Motes in the Serpent's Eye
Strong and hardy, lizardfolk have evolved on many worlds, favoring those with large swampy areas. Though often considered an uncivilized species due to a rumor that they like to eat the flesh of other sentient beings, many lizardfolk have carved out effective niches for themselves and some have risen to positions of considerable power. Generally feared, they thrive under the cruel dominion of Mezzenbone.
Lizardfolk are primarily carnivorous, and most prefer raw meat, though they can digest it cooked as well. Some lizardfolk who must move in more refined circles have even managed to acquire a taste for it. Although it is widely believed that lizardfolk regularly eat other sentient beings, this is only true for a small percentage of the lizardfolk population, and then only in relation to certain religious rituals meant to honor their fallen foes.
Lizardfolk eggs are generally placed in hidden nests near to the main village; on civilized worlds, special ponds will be set up for these purposes. The hatchling lizardfolk must then make their way from the nest to the village, where they will then be raised collectively. There is no concept of parentage – lizardfolk do not know or care whose offspring a particular child is.
Personality: Lizardfolk seem unemotional compared to other races. With little concept of compassion or empathy, they tend to take a very pragmatic – almost callous – point of view. While combative, lizardfolk do not fight unless there is something to gain – either for their race as a whole or for themselves. Although generally calm and unflappable, once a lizardfolk has been grievously wronged, that individual will seek vengeance unrelentingly. Lizardfolk have been known to spend years tracking down the target of their wrath.
Because of the way they are raised, lizardfolk have little understanding of the importance of family to most races. This can cause them to commit major social faux pas or to greatly misjudge someone’s actions. A lizardfolk, for example, would not expect someone to value their own child any more than any other child in the community. Thus, the lizardfolk would not anticipate the extremes to which someone would go to protect their children. Lizardfolk who have spent time with other races eventually learn to understand this intellectually, but they never grasp it on an emotional level – the concept is simply too alien to them.
Lizardfolk are more in tune with nature than many other races – they understand that the survival of their traditional way of life is linked to the continued existence of plentiful wetlands in which to hunt and lay their eggs. Thus, lizardfolk ambassadors and politicians often use their influence to push for the preservation or expansion of such places. Even less intelligent lizardfolk can be extremely protective of their territory, and will attack superior forces in order to retain it.
Physical Description: Lizardfolk are reptilian humanoids that range from 6 to 7 feet in height, with long tails approximately 3 to 4 feet in length. Generally, a lizardfolk weighs between 250 and 300 lbs. They normally have green, gray, or brown scales, which are dry to the touch. Lizardfolk are completely hairless, and lack visible external ears. Their feet are large, ending in clawed toes.
Relations: Lizardfolk get on well with dragons, and, as far as most of them are concerned, that’s all they need. Among other races, relations can be tricky. Lizardfolk are not loathed by any of the major races, but neither are they loved. Dwarves can sometimes respect their strength and pragmatism, and humans find their naked self-interest to be a point of commonality. Orcs appreciate their combativeness, and drow their willingness to do vile deeds without qualm, provided the pay is good. Non-drow elves find them uncultured and crude, and gnomes find their near-total lack of a sense of humor to be a grievous racial flaw.
Alignment: Lizardfolk tend to have a neutral component to their alignment. Excesses of passion are highly unusual among members of their race, and a lizardfolk exceptionally committed to an alignment – such as a paladin – is almost unheard of among the lizardfolk.
Lizardfolk lands: Worlds where lizardfolk exist are common, but worlds where they are the sole or dominant intelligent species are rare. On most worlds, lizardfolk live in tropical jungles or swamps. On more civilized worlds, lizardfolk are quite happy to dwell in cities alongside other races, though they will keep their dwellings hot and humid if the technology permits. Wealthy lizardfolk almost always have extensive warm, shallow pools incorporated into their private dwellings. Lizardfolk avoid cold worlds if at all possible, and try to stay indoors or shipboard if transit to such worlds is unavoidable.
Religion: Lizardfolk have a variety of native religions, usually centered around a pantheon of gods of hunting, war, water, weather, and survival. Lizardfolk priests from such cultures tend to have a shamanistic worldview, and at least half will be druids rather than clerics.
Some primitive lizardfolk warriors engage in a practice they refer to as a zithsala, or the “battle feast”. When these warriors kill a respected opponent in combat, they eat a small portion of the opponent’s flesh. They believe that this allows the enemy’s spirit to enter their own body, preventing it from becoming trapped in its corpse and rising as undead. Warriors who practice zithsala consider it a great honor and bestow it only on opponents who exhibited great skill or honor before their death. This practice has led to rumors claiming that lizardfolk regularly eat the flesh of other sentient beings. Lizardfolk who have left their native world or who were born on worlds steeped in the culture of the Dragon Empire embrace the Unification Church, usually worshiping the Warrior or the Mother.
Language: Lizardfolk generally speak Draconic, though most learn Common as well, particularly if they plan on leaving their homeworld.
Names: Lizardfolk names tend to use a lot of sibilant sounds, such as Ithil, Silithis, Sirth, and Xill. A lizardfolk usually acquires a name while very young. Names usually translate to something physically descriptive such as Bright Scale, Cracked Tooth, Long Tail, and so on. Some lizardfolk ask their companions to call them by their translated names to avoid mispronunciations.
Adventurers: Most lizardfolk who leave their tribe do so in order to pursue a specific goal. This might be to seek revenge on an individual that wronged them, or to stop the draining and strip mining of their home swamps. However, once out in the Dragon Empire, most lizardfolk find it hard to go home to the marshes again. There’s simply too much to do and see in the galaxy for them to be happy fishing and scavenging for their food once more. In other cases, lizardfolk have been rendered homeless by the destruction of their homelands. Even if they had previously left their tribe behind to adventure, this is a hard blow for a lizardfolk to take. These individuals often wander aimlessly, hiring themselves out as mercenaries while they look for a new place to live. Unfortunately, since another lizardfolk tribe is very unlikely to take in such refugees, their efforts are usually doomed to fail.
Cold Blooded Bastard (-2): Lizardfolk find the concepts of familial relations, compassion and empathy to be alien and as a result suffer a – 2 Charisma penalty when dealing with non-saurian races.
Counterbalancing Tail (+2): Lizardfolk get the Acrobat Edge for free. They do not have to meet any of the requirements normally required by this Edge.
Hardy (+2): During character creation, lizardfolk begin with a Vigor of d6. They may raise it to a maximum of d12 + 1 via normal advancement; the Professional and Expert Edges may raise it to a d12 + 3.
Literally Cold Blooded (-1): Lizardfolk originated in hot, steamy swamps and suffer a – 4 penalty to resist any environmental effects or attacks related to cold. If subject to a cold based attack, the penalty also acts as a bonus to damage.
Never Unarmed (+1): Lizardfolk have claws and sharp teeth that cause Str+d6 damage. They never count as an unarmed defender.
Scaly Hide (+1): Lizardfolk have thick, scaly hide that grants them Armor + 2.
Semi-Aquatic (+1): Lizardfolk can hold their breath for 15 minutes before checking for drowning.
Slow Witted (-3): While strong and resilient, lizardfolk are somewhat slow-witted, suffering a – 2 penalty to all Smarts rolls.
Zithsala (+1): By eating a bit of flesh from a dead enemy, a lizardfolk can prevent that corpse from rising again as undead. Performing the rite of zithsala on a corpse is a full round action and once done, the corpse cannot be animated as an undead. Ancient religious tradition dictates that this rite only be performed on worthy adversaries.