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Lizard Man (D&D).JPG
Lizardman as depicted in the original Monster Manual (1977).
First appearanceSupplement I: Greyhawk
AlignmentUsually Neutral

Lizardfolk (also called lizard men) are a fictional humanoid species in the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, having appeared in every version of the game to date.

Publication history[edit]

Lizard men first officially appeared as part of the original D&D game in the 1975 Greyhawk supplement booklet authored by Gary Gygax and Robert J. Kuntz. The lizardman artwork that appeared on the inside front cover of that supplement was used as part of the official TSR, Inc. logo from 1975 through 1978.[1]

Dungeons & Dragons (1974–1976)[edit]

The lizard man was introduced to the game in its first supplement, Greyhawk (1975). It is described as an aquatic monster with a rude intelligence, that is fond of eating human flesh.[2]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition (1977–1988)[edit]

The lizard man appears in the first edition Monster Manual (1977), where it is described as a semi-aquatic creature that dwells underwater, and is omnivorous but prefers human flesh.[3]

The lizard man is detailed as a player character race in White Dwarf #26 (Aug/Sept 1981).[4]

The lizard king, a more intelligent and evil relative to the more common lizard man, was introduced in the Fiend Folio (1981).[5]

Dungeons & Dragons (1977–1999)[edit]

This edition of the D&D game included its own version of the lizard man, in the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (1977, 1981, 1983),[6][7][8] and was also later featured in the Dungeons & Dragons Game set (1991), the Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (1991),[9] the Classic Dungeons & Dragons Game set (1994), and the Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Game set (1999).[10]

A variety of lizard men called "Cay-Men," inhabiting a kingdom called Cay, were described in "The Voyage of the Princess Ark" in Dragon issue #185. Options for including varieties of lizard man (collectively called "lizard-kin") as player characters were included at the end of the article.[11]

The Malpheggi lizard man was detailed as a player character race in the Hollow World Campaign Set in the "Player's Guide" (1990).[12]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1989–1999)[edit]

The lizard man and lizard king appear first in the Monstrous Compendium Volume One (1989),[13] and are reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993).[14]

The bakali, a relative of the lizard man from the world of Krynn in the Dragonlance campaign setting, was introduced in the Time of the Dragon boxed set, in the "Rulebook of Taladas" booklet (1989),[15] and also appeared in the Tales of the Lance set, in the "World Book of Ansalon" booklet (1992).[16]

The lizard man of Krynn was detailed in the Dragonlance Monstrous Compendium. (1990)

The lizard man was presented as a player character race for the Spelljammer campaign setting in The Complete Spacefarer's Handbook (1992).[17]

The lizard man is further detailed as a playable character race in The Complete Book of Humanoids (1993),[18] and is later presented as a playable character race again in Player's Option: Skills & Powers (1995).[19]

The Athasian lizard man and lizard king were introduced for the Dark Sun campaign setting in Wanderer's Chronicle: Mind Lords of the Last Sea (1996).[20]

The Malatran lizard man and lizard king were detailed in Polyhedron #121 (July 1996).

Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 edition (2000–2002)[edit]

The lizard man appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2000), where it is known as the lizardfolk.[21]

The lizardfolk is detailed as a player character race for the Forgotten Realms campaign setting in Races of Faerûn (2003).[22]

Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition (2003–2007)[edit]

The lizardfolk appears in the revised Monster Manual for this edition (2003).

The lizardfolk is presented as both a race and a playable class for the Hollow World campaign setting in Dragon #318 (April 2004).

The lizard king, and lizard queen, are detailed in Serpent Kingdoms for the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. (2004).[23]

The blackscale lizardfolk and the poison dusk lizardfolk were mentioned as monsters inhabiting the jungles of Q'barra in the "Eberron Campaign Setting" hardcover (2004).[24] These variants were fully described in the Monster Manual III (2004).[25]

The lizardfolk were detailed in Dragon #335 (September 2005), in the "Ecology of the Lizardfolk".[26]

The dark talon lizardfolk, including the soldier, champion, shaman, wasp rider, and Yarshag the dark talon king, were introduced in Monster Manual IV (2006).[27]

Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition (2008–2014)[edit]

Lizardfolk appear in the Monster Manual for this edition (2008).[28] Witchlight lizardfolk are a dangerous variant, worshiping the black dragon Shadowmire, appearing in Monster Vault: Threats to the Nentir Vale (2011).

Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition (2014–)[edit]

Lizardfolk appear in the Monster Manual for the 5th edition (2014).[citation needed]

The Lizardfolk is a playable race in Volo's Guide to Monsters (2016).[citation needed]


Lizardfolk are omnivores, though they have a preference for meat.


Lizardfolk are normally found in temperate marshes and swamps. Lizardfolk are passable swimmers however, and may be found in underwater cave systems.

Typical physical characteristics[edit]

Lizardfolk are primitive reptilian humanoids typically standing from six to seven feet tall. Their scales are normally dull, earthy colors such as green, brown, or gray. They have a tail for balance, which measures three to four feet long. Typical weight is between 200 and 300 pounds (90 and 136 kg). There are several species of lizardfolk however, and these can range from 3-foot-tall (0.91 m) pygmies to 9-foot-tall (2.7 m) giants.


Lizardfolk are usually neutral.


Lizardfolk society is primarily patriarchal, with the strongest member normally in charge. Shamans are typically counselors, and normally do not lead tribes. Wherever they make their home, survival is the main priority for any lizardfolk. Lizardfolk mostly worship the deity Semuanya, whose main agenda is the reproduction and survival of the species.


  • Blackscale:[29] Larger and more barbaric, with dark scales and an affinity towards acid.
  • Dark Talon:[30] Murderous lizardfolk, toughened by alchemical infusions of black dragon blood. They seek to conquer lands controlled by other humanoid races.
  • Lizard King:[31] Demon-blooded lizardfolk who often rule tribes of their non-fiendish kin. Serve the demon lord Sess'Innek.
  • Malpheggi: A more advanced lizardfolk found in the Hollow World.
  • Poison Dusk:[32] Smaller, chameleon-like lizardfolk who frequently utilize poisoned arrows.
  • Quanak: Psionic lizardfolk.
  • Shazak: Found in the Savage Coast these lizard folk were once slaves, but are now free. They are more intelligent and civilized than most lizardfolk.
  • Viletooth: Lizardfolk with genetic relations to Black Dragons.

In various campaign settings[edit]


In the Mystara Campaign Setting most lizardfolk worship Ka the Preserver.


Lizardfolk are one of the primary factions in the Spelljammer Campaign Setting. They are thought to originally have been groundlings who were captured as slaves by humans or mind flayers and transported into wildspace. Lizardfolk in wildspace are more advanced than their groundling cousins. They often decorate their bodies with tattoos and body paint.[33]

Spacefaring lizardfolk believe that the advances in their race are due to increased proximity to the various suns of wildspace. They seek to continue the advancement of their race and deliberately fly ships containing lizardfolk eggs close to suns.[34]

Lizardfolk mostly use the same sort of ships as humans, but have a special breeding ship design called the bloatfly. The bloatfly is a heavily armed vessel containing a large tank of water for incubating eggs. They are normally coated with black tar in order to retain as much heat as possible.[35]

Lizard men are available as player characters in this setting.[36]


In the Arcanis Campaign Setting, lizardfolk are elevated to the point of being not only an important race but also a race playable as PCs. The lizardfolk of Arcanis are more often called Ss'ressen, and they are divided into several campaign-specific sub-races. Most Ss'ressen are part of the evil Ssethregoran Empire, though a few sub-races have separated geographically and theologically from their brethren to live in relative peace with mankind.

Other publishers[edit]

The lizardfolk is fully detailed in Paizo Publishing's book Classic Monsters Revisited (2008).[37]


  1. ^ TSR logos#Logos
  2. ^ Gygax, Gary and Robert J. Kuntz. Supplement I: Greyhawk (TSR, 1975)
  3. ^ Gygax, Gary. Monster Manual (TSR, 1977)
  4. ^ Moore, Roger E. and Brown, Michael. "Lizardmen as Player Characters". White Dwarf #26 (Games Workshop, Aug/Sept 1981). p. 16.
  5. ^ Turnbull, Don, ed. Fiend Folio (TSR, 1981)
  6. ^ Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson [1974], edited by J. Eric Holmes. Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (TSR, 1977)
  7. ^ Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson [1974], edited by Tom Moldvay. Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (TSR, 1981)
  8. ^ Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson [1974], edited by Frank Mentzer. Dungeons & Dragons Set 1: Basic Rules (TSR, 1983)
  9. ^ Allston, Aaron, Steven E. Schend, Jon Pickens, and Dori Watry. Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (TSR, 1991)
  10. ^ Slavicsek, Bill. Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Game (TSR, 1999)
  11. ^ Heard, Bruce, "Part 32: The Silence of the Lizards" Dragon #185 (TSR, September, 1992)
  12. ^ Allston, Aaron. Hollow World Campaign Set (TSR, 1990)
  13. ^ Cook, David, et al. Monstrous Compendium Volume One (TSR, 1989)
  14. ^ Stewart, Doug, ed. Monstrous Manual (TSR, 1994)
  15. ^ Cook, David. Time of the Dragon (TSR, 1989)
  16. ^ Johnson, Harold, John Terra, J. Robert King, Wolfgang Baur, Colin McComb, Jean Rabe, Norm Ritchie, Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman, Jeff Grubb, Doug Niles, and Michael Williams. Tales of the Lance (TSR, 1992)
  17. ^ Scott, Curtis M. The Complete Spacefarer's Handbook (TSR, 1992)
  18. ^ Slavicsek, Bill. The Complete Book of Humanoids (TSR, 1993)
  19. ^ Niles, Douglas and Dale Donovan. Player's Option: Skills & Powers (TSR, 1995)
  20. ^ Forbeck, Matt. The Wanderers Chronicle: Mind Lords of the Last Sea (TSR, Inc., 1996)
  21. ^ Cook, Monte, Jonathan Tweet, and Skip Williams. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2000)
  22. ^ Reynolds, Sean K., Forbeck, Matt, Jacobs, James, Boyd, Erik L. Races of Faerûn (Wizards of the Coast, 2003)
  23. ^ Greenwood, Ed, Eric L. Boyd, and Darrin Drader. Serpent Kingdoms (Wizards of the Coast, 2004)
  24. ^ Baker, Keith, et al. Eberron Campaign Setting (Wizards of the Coast, 2004)
  25. ^ Burlew, Rich, et al. Monster Manual III (Wizards of the Coast, 2004)
  26. ^ Scott, Amber E, and F. Wesley Schneider. "The Ecology of the Lizardfolk." Dragon #335 (Paizo Publishing, 2005)
  27. ^ Kestrel, Gwendolyn F.M. Monster Manual IV (Wizards of the Coast, 2006)
  28. ^ Mearls, Mike, Stephen Schubert, and James Wyatt. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2008)
  29. ^ "Image: 83018.jpg, (400 × 470 px)". 2004-06-29. Retrieved 2015-09-28.
  30. ^ "Image: 98695.jpg, (400 × 705 px)". Retrieved 2015-09-28.
  31. ^ "Image: 82338.jpg, (400 × 544 px)". 2004-06-24. Retrieved 2015-09-28.
  32. ^ "Image: 83019.jpg, (400 × 530 px)". 2004-06-29. Retrieved 2015-09-28.
  33. ^ Grubb, Jeff. AD&D Adventures in Space - Concordance of Arcane Space (TSR 1989)
  34. ^ Grubb, Jeff. AD&D Adventures in Space - Lorebook of the Void (TSR 1989)
  35. ^ Greenwood, Ed. SJR1 Lost Ships (TSR 1990)
  36. ^ Rolston, Ken (February 1990). "Role-playing Reviews". Dragon. Lake Geneva, Wisconsin: TSR (#154): 59–63.
  37. ^ Baur, Wolfgang, Jason Bulmahn, Joshua J. Frost, James Jacobs, Nicolas Logue, Mike McArtor, James L. Sutter, Greg A. Vaughan, Jeremy Walker. Classic Monsters Revisited (Paizo, 2008)

External links[edit]