Ability Score Adjustments: None.
Favored Class: Rogue
- Lizardmen have a static model. Regardless of what is chosen during character generation, all Lizardmen have the same appearance.
The shaahesk, or lizard folk, are the evil creations of the god Aarilax, who created them as extensions of his own diabolical intentions. They exist in a harsh society of cold cruelty and exotic reptilian quirkiness that would shrivel the heart of most mammals, providing a tasty treat for the shaahesk in the process. In the society of the lizard folk, might makes right. Those who are strong succeed, and those who are weak wind up as slaves or food. This interaction sets up an ever-changing hierarchy of despots and dictators that vie for control of land, money, and slaves while enforcing their will on the lesser populace of their swampy holdings.
Shaahesk are cold-blooded creatures that do not seem to possess the warmer emotions of humanoids or other kinds of mammals. Their qualities are very basic: anger, fear, hunger, and greed. Complicated patterns of emotions are not seen in these psychologically primitive creatures, who are mainly driven by their desires for food, shelter, sleep, and achieving power. Feelings like comradery and friendship do not even extend to members of their own species, whom they see only as sources of tools for getting what they want. On the other hand, mistaking the shaahesk for being stupid creatures of habit is a fatal error. Members of this race can be extremely intelligent, cunning, and even wise, and when these qualities are combined with an uncomplicated emotional makeup, the results can be extraordinarily deadly.
Shaahesk are tall reptilian creatures with grinning mouths full of sharp teeth, and scales ranging in color from dark brown, even black, to forest green. The scales on their stomach and chest can be lighter than those on the rest of their bodies, and occasionally markings of varying colored scales can be found. These creatures can reach heights as tall as 7 feet, though they average 6 to 6 1/2 feet, and there are no known height differences between male and female. Shaahesk have reptilian eyes with slit pupils and yellow, red, or violet shades. Streaks of other colors are often visible in their eyes, and these specimens are said to be lucky.
Shaahesk to do not find it necessary to wear clothing, but they will sometimes decorate themselves with sashes or trinkets. Their tough hides will deflect most minor cuts, scrapes, and projectiles, but they will sometimes deem it a necessity to wear armor when going into a particularly tough battle.
Shaahesk have a very hierarchical society controlled by the strongest and most cunning members who can manage to stay on top of the pack. The actions of a given community are direct results of the wishes of its leader, and the numerous villages and groups are constantly at war with one another for control of larger pieces of power. As a species, the shaahesk view all other races as inferior and as food sources. Kobolds are given second-class citizenship in their societies because of the similarities they exhibit to the lizard folk, but troglodytes and sahuagin are only tolerated in places where the shaahesk are not powerful enough to displace them.
Races that attempt to make their homes near lands claimed by the shaahesk always meet with constant resistance. This is the case with the drangonari elves who battle with them to maintain control of their home city-state of Grantir. Even races that innocently wander into shaahesk territory will meet with problems immediately, and often these problems are fatal. Elves, dwarves, and humans are viewed as objects by the shaahesk, as opposed to being seen as other sentient races.
|"Shaahesk don't have weddings, marriages, or romance at all. They simply mate and leave. It's purely a lust/reproductive drive thing. That much is mentioned in their description, even. There's likely a tendency to want to mate with strong Shaahesk however. During reproduction is basically the only time what gender a Shaahesk is even comes up culturally...otherwise what gender you are simply never matters. Not even their names or clothing are based on gender." - Rhissaerk Jalesh|
More often than not, shaahesk are evil and selfish to the core. They have little or no respect for laws, but they do not randomly go about their business in any sort of destructive fashion, as a chaotically-aligned individual would do. Shaahesk tend towards neutral evil alignment, and will work with others to achieve a goal, so long as that goal suits them. Once their objectives are met, those that were allied with them are no longer considered necessary and will be dealt with as needed.
The lizard folk occupy their own conglomerate nation of Drotid on the southeastern portion of Negaria. It is a land of swamps, jungles, forests, and intricate underwater river systems and springs. Portions of this land are ruled by lords who have titles with unpronounceable names, but are roughly translated as "Boyar". The boyars answer to an overlord who is acknowledged as the most powerful individual in the country, with a title roughly translating to "Voivode". Boyars pledge loyalty to the Voivode to avoid being wiped out, but this loyalty only extends as far as necessary to keep the Boyars alive long enough to displace the other Boyars nearby in an effort to carve out their own large holdings and eventually replace the Voivode. Though there are few cities in Drotid because of the paucity of dry land, there is one settlement, which is the home of the Voivode that is larger than the rest and acts as a hub for the slave trade. Outsiders simply refer to it as "Drotid City" or "The Snake Pit" because they cannot pronounce the shaahesk name, which is SSsshhehaaheskiticliasss.
The lizard folk see Aarilax as being their most powerful overlord, and they all pay some sort of homage to him in the form of offerings and prayer. In their world of might makes right, they go to great lengths to ask that Aarilax does not wipe out his creation, and that he give them more chances to prove their worth to him.
Shaahesk speak their own language of hisses, creaks, and chirps. It is exceedingly difficult for non-reptilians to pronounce, and only a few can learn it. Some lizard folk can speak common, though they have difficulty and can only manage to communicate with a thick accent.
Shaahesk names are long, and contain hisses and chirps that are common in the shaahesk language. There is no distinction between first and last names, nor male and female names. Some have more than one name because they gained additional names through reputation from deeds accomplished in their lives. Clans and families do not play as big a role in shaahesk society as individuals do. Thus, there are no families that have better names than others, and group names have all but disappeared. When communicating with non-reptilian races, a shaahesk will often grudgingly give a shortened version of its name that the creature can pronounce.
Shaahesk will rarely venture outside their home territory without a group of soldiers as backup, however there are a lot of cases where shaahesk that are kept as slaves will escape and leave Drotid in search of a better life. Escaped slaves are seen as weakness on the part of the master, who will be likely to dispatch other shaahesk to retrieve them.
Midknight's ramblings on Shaahesk
Note that the following are my own and to an extent other player's extrapolations from the World Setting:
In general, keep in mind overall that the typical Shaahesk is ultimately, racially supremacist. All Shaahesk look down upon what they term "the warmbloods" - normally tending to lump them together in that single term.
Shaahesk, from the official info, are arranged into different tribal groups within Drotid, which actually gives you a lot of leeway in developing your own customs - I'm sure that each tribe would have somewhat divergent customs.
One unifying theme though is the Shaahesk opinion of death. Shaahesk philosophy applies a Darwinian theme of natural selection to all things, including their own lives. Thus, every life taken becomes a part of themselves. My own Shaahesk embodies this by ritually eating the heart of the worthiest foes he defeats. Alternately, some take trophies, such as a necklace of teeth, or other similar customs. It doesn't matter what form the ritual takes, so long as it is consistent. Other races, most particularly warmbloods, might see this as a desecration, but to the Shaahesk this is a proper and fitting display of respect.
Similarly, a Shaahesk warrior who falls in battle would rather have his corpse eaten or otherwise used (the hide for armor, or the teeth for darts, or the claws for a necklace, or so forth), as it represents the fact that their strength continues on, taken by another and is now a part of them, almost a form of reincarnation.
Note that while the Shaahesk are usually racist, they respect strength above all. The definition of 'strength' differs for each individual Shaahesk, but generally a strong will to live is a part of it.
Endeavour to give your Shaahesk his own personal uniqueness and depth of personality. Even with the upcoming dynamic models, most Shaahesk still look alike - make up for this with personality. Perhaps your Shaahesk is a more a sneaky, oily rogue. Perhaps he is a warrior who lives by an archaic code of honour. Even though Shaahesk are primarily evil characters, that doesn't mean they are all heartless Darth Vader type killers. Since Shaahesk are usually measured by a stereotype (being often found as an Avlis villain), a three dimensional PC shaahesk adds a lot of colour and leaves an impact.
At the same time, try to give your Shaahesk a measure of 'alien-ness' - they're coldblooded, both literally and metaphorically. They should be different in some way than an evil warmblood.
Shaahesk physiology is probably closest to that of a crocodile or alligator, for a real life analogy. Most players use hisses and accent their 's's to create a Shaahesk accent. Furthermore, if you need help thinking of a Shaahesk name, keep in mind that most of their jaw motion is vertical, with no lips. Try it yourself and see what kind of sounds you can make. (Thanks to Fuzz)
A slightly more radical idea is to try to trade entirely in gems or items other than gold - Shaahesk hands would seem a little clumsy for handling gold pieces. I don't really do as much of this myself anymore, as gold is just that much more convenient, but it can add some flavour. (Also thanks to Fuzz)
Finally, if you have another player you play somewhat regularly with and are both considering Shaahesk characters, consider a master and slave character instead. A traveling shaahesk and his slave is in some ways more realistic and immersive than two shaahesk traveling together. Have the shaahesk bring along his whip occassionally too... (Good slave races include kobolds, goblins, and gnolls - the other races tend to be either too strong to control or would raise a lot of uproar. A goblin slave attracts much less attention than a human one... but if you wanna go for it, it might be quite interesting.)