Jiangshi (5e Race)

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I won't reflect over it because I'm already dead.
—Ling Ling from Rosario Vampire

Physical Description[edit]

A well-fed Jiangshi, judging from the well-kept body, by Signas501

Jiangshi look like humans, but are actually rotting corpses and pale, with skin tones ranging from blue to green discolored skin. They are notably less decaying than zombies, due to the halted rotting of their flesh from special preparation techniques. Consuming life essence allows them to restore themselves to more presentable appearances. Their appearances vary based on how they looked when alive. If preserved well enough through soul consumption, they can appear virtually indistinguishable from their original disposition before death. However, the Talisman for some Jiangshi can be a big giveaway.


Jiangshi are never born, but always made. They are typically specially prepared human corpses raised through necromancy, though not of the western kind, which produces zombies and vampires and the like. According to texts, they were usually raised by evil wizards of the emperors courts for dastard deeds. However, the ancient oriental art of raising Jiangshi originates from an eastern nation that has long disappeared. The special art of making and preparing Jiangshi bodies was lost along with it. The technique was rumored to be able to form rotting corpses that died with regrets and bring them back to life, with varied residual intellect.

Jiangshi are varied in story. They are often associated with vampirism despite not needing blood. Instead, they devour the life essences of one's soul. They are also rather known for their jumping abilities. Stereotypically, they are depicted to only be able to hop and never blink, instead sensing their prey's souls. While this is largely inaccurate, the picture has been adopted against the dismay of scholars and used in much of media.


Jiangshi, typically being made to be servants, do not form communities. They are typically hunted on sight. The ones who have not fed are particularly easy prey for hunters. Less-than-well-maintained Jiangshi may also be subject to the role of societal pariah despite not being outright rejected.

When a Jiangshi gains free will and a well preserved form, however, then they may possibly meld seamlessly into a society. They are not capable of reproduction, so mating with a Jiangshi does not produce a half-undead child. Because the art of their creation was lost, coupled with the sterile nature of the race, the number of Jiangshi currently in existence are not able to be replenished easily, and so any form of cohesive society in the future may only be a distant dream. As they further dwindle, their extinction only seems more imminent

Jiangshi Names[edit]

Jiangshi typically use their names from their previous life. Jiangshi can also be given names by the ones who raised and control them, in relation to what chores they may be assigned to, especially if they are raised to be specialized servants.

Jiangshi Names: Slave, Servant, Nubian, Keren, Waiter, Bulter, Maid, Pet

Jiangshi Traits[edit]

Jiangshi are a special type of undead, made to be servants, but very much able to possess free will.
Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution increases by 2.
Age. Jiangshi do not age, but several weeks without consuming life essence may cause them to become more skeletal in appearance. Their diet of life essence replenishes their youth.
Alignment. Jiangshi are usually of neutral evil alignments.
Size. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Hopping Zombie. You are resistant to falling damage and your high jump and long jump are doubled.
Undead Fortitude. When you are reduced to 0 hit points but not killed outright, you can drop to 1 hit point instead. You can’t use this feature again until you finish a long rest.
Claws. Jiangshis have long and sharp nails that can sharpen into claws. Doing an unarmed strike with these claws deal 1d4 slashing damage. You are consider proficient in this attack and you may use either Strength or Dexterity for attacks made with these Claws.
Soul Dependency. You do not need to eat or drink to sustain yourself, but you are required to consume the life essence of at least one creature once a week and can survive for a number of additional days equal to your Constitution modifier. For each day past that limit without consuming life essence, you must pass a Constitution saving throw with a DC of 10 + number of days past the limit without consuming a soul or gain one level of exhaustion. As an action, you may consume the life essence of an unconscious creature at 0 hit points within 5 feet of you; that creature then dies and cannot be revived in any way other than the Wish spell. This trait cannot take the life essence of undead or living constructs. Consuming life essence removes all levels of exhaustion gained due to lack of life essence.
Undead Nature. You do not need to eat, drink, breathe, or sleep.
Languages. You can write, read, and speak common and one other language of your choice.
Subrace. Pick one from Talisman and Freed.

Talisman Jiangshi[edit]

Talisman Jiangshi have a talisman tag attached to their face, which allows for control by whomever had it placed on them.

Ability Score Increase. Your Strength or Dexterity score increases by 1.
Paper Talisman. Talisman Jiangshi become paralyzed should the talisman on their face be removed. That piece of paper used to control the Jiangshi is unprotected from flame. The talisman can also be removed by a creature succeeding with a successful Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) check opposed by your Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check.
Jiangshi's Senses. You have blindsight within a range of 10 feet.
Already Controlled. You have advantage on saving throws against being charmed.

Freed Jiangshi[edit]

Jiangshi who are freed from their talisman, whether by their masters will or some stroke of luck, now have the fully functioning will of a human and can act and do as they please.

Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence or Charisma score increases by 1.
Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Free Thinker. You gain proficiency in one Intelligence or Charisma based skill of your choice.

Random Height and Weight[edit]

Table: Random Height and Weight
Base Height Height Modifier Base Weight Weight Modifier
5′ 0″ 1d10 95lb. 2d4 × 10 lb.

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