Saturday, December 8, 2007

Godtouched Races: Naga

The naga are a race of noble and martial forest dwellers. Created by Retla, the sister of Gretash who created the first godtouched race of the medusae, naga are similar to their southern cousins. They are snake-based, with their lower body the tail of a snake, and their upper body a reptilian humanoid. In this way, they're similar to the medusae's aquatic form.

Unlike the medusae, they have actual mammalian hair growing out of their heads instead of snake-like tendrils. They also share none of the medusae's metamorphic qualities; they can neither grow legs nor wings.

The faces of naga are gaunt and thin with sunken cheeks and chiseled features. They have a very prominent brow-ridge that blends into their nose and resembles a crown. Their ears are long and thin, a flap of cartilage supported by an actual bone.

Their bodies are scaly from head to toe, with some of their softer mucles being aligned in rows giving them extra strength. They are surprisingly fast on land despite their lack of legs, though they still aren't as agile as humans. Because their humanoid features seem cut off at the knees, naga are usually four or five feet tall, but their bodies are actually more bulky than humans due to their tail, so they weigh more. A healthy naga will weigh from 200 to 300 pounds.

Eight thousand years ago, when mankind was first created and struggling for survival, the naga chose to aid the humans and protect them from other creatures that would wish them harm. Like many godtouched, the naga no longer had a god actively watching over them, so Jennin, the creator of mankind, adopted them and put them into a position of religious power in human society.

The naga would act as divine protectors and warrior-monks, emissaries between Jennin and his human creations. For a thousand years the naga protected the temples and religious sites of human beings. However, when the original human civilization precipitated the magical cataclysm that created the Eastern Islands, the surviving humans forgot the nagas' place in society. Many naga have ill-feelings towards humans for their abandonment, but they still maintain and care for the ancient temples that dot the landscape. Naga have a very fierce psychological drive to protect, and when humans no longer sought after nor allowed their protection, most naga reverted to simply protecting the temples and the forests that grew up around them.

Naga society may appear primitive at a glance, but they actually have quite a robust intellectual community. Naga are fond of philosophy and wisdom, and often use divine spells and rituals in order to learn more about their world. They also use divine magic for tanning leather and shaping metal, choosing methods of survival that carry the smallest possible ecological footprint.

There are three major populations of naga in the world, with the largest being an entire kingdom in the south of Rensvan. The others live in a more scattered, less organized state, relying more on a tribal social structure. These populations differ by skin color, and could be considered their own sub-races.

The naga in the south of Rensvan are colorful, with their more common skin tone being chalk white with green, blue, yellow, and lavender scales. Their hair usually matches the color of their scales, though some individuals have red hair.

The naga who live west of the Yesshan desert in the jungles of Jerohm have darker colors, with matching skin and scale colors of dark purple, black, and a dark blueish gray. Their hair is always black.

The naga who live in the southeast of Zenninfal, north of the Yesshan desert have skin colors of various shades of greens and browns, in order to blend into their surroundings. Their hair is usually brown, black, or dark green.

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