Minotaurs are tall stout humanoids with heads that resemble those of Bulls. They have very thick fur and possess horns that range in size and shape, large four-fingered hands, large cloven-hooved feet, and long tufted tails.
In the 5th edition, DnD Minotaurs appeared as monster races in the Monster Handbook but more recently have appeared as Playable Races in Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica as well as Mystic Odysseys of Theros. The Ravnica and Theros versions are significantly different from the Minotaurs in the Monster Manual in abilities and stats and also include some much-needed historical, cultural, and personality overhauls which the previous version lacks.
Minotaurs in DnD are inspired by real-world Greek mythology. In Greek Mythology, The Minotaur, a singular entity, was the cursed offspring of Pasiphae, the wife of Minos and a Snow White Bull. The Greek god, Poseidon sent the bull to King Minos to be used as a sacrifice but Minos took a liking to the beautiful animal and decided to keep it alive for himself. In anger, Poseidon made Minos’s wife take a much greater liking to the white bull. The result of this was a monster child.
This child, the Minotaur, was locked away in a Labyrinth where it spent its whole life being fed with seven Athenian youths and maidens every nine years – a vengeful tribute commissioned by Minos after the Athenians killed his son Androgeos. This practice was put to an end when a tribute, the Hero known as Theseus, killed the Minotaur with the help of Minos’s daughter Ariadne.
While Greek mythology is the root of the concept of Minotaurs, its inspiration in DnD is very little. Other than the appearance of Minotaurs, there is barely any resemblance in any other aspects.
Minotaurs from the Monster Manual
In the Monster Manual, Minotaurs are solitary carnivorous monsters that roam in places with labyrinthine layouts. This includes confusing forests, winding dungeons, maze-like streets, etc. They live and hunt in areas such as this because of their unique ability to memorize and perfectly recall any path they have traveled, giving them a familiarity with places like this as well as a hunting advantage against lost prey.
Minotaurs have a lust for the carnage that overwhelms all thought and reason. At the slightest smell of blood, they are whipped up into a blood rage and charge into anything they can find with their deadly horns. They charge at their prey like a battering ram, goring them with their horns and slaughtering their prone bodies.
They are believed to be the descendants of demonic rituals performed by their ancestors, cultists of Baphomet, the horned king. These cultists perform these rituals to receive power and strength from their master as well as become more like him. Others perform the rituals to free themselves from their humanities and embrace freedom from authorities and rules and a return to a beastly nature.
As a result, the cultists are transformed into evil demonic beasts resembling the horned demonic king in form and character. They have no regard for authorities and hierarchies, they are difficult to control and put down, and they indulge their base instincts to hunt, kill, and eat wild animals and humanoids alike.
Even their special ability, Labyrinthine recall, as well as their choice of habitat, is also a product of their benefactor Baphomet whose dwelling in the abyssal plane is a gigantic labyrinth. They are also immune to spells that mess with their sense of direction e.g. Maze spells
Minotaurs can breed true with one another to bring Minotaur offspring which gives rise to an independent race of Minotaurs. Although it is believed that the rituals of Baphomet’s cultists still go on meaning Minotaurs are still being artificially created. They speak Abyssal tongue.
Stats and Abilities
STR +4, CON +3, INT -2, WIS +3, CHA -1, SPD 40ft
Charge: Gains a free attack as a bonus action if the minotaur moves at least 10 feet that deals 9 (2d8) piercing damage as well as pushes enemy creatures 10 feet away and knocks them down (the knockback can be avoided with a DC 14 saving throw).
Labyrinthine Recall: Perfectly recall any path that has been traveled
Reckless: The Minotaur can gain an advantage on melee attack rolls during a turn but will also receive advantaged attack rolls from enemies.
Minotaurs of Ravnica
Minotaurs of Ravnica are very different from those in the Monster Manual. They are not demonic in origin and they are a playable race. They are a race of warriors, strong in body, dedication, and courage. They love battle and are known for their keen tactics making them good commanders and powerful shock troops.
Minotaurs of Ravnica trace their origins to a small pantheon of ancient heroes who they believe established the Minotaurs’ place in the world. All Minotaurs are said to have descended from these heroes and even order their societies after their ancestry into lines like the Ordruun Line, Kharran Line, etc.
The most prominent of the Minotaur clans is the Ordruun family, said to have been descended from the ancient hero Ordruun who taught their people the art of war. Almost all members of this family line are members of the Boros Legion, Ravnica’s most formidable military force of righteous law and fierce justice, with which the family line has a long history of the association.
One of the Commanders of the Boros Legion, Commander Grozdan, is a prominent member of the Ordruun line. Minotaurs comprise most of the members of the Ordruun Commandos, often endearingly referred to by the Boros Legion as “Hammer Duty”.
Other prominent family lines and their associations include the Kharran Line which is primarily associated with the Gruul Scab Clan, the most violent clan of the Gruul Clans; the Drendaa line found scattered amongst the clans of the Gruul; and the Tazgral line with members divided between the Boros and the Gruul clans with a significant number in the cult of Rakdos as well.
Physical features and Behavior and Culture
In appearance, Minotaurs across the different lore are similar; Bull-faces, Barrel-chested, strong backs, horns, cloven-hooved feet, thick fur, tails, etc.
In Ravnica, Minotaurs often adorn their horns with metal rings or sheathe them in metal to protect them from damage (Minotaurs affiliated with the Izzet League of Ravnica coat their horns in Mizzium, a magic-infused fireproof metal alloy). Males have long tufts of hair on their chins and cheeks. Females also possess horns and other features but have them in slightly smaller sizes.
They have long tufted tails but members of the Ordruun clan have their tails docked as part of their coming-of-age ceremony. It is also more comfortable to wear Boros Legion heavy armor without a long tail.
Minotaurs have great regard for their heroes and it shows in their naming traditions. Almost every Minotaur is named after a hero in their legends. These could be minor characters in the epics of the ancient Minotaur heroes including names of allies, retainers, lovers, servants, enemies, and other characters. This keeps the memory of their heroes alive and also gives Minotaurs a sense of direction and inspiration. One could hear a Minotaur taking pride in his name, “My Namesake was a champion of the battlefield and I walk in his stead”.
Minotaurs are very passionate, Loving their friends and partners with fierceness, and very expressive laughing loudly when amused and being violent when angry. Those who love justice like the Ordruun love it passionately, and those who are fueled by rage like members of the Gruul clans do so passionately also.
Minotaurs speak, read, and write both Common and Minotaur.
The Abilities of Minotaurs in Ravnica are different from those in the monster manual. Most noticeably, they lose Labyrinthine recall which was unique to Minotaurs as well as the only remaining callback to its Greek Inspiration. Even their stat block is nerfed for balance as a player race. Their active skills are also changed to more balanced skills.
Stat Block: STR +2, CON +1, SPD 30ft
Horns: Horns are natural unarmed piercing weapons dealing 1d6 +STR modifier instead of the usual 1d4 blunt damage of regular unarmed strikes.
Goring Rush: After using the dash action to move at least 20ft, you can make one melee attack with your horns as a bonus action.
Hammering Horns: Immediately after hitting an enemy creature with a melee attack, you gain a bonus action to attempt to shove the enemy with your horns 10ft away from you. The target cannot be more than one size larger than you and must be within 5 ft. Creatures can avoid this by rolling a saving throw against a DC 8+ your proficiency bonus + your STR modifier.
Imposing Presence: You have proficiency in either Intimidation or Persuasion.
Minotaurs of Theros
Minotaurs of Theros share identical abilities and physical features with those of Ravnica. The key difference can be found in their origins, culture, and activities in their universe.
Servants of Mogis
Most Minotaurs have only known a life of slaughter. Myths tell that Mogis created the Minotaurs from his loyal followers who were made up of criminals and monsters of unspeakable depravity. While groups of Minotaurs remain loyal to their historical allegiance to their creator, many others abandon their ancestral ties and try to move beyond the lifestyle imposed on them by their birth.
Theros Minotaurs are not evil creatures but can be depending on their nurturing. Unfortunately, most are nurtured under the tyranny of Mogis. Of these, they are ostensibly carnivores and some even cannibals. Those who have broken free of their bloody cultures can freely decide what moral path to follow, some becoming heroes of renown. Fortunately, the inhabitants of Akros and other reaches near Phoberos know that these free-thinking Minotaurs exists and willingly embrace them into their societies.
Those who have escaped the corruption of Mogis often gravitate towards other gods that best align with whatever alignment their freedom has decided upon. It is very common to find Minotaurs who worship Erebos, Keranos, and Purphoros as these gods share Minotaurs’ bold nature. Some Minotaurs embrace Mogis’s hated twin brother, Iroas the god of Honor and Victory in War.
Theros Minotaus share the same physical traits, Stats, and Abilities as Ravnica. Exceptions in their physical appearance include priests of Mogis often adorning themselves with trophies from their kills and sacred items. Minotaurs of Theros also carve their horns to sharpen their edges and etch symbols of power into them to make them sturdier during battle.
Theros Minotaurs can speak, read, and write Common and Minotaur.