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Races of Theros

Hundred-Handed One | Art by Brad Rigney

Humanity isn't the only sentient race of Theros. Across the plane, several other humanoid races live under the eyes of the gods: tritons and civilized centaurs along the coasts, wilder centaurs and satyrs in the chaparral, and leonin and minotaurs in the rocky badlands. Undead escapees from the Underworld, known as the Returned, settle in the forgotten corners of the plane.


Concept Art by Peter Mohrbacher

Beyond the borders of Akros lie the leonin dens. They are scattered throughout the rocky scrublands and low mountains, away from the human poleis of Theros. The leonin keep to themselves, interacting with other races only when they must: for trade and, occasionally, for raids.

Renunciation of Human Gods

There was a time, centuries ago, when the leonin worshipped the same gods as their human counterparts, but after the era of the tyrannical archon Agnomakhos, the leonin rejected all human ways in a bitter backlash that has defined their role on Theros ever since. Most revere the hunt and the pride, but according to chronicler Lanathos, some leonin still make offerings to Heliod and Nylea.

Art by Peter Mohrbacher


Oreskos. This central domain of the leonin lies in a rocky river valley in a remote region of Theros. Here, one can see the old influence from when the leonin were ruled from Meletis. In Oreskos, a smattering of human culture remains from their time under the oppression of Agnomakhos, but the leonin are slowly reverting back to their original nature, abandoning the ideology and culture that have been imposed on them throughout their history.

Art by Raymond Swanland

Tethmos. This is the primary leonin den, high in the mountains. Leonin in Tethmos train endlessly and are constantly ready. They prepare both for skirmishes against the Akroans intruding in their lands as well as from a culturally ingrained fear that the Meletians will attempt to enslave them again.

Roles and Personalities

Brimaz, the leonin king. The leonin king is both a warrior and a spiritual leader for his people. Each king is considered the manifestation of nature's animus on earth. Brimaz is a capable warrior and an inspiring leader but has private doubts about the isolationism of leonin culture.

Lanathos. Lanathos is a Meletian chronicler who has traveled all over Theros. He is the only human known to have been allowed to document the leonin and their ways, because he tells a sympathetic story about their origins: that Meletis is actually their ancestral homeland and that they may one day hope to reclaim it.

Art by Kev Walker


Art by Greg Staples

Tritons are a race of sea-dwellers who can plague sailors and coastal poleis such as Meletis. Tritons are partially amphibious—they can breathe air for several days at a time but must spend time in water to keep their gills soft. Tritons worship the sea god Thassa above all others and work to do her bidding.

The Hand of Thassa

While tritons pay respect to many gods, they are devoted to Thassa, god of the sea. Tritons see Thassa as the primary god of the pantheon of Theros, believing she will bring their race to ascendancy over beasts of the sea and the human-dominated poleis of the land. Tritons often act at Thassa's direct command, drowning boats in magically conjured whirlpools or creating great monuments on the Dakra Isles.

Triton priests lead ceremonies honoring Thassa, often involving offerings at towering shell-altars both under the sea and on land. Some triton worshippers create magical sculptures out of saltwater that tower up out of the ocean, then crash down into the waves again.

Thassa, God of the Sea | Art by Jason Chan

The Returned

Art by Seb McKinnon

When sentient, mortal beings die on Theros, they pass into its Underworld. They dwell in this eternally gray realm without sun or night under the watch of Erebos, god of the Underworld. But over the centuries, many denizens of the Underworld have escaped and returned to the sunlit realm of the living. They are called the Noston (from nostos, "to return home"), or the Returned.

Art by Mark Zug

Loss of identity. To leave the Underworld, beings must give up their identity and their very faces, each of which becomes an unsettling surface with eyeholes and a mouth. This doesn't mean that the Returned have no personality and no memory of anything, however. One's name and past are forgotten, but skills and personality are retained. That is, the events and relationships of the mortal's life are lost, but the results of those events are intact (such as speech or the ability to play music). In addition, the Returned lose the ability to form the long-term memories on which relationships are based—they are unable to "build a new life," as it were.

Concept Art by Peter Mohrbacher

Sentient, sapient zombies. The Returned are undead in the most actual sense. When they return to the living realm, they don't return to life. They need water and air but not food. The Returned form communities, experience fleeting emotions, and follow daily routines, but their existence is a shadow play, because without an identity or an ability to nurture long-term relationships, the elements of their "lives" have no weight or substance.

They aren't just thinking, speaking zombies but also feeling ones. Although their lack of identity prevents long-term memory formation, they do feel emotions based on their experiences. That in turn means that their emotions tend toward darkness: frustration, bitterness, loneliness, resentment, anger, and melancholy.

Gold masks cover void faces. When a human dies on Theros, a funerary mask of dark clay is customary, used to "frame" the identity of the deceased for Athreos. So when a mortal destroys his or her identity to leave the Underworld, that mortal must fashion a mask to stand in for it. Gold is the most common material in Erebos's realm, so it has become customary for the Returned to symbolically replace their funerary masks (and by proxy their identities) with beautifully crafted gold masks that cover their changed faces and function as surrogate, albeit flimsy, identities.

Concept Art by Peter Mohrbacher

"Coins" of dark clay. Because gold is commonplace in the Underworld, the Returned don't value it (except their own masks) and instead use special clay pieces called ostraka as a kind of currency or barter tool. Each ostrakon is a shard from a dark clay funerary mask. These pieces of clay have great significance to the Returned for obvious reasons, and they are used as mementos by inhabitants of the necropolis of Asphodel, as trophies by those of Odunos, and as ornamentation and currency by all of their kind.

Art by Robbie Trevino


The Returned refer to their two small city-states as necropolises mostly without irony—they are occupied by the dead, after all. Smaller, more isolated settlements exist, and some of the Returned eschew civilization altogether, occupying caves or simply wandering. The two necropolises, roughly equal in size, are called Asphodel and Odunos. Each has a kind of overarching characteristic: Asphodel's is despondence; Odunos's is anger.

Asphodel. The polis of Asphodel, situated in a sprawling, inland, coastal marsh, is home to those Returned who have a deep nostalgia for things they can no longer remember. It is, for the most part, a dull place, although it maintains a guard and an order of mages for defense. Its citizens seek to be left alone, venturing out only when seized by fugues of emotion, or when resources are needed or desired (often for unrecalled reasons). The main sources of conflict in Asphodel are occasional raids on the polis by living beings who have become convinced by their leaders or their gods that the Returned are an abomination to be eliminated. Asphodel is symbolically aligned with Erebos in that its residents accept their fate.

Odunos. This polis stands in contrast to Asphodel. Its citizens tend toward a combination of greedy, violent, and resentful. These Returned have come to envy and/or despise the living and are driven by a desire to deprive them of the joys of life. Odunos raiders strike at any humanoids nearby—leonin, minotaurs, and the humans of Akros and environs. Their raids are small but effective, and almost always nocturnal. Whereas Asphodel's citizens pointlessly amass wealth, Odunos seeks to destroy the wealth of the living (both literal, such as gold, and figurative, such as food, children, and comfort). The Returned of Odunos desire little for themselves beyond water.

Concept Art by Peter Mohrbacher

Notable Figures and Objects

Art by Volkan Baga

Tymaret of Odunos. Known by humans as the Murderer King, Tymaret acts as the de facto leader of Odunos, organizing raids and commanding the best warriors.


Art by Kev Walker

Minotaurs are the barbaric, cave-dwelling raiders of Theros, barely sentient and certainly not sapient. Although they are among Theros's races, for all intents and purposes they are monsters, seeking only mayhem and meat, killing each other when they're not killing humanoids of other races. They have no high objective, no culture to speak of, and only the most rudimentary language. Most are found in the high mountains of Phoberos or Akros. Some have been known to frequent swamps, which has turned their hide and hair black with peat.

Art by Matt Stewart

Bone-strewn caves. Minotaurs will squat in any cave, cavern, or shaft they deem large enough and safe enough. Their lairs are littered with refuse, dung, and the bones of a wide variety of animals and other races, but especially with the bones from their favorite meat: human.

Art by Wayne Reynolds

Only the mighty can lead. Only the mightiest and most ferocious of minotaurs can force the herd into compliance. Fights between minotaur alphas can be heard for miles and almost certainly end in a gory death. The victor claims dominance and fealty.

Art by Phill Simmer


Art by Christopher Moeller

The satyrs of Theros are well-loved for their good spirits, their love of revels, and their boisterous, gregarious personalities. Those who feel differently know to keep their opinions to themselves. And so their fun-loving reputation expands, and the darker aspects of their nature are kept quiet—except in the minds of the humans tricked into becoming their caretakers.

Skola Valley

This verdant, highly enchanted valley dotted with copses of trees lies in Theros's chaparral. The satyrs subsist on the magic of the valley to the point that their lives resemble one long party. There are no permanent settlements, and the music of pipes can be heard from dawn until dusk.

Art by Wesley Burt


With all their basic needs provided for, the satyrs are free to pursue pleasure as the only goal in life. There are few lasting bonds between satyrs, all of whom dwell in a state of abject hedonism. They are generous when it suits their ambitions; they are cruel when those ambitions are thwarted. Since everyone ends up in the same Underworld, they believe honor and righteousness are useless endeavors. "Taste the world," say the satyrs, "before Erebos rips your tongue out."

Art by Tyler Jacobson

Cult of Horns. Frequently humans come to Skola in search of endless pleasure without consequences. When they first arrive, they are courted by the satyrs. They are told they will learn the mysteries of Nyx. They enjoy days of revelries, music, and ecstatic dance—all without a care in the world. Inevitably, the hospitality gives way to something more sinister, and these unsuspecting humans find themselves conscripted into service of the satyrs.

The satyr sybils decide when these newcomers are ready for full initiation rites. Many humans undertake the rites, never knowing the joke is on them, and are awarded a crown made of broken horns—a symbol of mockery. Once given the crown, they are known as Stubs. They are assigned menial, humiliating tasks. Enchantment magic keeps them in the thrall of the satyrs until, inevitably, the satyrs tire. Then the Stubs are deserted in the wild chaparral, where they awake hours later, alone, dazed, and ashamed. Out of embarrassment, Stubs seldom tell the true story of their time with the satyrs.

Many perpetuate the myth of the joy and excitement of their time in Skola, encouraging the younger generation to "sow their wild oats" among the satyrs.


The dual nature of the satyrs is evident in the types of revelries they hold.

Art by Kev Walker

Rollick Night. Satyrs host festivals for humans in the poleis several times a year. These are splendid affairs with good food, drink, and entertainment. The satyrs are jovial and welcoming, and while the streets are trashed the next morning, rarely do things get out of control. These Rollick Nights are the foundation of the satyrs' renown and the places where they "recruit" the most humans for the Cult of Horns.

Art by Anthony Palumbo

Bakkeia. These are hardcore celebrations of ritual madness that happen only in the Skola Valley. They often begin pleasantly enough but descend into defilement, sacrifice, and violence done by those who hold the power in the valley. Caves under the valley heated by geothermal gases are the sites of some of the most depraved rituals.


Theran centaurs are humanity's most consistent allies and trade partners, but their populations are not monolithic. Over countless centuries, the centaurs of Theros slowly divided into two distinct bands, the Lagonna and the Pheres. Whereas the Lagonna are traders who sometimes settle an area, the Pheres are nomads and raiders.

Lagonna Band

The Lagonna travel in small merchant family bands called guri (singular "guros"). They most commonly trade with Meletis, which provides the biggest market for their wares, but they also do business with Setessa.

Art by Min Yum

Lagonna Roles

Elder. The head of each guros is typically its eldest member. The family head has the final say on all clan-related decisions.

Barterer. Each guros has a barterer who serves as liaison between the guros and its trade clients. Barterers are, by necessity, more diplomatic and more knowledgeable of other cultures than the average centaur.

Omener. The omener reads messages from the gods for the guros. These messages can be from an eagle flying overhead, a lightning-struck tree, a toad crushed on the roadway, and the like. The omener has knowledge of all of these "omen signs" as well as which god may have sent them.

Courser. Coursers explore new trade territory for the guros. They may not be with the guros for long stretches, but their excellent tracking skills always enable them to find their group again in short order.

Koletra. Every guros tries to travel with at least one of the Koletra—burly, well-trained warriors of the Lagonna Band. Not every guros has Koletra of its own, and guri share their best warriors among each other as a sign of goodwill and a way to forge bonds.

Heptaristi Once per year, a massive Lagonna herd is gathered and all guri attend. The Lagonna trade heavily among their own during this summit, but the highlight of the event is the choosing of the Heptaristi, the seven leaders. Seven guros elders are chosen to form the Heptaristi and to make all of the most important decisions for the band. The Lagonna treat this as if it was a democratic affair, but in truth, most seats are purchased through trade agreements with other clan leaders.

Lagonna Notable Figures

Bromos. Bromos is a hefty male centaur known for his booming voice and hard-nosed haggling. He is the elder of the Surm guros, one of the oldest Lagonna guri. He has served on the Heptaristi four times.

Art by Trevor Claxton

Oka. Oka is a lithe female centaur who is widely held to be the best courser of any guros. She was married into and has served the Maiand guros for years, and has remained with them even though her mate died several years ago. Oka is also known for her skills with a shortbow.

Pheres Band

The Pheres roam the wild lands between Setessa and Akros. Their family ties are looser than those of the Lagonna Band, and on some occasions they form large raid hordes to secure resources and new hunting grounds. They are slightly larger than the Lagonna, and they are also quite a bit more savage. Pheres names are often descriptions of a physical feature or the circumstances of an individual's birth.

Art by Kev Walker

Pheres Roles

Charger. Unlike the Lagonna, who are ruled by their elders, the Pheres are led by their strongest and most dominant. Each small raiding herd follows a charger, and leadership tends to be stable until the charger ages to the point where he or she can't lead effectively anymore.

Caller. Pheres "callers" are shamans and summoners with the ability to call animals to aid the band and to enchant their allies with animal energies. A caller can be identified by the ornately carved horn he or she carries, called an oulokeros.

Tromper. Centaur legends say that when the gods first fashioned humans from the red mud of the eldest river, it was Pheres trompers who taught them how to corner and kill prey. Trompers are the feared raiders and warriors of the Pheres Band.

Art by Steve Prescott

Pheres Notable Figures

Great-Hoof. Great-Hoof is the charger of one of the largest Pheres raiding bands. He is large, muscular, and highly skilled as a tactician. It's rumored that he once broke the back of a minotaur with one kick.

Wide-Eyes. Wide-Eyes is among the youngest of Pheres callers, and her skills are already renowned. She tends to be quite reclusive unless the band needs her aid. Her most stalwart companion is a small squirrel she calls Glokhis.

Smoke-Born. Smoke-Born is a middle-aged healer who serves several raiding bands. Her birth took place as her home village, Kithara, was burned to the ground by Akroan warriors. Smoke-Born has many small wooden totems braided into her mangy hair, and although her appearance can be disconcerting, her healing skills are unmatched.


Nymphs are divinely created creatures that inhabit special places, infusing them with the magic of Nyx. Most are benevolent and associated with healing or other life-giving magic, but dark nymphs dwell near the entrances to the Underworld and in places of great sorrow as well. Nymphs were intentionally created by the gods and can act as companions, messengers, guardians, or scouts.

Nymphs tend to be mysterious, shy creatures who spend most of their lives around a single location. Although they are corporeal, they "inhabit" aspects of the natural world, such as trees, lakes, or caves. They often live in groups. They have no need for sustenance or shelter; they subsist on the magic of Nyx. They rarely interact with humans. They do not grow old or suffer from illness, but they can be killed.

Alseid. These white-aligned nymphs inhabit meadows. They protect flocks and are in closer proximity to human civilization than any of the other nymphs.

Art by Todd Lockwood

Naiad. Blue-aligned nymphs can be found anywhere there is water. They are common in the streams and grottos of the Nistos Forest. Naiad also make their home on isolated beaches and shorelines, although they prefer areas with more cover.

Art by David Palumbo

Lampad. These rare, black-aligned nymphs are said to help Athreos in guiding the dead to the Underworld. They sometimes bear torches that burn violet.

Art by Volkan Baga

Oread. The most aggressive and dangerous nymphs, these red-aligned creatures dwell in remote mountain crevasses and near volcanoes. Purphoros is fond of their company, and these nymphs also take part in satyr bakkeia—but only the very wildest ones.

Art by Todd Lockwood

Dryad. Nylea has created many green-aligned nymphs, and her followers can be found throughout the Nistos and Skola regions.

Art by Volkan Baga

Subpages (2): Leonin Nymphs