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The races in Battle for Wesnoth are the various forms of sentient creatures located in the world. Most of the ones focused on in the game are located on the Great Continent in the timespan covered by the game. Of all the races, six races in particular have been instrumental in the history of the world of Wesnoth - the humans, the elves, the orcs, the dwarves, the undead, and the drakes.

The Six Main Races


Main article: Humans

A human.

The race of men is an extremely diverse one. Although they originally came from the Old Continent, men have spread all over the world and split into many different cultures and races. Although they are not imbued with magic like other creatures, humans can learn to wield it and able to learn more types than most others. They have no extra special abilities or aptitudes except their versatility and drive. While often at odds with all races, they can occasionally form alliances with the less aggressive races such as elves and dwarves. The less scrupulous among them do not shrink back from hiring orcish mercenaries, either. They have no natural enemies, although the majority of men, like most people of all races, have an instinctive dislike of the undead. Men are shorter than the elves, but taller still than dwarves. Their skin color can vary, from almost white to dark brown.


Main article: Elves

An elf.

Compared to humans, elves are somewhat taller, more agile but less sturdy. They have slightly pointy ears, pale skin and usually blond hair. Few differences between humans and elves are more pronounced than the latter’s unusually long life - most, unless claimed by illness, accident or war, live a full two centuries. While some elves possessing a high magical aptitude have been known to live an additional full century, most elves begin to grow physically frail approaching their twentieth decade and pass away within a few decades after. Elves are naturally imbued with magic to a small degree. Though most are unable to channel it directly, its latent presence gives them their keen senses and long life. Many elves have magic-driven talents such as marksmanship or stealth, allowing them to achieve tasks that most normal beings would find astonishing. Those elves that learn to wield this power in more general ways can become truly formidable in its use. Many choose to use their gift to heal others.


An orc.

Main article: Orcs

In appearance, orcs are half men and half beasts. They are taller, sturdier and stronger than humans. They are warlike, savage, and cruel by nature. Their blood is darker and thicker than that of normal humans and they have little care for personal hygiene or their personal appearance. Although Orcs are violent even among themselves creatures, they are pack-oriented; an orc never travels long or lives alone in groups smaller than half a dozen.


A goblin.

Goblins are, despite their appearance, members of the exact same race as orcs, and are born as siblings to the orcs. Unlike similar races, who usually bear children singly or in pairs, orcs will have large litters of children all at once; which is a large part of why their populations can explode so quickly. Within any litter, there will only be one or two true orcs, who will grow to the full size and strength of their race. A few more will be half-orcs, notably weaker than their big brothers, and relegated to supporting roles in combat, such as archery. The rest, often a full half of more of any litter, will be goblins. Goblins are puny, and quite frail; similar in size and stature to a human child, even at the apex of their growth. They have a rather tragic fate; a lifetime of near-slavery to their larger kin, and use as sword-fodder in battle. In spite of this, they thrive; in part because they are so very numerous, and also because their brother orcs are well aware how dependent they are on the goblins.

Goblins accomplish the bulk of manual labor needed by the orcs, with the sole exception of jobs which require the brute strength of true orcs, which the orcs revel in doing as proof of their prowess.


Main article: Dwarves

A dwarf.

The Dwarves are a race famed for their miners, blacksmiths, merchants and warriors. Considered as the third oldest race on the great continent after the elves and trolls, their early history is shrouded in mystery. Legends tell of a time long forgotten when their people began emerging from their underground world through caves. Nothing is known about their life prior to their arrival, or their reasons for entering the surface world, but they have been an integral part of the continent’s history since. Soon after their emergence from the underground, the dwarves entered into conflict with the original inhabitants of the land, the elves. The original reason for their dispute has been lost to history, but the two races have since fought three long wars, interrupted by a few decades of peace. During these wars the dwarves could not dislodge the elves from the deep forests in the south, but managed to consolidate their position in hills and the mountains in the north of the continent, known now as the Northlands. Since then they have constructed fantastic fortifications and settlements deep within the mountains and crags of their territory.


Main article: Undead (race)

Undead are not really a single race of creatures, although often treated as such. Almost any dead creature can, by a sufficiently skilled necromancer, be reanimated and rise again in undeath. Undead are for the most part unnatural but mindless constructs, obeying whoever created them without question nor thought. A greater mystery of necromancy is in how constructs are sustained without continuous effort from the necromancer. An undead creature does not require the constant attention of the necromancer to command and sustain, but can work autonomously according to the commands of it's master. Only rarely, perhaps once every few months, does the necromancer need to maintain his creation.


Main article: Drakes (race)

A drake.

Drakes are large, winged and fire-breathing creatures, reminiscent of true dragons. On average, an adult drake stands around three meters tall and easily weighs more than a man and a horse combined. Their skin is made up of hard scales, resistant to most physical strikes except piercing and cold damage. Most drakes are capable of true flight and can travel long distances quickly. However, their sheer weight and bulk limits their flight ability somewhat, making them ungainly in the air. Where possible, they make use of terrain features such as hills, mountains and trees as launch points in order to gain greater height and speed. Fortunately for their enemies, they are still quite clumsy creatures and surprisingly slow in combat. This, combined with their large size, renders them easy targets for those who dare attack them.


Main article: Dunefolk

A dunefolk

Dunefolk is a relatively new faction of humans from far desert lands, who choose to not use magic. There is not much, that other races know about Dunefolk, yet... with exception of fact, that some of the Naga agreed to guard important waters near their homeland.

Other Races

There are other races than these six main ones. They often align with the larger races, but these alliances are usually not permanent.


Main article: Merfolk

A merman.

The Merfolk live in the shallow parts of the ocean, wary of the monsters that lurk in the deep. Ordinarily they form alliances with no one, but in Asheviere's time they allied with the elves in order to defeat their captors. Mermen are powerful and quick in any watery environment, but struggle greatly to move on land.


Main article: Nagas

Nagas are the long time enemies of the Merfolk, and in Asheviere's time they allied with orcs to finally defeat their opponents. They usually join forces with anyone willing to help them defeat the mermen.


Main article: Ogres

The Ogres are wild beasts that live in the Northlands, but the Wesnothian army occasionally captures them and trains them for battle. They are extremely brutish and stupid, but possess enough intelligence to wield a bladed weapon.


Main article: Saurians

These are the smaller, more crafty allies of the Drakes. They often live in swamps or other damp places.


Main article: Trolls

A troll.

Trolls are ancient creatures, one of the oldest known races known to inhabit the Great Continent. They are large, slow, simple-minded, and live extremely long lives inside deep caves or atop high mountains. The most unique characteristic of trolls is an internal vitality that sustains and heals them from within. As a result they live very different lives from almost any known creature. Trolls have few real needs: they require little food or water, and thus they have little incentive to pursue much besides protection from those who are hostile towards them. This in turn means they rarely have to worry about anything and can spend much of their time sleeping or in contemplation. Trolls have a curious affinity with nature. They do not relate with living things like elves do, but instead with earth and stone. They are also somewhat curious of their surroundings and many younger whelps even enjoy traveling and seeing the world. As trolls grow older they tend to become increasingly passive, gradually losing interest in their environment and spending more of their time sleeping in a quiet, familiar corner of their home cave. This is until they finally pass away as their bodies themselves slowly turn into lifeless statues of stone.


A wose.

Little is known about the Woses, apart from their tree-like appearance. However these beings have not descended from trees, despite the similarity in form. They seem to be wardens of the natural world. All we know is told to us by their only allies,the Elves.


There are many monsters that roam about the land, not obeying anyone's orders. Occasionally, but not often, those who see them survive to tell the tale, and it is only from them that the people of Wesnoth know of their existence.

Additional information for campaign designers

The SecretLore page contains game secrets intended for campaign designers. We cannot stop anyone from reading it, but if you are a player you will probably enjoy learning these things more if you do it through the hints dropped at various places in the mainline campaigns.

External Links

Races of Wesnoth

Major: DrakesDwarvesElvesHumansOrcsUndead

Minor: MerfolkNagasOgresSauriansTrollsWosesMonsters

This page was last edited on 13 September 2022, at 16:05.