Ophidian Species in Kobos | World Anvil


"Impossible to tell which were men and which were born that way. Best not to think about it, and kill them without pity in the spirit of mercy, either way."   ~Archedler Gantor   "Similar to lycanthropy, the venom carried by the Ophidian can turn people into copies of themselves. It is a fascinating toxin, fast acting and extremely deadly. I wish I had more samples. I may have to work some sort of offer out with someone expendable..."   ~Grandmaster Jeren, of the Golden Tower

Basic Information


Ophidians have snake-like bodies, except that they are neither long nor thin, with short and stubby humanoid appendages. They stand upright. They have forked tongues like serpents. They have the ability to change their scale color to match their environment, but their natural color is a spotted green or yellow, with some individuals having some black, brown, or red scales. The greens can range from dark-brownish green to pale blue-green and black scales can also be a faded gray-black.

Genetics and Reproduction

Ophidians breed like vipers: in great, seething orgies. Males seek to impregnate as many females as possible during the week-long session, and the females seek to expose themselves to as many males as possible. A few weeks after the event, females will return to the pit to lay enormous clutches of eggs, as many as two dozen each. Three weeks later they will hatch. Ophidians born this way resemble skinks, and they fight for every scrap of offal thrown into the pit. Adult ophidians will throw scraps into the pit as if it was a garbage heap, and anything edible is consumed.   Three months later, the small ophidians that survived childhood will begin to emerge. When the pit is free of any wriggling spawn, another orgy may kick off at any moment from then on.   Additionally, ophidian venom has the power to make more ophidians.

Growth Rate & Stages

Ophidians grow up and grow old quickly, reaching adulthood after their first year and dying of old age around 45.   They begin their lives as little more than carnivorous skinks, crawl out of their spawning pits within weeks of their hatching, and begin adult responsibilities towards the end of their first year. After that, they toil ceaselessly in service of their masters, out of sheer terror of what the more powerful Scalykind would do to them. As they age, their limbs become ever more vestigial, until each in turn lose bone mass, dragging uselessly behind their increasingly serpentine bodies. In the end, they will fall off and the ophidian will resemble a hideous serpent.   This usually happens by the time they're 20, and other ophidians will waste no time tearing them to pieces and eating them, throwing their scraps into the spawning pit for the next generation. On the off chance that they somehow survive the serpentine state, usually by fleeing into the wilderness, they can live another 20 to 25 years. The wilderness around ophidian settlements will often have many such self-exiles presenting a danger to any intruders.

Ecology and Habitats

Ophidians prefer grasslands and forested areas, but they will settle anywhere their masters tell them to.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Ophidians are more carnivorous than other Scalykind, eating plant matter only as a last resort. They can subsist on a single meal for a week, and will kill and eat anything too weak to fight them off when they grow hungry, including other ophidians.

Biological Cycle

Ophidians run warmer than other Scalykind, and thus lack the typical winter sluggishness.

Additional Information

Social Structure

Ophidian culture has been described as a "vicious cannibalocracy" by those who have studied it. The only thing keeping every single ophidian from murdering every single other ophidian are the probability of getting hurt in the process, and the fact that ophidians are acutely aware that every other species on Kobos hates them with even more intensity than they hate each other. It's this stack of cowardice, xenophobic hatred, and self-loathing that fuels their entire society, and nearly everything they do is in service to that. Ophidians are "ruled" by a daartilsin (literally, big lizard) that has managed to collect enough other ophidians to impose his will on the whole group. Coups are common, and it is extremely rare to find a daartilsin dynasty forming.   This backbiting is mitigated when their betters on the Pyramid intervene, directing their efforts to a collective work.

Uses, Products & Exploitation

Enterprising humans have worked out how to make a Skink Coat from ophidian hide.

Facial characteristics

Ophidian faces sport oversized skulls with the skin stretched thin, beady little red-glinting eyes and a fanged, rictus grin create a mask of horror.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

Ophidians are mainly concentrated in Shelor

Average Intelligence

Ophidians tend to have an IQ of around 80, and lack the patience for scheming.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

Ophidians have weak eyesight relative to humans, as well as a dulled tactile sense and comparable hearing. They lack a passive scent ability entirely, and must pause to taste and analyze the air to detect smell. Of all Scalykind, their ability to 'see' heat is by far and away the best. They can detect a heat source 5 degrees above the ambient temperature at 90 feet away. This allows them to potentially fight in complete darkness, though it doesn't let them detect obstacles in the way or give them any real insight into what it is that they're fighting.
Genetic Ancestor(s)
20-45 years.
Average Height
Average Weight
Average Length
6 ft. from nose to tail.
Average Physique
Ophidians tend to be weaker in the limbs than humans, but their core body strength is greater which allows them to lift the heavy stones of Scalykind construction.
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Ophidian scales can change color to match the environment around them. The camouflage isn't perfect, but it breaks up their outline handily and assists in stealth. Their scales have a natural "resting" color, usually green, red, brown, or yellow.
Ophidian Traits Your ophidian character has the following Racial Traits.   Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2, and your Constitution score increases by 1.   Age. Ophidian reach maturity around age 14 and rarely live longer than 60 years.   Alignment. Most ophidians are chaotic evil. They harbor a bulls' eye of hatred and spite; xenophobic hatred against outsiders, hatred of their fellow ophidians, and a deep well of self-loathing. They delight in causing pain and invoking horror. Even ophidians that don't turn out evil or chaotic have difficulty restraining their base urges when they see weakness.   Size. Ophidians are thicker than humans, despite their typically spindly limbs and short stature, your tail trails behind you to give you a length of nearly 6 feet nose to tail. Your size is Medium.   Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.   Venomous bite: An ophidian's bite carries a potent venom. A person so bitten is dealt 1d4+Strength piercing damage and 2d6 poison damage. The victim must make a DC 12 Constitution save or acquire the Poisoned condition. If the victim fails their save, has half of their full maximum HP, and is eligible for the condition, they also acquire Ophidian Shock. You can make one such attack per long rest.   Constriction: You can grapple an opponent with your long, swollen body and tail. While grappling, you retain use of your hands. With a second successful grapple action, you can restrain your enemy entirely while still retaining use of your hands. While the enemy is restrained in this way, they take 1d6+Strength bludgeoning damage per round.   Hard Laborer: You have double the lift strength for your score and size. This does not effect your encumbrance or any other Strength based statistic.   Natural Armor. You have tough, scaly skin. When you aren’t wearing armor, your AC is 12 + your Dexterity modifier. You can use your natural armor to determine your AC if the armor you wear would leave you with a lower AC. A shield’s benefits apply as normal while you use your natural armor.   Shifting Scales: An ophidian can make Stealth checks in natural terrain without having cover or concealment. You have advantage to a stealth check to approach an enemy using passive perception rather than actively searching.   Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Draconic.

Articles under Ophidian

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