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The Blackscales were a tribe and subrace of lizardfolk dwelling in the Vast Swamp of Cormyr.[1][2][note 1]


A blackscale was a humanoid reptilian, resembling other lizardfolk but much larger, standing 8.5–9.5 feet (2.6–2.9 meters) tall and weighing around 600 pounds (270 kilograms), about the size of an ogre. It had stocky and thickly muscled build and its scales were black, and its tail was 4–5 feet (1.2–1.5 meters). Its sunken eyes and flat nostrils gave it a skull-like appearance, and a leathery crest ran from the top of its head to halfway down its back. It had claws and fangs like regular lizardfolk.[1][2]


Blackscales were much like ordinary lizardfolk but larger and stronger, possessing a tougher scaly hide that protected against blows, an ability to hold their breath for long periods of time, and the same skill in swimming, leaping, and balancing. However, they also had darkvision and a resistance to acid.[1][2]


Blackscales were proud and ferocious warriors, focused on performing mighty deeds and gaining glory. They were highly dangerous when provoked, and weren't even as smart as other lizardfolk. Their crests rose when aroused to aggression.[1]


Blackscales had no patience for cunning ploys and setting traps, thinking these were the tools of smaller, weaker lizardfolk. They preferred to just hit hard. In a battle, they fought without order or discipline, though their chiefs could focus them to work together, but briefly.[1] They roared challenges at opponents before engaging.[2] They typically fought with greatclubs and javelins.[1][2]


The Blackscale tribe was somewhat smaller than a typical lizardfolk tribe, numbering around 20 to 40 members, but was organized much the same.[1]

Many blackscales were barbarians. The priests were in fact adepts who commanded the Protection and Sun domains of priestly magic.[1]

The Blackscales spoke Draconic,[1][2] while the smarter ones knew the Common tongue.[1]


The Blackscales told that they carried the blood of black dragons, as evidenced by their dark-hued scales, resistance to acid, and skull-like facial features. There was little to corroborate this however.[1][speculation][note 2]

In the Year of Lightning Storms, 1374 DR, the Blackscales were one of the Vast Swamp tribes attacked by the Shadowscales. At least two of their number were taken captive and dragged to the Lost Refuge,[3] including Kossaandar,[4] and then into the Plane of Shadow, ultimately becoming shadowslain themselves. One was kept as a guard at the Shadow Citadel,[5] and Kossaander became the devoted follower of Ketsarra Shadowscale.[4]

The remaining Blackscales allied with other victims of the war, the Sharptooth and Poison Dusk lizardfolk tribes, under the Sharptooth chief Kessessek. In early Eleint of 1374 DR, a war-party of Sharptooth, Blackscale, and Poison Dusk lizardfolk ventured into Shadowscale territory and laid an ambush at the Skull Staff in efforts to kill their enemies or capture "dream walkers", the mentally dominated victims of the Shadowscales' Sharran allies. In fact, the next group to pass that way were actually adventurers in service to Mystra investigating the Sharrans' activities. This unfortunate misunderstanding was eventually resolved in parlay with Kessessek.[6]

Notable Blackscales[]



  1. In Monster Manual III (v.3.5), the blackscale (in lower case) is a subrace of the lizardfolk, and thus might have tribes of their own. However, Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave presents Blackscales (upper case) as a tribe of lizardfolk. Thus, it appears the Blackscales are a tribe of blackscales and the blackscale subrace might only exist in the Vast Swamp. This article assumes a single tribe.
  2. A connection to black dragons is only mentioned in the "Blackscale Lizardfolk in Eberron" section in Monster Manual III, and this does not apply to the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. However, the various features of the blackscale subrace still strongly imply such a connection, suggesting it applies to blackscales in other campaign settings. Thus it is assumed here.

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