Reptilians, Reptoids, Lizardmen, Reptile folk, Scaled Ones, Scalies. A wide variety of names describe these creatures. Likewise, a variety of stories detail these creatures. Whether it’s tales of mysterious scaled beings skulking in tropical rain forests or desert marauders that carry poisoned weapons, tall tales travel quickly… perhaps faster than the lizard people themselves. No matter what stories ring true, the lizardfolk are a resourceful and enduring race; one that has faced immense hardships going back eons, perhaps before the existence of the “typical” races of today.
From parts unknown, to realms obscure
Many choose to dwell within marshy or tropical climates, as it suites their cold blood well. Others have expanded out to regions that are typically less humid and warm on the average. These brave souls are typically adventurers or are merely curious about climates beyond what they’re accustomed to. Some have reported brave souls traveling to frigid areas. For lizardfolk who don’t come incredibly prepared, such a journey is suicide. The purpose of these journeys varies as one would expect. Some seek to expand their territory, others seek new lives. The allure of fame, fortune, endless possibilities; it’s just as enticing to lizard kind as it is to the humanoids.
In ages past, an advanced society of the scaled kind ventured beyond the stars and into the planes beyond. Thus were born epics of their people coming into conflict with fiendish underworld dwellers (with traitors switching sides in the process), walking mechanical shapes, fair-like celestials and other oddities. One account detailed a city ruled by a series of squirrels wearing a headdress, a robe, and a ring of levitation; a cruel over-deity of sorts that smites all in her way. According to this lore, many a wandering lizardfolk have met their end at the hand of such a monster. However, the remainder of this famed troupe had returned with glorious anecdotes of cosmic adventure. Tales of their legendary glory circulate among storytellers, medicine men, bards and even poets among the lizardfolk. Such plots and campaigns are toted as proof that the lizardfolk are far braver and more intelligent than many rivals give them credit for.
It Ain’t Easy Being Green
No one is entirely sure where the lizardfolk came from, not even themselves! For ages, shamans and storytellers have fabricated their own tales, mostly for amusement. Some say that they descended from a race of ancients that were pushed below the world in ancient times, only to rise up and claim their own overworld turf. Others say they were once “fleshy ones”, or perhaps actual lizards, transformed by incredible magical powers. To others, they have just always been, much like the other races of the material realm. Origin story never really concerned many of the lizardfolk nations and tribes anyway. Some assume that the ancients that traveled the planes weren’t lizardfolk, but mythical beings that gave scaled kind the power of sentience. In many religions, this syncs up with the belief that powerful entities known as the Ancients are the true bringers of life and will one day awaken from their tombs in the center of the world, where they shall unite all life under the scaled ones.
Beliefs in deep gods as well as the strange myths they tote as their origin stories only help to hinder their reputation. Many view them as a strange oddity at best, foul beasts that must be vanquished at worst. In many civilizations, the scaled ones are shunned as upright walking beasts incapable of grasping social graces and the nuances of culture. Even in more metropolitan lands, there comes the base assumption that such creatures are oafish and think through instinct rather than rationality. As such, traveling lizardfolk are often relegated to demeaning tasks. This is mostly because most people are quite simply too afraid to enter a land ruled by the lizard folk. To those who have tried to understand their ways, their society is just as complex and industrious as any other… and likely as flawed. Much of lizardfolk society is ruled under a strict patriarchal code where Lizard Kings are respected with an almost divine significance. In times of progress and advancement, the cultures tend to flourish under such reign. In times of stagnation and regression, the opposite occurs. Despite what one would assume, lizard women are treated quite well in such a society, even if they don’t hold positions of power. However, such a tradition has worked well for these people through the ages, even if many outsider eyes view them as overtly sexist and backwards to much of the world around them.
The aforementioned deep gods make up much of the common religions, while existing as cults in more mixed/non-lizardfolk society. No one is certain if such deities exist, but among the lizardfolk, they are all powerful and all existent. For many high priests, they see the entombed giants as protectors who watch over the scaled ones while they sleep. Truth behind this is uncertain, but it might have some basis to theories that they once lived in the center of the planet themselves. However, members of the scaled church will refuse to answer more on this.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: I haven’t done a beastly race, let alone any race in a while. This one was requested by a blogger on my Tumblr page a looooong time ago. Whoever you are, I just want you to know that you were never forgotten! I just get busy is all. Anyway, here’s my take on the Lizardfolk. Sure, my fluff exists as a parallel to my gnoll post from many months back, but that need not be a bad thing.
Ability Score Increase. You are fortified through a harsh existence and durable bloodline. Your Constitution increases by +2.
Age. Lizardfolk mature around 11 or 12 years of age, typically living to around 60 at most. Some have lived to around 90 though.
Alignment. Even though Lizardfolk are associated with oppressive rule and fiendish consorting, most tend towards neutral alignment. Many are just as capable of being good.
Speed. Lizardfolk have a speed of 30 ft.
Size. Being a diverse species, size tends to range from 4 1/2 – 7 feet. The size is Medium.
Darkvision. You gain darkvision out 60 ft.
Bite Attack. Lizardfolk sport powerful jaws that can crunch down on foes. You are considered proficient with this attack and base damage is 1d4 piercing damage, using your Strength modifier for attack/damage. This base damage increases to 1d6 at 6th level, 1d8 at 12th level, and 1d10 at 18th level. You may also use this attack as an “off-hand” attack as a bonus action.
Strong Smell. When you roll a Perception check to use your sense of smell, you roll with advantage on that check. If something impedes or obstructs your smell, you must spend a short rest and clear your sinuses before you gain this bonus again.
Language. You begin play knowing Common and Draconic.
Sub-Race: High Dweller – These lizardfolk are capable of traversing dangerous cliffs and towering canopies.
Ability Score Increase. You are more perceptive of your environments as a result of moving through multiple levels of elevation. Your Wisdom increases by +1.
Natural Climber. Your speed is not reduced while climbing, you gain a climb speed of 30 ft.
Resist Toxins. Many of the things your people have had to ingest to survive would kill countless other creatures. You have resistance to poison damage, as well as have advantage on saves against poisons.
Sub-Race: Waste Wanderer – Unlike other varieties, this form of lizardfolk is more brutish and will do almost anything to survive its native wasteland home.
Ability Score Increase. Rough skin and raw muscle make you a force to be reckoned with. Your Strength increases by +1.
Survivalist. You have faced adversity from nature alone, a hellish barren plain where you had to fight to live. You have proficiency in the Survival skill.
Bulky Build. You count as one size larger when determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push, drag, or lift.
Die Hard. Upon failing at least 1 death saving throw, you gain advantage on the next death save you make. You must take a long rest before using this ability again.
Sub-Race: Swamp Skulker – You were born of the marsh land. As such, your bond with the swamps allows you to travel through water with greater ease.
Ability Score Increase. You are able to maneuver in an otherwise restrictive environment. Your Dexterity increases by +1.
Hold Breath. You have taught yourself the ability to hold your breath for an extended time. For up to 1 hour, you may swim under water without worry of suffocation.
Swimmer. You gain a swim speed of 30 ft., due to your ability to dive into deep waters.
NEW FEAT: Lizardfolk Paragon
Prerequisite: Lizardfolk, Con 13.
You have achieved the pinnacle of your peers
- Tough Scales. Your scales become harder and more durable against hits. While you are not wearing armor, you may gain an AC equal to 12 + Constitution modifier or Dexterity modifier (whichever is higher.) You may still gain this bonus while using a shield.
- Finesse. Your bite attack can go off of Dexterity instead of Strength.
- Sub-Race Ability. You gain an additional ability based on your sub-race.
- High Dweller – You have advantage to acrobatics and athletics checks to hold onto a surface or to keep climbing under harsh conditions.
- Waste Wanderer – You may use Die Hard once per short rest instead of once per long rest.
- Swamp Skulker – You have advantage to checks against suffocating underwater.
NEW FEAT: Versatile Traveler
Land and sea pose less threat to you.
- Your Constitution score increases by +1
- Sub-Race Ability. Depending on your sub-race, you get the following.
- High Dweller. You gain swim speed 30 ft.
- Swamp Skulker. You gain climb speed 30 ft.
- Waste Wanderer. You gain either climb speed or swim speed of 30 ft.
Image Source: Lizardfolk – (Realms of Auria)