Lizardfolk – A Reptilian Race for D&D 5th Edition

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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.

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From parts unknown, to realms obscure

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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.

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It Ain’t Easy Being Green

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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.

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Avian – A Bird Race for D&D 5e

THIS POST HAS BEEN MOVED TO MY PATREON!  FUTURE UPDATES ARE HANDLED THERE.  PLEASE CONSIDER SUPPORTING TO ENCOURAGE FUTURE UPDATES!

Author’s Note:  The Aarakocra have been rather divisive for a long time.  Their appearance in 5th edition has been no less controversial.  I’ll admit, my version isn’t an attempted fix on what’s dubbed broken.  Rather, it’s my own take on the concept from the ground up, using various species for inspiration.

Created by Doctor Necrotic, for Doctor Necrotic Media.

Gnolls – now on patreon

EDIT OCT 2018 – You can find the stats on my Patreon page.  The crunch itself remains open to the public.  The rest of the post is found below.

You may find the stats here!

A Gnoll Matriarch Defender

For ages, the Gnoll has been viewed as a threat to developing civilization.  Tales of savage beasts with hyena heads mauling travelers and attacking city walls have struck fear into even the most trained of soldiers.  Their origins are equally mysterious, shrouding them in further mystery and fear.  However, as information spreads and reality dispels mythology, many people driven by old ways began to witness that Gnolls aren’t inherently evil.  Despite their bestial appearance and instincts, they’re more than capable of rationality and guidance.

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Wild Hunters, Clever Survivalists

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Despite many misconceptions and stereotypes, tales of gnolls being able to take down incredible prey as well as stories of them enduring brutal deserts and unforgiving wastelands contain more than enough proof.  For this reason, more accepting lands view the gnoll as a testament to the tenacity of the wild.  Within their own lands, Gnolls forge resourceful societies capable of repurposing much of what they come across, due to harsh lessons learned in barren wastes.  Also, many Gnollish culture have gained infamy for creating little of their own; relying on the ideas and supplies of others.  This has also lead to the troubling assumption that gnollish travelers are actually raiders looking to jump the unlucky wandering that crosses their path.  Being both scavengers and hunters, they’re able to adapt to any land ripe with hunting game or the barest of dead lands.  Such experiences have hardened them as both nomads and settlers.  Besides their impressive endurance, they’re viewed as incredible hunters more than able to thwart the mightiest of beasts.  While this leads to misconceptions of them being savage brutes who care for little more than brutality and bloodshed, they often save “The Hunt” for when they’re certain they’ll need the resources.  While they find little wrong with hunting other humanoids, this is often for the sake of meals rather than pure sport.  However, some populations have made a sport of hunting anyone who comes too close to secretive grounds.  Granted, they usually post significant warnings first.

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Strangers in a Strange Land

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No one is sure of where Gnolls came from, and to be honest, neither do the Gnolls!  Some have rumors that they’re the creations of mad cultists and druids, crossbreeding hyenas and humanoids.  Some suggest they’re the spawns of demonic plane-jumping conquerors, set out to hunt all in the name of Yeenoghu.  Maybe they are the result of a mad Bouda Witch corrupting the nearby lands.  Perhaps they’re just beings exposed to the arcane forces of the Plane of the Wyld, forcefully morphed into bipedal hyena creatures.  No matter the truth, Gnolls take pride in what they are and will defend their existence till the end.  Outside of their own tribes and settlements, they are the epitome of outsider though.  While many beastly folk are infamous for coming across as uncivilized and feral, gnolls face this situation far more often.  Their tendency to feast upon carrion, as well as their bone chilling cackle sound is off putting to those outside of their circles.  Their animalistic instincts have also had tendencies to kick in at bad moments.  While many traditions and actions are socially acceptable at home, they are likely taboo elsewhere.  Horror tales of a gnoll making its way into a funerary service, only to feast upon the corpse have become drunken racist jokes at bars.  Other rumors of gnolls mating or hunting in open streets have only further hindered their social status.  One famous tale that circulates through Gnoll-kind involves a wandering starved outcast gorging himself on the foods of a bazaar, before guards arrived and slew him with extreme prejudice.  This story is often toted as propaganda by those who seek to enforce xenophobia within Gnollish society.

But, this doesn’t mean that gnolls are savages without culture or morality.  Gnoll society is typically matriarchal in nature, with a high queen who proves herself through rigorous challenges.  To the outside eye, most gnolls look the same due to lack of dimorphism of their hyena ancestors.  Despite a matriarchal society, male gnolls do not suffer from discrimination like with the Drow.  However, important choices tend to be favored by females of each clan.  Many societies not dictated or ruled by sex/gender tend to view gnolls as a curiosity or are outright hostile towards their approach for many a reason.  Some view them as inherently sexist or biased in nature, whether or not these claims are actually true.  However, many gnolls from other material planes tote a much darker side.  Names such as Lamashtu and Yeenoghu imply an abyssal origin for countless legions.  These gnolls are creatures of chaos and evil, derived from both hyena and demonic bloodlines.  Their values lie within savagery, butchery and dark tributes to their demonic masters.  While it is uncommon for gnolls to become adventurers, it is even rarer for demonic gnolls to explore with creatures outside of their kind.

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  Gnolls!  I figure I’d give them some vanilla fluff to make them feel a little closer to actual hyenas rather than stick to the generic D&D lore.  Of course, they wouldn’t be gnolls unless I threw a bone here or there (haha.)  With that, enjoy my take on the race (including an inside joke toward the bottom.)  No matter, here’s another entry in support of the RPG Blog Carnival, particular the Homebrew Holiday Gifts theme for the month of December!

 

Felinian – A Cat-Like Race for D&D 5th Edition

EDIT: This draft has been moved to my Patreon page.  All further developments will happen there, while I focus on new stuff here!

Inquisitive and Adventurous Beings

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The Felinians resemble bipedal cats with a few humanoid-like qualities.  However, some are an inverse of humanoids with feline qualities.  Many tribes tend to have a variety of specific colorizations and various features, signifying different breeds.  As their cat-like descent would imply, the Felinians are naturally curious creatures that seek to know everything about whatever they find.  As such, social castes of scholars are often treated quite well within many of their societies, trading knowledge as if it were a monetary system.  However, their love of discovery doesn’t impede the power of a raw and savage nature that courses through their veins.  Gifted with the boons of their progenitor races, they’re capable of clawing a foe into submission, leaping incredible distances without too much damage and dashing incredible distances to track down prey.  That said, many fears and weaknesses associated with their ancestors carry over into much of the Felinian cultures, hence why most tend to live more inland rather than by coastal regions.

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Keepers of Balance and Seekers of Greatness

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To many a Felinian, achieving a greater sense of balance in one’s self as well as their world is the key to prosperity.  To them, a sense of neutrality is the key to survival.  In worlds that favor factions and feuding, they tend to not get involved.  Any involvement is either in self defense or eradicating faction influence within their lands.  That is not to say they won’t fight vigorously to uphold what they believe in.  Ironically, they value exploring almost anything.  While some would view their willing to indulge in something as hedonistic, Felinians typically view it as exploration.  Upon gaining greater awareness, it’s common to form group meetings in response to their discovery.  They are willing to trade in all sorts of sources of knowledge and many delights.  To them, balance can be recognized when all senses are properly “awakened.”  However, some view their philosophy as distasteful and self-serving.

Author’s Note:  Based on the positive reception from my homage to Mystara’s Lupins, I decided to tackle my take on the Rakasta sooner rather than later.  Enjoy.  (When I get the time, I’ll tackle my take on the Tortles too!)  Also, I felt motivated to do this request after rewatching the glorious vintage cheesy goodness that is (original) Thundercats.  That said, I’m probably going to start Eberron’s Quori now!

IMAGE SOURCE: Shawn Ye

Ratling Scoundrel – A Lycanthropic Roguish Archetype for D&D 5th Edition

The original draft, which I consider to be quite unbalanced in one way or another, has been removed.  The updated version of the crunch is available via “Zoanthropes – A Collection of Werebeasts” via DM’s Guild.  It will likely receive a final revision though.

Sahuagin – A Devilish Oceanic Race for D&D 5th Edition and Pathfinder

Sahuagin

Deep within endless trenches of the oceanic depths lies a race of creatures guaranteed to strike terror into the souls of many a sailor.  They’re given many names among seafarers – Sharkmen, Sea Devils, Sea Raiders, and countless others.  Whether any of these detractor names hold any weight or accuracy is to be determined.  However, anger and xenophobia is quite close to fact amongst the Sahuagin.  Any fool who’d dare tread upon their territory is soon greeted by endless waves of relentless raiding parties; attacking crewmen, infiltrating ships, and sometimes destroying the ship piece by piece.  Whether or not the attacks are deserved is up to whichever side of the raid you’re on!

Within their deep kingdoms, Suhuagin life is complex.  These beings live under a strict caste system based on personal merit.  Those capable of building, growing, and creating are on the top; while those who are less capable are largely ignored or sometimes relegated as parasites.  Those in the middle are used as defenders against threats both aquatic and land dwelling.  While some could argue that stealing from land beings goes against their meritocracy, they envision it as payment trespassing on properties where intruders are not wanted.  However, there are many marked safe points where one can meet with a Sahuagin, in an effort to visit their underwater realm.  Woe to any fool that doesn’t prepare for a dive through deep water and intense pressure.

Author’s Note: I was originally going to do this for just D&D 5, but one of my blog buddies encouraged me to open this option up to Pathfinder as well! And so, I am!

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Warrior Beast – NOW ON DM’S GUILD

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“This wasn’t supposed to happen, I had control of my power! Now the whole damned town is wolf beasts and it’s my fault… I fear that in my blackouts I’ll also father pups. To the crusader who found me, slay my body and redeem my soul! Though, maybe they’ll fail and I’ll snap back.  I’d show them what a fusion of man and beast can do!”
Letter from an executed Warrior Beast

Envious of rumored barbarians who can channel nature spirits in them and druids who command the forms of nature itself, you’ve sought out your own method of channeling natural power. The power in question is the dread disease of Lycanthropy! Fortunately, you’re purposely afflicted with a modified version of the curse. While many would have succumbed to its dread power, you’re slowly molding your new abilities to your benefit. But, in doing so, you become less of your original self and more of a wild creature. While some exploit their boons to become savage warriors, some embrace becoming more than sentient beasts.

They weren’t always abominations hunted with equal prejudice as lycanthropes. In ages past, alchemists sampled blood from the dread creatures to help create super warriors. For a while, there was much success! Several kingdoms bid for these juggernauts and witnessed the turning point of several battles… That is until the cursed warriors started to go completely mad. Some tried to harness the power to horrible ends, becoming no more than upright walking wolves. Others found ways to make their “gifts” spread like traditional lycanthropes. Because of this, they soon proved to be quite the scourge! Bounties upon their slain heads remain high to this day.

NOTE: The original draft, which I consider to be quite unbalanced in one way or another, has been removed.  The updated version of the crunch is available via “Zoanthropes – A Collection of Werebeasts” via DM’s Guild.  It will likely receive a final revision though.

 

Created by Doctor Necrotic for Doctor Necrotic Media.