Onyx Scale Folk, Apex Predators

“From Hunger’s arm the shafts of Death are hurl’d,
And one great Slaughter-house the warring world!

-Erasmus Darwin, The Temple of Nature

Playtest Version

This material is still in the process of being playtested. It is fully usable as written, but may be refined or changed in later versions. As always, this content should only be used with GM permission.

The Onyx Scale Folk

Lizard folk have inhabited many parts of the world since before recorded history, usually in places humans find inhospitably hot or unpleasantly wet. Few places emphasize the difference in comfort between reptile folk and soft skinned folk more than the volcanic swamps in which the Onyx Scale thrive. With gleaming black scales as their namesake and a build that rivals a half-giant’s, an Onyx Scale warrior is a sight not quickly forgotten.

Hulking Hunters

As with their more human-sized kin, the Onyx Scale lifestyle is largely one of hunting, and there are very few predators in their domain that can rival even a single member of an Onyx Scale hunting band. It is not unusual for a full hunting party to track and kill giant beasts even despite their disdain for the easily corroded metals of the soft folk and resulting reliance on weapons made from bone, chitin and claws of other powerful beasts. Because of their status as a nearly unchallenged apex predator, their territory spans as far as the smoke plume from their sacred mountain can be seen, and could easily expand further should their leaders provide reason to venture so far from home.

The Generational Quest

Those Onyx Scale youths who seek to become wise people or hunt leaders, upon coming of age, will strike out from Onyx Scale territory either alone or in small groups seeking to test themselves against the world. These forays into the wider world are in pursuit of a secret quest that has been ongoing piecemeal for many generations. The details of this quest are passed on quietly to those pursuing glory, and the objective the individual must complete before returning may only be told to those joining the quest. If they can prove their success at their task, they are elevated to their desired status immediately, having proven their skill.

Onyx Scale Names

Names among the Onyx Scale folk are normally a single word in Draconic which describes the individual in some way. These names are solely based on the individual and are not distinguished by gender.

Example Onyx Scale Names: Asznel, Bak, Bash’e, Chau, Druk, Enchu, Fahon, Gant, Henez, Igatir, Iq’eph, Jiao, Kahl, Kampe, Leruh, Nidh, Mboi, Obacir, Phau, Tangorot, Ultaap, Wuarso, Yazi, Zhu

Onyx Scale Traits

Your onyx scale character has the following natural traits.
    Ability Score Increase. Your Strength increases by 2.
    Age. Due to their larger size, the Onyx Scale tend to live slightly longer than similar reptilian folk. They reach adulthood in 15 years and live to be about 70.
    Alignment. Despite their aggression, the Onyx Scale tend towards neutrality.
    Size. Onyx Scale folk average about 7 feet tall despite their slightly hunched posture, and typically weigh well over 300 pounds. Your size is Medium.
    Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet. You also have a swimming speed of 30 feet.
    Apex Predator. You gain proficiency with your choice of two of the following skills: Athletics, Intimidation, Nature, Perception, and Survival.
    Bite. Your bite is a natural weapon which you can use to make unarmed strikes. With a hit, you deal piercing damage equal to 1d6 + your Strength modifier.
    Blessing of the Great One. It is rumored that the great size and ferocity of the Onyx Scale tribes is due to the blood of a great black dragon flowing through their veins. You have resistance to acid damage.
    Feeding Frenzy. You can make a special attack with your bite as a bonus action. On a hit, you deal normal damage and gain temporary hit points equal to your Constitution modifier (minimum 1). You can use this special attack again after a short or long rest.
    Heavyweight. When determining your carrying capacity, as well as the weight you can push, drag, or lift, you are considered to be one size category larger.
    Hold Breath. You can hold your breath for 15 minutes.
    Natural Armor. Your AC when you aren’t wearing armor is 13 + your Dexterity modifier. You can use a shield as normal, and if you wear armor that provides a lower AC than your natural armor, you may use your natural armor AC instead.
    Mighty. You are considered one size category larger for determining your carrying capacity.
    Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Draconic.

Random Height and Weight

Base Height Base Weight Height Modifier Weight Modifier
5’11″ 250 lbs +2d12 x(2d6)

New Feat


You have great skill in hunting creatures of the wilds. You gain the following benefits:

  • Your Dexterity or Wisdom score increases by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • When making Wisdom(Survival) checks to hunt or track beasts, you may roll 1d4 and add the amount rolled to the result of that check.
  • As a bonus action you can take aim with a ranged weapon. If you hit a creature with the next ranged weapon attack you make this round, the target must also make a Constitution saving throw, with a DC equal to 8 + your Proficiency Bonus + your Wisdom modifier. On a failed save, the target’s speed is reduced by 10 feet. The target may repeat this Constitution save at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on a success.

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System Reference Document 5.1 Copyright 2016, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.; Authors Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Chris Perkins, Rodney Thompson, Peter Lee, James Wyatt, Robert J. Schwalb, Bruce R. Cordell, Chris Sims, and Steve Townshend, based on original material by E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.

Onyx Scale Folk, Apex Predators Copyright 2019, Malachite Idol; Author Patrick Johnson.