Zotz, Flames of Night

“There’s comfort yet; they are assailable.
Then be thou jocund. Ere the bat hath flown
His cloistered flight, ere to black Hecate’s summons
The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums
Hath rung night’s yawning peal, there shall be done
A deed of dreadful note.

-William Shakespeare, Macbeth

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 Zotz

A zotz resembles an enormous roughly five foot tall bat with lanky human proportions and arms in addition to their huge membranous wings. Most are covered in a thin coat of black or brown fur over tan skin, and they have hard, blunt claws better suited for holding on to rocks or trees than fighting with. They are especially skilled with magic and every individual, whether a spellcaster or not, has some degree of power running through their veins and manifesting either physically or through innate supernatural talents. Few people have ventured to their homelands, but those who do report jungles concealing perilously tall pyramids much too steep to climb, set into the sides of mountains with entryways to vast cavern systems.

A Created People

The zotz were created millenia ago by a mighty spellcaster to serve as personal servitors within his vast cavernous and volcanic lair. It is said he merged people, bats, and multiple types of extraplanar power to form them, but the zotz were proud and unwilling to be mere servants, slaying their master and systematically eradicating his name from history so he would have no legacy. Their culture is somewhat related to that of the people from which they were made, but it has changed dramatically with their modified nature and thousands of years of separation.

Tripartite Culture

Zotz society has three genders, with associated modes of dress, typical occupations, pronouns, and so on. These genders are not related to reproduction, however, but to which of the three sources of power from which the zotz were created—Fire, Darkness, or Earth—and which associated the cultural connotations of those powers are most influential in the individual’s personality. Marriage can occur between any zotz, but a marriage with three individuals, one of each gender, is considered especially spiritually and magically significant, and is expected of any rulers of a city state or greater, in order that all three sources of power be represented in governance.

Zotz Names

Each zotz is named for some mighty or cunning or dangerous individual, usually hero, ruler, or mythological figure. A zotz who achieves deeds of fame or infamy comparable to those achievements is given a new name, which then enters the corpus of names for future generations. In zotz names, an “x” is pronounced like “sh” and an apostrophe represents a glottal stop.

Example Fire Names: Chaac, Hunraqan, Itzamna, K’inich Kakmo, Q’uq’umatz, Tohil, Vucub-Caquix, Xbalanque, Yaxkin

Example Darkness Names: Awilix, Balam, Chriakan, Ek Chuah, Hosanek, Ixtab, Saccimi, Tunkuruchu, Xquic, Yunuen

Example Earth Names: Cantzicnal, Hobnil, Ixchel, Nicte, Och-Kan, Tecun, Voltan, Yum Kaax, Xoc, Zipacna

Zotz Traits

Your zotz character has the following traits.
    Age. The supernatural origins of the zotz grant long life, reaching adulthood around age 20 and sometimes living to two centuries.
    Size. Zotz are smaller and lighter weight than humans to facilitate flight, averaging about five feet tall and under 100 lbs. Your size is Medium.
    Speed. Your base walking speed is 20 feet.
    Spirit of Fire. The zotz life force burns with the power of flame. Choose one of the following two benefits to gain:

  • Your choice of either Dexterity or Constitution increases by 1.


  • You know the produce flame cantrip. When you reach 3rd level, you can cast blazing curse (see below) at 1st level with this trait. Once you cast it using this trait you can’t cast it in this way again until you finish a long rest. You can still cast it using any spell slots you have. Choose Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma, this is your spellcasting ability for these spells when cast using this trait.

    Spirit of Darkness. Subtle and cunning is the power of darkness which infuses the minds of the zotz. Choose one of the following two benefits to gain:

  • Your choice of either Intelligence or Charisma increases by 1.


  • You can attempt to hide even when you are only lightly obscured by dim light or darkness. Furthermore as a bonus action you can become invisible until you make an attack, damage roll, force someone to make a saving throw, or until the start of your next turn, whichever comes first. Once you become invisible in this way, you cannot do so again until you complete a short or long rest.

    Spirit of Earth. The bodies of the zotz are infused with the power and patience of the earth. Choose one of the following two benefits to gain:

  • Your choice of either Strength or Wisdom increases by 1.


  • When you score a critical hit with a weapon attack, you can roll one of the weapon’s damage dice an additional time and add it to the extra damage of the critical hit. Also when you are reduced to 0 hit points but not killed, you remain at 1 hit point instead. You cannot avoid being reduced to 0 hit points in this way again until you finish a long rest.

    Echolocation. You have blindsight in a 30 foot radius, as long as you are not deafened. This sense cannot detect colors—only shapes—cannot pass through objects, and is blocked completely by areas of magical silence.
    Flight. You have a flying speed of 30 feet. You can only use this speed if you are wearing light or no armor.
    Sunlight Sensitivity. You have disadvantage on attack rolls and Wisdom (Perception) checks which rely on sight (and not echolocation) when you, the target of your attack, or whatever you are trying to perceive are in direct sunlight.
    Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and your choice of either Abyssal, Primordial, or Undercommon.

Random Height and Weight

Base Height Base Weight Height Modifier Weight Modifier
4’5″ 75 lbs +2d6 x(1d6)

New Spell

Blazing Curse

1st-level conjuration
Casting Time: 1 bonus action
Range: 60 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, Up to 1 hour
Classes: Sorcerer, Warlock
You bind a creature that you can see within range to a hostile plane of existence. Until the spell ends, whenever you hit the target with an attack, you can deal an extra 1d8 fire damage. The target also has disadvantage on ability checks using one ability of your choice.
    At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a 3rd or 4th level spell slot, the duration increases to “concentration, Up to 8 hours.” When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 5th level or higher, the duration increases to “concentration, Up to 24 hours.”

Legal Appendix

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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.

Zotz, Flames of Night Copyright 2021, Malachite Idol; Author Patrick Johnson.