Thursday, June 4, 2015

Races of Pathfinder: Lizardfolk

Lizardfolk are big, reptilian humanoids who live in tribes and shun civilization. The Lizardfolk's simple and powerful traits ideally suit him for a melee character, perhaps more so than any other race. 

Racial Traits:
Ability Scores: Lizardfolk gain +2 to both Strength and Constitution, without any penalties. Given that most melee characters will have Strength and Constitution as their highest ability scores, this bonus already sets our reptilian friends well on the way to being a great melee bruiser.  But this is just the start of a melee-focused bonanza.

Size: Medium - nothing special here. 

Speed: 30 ft. - again, average.

Languages: Lizardfolk start off the game only speaking Draconic.  However, this is nothing that a single point into Linguistics can't solve.

Natural Armor: Not one, but +2 to Natural Armor?  This is an absolutely fantastic trait that will help you from level 1 to 20.  Again, great for melee characters.

Swim: Not just a bonus to a swim, but a swim speed?  I mean sure, swim speeds aren't necessarily that useful, but it's a solid trait and will likely be useful a few times a campaign.

Natural Attack: Bite A 1d3 bite attack is solid, particularly because it can be used even when the Lizardfolk is holding and attacking with a weapon.  Free attacks!

Natural Attack: Claws Two 1d4 claw attacks are also great.  They can't be used while holding using a held weapon, but they can be used in conjunction with your bite.  Anybody up for some sneak attack?

The Lizardfolk are perfectly suited for any melee character, with a +2 to Strength and Constitution, a +2 to AC, and extra attacks.  Simple martials such as the fighter and barbarian are obvious choices, but the monk and cavalier are just as good a choice. 
Because Lizardfolk don't suffer any penalties to any ability score, they can equally excel in the magical dabbling melees, such as the paladin, ranger, bard, or druid.  In fact, I'd have a tough time rating even some full casters like the melee focused cleric or magus as less than blue. Even wizards, witches, and sorcerers can benefit from the bonuses, though definitely not as much.
The only classes that I would really shy away from are the gunslinger and bomb chucking alchemist.  Any class that needs to keep his distance isn't going to take full advantage of the Strength, Constitution and AC bonuses, though switching to three primary natural attacks when a target becomes adjacent is fun.
The rogue and ninja deserve special mention here.  It's true that Lizardfolk don't get Dexterity bonuses - but a Lizardfolk rogue doesn't need it!  He can start off with three attacks at full BAB at level 1, with the potential to deal sneak attack on all three.  He keeps those three attacks all the way through his career (gaining a tail attack at BAB 5 with Dangerous Tail), not only a better choice than two weapon fighting, but also a huge feat saver.  He is also able to pump his ability score choices into Strength and Constitution.  The Constitution and AC bonuses immensely help with the fragile rogue.  Ironically enough, I think big and brutish Lizardfolk make ideal rogues and ninjas.

Racial Archetypes: 
Ancient Guardian (Druid): Ancient Guardian changes the flavor and abilities of the vanilla druid quite a bit, some for the better, some for the worse. You can no longer get an animal companion, but gain access to some of the more supporting domains.  Bonuses to Diplomacy and Sense Motive are a worthy trade for wild empathy, but losing spontaneous summon natures allies for calm emotions is a poor one.  +4 on saves against enchantment is excellent as opposed to just against the fey.  Undo artifice allows you to transform any object into any other object. In short, we lose some of the more classic abilities in exchange for some support and unique abilities.

Racial Feats: 
Aquatic Adaptation: Gain water breathing to augment that swim speed. Situational, but nice in an aquatic campaign.

Dangerous Tail: It's only a 1d4 secondary attack, but extra attacks are always nice.  It of course works with the bite, claw, claw routine, but because it is a tail you can fit it in with a bite with some manufactured weapons.

Swift Swimmer: +15 to your swim speed is entirely forgettable.  Chances are you aren't using that swim speed for races, and 30 feet should suffice.


  1. hardened scales is a racial feat - does that mean you can add 2 more to natural armor on top of existing natural armor for this race?

    1. Technically not, though I can only assume that is the intention of the feat.

    2. cool - thanks. i might have to run it past my GM

    3. If it helps, you can point him here to let him know I think as long as he's allowing 3PP, he should be forgiving of little technical errors like that. Good luck!

    4. Not Morified's GMApril 15, 2016 at 7:56 AM

      Isnt the hardened scales trait just a name for the existing trait listed under the racial listing?

    5. There's a 3pp race for Lizardfolk, and a Paizo race. As a result, things get a little muddied. The 3pp and hardened scales feat came out before the Paizo race, so your results may vary.