Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Naga; Races of Sarterra

In the creation myths of the Dragonborn people it was said that some eggs were misshapen. These sickly eggs were pale in color and had dark colored streaks, like cracks, upon their surface. As Bahamut discovered these eggs he cast them out of the heavens to break upon the mountains of world below. Only these eggs did not break, they missed their mark and landed in the swamps of [SWAMP NAME], sunk beneath the mire...and hatched.

Thus the Naga were born. They rose from the murky swamps and built their own empire from the ruins left before them. Large, cyclopean stone structures pay homage to a profane pantheon of forgotten, unspeakable deities from a prior age. The Naga regularly raid surrounding settlements for slave stock and victims for sacrifice. They are as technologically advanced as the average human settlement and what they cannot manufacture on their own they shrewdly trade for with jade and precious metals.

Although extreme exceptions do exist on a very rare occasion, the Naga themselves are a wholly evil, corrupt race. They hold all other races of Sarterra in utter contempt and will broker short-term alliances only when the immediate goals are mutual.

The physical difference between Naga and their Dragonborn cousins is readily apparent. Although their heads are roughly similar in shape, Naga have a leaner upper torso. The lower torso of a Naga however is completely serpentine starting at the waist. These tails can easily reach lengths of ten feet or more allowing the Naga exceptional speed both on land and in the water. They are also able to use their tails to strike with devastating blunt force, spring themselves forward, and rise up to tower over their foes. Like snakes in the wild, Naga skin and scale patterns range in all colors, hues, and markings.

The Naga maintain an elite order of Dragonborn-hunters known as the Scalebane.

A rift began between the Naga and Dragonborn the moment both races were born. If legend is true, and the Naga certainly contend that it is, Bahumat, creator of the Dragonborn race, cast away his unwanted Naga children as easily as one would throw out their garbage. Some say this is the reason for the overall disposition of the Naga themselves, why they seek to hurt others in the world for revenge at being abandoned.

For a small number of Naga, they take this animosity even further. Unable to lash out directly at Bahumat, they have targeted his favored children, the Dragonborn themselves. A sect of militant Naga, powerful warriors trained in all manner of combat, have made it their singular goal to hunt down and destroy the Dragonborn on sight. This sect is known as the Scalebanes.

Those chosen as Scalebanes represent some of the most formidable fighters the Naga have to offer. They are afforded great respect among their kind. They hold council in anointed temples, whose the outer walls are lined with the trophy skulls of their quarry. Initiation into the sect tests the physical prowess and mental fortitude of the initiate beyond the breaking point. Initiates must also buy their way into the Scalebane; the price being one dead and one live Dragonborn, the latter is made to suffer through ritual torture.

Scalebane 'nests' as they are called can be found far and wide, even in areas far from Naga lands Depending on the area, they will meet in secret, or openly, and attendance might be as small as one or two Naga, or as many as ten to twelve. The largest nest, striking out from Xochimilco itself numbers in the hundreds.

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