The saurians have a primitive reptilian humanoid races common throughout much of Ithria, especially in the south. Saurians have an appearance similar to a bipedal reptile. They have a lizard like snout which is broad and flat. They have widely separated eyes. Saurians are covered with a thick scaly hide that varies in color depending on the type of saurian. This scaled hide is shed once per year. They have a long, thick triangular tail and a forked tongue which aids their sense of smell. The height of a saurian is typically 2 meters and the weight is typically 100-150 kilograms. Saurians have a tendency to walk and fight slightly hunched over, with the tail balancing out their upper body. The size and weight of a saurian varies depending on their subrace (see below). Saurians live to be 120 years old.
Saurians have a tendency to decorate themselves in elaborate ways. Some paint their scales, often in bright colors. Others wear decorative head dresses or elaborate cloaks with spines and wings. Ribbons, beads, bones and jewelry are also quite popular. This practice of self decoration is especially true with myren wizards and harothi berzerkers.
Saurians are very comfortable in the water. They are are excellent swimmers and, by using their powerful tales for propulsion, can swim as fast as a man can run. Saurians can also hold their breath underwater three times as long as the average human.
A chelaxi saurian warrior holding an athalas.
Many other races consider the saurians emotionally and intellectually primitive. Saurians are similar to the orgs in that they are violent, brutal and direct. But the saurians stress personal freedom and personal experience instead of conformity and military strength. Saurians love to explore the outer reaches of experience and believe that strength is gained by seeing, doing and enduring.
Many saurians do feel the need to leave the swamps and explore the world to experience life. While saurian culture is generally primitive, individual saurians are very adaptable and those who enter more civilized realms are able to integrate themselves into society. It is not uncommon to find saurians serving in town militias or serving aboard ships or as members of thieves guilds. Saurians tend to stick to the lower social classes where they are more accepted.
Saurians males of the harothi subrace have a natural berzerker ability which is brought out in battle. When engaged in battle, a harothi saurian may enter what is known as the Battle Dance. A harothi saurian may resist the urge to enter a Battle Dance or may intentionally try to invoke it. When "battle dancing", the saurian enters a frenzied mental state and heightened physical condition. While so engaged, a saurian becomes stronger and moves faster. He is unaffected by pain or fatigue and is so focused on the battle that mind affecting magic will not affect him. Other symptoms include bloodshot eyes, a rise in body temperature, a loss of hearing and a marked decrease in mental ability. Often while in the Battle Dance, a saurian may have difficulty distinguishing friend from foe and may attack everything moving within sight. The Battle Dance lasts until the saurian is killed or until there is no longer a perceived threat (i.e. all enemies are dead and have been gutted). The battle dance ends quickly as exhaustion sweeps over the saurian. Afterward, the saurian will have no memory of the events that transpired while he was so engaged. The Battle Dance is a mental and physical "high". It is revered by the saurians as a spiritual experience.
The most common religion among the saurians is the so called "Draconian" faith. These saurians worship dragons and believe that they are closely related to dragons. Draconian beliefs support a violent lifestyle where the individual indulges in every whim and urge. They are explorers in the outer reaches of experience, even more so than typical saurian. They follow no rules and no laws. The draconians are divided into cults each of which worship a particular dragon. These cults often are based outside the dragons lair, sometimes following the dragon hundreds of kilometers if the dragon relocates. Occasionally, draconian saurians will directly serve the dragon they worship. Two of the most powerful draconian cults worship dragons known as Melikran the Magnificent and Ygrax the Flameless.
Still other saurians are independents. Due to their love of personal freedom, many saurian worship gods of other cultures. Some worship many gods while others worship no gods at all and have no personal religious beliefs.
Saurians are not very skilled at magic and have a large penalty when attempting to learn and control magic. About 1 in 5000 saurians can learn magic, but few saurians ever become serious mages. The few saurian mages that do exist are all of the myren subrace. There are no laws governing the use of magic in the saurian society. Magic is viewed with some suspicion because of this. The typical saurian sees magic as powerful, but mysterious and unpredictable. However, when magic does work, saurians love it and will use magical items or spells without hesitation.
The largest concentration of saurians is in the Barakose Swamp east of the Sentinel Mountains. This vast area is a humid concentration of flora and fauna. The terrain is rough with extremely dense vegetation. The main resource of this area is its wide biological diversity. Smaller groups of saurians can be found in any swamp or marshy area. Saurians prefer warmer, more humid climates. Many can be found in the Karth Peninsula.
Saurian communities average between 100 and 1000 saurian. These small communities are highly mobile when they need to be. There are several distinct saurian subraces.
The chelaxi are the most common saurians, accounting for almost 80% of the race. While still considered strong by human standards, the chelaxi are tall and thin when compared to the other two saurian races. Emerald green scales cover most of the body, pale green scales covering the throat, chest and underbelly. Their diamond shaped scales tend to be smooth and glossy. They have large, black intelligent eyes. Chelaxi tend to be quick and dexterous.
The great harothi saurians are the largest and fiercest of their kind. Although they typical stand only six feet tall, they are broad and quite massive, tipping the scales at 350 pounds. Harothi come in a variety of colors. Green, brown, red, grey and black are all possible colors for the harothi. Their scales are blunt triangles and very thick. Their hides are also striped by broad bands of colored scales that clearly mark them as harothi. Harothi have wild temperaments. They are impatient, emotional and completely without discipline. Controlling an enraged harothi is difficult at best. The harothi are the strongest and the least intelligent of the saurians. Harothi account for almost 15% of the saurian race.
The myren saurians are the most rare accounting for only 5% of all saurians. The head of a myren saurian is crowned by two great backward sweeping horns. The scaled hide of a myren may be pale green, light brown or grey. Their scales are rather dull colored and rough. Their small dark eyes are deeply set between horny eye ridges and a broad snout. Myren saurians are not as quick as chelaxi or as strong as harothi. They are, however, renowned for intelligence, wisdom and discipline. Very few saurians ever master magic and all of these are myren.
Due to the saurian mouth structure, their range of pronunciation is limited and their language reflects it. The saurian tongue tends to be a guttural language which is spoken slowly. The powerful, deep, grinding voices of the saurians are well suited to the language. S, SH, K, L and V are the most common consonants used and the tongue consists of many subtle variations using these sounds. Saurians never speak hurriedly, no matter what language they are using.
The written saurian language consists of only eighteen letters, each representing a particular sound. Saurian letters are bold, blunt shapes written simply without decoration. The serif of saurian letters tend to resemble their own triangular scales and blades.
Saurian literature includes poetry, fiction and historical records. Saurian poetry and fiction is very experimental and free. Saurian art is known for its oil paintings (many oils and paints can be obtained from floral derivatives of the swamp), wood carving, stone carving and sculpture. The triangular shape of the saurian scale shows up in their art quite often.
The saurian numbering system is based on threes. Their system of measurements is as follows :
1 kev = 3 sikev = 9 mukev = 27 dukev = 81 lyrkev = 243 konkev = 729 shukev. This system is used for all measurements - mass, volume, linear measurement, everything. The meaning of the unit is derived from context. The one exception is temporal measurements. Although saurians measure a day from dawn to dusk and keep track of sundrifts (the time for the two suns to exchange places), they do not measure time and have nothing that equates to an hour minute or second.
Saurians get along with ogres very well. Saurians respect ogrish military strength and direct methods. The saurian love of life and willingness to experience is akin to the grum lifestyle, although no saurian would ever admit that. Those saurians in the Karth Peninsula trade with the Karthasians, but think of them as too alien to relate to. Saurians do not like phellysians or avarians and would just as soon eat them as trade with them. Saurians are neutral toward humans and dwarves. However, saurians are more friendly toward bathyns (who are as wild as the saurians) and borrellians (who also respect survival and endurance). Saurians are also known as argrox (an ancient Thullian term meaning "lizard man").
Saurians have a reputation for eating anything. Animals, plants, carrion, garbage, you name it. The saurians digestive system can handle anything organic. Food sources are abundant in the swamps and food procurement is never a problem. Saurians are excellent hunters, combining strength, speed and heightened senses. They are at the top of the food chain in the swamp.
A saurian hunter.
Saurian architecture consists of shekuls, large structure woven from trees and vines and plastered with a paste made from moss and mud. These structures, often built next to bodies of water, have two doors - one that opens at ground level and one that opens underwater.
Saurian technology is slightly lower than average. Saurian have not yet developed advanced metallurgical processes and lack the metal working skills of other races. They tend to use bone and shell and volcanic glass for sharp cutting tools and weapons rather than metal. The favorite saurian weapon is the athalas, a heavy seven foot shaft of wood tipped on either end with a broad triangular blade made of bone, stone or occasionally metal. Usually, whenever saurians do have metal weapons or armor, it has been taken from a fallen enemy or acquired through trade.
Saurian armor is typically constructed of leather, wood and twine. Small "scales" of hardwood and sewn with resin-soaked twine onto a backing of hardened leather.
Saurians view all animals as a possible source of food. They do not domesticate animals or practice any form of animal husbandry.
Saurian travel on foot and swim through the swamp. Occasionally, they use small waterborne vessels for transporting cargo over larger bodies of water (rivers, Romler Bay, etc.). Long distance communication is accomplished by large drums and a widely accepted system of drum beats and meanings.
Saurian believe that a possessions worth is given to it by the value that is placed on it by its owner. In their view, a simple stone chisel can be infinitely more valuable than a gem-studded dagger if, for instance, the stone mason crafted the tool himself and the dagger was bought at a market. Because of this unique view of value, the concept of money is meaningless to the saurian. Saurian barter and trade extensively without any form of currency. Debt and credit is common at a personal level. Inheritance is passed along the fathers blood line.
The saurian society is definitely a paternal culture. Males dominate the females, have unlimited rights and do the hunting. Females are dominated, have no rights and are responsible for the common labor.
Each male saurian commonly claims from one to five females, depending on accomplishments, battle prowess, etc. When one male kills another, he gets the wives of the deceased. Daughters are often given as gifts to seal agreements. Females may not divorce. Males simply kill a wife that has become a burden. Wives simply serve their husband and depend on the husbands for food and protection.
The husband is the head of the household. Male children are highly prized and outrank the wives and daughters who do the work.
Propagating the species is important since the environment is so harsh and the death rate among infants is high. A pregnant female lays a cluster of 12-20 eggs which hatch in about four months. Saurian eggs do not require incubation. Usually, about half of all eggs laid successfully hatch. Half of those that hatch survive to adulthood. The young shed their skin much more often as they grow - as often as once per month.
Sons are spoiled and trained by the father. The father often spends a great deal of time on his sons and gives them gifts often. Daughters are neglected and raised by the mothers.
A deceased saurian is taken from the community by his or her closest friends. The body is given to a Deathgrip tree in a brief ceremony of parting. The nature of the ceremony depends on the deceased. A warriors friend may sing battle chants and bang weapons against armor. The friends of a woman might recite poetry and weep. It is believed by the saurians that the soul is reborn into another saurian body. The purpose of each life time is to gain experience and you take those experiences with you into the next life time (which explains things like instinct, natural talent, etc). When enough lifetimes have been lived and enough experience has been gained, the soul breaks free from this cycle and the soul goes to Shiakul... a higher realm of infinite sensory experience.
Saurian males have two names. The first is the family name, passed down from generation to generation through the paternal line. The second name is the individuals personal name. Saurian who deal with creatures with outside cultures often use only the personal name since the family name means nothing to non-Saurian. Female saurian are only given a personal name.
None. An individual is not judged by class or profession or possessions, but rather by how he uses his life, worthy deeds, etc. Climbing a mountain, slaying a dangerous opponent and traveling to a distant land and considered worthy deeds. To some extent, saurian also judge each other on the basis of how they live and interact with others (common interests, philosophical views, personal honor, etc.). Titles are often used, however, Although none are considered superior to others, the following titles may be applied to various saurian : Shaman, Elder, Tribe Brother, Tribe Sister, Warrior, Battle Dancer, Chieftain.
None. Each village is led by the strongest male. The position is known as vishklu. His word is law and he makes all decisions for the community. A new vishklu is named only when a challenger defeats the old vishklu in combat. The exact nature of the combat (lethal or non-lethal, armed or unarmed, arena or wilderness) varies from village to village.
Each village is able to muster a large number of able-bodied, combat ready males. This is not an organized force, but all the males of a village fighting together can usually protect the village from anything.
Also known as The Gathering Of Warriors and The Swamp Battle. This annual event is a cultural celebration of battle, brotherhood and survival. All able bodied Saurian join in the fights which include many forms and levels of fighting : wrestling, unarmed and armed, lethal and non-lethal, etc.
A more personal ceremony is known as the Rebirth. Once each year, an adult saurian must shed its skin. This process may take two full days and during this time the saurian usually leaves the community to be alone. The saurians consider this time a deeply spiritual communing with Nature. The individual will often go out into the swamp (or other wilderness area if no wetlands are available), divest himself of all clothing and possessions and remain in a primitive, almost animal, state for the duration of the molting (sometimes for several days afterwards as well).
This website was last updated March 31, 2021. Copyright 1990-2021 David M. Roomes.