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The yuan-ti, more generally known as serpentfolk, are a race with diverse snake attributes who are usually seen as corrupt and degenerate monsters by other races.

Description[]

Jamedi Cosko described the yuan-ti as people of scale and fang, or snake-folk. He discussed variations of their strange physical forms: some have heads that are full of serpent features, patches of scales, yellow eyes, as well as some with limbs themselves transformed into snake-like forms.[1]

Abilities[]

As a playable race, yuan-ti have the following abilities:

  • Ability Score Bonus: Yuan-ti usually get +2 Charisma and +1 Intelligence.[2]
  • Darkvision: They can see in dim light within 60 feet as if it were bright light and in darkness as if it were dim light, but they can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.[2]
  • Serpentine Spellcasting: All yuan-ti know the Poison Spray cantrip, and can cast Animal Friendship at will when the targets are snakes. If they reach 3rd level, they also acquire the ability to cast Suggestion. They can cast Suggestion once per day without using spell slots, and their usual spellcasting ability is Charisma.[2]
  • Magic Resistance: They are not easily affected by spells that require saving throws;[3] sometimes they also resist magical effects of the same nature.[2]
  • Poison Resilience or Immunity: Some yuan-ti are resistant to poison and it's easier for them to resist its effects.[4] Others are completely immune to both the poison and its damaging effects.[2]

As non-playable characters they also gain access to different abilities that can vary (or accumulate) depending on the type of yuan-ti; such abilities include a greater number of spells, the power to transform into a snake (they can constrict their victims in this form, or in their natural form if they have a tail), and in the case of those yuan-ti with more serpentine jaws they can attack with bites. A more serpentine body also allows them to swim better.[5]

History[]

The yuan-ti are said to have been created at some point before the Calamity by Zehir, the Cloaked Serpent.[6] While this may have been true in some cases, in others Zehir had more indirect responsibility for their creation, or wasn't present at all. It is said that during the Age of Arcanum the mages of a floating city (whose name has been forgotten) went to the K'Tawl Swamp and experimented with their magic and the local fauna: some of them ended up transforming into reptile-like beings, becoming the first lizardfolk, and some of them adopted the traits of serpents.[7] Visa Isle, on the other hand, had an empire of serpent worshipers that eventually began to look for methods, however grotesque, to adopt appearances similar to that of the god Zehir (some said they might be connected or influenced in their transformation by those of the K'Tawl Swamp).[7] They were successful on different levels, creating a society that valued those with more serpentine traits more.[8]

The Calamity was extremely hard on the yuan-ti, as many died in its battles, like the one that would create the Lushgut Forest, in which the Wildmother's scream birthed the woodland so violently that it crushed and consumed the serpentfolk of Zehir; others, more farsighted, managed to enter a state of stasis and isolate themselves from the conflict while it lasted, and the vast majority are still asleep; the remaining yuan-ti live in out-of-the-way places,[9][10][11] and some are hunted by the ruthless followers of the Spider Queen and the Crawling King.[6]

As of 836 PD the existence of the yuan-ti is not public knowledge, and for some they have been extinct for centuries. Others (such as explorers and adventurers) are aware of their presence, and suspect that the Cloaked Serpent wishes their children to attack the rest of Exandria and take it over.[6][12]

Society[]

In general, the serpentfolk who worship Zehir do so not out of devotion, but out of interest, and for some of them, their main ambition is to become equal or superior to their serpent deity. Only those yuan-ti of Urukayxl and Mordant Isle seem to be genuine devotees of the Cloaked Serpent.[10][11]

Aggrad Mountains[]

In the Aggrad Mountains of Marquet there was a cavern-like sanctuary, the Vault of Shumas, that belonged to an ancient civilization from the beginning of the Age of Arcanum until the cult of Zehir attacked them, taking control of the place and locking it off just before the Calamity.[13] The temple itself contained a treasure of Tiamat, the Wreath of the Prism, and according to the Caregiver, an undead guardian of the sanctuary, the "Cloaked Serpent's children" there were sleeping until their epoch arrived.[14] Between 809 and 810 PD the place had, indeed, yuan-ti inside it, and some of them were awakened to defend the temple when Arkhan the Cruel and a group of adventurers arrived looking for treasure;[15] however, it is unknown how many of those serpentfolk remain asleep inside.

Urukaxyl[]

Yuan-ti Abomination

Fan art of the yuan-ti abomination in the Temple of the False Serpent, by BlackSalander.[art 2]

A yuan-ti clan dedicated to the dark god Zehir, the Cloaked Serpent, inhabited Urukayxl and regularly fought the lizardfolk there for control of the territory.[16][9]

On Urukaxyl, the yuan-ti have built a village around the Temple of the False Serpent,[17] which was a temple to Uk'otoa until Zehir commanded his servants to seize the temple and use it as a seal to prevent Uk'otoa's return from banishment. The yuan-ti there dress in simple attire suitable for the jungle environment and shun hoods so both members of their society and trespassers are easily identifiable.[18]

Lushgut Forest[]

Deep in the Lushgut Forest on the Menagerie Coast is a hidden society of yuan-ti who worship Melora rather than Zehir, but their lives are cut short by a curse that may be related to a nearby sunken temple.[9]

Mordant Isle[]

Winged yuan-ti of Sariss by Micaerys

Fan art of winged serpentfolk of Sariss, by Micaerys.[art 3]

Off the coast of the Tooth of Zehir is the Mordant Isle. On the island, the ruins of Sariss, the Jade City, are home to a colony of winged yuan-ti who call themselves the Chosen of Zehir, worshiping him against any warm-blooded creature, and plotting a terrible doom for the denizens of the Miskath Strand.[11]

Visa Isle[]

Vos'sykriss Ruins - Biagio D'Alessandro

Official art of the ruins of Vos'sykriss, by Biagio D'Alessandro from Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 97.[art 4]

For many centuries the serpentfolk of Visa Isle have been in stasis, with only some serpentine spirits guarding the Ruins of Vos'sykriss, resentful and with a desire to take revenge on those who destroyed their glorious empire. However, between 810 and 812 PD an expedition led by Professor Jorlund Vohr of the Alabaster Lyceum ventured into the ruins, and accidentally ended the slumber of the dormant serpentfolk in their deepest sanctum.[19] More than two decades later the aging professor (whose notes were destroyed during the attack of the Chroma Conclave to Emon) is still creating proposals and trying to get funding for a new expedition to Visa Isle,[19][12] while on that same island undead and living serpentfolk plot to revive their lost empire and claim the world for themselves.[12][8]

Trivia[]

  • According to Matthew Mercer, different types of yuan-ti can vary in their appearance (to a certain degree) without being considered a complete different type. Examples of this are purebloods that are very similar to their malison cousins (having snake heads) but still being considered humanoids instead of monstrosities.[20]
  • Off the western coast of Tal'Dorei is Visa Isle, where the elite of a "serpentfolk" empire have kept themselves in stasis since before the Calamity. They are not explicitly called yuan-ti, but both the serpentfolk and their ghost equivalents look like the more serpentine-bodied types of yuan-ti,[19] and their statblocks show similar magical abilities to those of a yuan-ti.[5]
  • Despite the distance that separates the surviving serpentfolk, they have adopted similar cultural customs and methods of survival.
    • Both the yuan-ti of the Aggrad Mountains and the survivors of the Vos'sykriss Empire used magical stasis to isolate themselves waiting for a better time to return, being protected in the meantime by undead allies.[21][8]
    • Both the serpentfolk of Visa Isle and Urukayxl avoided using hoods so they could easily recognize other people and identify outsiders immediately.[8][22]

References[]

  1. See "Welcome to the Jungle" (2x38) at 43:19.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 See D&D: Volo's Guide to Monsters, 5th ed., p. 120.
  3. Wizards of the Coast, Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse, p. 36.
  4. Wizards of the Coast, Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse, p. 36.
  5. 5.0 5.1 See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, p. 258.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 29.
  7. 7.0 7.1 See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, p. 222.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, p. 257.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 67.
  10. 10.0 10.1 See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 77.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 158.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, p. 145.
  13. See "CelebriD&D with Joe Manganiello" at 1:24 and at 15:08.
  14. See "CelebriD&D with Joe Manganiello" at 49:56.
  15. See "CelebriD&D with Joe Manganiello" at 27:33.
  16. See "Welcome to the Jungle" (2x38) at 57:22.
  17. See "Welcome to the Jungle" (2x38) at 43:19.
  18. See "Welcome to the Jungle" (2x38) at 2:25:46.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 97.
  20. https://www.reddit.com/r/criticalrole/comments/9p0c9n/comment/e7z7sfo/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3
  21. See "CelebriD&D with Joe Manganiello" at 49:56.
  22. See "Welcome to the Jungle" (2x38) at 2:25:46.

Art:

  1. Official art of a Vos'sykriss serpentfolk with a spirit companion, by Nguyen Minh Hieu from Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, p. 257. Used with permission.
  2. Fan art of the yuan-ti abomination in the Temple of the False Serpent, by BlackSalander (source). Used with permission.
  3. Fan art of winged serpentfolk of Sariss, by Micaerys. Work contributed to the Critical Role Wiki by the artist.
  4. Official art of the ruins of Vos'sykriss, by Biagio D'Alessandro from Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 97. This file is a copyrighted work. Its use in this article is asserted to qualify as fair use of the material under United States copyright law.
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