Marilith (5e Race)

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We tried to close the portal once the Fiends started pouring out of it, the Knights held the line against the beasts while the cultist who summoned the creatures were being slaughtered by the frenzied beasts they sought to control. I urgently looked through the spell book, hoping to find the command word that would close the portal, to end the nightmare before they demons overran the village. The sound of the knight's combat was deafening, they were keeping the Abyssal enemy at bay. Then, something else came through the portal. I didn't look up from the book, my task was too urgent and at the same time, I didn't want to...because what I heard could drive any mortal to the brink of insanity. It wasn't a fight anymore, it was a whirlwind of steel. My brave comrades bought me enough time to close the portal, but the price was high, far too high. What had entered through that portal had reduced the hardened knights to little more than piles of gore, even their plate mail could not stop the whirlwind of blades. The ranks had been broken, and on occasion from the corner of my eye, I'd catch a glance of a serpent's tail before it vanished. Hell itself had descended upon us, and when I uttered the phrase that closed the portal, something terrifying dawned on me. I had just closed the only door that could return the creature back to its home...
Terrible to behold, a marilith has the lower body of a great serpent and the upper torso of a humanoid female with six arms. Wielding a wicked blade in each of its six hands, a marilith is a devastating foe that few can match in battle. These demons possess keen minds and a finely honed sense of tactics, and they are able to lead and unite other demons in common cause. Mariliths are often encountered as captains at the head of a demonic horde, where they embrace any opportunity to rush headlong into battle.
Monster Manual

Physical Description[edit]

Mariliths posses the commanding presence appropriate for the tacticians of demonic hordes. From the waist up, they appear as humanoid women with striking beauty. Slit pupils framed by sharp facial features might be your first indicator that they are not from this world - if you hadn’t already noticed the presence of six arms, each carrying their own weapon, ready to eviscerate you. They are well aware of their beauty and flaunt it - often cladding their torsos and arms in nothing but jewellery.

Around the waistline, their seemingly soft humanoid skin gives way to scales as they possess a long, serpentine lower body that coils and winds behind them. Though typically brown or green in color, these scales may appear in a plethora of colors. Their prehensile tails are thick and muscular, able to crush most men in their plate and shatter bones with a single blow.


Most academics are aware of the fact that marilith are fiends, demons formed by the Abyss in its bid against the cosmos. A lesser known fact is that demons are typically named after the first of their kin and the marilith are no exception to this. When Marilith, first of her kind, was formed, it is said that the devilish armies of the Blood War were pushed back as far as the lower reaches of the Styx. The demons, commanded by the storm of blades and gore that was Marilith, employing new strategies that caught the devils off-guard time and time again.

This new threat to the fiends of the Nine Hell’s forced the archdevil Zariel, former angel and ruler of Avernus, to take to the field as new legions of the Nine Hells boiled up from below to repel the invaders out of Avernus and back to the juncture where the Styx enters the Hells. Here Marilith fought Zariel, whose martial prowess is known throughout the cosmos, and as their blades clashed they each bled and from each drop of blood that Zariel spilt, new mariliths formed. Eventually, Marilith and her kin were driven back. Those that remained were slain to quench Zariels infernal wrath.

Having acquired a taste for the bloodshed in the frontlines of the Blood War and the blade of an archdevil, Marilith and her kin took residence in one of the many layers of the abyss. There it is said her wounds are ever bleeding, with each drop of blood forming new lesser versions of herself to fulfil the purpose that the Abyss formed her for.


Marilith rank high in the demonic hierarchy, often only second to the most powerful of demons and the lords of the Abyss’s many layers. They are known to be formidable strategists, capable of accurately assessing the strengths and weaknesses of an enemy to choose the right targets for itself and their minions accordingly. Their task as a coordinator is not easy in the least given the chaotic nature of demons, but they are competent nonetheless.

Devils despise mariliths for their highly innovative and intelligent nature, which allows them to form complex plans and tactics that are beyond the understanding of the hidebound, lawful devils who, in turn, struggle to combat such unpredictable foes.

Marilith are as prideful and entitled as they are beautiful and as such, they rarely desire a company that doesn’t consist of servants to dote on them. Outside of the abyss, they get along with other reptilian races such as yuan-ti, kobolds, chromatic dragonborn and lizardfolk, many of whom see them as closer to their often malignant deities than themselves.

Marilith Names[edit]

Marilith names are derived from the Abyssal language, often taking inspiration from phrases and words that they enjoy.

Names: Byakala, Charsultketh, Jaranda, Kalistes, Kaliva, Lillianth, Morag, Mulvassys, Nethess, Reluhantis, Unhath, Vhissilka, Viractuth, Y’tossi, Yxunomei

Inspirations: Awe, Blade, Blood, Conquest, Death, Grave, Final Hour, Glory, Power, Prowess, Reckoning, Sharp, Strike, Silence, Sword, Valor, War

Marilith Traits[edit]

Formed from the darkness of the Abyss, your marilith character has several traits that attest to its demonic origins.
Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity, Intelligence and Charisma scores each increase by 1.
Age. Mariliths are fiends, demons formed rather than born and although they can, in a sense, mature and age mentally they are physically unaging.
Alignment. Formed in the Abyss and living a life of conquest and warfare, mariliths tend towards chaotic evil. Unlike most demons, they are proud intelligent tacticians, as cruel as they are beautiful serving many a lording demon in their bid against the rest of the cosmos.
Size. Mariliths stand between 8 and 9 feet tall, with their serpentine halve reaching about the same distance often being 18 feet long from the head to the tip of their tail. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 40 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.
Demon. Your creature type is considered to be both fiend and humanoid
Multilimbed Prodigy. You are gifted with superior martial prowess that is accented by your multilimbed body. You have six arms instead of two; these additional limbs can hold objects and wield weapons as normal. You have proficiency with the dagger, shortsword, scimitar, and longsword. Your arms get in each other's way at times; while wielding a two-handed weapon, you cannot benefit from a shield or wield a second two-handed weapon.
Poison Resistance. You have advantage on saving throws against being poisoned, and you have resistance against poison damage.
Powerful Tail. You can grapple or shove a creature within 10 feet of you with your tail. While grappling a creature this way your speed is reduced to 0.
Serpentine Build. You count as one size larger when determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push or drag. In addition, any climb that requires hands and feet is especially difficult for you because of your serpentine tail. When you make such a climb, each foot of movement costs you 4 extra feet, instead of the normal 1 extra foot.
Slither. While you are prone, crawling costs 1 less foot of movement.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Abyssal. To most, Abyssal is a dreadful language to hear let alone speak, that can range from bestial noises to seemingly arbitrary droning regardless of if the demon speaking it is a refined marilith or a lowly dretch.

Large Size Player Variant[edit]

Design Note: This is a Marilith variant that uses a Large player size instead, to make them more in line with their Monster Manual incarnation, and have them take up as much space on the battlefield as a giant snake demon should. If you choose to use this variant, you may want to look at the large races guideline.
This variant replaces the Size, Powerful Tail and Serpentine Build traits.

Size. Your size is Large.
Serpentine Build. Even though your size is Large, your upper, humanoid torso is still of similar scale to that of other humanoid races. You use equipment, grapple opponents, and wield weapons as if you were a Medium-sized creature. Any climb that requires hands and feet is especially difficult for you because of your serpentine tail. When you make such a climb, each foot of movement costs you 4 extra feet, instead of the normal 1 extra foot.

Random Height and Weight[edit]

7'0" +6d4 8'0" +6d6 1400 lb. × (3d6) lb.

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

Racial Feats[edit]

Demonic Resistance[edit]

Prerequisite: Marilith
You have unlocked the innate resistance to magic that mariliths possess. You have advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

Serpentine Heritage[edit]

Prerequisite: Marilith
You've drawn forward the latent fortitude of your blood. You gain the following benefits:

  • Increase your Constitution score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • You are immune to poison damage and the poisoned condition.

Master of Blades[edit]

Prerequisite: Marilith
You master fighting with six weapons. You gain the following benefits:

  • When you successfully grapple or shove a creature using your Powerful Tail you can use two-weapon fighting to make two weapon attacks as a bonus action instead of one.
  • You can use two-weapon fighting even when the one-handed melee weapons you are wielding aren't light.
  • You can draw or stow six one-handed weapons when you would normally be able to draw or stow only one.

Suggested Characteristics[edit]

When creating a marilith character, you can use the following table of traits, ideals, bonds and flaws to help flesh out your character. Use these tables in addition to or in place of your background's characteristics.

d8 Personality Trait
1 I enjoy watching people squirm
2 I'm a real nerd when it comes to weapons. I have a collection, wanna see?
3 I keep others at arms length. Pun intended.
4 My societal norms come from the planes of hell; the social graces of mortals baffle me.
5 I'm bad at things that aren't fighting, and it frustrates me to no end.
6 I've taken up a new hobby that isn't fighting and I'm getting quite good at it.
7 I've got a silver tongue and I'm not afraid to use it.
8 I'm too small and adorable to have a CR of 16.
d6 Ideal
1 Combat: I thirst for combat, it's what I was raised for; and I can't shake my upbringing, whether or not I want to. (Neutral)
2 Cleverness: Being two steps ahead of everyone else is a greatly overlooked quality. (Neutral)
3 Pride: I've got a sense of honor and a bit of an ego, that I try to live up to. (Lawful)
4 Sadism: No matter how I was raised, I would have always turned out to be someone who likes hurting others. (Evil)
5 Bloodlust: Whether I'm good or evil, I can't help but enjoy shedding blood. (Chaotic)
6 Peace: I fight when necessary, but I've always questioned the universal need for violence that others tried to instill in me. (Good)
d6 Bond
1 Enlightenment: I want to take some time away from the warlike culture I was raised in, to experience new ways of thinking.
2 Mastery: I want to fight stronger and stronger opponents, to master my craft.
3 Stranded: I've been summoned to the mortal realm, and can't find a return. I miss my home.
4 Summoned: I'm in the service of a mortal who knows my true name. Though I may claim otherwise, I enjoy this life.
5 Fame: I want to become a legendary commander and master of battle. I want my name to go down in history.
6 Thrill: I'm just having fun being here.
d6 Flaw
1 I have a hard time with mercy and restraint.
2 My first instinct is to lie, or twist the truth. Even when I have good intentions, this habit can be destructive at times.
3 I embrace my status as an outsider a little excessively.
4 I go out of my way to ensure I see others only as pawns, and not get too attached.
5 The causes I fight for can motivate me, but I still tend towards self-interest more than I should.
6 I'm very affectionate, but my hugs are usually fatal.

Building a Marilith[edit]

In the Monster Manual, mariliths are CR16 killing machines with a plethora of powerful abilities that make them able to handle several of even the most martially inclined characters. How you would go about creating one as a player character is as follows:

  • First pick this race, go fighter and then take the far traveler background.
  • In terms of stats and assuming 27 points for point buy., Pick up Constitution as your highest stat and then you can go Strength based with heavy armor, Dexterity based with medium armor, or a mix which is what I'll do for this build. Keep your Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma at 10 but give Charisma more love than the other two if you have spare points. For example, my stats are: 14, 13+1, 15, 9+1, 10, 11+1.
  • For equipment take options 2b and 3b. Granting you a longsword, a rapier and two handaxes. You can use the handaxes for two weapon fighting until 4th level, the longsword and the rapier you can switch out depending on the situation or build. For this one, I'll take the leather and the bow/arrows with option 1b since our strength is not 16 and then aim to get some medium armor like half plate and as you get to the higher levels try to get mithril or a +1.
  • Take the two weapon fighting for your fighting style.
  • At 3rd level, go the battle master subclass and pick up Parry and three others of your choice, avoiding anything that uses reactions or bonus actions - Mariliths are martial powerhouses but also commanders so this subclass is an ideal pick.
    • Not relevant to the build but you also get a tool proficiency, I'd take either smith's tools or weavers tools to maintain/make swords or because the visualization of a multilimbed snake person sewing amuses me.
  • At 4th level, pick up the Master of Blades racial feat so you can start swinging around more swords, get another longsword and rapier so you can wield two longswords(two-handed) in four hands and two rapiers in the other two hands.
  • At 6th level, grab the Defensive Dualist feat so you can start adding your proficiency bonus to your Armor Class - This is why we put the 14 in Dexterity and we are getting medium armor in the first place
  • At 7th level, swap out the Parry manoeuver for another, then pick up two more of your choice, avoid reaction/bonus action uses - Parry is eating your superiority dice and reactions we have the Defensive Dualist feat for this.
  • At 8th level, we can take the Serpentine Heritage feat which gives us some common immunities and bumps our 15 con to 16.
  • At 12th level, depending on how often you have to deal with magic take the Demonic Resistance racial feat or increase your ability scores. If you don't take Demonic Resistance to take it at your 14th or 16th level Ability Score Improvement.

Finally, at level 20, we have what we want, assuming this build we have the following:

  • Stats: 20(+5), 14(+2), 16(+3), 10(+0), 10(+0), 12(+1).
  • Hit Points: 171 (Average)
  • Armor Class: 17 (Half-Plate)
  • Wielding two longswords(+11, 1d10+5) and two rapiers(+8, 1d8+2)
  • Our standard turn is as follows:
    • Draw two longswords and two rapiers as our free object interaction with the Master of Blades feat.
    • First Attack action: Powerful Tail to knock prone. Alternatively, grapple them and on the next turn knock them prone so they can't run.
    • Three longsword attacks with advantage - good night sweet prince.
    • As a bonus action, two longsword attacks with advantage using two weapon fighting.
    • Between turns, as a reaction, can add a +6 to our Armor Class bumping the AC up to 23.
    • Using superiority die as appropriate to move allies around, grant them advantage, and continuously knock creatures prone.
  • Resistance to magic and immunity to poison.

Although it is not six attacks and a tail attack like with the actual marilith this is the best we can do within reason, we have two uses of action surge as well so you have to pity the monster that gets hit with this. If you want to build your marilith another way, I'd recommend the Medium Armor Master, Mage Slayer, Inspiring Leader, all the Marilith racial traits.

A Dexterity based build may look like this:

  • Stats: 14(+2), 20(+5), 16(+3), 10(+0), 10(+0), 12(+1).
  • Hit Points: 171 (Average)
  • Armor Class: 18 (Half-Plate)
  • Feats: Master of Blades, Demonic Resistance, Serpentine Heritage, Medium Armor Mastery, Defensive Dualist
  • Wielding six rapiers(+11, 1d8+5)
  • Our standard turn is as follows:
    • Draw six rapiers as our free object interaction with the Master of Blades feat.
    • First Attack action: Powerful Tail to knock prone. Alternatively, grapple them and on the next turn knock them prone so they can't run.
    • Three rapier attacks with advantage.
    • As a bonus action, two rapier attacks with advantage using two weapon fighting.
    • Between turns, as a reaction, can add a +6 to our Armor Class bumping the AC up to 24.
    • Using superiority die as appropriate to move allies around, grant them advantage, and continuously knock creatures prone.
  • Resistance to magic and immunity to poison.
(5 votes)

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