The Naga is a half-human, half serpent creature native to Southeast Asia. Associated strongly with water and underground caverns, Nagas are believed to be guardians of treasure.
Naga’s are deemed semi-divine by many Asian cultures, and are seen giving guidance and advice to both gods and the Buddha in different mythologies. They are traditionally believed to reside in an enchanted underworld filled with treasures and gemstones, and are often depicted as guardians of treasure when they venture to the surface. They are also associated with bodies of water such as rivers and oceans, possibly tied to their serpent nature.
Traits and Behavior
Nagas are a humanoid species that are approximately 10-12 feet from head to tail. Their upper torso resembles a human in shape and size. Their lower body is that of a serpent, approximately 2-3 times the length of the torso, though some species can be longer. The human half does not typically have unusual skin coloration for a human, but they do often have darker markings resembling birthmarks that correspond to their snake half. Their upper torso can occasionally have scales. The tail design can vary but will often mimic natural snakes from the Naga’s home region. Naga eyes are serpentine, and again will mimic snakes in coloration. Unlike snakes, Nagas do not smell with their tongue.
Nagas are cold-blooded, and therefore prefer to live in warm climates and are diurnal in nature. They live in communities of vary sizes, most often set up in caverns or underground locations. They spend much of the day on the surface, either lounging in the sun or hunting. Nagas are omnivores, but favor meat over vegetation in their diet. They are ambush predators and use their environment to bring down prey for their entire community. While capable of eating meat raw, they prefer to cook it, often in a communal fire in their community center. A Naga can eat their entire body weight in food, then typically can go weeks without needing to eat again.
Naga children are hatched from eggs, and are often born with brighter colors before they fade to their adult coloration. They reach maturity at 8-10 years of age, and can live as long as 500 years. Baby Naga often have trouble coordinating their bodies as infants, and are generally carried exclusively by their family until a few months old at least, when their spines can support their weight. Children are raised communally, and may spend great lengths of time in groups of children their own age rather than their nuclear family.
Naga have a set of fangs and a mouth of mostly sharpened canine teeth. The majority of species are venomous, and a single bite can be lethal. They are fiercely territorial, and will defend their hunting areas and the entrances to their underground caves to the death. They often consider the waters that run through their territory as exclusively theirs, and therefore greatly resent any other settlements along it, particularly if these settlements cause any pollution or damage to the water flow. Naga are talented swimmers, but do not live in the water and they cannot stay submerged for long periods of time.
Naga are especially fond of gemstones, and often collect them for clothing, jewelry and decorating their homes. They spend a great deal of time carving and polishing the stones they find into smooth orbs, and are particularly fond of gems that are multi-colored or iridescent. Naga often decorate themselves in a large volume of different gems and jewels in a variety of colors and sizes. Most of their jewelry is cast in wood or stone rather than metal.
Nagas can occasionally mesmerize their prey or opponents using direct eye contact. They may use this in hunting, or in fighting, but it rarely works on other Naga.
Naga communicate in a complex language that sounds similar to hissing, and can speak to snakes or other reptiles in this tongue. They are capable of learning human languages, but due to their fangs and vocal cord structure often struggle with soft consonants. They are not particularly interested in humans but are fond of jewelry and other crafts that utilize many colors. They are often willing to trade their gemstones for silks or paintings, as they do not always have the resources to make these items themselves. Many Naga wear sari-styled tops over their human half.
Besides their natural speed, and their venomous fangs, Naga use a variety of weapons if they need to fight or defend. The most common is a spear, often made using their own venom on the tip. They may use human weapons suck as knives or swords, but rarely make them themselves.
Naga are sensitive to the cold and will struggle to function if they are cold for long periods of time. While talented swimmers, they often lose a large amount of body heat in the water and cannot stay submerged for long periods of time without health issues. They are more prone to frost bite and skin damage than other species if exposed to below freezing temperatures.
Naga are fierce defenders of their territory, and will fight to the death rather than abandon their homes. It is better to leave the territory over fighting if the situation arises. Naga are loyal to a fault, and if you are able to befriend one they will often consider you part of their community and therefore under their protection.
Naga are suspicious of and opposed to any flight capable species, and see any bird-creatures as interlopers in their territories. Naga will fight them on sight.