Primal zerg (5e Race)

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Primal zerg[edit]

"I do not need a wall, I will evolve armor. I do not need a weapon, I will evolve claws." "The toolmakers might create something stronger than your armor and claws." "Their tools stay the same. I collect. I change."

Physical Description[edit]

The primal zerg have the incredible ability to assimilate genetic material from their food, which allows them to adapt and change much faster than most other species. More so, they can choose what they grow and incorporate into their bodies, though the process is poorly understood. As a result, they can have almost any appearance, usually adapted to their environment. Primal zerg in hot climes will likely have scales for protection and water retention, while ones in colder climes will have fur to keep themselves warm. They are usually omnivorous, obtaining genetic material from whatever they can find, but a few have mutated photosynthesis from plants.


Primal zerg originated on a faraway world, the primitive ancestors of the swarm zerg which have spread out as a dangerous force throughout the galaxy. Unlike the zerg of the swarm, the primal zerg rejected the influence of the Overmind, and stayed on their homeworld. For thousands of years they remained isolated on their homeworld, until the swarm zerg returned, recruiting, but not assimilating, the most powerful primal zerg tribes and massacring those who opposed them, bringing them on as auxiliaries who were not susceptible to strong psychic attacks. After this, they dispersed, some traveling with the zerg, but many others settled in the wilderness of many worlds, where they could practice their warlike traditions without outside interference.


Primal zerg embrace the ideals of the survival of the fittest. Some seek out a monk-like existence in rough or difficult habitats to harden their bodies and spirits, or die trying. Others join packs and set out marauding, destroying humanoid settlements they encounter, with the goal of purging the world of the weak and honing their own bodies through endless combat. Primal zerg society respects the strongest and hardiest, and those that die were never worthy of respect- any promises or deals a zerg made in life are not likely to be honored after its death. More so, if you cannot defend a promise, vow, or position by force, then it is forfeit. Not every primal zerg is particularly violent or bloodthirsty- some only kill the strong, as the weak and defenseless will not help them achieve a greater level of existence. Others take no pleasure in killing, and would rather harden themselves in solitude on top of a volcano or in a lonely arctic wasteland.

Primal zerg Names[edit]

Primal zerg have a variety of naming traditions. Their names may be taken from the most powerful thing they have killed, such as the name of a giant or a great pack leader. They may take on a nickname given to them by fellow pack members, or a title from a village they terrorize. The most solitary have forgotten their own names out in the wilderness, but adopt a new one once they meet someone sentient.

Most primal zerg are hermaphroditic, though they may adopt certain traits to encourage a fearsome reputation.

Examples include: Brak, Dehaka, Kraith, Silvan, Yagdra, Zurvan, Zasz, Daggoth, Abathur, Izsha, Kilysa, Kraith, Nafash, Naktul, Niadra, and Zagara

Primal zerg Traits[edit]

Creatures of any shape and size that can take the properties (abilities, powers, and/or physical features) of any life form that can be eaten.
Ability Score Increase. Depending on what you devour will depend on what you score increase will be, that and it will change as you continue to eat. In truth it will be up to the DM and you to decide what's fair.
Age. Primal zerg are long-lived but not immortal. Their maximum lifespan is usually related to whatever they have assimilated so far. They can get and die of disease, malnutrition, genetic defects inherited from prey, etc. As a result, you can get quite a lot in return for the genetic material of certain animals, such as the nigh cancer-free naked mole rat, or the skin of a dragon or elf.
Alignment. Primal zerg are often neutral or evil, depending on how they interpret the "survival of the fittest" ideology. They are rarely given to acts of charity or kindness, and are ultimately usually motivated by self-improvement of some sort.
Size. Primal zerg are wildly variable in size and shape, ranging from tiny to gargantuan, but such extremes are usually impractical, and few zerg ever kill a gargantuan creature. Your size is medium or small, your pick.
Speed. As with all zerg traits, this is widely variable, but many don't kill or catch anything too fast. Your walking speed is 30, swim speed 30, and digging speed is 15.
Genetic Assimilation. You can assimilate the traits of your choice from the enemies you kill. You can ingest organic material in order to gain certain traits possessed by the creature or thing which the material belonged to, if it is not processed (such as paper) or sufficiently old (more than a weak old is too old for your body to incorporate). When you kill an enemy, you can gain one of its stats, such as ability scores, HP, or armor count, or one of its actions, such as its attacks, if you succeed a DC 15 Constitution check, which you may add your Survival proficiency to (not both). You may not absorb an action or stat if it is directly reliant on some sort of non-genetic modification (I.E. a warrior's sword or armor), or a skill that must be learned, such as spells. You cannot absorb genetic material from things which wouldn't have genetic material, such as constructs or ghosts, and most undead have been dead too long for you to gain their traits. You may also absorb the affects of other body parts (such as a plant's photosynthesis) not normally described in the stat block of a creature- work with your DM to decide exactly what you can and can't inherit. If you succeed, then the new parts grow in 1 minute. You can also atrophy parts you no longer want when you level up.

Below is a potential list of stats you can add to your character when devouring. They include, but are not limited to:

-Ability Score When you succeed the Constitution check, your stat for that ability score becomes that of the creature you devour. If you roll a Nat 1, then your ability score is decreased equal to the amount of your prey's ability modifier.

-HP If you succeed the Constitution check, and your HP is not full, then you regain your HP equal to the prey's HP divided by 10. If the HP you gain goes over your Max. HP, then your Max. HP increases by the remaining amount. If you roll a Nat 1, then you take damage equal to the creatures challenge rating OR level. Creatures with a CR lower than one equal one.

-AC If you succeed the Constitution check, your AC becomes that of your prey's. If you roll a Nat 1, your Ac is dropped by the amount of AC you would have gained if you had succeeded.

-Body Parts/Actions If you succeed the Constitution check, then any body part you wish to grow appears in 1 minute, or at the start of your next turn if in combat. Any stats that can logically be associated with the chosen body part are also gained, and vice versa. (Ex. growing wings=flying speed of 30ft). You can only atrophy body parts once you've leveled up or replace them with new body parts from new prey.
Primal Tactics. You gain proficiency with your unarmed strikes, and lose proficiency with all weapons. Tails and feet allow you to cast spells which require somatic components.
Languages. Common and Undercommon

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