Yuan-ti Species in Runetalras | World Anvil
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Yuan-ti (yang-tee)

Yuan-ti are an artificial species of serpentine people who are oft viewed as violent, corrupt, and dangerous by many of the mortal races. The Yuan-ti are not a single people as such, and varied greatly.


The appearance and capability of yuan-ti varies greatly and the yuan-ti are generally categorised by these differences. Some yuan-ti have appearances almost indistinguishable from dwarves, elves, halflings, humans, gnomes, goliath, etc, while others look practically like giant snakes, but all had some serpentine features. The scale colours of yuan-ti are usually simple greens and browns, but more elaborate patterns and colours exist.   Yuan-ti lack sweat glands and as such do not smell as strongly as most mortal races in activity.   There are several different forms of yuan-ti, listed below in order of most to least common:   Yuan-ti Mortal - are humanoid creatures with few serpentine features, like slitted pupils or small patches of scales on the skin. These are the most numerous of the yuan-ti and also the lowest ranking yuan-ti in the caste system.   Because yuan-ti mortals can pass as members of the mortal races, their primary role within the structure of yuan-ti society is to act as agents in the outside world as diplomats, infiltrators, and spies. Because of the benefits they find in moral race cities, most yuan-ti mortals prefer living in mortal race cities to within yuan-ti society where they are subject to the caste system. This has led yuan-ti mortals abandoning yuan-ti society and living in secret within cities. Yuan-ti Malison - are humanoid in form but have significant serpentine features, such as a snake head, snakes in place of arms, or serpentine lower body instead of legs. Because of their significant serpentine features they tend to be receptive to the religion and culture of the yuan-ti with many becoming powerful as leaders in military and worship.   Yuan-ti Abomination - are almost completely snakelike, with only a few human features, such as arms. Abomination are high in the caste system, as they closely resemble the ideal form, and in the absence of an anathema they are leaders.   Yuan-ti Anathema - appear much like abominations and are almost completely snakelike, they are massive in size, with clawed hands and six heads where one should be.   Anathema are remarkably rare as they are created via a unique ritual which transforms an abomination into an anathema, increasing its size, power, and intellect. An anathema is viewed as a demigod by other yuan-ti and always assumes leadership over all yuan-ti in an area.


Much of the Society of the yuan-ti was scattered and damaged at the end of the Serpentine Age and the destruction of the Vrael Empire. The yuan-ti are driven to restore themselves as the apex creatures of Runetalras, where they rightfully believe they belong as the perfect race.   The yuan-ti’s society has a strict caste system which is structured like a pyramid; anathema reign at the top, followed by abominations, malisons, mortals, and slaves at the bottom.


Yuan-ti are not a natural race or species, instead they were created through arcane rituals which transform mortal races into the serpentine yuan-ti. The transformation to a yuan-ti is not an easy one, it is a painful one which results in death as often as the creation of a yuan-ti; additionally, when a person undergoes the transformation, the vast majority of the time, they lose their memories and personality. Because of this many that undergo the transformation do not do so of own will, instead they are individuals forced to undergo the transformation.


Yuan-ti society, and indeed many anathema, abominations, and malison, are deeply religious; this is because their deities directly intervened to provide them the arcane ability to become yuan-ti in the first place. They worship Dendar The Night Serpent and Fenra The Dawn Serpent, both are serpentine deities said to be of dubious morality.


The yuan-ti were first noted during the Age of the Titans, but it was in the aftermath of the fall of the Jour’ant that the High Empire of the Dragons. In the shadows the Vrael Empire gave itself over to the magics of Dendar The Night Serpent and Fenra The Dawn Serpent. Vrael launched expansionist wars against the rest of Runetalras fuel by their fell magic. This had the unintended consequences, chiefly the creation of a sense of comradeship among the elder races, and indeed united them against the Vrael. The conflict itself is believed to have lasted centuries with some sources claiming a millennium, and brought destruction to the homes of the elder race, but in the end the elder races brought ruin to Vrael and ushered in the dawn of the elder races.   Since the destruction of the Vrael Empire the yuan-ti have existed in the underbellies of other kingdoms and societies desperately seeking to regain their dominance.
Yuan-ti Mortal
Yuan-ti Malison
Yuan-ti Abomination
Yuan-ti Anathema

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