Dungeons & Dragons is dropping the term "race" from its rules terminology and will use the term "species" instead. Today, Wizards of the Coast announced it would no longer use the phrase "race" moving forward to refer to a character's biological traits, with species being chosen as a more accurate replacement. "The term "species" was chosen in close coordination with multiple outside cultural consultants," Wizards of the Coast wrote in a statement announcing the change on D&D Beyond.
When announcing the change, Wizards of the Coast acknowledged that the term "race" was a problematic term that has "had prejudice links between real world people and the fantasy people of D&D worlds." Using race to refer to a character's biological traits dates back to the earliest days of the game, but many have criticized how the game has used race to provide blanket mechanical benefits or detriments. Wizards has made a concerted effort to update Dungeons & Dragons' approach to race, with Tasha's Cauldron of Everything untangling ability score increases from a character's biological background. Other fantasy roleplaying games (and third party supplements to Dungeons & Dragons) have offered alternative rules regarding character building, with some games using ancestry and others using cultural backgrounds as the basis for character building.
As part of the new playtest being released today, Dungeons & Dragons players will have the opportunity to provide feedback about the choice to use "species" as the mechanical terminology moving forward. "Having an open conversation around the term "race" is both important and challenging," Wizards of the Coast wrote. "That is why it's vital we foster a positive, open, and understanding dialogue with one another. We welcome your constructive feedback on this evolution and the many more evolutions to One D&D that make this game exciting, open, and accessible to everyone. Dragons and elves belong in our world, and so do you."