is a list of 10 names for Tabaxi.

  1. Amethyst Way (Ame)
  2. Deep Bog (Bog)
  3. Under the Water (Water)
  4. Voice on the Breeze (Breeze)
  5. Desert Spire (Desert)
  6. Crumbling Star (Star)
  7. Quiet Grove (Grove)
  8. Pearlescent Dream (Dream)
  9. Two Clouds (Two)
  10. Idyllic Sky (Sky)

Do you have to use these rules for naming things?

Not even close. In fact, I always tell people to come up with their own names instead of just using the ones in the sourcebooks.

The names of Tabaxi clans are usually based on a natural feature near where they live. So, find a natural feature, add a spicy word to describe it (or not, I’m not your mom), and you have a Tabaxi clan name.

Here are some names of Tabaxi clans:

  1. Red Bluff
  2. Quiet River
  3. Shining Cliffs
  4. Dark Bramble
  5. Purple Wood
  6. Spire Glade
  7. Humming Rock
  8. Split Mountain
  9. Gushing Water
  10. Green Spring

When you put the two together, you get the name Tabaxi.

As I said, I think you should break away from the rules for naming things because they can get a little crazy.

Tabaxi Appearance

There aren’t really any rules about how Tabaxi should look. Most of the time, they are different based on what kind of cat-inspired them.

Many Tabaxi is based on big cats in the real world. Tigers, panthers, and lions are all animals that could look like Tabaxi. But Tabaxis may also look like cats that people keep as pets.

So, your Tabaxi may have spots like a jaguar with rings around them. Or, their hair might be thick like a lion’s. Or, they might have a pattern that looks like a turtle shell.

At the end of the day, a Tabaxi’s appearance can be as different as a cat’s.

Tabaxi Personality

In basic D&D, Tabaxi is often unpredictable. They have short-lived interests and go all over the world to find stories and legends.

Using the basic D&D story, Tabaxi finds it easy to go on adventures. They were born to explore and wander, going from place to place just because they can.

Most of the time, tabaxi don’t have a lot of goods. Instead, they trade in stories, myths, and legends from their own area. But you can do anything you want with any D&D race.

I tell players all the time to make a character they want to play. Don’t let what’s in the book hold you back. If your Tabaxi is mostly a housecat, they should not go on an adventure just because they like stories.

What Class is Good for Tabaxi?

The best Tabaxi classes take advantage of their extra mobility and the fact that their base ability score goes up. Tabaxi characters do well as Monks, Paladins, Rogues, Sorcerers, and Warlocks.

I think the best class for a Tabaxi is Rogue. With the extra Dexterity, their attacks are stronger. Feline Agility gives them extra mobility, which makes them great for getting close to enemies or running away from them.

Still, there are a lot of classes that can be good at Tabaxis.

I won’t use Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything’s rules for Ability Scores to figure out which class works best with which. So, I’m using the base Ability Score Increase that Tabaxi gets to figure this out.

So, keep in mind that a Tabaxi can be any class if you change its base Ability Scores.

Artificer

Tabaxi is not very good at being Artificers. Tabaxi doesn’t make good Artificers because they don’t have any bonuses to Intelligence, which is the most important stat for the class, and their racial traits don’t add much to the class.

Barbarian

Tabaxi doesn’t make good Barbarians because they don’t get a bonus to Strength or Constitution.

The extra movement they get once per turn is great for quickly getting close to enemies in melee combat. But other than that, life as a Barbarian is hard.

Bard

Tabaxi isn’t wrong to choose Bard. Since their Charisma score goes up, the spells a Bard casts work better for them. And since they can move faster, they can get away from enemies if they need to.

Cleric

For Tabaxi, clerics are not a good choice. As a Cleric, you’ll usually put Wisdom and Strength or maybe Dexterity at the top of your list, depending on your build.

But Tabaxi won’t get the boost that a Cleric gets to spells that are based on Wisdom.

Druid

Most of the time, Tabaxi shouldn’t be a Druid. They need Wisdom as their Ability Score for casting spells. So, Tabaxi Druids don’t have enough spells because they don’t get a bonus for Wisdom.

Fighter

Tabaxi Fighters are a good pair, but only if your character is based on Dexterity. Luckily, that’s easy to do because the Fighter can use many different fighting styles. And the extra burst of speed from Feline Agility makes it easy to run right up to an enemy and attack them.

Monk

Most of the time, Tabaxi uses the Monk class. Most of the time, it’s because of the combination of Feline Agility, the Monk’s increasing bonuses to movement speed, and Step of the Wind.

But…not it’s really that good? The extra Dexterity works well. It’s also one of the quickest things you can build.

But a Tabaxi Monk’s Armor Class and saving throw suffer because they don’t get a Wisdom bonus.

Paladin

Paladin is a pretty good class for Tabaxi, which is surprising. It looks like most Paladins are played by people with high Strength and Constitution scores.

But a Paladin based on Dexterity is a good choice (if a little less survivable). And the Tabaxi’s increase to Charisma works well with the Paladin’s ability to cast spells.

Ranger

Tabaxi can do well as a Ranger. Their bonus to Dexterity works well with a lot of Ranger builds. But the fact that they don’t get a Wisdom Ability Score Increase hurts the few spells they can cast.

Rogue

Tabaxi makes fantastic Rogues. You don’t need much more than a bonus to Dexterity. But for an optimized Rogue build, their bonus bursts of movement speed, climbing speed, and Darkvision are all great.

The Charisma bonus is also great since many Rogues tend to play the Face role in a group.

Sorcerer

Sorcerer is a good class for Tabaxi to choose. Their extra Charisma helps them cast spells. And Feline Agility is a great way to get away from trouble. But that’s pretty much it.

Warlock

Tabaxi can be a good Warlock, like other Charisma-based spellcasters. The Feline Agility movement burst and the ability score boost for Charisma work well for a Tabaxi Warlock. But they don’t work well together.

Wizard

Tabaxi shouldn’t take the Wizard class. A Wizard really needs a high Intelligence Ability Score, and the Tabaxi doesn’t get anything out of the box to help with that.

Again, if your DM lets you switch around Ability Scores, Tabaxi can be any class. Feline Agility is a great way for any D&D 5e class to quickly get out of harm’s way.

Also, don’t feel like you have to avoid the “bad” Tabaxi classes.

From a story point of view, a Tabaxi Artificer sounds like a really cool idea. Or, a big Tabaxi Barbarian works well as a character based on a lion.

You can play the Tabaxi you want.

Tabaxi 5e FAQs:

What 5e Book Has Tabaxi?

Volo’s Guide to Monsters is where you can find tabaxi.

Is There a Tabaxi Language in 5e?

In 5e, there’s no Tabaxi Language. They speak Common and one other language that is available.

What Are the Tabaxi Saving Throws in D&D 5e?

Tabaxi doesn’t have their own saving throws. Like other races, their saving throws depend only on their class.

How Long Does Tabaxi Live?

Base D&D About the same amount of time as people. So, Tabaxi lives to be about 100.

How Tall Are Tabaxi?

In D&D, tabaxi are on average a little bit taller than people. So, on average, they are anywhere from five and a half to seven feet tall.

Summary 

In D&D 5e, that pretty much sums up Tabaxi.

They are a race of people who look like cats and have extra speed and agility. In basic D&D, they are wanderers and nomads who sell stories and knowledge.

They are great Thieves, but they also work well with a lot of other D&D classes.