Jaffa (5e Race)

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Physical Description[edit]

A jaffa warrior. Screenshot from the Stargate SG-1 episode "Moebius". (Source)

Jaffa are nearly indistinguishable from their human cousins at a glance, possessing the same range of hair colours and skin tones. Generations of arcane genetic manipulation have made the jaffa stronger and healthier than normal humans, but this strength and vitality is not purely their own. It comes, in part, from a parasitic, eel-like creature called a goa'uld.

Each jaffa has an abdominal pouch, with which she incubates a goa'uld larva over ten years. The larva empowers her immune system while she hosts it, granting her increased vitality and resistance to disease. However, the larva also undermines her immune system so that she cannot survive without a goa'uld to incubate: if the larva is removed and she doesn't receive a replacement quickly, her immune system will start to fail, and she will die in a matter of days.

This dependency is not without its benefits. A jaffa that does not die in battle will live much longer than an ordinary human, not displaying any signs of old age until she is well over 100. She also does not need to sleep, and instead rests by entering a meditative trance not unlike an elf.


Thousands of years ago, the parasitic goa'uld came to this world and kidnapped countless humans to use as slaves and host bodies. To prevent uprisings amongst their slaves, the goa'uld took the strongest and most obedient of their human chattel and subjected them to generations of arcane genetic manipulation. The resulting race, the jaffa, would serve their goa'uld masters as incubators for their young, overseers of their lesser slaves, and soldiers in their countless wars against both outside threats and each other. The very word jaffa means "slave" or "servant" in the goa'uld tongue, perfectly illustrating the jaffa's role in goa'uld society.

In recent years, a number of jaffa have begun to break away from the goa'uld. These jaffa have realized that their masters are callous charlatans who care nothing for their people and wish to free themselves from the goa'uld yoke. Such rebel jaffa are in constant conflict with the goa'uld and their indoctrinated kin, both because the goa'uld fear that such acts of rebellion could inspire other jaffa to rise up, and because rebel jaffa are still dependent on goa'uld larvae to survive and so must raid goa'uld hatcheries to obtain the creatures.


Most jaffa are utterly dependent on the goa'uld, both physiologically and culturally. They are indoctrinated from an early age to view their goa'uld overlords as living gods and are taught that there is no higher honor than to fight and die in service of their god. The moment when a jaffa youth receives her first larva is treated as a coming-of-age ceremony. Adult jaffa bear black forehead tattoos which declare their allegiance to specific goa'uld overlords. The most trusted jaffa in a goa'uld's entourage, the First Prime, is honoured by having their overlord's mark seared into their skin with molten gold.

Not all jaffa are blindly obedient to their goa'uld masters, however. A growing number of them have realized that their masters are not gods and that their people are effectively slaves. These jaffa may continue to serve with their indoctrinated brethren, presenting a façade of loyalty as they plot to sabotage the goa'uld from within, or they may band together and break away to form their own independent communities. Overtly rebellious jaffa are condemned as shol'va, a goa'uld term meaning "traitor" or "heretic", by their indoctrinated kin.

Regardless of their affiliation to the goa'uld, most jaffa are stern and honourable people. They pride themselves in their fortitude and martial skill, and when not at war they live in agrarian societies ruled by a chieftain. Disputes between members of the community are often resolved through ritual combat, with the victor sometimes killing the vanquished.

Jaffa Names[edit]

Jaffa have short given names consisting of one to three syllables. So long as a name meets these criteria, it can be drawn from any language. Other names are taken from the goa'uld language, a harsh tongue full of sharp consonants. They do not have surnames and instead identify themselves by where they were born: for example, a jaffa named Teal'c who was born in the realm of Chulak would call himself "Teal'c of Chulak".

Male: Artok, Bra'tac, Dol'ok, Her'ak, Teal'c

Female: Birra, Emta, Ginra, Kar'yn, Nictal, Syn'ac

Jaffa Traits[edit]

The jaffa are a race of human offshoots bred to serve as living incubators for alien parasites.
Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 2 and your Constitution score increases by 1.
Age. Jaffa mature at the same rate as humans but can potentially live for far long thanks to their parasites. They reach adulthood in their late teens and can live for up to 150 years.
Alignment. Jaffa are disciplined and traditional by nature. They lean strongly toward law.
Size. The average jaffa is slightly taller and more robust than the average human. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Brave. You have advantage on Wisdom saving throws against being frightened.
Jaffa Combat Training. You are proficient with the javelin, the quarterstaff, the halberd, and the lance.
Natural Athlete. You are trained in the Athletics skill.
Trance. Jaffa don't need to sleep. Instead, they meditate deeply, remaining semiconscious, for 4 hours a day. (The Common word for such meditation is "trance.") While meditating, you can dream after a fashion; such dreams are actually mental exercises that have become reflexive through years of practice. After resting in this way, you gain the same benefit that a human does from 8 hours of sleep.
Incubating Parasite. You carry a larval goa'uld inside your abdomen. The effects of this trait are noted below.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Deep Speech.

Incubating Parasite[edit]

You have an abdominal pouch with a goa’uld larva inside. The larva is a Tiny aberration with hit points equal to your character level and an AC of 10, and it has total cover while inside your abdominal pouch. The parasite grants you the following benefits while it is inside you:

You can use a bonus action to remove the parasite from your abdominal pouch. The parasite matures after ten years and must be removed at that time.

If your parasite is removed or dies and you do not obtain a new one within 10 minutes, your immune system begins to fail. You must make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw against disease every 12 hours. On a failed save, you gain 1 level of exhaustion.

Random Height and Weight[edit]

4′ 10″ +2d12 130 lb. × (2d6) lb.

*Height = base height + height modifier
**Weight = base weight + (height modifier × weight modifier)

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