The World of Kyrnd
LIZARDFOLK (ASSARAI) The real truth of the matter is, few people in Ptolus use the word “lizardfolk.” To the ignorant, they are “lizard men,” whether the individual is male or female. To those in the know—and of course, to actual members of the race—they are assarai.
Personality: The common perception of the lizardfolk is that they are sneaky, slippery, and most likely thieves and liars. These are unfair characterizations. In fact, most assarai are as honest as most humans—as likely to be good as evil and, in reality, usually a complex web of both.
Physical Description: These reptilian humanoids, like the goblinoids, come in different sub-race variates, dragonborn, or kobolds.
The jungle-dwelling lizardfolk dress in bone and leather, but do not wear much clothing at all most of the time.
City-dwelling lizardfolk dress in standard human clothing: shirts and pants, often including hooded cloaks to help disguise their forms when they venture into certain districts. Their clothing often looks worn, as its condition matters little to most assarai.
Relations: Lizardfolk are primitive in the eyes of most other humanoids, but they do not have the litorians’ inherent culture of savage nobility and honor. Instead, one can characterize them most easily as folk with simple goals.
The jungle-dwelling assarai have recently come in to conflict with encroaching human settlements, where they are treated little better than vermin and driven from their homes.
Few city-dwelling assarai seem ambitious by human standards. Most are content when they simply have enough to eat and can stay relatively safe from harm. They aren’t even that demanding about shelter; many are happy enough without it, as long as the climate never turns very cold. They sleep at night along the docks or sometimes in alleys or in parks with fountains or pools.
In a city where they are tolerated, like Ptolus—a place known for its tolerance, relatively speaking—the assarai’s needs are easily met. This fact of urban life results in copious free time for lizardfolk, which their people never enjoyed in the past, when they dwelled in small villages and had to hunt and cultivate their own food. Over the years, however, non-assarai have decided that most lizardfolk are lazy, shiftless thieves, for how else could they get along without jobs or homes?
The truth is that lizardfolk in the city are very resourceful. They often perform menial tasks for those who will hire them on a temporary basis, earning just enough money to tide them over for a time. Others catch fish in the bay or even down by the river. Still others forage through trash to find food or something to sell. And of course, some do steal—but even then, only enough to meet their simple needs. The thing to remember is that most assarai in Ptolus do not find their state of indigence and homelessness an undesirable situation. They don’t need more than a little food to eat, and most don’t want permanent shelters like other humanoids.
On warm days, it’s not uncommon to see them sunning themselves in a city square or on a rooftop. The City Watch routinely clears them out of these places, but they always come back. In fact, some assarai have grown so accustomed to the Watch that they have learned to migrate through the city from one favored location to the next, keeping just ahead of the guards. Others have found it easier to remain in lairs below the city, living near the underground pools or streams, just to stay out of the way.
Alignment: Lizardfolk are usually neutral.
Lizardfolk Lands: In a different world, the assarai would have been a more prominent race. At one time, they dominated much of the southern portion of the continent, particularly in the Bloodtangle, although they rarely trod regions north of Ptolus. However, their territorial culture, as well as their physical nature, brought them into frequent conflict with mammalian races that have begun encroaching on their lands.
Though still common in most lands, lizardfolk find little welcome in all but the most cosmopolitan cities. There are actually more lizardfolk in the city of Ptolus than most people think. This is because, to nonlizardfolk, they all look so similar, that those of other races think they are seeing the same assarai on multiple occasions, when in fact they are seeing two or three different individuals. In addition, many lizardfolk steer clear of the other races and thus are rarely seen in public. Despite the fact that their ancestors were riverfolk (and many assarai outside the city still make their homes along riverbanks), the lizardfolk of Ptolus would never swim in the highly polluted King’s River.
Religion: Many lizardfolk in Ptolus still worship the Gem Dragon gods of old.
Language: City-dwelling assarai almost always speak Common as well as Draconic. In fact, more and more lizardfolk are forgoing Draconic altogether. Only about one in three can read, and most of those read Common, not Draconic.
Names: Lizardfolk do not distinguish between male and female names. Assarai names are often quite sibilant sounding, such as Slaathan, Ssethenus, and Thessisth.
Adventurers: Jungle-dwelling lizardfolk live in simple villages and temples venerating their gods, and their hard existence makes them resilient and resourceful, and fierce in battle. But, by of civilized races standards, they are still poor and primitive.
Not all city-dwelling lizardfolk are transient and poor, of course. The exceptions often become mercenaries or adventurers. Every once in a while in Ptolus, assarai warriors attempt to inspire their people to rise up and fight for a better place in the city’s culture, but this never works, because the lizardfolk are generally satisfied with their lot. The “rabble-rousers,” while trying to look out for their people’s well-being and pride, have been overly influenced by the cultures of other races—ones that look down on the lizardfolk.
Because they are both homeless and hardy, slavers in the city frequently make use of lizardfolk. This is a situation the assarai do not accept, and many an assarai’s adventuring career has begun with a quest to rescue enslaved friends or family. Many lizardfolk carry weapons to protect themselves and their comrades from abduction. Sadly, sometimes the City Watch looks the other way in this situation, believing it better that the slavers take the assarai than members of other races.