This is a continuation of my scalable NPC/monster series where, instead of just creating all new monsters for Fifth Edition, I create rules to make it easy for anyone (including myself) to scale them up or down.
Lizardfolk in Fifth Edition
Oddly, I haven’t used a lot of lizardfolk in Fifth Edition. However, I’ve gotten a considerable number of requests for lizardfolk. And seeing as how they make a pretty significant appearance in the new Ghosts of Saltmarsh book, it felt like a good time to crack them open.
In the Monster Manual, lizardfolk come in three types: lizardfolk (warriors), lizardfolk shaman, lizard king/queen.
What’s unique about the king/queen is that it’s actually a part-demon; it’s touched by a demon lord named Sess’inek who seeks to corrupt and control lizardfolk. These demon-blooded scaleheads are tough, smart, and mean.
For the lizardfolk progression I created here (they’re “scale-able”… get it?) I made it so that the warriors flow into the king/queens.
How to Scalable Monsters work?
If you haven’t already seen my last article on scalable NPCs, be sure to check it out.
The long and short of it is that instead of creating a brand new monster for each and every challenge rating you have, instead, you just adjust the monster based on your target CR. It’s kind of like having “levels” but for monsters. So if you need a CR 9 lizardfolk, just reference the Lizardfolk chart below, see what adjustments you need to make and features you need to add and presto: a brand new lizardfolk.
|CR||Prof||AC||Hit Points||Atk Bonus||Skwr||Psn||Features|
|1/2||+2||15 (Natural, Shield)||22 (4d8 + 4)||+4||–||–||Hold Breath, Multiattack, Natural Armor|
|1||+2||15 (Natural, Shield)||33 (6d8 + 6)||+4||2d6||–||Skewer|
|2||+2||15 (Natural)||52 (8d8 + 16)||+5||2d6||–||Touched by Sess’inek|
|3||+2||15 (Natural)||65 (10d8 + 20)||+5||2d6||–||–|
|4||+2||15 (Natural)||78 (12d8 + 24)||+5||3d6||–||Ability Score Improvement (Cha +2)|
|5||+3||16 (Natural)||91 (14d8 + 28)||+6||3d6||–||Multiattack (Bite + 2 Claws/Trident)|
|6||+3||16 (Natural)||104 (16d8 + 32)||+6||3d6||2d6||Immovable, Poisonous|
|7||+3||17 (Natural)||144 (17d10 + 51)||+7||4d6||2d6||Size Increase|
|8||+3||17 (Natural)||153 (18d10 + 54)||+7||4d6||2d6||Ability Score Improvement (Cha +2)|
|9||+4||17 (Natural)||170 (20d10 + 60)||+8||4d6||3d6||Innate Spellcasting|
|10||+4||17 (Natural)||187 (22d10 + 66)||+8||5d6||3d6||Magic Weapons|
|11||+4||19 (Natural)||204 (24d10 + 72)||+8||5d6||3d6||Snap Back|
|12||+4||19 (Natural)||237 (25d10 + 100)||+8||5d6||4d6||Ability Score Improvement (Con +2)|
|13||+5||19 (Natural)||247 (26d10 + 104)||+9||6d6||4d6||Indomitable Willpower|
|14||+5||19 (Natural)||266 (28d10 + 112)||+9||6d6||4d6||Force of Nature|
|15||+5||19 (Natural)||285 (30d10 + 120)||+9||6d6||5d6||Tail Attack|
|16||+5||19 (Natural)||325 (31d10 + 155)||+10||7d6||5d6||Ability Score Improvement (Str +1, Con +1)|
|17||+6||20 (Natural)||368 (32d10 + 192)||+12||7d6||5d6||Demonic Form|
|18||+6||20 (Natural)||379 (33d10 + 198)||+12||7d6||6d6||Curse of Scales|
|19||+6||20 (Natural)||391 (34d10 + 204)||+12||8d6||6d6||Ability Score Improvement (Int +1, Cha +1)|
|20||+6||20 (Natural)||402 (35d10 + 210)||+12||8d6||6d6||Demonic Blood|
The lizardfolk’s starting statistics are identified on page 204 of the Monster Manual.
As the lizardfolk’s CR increases, it gains the following special traits.
Starting at CR 1/2, the lizardfolk can hold its breath for 15 minutes.
At CR 1/2, the lizardfolk can make two melee attacks with its trident or two different weapons. At CR 5, the lizardfolk can make three attacks, two melee attacks with its trident or two different weapons, and a third with its bite.
Starting at CR 1, once per turn, when the lizardfolk makes a melee attack with a trident and hits, the target takes an extra 7 (2d6) damage, and the lizardfolk gains temporary hit points equal to the extra damage dealt. The amount of damage the lizardfolk deals with this trait increases as it CR increases as shown on the Skewer column on the Scalable Lizardfolk table.
Touched by Sess’inek
At CR 2, the lizardfolk’s demonic nature is revealed and it undergoes a metamorphosis. It gains the following benefits.
- The lizardfolk’s Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution scores increase by 2. Plus, its Intelligence and Charisma scores increases by 4. Its Wisdom score decreases by 1.
- The lizardfolk is immune to being frightened.
Ability Score Improvement
At CR 4, and again at CR 8, 12, 16, and 19, the lizardfolk increases one ability score by 2, or it increases two ability scores by 1. Its improvements are as follows:
- CR 4: Charisma +2
- CR 8: Charisma +2
- CR 12: Constitution +2
- CR 16: Strength +1, Constitution +1
- CR 19: Intelligence +1, Charisma +1
Starting at CR 6, the lizardfolk has proficiency in Strength saving throws.
Also at CR 6, the lizardfolk gains immunity to poison and the poisoned condition. In addition, when it scores a hit with its bite attack against a creature, the lizardfolk deals an additional 7 (2d6) poison damage. The amount of poison damage the lizardfolk deals with this trait increases as its CR increases as shown on the Poison column on the Scalable Lizardfolk table.
At CR 7, the lizardfolk goes through another transformation, doubling in size. It gains the following benefits:
- The lizardfolk’s size becomes Large.
- Its alignment becomes chaotic evil.
- The lizardfolk’s walking and swim speeds increase to 40 ft.
- The lizardfolk’s Strength and Constitution scores increase by 2, and its Wisdom score decreases by 1.
- The lizardfolk uses Large melee weapons. Increase the damage dealt by its melee weapon attacks, including its bite, by one damage die.
- The reach of the lizardfolk’s trident becomes 10 ft. and its range becomes 40/120 ft.
At CR 9, the lizardfolk can innately cast spells. Its spellcasting ability is Charisma. The lizardfolk can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:
- At will: pass without trace, speak with animals (reptiles only)
- 1/day: conjure animals (reptiles only), entangle, freedom of movement
Beginning at CR 10, the lizardfolk’s attacks are magical.
At CR 11, when the lizardfolk takes damage from a creature that is within 5 feet of it, it can use its reaction to make a bite attack against that creature.
At CR 13, the lizardfolk gains proficiency with Charisma saving throws.
Force of Nature
At CR 14, the lizardfolk can innately cast fog cloud at will. In addition, it can cast control weather once per day.
Starting at CR 15, the lizardfolk can use its action to make an attack with its tail. Each creature within 5 feet of the lizardfolk must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw with a DC equal to 8 + the lizardfolk’s proficiency bonus + its Strength modifier. On a failed saving throw, the creature takes bludgeoning damage equal to 2d8 plus the lizardfolk’s Strength modifier and falls prone in its space. On a successful saving throw, a creature takes half as much damage and doesn’t fall prone. This action recharges on a roll of 5-6.
At CR 17, the lizardfolk goes through a final metamorphosis, changing it into a demon. The lizardfolk gains the following benefits:
- Its type becomes fiend (demon, lizardfolk).
- The lizardfolk’s Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, and Charisma scores increase by 2. Its Wisdom score decreases by 1.
- The lizardfolk gains resistance to cold, fire, and lightning damage, as well as resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical attacks.
- The lizardfolk gains truesight out to 120 ft.
- The lizardfolk learns Abyssal and it gains telepathy out to 120 ft.
- The lizardfolk loses its Hold Breath trait. It in its place, it gains the amphibious trait. It can breathe air and water.
- The lizardfolk gains magic resistance. It has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
- As an action, the lizardfolk can magically teleport, along with any equipment it is wearing or carrying, up to 120 feet to an unoccupied space it can see.
Curse of Scales
At CR 18, once per day, the lizardfolk can innately cast the polymorph spell with its innate spellcasting ability. When it casts the spell using this trait, it can only change creatures into reptiles. In addition, once per turn, the lizardfolk can use its bonus action to innately cast dominate beast, but can only target reptiles.
At CR 20, the lizardfolk’s abyssal blood boils. It gains the following benefits:
- Any creature that hits the lizardfolk with a melee attack while within 5 feet of it must make a Constitution saving throw with a DC equal to 8 + the lizardfolk’s proficiency bonus + its Constitution modifier. On a failed saving throw, the creature takes 14 (4d6) poison damage and is poisoned for 1 minute. On a successful saving throw, the creature takes half as much damage and isn’t poisoned. While poisoned in this way, the target has disadvantage on its Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma saving throws.
- In addition to the damage the lizardfolk normally deals with its bite attack, any creature that is hit by the lizardfolk’s bite attack must make a Constitution saving throw with a DC equal to 8 + the lizardfolk’s proficiency bonus + its Constitution modifier. On a failed saving throw, the creature is poisoned. While poisoned in this way, the target has disadvantage on its Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma saving throws.
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Thumbnail art by Wizards of the Coast.