Re-Skinning: Lizardfolk From Around The World

Today it is finally time to take another look at the usefulness of re-skinning. To do this we are going to look at something a little different from what we have done. Instead of looking at a monster of some type, like the chimera, we are going to look at a race of humanoids. Specifically, if it hasn’t been made obvious enough, we are going to be looking at lizardfolk. To me the race has always been one of my favorites. There are a few reasons for this. First of all, I am biased towards reptilian entries. Aside from that, though, they have always seemed like one of the more versatile of monstrous races. To me they have been a shamanistic race which is more intelligent than they look. They have always been generally neutral in action, with a range of alignments depending on tribe. A people not bogged down by an inherent evil like goblinoids and orcs. At least they have been this way for me.

I also love the lizardfolk because there is so much potential for the race. As it generally stands, these are swamp-dwelling folk based off the image of an iguana. Some images have depicted some as larger or more slender, and they can look like even more generic lizards. However, there are images of different lizardfolk that have shown up over the years. Some of these are just coloration, and those are fantastic, but I have seen some very cool images of lizardfolk based off certain species. Below is one such image, by Firat Solhan for Pathfinder (found on deviantart).

A chameleon-based lizardfolk?? I love the idea! That is way, today, we are going to come up with some ideas on various lizardfolk that could exist in your fantasy world. Even if you aren’t someone who has a lot of experience with reptiles, or never really cared much for them, you probably can think of a handful of different lizards off the top of your head. Having been thinking about this there are a few, I think, would make good lizardfolk variants.

Horned Lizard
Gila Monster
Tokay Gecko
Marine Iguana
Frilled Lizard
Flying Lizard
Armadillo Lizard

Honestly, I am thinking of more and could likely find more, but we already have more than we can handle in one article. Let’s just pick a couple of these and and start with those. My personal choices are the following:

Horned Lizard

Ok let’s start with the chameleon. The first reason that this is a great choice is the instinctive look that chameleons have. Most people know one when they see one. These lizards would make great substitutes to create a subrace that lives not only in forests and jungles, but high in the trees too. Their feet are zygodactyl and this lets them grasp things really well, meaning they would probably have no trouble running around branches and suddenly stopping to shoot arrows. As for the eyes looking in different directions, we would definitely be able to do some stuff with that. Finally they have the ability to change color. While this is not as complex or quick as tv and movies show, it is something they can do. When we add dungeons, dragons, and magic to a world we may as well make the ability a bit better. To recap we need to add the following to create the chameleon folk:

Their feet and hands have interesting / useful grip
Their eyes can look in different directions
They can change color
They live up in trees

Before we get into that we need to consider the lizardfolk of old. What do these creatures have that we need to take away? What is something we don’t want to give to just any subrace? Well ability scores can be tweaked, of course, but a couple things stand out as specific to the original lizardfolk and only specific future subraces. So, let’s throw out the following to create a foundation:

Hold breath

Wasn’t that easy! Ok so we have a list of things to consider for the chameleon folk. And we have thrown away what we need to from the original. Now, what can we do with this. I would say perception should not only be a proficiency, but also get double bonus for those eyes. Additionally, I think they should eliminate certain disadvantages as they could pay attention to two things at once. Perhaps they could even get advantage on sight based perception checks, but that may be a bit much. Color change is actually really easy because we can use it to give them advantage on stealth checks. See the troglodyte entry as an example. As for their feet, we should go easy and give them a climb speed. Perhaps also give them advantage on checks checks that deal with grip, like grappling. So to make chameleon folk, just use the simpler lizardfolk stats and add the following:

Advantage on
—stealth checks
—grip related rolls like grappling, snatching on to something
a climb speed equal to normal speed
double ability bonus on perception checks
eliminate disadvantage/advantage from visual distractions
—such as feigning to give ally advantage
—this one could be a much more situational for the DM

Ok so, now what we have a chameleon folk. Lets make horned lizardfolk. For these squat guys, I am picturing squat, dwarf-shaped lizard folk with all the spines and horns of a horned lizard. I picture desert dwellers that herd and eat giant insects. I also see them shooting blood out of their eyes in order to distract enemies. Here we have the potential for something really weird and unique. These guys are a bit slower than most lizards, but I don’t think humanoid ones would be so burdened by body type. The main thing that really makes these lizards worth looking at is the blood squirting eyes. The lizards can do that up to 5 feet, so these guys should certainly be able to do it up to 15 or maybe even 30. I think the best way to utilize this is to grant them a reaction ability that causes disadvantage on an enemies attack roll within the range. Since this is the signature move, I would even make this rechargeable at 5 and/or 6. Oh and as a final note, I could see this as a playable race with their own problems. I’m thinking blood mage cultists.

This article ended up being a little longer than I meant it. There are so many choices for making new lizardfolk, I could go on for a while. While I am stopping here for today, I think I am going to go two re-skin Tuesdays in a row and make even more for next week! Keep an eye out for that and comment with any lizards you think would make good lizardfolk!