As the Saurians
did to their ancestors, Yuan-ti spies identify human and elven nobles that might be susceptible to corruption. They offer the power and 'perfection' of the serpent in the form of knowledge of the ritual that made the first yuan-ti. In this way they insinuate themselves into the courts of their enemies.
Some warmbloods believe that not only are the yuan-ti superior to other mortals and worthy of emulation, but they are also the blessed emissaries of the god-kings. From these entwined beliefs are born the serpent cults, groups of devout mortals who serve the yuan-ti either directly or in foreign outposts. Fanatical in their ideals, these cultists are willing to die for the yuan-ti and their gods, whether from an enemy’s weapon or at the point of a sacrificial knife.
The yuan-ti use the cults devoted to them as a steady supply of willing minions and sycophants. Many yuan-ti establish or encourage cults to gather the special herbs and magic they need to perform the ritual for evolving into a more powerful form. And just as the yuan-ti have Rituals to transform their own bodies, they have a ritual that can change a human or elf into a pureblood.
In civilized society, cultists ingratiate themselves into the local populace, usually by promising perfection of the flesh (sometimes including the healing of afflictions), freedom from the ideas of sin and guilt, and hedonistic delights to those who join the cult. The leader of a cult is usually advised by a pureblood that relays orders and information between the cult and a yuan-ti city. Ever since the discovery of the appeal
, purebloods have been unable to lead these cults themselves as even that is too much exposure to risk.
Yuan-ti have no sense of honorable Combat. They are naturally stealthy, and if they can sneak up on enemies, either in an ambush or to murder them in their sleep, the yuan-ti will do so—and they actually prefer these tactics to open warfare. Because abominations and malisons can change into the shapes of snakes, they can keep their presence hidden and get into places their normal forms couldn’t enter.
Their immunity to poison gives all yuan-ti a tactical advantage in dealing with other creatures. A pureblood serving as a food taster for a royal Family could poison a meal and declare it “safe” after taking a bite.
Yuan-ti are likely to retreat or flee from Conflict if they don’t believe they have a reasonable chance of success. This Reaction isn’t out of cowardice, but practicality—yuan-ti value their own lives much too highly to risk them when the odds aren’t in their favor. A short retreat might be just the thing to reach a better tactical position, find allies, or to allow the yuan-ti the opportunity to study their opponents and implement better Tactics. Any enemy who chases a group of fleeing yuan-ti might be on the victorious side of a rout or could be heading into a trap; if the enemy has been encountered before, it is likely that the yuan-ti have prepared a Special Ambush at the end of the pursuit.
Yuan-ti put little value on Humanoid lives, even those of their own slaves and Cultists. They would poison children to carry out a threat against their Parents, or turn one person into a broodguard in order to show her Family the consequence of Resistance. They might refrain from provoking others’ feelings if doing so could adversely affect the yuan-ti’s plans, but they understand Humanoid psychology well enough to know that they can get away with this casual disregard for life almost anytime.
Furthermore, in the yuan-ti caste system, a greater yuan-ti’s life is worth far more than a lesser one’s. Weaker citizens are expected to lay down their lives to protect their betters. Leaders rely on this zealotry in their plans, and although they don’t needlessly waste the lives of purebloods on futile Actions, most strategies include a fallback option in which mobs of purebloods and slaves are Thrown at opposing forces in the hope of allowing the malisons and abominations time to escape.
Almost all actions taken by an individual Yuan-ti are in the service of the ritual of Serpentine Apotheosis
. They are always at least indirectly working towards their next evolution, even when they are working on it for a superior.