Monstrous humanoids come in many different shapes and sizes across various settings, editions and gamelines. One of the more universal are Lizardfolk - originally known as Lizardmen, but changed during the early '90s, probably for the same reason that Mermaids became Merfolk. As their name suggests, they are a race of humanoid lizards, though they often come in various forms. Generally, though, there's two traits they will have in common; they will be fought in a swamp or marsh, and they will be primitives.
In a world where even gnolls, orcs and goblins manage to cobble together steel weapons to fight with, lizardfolk are usually lucky to wield Stone Age gear like spears and clubs, instead of just ripping things to bits with their fangs and claws. Considering they live in swamps that tend to be home to things like crocodiles big enough to swallow them whole, giant carnivorous slugs, flowers that lay their seeds in your brain to turn you into a zombie propagatory aide, huge crayfish that can snap them in half, giant lumps of swamp muck that hate everything around them, and worse, this makes them either insanely badass or insanely stupid. Maybe a little of both.
Exactly why they're so primitive is never really explained. Dragon Magazine did once do an "Ecology of the Lizardfolk" article, which gave them a religious basis; essentially, in vanilla D&D, Lizardfolk worship a hermaphrodite goddess, Semuanya, who they portray as nothing more than a god-beast - a creature of divine might that concerns itself only with the basic needs of survival, no smarter than any animal. Furthermore, Semuanya once had a mate named Kecuala, who unlike its spouse was actually a thinking creature and so constantly thought about the world around it. Eventually, it thought so much that it split itself into two creatures, one male and one female, so it would be able to properly act on its thoughts. Those two Kecualas were the first Lizardfolk. As a result, lizardfolk literally demonize intelligence as evil, an unnatural and wasteful attribute, and deliberately try to be as feral as possible in hopes of one day restoring Kecuala to life.
Conversely, Pathfinder ties the answer to their environment and biology. They don't breed as quickly or have the same kind of impatient ambition as the warm-blooded creatures, so their population grows slowly and they are more-easily content with meeting their basic survival needs. And because they live in swamps, where metal is hard to get and quickly rusts and cloth or paper quickly rot, they derive less utility from many of the more-obvious trappings of other cultures. Notably, they do actually have a rich tradition of arts and oral storytelling that everyone else tend to ignore, and the xenophobic lizardfolk can't convey since none of them care to learn how to converse with other races.
The meta-reason is probably related to why the lizardfolk are always seen in swamps. Lizards, like all reptiles, are ancient creatures, tens of millions of years old, and haven't needed to change much since they got the basic template down before the dawn of the dinosaurs. As a result, lizards have a "primeval" motif ingrained in pop culture. So, lizardfolk being primitives just builds on that theme. Likewise, the age when reptiles ruled was a time when the world was covered in lush rainforests, swamps and marshlands, so even though modern swamps are more home to crocodilians, snakes and turtles than lizards, lizardfolk and swamp just go together under that motif.
Despite their mutual reptilian looks, lizardfolk are quite distinct from and not related to Dragons, Dragonborn and Draconians. This is probably because the ancestors of dinosaurs and modern reptiles diverged from each other roughly 285 million years ago during the Early Permian epoch. They do, however, speak Draconic, and like kobolds are popular slaves or subjects to various dragons, notably the black dragons that share their environment.
Traditionally, lizardfolk are spooky due to their "coldblooded and pragmatic" mindsets - for example, lizardfolk are usually portrayed as "morally cannibalistic", in the sense that they don't specifically want to eat sapient creatures, but if they do have to kill them for other reasons, they won't waste the protein afterwards - but not actively evil, with their typical alignment being Neutral. However, they also traditionally are prone to the presence of "Lizard Kings" (and, in later editions, Queens); these are demonically corrupted lizardfolk tainted in their egg by the demon prince Sess'innek, granting them significantly increased strength, size, intelligence and ferocity. Consumed by a rapacious hunger for sapient flesh, these Chaotic Evil tyrants drive their followers to uncharacteristic acts of aggression, if only by virtue of the simple fact that if they can't get humanoid meat, Lizard Kings & Queens will happily devour at least two of their own tribe-members a day to sate their appetite.
Lizardfolk have come in a staggering variety of different forms over the many, many editions of D&D.
The earliest variants appeared for Dungeons & Dragons, the 1977–1999 gameline separate to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2e. These early unique breeds of Lizardfolk hailed from Mystara, and appeared as a PC race at the end of The Voyage of the Princess Ark in Dragon Magazine #185. They consisted of the "common Mystaran" Lizardfolk, the Gator-men, and the Cay-men, the latter races being magical hybrids between lizardfolk with alligators and caimans respectively. Both were failed experiments of the Herathian empire to create superior slave-stock to the earlier failure that was the lizardfolk. Gator-men were larger, stronger, but also barbaric, bloodthirsty and cannibalistic. Cay-men were dumber than the Herathians intended and also incredibly pretensious despite (or perhaps because) of their intellectual ineptitude.
Another new D&D lizardfolk variant, the Malpheggi, appeared as a PC race in the Hollow World Player's Guide.
The first-ever Fiend Folio featured two additions to the lizardfolk family tree. The Babbler is a primitive, avatistic throwback of the lizardfolk, whilst the Firenewt is a flame-resistant water-restricted "cousin".
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons produced a huge array of lizardfolk variants:
- The Bakali, or Krynn Lizardfolk, appeared in the Dragonlance sourcebooks Rulebook of Taladas and World Book of Ansalon. These also covered their degenerate offspring, the Jarak-sinn and (not as well) the Hurdu up in Taladas.
- Caymans and Gator-men reappeared in the Mystara Monstrous Compendium Appendix, alongside newcomers; the Wallara and the Sis'thik.
- The Wallara, which everyone tries to forget about, are an all-male species of lizardfolk who just so happen to look like Aborigine men painted up for corroboree in rainbow colors.
- The Sis'thik are essentially desert-dwelling lizardfolk Amazons; males are smaller, weaker, stupider and delegated all the manual work, whilst the bigger, stronger, smarter, fiercer females handle everything else. Also, they really love the taste of copper dragon flesh.
- Red Steel brought into being the Cayma and Gurrash - literally just renamed versions of the earlier Caymen and Gator-men, alongside the Krolli and the Shazak.
- Krolli are winged lizardfolk with a propensity for the mercenary lifestyle.
- Shazak are peaceful lizardfolk who were the origins for the other three.
- Cayma, Gurrash, Shazak and Wallara all received PC writeups in the Odyssey: Savage Coast of Mystara: Orc's Head sourcebooks.
- Dragon Magazine got in on the fun too; issue #268 featured four new varieties of lizardfolk, in the form of the Agrutha (gator-folk), Crocodilians (even bigger and more savage versions of the Agrutha), the Geckonids (peaceful, friendly and inquisitive gecko-people), the Varanids (warlike komodo-people), the Tokay (evil counterparts to the Geckonids), and Iquanids (iguana-people in sea and land form).
- The Varkha, introduced in Dragon Magazine Annual #1 before making it into Volume IV of the Monstrous Compendium Annual, are a race of malevolent aquatic/amphibious lizardfolk that stalk the waterways of the Underdark.
- The Lizardfolk of Dark Sun, originally believed to be extinct, were later revealed to have survived in the infamously divisive "Mind Lords of the Last Sea" sourcebooks, becoming the Ssurrans, the only element of those books to return for 4th edition. Pterrans are also lizardfolk, albeit with pteranodon ancestry.
- The Malatran lizardfolk appeared in Polyhedron #121.
- Spelljammer had its own take on lizardfolk, too.
- Maztica introduced what is perhaps one of the weirdest lizardfolk; the Ahuizotl is an extra-primitive river-dwelling lizardfolk with the ability to spit out a water weird once per round!
- Ingundi are shapeshifting, psychic, cannibalistic lizardfolk native to Greyhawk.
- Khaasta, from the Planescape setting, are Ferengi-esque plane-traveling cut-throat, back-stabbing traders. No, that's not a typo.
- Laerti are desert-dwelling vicious raiders from the Forgotten Realms, more savage in nature than the Sis'thik. They have their own subrace called the Stingtails, whose prehensile tails can be used to wield weapon or deliver slaps covered in contact venom.
- Troglodytes are savage, vicious, Underdark-dwelling lizardfolk mostly known for their powerfully offensive musk glands.
3rd edition wasn't so inventive. Eberron mentioned the existence of Blackscale and Poison Dusk lizardfolk; the Monster Manual III confirmed that these were, respectively, larger, dark-scaled, stronger lizardfolk and smaller, smarter lizardfolk with a penchant for ranged weaponry. Many speculate as to the possible influence of the Warhammer Fantasy Lizardmen upon these races. The MM IV added the Dark Talons; evil lizardfolk alchemically infused with black dragon blood.
D&D has a long history of monstrous PC race options, particularly of the beastfolk flavor. Lizardfolk are no exception, and have appeared as PC options in:
- Dragon Magazine #185 (Shazak, Cay-man, Gator-man) - Basic D&D
- Dragon Magazine #186 (Wallara) - Basic D&D
- Hollow World Player's Guide (Malpheggi Lizardman) - Basic D&D
- Dark Sun Campaign Setting, Revised (Pterran) - AD&D 2e
- Complete Book of Humanoids (Common Lizardman) - AD&D 2e
- Spelljammer Boxed Set: Lorebook of the Void (Astromundi Lizardman) - AD&D 2e
- Complete Spacefarer's Handbook (Astromundi Lizardman) - AD&D 2e
- Dragon Magazine #268 (Agrutha, Crocodilian, Varanid, Geckonid, Tokay, Iguanid)
- Odyssey: Savage Coast of Mystara: Orc's Head (Shazak, Cayma, Gurrash, Wallara) - AD&D 2e
- Dragons of Krynn (Bakali, Jarak-sinn) - 3rd Edition
- Races of Faerun (Lizardfolk) - 3rd Edition
- Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Advanced Race Guide (Lizardfolk)
- Volo's Guide to Monsters (Lizardfolk) - 5th Edition
Basic D&D Stats
- Racial Ability Modifiers: +2 Strength, -2 Dexterity
- Minimum Scores: Strength 13+, Constitution 9+
- Prime Requisite: Strength - +5% XP at Str 15+, +10% XP at Str 18+
- Save as Cleric of equivalent level
- Magic Users: Malpheggi Lizardmen can take the Shaman bonus class and the Wokani bonus class, reaching 6th level and 4th level respectively
- Land Speed 90' (30')
- Swim Speed is 120' (40')
- Can breathe water
- Natural AC is 5, but cannot wear armor, other than shields
- Can make 2 claw attacks for 1d4 damage each when fighting unarmed
- Mandatory Skill: Survival (Swamp)
- Cultural Melee Weapons: Axe (Battle/Hand), Dagger, Sword (Short/Broad/Bastard), Hammer (War/Throwing), Spear, Javelin, Trident, Net
- Cultural Missile Weapons: Light and Heavy Crossbow
- Cultural Armor: All Shields
- Shamans can use: Axes, Hammers, Shields
- Wokani can use: Dagger, Net
- Malpheggi Lizardmen can reach 12th level in their racial class; after level 12, they gain 1 general skill slot for every 400,000 XP earned.
- 1: 0 XP, 1d8 Hit Dice
- 2: 1,500 XP, 2d8 Hit Dice
- 3: 3,000 XP, 3d8 Hit Dice
- 4: 6,000 X, 4d8 Hit Dice
- 5: 12,000 XP
- 6: 25,000 XP, 5d8 Hit Dice
- 7: 50,000 XP, 6d8 Hit Dice
- 8: 100,000 XP, 7d8 Hit Dice
- 9: 200,000 XP, 8d8 Hit Dice
- 10: 300,000 XP
- 11: 400,000 XP, 9d8 Hit Dice
- 12: 500,000 XP 10d8 Hit Dice
- Ability Score Minimum/Maximum: Strength 8/18, Dexterity 3/18, Constitution 6/18, Intelligence 3/17, Wisdom 3/18, Charisma 3/16
- Ability Score Adjustments: None
- Class & Level Restrrictions: Fighter 12, Shaman 7, Thief 9
- Natural Armor Class: 5
- Base Speed 6, Swim Speed 12
- Lizardfolk do not suffer attack or movement penalties when fighting in water.
- Lizardfolk gain Swimming as a bonus proficiency.
- Lizardfolk can hold their breath for a number of rounds equal to 2/3 of their Constitution score (rounding up).
- A lizardman must wet its entire body once per day, or start losing 3 points of Con per day until dampened or it dies.
- If food or treasure appears during a battle, a lizardfolk must succeed on a Wisdom check or immediately turn to grab the spoils; a distracted lizardfolk can make a new Wisdom check each round until it recovers.
- Common lizardfolk warriors start with two weapon proficiencies and other classes start with one weapon proficiency
- Weapon Proficiencies: Battle Axe (stone), Great Club (Morning Star), Barbed Dart, Javelin
- Nonweapon Proficiencies: Alertness, Danger Sense, Direction Sense, Fishing, Herbalism, Hiding, Hunting, Natural Fighting, Survival (Swamps)
- Ability Score Minimum/Maximum: Strength 8/18, Dexterity 3/18, Constitution 6/18, Intelligence 3/17, Wisdom 3/18, Charisma 3/16
- Ability Score Adjustments: None
- Racial Class & Level Limits: Cleric 7, Fighter 12, [[Mage] 4, Thief 11
- Racial Thieving Skill Adjustments: -5% Pick Pockets, -5% Open Locks, +5% Move Silently, +5% Hide in Shadows, +5%, Detect Noise, -5% Climb Walls, -5% Read Languages
- Natural Armor Class: 5
- Base Speed 6, Swim Speed 12 (if unarmored or lightly armored)
- Can attack with each clawed hand (1d2 damage) and with their tail (1d6 damage).
- Infravision 60 feet
D&D 3e Stats
- +2 Strength, +2 Constitution, -2 Intelligence
- Base Land speed 30 feet
- Darkvision 60 feet
- Proficient with Shields, Barbed Darts, and all Simple weapons.
- +4 racial bonus on Balance, Swim and Jump checks.
- Humanoid Hit Dice: 2d8, with default HP being 8+1d8. Class Hit Dice are rolled normally. Begions play with a +1 Base Attack Bonus and +3 Reflex.
- Humanoid Skills: Begins play with (2+Int Modifier, minimum of 1) X 5 Skill Points, which can be spent on Balance, Juimp and Swim.
- 1 bonus feat.
- Natural Attacks: 2 Claws (1d4 damage), 1 Bite (Secondary attack, 1d4 damage).
- Hold Breath: A lizardfolk can safely hold its breath for 4 X Constitution score rounds.
- Favored Class: Druid
- Level Adjustment: +1
Golarion Lizardman Racial Traits
Ability Score Modifiers: Flexible (+2 Str, +2 Con) (2 RP)
Type: Humanoid (reptilian) (0 RP)
Size: Medium (0 RP)
Base Speed: Normal (0 RP)
Languages: Xenophobic (0 RP) Lizardfolk start knowing their racial language only.
Natural Armor: Lizardfolk have tough scaly skin, granting them a +1 natural armor bonus. (2 RP)
Movement Racial Traits
Swim: Lizardfolk have a swim speed of 30 feet and thus gain a +8 racial bonus on Swim checks (1 RP)
Natural Attacks: Bite 1 (RP) Lizardfolk gain a natural bite attack, dealing damage equivalent to that of a creature two size categories lower than normal for their size (1d2 for Small races, 1d3 for Medium, etc.). The bite is a primary attack, or a secondary attack if the creature is wielding manufactured weapons.
Natural Attacks: Claws 2 (RP) Lizardfolk receive two claw attacks. These are primary natural attacks. The damage is based on the creature’s size (1d4 for Medium creatures.)
D&D 5e Stats
Lizardfolk in 5e get a fairly good base, with notable traits including built-in swimming, extra skills, and natural armor.
Druid is especially good due to the Natural Armor synergizing well with the restriction on armor, and having additional wisdom relevant skills never hurts.
- Ability Score Increase: Constitution increases by 2, Wisdom increases by 1
- Age: Reach maturity around 14 and live to ~60
- Alignment: Most Lizardfolk are neutral.
- Size: Medium. 5 to 6 1/2 feet, and 125 to 360 pounds.
- Speed: Base walking speed of 30, base swimming speed of 30.
- Bite: Use your jaws as a natural weapon for unarmed attacks. Deals 1d6+Str on hit. Note that this replaces the unarmed strike, it is not used in addition.
- Cunning Artisan: Whenever you take a short rest, you may use the body parts of slain beasts, constructs, dragons, monstrosities, or plants of size small or larger to make one of the following items: a shield, a club, a javelin, or 1d4 darts/blowgun darts. To do this, you need a dagger or leatherworker's tools.
- Hold Breath: You can hold your breath for up to 15 minutes.
- Hunter's Lore: You gain proficiency with two of the following skills: Animal Handling, Nature, Perception, Stealth, and Survival.
- Natural Armor: When you aren't wearing armor, your AC is 13+Dex. You may use your natural armor if your armor would leave you with a lower AC. You may still use a shield and get this bonus.
- Hungry Jaws: As a bonus action, you may make a special attack with your bite. If it hits, it deals its normal damage (see above), and you gain temporary hit points equal to your Con modifier. You may use this ability once per short or long rest.
- Languages: Common and Draconic.
Unified Setting Description
|Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition Races|
|Basic Set:||Dwarf - Elf - Hobbit - Human|
|Creature Catalog 1:||Brownie - Centaur - Dryad - Faun - Hsiao |
Leprechaun - Pixie - Pooka - Redcap - Sidhe
Sprite - Treant - Wood Imp - Wooddrake
|Creature Catalog 2:||Faenare - Gnome - Gremlin - Harpy |
Nagpa - Pegataur - Sphinx - Tabi
|Creature Catalog 3:||Kna - Kopru - Merrow - Nixie - Triton|
|Dragon Magazine:||Cayma - Gatorman - Lupin - N'djatwa |
Phanaton - Rakasta - Shazak - Wallara
|Hollow World:||Beastman - Brute-Man - Hutaakan |
Krugel Orc - Kubitt - Malpheggi Lizard Man
|Known World:||Bugbear - Goblin - Gnoll |
Hobgoblin - Kobold - Ogre - Troll
|Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition Races|
|Core:||Dwarf - Elf - Gnome - Half-Elf - Half-Orc - Halfling - Human|
|Dark Sun:||Aarakocra - Half-Giant - Mul - Pterran - Thri-kreen|
|Dragonlance:||Draconian - Irda - Kender - Minotaur|
|Mystara:||Aranea - Ee'ar - Enduk - Lizardfolk (Cayma - Gurrash - Shazak) |
Lupin - Manscorpion - Phanaton - Rakasta - Tortle - Wallara
|Oriental Adventures:||Korobokuru - Hengeyokai - Spirit Folk|
|Planescape:||Aasimar - Bariaur - Genasi - Githyanki - Githzerai - Modron - Tiefling|
|Spelljammer:||Dracon - Giff - Grommam - Hadozee - Hurwaeti - Rastipede - Scro - Xixchil|
|Ravenloft:||Broken One - Flesh Golem - Half-Vistani - Therianthrope|
Book of X:
|Alaghi - Beastman - Bugbear - Bullywug - Centaur - Duergar |
Fremlin - Firbolg - Flind - Gnoll - Goblin - Half-Ogre - Hobgoblin
Kobold - Mongrelfolk - Ogre - Ogre Mage - Orc - Pixie
Satyr - Saurial - Svirfneblin - Swanmay - Voadkyn - Wemic
|Dragon Magazine:||Half-Dryad - Half-Satyr - Uldra - Xvart|
|The Races of Pathfinder|
|Player's Handbook:||Dwarf - Elf - Gnome - Half-Elf - Half-Orc - Halfling - Human|
|Aasimar - Catfolk - Changeling - Dhampir - Duergar |
Drow - Fetchling - Gillman - Goblin - Grippli - Hobgoblin
Ifrit - Kitsune - Kobold - Merfolk - Nagaji - Orc - Oread
Ratfolk - Samsaran - Strix - Suli - Svirfneblin - Sylph
Tengu - Tiefling - Undine - Vanara - Vishkanya - Wayang
|Bestiaries:||Android - Astomoi - Caligni - Deep One Hybrid - Gathlain |
Gnoll - Kasatha - Munavri - Naiad - Orang-Pendak
Reptoid - Rougarou - Shabti - Trox - Yaddithian
|Adventure Paths:||Being of Ib - Kuru|
|Inner Sea Races:||Ghoran - Monkey Goblin - Lashunta - Skinwalker |
Syrinx - Triaxian - Wyrwood - Wyvaran
|Ultimate Wilderness:||Vine Leshy|
|Blood of the Sea:||Adaro - Cecaelia - Grindylow - Locathah - Sahuagin - Triton|
|Planar Adventures:||Aphorite - Duskwalker - Ganzi|
|This article or section is about Monstergirls (or a monster that is frequently depicted as a Monstergirl), something that /tg/ widely considers to be the purest form of awesome. Expect PROMOTIONS! and /d/elight in equal measure, often with drawfaggotry or writefaggotry to match.|
Just like most other readily recognized beastfolk, lizardfolk have long gotten the monstergirls treatment and been portrayed as both female and with a more visibly humanoid appearance. Ironically, they fall into one of those few species where /tg/ actually tends to prefer the beastfolk interpretation to the "hot chick with lizardly traits tacked on" interpretation; most cite some form of uncanny valley.
Needless to say, this elicits a particularly vicious battle between the furry and anti-furry crowd. Seriously, if you want to see how fast a thread can get saged on /tg/, start one asking what the difference is between having a human guy get overpowered by a big, strong, muscular lizardwoman and being overpowered by a big, strong, muscular lizardwoman who just happens to have wide, womanly hips (for easier passing of eggs), a well-padded rump (for cushioning during the sex act) and breast-like fat deposits on her chest (signals of reproductive health & value). Your head will spin.
Still, lizardgirls of the more MG sort have a lot of possibility, from a sort of scaly amazon variant to something more primeval.
In the Monster Girl Encyclopedia, the awkwardly named "Lizardmen" are a culture of proud wandering warriors, who seek out worthy opponents to duel, hoping to find a strong warrior to take as their husband after he defeats them in combat, Red Sonja style. Not surprisingly, many of them also try to cheat the system, by training men they fancy to mold them into great fighters and the like. The setting also features Salamanders as a fiery-powered, more hot-blooded variant of the species who shares many of the same motifs, but is generally less cool and more passionate about it.