The Lizardfolk of Aerk
The Lizardfolk of Aerk are at once a populous race, and at the same time a rarely seen people in the world. Their unrecorded empires stood thousands of years before the humans came to rule most of the world; and their history goes back to a time when humans were little more than a bestial people living as small clans on another world. Some say the Lizardfolk are the degenerate remains of the mighty Ssaalzek; a mighty race of reptilian sorcerers who once struggled to dominate the world but finally became vassals to the might of the Aerkay. Many scholars have found proof, however, that the Lizardfolk are actually a remnant of the servitor caste of the Ssaalzek that simply survived the fall of their masters who have vanished.
If indeed the Lizardfolk are the remains of a servitor race, they have become their own masters in the current age of Aerk; at least in their own jungles and swamps in the Dragon Archipelago and coast of Ghanam wherein the Seaholds of Rhem and Dark Jungles lie. In these lands can be found the remains of ancient cities older even than the oldest yet found in the realms of humans. In fact, on the south-east coast of Ghanam can be found the oldest known city, besides ancient and fell Sorcere, in the world: Zezek, the capital of Djom. Zezek is home to High Djoman who rule over Lizardfolk and humans alike and are said to worship foul and ancient gods who take living sacrifice. The savage Lizardfolk legions and human cavalry of Djom have never allowed their city to be conquered and are greatly feared.
This city is unique however, for most tribes of Lizardfolk are violent beyond reason when guarding the borders of their land; and will die by the score defending any ancient city which is in their land. Within the Dragon Archipelago rest many of these cities, confirmed by adventurers to be the ancient cities of the Ssaalzek. These Lizardfolk are just as violent to other tribes as they are to interloper humans, and seemingly constant wars are fought for territory among the savage tribes here. In other lands, there are known “colonies” of Lizardfolk left from ages past. These groups are usually extremely reclusive and will as often flee from conflict as seek it; although they have little problem dining on hapless lone travelers. These groups remain hidden most often, unless they inhabit large swampy deltas where they can raid and withdraw; although some colonies have been found in wet forests as far south as the Fhey Empire.
Little is known of Lizardfolk families. It is believed the concept is totally alien to them because communal egg chambers have been found that contained the eggs of all females; and the young in these dens seemed to have no individual parent, but instead seemed to be a scavenger or at best a poorly treated beggar. Many also suspect that the strongest male fertilizes the eggs and other males caught doing so are used as dinner by the rest of the clan.
Personality: Lizardfolk are as alien to other races as any creature in the world. Most say little or nothing and are more prone to act instead of ponder. They are aggressive in defending themselves and adopted “clan-members” but will rarely initiate hostility intentionally. The few Lizardfolk seen interacting with other races do so in a direct manner with little or no subtlety; unless they are in the wild when they seem to be extremely cunning. The Lizardfolk of Zezek are very ordered and civilized compared to their wilder kin; but even here they have been known to savagely attack humans and others who offend them.
Physical Description: Lizardfolk vary greatly in their coloration; but their over all physical appearance seems identical the world over. Lizardfolk males average six and a half feet in height, weighing on average 220 pounds; and have a thick finned crest upon their heads just behind their forehead that goes the length of their back and tail as well; while females have only a very minor crest and weigh slightly less at 200 pounds at the same height as a male. Black eyes are universal among Lizardfolk males, while females will sometimes manifest deep emerald eyes. All Lizardfolk have only very slight scales that can hardly be noticed unless a viewer is next to the individual. Their taloned hands and feet are pale weapons when compared to their massive jaws which can deliver death in a single bite to a healthy Man-at-Arms. Lizardfolk warriors will wear leather jerkins made of animals they have slain while rarely using a shield at all. They instead prefer the use of war clubs in melee while using javelins for ranged attacks. Some few Lizardfolk in civilized lands, such as Djom, may even be found to wear mail shirt with steel cap while wielding a poll axe in melee and hunting bow for ranged combat.
Relations: Lizardfolk of the Dragon Archipelago have nothing but hatred of other races; and others loath them equally because they guard ancient and glorious treasures and are good at their chosen work. The Lizardfolk of swampy Zezek do not travel far from their home city and the sparse swampy jungles and wetlands around it; but they treat fairly well with visitors. Lizardfolk in other lands usually choose isolation; but sometimes will converse with Druids who have proven their sincerity to the chief of the tribe. For unknown reasons, Lizardfolk seem to manifest a latent distrust, or even outright fear, of spell casters in general and wizards in particular; unless it is proven that the caster is a Druid.
Alignment: Lizardfolk are perhaps the most “neutral” seeming race in Aerk. They rarely have laws among their clans, with an Alpha Male seemingly being the law at his whim; but these males rarely interfere at all with their clan followers except to lead them in hunting or war. Individual Lizardfolk don’t seem interested enough in the concept of good or evil either; they simply see life as survival, doing what is needed to survive. For these reasons, the race and individuals both are more likely to adhere to Neutrality.
Lizardfolk Lands: Various Lizardfolk tribes rule large areas of land upon the islands of the Dragon Archipelago; but these can barely be called nations. In truth, the only true nation ruled with Lizardfolk as a primary force within it is the land of Djom. The tribes of the Dragon Archipelago are simply being territorial, and their “Kings” are simply the most savage warrior among them. In other lands, the Lizardfolk colonies don’t amount to anything beyond the scope of a small village at best.
Language: Lizardfolk speak an ancient language perhaps given them by the Ssaalzek. It is very simple, but consists of sounds other races find hard to pronounce; although the Aerkay can speak it fluently due to the complex nature of their own language. Most who learn the language are Druids, as few others have the pleasure of finding non-hostile Lizardfolk to teach them unless they go to the land of Djom.
Names: Lizardfolk names are simple names that have a tendency to even be words of objects; such as wood, creek, leaf, or tooth. More powerful individual Lizardfolk will have two part names such as: Strongwood, Icycreek, Skyleaf, or Sharptooth. All these names are of course in their own language and sound somewhat intimidating to races that do not know their language. The rare individual that lives among other races will often adopt names that others find easier to pronounce.
Religion: Lizardfolk of the Dragon Archipelago revere crudely formed statues of dragons. Their priests are in fact Druids, but a savage and bloody group of Druids. Living dragons can land within a Lizardfolk village and eat as many villagers as it likes and the others will continue to prostrate themselves before the hungry beast; but few dragons would do such a thing when the Lizardfolk are such great servants and guardians of their lairs. Living captives taken by Lizardfolk are always offered as sacrifice to their draconic masters. The Lizardfolk of Djom revere the High Djoman as demi-gods that speak for the true gods of the Black Citadel; and obey their every word as divine law.
The Lizardfolk within the White Kingdom
(As told by the Lore-Master of the White King)
Very few clans of Lizardfolk live within the Kingdom of Mahn; those that do are remnants of ancient armies which once marched here against the enemies of Aerkay Masters and their Ssaalzek vassals. Only in the northern parts of the Kingdom along the coasts are they ever seen with any regularity; and even then only fleeting glimpses within the Duchy of Birkland or Principality of Chestelaine along the River Alder within its many adjacent bogs and fens. These clans are not usually hostile, and some will even trade with anyone accompanied by a trusted Druid.
The Duke of Birkland has in fact in the past been known to secure the aid of some few Lizardfolk for use in fighting against dangerous creatures in his lands in return for promises of food in hard times as well as his people not entering Lizardfolk territory. Because of this agreement, some few (perhaps a half dozen) Lizardfolk males have wandered out of the swamps and into human lands in the company of human Druids.
The White King has not yet tried to demand vassalage of the Lizardfolk because the Druids have said they would not understand this. They have lived totally independent for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years and would die out if they thought they were conquered. Instead, with the support of the Council of the Learned, he has began working on Reservations for the known clans to preserve their people; but he has said eventually they will have to come to understand that the lands they live upon belong to the Kingdom even if they live there freely.
This effort has been greatly aided by the fact that nearly all shamans of the various Lizardfolk clans within the kingdom are in truth Druids who follow the teachings of the Great Druid of Drudach, the King’s Druidic Advisor. In fact, because of this, Lizardfolk Druids are not unknown in certain villages near their clan homes; and some of them wander far within the North Marches and some places within the Kingdom. The King hopes that some day, Lizardfolk warriors can be enlisted in his naval forces to help in protecting the coasts of the Kingdom from Sea Hags, Corsairs, Wolf Raiders and other creatures that raid our shores.
The sad fact is, however, that many unworthy souls hunt the Lizardfolk for supposed ingredients to potions and other bumpkin ideas. As a result, many Lizardfolk chiefs do not trust humans unless they have proven their value as friends to the clan. There are still today instances where human hunters have actually become prey for hungry Lizardfolk clans, and then a Baron will send his forces to hunt them and slay them. A very long time ago, several Lizardfolk clans actually joined to destroy an army belonging to the great-grandfather of the current Duke of Birkland. Several hundred Lizardfolk were seen in that battle.
There is one special Lizardfolk warrior worthy of mention however. Longtalon is his name, and he is the messenger of the Great Druid of Drudach. This barbarian warrior is also a druid of some small ability and is known to swim the rivers and coasts of the kingdom doing the bidding of the Great Druid. His master has equipped him with a veritable arsenal of protective magical devices, and his ability with his magical trident is second to none. Within the Court of the King he is accorded the station of a Knight and is treated thus by all with any wisdom. Longtalon knows his station and often will come to the aid of those he sees in trouble; so long as it would not interfere with his duties to his master.
The racial abilities of Lizardfolk are: