DnD 5e - The Gith Handbook
Last Updated: April 30th, 2020
RPGBOT uses the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks, which is simple to understand and easy to read at a glance.
- : Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational.
- : OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances.
- : Good options.
- : Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character.
I will not include 3rd-party content, including content from DMs Guild, even if it is my own, because I can't assume that your game will allow 3rd-party content or homebrew. I also won't cover Unearthed Arcana content because it's not finalized, and I can't guarantee that it will be available to you in your games.
The advice offered below is based on the current State of the Character Optimization Meta as of when the article was last updated. Keep in mind that the state of the meta periodically changes as new source materials are released and this article will be updating accordingly as time allows.
Gith are a strange race. They share almost nothing between their two subraces. The one defining trait which they do share is an Intelligence increase. This naturally predisposes both subraces to spellcasting class options, but a single Intelligence increase doesn't necessary lock you into being a wizard or something.
The Gith's biggest issue is that there is no class where their traits fit perfectly. They don't have any truly fantastic class options. They work fine for several classes, and they offer some exciting options like a wizard in medium armor, but you'll nearly always find that some major component of your racial traits are either redundant or ignored.
Classes (Default Rules)
This section assumes that you're not using the option "Customizing Your Origin" rules presented in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything. If you are using those rules, scroll up to the previous section.
An Intelligence increase is the only thing that the Artificer really needs, and both subraces offer some interesting innate spellcasting. Githyanki offers access to some martial weapons and a Strength increase which may be helpful if you're going for Battlesmith and don't want to wait for level 3. Levels 1 and 2 generally go very quickly, so don't pick Githzerai on that merit alone, but it's an option.
Githyanki make good barbarians despite how many of their racial traits are redundant or unused. The extra proficiency and innate spellcasting offer magical solutions to problems which most barbarians are totally unable to handle, though Misty Step and Rage won't work together both because you can't cast Misty Step while raging and because both use a Bonus Action. Expect to use Misty Step, then activate Rage on the following turn.
The Gith offers very little which supports the Bard. Githyanki get medium armor and access to some martial weapons which might non-martial subclasses feel more like martial subclass like College of Swords and College of Valor, but that's a really hard build to work with.
Githyanki make fine front-line melee clerics, adding a few martial weapons and a Strength bonus. Githzerai get a Wisdom increase, resistance to some conditions, and some innate spellcasting which most clerics can't replicate including Mage Hand and Shield.
The Githyanki is a bad option, even for subclasses like Circle of Spores, but the Githzerai works fine. A Wisdom increase is the only thing that the Druid strictly needs, the innate spellcasting offers some options that druids can't replicate, and Mental Discipline should work even while using Wild Shape.
Githyanki make great fighters, especially Eldritch Knights. Their extra armor and weapon proficiencies are wasted, but don't let that deter you. The ability score increases are good, and the psionics will offer access to magical options several levels before an eldritch knight would normally get them, not to mention saving you some of your precious spell slots.
Githzerai monks makes a lot of sense conceptually, but without a Dexterity increase you'll lag offensively.
The Githyanki's Strength increase is the only thing that you absolutely need, and the innate spellcasting is neat, but it's still not a great fit since so many of your racial traits will be largely ignored.
The innate spellcasting and the Githzerai's wisdom increase are the only things that the Ranger really cares about. You can make the Githyanki's Strength bonus work for a Strength-based build, but Strength-based builds are hard for the Ranger.
Neither subrace offers a Dexterity increase. You might be able to make an Arcane Trickster work, but there are numerous better racial options for that.
No Charisma increase.
No Charisma increase.
A base Intelligence increase from both subraces is great, and both subraces work great for the Wizard. Githyanki get medium armor proficiency and some useful innate spellcasting which includes Misty Step. Githzerai get get some useful innate spellcasting too, including Shield. Unfortunately, both subraces cast spells from the Wizard's spell list, so they don't add any new capabilities beyond the Githyanki's proficiencies.