Thuria and Beyond
For stats, abilities etc. refer to “Yuan Ti” in Monster Manual 2, a good basis for the “Serpent Men” (Serpent Folk) imagined by Robert E. Howard.
One important variation vs. the MM2 description of this species concerns the matter of “purebloods”, “halfbreeds” and “abominiations”. In our campaign, this taxonomy is reversed thus:
- Purebloods (“abominations” in MM2) are examples of the untainted species created by Set
- Abominations ("purebloods in MM2) are the most human-like specimens
- Halfbreeds – as per MM2
Across all the variations that this species displays, they are collectively known by the name Children of Set as well as the more common description of Serpent Folk. The majority of Abominations, especially those who have dealings with human Stygians, are fluent speakers of modern Stygian as well as the language of their own species. Halfbreeds and purebloods are generally much less likely to be able to speak any human language.
Back story as follows:
Once very numerous, these creatures are of a species much older than the human race and most other existing sentient humanoid races. The progenitors of the species were created by Set. Thousands of years before the start of our campaign, the Serpent Folk were the dominant species across the lands where the realms of Stygia, Shem and Kush now lie. At the zenith of their power, the Serpent Folk were the masters of an empire that stretched from the shores of the Western Ocean, through lands now lost to the ongoing process of desertification that has created the Eastern and Kharamun Deserts, and as far east as the area now known as Anshan. Most of the cities built by the Serpent Folk were destroyed long ago. In many cases, even the ruins have long since been lost under the desert sands. In other cases, human cities have been built where Serpent Folk cities once stood – notable examples being Harakht, Kheshatta and Nippr.
The Serpent Folk race were almost wiped out in a series of barely remembered wars with human civilisation of ancient Stygia. The Stygians, at that time, were worshippers of a pantheon of gods including Mitra and Ishtar. But since the overthrow of the previous ruling dynasty by the ancestors of Kahmunrah around the year 1000 BT, the land of Stygia has been dominated by the Cult of Set. The establishment of the Settish religion in modern Stygia has led to a quiet resurgence in the fortunes of the once almost-extinct Serpent Folk. Unbeknownst to most common Stygian subjects, the Serpent Folk walk amongst them. Many high-ranking Settish priests (notably those whose faces are never fully revealed) are Serpent Folk Abominations, for example.