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Serpentfolk

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Serpentfolk
A red serpentfolk.
(Creature)
Type Monstrous humanoid
CR 4
Environment Any land (usually jungles
or underground)
Alignment
Adjective Serpentfolk
Images of serpentfolk

Source: Bestiary 2, pg(s). 242

The serpentfolk[1] are an ancient warm-blooded race of snake-headed reptilian humanoids who once controlled the vast Ydersius empire in the time before the Age of Darkness. Their empire was defeated by the Azlanti, but the serpentfolk evaded total extermination by retreating into the Darklands. Most contemporary serpentfolk are classed as degenerate serpentfolk: bestial creatures prowling the underground ruins of their ancient cities. However, a few true serpentfolk remain, called purecaste serpentfolk or advanced serpentfolk.[2] These highly intelligent specimens lay plans for their people's return to arcane supremacy, and the triumph of their rejuvenated civilization.[3]

Appearance

Serpentfolk are sinuous humanoid creatures with the heads and tails of snakes and wickedly taloned hands and feet. Their bodies are covered in fine, serpentine scales. They are approximately human-sized in height, but usually weigh only 120 pounds, while degenerate serpentfolk are shorter and heavier.[3]

History

The unholy symbol of Ydersius, god of serpentfolk

The serpentfolk are among the oldest of all sentient creatures native to Golarion. In the Age of Serpents before Earthfall, their mighty empires spanned across continents, onto neighboring planetoids, and even into the Great Beyond.[4] They are said to have ruled portions of the now destroyed continent of Azlant, as well as most of northern Garund and parts of Avistan. Serpentfolk subjugated any "lesser" race they encountered, and serpentfolk ruins depict cave-dwelling humans used as cattle or beasts of burden.[5] Most monuments to their greatness have crumbled away in the past 10,000 years. Only their unusually smooth obelisks, built by their many slave races, can still be found from northern Avistan to southern-most Sarusan.[4]

Records from a time so distant are extremely rare and fragmented, but it is generally believed that by the time the first Azlanti cities were raised, serpentfolk culture was already in decline. As Azlanti power grew, the humans found themselves increasingly at odds with the fading Ydersius empire; this often led to war.[4] The serpentfolk civilization was eventually destroyed in a war with the growing Azlanti empire. The serpentfolk retreated deep underground into the Darklands, but the relentless Azlanti found them even there. In a final battle, the serpent god Ydersius was decapitated by Savith, an Azlanti hero.[6] The destruction of Azlant caused by the Earthfall saved the remaining serpentfolk from complete elimination. The leaders decided to enter a state of magical hibernation, waiting for a day when they could retake their lost empire. They seem only now to be beginning to awaken.[7] Most serpentfolk cities on the surface have crumbled away, but some underground have retained elements of their magically-enhanced architecture.[3]

Habitat and ecology

The serpentfolk currently reside in their remaining cities in Sekamina, although most have degenerated into unintelligent barbarians over the centuries. Those few purecaste serpentfolk who have retained the intelligence and magical aptitude of their ancestors reside near the old capital of Sverenagati.[3] Serpentfolk give birth to broods of a dozen live young, who are then sheltered and protected until they become adults at age 50. Degenerate serpentfolk have lost their magical abilities and facility with magic items, but are stronger, more venomous, and physically tougher.[3]

Culture

Serpentfolk culture is divided between the degenerate barbarians that make up the majority of the population, and the few individuals who have only recently begun to wake up from their magical sleep with their intellects and powers still intact. The classical serpentfolk culture was a magocracy that spanned nations who used their powers of domination and disguise to infiltrate and rule.[3] Despite the apparent demise of their civilization, the language of the serpentfolk, Aklo, is still spoken in isolated pockets throughout the Darklands by various groups.[8] Serpentfolk also commonly speak Necril, Undercommon, and Azlanti.[3]

Abilities

Degenerate serpentfolk have greater strength and tougher scales than their forebears, although both retain the ability to deliver a poisonous bite. The advanced members are almost always arcanists of some stripe, with the majority trained as wizards. They have a high resistance to spells and other forms of magic, and possess natural, spell-like abilities. As they grow in power, they gain the ability to create complex illusions and to dominate others.[3]

References

Paizo Inc. published a major section about serpentfolk in Monster Codex.