Threads of Invasion
The yuan-ti are a species of ssethrics, or snakemen. They are also known as ssanu. The species comprises a number of castes. It is said by some that yuan-ti are descended from evil human cultists who mixed their bloodlines with those of serpents. Some are believed to have formidable psychic abilities.
The yuan-ti come in several distinct castes or breeds. The three most prevalent are as follows:
- Purebloods 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.
- Halfbloods are 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. Halfbloods serve as warriors and temple assistants.
- Abominations are almost completely snakelike, with only a few human features, such as arms or a humanoid head. They are the most venerated within the yuan-ti society, serving as clerics and in other roles of power.
In addition to the three main breeds, other breeds have been described as well:
- Tainted ones are human agents of the yuan-ti who have willingly undergone a ritual of transformation to make themselves yuan-ti, gaining a venomous bite and slight psionic ability. They retain their human appearance but often develop reptilian mannerisms, such as frequently licking their lips or drawing out sibilant sounds as they speak.
- Broodguards, also known as histachii, 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.
- Holy guardians are a rare breed specifically bred as temple guards; they are also sent on missions to obtain needed goods for abomination priests. Holy guardians are naturally servile and follow their superiors without question. They uniformly have a serpentile tail in place of legs and a snakelike head.
- Mageslayers, another rare type of yuan-ti, are bred for the special purpose of battling or hunting down human magic-users, and most of their abilities are magical rather than psionic. Mageslayers have a humanlike head but a snakelike tail instead of legs.
- Anathemas are by far the most powerful and loathsome of yuan-ti, worshiped as divine incarnations of the Mockery. They are truly bizarre in appearance, with a body made of hundreds of snakes entwined together to hold up a gargantuan snake head. 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 the Mockery 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 exist on any world.
- Ignans are another rare subspecies of yuan-ti that dwell in hotter climes of the world, including in volcanoes and on Fernia, the plane of fire. Ignas are similar to yuan-ti halfbloods, except they are slightly more powerful due to some of the fire spells they wield.
- Wretchlings are pathetic creatures created out of humans and used as guards and expendable shock troops by the yuan-ti. They are unintelligent and wander throughout the jungles of Xen’drik. Wretchlings have no memory of their former human lives and have a savage desire to kill, though they lack the intellect for complex strategies unless carefully instructed by their masters. Wretchlings look like scaly humans with fangs, reptilian eyes and patchy hair.
The goal of the yuan-ti, as dictated by their god the Mockery, is to bring about the ultimate destruction of the world. In addition, there are other factions of yuan-ti with different goals.
Yuan-ti in Khorvaire
Yuan-ti in Xen’drik
The yuan-ti have many forest and underground bases in Xen’drik, since it is their main power base on Eberron. The yuan-ti of Xen’drik create wretchlings, ssvaklors and magebred vipers to guard their strongholds on that continent.
Yuan-ti in Argonnessen
After fleeing from the Inspired in Sarlona, many yuan-ti settled in Argonnessen, with the approval of some dragons. It was this union that gave rise to the ssvaklors. After a while, the yuan-ti were banished to Xen’drik, where they became evil and corrupt.
Yuan-ti in Sarlona
The yuan-ti native to Sarlona fled before the Inspired, sailing to the other three continents. Whether or not there are still yuan-ti in Sarlona is unknown.
Notable yuan-ti in Eberron
The shulassakar transcendent paladin Sesstaria wanders Xen’drik, seeking out and killing yuan-ti, considering it her holy mission.