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Defenders of the seas, enemies of Sahuagins, and killers of Krakens, Tritons are an exciting race to play in D&D 5e.
As aquatic beings, they are often found in the deep depths of the oceans, in sea caves, or defending portals to the Plane of Water. But Tritons can also walk on land and, though they have little to do with matters of the land, will join allies if they believe it is necessary.
Known to be haughty and even arrogant, yet also benevolent and curious, a Triton will be an unusual member of any D&D party. Their abilities are often very situational, so they may not be as much to play if your setting is nowhere near the sea, but they are, nonetheless, a quirky and interesting race to play as.
If you want to play one of these ocean-dwelling defenders, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Tritons, including:
- What is a Triton?
- What do Tritons look like?
- What abilities do Tritons have?
- What personalities do Tritons have?
- Triton religions
- How to create a Triton character
- Frequently asked questions
What is a Triton?
A Triton is an aquatic humanoid and a playable race in Volo’s Guide to Monsters. They are loosely based on the Greek god Triton, a merman and son of Poseidon – although Tritons in D&D are distinct from merfolk.
Ah, the Tritons. Imagine if the elves spent a few centuries far beneath the sea, where their arrogance and
pretension could grow undisturbed. At least the tritons spent that time fighting sahuagin and worse, so you know you can count on them in a fight.
Brego Stoneheart, sea captain (Volo’s Guide to Monsters).
Tritons once lived in the Elemental Plane of Water, a never-ending realm of ocean that is the home to many water-dwelling creatures – good and evil.
Tritons once battled against sea monsters such as Krakens and Sahuagins within the Plane of Water. But these enemies escaped into the Material Plane (where players adventure). And so, the Tritons left their home to defend the waters of the Material Plane against their ancient enemies.
Tritons live in oceans, deep-sea trenches, sea caves, and any other watery environment that may need their protection. They have little to do with the world outside of the sea, though they do trade a little with the surface world. Despite this, Tritons are an isolated race and few beings can claim to have seen one.
What do Tritons Look Like?
Tritons are aquatic humanoids and are usually 5ft tall. They have pointed ears like elves, webbed hands and feet, and a dorsal fin on each of their calves.
Traditionally, Tritons have dark blue skin. But they can also have pearly white, sea green, or coral pink skin. They have blue or green hair that usually flows to their shoulders or longer. Tritons sometimes decorate their hair with coral or shells.
What Abilities do Tritons Have?
Ability score increase: Tritons get +1 to their Strength, Constitution, and Charisma.
How fast are Tritons?: Tritons have a 30ft walking speed and a 30ft swimming speed.
How long do Tritons live?: Tritons can live up to 200 years.
How big are Tritons?: Tritons are medium-sized creatures and are usually around 5ft tall.
Can Tritons breathe underwater?: Yes! Tritons are amphibious and can breathe both on land and underwater.
What spells can Tritons cast?: Tritons can call on the elemental magic of Air and Water, using Charisma as their spell modifier. Tritons can cast the following spells:
- 1st level: fog
- 3rd level: gust of wind
- 5th level: wall of water
Emissary of the Sea: Tritons’ affinity with the sea means they can communicate simple things to any beast that can breathe underwater. They cannot, however, understand these beasts in return.
Guardians of the Depths: Tritons are resistant to cold damage and ignore any negative effects caused by an underwater environment.
What Personalities do Tritons Have?
Tritons are known for being haughty and demanding respect and reverence wherever they go. Most of them have spent little time on the surface, and so they are also distant from the customs of the land. Tritons do not concern themselves with the wars, politics, or normalities of the surface world.
If you’re stuck on ways to roleplay this personality trait, Volo’s Guide to Monsters offers the following quirks table. Simply roll a d6 or choose one or more quirks from the following:
- You phrase requests as orders that you expect to be obeyed.
- You are quick to boast of the greatness of your civilization.
- You learned an antiquated version of Common and drop “thee” and “thou” into your speech.
- You always assume that people are telling you the truth about local customs and expectations.
- The surface world is a wondrous place, and you catalogue all its details in a journal.
- You mistakenly assume that surface folk know about and are impressed by your people’s history.
Tritons’ haughty personality and isolation from the rest of the world is part of what makes them so fun to roleplay! If you’re planning on playing a Triton in D&D 5e, you should definitely lean into their strange characteristics.
Despite their apparent self-importance, Tritons are good and loyal companions. They are usually Lawful Good and will stop at nothing to protect their friends as well as the oceans they call home.
Their sense of pride (even arrogance) means they are more than willing to die for causes they care about. So whilst Tritons may clash with new party members at first, they are one of the best races to have fighting alongside you.
Tritons usually worship Persana, the creator-god of Tritons who is little known to other beings. Persana is usually depicted as a giant Triton, often carrying a large shell or silver triton. The Tritons were a theocratic society when they lived in the Plane of Water – meaning they were ruled by the priests and priestesses of Persana.
Since leaving the Plane of Water, most Tritons continue to worship Persana. Since Sahuagins are the ancient enemies of Tritons, they are also enemies of the Sahuagin shark god, Sekolah.
How to Create a Triton Character
Choose a Class for Your Triton
What is the best class for Tritons? Given their Strength, Constitution, and Charisma bonus, the best race for Tritons is a Paladin. This can also be worked in well with your Triton’s background as a Persana-worshipping defender of the seas. Triton Paladins may want to take the Oath of the Open Sea when they reach 3rd level.
Other than Paladins, Tritons make good Fighters, Bards, Warlocks, and Sorcerers.
Choose a Background for Your Triton
If you are playing a Triton in D&D 5e, you should have a think about why your Triton has come to the surface. Has he received a message from Persana, instructing him to go to the surface world? Is she a Bard fascinated with the surface and eager to learn more of the world outside of the depths of the sea?
Some good background choices for Tritons from The Player’s Handbook include:
- Acolyte – You are a committed worshipper of Persana who has spent your life acting as an intermediary between your god and other Tritons
- Hermit – You have spent your life secluded in a deep-sea trench, caring only for the creatures there. You have little experience of the outside world.
- Noble – You are a powerful member of your Triton clan and are used to exerting authority over others.
- Sailor – You left your underwater home many years ago and became a sailor, preferring the company of land-dwellers to your fellow Tritons.
Choose a Name for Your Triton
Triton names usually have two or more syllables. Male names end in a vowel and the letter s, whilst female names end with an n. Triton surnames usually use the name of their home (ocean, sea cave, etc.) followed by a th. Some suggested names given in Volo’s Guide to Monsters are:
Female Triton Names: Aryn, Belthyn, Duthyn, Feloren, Otanyn, Shalryn, Vlaryn, Wolyn
Male Triton Names: Corus, Delnis, Jhimas, Keros, Molos, Nalos, Vodos, Zunis
Triton Surnames: Ahlorsath, Pumanath, Vuuvaxath
You can also use this Fantasy Name Generator for more ideas!
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What Languages can Tritons Speak?
Answer: Tritons can speak, read, and write in Common and Primordial.
Question: What Weapons can Tritons Use?
Answer: Given their Strength bonus, Tritons are best with melee weapons. Tritons have a special weapon called a Tapal, a one-handed arched blade that can be used in conjunction with a spear or dagger – often made of bone or coral.
Tapals are traditionally given to Tritons when they come of age at 15. They are often family heirlooms and have deep personal significance to many Tritons. They are particularly effective when wielded underwater, but they can be used on the surface as well.
Question: Do Tritons have Darkvision in D&D 5e?
Answer: Yes – in the 2020 adventure guide, Mythic Odysseys of Theros, it was clarified that Tritons do indeed have darkvision.
Question: Do Tritons have Scales?
Answer: The official rulebooks do not give a full description of Triton appearance. That said, it is up to you and your Dungeon Master! If you want a scaley Triton – go for it!
Question: What is the Difference Between Tritons and Merfolk?
Answer: Tritons are humanoid and have legs, whereas Merfolk have a fishlike lower body. Tritons also live in much deeper parts of the ocean than Merfolk. Merfolk rarely go this far deep in the ocean as they do not have darkvision, so it is unlikely that Merfolk and Tritons will have much to do with each other.
Question: Are Tritons a Good Race to Play in D&D 5e?
Answer: In terms of how powerful you will be, a lot of Triton abilities are very situational. If you’re not playing a campaign where you’ll get to use abilities like water-breathing and speaking to aquatic animals, you may feel underpowered compared to other races.
That said, Tritons are a lot of fun to play, and when their abilities come in handy they can be game-changers. Our advice? Chat with your Dungeon Master and try to get a sense of what sort of campaign you’ll be playing.
Final Thoughts on Playing Tritons in D&D 5e
Tritons are a really fun and unusual class. If you’re playing a standard campaign, expect your Triton to be one of the weirdest party members. This can create a lot of entertaining roleplaying, especially if your Triton is very haughty or completely clueless about the surface world.
If you’re a player wishing to play a Triton in D&D 5e, Volo’s Guide to Monsters will tell you everything else you might want to know about Tritons, as well as some tips on playing ‘monstrous’ characters.
If you’re a Dungeon Master wanting to involve Tritons in your game, Mythic Odysseys of Theros is a fun, sea-faring campaign that will suit Triton PCs very well.