Skullhound (5e Race)

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The last command it took was 'play dead.' But it didn't quite stay that way, now did it?

Bone Heads[edit]

Skullhounds are anthropomorphic canines that have a skull as their face. They may have other bones exposed or visible, such as the rib cage, spine, and the bones in their hands and feet. Their fur tends to be short all over their body except around their neck, giving them a thick mane. Their fur varies in color depending on the region they come from, but most tend to be dark colors, giving them an ominous appearance. Skullhounds also have non-retractable claws and sharp teeth, as well as pointed ears on the top of their head and a tail. Their eye sockets are known to light up when they show interest or some strong emotion. The sockets are dark and empty otherwise. Due to their unsettling appearance, they are sometimes discriminated against or even hunted down as monsters. Thus, they will often wear clothes to conceal their more skeletal parts.

Demonic Hounds[edit]

The skullhound are similar to the hyenas which follow the destruction of Yeehongu. Those beasts eventually became the gnolls. Skullhounds, however, trail the shadows after Orcus, Prince of Undeath. They have demonic blood in them, and claim creation from Orcus. It is unknown if Orcus made them as an unintended byproduct of something else. Supposedly, the chaotic soul of a canine would become a skullhound once it died and was sent to Abyss. Others say it is explicitly the touch of Orcus' godliness on a larva spawned from the soul of a canid. Either way, they served Orcus mainly in his endeavors against that of Demogorgon, helping him claim true godhood. Like gnolls, skullhounds revered their god and creator from the lowly castes, where they fed like scavengers on the remains of his enemies. They were also given as servants to those who worshipped Orcus. However, following the destruction of Orcus, they were driven out of the layer of Thanatos in the Abyss. Heeding the orders of the new goddess ruler, Kiaransalee's followers pursued the skullhounds into the Material Realm.

The skullhounds are believed to have played a part in reviving Orcus as Tenebrous following his destruction. The undead demon lord ordered them to help fetch his wand in Pandemonium. They failed, and Orcus was destroyed a second time. He cursed his inept minions above all else. Following his second resurrection, a good deal of the skullhound race was still fervent in belief that their creator should be the greatest god. Reduced to no more than a vestige, Orcus was not very attentive to their worship. Still, the skullhounds wish to deliver him to prominence. They bide their time in the Material Realm, plotting to steal back the lost wand. In this cycle of an abusive relationship, some skullhounds no longer worship Orcus, instead looking for enlightenment without gods.

Packs for Cadavers[edit]

Skullhounds form packs where they live in cavernous regions of deep caves and low mountains. Sometimes they will dig out the unused tunnels of a former kobold mine to make their own den. They prefer to other undead, particularly skeletons or zombies, for food. Like dogs, they gnaw on the bones, but like hyenas, they crack open bones to eat the inside. This is part of the paradox of Orcus they embody, as he is the Lord of Undead, yet he has hatred of undead. Skullhound packs are well-knit and very familial. They breed and produce living young. However, as they age, their face falls to reveal the skull, indicating maturity. From a young age, skullhounds are taught to scuffle and tussle, but to not neglect craftiness. They know all these skills will be required in their eternal quest to spread the name of Orcus and retrieve the wand, which is now in the hands of another cult.

Faithful Cunning[edit]

Skullhounds tend to be faithful to Orcus because they believe him to be their creator. As such, they have some canine loyalty. It is not limited only to the demon lord, but he does take precedence. Skullhounds do not prefer to have loyalty binding them to anything else, so they will help those who have helped them, but they will not remain loyal once the debt is repaid. Like the rest of Orcus' worshipers, they are considered twisted beings, and this also is in their psyche. They are not so savage to kill, but more so like to torture for amusement. Skullhounds love to find things that amuse them, and these are often sadistic tendencies. They like to use their heads to come up with ideas to bring out the suffering of victims, which makes them laugh. There are, of course, the defectors who have lost this feeling, but they also do not feel amusement or joy anymore in general.

Skullhound Names[edit]

Skullhounds use fiendish names and addresses, but refer to each other by nicknames denoting their more wicked qualities. Because there is no sexual dimorphism, they saw no need for any gendered names.

Names: Izzt, Golgath, Krogoth, Palore

Nicknames: Pain-licker, Tear-drinker, Scream-laugh, Finger-breaker

Skullhound Traits[edit]

Anthropomorphic canines with skulls for faces
Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution score increases by 1.
Age. -Skullhounds reach maturity at age of 14 and can live up to 70 years.
Alignment. Skullhounds are usually of chaotic nature, with many going towards evil.
Size. Skullhounds vary in height and build, and range around 5 to 7 feet tall. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
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.
Claw and Fang. Your claws and fangs are natural weapons that you can use to make unarmed strikes. If you hit with them, you deal piercing damage equal to 1d4 + your Strength modifier.
Hellish Visage. Your face is all bony, and reminds people of death. You are proficient in the Intimidation skill.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Abyssal.
Subrace. Choose either urban, wild, or demon.


These skullhounds tend to be grey and are known for a very suave demeanor. They are generally scouts for information in cities of the Material World, looking for gossip on the wand and potential enemies. They are also responsible for proselytizing Orcus' following, as well as planting ideas inside necromancers minds.

Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma score increases by 2.
Illusory Influence. You know the minor illusion cantrip, and can cast it without material components. When you reach 3rd level, you can cast the alter self spell once, without material components. When you reach 5th level, you can cast the major image spell once, without material components. You regain use of these spells once you finish a long rest. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.
Jack of Trades. You are proficient in a tool and instrument of your choice.


Wild skullhounds are rare, as they tend to be wanderers in cold areas. As such, they have thick white fur and tend to also run quadrupedally. Their skulls are usually distinguished due to their use of blood as decoration.

Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 2.
Tracker. You have a advantage in Wisdom (Survival) checks using your sense of smell. Additionally, whenever you make a Wisdom (Survival) check to track creatures with hit points below their maximum that bleed, you are considered proficient in the Survival skill and add double your proficiency bonus to the check, instead of your normal Proficiency Bonus.
Snow Hunter. You have advantage in saving throws against Extreme Cold[1]. You also are proficient with the shortbow and longbow.


Demon skullhounds are those who are known to work mainly in the realms of Abyss, trying to salvage their god's legacy in the 113th level. Many were trapped as a result of trying to get to Pandemonium, and have been imbued with great fiendish power. Their coats are thin and often pitch black, with a sinewy, gaunt looking body. Grooves like carved veins run about their bodies and can glow like super heated metal.

Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence score increases by 2.
Burnished. You are resistant to fire damage.
Fiery Markings. When in darkness, you can use a bonus action to light up or dim the lines of flame on your skin. These lines provide dim light for up to 10 feet.

Random Height and Weight[edit]

5′ 6″ +2d8 160 lb. × (1d8) lb.

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

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  1. Dungeon Master's Guide, p. 110
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