The lizardfolk of the Darilach desert are a hardened people, skilled survivalists who have overcome the odds of their harsh home. They are a race that acts in harmony with their environment; whose magical prowess in the protecting arts goes hand in hand with honoring the spirits of their realm. S'Nan crafts are praised for possessing the most powerful of healing tonics, and have been known to produce some of the most lethal toxins as well. Little about the S'Nan is known to the “civilized” races as the lizards fiercely guard the secrets of their culture.
S'Nan are cautious creatures, often distrusting the intentions of others until their honor has been proven in action time and time again. This caution is often mistaken as shyness by other races. Those who do earn the trust of a S'Nan will discover a great change in their demeanor. The desert lizardfolk have intense personalities that can seem overbearing on the verge of doting to one not familiar with their culture. This powerful bond, called Affining is nearly impossible to break making S'Nan incredibly loyal companions, or terribly fierce enemies. (See Relations for greater detail).
The S'Nan are bipedal lizards, ranging from 4 to 5 ½ feet tall, and 7 to 8 feet from nose tip to tail. Their eye color ranges from white to orange, and they have no hair. The most distinct trait they possess is scale coloration. Males often have brightly colored scales in jagged tiger stripes across their backs. The most common color is red, though orange and blue have been seen on them as well. Their other scales are a deep white hue that lets them blend in with the sands. Females lack stripes and have a diamond-like sparkle to their hides which are often a dull tan color, though orange has been witnessed as well (Hunters prize the females hide which can fetch a great price in goblin markets).
Females are very important to the S'Nan as they have only one hatch per year. This makes their young more treasured than even water. There are usually 7 to 8 eggs in a clutch, though only 4 or 5 are expected to hatch. Of those, only one (2 if they are lucky) will survive its first years to reach adulthood.
There are three tribes that make up the S'Nan, each with their own tribal garb that sets them appart from one another:
The Y'Kun (Pronounced Ee-Coon) wear bone necklaces that bear claws and feathers taken from Roc chicks. The feathers are often a dark blue in color and are coveted by traders because of how difficult they are to obtain.
The Ha'Jir (Pronounced Ha-Year) fashion armor from Blade Burrowers (a sand beetle with two large bladed arms it uses to burrow. Its pincers are also blade-like and have been known to decapitate young Rocs that try to feast on it) chitin. The armor often has teeth driven into it forming spikes and studs that help add to their defense and provide an intimidation factor as well. Their weapons, taken from the spiders own blades are often tipped with the skulls of their enemies; displayed as trophies.
The Jappi (Pronounced Yah-Pee) bear leather skin wraps across their limbs and tails. This leather is harvested from Manticore skin and is often painted on in decorative designs. Jappi weapons are also crafted from the body parts of the Manticore and often contain the beast tail quills due to its potent poison.
Between one another, the S'Nan trust those of their own tribe first. They are slow to warm to outsiders and take a cautious approach to any who are not of their race. Among their people, the S'Nan are made up of three tribes. Each claim dominion over the sands of Darilach which has led to bad blood between them despite that their belief systems are extremely similar. Each tribe often believes that they are more blessed by Io Pintana (see Religion) as can be seen by the trophies they have gained.
Of the three tribes, the Y'Kun are the most willing to interact with other races on the sands, often trading for slaves and goods as they come across caravans. The harbor a strong dislike toward the Ha'Jir and are at complete odds with the Jappi (Pronounced Yah-Pee).
The Ha'Jir are the most warrior like of the two tribes and harass the other tribes equally.
The Jappi will attack Y'Kun on sight and believe them to be tainted by their interaction with the 'man beasts' who should be used solely for food. They also conduct raids on the Ha'Jir.
In concern to the other races, many of them find themselves in the presence of the S'Nan through the unfortunate circumstance of Slavery. S'Nan actively take slaves, sometimes purchasing them in transit off caravan wagons, or more typically when they are caught trespassing on S'Nan territory. Those who have encountered them otherwise say they are fierce opponents in battle, relaying on stealth and tactical knowledge of their desert home (these people usually escaped with little left to them besides their lives). In negotiations they usually seem withdrawn and quiet or shy. Most traders thing they are making a killing whenever they trade with them.
When within their own tribes or among those they trust is where the S'Nan truly shine. They have several concepts that are often foreign to other 'civilized' societies. The first begins with Affining.
Affining is similar to the human concept of love, though it transcends physical affection and is much more akin to the way an elder couple feels toward one another, or a mother to her child. Many Affined relationships occur between male and females (often culminating in the continuing of their race) but not all. An Affined S'Nan or even slave is considered to be part of ones family.
Insulting once member of an Affined pair is just as grievous as a direct insult. Due to this fact, much of S'Nan society focuses on culminating relations between one another rather than having it break down like most other societies. Most minor transgressions are dealt with by Rite of Sparring.
The Rite of Sparring is a ritual in which the aggrieved parties engage in non-lethal combat (tooth and claw alone) to determine which was in the right. Another individual may not stand in place of the aggrieved. Honorable combat may only be performed by those in question. Whether a win or loss these sparring rituals serve both to release anger and preserve honor by showing that even if one is weaker they are ready to stand for what or who they believe in.
Between S'Nan, a pair who has engaged in the Rite of Sparring must undergo the Forging. During this time the pair is required to remain in each others presence for up to a month. This allows their spirits to acclimate with the other and create a friendship between the host bodies. Forged pairs often become close friends and competitors who continue to pass on their knowledge and skills to one another until they die.
Lies, betrayal and murder are rare concepts within S'Nan tribes, but from time to time they do occur. When they do, the tribe member who committed the act must go through the Curse of Wings. Like an honor suicide, the lizard heads into the desert to the den of a White One (a species of white Wyrm that lives in Darilach). There they must remain without food or water for three days awaiting judgment from the Wyrm. If the dragon does not devour them, they may return to the tribe as an Ash'tak.
Ash'tak are S'Nan tribal members who have fallen from the graces of their tribe. They have committed a crime against the tribe and survived the Curse of Wings. These S'Nan work among the slaves (if the tribe has any) until they have earned the respect of their tribe once again. They are still allowed to go on hunts and aid the tribe, but should they commit, or attempt to commit another crime during this period they are slain and left to be bleached by sun and sand (the Final Curse – see religion).
The S'Nan make their home in the sun scorched deserts of Darilach. The desert supplies them with everything they need to survive, leaving them with little reason to venture out into other lands or seek out other peoples. The few S'Nan who do are an exception, usually shunned by their people but not cast out of the society by any of the Rites they follow. Each of the three tribes stake out their territory in different parts of the desert even though each feels the sands belong to them.
Y'Kun Claim: Lands from Mechan Deep to the Crackling Forge.
Ha'Jir Claim: Lands North of Mechan Deep and the surrounding mountains.
Jappi Claim: Lands South of Burning Stretch through the Scalding Coast.
Y'Kun and Jappi territory overlaps and has been the cause of much strife between the two tribes. Both Y'Kun and Jappi have troubles with Ha'Jir raiders who pass through the desert ignoring territorial claim.
The S'Nan follow the goddess Marisse who they call Io Pintana; Little Princess. Her power gives them the skills to survive in an environment that would otherwise kill them. While Marisse is not a god of nature, her powers extend that direction where the S'Nan are concerned.
According to their legends the lizardfolk were born to the Tree god Moratem called Shol'gum. The god of Growth kept the lizards slaving as servants within his kingdom because they were not of the beautiful races. Io Pintana made a bet with the great tree and challenged him to contest of creation upon the world. If she won, he would give her the lizardfolk. If she lost, she would be his bride. They would have one day.
Shol'gum agreed, knowing that he had the full power to grow his creations across the world. That was his power, and Io Pintana was nowhere as skilled as he. His focus was tied up growing life in the Northern lands of Wyrnn and directing the lizardfolk to do his bidding. He had little time for a contest of power. As such, he asked that they wait a month while he crafted. Io Pintana agreed to this, telling the god it would give them time to get to know one another.
With each passing day, Io Pintana spoke with Shol'gum and learned of his power. She listened intently with childlike awe, always showering praise to his great power. All the while she gathered all she could of his understanding of plants and natural powers. At the end of each day she plucked the knowledge from her mind and poured it into a basin in the land of Darilach. When she rejoined Shol'gum the next day, she lacked the knowledge that he had imparted upon her during the previous days. Shol'gum was so giddy with excitement that Io Pintana could not keep up with the concepts of his power that he began to tell her more in an effort to impress his soon to be bride. They continued this routine for the month Shol'gum worked, and for days after until finally Shol'gum reminded Io Pintana of her challenge. The goddess remembered the deal, and told the god that they would begin the challenge the next day, for this evening they would celebrate their friendship and drink to new times. The god agreed.
As the evening wore on, Io Pintana excused herself and drank back her knowledge from the earthbound pool. All of Shol'gum's teachings remained, and their secrets became unveiled to her. When she returned to Shol'gum, she proposed one last toast to the coming day. To his cup she applied a sleeping tonic. Shol'gum toasted “to his new bride”. Io Pintana toasted “to new beginnings”.
When the contest began the two gods began growing plant-life across Darilach. Flowers that glowed with the rainbow's color sprouted up among the green foliage. Hanging vines and dense jungle began to grow rich and deep. Shol'gum's power began to slow as the sleep tonic began flowing through him, but Io Pintana kept growing. Soon the Great Tree god fell asleep and so too did the growth of his plants. Io Pintana continued to work until Shol'gum awoke. When he did he realized that he was too late to finish, the goddess had won. Holding true to the wager, he gave Io Pintana the S'Nan.
Not understanding how she had won, the god asked the goddess how she had done it. When she told him Shol'gum grew angry and pulled his roots up from Darilach. The plants withered and died, replaced by white sands. “For your treachery the S'Nan shall have to live in a barren land. Their lives shall be made hard by your choices.” the god decreed.
Knowing the hardships they would face, Io Pintana granted her lizardfolk blessings and gifts to see them through the difficulties of their lives. Free from the demands of the Tree god, the S'Nan prospered and grew strong, forged anew by their desert home.
To the S'Nan honor is everything. It was passed down to them by O'Kal the Winged One who watches over their actions in place of Io Pintana (for she is a god and need to trouble herself with the small details for them). O'Kal is the white dragon of the desert and taught the S'Nan how to act and behave. According to their legends The dragon vanished before their eyes after given the S'Nan the Rite of Freedom, the means for their souls to depart the living world and join the gods. They believe that in this act O'Kal placed his presence in all the dragons of the sands to better oversee them and free them from the Final Curse. (O'Kal was returned to the stars when Tselmist the Manipulator sacrificed his mortality to save the draconic race from Lucetifacious's dragon plague).
Slaying a White One is grounds for the tribe to enact the Final Curse.
The Rite of Freedom allows a S'Nan whose honor has remained in tact all their lives to depart the world of the living and join the realm of the gods. When the S'Nan dies their body will be placed upon an Altar of Wings (often a sacrificial stone in the sands that is always kept clean by slaves) where all of the tribe (slaves included) will eat a small piece of the body so that it will be remembered in the tribal body. The tribe will then depart and the slaves will shower the body with freshly picked ghost flower. Braziers are lit containing lotus extract which will entice a White One to the body and bear it off to the gods. If the body is not taken during the first day it is buried and ghost flower is planted over the body so that the soul might leave when another S'Nan departs.
The Final Curse as it is commonly known is called Sun Whose Justice Burns Flesh and Soul to Sand. The Final Curse is the most terrible thing that can happen to a S'Nan and is used as a punishment for the most heinous crimes within their society. The S'Nan in question is slain by their tribe and left in the desert sun. The body is sprinkled with dried herbs (Snapdragon and Jespir – a poisonous lotus flower found near oases and in dense clumps of cacti; its scent is like curdled milk) to ward off any creatures that would try to eat the body. The elements will burn away and strip the flesh off the body, leaving the soul caged in the bones. The sun then burns the soul away, leaving only white sand behind.
S'Nan speak Draconic.
+2 Dexterity, +2 Wisdom: S'Nan have quick reflexes and pay close attention to their surroundings.
- Medium: S'Nan are Medium creatures and receive no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
- Normal Speed: S'Nan have a base speed of 30 feet.
- Bite: S'Nan gain a natural bite attack, dealing 1d4 damage. The bite is a primary attack, or a secondary attack if the creature is wielding manufactured weapons.
- Claws: S'Nan receive two claw attacks. These are natural attacks and deal 1d4 damage.
- Desert Survivalist: S'Nan receive Survival as a class skill and can last a 5 days without food or water.
- Kissed by the Sun: S'Nan have resistance 5 to fire and ignore the effects severe heat.
- Natural Armor: S'Nan gain a +1 natural armor bonus to Armor Class.
- Quick Reactions: S'Nan receive Improved Initiative as a bonus feat.
Languages: S'Nan begin play speaking Draconic. S'Nan with high Intelligence scores may choose from the following: Common, Goblin, Orc, Terran, and Undercommon.