The Articulate Plane
Yuan-ti are a species of monstrous humanoid snake-men and are usually of an evil alignment. Yuan-ti have their own language (Dousa-Kli), and many can also speak Common, Draconic, and Abyssal. Priests and summoners are also known to speak Primordial to intelligent snakes. The yuan-ti are a playable race.
The goal of the yuan-ti, as dictated by their demonic serpent-god Zehir, is to bring about the ultimate destruction of the world. The yuan-ti, despite their love of chaos, have a fairly rigid caste system with slaves at the bottom, with purebloods as ambassadors, builders, artisans, and spies, halfbloods as guardians, warriors, and enforcers, and abominations as the mystics, philosophers, generals, judges, and leaders of a yuan-ti nest.
Yuan-ti society slightly favors males, as only males may be high priests. However, they are too intelligent to not utilize their females’ talents, and in non-priestly or reproductive roles females are permitted to do everything that males are. Female purebloods are particularly useful as seductresses in the human world.
Marriage is beginning to gain some acceptance in yuan-ti society, though it is still illegal and shocking among the Zevutir. Among the rest it is uncommon and somewhat distastful, and used mostly for diplomatic reasons or in a relationship with a non-yuan-ti (which is also frowned on).
Yuan-ti typically inhabit subterranean complexes, most often originally built by other races, as the lack of hands in so many of their kind makes building difficult. They may also adopt natural caves, or even build tunnels under the cities of other races. They fill their lairs with traps and with corridors too narrow for anyone but snakes to slither through.
Yuan-ti are usually both chaotic and non-good, though their caste system is fairly rigid and they cooperate well in their schemes. They are no strangers to long-term planning, either, but this only means their superior intelligence allows them to embrace chaos as an ultimate goal and foment chaos as a means to an end, without falling victim to the weaknesses of disorder. They feel no particular kinship with other chaotic or evil beings, and will be happy to see them destroyed along with everyone else. There are some of the yuan-ti that have forsaken the ways of their race and seek redemption for what their race has done, they call themselves Shulassakar.
Little is known about the history of the yuan-ti before the flash. Carvings suggest the existence of a creator race known as the sarrukh – beings also responsible for the naga and kobolds. Zehir has fallen into silence for unknown reasons. High priests have divined that he urgently wants the yuan-ti to do something, but they are unsure what it is.
The yuan-ti are born from fertilization. Females give birth 3-6 infants during childbirth. Killing a yuan-ti infant is considered sacrilege and is only punishable by death. The yuan-ti are careful in breeding one another for maximum fitness and intelligence, and to ensure that the various castes exist in their proper or better ratios.
Yuan-ti have a gestation period of about 60 months, with about 30% of their young dying of birth defects in infancy, while 50% stay normal like their parents, and 20% are born stronger. The yuan-ti are constantly evolving through mutations and as such some prevalent mutations in their race often cause their young to die on their own, while some allow the species to evolve and make new breeds. Their young are raised communally, separated from their parents.
A yuan-ti infant becomes physically mature at 20 years old. As the yuan-ti is aging, it sheds its skin 5-6 times a year and each time it sheds, the yuan-ti becomes more evolved and stronger. As consequence to this, a yuan-ti undergoes multiple growth spurts throughout their youth and with each shed gains extra shape shifting abilities such as the ability to grow wings. Each breed of Yuan-ti have different lifespans; purebloods can live about 6,000 years, halfbreeds 8,000 years, and abominations about 10,000 years.
A yuan-ti has a regenerative process for when they have severe wounds and can enter a hibernation mode that can heal damaged organs and regrow lost limbs. While they are awake they can heal cuts and bruises in mere seconds and stab and blunt wounds in minutes. They also have the adaptability to adapt to the environment for survival, such as being able to hold their breath for hours while in water or emit a poison at stronger predators that are trying to kill them.
The constant mutations of the yuan-ti have given rise to a host of different breeds. Here are the six best-known, from lowest to highest social status. A very small number of yuan-ti are able to change their form between breeds. This is considered exceptional and special.
Also known as brood guards, these are humans who have undergone the ritual of transformation but have been found unworthy, degenerating into hairless, near-mindless reptilian monsters. The yuan-ti employ these wretches as watchers over egg-broods and other demeaning tasks.
Also sometimes called Yin-Shu, are humans, half-orcs, or half-elves who have yuan-ti blood in their veins due to ancient, unsuccessful experiments. Other yuan-ti can sense them instinctively when nearby. Yuan-ti attempt to convince them to willingly embrace their inhuman heritage, transforming them into halfbloods or purebloods using the Black Broth or other foul potions.
Appear mostly human, with minor reptilian features, such as slitted eyes, a forked tongue, or patches of scales on their skin. They serve as diplomats and infiltrators, pretending to be human. Purebloods are the most likely to be able to switch between forms at will.
Also known as Malisons, humanoid in shape but have a wide variety of noticeable serpentine features, such as a snakelike tail in place of legs, a complete covering of scales, a hood like a cobra, a snake’s head, or snakes in place of arms. They serve as warriors and temple assistants.
Almost completely snakelike, with only a few human features, such as a humanoid head. They are the most venerated within the yuan-ti society, serving as clerics and in other roles of power.
By far the most powerful and loathsome of yuan-ti, anathemas are worshiped as divine incarnations of Zehir. They are truly bizarre in appearance, with a body like a 25-foot-long serpent; a pair of humanoid arms with clawed, three-fingered hands; and six serpentine heads rising from its shoulders. An anathema’s power dwarfs even that of an abomination, but since they represent such unfettered chaos, they are usually found away from yuan-ti cities, establishing cults that worship Merrshaulk through them. They make a common practice of grafting yuan-ti body parts onto humans and other races for use as personal servants. Anathemas are extremely rare, however, and only a handful are likely to currently exist.