Yuan Ti Tribes and Clans For your D20 RPG Campaign
Mahasarpa is a gaming world created by the writers and designers of the 3.5 Oriental Handbook. It was released online as an extra addition to the book. It is a land of seven Kingdoms, the central of which had been cursed to become Yuan Ti by the serpent god of the land, Naga. There was very little actual data for Mahasarpa and was presented as a gift of sorts to those DM's who were looking for a different sort of world to run campaigns on.
Feel free to utilize this gaming goodness for your own campaign. It is all originally cooked up using several D20 manuals including the Cthulhu handbook, Epic handbook and more. Enjoy!
THE YUAN-TI TRIBES & CLANS OF MAHASARPA
By JM. Barnes
Intro; There are several tribes that make up the nearly two hundred thousand strong Yuan-ti population in the ancient kingdom of Mahanaga. The various influential leaders there have gathered around them their own army of supporters and each has methods and means that reflect their different beliefs and personalities. While much of Mahanaga’s original clan structure is gone there are three clans still large enough to be called tribes. Clans have up to ten thousand members but a tribe has a minimum of thirty thousand. The most numerous tribe is the Zhevultiere’ at almost eighty thousand while the least numerous are the Cultists of the Serpent Lord at around Thirty Five Thousand. These estimates do not count slaves or allies living among the tribes.
Among the three elder tribes this clan is renowned and feared for their propagation techniques. Of all the tribes none grow in numbers nearly as quickly. With laws that place breeding demands upon both sexes and a religion that sees no use for long term mating this tribe always places the largest pure Yuan-ti force upon the field.
The word Zhevultiere’ means old spells, ancient magic or elder art in the Yuan-ti tongue. It is the name of the tribe which was chosen millennia ago by the Great Serpent to watch over, nurture and utilize magic. Only this tribe possesses those capable of wielding the arcane might of old. Their methods are said to reflect an ancient geomancy which often requires sacrifices and tedious preparations today’s wizard often shuns. The power is the reward though as Zhevultiere’ mages are able to cast spells as normal for whatever arcane class they possess as well as their own Elder arcane pre-cast arsenal only waiting to be triggered as little more than swift actions.
Through numbers and undeniable, irresistible arcane might this tribe has remained strong through every upheaval. While other tribes rise and fall yearly, often victim to infighting, the Zhevultiere’ only grow stronger. The only thing they have ever lacked, or could it be their tradition of banishing their own who don’t embrace the ancient arts has backfired upon them, is great leadership. Without it any tribe would become stagnant but because of their breeding practices they remain strong and continue to prosper.
Currently the tribe is ruled over by a council of three Elder Mages who are unequaled in mystic might in all of Mahanaga.
Darkest Secrets; It is not really a secret the elder arts tribe created the Yuan-ti ignans but what is not commonly known is that they were bred from another race that has since been extinguished from Kole. The Zhevultiere’ capacity for treachery is only unknown because they have banished or erased those who might sing the tales of their backstabbing ways. Even their own offspring are not safe from this end.
THE PALUCIDAE SERENE
One of the original three tribes the Palucidae have at times struggled to survive. Again and again throughout their history they have been restored to power or led back to greatness by a hero in their midst. Unlike the Zhevultiere’ the Serene tribe make no particular demands on their people other than loyalty. All Yuan-ti are accepted for who they are, making this tribe the most diverse in Mahanaga. While this lack of focus has often been their downfall it has always proven in the end to be their greatest strength. All of Mahanaga’s famous martyrs and heroes are from the Palucidae Serene and thus the tribe as a whole demands respect from all.
The Palucidae Serene are devout followers of Naga, as are all of the three eldest tribes, and they are led by a being they consider to be the closest thing to their god. This celestial Abomination, Quivales Heilrune, currently holds the tribe under near fanatical thrall. Known for uncanny psionic ability Quivales has defended her station time and again, sending rivals to unending servitude as undead. Many are the powerful undead Yuan-ti that obey her word to the letter, and they make very dangerous foes for any who might seek the end of Quivales’ reign.
The Palucidae Serene are known to utilize all sorts of races as servants and slaves. No Serene ever goes into combat while one of their slaves remains standing. Bugbears, goblins, ogres and other giant kin make up about half their slave numbers while Ophidians, Ignans, Undead, Jungle Giants and Wyverns make up the rest. Acting as leaders among these are various sentient constructs built to resemble the Yuan-ti who created them. These beings have served the tribe since the scaled folk were still human, first created as runic guardians.[mm2] They are perhaps this tribes’ greatest asset.
Darkest Secret; Quivales Heilrune has a secret. She is no more Yuan-ti than an orc is elven. In truth Quivales is an advanced Hagunemnon or Protean. [see Epic hdbk.] Touched by a mad god of law long ago[Halren] this chaos twisted monster has clarity of thought unseen in its kind as a matter of course. It has the ability to maintain its form and line of thinking indefinitely and thus is a very dangerous foe. Order has given it the focus needed to achieve great advancement as a Psion. Since transmutation is already covered as a racial ability she has chosen to be a telepath. A useful tool for a mistress of deception and as someone who needs to have eyes in the back of her head.
THE SS’TEENE MUIRDI
Once the ruling tribe the SS’Teene are constantly preparing for war. If not against their Yuan-ti rivals then against the armies of Bhalluka, Singha or Ghandarva. No tribe has seen more battles, had more victories on the field or sacrificed as many lives as the Muirdi. On the field they are feared most for their scout armies who deal more damage while on the move than while stationary. It has been these elite forces which have turned back the human expeditionary invasions before they ever got near Mahanaga.
The Ss’Teene cling to ancient tradition and law even more than the Zhevultiere’. Many among them are even of good alignment but those in command are decidedly not. Once they were guardians of the tomb of the Maharajah. He who once ruled all the seven kingdoms. He who, it is believed by most, brought the fury of Naga down upon Mahanaga and cursed them all to ruin and changed their forms to resemble the serpent. He returned as prophesied and was slain by the Sword of Itzamna.
Since then the Ss’Teene have been preoccupied with reestablishing the chain of command. They’re newest leader is an Arch lich of tremendous power. Once rebuked by his peers the Muirdi felt they needed something drastic, a Dread Necromantic Abomination of Epic power backed up by a horde of undead was just that. In this manner they have reinforced their numbers with creatures more expendable and resistant to destruction. With the supernatural strength and abilities of the growing Spawn of Ikalbrikt tribe this addition could turn out to be a crucial maneuver.
Darkest Secrets; The Ss’Teene Muirdi are quietly attempting to return the Maharajah’s soul from the afterworld. Unbeknownst to the Arch lich he is meant to be the vessel for that end. Also, unknown to the Zhevultiere’ tribe the Arch lich was once one of them. In return for his newfound position he has begun teaching the Muirdi arcane the Elder magic they have long been denied. This information alone would be enough to start a full scale war, but this information is protected with the utmost care. All three noble tribes are well aware that a full scale war would play directly into the fringe tribes’ hands. The Spawn would be foremost among them.
THE SPAWN OF IKALBRIKT
Newest of the tribes these Yuan-ti are led by an aristocracy of half fiends. Spawned during the time of Ikalbrikt the mad’s occupation of Fey Vanara these powerful individuals have gathered a large tribe consisting mostly of younger Yuan-ti seeking to break free from tradition and laws that have outlived their usefulness.
The tribe maintains a large slave force which is actually given a great amount of freedom. As long there is no fighting to be done the Gnoll tribe is left alone to mate and hunt as they will. When the Spawn call they must come like the hounds of hell were on their heels or punishment will be final. There is an entire brigade of Demon gnolls and their priestesses that make all other slave armies quiver with dread. Coupled with the Spawn’s abilities to summon demons they are quite accomplished on the battlefield. That is, against their own. As yet they have not faced their human foes on the field.
The Spawn are ultimately led by a half fiend Abomination whose diabolical nature makes those of his peers pale in comparison. It is rumored the Spawn lord has designs on uniting the tribes and restoring the kingdom to its old glory. To do so he would have to effectively eliminate his rivals and assume command over their minions, surely an impossible task.
Darkest Secrets; The Spawn of Ikalbrikt have been given a gift from the Timelord. All of their half fiend spell like abilities are replaced by the psionics and spells having to do with time. Ending with Time stop as the last ability gained. These abilities give them a great edge that has yet to have been truly realized by the other tribes.
THE CULT OF THE SERPENT LORD
The old one gained a foothold in Mahanaga two decades ago and already his follower’s number enough to acknowledge as an official tribe. Though their numbers consist of renegades from all the various tribes and clans in Mahanaga they have formed a tribe in the traditional manner. Mated pairs have been encouraged and the mating has been second to only to that of the Zhevultiere’.
With only a few inter tribe conflicts to speak of as yet the cultists of the Serpent lord try their best not to attract any attention. Quietly, like snakes in the grass, the cultists spread their word and preach their religion amongst the youth during gatherings adults are not supposed to be aware of.
Standing as leaders amongst the folk are several Yuan-ti Anathema, the serpent lord’s followers wield the blasphemous weapons and silver Serpent symbols created by these individuals.
Supplementing their forces with non slaves such as Ophidians, Kobolds, and lizard folk the cultists also commonly share the summoning spells revealed by the ancient text of the old gods. The strange aberrations brought forth present unique difficulties for any foe.
With little need for officers among the ranks since all are on the same unholy page the folk are comprised of unique combinations of yuan-ti possessing different, complimentary classes. Alienists who specialize in summoning are very common among the rank and file but their numbers are exceeded by the priests of the Serpent lord.
Darkest secrets; The Anathema serve the Serpent Lord directly for he in fact exists in his true form amongst his followers. Disguised as a merchant complete with family and possessions thereof he rules from afar, ever far from the eyes of his rivals and enemy deities who may see through ruses mortals cannot. Together with alien magic he will remain hidden unless every Anathema is slain and he is forced to come to the forefront.
Besides these five tribes there are several clans which consist mainly of Yuan-ti families. Some of these are members of one of the five greater tribes, five lesser tribes or are large, powerful and independent unto themselves, joining with the tribes only in defense of Mahanaga.
Family names are known by every citizen as a matter of survival. One must know who one can insult and who they cannot. Foremost among them are the Zhevultiere’, Ss’Teene , and the Palucidae. Beneath them but no less significant are the Puilnevere’, the Syllsine, the Maergothe’ and the Sssylglymera families. Lesser families are the Halrothami, the Ythnalak, Dhaervareen, Lolkiune and Srivsnesse’. Least families are not listed but they can be just as effective through powerful and cunning members. More than one greater family was not always so, but in no way does Yuan-ti family conflicts reach levels like those conducted by the Drow. The Yuan-ti see a need for cooperation and shun chaos. They do not seek to eliminate one another. They would rather absorb one another until none remain but those they can dominate.
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