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 Jungle Serpents
Silenced in their motions by the rustling of leaves and branches in the breeze, the Vaenar is the undisputed ruler of the jungle, from the high canopies to the forest floor. Sleek of frame, long of claw and tooth, and keen of eye, these arboreal hunters are the terror of all those who traverse their territory uninvited.
Personality: There can be little doubt that the Vaenar are narrow-minded. They are more cunning and devious than the Kaelaen, this much is true, but their desires are usually very simple. Acquire pleasure. Unlike the stalwart Kaelaen, the Vaenar have more finely tuned capabilities of avarice and lust. They are more territorial, and more solitary than Kaelaen. In addition, they have absolutely no problem lying through their teeth when it suits them. Who would there be to punish them, so long as they succeeded?
Physical Description: An Adult Vaenar stands from six to just over seven feet in height, and weigh between 240 and 300 pounds, with very little noticeable difference (aside from the breasts and some scant facial features) between males and females in terms of build. Unlike the Kaelaen and Uqur, instead of growing tall and broad, most Vaenar grow far more in the tail. On average, regardless of height, the tail tends to maintain a fairly constant length from base to tip of 1-¾ to 2 times the length of the body. (For example, a Vaenar 6’10” tall would more than likely have a twelve-or-so foot long tail) One of the two most notable features of the Vaenar, the tail is prehensile, and grants a number of interesting abilities. The other notable feature is a very specialized evolution of their race, a pair of retractile fangs that are normally hidden in the hard palate of the mouth. While not naturally poisonous, the bite of a Vaenar as very septic, and with time and proper immunization, toxins can be applied to the fangs before a lunge. As far as the patterns of their hides are concerned, they are usually either brachiated (broken) or reticulated (interrupted) similar to most species of arboreal snakes. They range from blacks to greens, though certain individuals sport brighter colors meant to mimic large poisonous reptiles.
Relations: Vaenar tend to be bullies, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t recognize the benefits of an alliance. Whether it be the security, if scant payment, of a Kaelaen outpost, the offerings of a Jherron tribe, or the nervous pampering of a Rukaiin town, the Vaenar are after the luxuries of life whenever they can get them. Furthermore, they are not beyond the carnal urges of finding something to slake their lust. Unlike the Kaelaen, they see any sentient being as a potential bedmate. They aren’t terribly worried about having children until they reach Mature Adulthood, but by that time they’ve usually sampled at least what a Kaelaen partner has to offer. It should be noted that while a Vaenar may be amicable to just about anyone, this only lasts as long as they’re getting what they want.
Alignment: Vaenar lack any form of codified structure, and they typically do as they please. Furthermore, their egocentric and egotistical nature causes them to err on the side of selfishness in the extreme. Chaotic Evil and Chaotic Neutral are very common alignments for Vaenar.
Vaenar Lands: Vaenar are natives of just about any large tropical or temperate rain-forests. There are sparse collections of Vaenar in the Urro Derro, and the Half-Moon Jungle of Rukaea, as well as most of the continent of Jherreshnaln, where they have actually constructed their only city (of less than a thousand souls). However, a Vaenar can be found almost anywhere that there is opportunity.
Religion: Vaenar, during their long periods of ill-gotten rest in the luxury of other races, gives them time to think about the questions arising about life after death. Being introspective in nature, Vaenar are very hopeful that their accrual of wealth and actions in life will bring them a step or two closer to some form of everlasting luxury. All Vaenar fear death, however, and take great pains assuring their own safety above everything else. Altruism is a foreign concept to them, though one they’re not above exploiting. However, all Vaenar understand that death is inevitable. (Whether or not they accept this is their business) As such, they feel they have to look forward to something. It is each Vaenar’s hope that they become legends in death. There are some who also believe in the stories they have heard of others who have passed into the realm of death to be revived by a quick-thinking medic: the stories of gentle beings of light and harsh beings of shadow. Given the choice between the two, and liberal interpretation, some Vaenar like to think that actions in life affect ones transition into death. These Vaenar believe they can become Shtaiurkol if they are strong enough, cunning enough, and amass enough material wealth. At the very least, if they cannot take their hoards with them, they will want the opportunity to bully and belittle people in the afterlife. (It should be noted that there are a rare few Vaenar that take after the religions of their gracious hosts)
Language: Vaenar speak Vaenar and Common. They typically learn Kaelaen as well, and at least one form of the Ygneaujkol dialects.
Names: Vaenar sometimes refer to themselves by the accomplishments of their families, if their family is an accomplished one. Normally, though, a Vaenar is known only by one name, on that they make for themselves after they leave home. These names are generally meant to be in the form of threats, or compact stories of the Vaenar’s murderous prowess, and are almost never made of words that do not translate well. A name that cannot instill fear in those of other cultures is not a name worth having. Some Vaenar go through regular name changes as they change location, so keeping track of a single Vaenar can be difficult without accurate reports of their appearance.
Adventures: Vaenar do not usually have cities, towns, or even family homes. If both parents end up raising the Vaenar, it’s probably because they’re both sufficiently weak that each other’s company is somehow beneficial to their survival. More often than not, a Vaenar mother ends up raising her young alone until it’s just barely old enough to survive. From that moment forth, life is an adventure. At some point, a Vaenar usually settles down in a niche, acting as a bouncer/bully/assassin for some organization or another, but more often than not they’re on the move.
Vaenar Racial Traits
- +2 Dexterity, +2 Charisma, -2 Constitution, -2 Intelligence. While practical in their approach, Vaenar rely more on their quickness and their cunning than on their toughness or any formal education.
- Medium: As Medium creatures, Vaenar have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
- Vaenar base land speed is 40 feet. (Eight squares) Vaenar with at least 4 ranks in Jump are also treated as having the Complete Adventurer feat Brachiation, permitting them to move at their base land speed through trees, though not actually imparting a climb speed.
- Vaenar have a +4 bonus to Balance and Climb checks. Their long, flexible tails give them the ability to maintain their footing nearly anywhere, while their long, sharp claws allow them to keep to the trees.
- +3 Natural Armor Bonus. While not as tough as a true reptile's scales, their hide still offers them more protection against damage.
- Darkvision: Vaenar have Darkvision out to 60 feet.
- Natural Weapons: 2 Claws (1d4) and bite (1d6).
- Special Qualities: Amphibious. (While it is true that a Vaenar can survive indefinitely on land or underwater, Vaenar that remains for too long too deeply in the water runs the risk of several complicating conditions, most of which could quickly become damaging to the bones and brain, and even fatal if left untreated. Marine-inclined Vaenar prefer shallow fresh water, like that of a flooded jungle basin)
- Automatic Languages: Vaenar, Common. Languages: (May choose from the Rukaiin Bonus Language list)
- Favored Class: Rogue. Vaenar are sneaky bastards, there’s no getting around that. Most specialize in Move Silently and Hide. A multiclass Vaenar’s rogue class does not count when determining whether they take an experience point penalty for multiclassing. (See PHB 3.5, pp 60) (See PHB 3.5, pp 60)