Each regular race turns glyphs (magic spells/skills) into some permanent bonus.
Human: 10% bonus to attack. Great for beginners and Rogues/Berserkers
Elf: 2 maximum mana. Amazing Wizards.
Dwarf: Bonus to maximum hit points. (1 per level?)
Hafling: 1 healing potion. Great for many challenge missions.
Gnome: 1 mana potion.
Goblin: 10 gold. Natural fit for tinkers.
Orc: 5 experience.
In addition, 3 special races exist as unlockables, that are a both a race and class together. Each of these three cause significant changes to the core mechanics of the game.
Gorgon: Low damage, high physical damage resistance, free break wall glyph. Glyphs turn into a bonus percentage at which point you will petrify an enemy. Not that you do not have first-strike like monster gorgons do.
Half Dragon: High Health, magic damage, longer sight range, bonus damage in the form of a knockback attack. Enemies hit into walls/other enemies take bonus damage, depending on how many glyphs you've consumed. Can not use fireball glyphs at all.
Vampire: Rogue's bigger, meaner brother/sister. 20% life steal, raised each time a glyph is consumed. Does not regenerate health, except by level up/hitting monsters. First Strike. Loses life each time a new map square is revealed. Hard to start, but past level 3, becomes a steamroller.