Saurtaras, also known as lizardfolk and dragonkin, are scaled humanoids with various reptilian features, most prominently a tail, claws and a snout but otherwise very varied. The only males of their race, the errant caste, have a strong instinctual drive to wander and roam the world, typically to prove themselves worthy mates to a Matriarch. Like all saurtara, they were gifted with a strong will by Murrthir while the Matriarchs tend to instil within them a natural adaptability, although some instead breed more specialised or exotic variations of errant.
Anatomy & Morphology
Due to their unique biology saurtara are an incredibly varied race, with even saurtara of the same caste in the same colony sometimes looking drastically different depending on the whims of their Matriarch. At their most basic, they are (mostly) bipedal, reptilian humanoids with snouts, scaly skin and a tail but they can display a wide variety of other reptillian features such as claws or horns. They are also physically the largest of the core races (with a few exceptions).
Genetics and Reproduction
Saurtara reproduction is nothing short of bizzare, in part due to their whole society effectively reflecting something like an ant colony, but mostly because so much of their reproduction is bound up in the whims of their Matriarchs. First of all, there are only two fertile castes of saurtara: the female Matriarchs who rule their race and the male errants who roam the world visiting other colonies. Every other caste is often technically considered female, however they're not just infertile but outright lack reproductive organs and consequently don't have any sort of reproductive drive. Matriarchs are shapeshifters, not just of their own body, but with an innate ability to pick and choose the various traits of their potential children by mixing and matching it with the any traits that they have inherited - either from their own parents or from a mate. This is not something they can do quickly, as a Matriarch does so slowly during the course of their entire pregnancy (see below) and they can't really change their mind at the last minute unless the change is relatively minor. Despite how much control and power a Matriarch has and despite being skilled shapeshifters, they need a mate in order to give birth to true saurtara, however they can give birth to so-called "lesser" or "feral" saurtara, which are effectively animalistic beasts of burden and not really considered "true" sauratara even by their Matriarch mothers. Matriarchs do this by magically inducing pregnancy within themselves without having mated, making them their only parent, which typically takes half as long as a 'true' pregnancy. Matriarch pregnancies don't really effect them all that much in the first trimester (roughly six months) except for a greatly increased appetite, with them barely noticing or showing their pregnancy in that time, however this quickly accelerates and begins with them being locked into their draconic forms from their second trimester on as their young rapidly grow during the remainder of the pregnancy (and need that space to do so). This 'clutch' can be anything from a dozen to a little over a hundred saurtara, depending on the Matriarch's size, with each individual saurtara having been tailored to one degree or another by their mother, even if only to assign their castes. During the third trimester (the last two months) Matriarchs become incredibly withdrawn, effectively vanishing from public life, and typically spend the remainder of their pregnancy in a trance-like meditative state almost akin to hibernation, although they can still be conversed with (not that many would reccomend disturbing a Matriarch at this stage). At the end of their pregnancy Matriarchs lay their clutch of eggs, with a typical clutch being 20% errant, 20% soldier, 40% drone, 20% worker and, at most, one Matriarch regardless of the clutch's size (although most clutches don't have a Matriarch).
Growth Rate & Stages
Saurtara typically spend somewhere between two to three months as eggs before hatching, but at this point they are more like toddlers than newborns, quickly picking up languages and starting to at least crawl about, if not (more or less) walk. With the exception of Matriarchs, all saurtara reach adulthood very quickly after this point in the mid-lower teens (typically considered around about fourteen). Matriarchs grow more akin the young alfurs, with their 'teenage' years effectively lasting several decades. Although they are typically considered adults (and are technically capable of mating) at around the half century mark, it's not until they're about a century old that a Matriarch is really treated like one by their peers, with the intervening decades being dedicated to their education.
Ecology and Habitats
Saurtara are found all over Triumve.
Dietary Needs and Habits
Saurtara don't have any special dietary needs or habits, although some colonies are more specialised than others.
Saurtara society is highly stratified and structured, often being referred to as something akin to an ant colony. Their absolute rulers are the Matriarchs, with each colony (a term something akin to 'tribe' which typically refers to a family of related Matriarchs and their children) having at least one Matriarch, with more Matriarchs being born as the colony expands. Matriarchs are generally organisers, planners and diplomats, with other saurtara castes fulfilling more specialised roles that otherwise might be considered prestigious roles (such as a general). In more human terms, Matriarchs are something of a ruling council for a colony who manage and organise the other saurtara, assigning them to certain jobs and roles just like a king or queen might. They are also typically the judges and sometimes even the jurys of saurtara law, although this is something that has started to shift of late with many of the younger matriarchs shifting their focus away from such 'micro-management'. This dominance simply 'is' as far as most saurtara are concerned, with very few ever seeming to find the status quo in any way unfair or bad. Of all the castes, errants are the only ones who are widely known to occasionally buck this trend, although even that is uncommon. Saurtara society is generally focussed on the needs of the many over the needs of the few, with civic duty if not pride being paramount to most of them as they seek to bring greater and greater prosperity to their colony (and therefore, their family).
Perception and Sensory Capabilities
While some castes or individual saurtara might display different senses, for the most part they share only a heightened senses of smell.
Civilization and Culture
Saurtara names, like the saurtara language, favour hissing sounds (s's and z's) and are usually descriptive - describing either their physical features or traits that their Matriarch mother or colony as a whole considers desirable. Unlike most of the other races, saurtara do not have family names, with the closest being their use of their caste and home colony to identify themselves, however saurtara that spend a lot of time away from colonies (such as errants) often adopt a moniker which they use instead of a family name. These names are usually translated into whatever language they are speaking (where their first names are not), but more prideful Saurtara have been known to refuse to translate them.
Saurtara courtship is generally focussed on an errant impressing a Matriarch, although exactly how they go about doing this varies greatly from errant to errant and Matriarch to Matriarch. It's important to note that to many, if not most errants, the 'who' isn't all that important, whereas most Matriarchs are incredibly picky and exacting in their standards (physical or otherwise).
Saurtara don't typically have relationships in the same way as most races, witb the closest such concept they have effectively being an errant visiting (or rarer still, staying with) the same colony/Matriarch over an extended period of time. Even this isn't the same as marriage though, and saurtara generally don't see the point of marriage (although that isn't to say that they try to stop others doing it), as they would rather get a wide variety of traits than only a handful.