Lizardfolk 5e Guide

Published on June 2, 2021

What is this guide?

This guide is meant to give you an idea of whether or not the Lizardfolk will be right for your character build.

The color code below has been implemented to help you identify, at a glance, how good that option will be for your Lizardfolk. This color-coding isn’t a hard and fast rule; there are plenty of sub-optimized options out there that will be viable to your party and will be fun to play.

  • Black is a trait shared by many races and or will not impact the effectiveness of your character build
  • Red isn’t going to contribute to the effectiveness of your character build at all
  • Orange is an OK option
  • Green is a good option
  • Blue is a great option, you should strongly consider this option for your character
  • Sky Blue is an amazing option. If you do not take this option your character would not be optimized

Tasha's Cauldron of Everything Update

Tasha's Cauldron of Everything has added the "Customizing Your Origin" option that may affect the ability score increases, languages, and proficiencies in this guide. To read more about this, visit our D&D Race Guide.

What are Lizardfolk?

Lizardfolk are not your typical swamp-dwelling humanoids. Unlike races such as the Dragonborn, the way a Lizardfolk’s mind works is completely different from most of the sentient races in the world of D&D. Lizardfolk see the world in a much more primal way, experiencing emotions in a less complex manner and categorizing those they come across as either predator or prey. Their emotions are primarily based on fear, aggression, and pleasure, valuing survival and functional utility above all else. If you are useful to a Lizardfolk, they will keep you around and even protect you. If you happen to die in their presence, well… at least you’ll make for a tasty lunch.

Lizardfolk are a playable character race found in Volo’s Guide to Monsters.

Lizardfolk Traits

Ability Score Increase: Getting +2 CON is great for every class, but a WIS increase really only matters for a select few.

Size: Medium is the typical size of most races, and is neither good nor bad.

Speed: Lizardfolk have a standard walking speed of 30 feet and a swimming speed of 30 feet. Having a swimming speed can be extremely useful, especially when playing in an aquatic-focused campaign.

Bite: Normally, improved unarmed strikes aren’t very good. However, combined with the Lizardfolk’s trait Hungry Jaws, there is a use for Bite other than when you find yourself without a weapon. Additionally, biting is marginally better than races that can use claws because you can bite without a free hand.

Cunning Artisan: Cunning Artisan is a cool racial trait, but is only situationally useful. If you or your friends get separated from your weapons but you still have a knife on hand, this is a good way to quickly craft something to defend yourself with. You can also create weapons with the intention of selling them to make some money for your party.

Hold Breath: Holding your breath for 15 minutes is good in a pinch, such as if you unexpectedly find yourself underwater or if you need to retrieve something from the bottom of a lake. For any longer underwater missions, especially if you want your party to join you, you will definitely still need something like the Water Breathing spell.

Being able to hold your breath also helps if you run into gas traps or enemies with spells like Stinking Cloud

Hunter’s Lore: Two free skill proficiencies is amazing, especially because the list you can choose from is very good. Every character wants Perception proficiency so if you don’t have another way to get it, you get it easily here.

Natural Armor: Natural Armor is really great if you are running around without armor or are playing a class that has a difficult time pumping their AC. You can use a shield with Natural Armor so you should be able to get a sizeable AC score.

Hungry Jaws: Hungry Jaws is a reason to use your Bite attack. The temporary hit points you can gain from a successful attack aren’t huge and this can only be used once per short rest, but at least it isn’t wasted if you miss your attack. At low levels, the temporary hit points could very easily mean the difference between life and death. Hungry Jaws is a good way to use up your bonus action if you have nothing else going on during a turn.

Which Classes Work With Lizardfolk?

The huge boost to CON and Natural Armor means that Lizardfolk can quite easily make the squishier classes more robust, but they will be lacking in their main stat if they don’t use WIS for spellcasting. To make the most of Natural Armor, you will want to invest some points into DEX. The rest of the Lizardfolk’s racial traits offer good utility to any build.

Artificer: Artificers need INT to be effective.

Barbarian: Barbarians need STR to be effective, and Natural Armor doesn’t stack with Unarmored Defense.

Bard: None of the Lizardfolk’s ability score increases interest Bards.

Cleric: CON and WIS is a great combination to start off with for a Cleric. A DEX-based Cleric would pair very nicely with Natural Armor.

Druid: Druids are notoriously squishy, typically struggling with a small hit point pool and dreadful AC. Lizardfolk offer Druids a great way to get more AC, more hit points, and even some WIS for their spellcasting. 

Fighter: WIS won’t be all that useful, but the CON and Natural Armor will take you far as a DEX-based Fighter. Fighters get a ton of ability score increases so they should have no problem getting their stats to where they need to be.

Monk: CON and WIS work well for Monks. This class already comes with Unarmored Defense, with the base AC being lower but uses both your DEX and WIS modifier. This means that Natural Armor will be better until both your DEX and WIS are high enough.

Paladin: WIS is basically pointless for Paladins since they depend on several other ability scores. Hungry Jaws also doesn’t look too exciting as Paladins are already experts at healing and self-preservation. A DEX-based Paladin will work as they won’t depend on STR and heavy armor for AC.

Ranger: A Lizardfolk Ranger will have a bit of a slow start without DEX to start off, but the added survivability should serve you well until you get some ability score increases under your belt. WIS is nice to see for spellcasting.

Rogue: Rogues are desperate for DEX which is sorely lacking here. However, Rogues are always happy to get more skill proficiencies to play with and Natural Armor will eventually give you a huge AC when DEX is maxed out.

Sorcerer: Sorcerers need CHA to be effective.

Warlock: Warlocks need CHA to be effective.

Wizard: Wizards need INT to be effective.

Roland Drews

Roland Drews is a content creator and editor at Arcane Eye. When he isn't watching basketball or noodling on his guitar, you can find Roland reading, writing, or playing D&D. He currently lives in Bonn, Germany with his girlfriend Jess.