With a thick mane of beaded locks, these powerful-looking bestial humanoids grin with a huge mouthful of pointed teeth—as befits a shapeshifter that can turn into a noble lion.

Beads and Braids. The nkosi resemble bestial humans with cat’s eyes, slender tails, and the fangs and fur of a lion. Most grow their hair long, braiding colorful beads into their locks to mark important events in their lives. Although the nkosi’s true form is that of a feline humanoid with leonine features, the most striking feature of the nkosi is their ability to change their shape, taking the form of a lion. Although comfortable in the wilds, nkosi can adapt to any environment.

Clawlike Blades. In combat, they favor curved blades, wielded in a brutal fighting style in concert with snapping lunges using their sharp teeth. They prefer light armor decorated with bone beads, fetishes, and similar tokens taken from beasts they’ve slain.

Pridelords. Nkosi pridelords are exceptionally tall and muscular members of the race, and they are leaders among their kin. Pridelords feature impressive manes but they are more famous for their powerful roar, which wakes the feral heart inside all members of this race.


Medium humanoid (shapechanger, nkosi), lawful neutral
Armor Class 15 (studded leather)
Hit Points 11 (2d8 + 2)
Speed 30 ft.
16 (+3) 16 (+3) 12 (+1) 10 (+0) 10 (+0) 8 (–1)

Skills Survival +2
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 10
Languages Common/Southern
Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)

Shapechanger. The nkosi can use its action to polymorph into a Medium lion or back into its true form. While in lion form, the nkosi can’t speak, and its speed is 50 feet. Other than its speed, its statistics are the same in each form. Any equipment it is wearing or carrying isn’t transformed. It reverts to its true form if it dies.

Keen Smell. The nkosi has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell.

Hunter’s Maw. If the nkosi moves at least 20 feet straight toward a creature and then hits it with a scimitar attack on the same turn, that target must succeed on a DC 13 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone. If the target is knocked prone, the nkosi can immediately make one bite attack against it as a bonus action.


Scimitar (Nkosi Form Only). Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6 + 3) slashing damage.

Hunga Munga (aka Mambele Throwing Knife) (Nkosi Form Only). Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6 + 3) piercing damage.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6 + 3) piercing damage.

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