Lamia Species in Arcane Realm | World Anvil
BUILD YOUR OWN WORLD Like what you see? Become the Master of your own Universe!

Lamia (Lay-me-uh)

Snek ladies

Lamias (or lamiae) are a sapient species that belonged to a group of serpentine fey known as Naga. However in modernity, lamiae are the only known living members of the naga family. From the waist up lamias appear to be humanoid, but below their waist in place of legs, they possess a large powerful snake-like bottom half used for locomotion and self-defense. Lamias are also a female only species that lacks any male members.   Lamiae were once a race that were labelled as monsters, mostly due to their appearance and rumors about their habits. Eventually a shift in understanding about other species called monsters shifted these attitudes enough for attempts at communication to be made. Soon with their cultures recognized, lamias were legally considered people instead of monsters and many have integrated in the cultures of other races and vice versa.

Basic Information


Their bodies above their hips appear very similar to human women including having mammary breasts on their chests in adulthood. Lamia have equivalent body size to humans from the waist up, but their serpentine coils and tail generally reach 15 to 23 feet in length near adulthood. This length can make them appear to be larger than they really are when stretched out, but idly standing with their lower body coiled, Lamias can take up the same room as a woman in a wide skirt.   Serpentine Section: Their most distinguishing feature is their humanoid pelvis leading into a long scaled legless body and tail typically referred to as their coils. Despite many still thinking they are just a long tail, it is more accurate to say it is an extension of their torso as a serpentine structure. The underside is very sensitive to vibration which allows a lamia to be able to sense approaching animals by detecting faint vibrations in the ground. Most of their visceral organs are housed in this snake like part, and only about a foot from the tip is technically a tail as it only has pure skeletal muscle and bone. To accommodate their narrow bodies, a lamia's paired organs (such as kidneys) appear one in front of the other instead of side by side. Just before the true tail of their coils is where the small anal plate opening on the underside that their waste leaves their GI tract from is located.   Humanoid Section: The humanoid portion of their midsection is mainly where their respiratory system and heart is stored. Also the pelvic region of the torso that meets serpentine coils has the lamia's female humanoid genitalia.   Lamias tend to have vibrant colored scales on their coils, many which are similar to the patterns of actual snakes. While their upper halves are humanoid portion of their body, it can vary wildly in appearance from having a lot of serpentine features to having almost none at all. Some lamias may also sport long ears, stilted reptilian pupils, a long prehensile tongue, or patches of scales on certain parts of their upper body. Of the visually recognizable phenotypes: Echidna lamia have keeled scales, stocky builds, shorter tails, and are unique in that they have two fangs in their mouths that can deliver venom with a bite and many have a rattle at the end of their tail made of keratin. Colubrid lamia have the definitive trait of having small backward grooved "rear-fangs" that lack venom.   Biod and Pythia lamia are both very similar in morphology but there are key differences. Pythias tend to be the heavier stock with darker skin and hair colors. Biods tend to be longer and have prominent cheekbones and round flat faces, coarse and straight hair.

Biological Traits

Scaled Skin: All lamia have scales covering their coils and tail, some also have them on their hips, back, shoulders, lower parts of their face. Contrary to the popular notion of being slimy due to possible confusion of snakes with worms, lamia scales has a smooth, dry texture. Lamia can have scales that are smooth, keeled or granular. The coloration and pattern of their scales often resemble or even mimic natural snake species.   They shed their scales all at one time in a process called ecdysis and once the lamia has constructed a new, inner layer of scales, a fluid is excreted between the new and old layers of scales in order to separate them. This fluid is then re-absorbed and the lamia sloughs off her old layer of scales in a single piece (provided she is healthy and under optimal environmental conditions).   Variable Body Heat: Lamia are classified as heterotherms, which they can switch from maintaining their internal temperature from the environment or their body heat. Most of the time a Lamia's body tracks ambient temperatures (poikilothermy) but when they are very active or too cold, they can increase their metabolic heat to a stable range (homeothermy). Conversely, when they get too hot, they retreat to cooler shaded areas and their metabolism slows back.   Serpentine Movement: The muscles of the Lamia's snake body are utilized both to move ingested prey internally and for general body movement, or locomotion. There are four basic types of locomotion for all naga, including lamia:   Serpentine or lateral progression: This form of locomotion is the undulating crawl, commonly called 'slithering,' and the most common form of movement. It allows the lamia to reach maximum speeds and is employed by all to swim.   Rectilinear: Large, heavy lamia also use caterpillar or "inchworm" movement to travel in a straight line. They are able to move the skin of the belly forward and then pull the rest of the body along.   Sidewinding: This locomotion is when lamia hurl their bodies in a sideways looping motion. Those that live in deserts on loose sand use this type of adaptive locomotion.   Concertina: Some lamia apply the concertina technique when climbing trees. The body bunches up forming horizontal loops and then the torso moves forward and the body straightens, similar to an accordion or spring.   Venom Generation: Echidna Lamia have fangs that can deliver a venomous bite of either hemotoxins, neurotoxins, or cytotoxins.   Regeneration Factor: Lamia can passively regenerate wounds in a short time via biomagical reactions speeding up the process. The extent of this regeneration prevents the development of scar tissue and even regrow entire limbs within a few minutes to hours however these actions do not set any broken bones on its own. In addition, this magical trait is significantly slowed when the subject is increasingly exhausted or when exposed to substances that interfere with the process.   Agelessness: Lamia lack measurable symptoms of aging due to their cells' highly regenerative properties. As such lamia do not weaken, slow down, or lose fertility with age giving them great longevity, potentially for centuries. However they are not deathless and will eventually die due to mortal injury, or disease beyond their regenerative capability.

Genetics and Reproduction

The pelvic region of a lamia's upper torso, just before the serpentine abdomen contains female humanoid genitalia. Although they are a female only species, they have a number of options in order to become pregnant and have children.   First is asexually through parthenogenesis, creating a genetically similar female child. To do this, lamia copulate with each other to promotes self-fertilization during ovulation. This makes the ovulating lamia can have a "virgin birth" by way of creating half-clones of herself. This can also be stimulated by other female humanoids or liminals.   Lamia can also reproduce sexually with a male of a humanoid species. Lamia breed their own kind but those born from these unions inherit some genetic material from the father, usually as phenotypic features. As they can switch between these modes of reproduction, lamia are bisexual as a whole, though an individual will have preferences.   Lamias are ovoviviparous, which means their daughters develop in eggs but stay and hatch inside their mothers wombs and then the mothers give birth to them in about nine months. As lamia have mammary glands, they provide their babies with milk from their breasts until they are old enough to try solid food.

Growth Rate & Stages

When first born, they are basically miniature versions of their mothers. And they stay near their mothers and feed off their milk for the first year or two. Puberty begins roughly around the age 18 at the earliest and is more common by the early twenties.

Ecology and Habitats

Lamia are a very adaptable species capable of living in most not annually cold habitats like Grasslands, Forests, Rainforests, Deserts, Wetlands. Lamia are one of the most cosmopolitan fay species living in a large variety of environments worldwide.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Lamia are predatory carnivores by nature and ingest other animals, preferably freshly killed. Terrestrial and arboreal lamia often feast on insects, snails, spiders, scorpions, poultry, rodents, lizards, turtles, and rarely large hooved animals. Those near the water will partake of various fish, amphibians, mollusks, crustaceans, seabirds, occasionally even seals or small sharks.   They hunt prey mainly by constricting or simply overpowering them. Many naga species were able to swallow very large prey by stretching their jaws and possessing a very extensible throat and stomach like actual snakes. Due to the shape of their humanoid torso, a lamia swallowing prey this large is very difficult and sometimes painful and even when completely ingested, the sheer size of such meals significantly weighs their coils down, making it hard to move around and leaving them virtually defenseless against predators. As such most lamia will break down larger foods via biting or tool use, and restrict whole swallowing for smaller foods like grubs or mice.   Besides meat, these fay are also fond of animal derived products like eggs or milk. This change in diet may also have altered their biology; the spread of dairy farming provided a new and rich source of food, leading to the evolution of the ability to digest lactose in many adults. Lamia are one of the few species who historically milked animals and thus a good number are lactose-tolerant in adulthood. This has also lead to lamia culture having more animal dairy based treats and confectioneries compared to other species.   When animals or their derivatives are hard to come by, lamia maybe forced to rely on plant matter as famine foods. In this case they generally will settle for fleshy and fatty fruits like coconuts or avocados but will avoid leafy or starchy vegetation.   A well fed lamia can go for several days without a new meal, especially if they aren't forced to make body heat. When undisturbed, their digestive processes are highly efficient, with the lamia's digestive enzymes dissolving and absorbing nearly everything but the prey's hair, feathers and claws, which are excreted along with "normal" waste.

Biological Cycle

Lamia shed their scales or molt throughout the year, with younger ones up to four times a year and older ones only once or twice. Lamia in regions with winters go into hibernation until the daily weather returns to temperatures above 20 degrees Celsius.

Additional Information

Social Structure

Most Communal; some Solitary but social

Uses, Products & Exploitation

Shed lamia scales is similar in texture to snakeskin and can made into a leather. Lamia scales can be made into leather for clothing like belts and boots or fashion accessories like handbags and wallets or to cover the sound board of some musical instruments.

Facial characteristics

Some lamias may sport long pointed ears, stilted reptilian pupils, a long prehensile tongue, or patches of scales on certain parts of their upper body.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

Worldwide except polar regions and large island chains

Average Intelligence


Perception and Sensory Capabilities

Vomeronasal organ: A Lamia can stick out her long prehensile forked tongue in the air to collect airborne or aquatic particles to put in in this organ in the mouth for examination. The fork in the tongue gives them a sort of directional sense of smell and taste simultaneously.   Infrared Reception : Most lamia have infrared-sensitive receptors as freckle-like spots on their face fulled with sensitive tissue that allows them to sense the electromagnetic infrared waves emitted by the thermal radiation of warm objects or warm-blooded animals. In Echidna lamia, the grooves are located between the nostril and the eye, in a large dark “spot “on each of their cheeks. Other groups have multiple, smaller pits resembling freckles lining the upper lip, just below the nostrils.

Civilization and Culture

Beauty Ideals

Lamia view having full and wide hips as their most attractive feature, only second to having perky breasts. They also see the colors and patterns of their scales as important sign of beauty and thus spend significant time cleaning and polishing their scales to appear vibrant and shiny.

Gender Ideals

Being a female only species, lamia exist only as women and thus can participate in basically any role in their society without restriction. When it comes to lamia who mate with males from other species, the role of those males can differ based on settlements or even individuals. For example, for some villages may share a few males (typically fairies, occasinally homins or hauflins) as communal mates to ensure sufficent genetic diversity while ensuring the power structure remains with the lamia through sheer numbers.

Courtship Ideals

While pubescent lamia can mate with each other, a significant portion will also find male sexual partners, likely to diversify their gene pool. Traditionally, lamias find humanoid males travelling by their territory or stealthily enter humanoid settlements and call out to their men. Once they grab a man's attention, they would lure them to their lair and trick him into copulatation. Sometimes a few lamia would be sent out from a lamia village to bring back some males for the whole community to share, afterwards they are typically given the choice to return home or stay as a communal mate with the rention rate being sursprisingly high.   Issues came with the kidnapping aspect of this tradition especially for hauflins who often conflated their tactics to being eaten as opposed to for mating. That and the nature of their abductions being borderline sexual assault would make the practice outlawed in many territories though it is harder to enforce in the countryside and wilderness. Luckily, the friendlier relations with lamias and liberal views on sexuality from collective society as a whole, has encouraged more lamias to find mates with more consenusal tatics.

Relationship Ideals

Sexual activity generally plays a major role in lamia society, being used as a means of forming social bonds, a means of conflict resolution, and post-conflict reconciliation.    Lamiae typically don't form permanent monogamous sexual relationships with individual partners in their native societies. They also do not seem to discriminate in their sexual behavior by sex or age, with the exception of mothers with their daughters. When lamiae fell a large amount of game or find a new feeding ground, the increased excitement will usually lead to a communal sexual activity session that decreases tension and encourages peaceful feeding.   Sexuality   In general, everything can be an excuse for sex in most lamia societies, especially when tension is rising or a joyous occasion for the group has occurred. Some sexual subjects that are considered taboo and deviant in some hauflin cultures are accepted and actively practiced in lamia culture. As such Lamia can be openly erogenous and interested in expressing it from their species onset of adolescence. Lamia are instinctively and culturally bisexual as in addition to pursuing heterosexual relationships with male humanoids, they also engage in activity with each other when males aren't present or even other species females to tickle their fancy.

Average Technological Level

Traditional lamia creations are limited to handmade objects made from materials in their natural environment like plant fibers, clay, stone or animal parts. These are simply made for everyday practical use, by those with a general repertoire of skills. Common examples are basket traps made for catching difficult prey. They are mostly made for personal use thought very recently, some individuals have made multiples for the purposes of selling them.   Weaponry   In battle, lamias mostly use their tail as is tremendously strong, and can do great damage when swung, crushing their foes between the ground and their tough scales and are powerful enough to bend iron. They have also crafted weaponry specific to their anatomy such as serrated fang caps and tail spikes.   Lamia are also able to use weaponry that can be used by their arms. Traditional villages are often associated with defenses like daggers, spears, even bows.

Common Dress Code

A lamia's modesty largely depends on her lifestyle. Solitary lamia or those in isolated groups have no qualms about being completely nude, groups near clothed races or lamias in developed areas will often the adopt clothing to wear in public, many enjoying the aesthetics.   Lamia will wear clothing that accommodate the shape of their lower halves such as shirts, tunics, dresses, skirts and are incapable of wearing clothing for legs such as trousers. Most lamia lack undergarments for practicality or personal preference although some developed socities have created decorative adhesive silicon triangles that they place over their privates to serve as undergarments. Interestingly most lamia don't cover the anal plate where their coils end and true tail begins, likely because it is usually closed and in a position on their underside that is hardly seen.

Culture and Cultural Heritage

Spirituality   Lamia, despite their whimsical natures, are a very spiritual and expressive people, and place great value on the unseen elements of the world, especially spirits of the earth and water. This makes shamans more common in their society who act as healers and spirit guides for the clan.   Lamia traditions are usually strongly tied to freedom and community, believing that while they are stronger as a whole, none should hold power over another entirely, and should be trusted with their own devices for good or ill, making the matriarchs more of a stand in only for drastic issues that threaten to tear the clan apart.   Architecture   Lamias in the wilderness typically live within trees, naturally occurring caves or underground tunnels as opposed to building shelter. In rural villages, thatch huts are built for personal dwellings but buildings of brick and mortar for the public if they have the space.   Instead of stairs, a series of criss-crossing poles line most elevated floors beams and poles connecting the individual buildings and serving as walkways for the lamia to slither and climb across comfortably. In urban areas with high populations of lamias, public buildings install a wide ladder-like scaffolding to allow many lamia to use them at once. For private residences, where comfort and aesthetics matters more, a pillar with sticks sticking out of it would be preferred.   In place of beds, they use cots slung off the ground or would most utilize some sort of cushioned pole. The lamia would wrap their coils around the pole and use the cushion to rest their heads. Whether a hut or house, lamia prefer living spaces with floor heating, mainly so they can quickly regain lost body heat. Huts or low income housing usually have a fireplace or a patch of stone floor with hot water being circulated under it while richer housing would have pipes embedded within the walls and floors through which warm water flows.

Common Customs, Traditions and Rituals

Kinship   There are "lone lamia" who prefer to live, hunt and rear children mostly alone. They rarely have more then a parent/child hierarchy in their family groups. Usually a mated pair of lamia or a lamia and her mate live in a cave, tree hut or similar small home, dwelling together - though larger homes for larger families is expected.   There are also "communal lamias" who prefer to live in groups with other lamia and sometimes other species as well. Most of these groups are very egalitarian, with any one capable of a role and childcare being shared by other mothers in the clan. Usually, the oldest female of these groups leads as the "Matriarch", who makes all important decisions for the clan, blesses mated pairs, names babies, and oversees the daily life of the clan.


Antiquity   Before the lamia there were accounts of related serpentine fay known as Naga. They were believed to primarly dwell in waterways and live undergrown as suggested through the ruins of their subbterrean cities. Traditional stories and murals portray them as a mighty semidivine race that were innate shapeshifters that could have a humanoid or serpentine form. Their kingdoms like many other ancient precurors thrive millions of years ago, before the advent of the Ghulat Wars.   Ghulat Wars   After the war and natural disasters degraded their habitats, it is though like many other inhabitants at the time, various naga species found it hard to find food and for remaining males and females to find mates of their respective species. With the uncanny resembleance to the portrayal to the naga, the lamia as a whole always believed a connection between them and these beings. It is hypothesized that due to difficulty in finding mates of the same species so crossbreeding between different naga species became the norm. After very long periods of these hybridization events, multiple cross-bred Naga species could have arose but the one that became the ancestor of lamia would have won out. The lamia species resulted from the hybridization of different sexual species of naga, a process that instilled the parthenogenetic females with a great amount of genetic diversity at the outset.   Most of the majesty of the Naga was unknown to human species like Hauflins or Homins, and the serpentine appearance of the lamia often made them wary, to even being feared of being stolen away and eaten. Stories about them led to areas banning lamia and occasional hunts if there was an expected nest nearby. For the lamia, some clans may indeed kidnap humanoid males for mating purposes if they had low populations, but would use more sneaky tactics after human persceution. In addition, certain nations would partake in trafficking humanoid monsters including lamia many for forced manual labor or cardinal services, as monsters would often lack any protection given to persons.   Modernity   Their monstrous status didn't change until psychological case studies on another monstrous species, Harpies revealed that many of the preconceived monster traits were mainly a product of their environment. As such there was a slow but eventual acceptance with others species and into society and civil moments began to recognize that lamia were intelligent creatures and demanded equal protection under the law. International legislation was passed that declared the lamia race to have official personhood.

Interspecies Relations and Assumptions

Historically lamias have had bad reputations with natural humanoids like hauflins or homins. They mistook the lamias that kidnapped males for mating, as wanting to eat them so these races labeled them as monsters that should feared and attacked for generations. Eventually as time went on the groups began to reconcile, and relations have approved with lamias being considered people.   Other fay, henge and spirits are more tolerant of lamias, male fairies are most likely the most common mating partners for lamia due to both having similar sexualities. Sometimes lamia will also have relations with mermen, male henge, even some spirits that manifest in a humanoid male form.
Lamia Profile by jdtcreates
Genetic Ancestor(s)
Scientific Name
Nagini lamia
Colubrid, Echidna, Biod, Pythia
150 - 350 years
Conservation Status
Least Concern
Average Height
145 to 167 cm (4'9" to 5'6")
Average Weight
90 to 230 kg (200 to 500 lbs)
Average Length
6 to 8.5 m (20 to 28 ft)
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Lamias tend to have vibrant colored scales on their coils, many which are similar to the patterns of actual snakes. While their upper halves are humanoid portion of their body, it can vary wildly in appearance from having a lot of serpentine features to having almost none at all.   Their hair is commonly jet black, brown, red, green, blonde, with other colors are seen as rare or exotic. The color of their eyes mainly come in amber, blue, yellow, green and light brown, although nearly all eye colors are possible. Their skin tones can be the same spectrum as humans but rarely, lamiae with green skin have been found.
Related Ethnicities

This article has no secrets.


Please Login in order to comment!