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Lamias

A race of mostly female half-humanoid, half serpent, that can reproduce with most humanoid species.

Basic Information

Anatomy & Morphology

Lamias have the upper body of a human with the bottom half of a snake. Adult Lamias measure between 15 and 30 feet long. While not cold blooded, Lamias do not generate quite enough bodyheat to be comfortable in temperate and cold climates. Cold temperature makes them lethargic. Lamias can live up to one and a half century, with the typical life expectancy being about 100 years. The upper body of a Lamia can include varying amounts of scales from none to completely covered. Some ethnic groups of Lamias also have faces that are more reminiscent of a snake.

Genetics and Reproduction

Similar to platypuses, Lamias reproduce via eggs but have mammalian glands and feed some of their young with milk (see below as to why this is optional). 95% of Lamias are born female. Biologically, Lamias are able to mate with males of different species: humans, elves, dwarves and dragonborns. Lamia reproductive cells integrate small portions of the father's DNA while maintaining its core genetic identity. The result is always a Lamia, though it might inherit some physical trait of the non-Lamia parent. For instance, Lamias born from an elven father could (theoretically) have some elven facial features but it couldn’t inherit the elven life expectancy. One Lamia ethnic group, calling itselves “purebloods”, pride themselves on never mating with non-Lamia. Generally speaking, they are almost completely covered in scales and their faces closely resemble those of giant snakes.

Lamias have a large measure of control over their internal reproductive systems. With near certainty, a Lamia can prevent or insure that a mating can result in a successful fecundation of between 10 and 70 embryos. From that point on, a Lamia may suspend the development of some or all the embryos through maturity, for up to a decade. Every year spent in suspended development increases the chance that the egg will be stillborn by about 10%. With practice and a little bit of luck, a Lamia could conceive once and give birth about every other month for the next ten years.

Lamia can also control how they give birth. Lamia eggs will grow up to about the size of a grapefruit within about two months (or longer if the mother decides). At that point, a Lamia can either harden the shell and lay the egg or soften the shell into a placenta-like structure and complete the maturation process internally. If the eggs are laid, they will hatch within two weeks. Lamias born from eggs, known as hatchlings, will be much smaller: about six inch long and about 8 ounces. If the eggs are kept internally, they will take four full months to mature. Such Lamias are born weighing 12 to 20 pounds and measuring 2 to 3 feet. A Lamia can carry up to four babies comfortably and up to eight with moderate loss of mobility. Whether matured in vivo or hatched, Lamias will grow up at pretty much the same pace. The single biological distinction is that a Lamia laying her eggs will not lactate and thus can’t nurse her newborns. Hatchling Lamias are typically fed warm blood drawn from a freshly killed animal. The first few months of a hatchling’s life is fairly dangerous and a large proportion of them don’t make it to adulthood, especially for those living in nomadic tribes. Lamias matured in vivo have a much higher survival rate. Lamias grow to their full size and reach physical maturity by around age 12 to 16. However, culturally Lamias are strongly encouraged to wait until their thirties to pick a mate, for reproduction purposes anyway.

Civilization and Culture

Gender Ideals

Male Lamias are generally relegated to a subservient role among most Lamia social groups. This is particularly the case for urbanized Lamias who largely prefer to picks mates from other races to diversify the traits of their offsprings. In fact, it is very common for Lamia males to leave their group given this level of treatment.

Major Language Groups and Dialects

Herpetalan

Origin/Ancestry
Liminal

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