Thursday, February 21, 2019

Yuan-Ti of Athas Part One: Origin and Roles

Yuan-ti warrior.
Yuan-ti are often called snake people by the residents of Athas. They are creatures that vary in appearance. Some yuan-ti are almost indistinguishable from humans, often only having a single snake-like feature, these yuan-ti are called purebloods by those who encounter them. Another type of yuan-ti is called a halfbreed by outsiders. These halfbreeds are part human and part snake and cannot pass for human. So-called abominations are the least human looking yuan-ti. They appear as a ten foot long snake and only some of them will have a single human feature. The last commonly encountered yuan-ti is the histachii, which are reptilian humanoids which only appear human at a great distance.
The history of the yuan-ti begins during the blue age, when corrupt nature benders created the ancestors of the yuan-ti from the serpents that swam through the endless oceans. These yuan-ti were only slightly smarter than the animals they were created from. The nature benders used these creatures as guards, thugs, and menial servants.
When the nature masters came and defeated the nature benders, these yuan-ti like creatures escaped into the oceans. The nature masters pursued and destroyed many of them, but the oceans were too vast to destroy them all. The yuan-ti like creatures lived and bred, but were no more dangerous than other sea serpents.

When the brown tide was created and the nature masters used the Pristine Tower to destroy it and usher in the green age, the Yuan-ti changed as well. They gained intelligence and a natural affinity with the way. These yuan-ti gathered together and captured some of the new races to keep as slaves. Their goal changed from merely survival to thriving. They attempted to capture territory, but quickly learned that they were outnumbered and were almost completely destroyed. The most intelligent and powerful yuan-ti took control of their race and lead them away from the other races, into seclusion.
Yuan-ti by Sophie Campbell
From their place of safety, the yuan-ti leaders began specialized breeding and education programs to create their caste system. The over-leader of the yuan-ti is the ssassaka. The sub-leaders of their race are called the neta and  their advisors are called the Ssallahakarama. Yuan-ti generals are called kamandara, who have sub-leaders called kaptana. A common yuan-ti soldier is a ssainika. The labor class is the Ssadharana and assassins are the hatyara. Spys and merchants are considered the same and are called jassussa. Defilers are called gande. Yuan-ti may become priests, most often of earth, and are called mato.
They neta named the different types of yuan-ti that they bred. First, they named themselves the ssuddha, what other races call abominations. The ssuddha are the only yuan-ti allowed to become neta. Next are the ssapha, what outsiders call halfbreeds. Ssapha may hold any caste position, except neta.  The assuddha, what outsiders call purebloods, are generally laborers, but may earn a position of prominence if they become hatyara or jassussa. Assuddha cannot be ssallahakarama or kamandara. Last are the Phohora, what outsiders call the histachii. Phohora are fit only for the ssadharana or as special canon-fodder soldiers in the army, called radditokarima.
The goals of the yuan-ti are simple. They seek to conquer the Tablelands and enslave all of the other races. One of their main difficulties is that they have a high infant mortality rate, up to thirty-percent. However, yuan-ti have a very long lifespan. Ssuddha have the longest lifespan, some living as long as two-thousand years. Ssapha live for only one-thousand and assuddha can live for nearly five-hundred. Phohora only live for a mere fifty years, but many die in battles before reaching that age.

More to come in Part Two.

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