Chimera (5e Class)

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Design Note: This is an example of how to allow a player to play a powerful monster by spreading the monster's capabilities over class levels (like 3rd edition's Savage Species). There are two design principles at work. Firstly, this is a Large-sized race (see Large Races (DnD Guideline)), but some associated issues are addressed by controlling exactly what weapon attacks and spells are available to the player. Secondly, as many magic items are not appropriate for this character, some benefits that would be missed instead appear as class features (gained when the character gains an ability score improvement).

The chimera is a composite character. You do not select a separate race and class combination. You begin play with one level of the chimera class, which also includes all your racial features. You cannot multiclass: when your level increases, you must take a level of the chimera class. This is because, as a monster, your unusual physiology is unsuitable for many features granted by other classes.

Physical Description[edit]

Martigora engraving, Jonstonus, Joannes (1678)

A chimera is a true monstrosity that can come in many forms. All chimera are hybrids with the body of a great beast such as a lion or bull. Some variants, such as the manticore, sphinx and lamassu have the head of a human with which it can converse or deceive humanoids. Many chimeras have the wings of a dragon or eagle.


Chimeras can only have been created under the influence of magic or divinity. Echidna, the mother of monsters, has been attributed with the spawning of many chimeras. The first manticores were created with the same breath that conjured sphinxes, with whom they share their appetite for human flesh.


Monstrous chimeras live like animals, hunting in packs; otherwise, they can be found individually in the armies of evil tyrants or as a guard in a wizard's dungeon. A heraldic chimera may find its place in the employ of perhaps more noble lords or find itself in a friendship of sorts with fellow adventurers. In any case, chimeras are not numerous enough to form their own cultures or settlements. They are universally met with hostility in the settlements of humans and demihumans. In particular, in communities where people have gone missing without a trace, manticores are blamed.

Chimera Names[edit]


Manticores often use names displaying strength, valor, power, and influence.

Male: Aagneya, Ajit, Ashvath, Dûraêkaêta, Gaotema (Gautam/Gotam/Gotama), Harish, Huvaxshtra, Jai, Kaivalya, Veer

Female: Bhumi, Erisha, Gautami, Gomeda, Hemakshi, Kanukâ, Lavi, Nisha, Ushtavaitî, Zairichî

Unisex: Chandra, Dalbir, Ekampreet, Geet, Harbir, Himaadri, Iksha, Jehan

Clan and Family Names: Basu, Chakrabarti, Chandra, Gupta, Joshi (Jyotshi), Jain, Maan, Mallick (Malik), Mannan, Ray (Rai/Raj), Sur, Thakur


Qilin tend towards names reflecting the beauty of nature or displaying their nobility and goodness. As qilin are found in many east Asian cultures' mythology, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese, and Vietnamese are appropriate examples of languages to pull names from.

When choosing a name for a qilin, carefully consider the pronunciation and flow of the name. It is easy to construct awkward and artificial names using east Asian (especially Chinese) characters. Here is a list of tips to help avoid making an awkward Chinese name.

Male: Bǎi, Chāng, Gāng, Huáng (煌), Jiāháo, Jiànhóng, Jù, Kǎi, Lěi, Lì (力)

Female: Fēn, Hé, Huā, Huáng (凰), Huì, Jìngyí, Jú, Lì (丽), Měi, Shūfēn

Unisex: Ān, Bái, Chén (辰), Chéng, Fāng, Guìyīng, Jiāháo, Jīn (Gim/Kim), Jūn, Líng, Qiū, Shuǐ, Tú, Xùn, Zhìháo

Clan and Family Names: Amano, Chén (陈), Fujimori, Hamasaki, Hóu, Inaba, Izumi, Jiāng, Jīn (Gim/Kim), Kimura, Koizumi, Léi, Lǐ, Lí, Lín, Lǚ, Maeda, Mochizuki, Nakano, Saitou, Sasaki, Ruǎn (Nguyễn), Wáng (Wong), Wén, Xún, Yáng, Yoshino, Zhū

Creating a Chimera[edit]

Quick Build[edit]

Make Dexterity or Strength your highest ability score, depending on if you wish to focus on ranged or melee attacks. Constitution should be your next highest score, as you are reliant on this for your defenses. Make Charisma your third highest ability, to make your magical features more effective. Finally, choose the monster background.

Chimera Traits[edit]

Class Features

As a Chimera you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d10 per Chimera level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 10 + Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d10 (or 6) + Constitution modifier per Chimera level after 1st


Armor: None
Weapons: None
Tools: None
Saving Throws: Strength, Constitution
Skills: Choose two from Animal Handling, Athletics, Intimidation, Nature, Perception, and Survival


You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

  • None

Table: The Chimera

Level Proficiency
1st +2 Chimera racial traits, Monstrous species feature
2nd +2 Lesser innate spellcasting (1 use)
3rd +2 Tooth and claw
4th +2 Ability Score Improvement, Magic natural weapons (+1)
5th +3 Monstrous species feature
6th +3 Hybrid physiology
7th +3 Forest prowler
8th +3 Ability Score Improvement, Mythical aegis
9th +4 Greater innate spellcasting (1 use)
10th +4 Monstrous species feature
11th +4 Lesser innate spellcasting (3 uses)
12th +4 Ability Score Improvement, Magic natural weapons (+2)
13th +5 Hybrid physiology
14th +5 Mythic
15th +5 Monstrous species feature
16th +5 Ability Score Improvement
17th +6 Beast's body
18th +6 Greater innate spellcasting (3 uses)
19th +6 Ability Score Improvement, Magic natural weapons (+3)
20th +6 Monstrous species feature

Chimera Racial Traits[edit]

A monstrous hybrid of lion, human and dragon.
Ability Score Increase. Your Strength increases by 2 and your Dexterity increases by 1.
Age. Chimeras mature after 8 years. Manticores reach old age at 40 years and live to about 60 years. Qilin become elders at 100 but are said to live to up to one thousand years under the right conditions.
Alignment. The man-eating manticores tend towards evil, while the benevolent qilin are good.
Size. Chimeras are as big as a lion, weighing on average 300 lbs. Your size is Large.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Monstrous Physiology. You cannot wear armor or wield weapons. You can hold items but cannot activate equipment that requires fine manipulation. You cannot wear wondrous items except those that fit on your face or head.
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.
Natural Armor. If you are not wearing armor your AC is equal to 10 + your Dexterity modifier + your Constitution modifier.
Natural Weapons. You have two claws and one bite which are melee weapons with which you are proficient. The claws are light weapons that deal 1d6 slashing damage. When you attack with one claw, you can attack with the other as a bonus action, as though you were two weapon fighting. Your bite deals 1d8 piercing damage.
Languages. You can speak and understand Common.

Monstrous Species[edit]

At 1st level, you choose a monstrous species that determines your physiology. You can choose either the Manticore or Qilin monstrous species.

Lesser Innate Spellcasting[edit]

Starting at 2nd level, you can cast a spell as determined by your monstrous species. This is an innate spell that does not require any material components, but is always cast at the lowest possible level. Charisma is your spellcasting modifier. At 2nd level, you can cast this spell once, and at 11th level, you can cast your chosen spell 3 times. When you complete a long rest, you regain the use of this feature.

Ability Score Improvement[edit]

When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can't increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

Tooth and Claw[edit]

From 3rd level onwards, after you make an attack with your bite, you may use a bonus action to make two claw melee attacks.

Hybrid Physiology[edit]

At 6th level, and again at 13th level, you choose one of the following options.

Dragon Wings

You gain a fly speed of 50 feet.

Lion's Pounce

If you move at least 20 feet straight toward a creature and hit it with a claw attack on the same turn, that target must succeed on a Strength saving throw or be knocked prone. The DC is 8 + your Strength modifier + your proficiency bonus. If the target is prone, you can make one bite attack against it as a bonus action.

Striking Tail

You can use your tail to make melee weapon attacks. Melee attacks with your tail have the reach property and deal 1d8 piercing damage plus 2 poison damage. You can attack with your tail in place of one of your bite attacks.

Turtle Shell

You gain a +1 bonus to AC.

Horse's Hooves

Your base land speed improves to 50 feet.

Fish's Scales

You have a swimming speed equal to your base land speed, and you can breathe water.

Mythical Aegis[edit]

Starting at 8th level, you gain a +1 bonus to all saving throws.

Greater Innate Spellcasting[edit]

Starting at 9th level, you can cast a spell as determined by your monstrous species. This is an innate spell that does not require any material components, but is always cast at the lowest possible level. Charisma is your spellcasting modifier. At 9th level you can cast this spell once. At 18th level you can cast your chosen spell 3 times. When you complete a long rest you regain the use of this feature.

Magic Natural Weapons[edit]

Starting at 4th level, your natural weapons are considered to be magic weapons. You gain a +1 bonus on weapon attack rolls and damage rolls. This improves to +2 at 12th level and +3 at 19th level.

Forest Prowler[edit]

Forests and jungles are your favored terrain. Starting at 7th level, nonmagical natural difficult terrain in these environments does not slow you down, and you have advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks made to hide while under a canopy.


At 14th level, you develop a truly monstrous feature. Choose one of the following.


You grow an additional head, which may be identical to your first or resemble some other animal. When you take the Attack action to make a bite attack, you can make a second bite attack. In addition, you have advantage on saving throws against effects that would blind you, charm you, or cause you to fall asleep.

Fiery Breath

You can use your action to breathe a 30 ft. cone of fire. Creatures in the cone must make a Dexterity saving throw. The DC is equal to 8 + your Constitution modifier + your proficiency bonus. Targets take 4d6 fire damage on a failed save, or half as much fire damage on a successful one. You mush finish a long rest before you can use this feature again.

Discordant Roar

You can use your action to let out a distressing magical roar. Each creature that you choose within 30 feet, and able to hear, must make a Wisdom saving throw or be frightened for 1 minute. The DC is 8 + your Charisma modifier + your proficiency bonus. At the end of each of the targets' turns, they can repeat the saving throw to end the effect. You must finish a long rest before you can use this feature again.

Beast's Body[edit]

At 17th level, your Strength and Constitution scores increase by 4. Your maximum for those scores is now 24.


A manticore shares the greatness of size of a lion, with four legs ending in clawed paws and shaggy cinnabar-red fur. A manticore's head may resemble that of an old man or woman, with a wild or angry expression and a long neck, or it may be bestial with horns and a mane. When they open their mouth wide, they reveal three rows of teeth. Their tail might be segmented like a scorpion's or slender and reptilian, like a dragon's. The tail-tip bristles with foot-long spikes as thick as bulrushes that the manticore can shoot like arrows. Some manticores also have a pair of dragon's wings, which eventually become strong enough to allow the beast to fly.

A manticore's voice sounds like a pan-pipe blended with a trumpet, but is recognizably Common.

While most manticores are ferocious man-eaters, there are a few heraldic variants that entertain more adventurous lifestyles. While not necessarily genial, heraldic manticores can at least work with humanoids to achieve common goals.


Manticores are omnivorous but relish in eating meat. Your diet must include humanoids.

False Appearance[edit]

When you select this monstrous species at 1st level, you can use your human head to hide your true nature. If you lie prone in long grass or other concealment with just your head exposed, you have advantage on Charisma (Deception) checks made to pass as human.

Absolute Devouring[edit]

Starting at 1st level, once per day you can devour the body of a humanoid who was killed within the last 24 hours. This takes 1 minute. You consume all the flesh, bones, blood as well as nonmagical apparel and equipment – leaving no trace whatsoever. If you devour a Medium sized humanoid, you do not need to eat again for four days; likewise, a Small humanoid satiates you for two days.

Tail Spikes[edit]

Starting at 1st level, your tail is a ranged weapon with which you are proficient. Its range is 100/200 and it deals 1d8 piercing damage and 2 poison damage. Making an attack with your tail consumes a spike. At 1st level, you have 8 spikes. You recover all your spikes at the end of a long rest. Elephants are immune to the damage of your spikes.

Innate Spellcasting[edit]

Your strange, melodic voice has magical properties.

Your lesser innate spellcasting spell is your choice of either charm person or dissonant whispers.

Your greater innate spellcasting spell is compulsion.

Deadly Thorns[edit]

At 5th level, you have 16 tail spikes. When you use the Attack action with your tail on your turn, you can can make two ranged attacks.

When you miss with a ranged attack with a tail spike, it becomes embedded in the ground at a point you choose within 5 feet of the target. If a creature's land movement passes over that point, the spike is destroyed and the creature must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw. The DC is 8 + your Dexterity modifier + your proficiency bonus. On a failed save, the creature must stop moving and take 1d6 piercing damage and 2 poison damage. A creature moving over a spike at half speed doesn't need to make the saving throw.

Virulent Venom[edit]

At 10th level, you have 24 tail spikes.

When you deal poison damage with your tail, you can choose to have the target make a Constitution saving throw. The DC is 8 + your Constitution modifier + your proficiency bonus. On a failed saving throw the target takes 3d6 poison damage, or half as much on a successful one. You must finish a short or long rest before you can use this feature again.

Crop of Thorns[edit]

At 15th level, you have 32 tail spikes. When you hit a creature with a tail spike, you can use your bonus action to make another tail spike attack against the same target.

If you use your deadly thorns manticore feature and one of your tail spikes remains embedded in the ground for more than 1 minute, you can choose to have the ground around that point sprout dozens of spikes. They cover a 10-foot radius around the embedded spike, and this area becomes difficult terrain. When a creature moves into or within the area, it takes 1d6 piercing damage for every 5 feet it travels. You can spend 1 minute harvesting the spikes. This removes the area of difficult terrain and you regain 1d4+1 expended spikes. You can use this feature again after a short or long rest.

Insatiable Manhunter[edit]

At 20th level, your urge to consume knows no bounds. Your bite attack now deals 2d8 piercing damage. If you reduce a humanoid to 0 hit points with a bite attack, you may swallow them whole with your absolute devouring class feature. This happens instantly and does not use up your daily use of absolute devouring.

In addition, when you use the absolute devouring manticore feature, you gain 2d10 temporary hit points.


Porcelain Qilin statuette, mid-18th century.

The legendary qílín is a benevolent chimera whose appearance is considered a good omen of longevity and wise administration. Said to contain the best qualities of all furred animals, they have the body of a cloven-hoofed animal like an ox, musk deer, or horse; the head of a dragon; the tail of an ox; and are at least partially covered in scales. They have either a single unicorn-like horn or a set of antlers, and might feature a mane, feathers, carp's whiskers, or decorative tufts of fur. Most qilin have vibrant hides, most often golds accompanied by fiery reds, deep Prussian blues, iridescent blacks, and opalescent whites. with jewel-like shimmering highlights.

Most qilin seek to punish the wicked and protect the pure of heart. Qilin can tell the wicked from the righteous and are seen as divine judges. They are said to appear when great sages or benevolent rulers are born or die.

Their voices are like the tinkling of chimes in the wind amidst musical instruments.


While qilin may eat anything, they tend towards a vegetarian diet. Qilin are known to never consume carrion, other animals' leftovers, or polluted water, however.[1]

Divine Walk[edit]

Starting at 1st level, you can walk over carpets of living plants (such as grass) without leaving a trace, such that you cannot be tracked via nonmagical means. You can also walk on the surface of still water.

Magic Horn[edit]

Starting at 1st level, whenever you can make a bite attack, you can instead attack with your horn (or antlers). This deals 1d8 piercing damage and is a magic weapon with which you are proficient.

Innate Spellcasting[edit]

Your lesser innate spellcasting spell is your choice of detect evil and good or create food and water.

Your greater innate spellcasting spell is your choice of fire shield or death ward.


Starting at 5th level, you emit an aura of good fortune. When a friendly creature within 10 feet of you makes a saving throw, they may use your saving throw bonus if it is higher than theirs. Likewise, you may use the saving throw bonus of a friendly creature within this aura if it is higher than yours.

Koriel's Horn[edit]

From 10th level onwards, your horn deals an extra 1d8 radiant damage when it hits a creature of chaotic alignment.

In addition, when you touch a creature with your horn, they gain a +1 bonus to their next ability check made within the next minute. You can use this feature again after 1 minute.

Planar Walk[edit]

Starting at 15th level, you can innately cast etherealness or plane shift at its lowest level and without material components by expending one hit die.

Divine Blessings[edit]

At 20th level, during a long rest, you can forgo all benefits you gain to heal all party members to full hit points and reduce their exhaustion level (if any) to 0.


A humanoid cannot multiclass into the chimera class. Another composite character can take levels in chimera if the monstrous physiology racial trait matches that of their original class. In this way, monstrous hybrids can be created. When you mutliclass into the chimera, you gain all the 1st level chimera class features except for the chimera racial traits.

Prerequisites. To qualify for multiclassing into or out of the chimera class, you must meet these prerequisites: Strength 13 and Charisma 13.

Proficiencies. When you multiclass into the chimera class, you do not gain any additional proficiencies.


If you are using the optional rules for feats, the following feats can be taken by a manticore to customize your character.

Acquired Taste[edit]

Humans, elves and halflings are delicious, but you'll also settle for cows, oozes, animated objects, or anything, really.

  • Increase your Constitution score by 1.
  • You can eat any type of creature, but your diet must still include meat.
  • When you use your absolute devouring class feature, you can consume any kind of creature, not just humanoids.

  1. C.A.S. Williams (2006). Chinese Symbolism and Art Motifs, fourth edition. Tuttle Publishing (U.S.A.). p. 391. ISBN 9780804837040.

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