So, based on their abilities, lizardfolk (humanoid reptiles) should be a more prevalent race in my setting than they actually are. When I say they're overpowered, I mean they have everything to expand their territory and resources, which is pivotal in a world plauged by naruto-running zombies with Wolverine-regeneration.

General characterstics:

  • Height: 170-190 cm on average
  • Extreme regeneration: all lizardfolk are able to grow back any organ (except the brain in most cases), albeit not at the speed zombies do. They don't drop their tails (obviously)
  • Cold-blooded: they are lizards
  • They've a human lifespan

The three subspecies:

Nile-crocodile folk:

  • Ridiculously strong bite force
  • The largest (consistently 190 cm) and strongest
  • They are also the slowest (on land), though that isn't saying too much
  • Their osteoderms provide decent protection from many physical attacks, even weaker firearms

Komodo-dragon folk:

  • Jack-of-all-trades, master of none
  • Stronger than the Asian-water-monitor folk, weaker than the Nile-crocodile folk, slower than the Asian-water-monitor folk and faster than the Nile-crocodile folk
  • Average height 170-180 cm
  • They have a potent poison, secreted from glands in the lower jaw

Asian-water-monitor folk:

  • They're incredibly fast and agile
  • Tall, athletic build
  • They are good climbers and are often arboreal by choice
  • They are also good swimmers
  • The smartest of the three sub-species
  • 180 cm on average

Just to give you a point of reference, let's take these three friends from one of my drafts:

  • Pondering friend, an Asian-water-monitor folk, who built a treehouse by himself just to get away from annoying friend, that's why he left the ladder out. He likes ranged weapons and camouflage, the two things he can beat annoying friend with.
  • The annoying friend, a Nile-crocodile folk. He uses a nicely-made club (I think the design is a Polynesian war club). It's advised to wear top-quality riot gear when engaging in combat with him. Pondering friend hates taking him on on one-on-one duels, since those club strikes always break his guard, which he considers outrageous and unfair. Pondering friend also regrets teaching him the German suplex.
  • Mysterious friend is the peacekeeper between pondering friend and annoying friend, going as far as breaking up fights. Pondering friend also regularly coats his arrows with mysterious friend's poison.

You might be thinking, "Why not just throw Cocytus in to give those three a very bad time?" If you were to do that I'd finally have enough unspent CR to balance that encounter with a Bertholdt nuke.

Basically, I need a biological weakness that can't be solved with a hand-knit sweatshirt (body-temperature maintenance) or similar low-level technology, and would hinder all three species in combat, based on the already established facts (the list items). However, this weakness shouldn't make them too weak; defeating them still needs to be a bit of a challenge.

What would be the most likely weakness? (it can only be one oversight in their physiology)

  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$
    – Monty Wild
    Commented Dec 13, 2019 at 12:15

8 Answers 8


if you are cold blooded, the sweatshirt won’t do any good. Because you’re not generating any body heat. You need an external heat source. This is going to be a major disadvantage against anyone not cold blooded.

As someone else mentioned, Keeping lizards outside of a tropical climate is very challenging.

Insulation is not enough: a woolly coat might work for your warm-blooded pooch, but your ectothermic iguana needs heat, ideally in the form of an infra-red lamp. If not heated, reptiles get sluggish. In winter, their metabolism slows right down -- an alligator's heart may beat just once a minute - and they undergo a form of hibernation. Unless they are living somewhere tropical, or have a good way of getting warm quickly and staying warm, they will have trouble competing with wily mammals. Maybe they rule the warm valleys while the snowy mountains are the domain of the warmbloods?

  • $\begingroup$ It's still good for trapping heat, isn't it? $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 6, 2019 at 6:02
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    $\begingroup$ @Mephistopheles and then preventing more heat from entering. I suppose you could sort of a "thermo suit" where you put clothes on the reptile race person, put hot air under them and then seal the clothes, so the heat doesn't escape. But it's not going to be very effective for very long. Also, you probably need rather different clothes than human ones. $\endgroup$
    – VLAZ
    Commented Dec 6, 2019 at 9:33
  • $\begingroup$ That's fair. So, they'd slow down and hibernate in cold? $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 6, 2019 at 10:25
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    $\begingroup$ So Canada and Russia are safe from the reptiles :) $\endgroup$
    – Trevor
    Commented Dec 6, 2019 at 17:49
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    $\begingroup$ "Cold blooded" is no longer the scientific term because it's not accurate. They ARE producing heat -- it's impossible to metabolize calories without producing heat -- but they have no mechanism to burn calories JUST to maintain heat. Insulation would help keep the metabolic heat in. $\endgroup$
    – Mary
    Commented Jun 6, 2020 at 21:47

Breathing is a thing for reptiles.

Some reptiles must hold their breath during intense running. It puts a harsh limit on how far they can run.

Most reptiles lack a secondary palate meaning they must hold their breath while swallowing. Though crocodiles have one. Many snakes that swallow their prey whole must hold their breath for the entire process. Some snakes extend a breathing tube during at least part of the process.

So, if you saw your reptile buddy eating dinner, and you grabbed his fries and ran away, you might well be able to beat him if you were in good practice at long distance running. Corresponding strategies for military situations are fairly obvious. Humans could outdistance reptilian troops.

  • $\begingroup$ this is less of a problem for larger reptiles, monitors, iguana, and archosaurs have a more advanced breathing system that works a lot better,better than the mammalian one in many ways $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Dec 17, 2019 at 5:50
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    $\begingroup$ If the lizards are bipedal, it also won't be a problem. A lot of lizards like basilisk and collared lizards can run on their hind legs, and one benefit is their bodies won't shift from side to side if they are bipedal and they don't have to hold their breath. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 21, 2020 at 1:40

One thing that all reptiles, being exothermic, have problems with is temperature. Too little and they cannot move, and if there is too much they roast. A viable defense against the lizard people would be to set up large space-heaters around a defensible position. These would really mess with any that come close.

In addition, even if the heat is just right, reptiles have problems with running. You see, the reason why they are exothermic is that their cells do not produce much energy. As a result, they are limited to short (~30 second) sprints. Furthermore, they are completely incapacitated for several minutes after such a sprint.

TL;DR: while they would be extremely deadly at melee range, they would have problems with pursuits and temperature extremes.

EDIT: An alternative to space-heaters would be heavily air-conditioning the inside of your base. The transition shock alone should be enough to knock out any lizards that breach the perimeter.


Humanities power comes, not from our large brains and tool use, but from our large social structures.

A single human is not particularly scary, a bear, couger or wolf can kill one without too much difficulty. But a thousand humans can kill just about anything out there (excluding a larger group of humans).

Make your lizard men extremely tribal. Similar to the steppe tribes.

The reason why they don't conquer the world is that they are too busy killing eachother because of ancient blood feuds. However if a leader were to emerge capable of uniting the many feuding tribes they would have an army capable of conquering the world.


You could make your lizardmen reptile-brained in the biological sense. That means they would have the following qualities:

  • Weak social inclinations, making it difficult for them to organize coherently.
  • Lowered inhibitions, making them prone to infighting, sudden hatreds and affections, and in other ways generally quite fickle.
  • Somewhat obsessive, single-mindedly pursuing goals to the expense of reason and common sense.

Look at the evolutionary layers of the brain on a site such as this, and think about what would happen if the reptile brain took on greater emphasis while the limbic system and cerebral cortex had diminished importance. They wouldn't be lunkheads, exactly — still capable of rational thought and all the benefits that entails — but they would have a distinctly different set of priorities that would make them more powerful as individuals yet less powerful as a group.


They evolved as a K-selected species

Meaning, their current reproductive capabilities are adapted for an environment that can barely support their numbers; they reproduce slowly.

Prior to the "Naruto-running zombies"(?), each of the three lizardfolk species was saturating their livable territory, and eventually adapted to a relatively low-density equilibrium. After all, each member of each species has an extremely high survival rate due to their superhuman healing capabilities, but those same capabilities carry an extremely high metabolism. Their cold-blooded nature made it difficult for them to spread into other climates very quickly.

Members of the species tended to live to old age, and required significant resources along the way. As a result, the slower-reproducing members were selected for (they had an easier time supporting their relatively few offpsring, compared to their faster-reproducing brethren who had to support entire swarms of rugrats).

But everything changed when the Naruto-running zombies(?) attacked. The initial event devastated the populations of all three species, and they have been very slow to recover.

  • $\begingroup$ humans are also extremely K selected, so not much of weakness relatively speaking. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Dec 7, 2019 at 1:59

Like cane toads, lizard folk will try to mate with anything.

cane toads try to mate with python


But in their quest to reproduce, cane toads sometimes get a bit overzealous. They have been known to try and mate with anything they can catch: male toads, human hands and feet, other species and even inanimate objects. On Twitter, Rowley shared an image of a can toad attempting to get it on with a rotting mango.

Your lizard folk are the same way. If a male finds something moving, or not moving, it will try to mate with it. Because of their great strength and power, the male is usually successful in its attempt. This interferes with the fighting ability of the male Lizardfolk, because their interest in fighting quickly is overpowered by their interest in mating.

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    $\begingroup$ 1.That's a toad, we're talking about monitor lizards and crocodilians. 2.Just no. 3.Really, no! $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 6, 2019 at 6:06
  • $\begingroup$ I tend to agree with Mephistopheles. These are amphibious toads, not reptiles. Their behavior patterns are significantly different. -1. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 6, 2019 at 15:01
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    $\begingroup$ These are actually toad people. Lots of things give them away; too many to go into in comments. But they tell people they are lizards because lizards are cooler than toads, like I tell the ladies I am from Quebec even though I am from South Dakota. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Commented Dec 6, 2019 at 15:51

Here's some weaknesses you can explore:

1- their ectothermic nature. Not only it means they can't be as active in colder days, they're relatively incapable of migrating to colder regions, also, funny enough, their metabolism gets slower the colder it gets, and you know what also slows down with metabolism? Your healing factor. The Nile croc may be strong and hard to beat, but if you throw water at 32 F at it it will be basically helpless to do anything that requires metabolic activity, and since they don't have what it takes to conserve heat, your sweatshirt won't be more than aesthetic.

2- their minds. Unless your reptiles somehow developed the mammalian brain parts, their brains aren't that different than a souped up version of your average velociraptor's (remember, they were smart by dino standards, but a dog is much smarter than they were). In other words, their instincts are extremely prevalent still and they have poorly developed emotions. Even if they have rational intellect as developed as hours, if you know how to trigger their instinctive responses, they'll most likely switch from rational being to mindless animal.

3-(Nile kind only) their very Jaws. Sure, crocodilians have tremendous bite force, but that doesn't come for free, their muscles were mostly concentrated on the closing motion. In other words, once your Nile crocodile closes its mouth, a simple lasso will more than do the trick at ensuring they don't open again. Whether Their arms are long enough to deal with that is up to you.

4-if they're lizards they molt. Doesn't sound like a big deal right? That's not really a weakness, except it is. Many reptiles, especially snakes, tend to have worse vision immediately before shedding as the membrane that protects their eyes becomes clouded, being changed by another after molting, so your lizards might have a hard time seeing when their molting time approaches, and boy is it good when you can see better than your enemy. Also, not molting properly, which can happen due to stress might result in skin problems and inflammations due to the dead tissue.

Hope at least one of these was helpful


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