Nagas are an ancient race of intelligent snake-like creatures with widely differing abilities and alignments and have an unending interest in magic. Nagas favor spells over other forms of combat and all possess a certain amount of spell-casting power. Typically found in the swamps and low-altitude rainforests, and among giant ruins, they can be deadly to many foe, said to eat the flesh of humans, orcs, and other races. Naga are known to inhabit various locations in the archipelago but the subspecies native to Eyr are known as “Eryanese Nagas”.
Physiology & Biology
Nagas resemble giant snakes, humanoid from the waist and above with the powerful lower body of a snake, covered in glistening scales and ranging from 10 to 20 feet long . Their markings and coloration tend to compliment their native habitat, with Eyren Naga having a dark complexion and camouflaging tail markings.
The features that are consistent among the entire race are a pair of slitted snake eyes, a forked tongue and clawed fingernails. Naga weigh anywhere from 200 to 500 lbs which scale dependant on their type. (Viper naga, for instance, do not need to crush prey within their coils and thus run on the lighter side.) Unconventionally, female naga are actually larger than their male counterparts.
When naga reach 150 years in age, they are considered full-fledged adults. The 400-500 year range is considered middle aged. And elders are those who past 600. Females conventionally live longer lives. Males max out at 800 years, whereas females can live up to a thousand years.
Naga sight is thermal based instead of light based and thus have no trouble seeing during the darkest of nights or brightest days. Naga have the ability to eat very large serving sizes (like an entire deer, or perhaps a whole jungle elf, for instance) and once they have fed they do not require sustenance again for weeks at a time. The downside to such a decadent meal is that ingesting that much food in one sitting makes a naga very lethargic. Due to being cold blooded, after the meals the Naga must heat up their bodies by sunbathing in order to gain back their energies.
Nagas have many other strengths native to their kind as well. Unlike other races, Eyrian Nagas are naturally adept at spellcasting and have an innate ability to charm their targets. Their scales operate like light armour, proving difficult to pierce, while their tails are dexterous and prehensile. Some Naga are also very agile and nimble in jungle terrain while others can be very physically strong. Lastly, a few types of Naga may coil their victims with crushing strength or have the ability to produce venom to easily incapacitate their victims.
There are many weaknesses to the Nagas as well. For example, after their feeding, they may become lethargic while they digest their prey. Being cold blooded reptilians, they are also very susceptible to cold temperatures and attacks. They have below average hearing and lack of light vision (for instance, they won’t perceive colors or detailed clothing worn on a person). They are very susceptible to charm as well and can be easily lured with promise of magic power or trinkets. Finally, the abdomen and underbelly of the Naga are exposed, leaving them especially vulnerable to piercing attacks.
Types of Eyranese Nagas
Lacking a pair of venomous fangs, Constrictor Naga rely on their heavier weight and larger size to take down opponents and entrap them in their coils to suffocate them. They are the largest of the naga types. Constrictors are less mobile and far slower in comparison to their viper and spitter cousins. Despite this disadvantage, their larger size does give them the advantage of brute strength and are hardier against physical threats. They are naturally more inclined towards warrior professions.
Viper Naga are smaller, lither, and lighter than their constrictor counterpart. Their natural form of defense as well as offense are a pair of retractable fangs that inject a deadly necrotic venom via bite. Due to their smaller size, Viper Naga are much faster traveling and agile in comparison as they roam the Eyrian jungles. While not as strong or as resilient to physical threats as Constrictors, Vipers are still quite scrappy which makes them excel as rogues and assassins.
The smallest of the naga types, Spitter Naga are also armed with venom, but instead of delivered via bite, the venom is squirt out from hollows in their fangs to spray their target (up to 6 meters or nearly 20’ away). This venom is a neurotoxin meant to incapacitate their prey long enough to be subdued and eaten whole while still alive. The venom is most effective when it hits the delicate tissues of the face - especially the target’s eyes. The venom can be delivered by bite, but spitter naga are the most fragile of all the naga types. Direct physical confrontations are very dangerous for a spitter naga and are best avoided for their own safety. They are built to take out obstacles at range and while agile like their viper cousins, are very weak to physical threats. Their venom is just as likely to be used as a means of a hasty retreat as it is to kill. Spitters are well suited as scouts, rangers and spellcasters.
Only slightly larger than Spitters, the Gorgon Naga has a unique ability that instills fear in their enemies - the ability to turn people into stone. Crowned with hair of snakes, a Gorgon is a quick but weak variation of Naga. All Gorgons can use their crown of snakes to turn people into stone, but it requires mental strength and focus (and requires consent between players). It is possible to undo the spell - any spell, scroll, or enchantment that can transform stone to flesh will work, and the person will be alive again. Aside from their magical ability, due to their smaller and weaker size, their strength lies more in the ability of spell-casting and stealth rather than actual fighting. They seem to work best as scouts, rangers, and spellcasters.
Most Naga fall under Chaotic to Neutral Evil alignments, befriending only those they consider opposition or prey. They can be very untrustworthy and quite selfish in nature, only looking to further their own power or abilities. Found in more remote locations, they are a very solitary creatures who prefer to hunt and live apart from their kin. Their lairs are found in caves or underground though many who happen upon the dwelling of a Naga don’t live to tell about it.
With a very aggressive hoarding complex, Nagas may have various items scattered about in hiding. They covet to collect magical antiquities and historical objects of value. On the occasion that multiple naga inhabit the same territory, a competitive drive compels them to gather more magical artifacts than their fellows. Males, unlike most races, run physically smaller than naga females and are actually more sociable and less aggressive. Several males often follow a single female out of respect of her magical prowess.
Nagas can be very cunning folk, preferring to wait and think out their strategies rather than acting on impulse - unless provoked. They can also be very jealous and angry creatures and it is assumed this is why they do not get along with their own kind. Nagas also have a tendency to hold a grudge for decades, so one has to be careful what they may say or do around these creatures.
Culture & History
Naga have been natives to the island of Eyr for centuries. They are natural lore keepers and spellcasters who prefer to protect themselves via magical means rather than be forced into physical altercations. In the past, since the settlers from Mystara, the Naga had little to no interest in the area until the signs that it housed unusual amounts of vast magic. Their attention turned to the village and before long they had their hearts set on finding whatever it was inside that called to them from their very core.
As they live mainly solitary lives, Naga do not have much of a commonality when it comes to culture. A variety of individual nagas may have a different way of life from the other. This makes it difficult for scholars to study the race and track their findings. However, the Naga are known to have a commonality with one thing:
Most Naga worship a tri-aspect deity named Shekinester, also referred as the Three-Faced Queen. Her three different aspects follow different alignments and are called The Empowerer, The Preserver and the The Weaver. A naga may align themselves with only one of her aspects or embrace all of them.
The Empowerer (The Maiden) TN: In this form, Shekinester appears either as a young water naga Maiden who may be either beautiful or ugly with pitted skin and greasy hair. In her beautiful form, she grants safe passage, while in her ugly form she draws the uninitiated into opportunities for growth. The Empowerer is a True Neutral bestower of wisdom and the guardian of the uninitiated and the young. She can be kind and merciful, but she may force the unwilling into harsh initiations and painful knowledge, regardless of whether they know they need it. She is the keeper of the Hall within the Court of Light, Shekinester’s divine realm.
The Preserver (The Mother) LG: The Preserver manifests as a mature, but lovely guardian naga Mother. She is aligned as Lawful Good. The Preserver maintains (but does not create) all existence. She is the keeper of the Flame within the Court of Light, She is also a guardian of the spirits of the dead (normally the naga dead, but sometimes the souls of other races as allowed by other gods), gifting them with sustenance symbolized as water, fruit, and bread.
The Weaver (The Crone) CE: As The Weaver, Shekinester is believed to be the active destructive principle of the multiverse. Chaotic Evil in alignment, the Weaver appears as a spectral naga Crone. She destroys to make room for new creations, but is also the manifestation of connections and knowledge, bringing together disparate strands of being to create new understanding. She is the keeper of the Loom within the Court of Light. Since most naga lean towards Chaotic or Neutral Evil, The Crone is one of the more often embraced aspects of the deity.