Last week I started a re-skin article about lizardfolk. I mentioned the reasons lizardfolk were my top choice for a re-skin article, including my personal bias. One of the reasons, though, was that there are so many different types of lizard. So many of these are unique and/or easily recognizable. While this is great news for us, the list became extensive and the article long. If you want to know more and see the list of example lizards we could use check out the article right here. You’ll also find our first two re-skins: the chameleon and the horned lizard. Finally, before we get into some more, I want to remind you all of the first step. Throw out the lizardfolk’s hold breath and swim, as these are specific to the original lizardfolk and may not be appropriate for other versions.
Now, let’s take a look at some more types of lizard:
If you don’t recognize any of the names, and even if you do, head over to Google and do some image searches. Get an idea of what these creatures look like before we go ahead and make some more humanoids of them. Done? Excellent.
The gila monster. One of only two venomous lizards known (though I have been told there may be venom in the saliva of some monitors), these creatures are also distinctive in their pebbly orange and black skin. Living in the desert, these would make for a perfect orc-analog to the horned lizardfolk we made last week. These brutish people require very little in the way of adjustment. Other than some ability score adjustment, all this creature needs is additional damage, poison of course, for its bite attack. It may do to allow a Constitution save to avoid this damage, and we could take queues from some of the animals in the Monster Manual to do that.
Let’s go over the tokay gecko now. You may be asking why these lizards. Two reasons. The first is that of the many geckos we could choose from, these are distinctive in color and known to be rather aggressive. Second, they are named for the call they make. Again, there is not much we need to do to make these a unique lizardfolk. Much of what would make them interesting lies within the description and encounters. Other than that we can give them a climb speed. Many lizards can climb, such as the gila monster we just discussed, but geckos are even more adept climbers. In fact the gecko’s unique toe pads give them exceptional ability and, because of this, I think we should give them spider climb. This small addition allows the lizardfolk to become an oddly challenging enemy.
We are about to go over the easiest of re-skins with the marine iguana. These guys live on ocean shores and swim into the water to eat algae and seaweeds. Unlike all of the other re-skins we don’t need to remove the hold breath and swim speed from the original lizard folk. Instead, we should think about increasing their swim speed a little bit and doubling the length of time they can hold their breath for. Other than that we just need to turn them black. What could make this lizard folk interesting is the fact that they are not carnivorous. A unique society of monstrous looking humanoids that farm ocean plants for food makes for a major change of pace in a campaign and an excellent role-playing opportunity.
The frilled lizard. I am sure that anyone who saw Jurassic Park and then got into reptiles would fall in love with this creature if they have not already. Like the dilophosaur of the movie, it has a frill around its neck that it can extend in a frightening display. These lizardfolk would be smaller and more agile than your average lizardfolk. While they would not get the spit of that movie dinosaur, they would have to have the distinctive frill. This frill would provide it with an increased ability to intimidate, just to start. Additionally, I would say that it can utilize the frill, as a reaction, to cause an enemy to have disadvantage on a roll against it. Such a thing would be quite surprising, at least the first time. I would even provide an action that allows the lizardfolk to attempt to frighten a creature for a few rounds. Either of these abilities would not work on the same creature after it succeeds a save within a 24 hour period. This is a common theme among such abilities. However, whether or not that immunity overlaps between the two is up to you, the DM.
Flying lizards provide us with another opportunity for an arboreal enemy. Unlike the chameleon, these lizards would not be utilizing color changing. We should still grant them a climb speed to represent their ability to move among the branches of trees with ease, especially since we are going to assume that they live up there. Next we grant them a fly speed of some kind. Now, this is a bit difficult, since these lizards do not technically fly. They utilize flaps of skin between their limbs in the same way that a flying squirrel does, gliding from place to place. As such it would be a good choice to make this an ability of some kind rather than an actual movement speed. Perhaps we can allow them to move as if they were flying, faster than walking. They would be restricted in being unable to move up, but perhaps we could allow them maintain height, only falling if they glide for more than one round. Another benefit of this feature would be the ability to reduce falling damage. I must admit I don’t know the checks and reduction off the top of my head, but I would say base falling damage for a flying lizardfolk is halved and that on a successful check it is reduced entirely. This of course assumes the ability to move their arms and use those “wings”.
Finally we come to the armadillo lizard. I included this one because I think we can have some fun with it. First of all we can include it among the various desert-dwelling lizardfolk that we have already made. Second, if you haven’t looked up pictures of any of these go look this one up. No really. Do it. They roll up and bite their tails to become a spiny death ball for protection! I can picture this thing having an ability like the salamander, except instead of fire damage like heated body its piercing. And, if we’re honest, we can insert some goofiness into the game every once and a while, and these guys can help with that. Imagine them curling up and roll down a hill at you like a spined bowling ball of death, before popping up and engaging in combat!
As you’ll notice this time we have a lot less bullets and not much in the way of actual numbers or stats. But not all re-skins need this. Some have very basic adjustments. To create nearly a dozen different lizardfolk we simply need to take away some abilities, add others, and be creative. Eventually, I plan on putting all of these guys into a supplement on the DM’s Guild like the chimeras. I will also work on turning some of them in races. Because who doesn’t want more races? In the mean time, watch for an overview of the article for ease of reference in the re-skin section of the site.