Humans who, through religious zealotry, mutate closer to a snake form.
The Histachii is the Yuan-Ti slave race.
About the Yuan-Ti ∞
The race "Yuan-Ti" were originally religious zelots who sought seclusion in the cover of the vast Jungles (whose name I don't recall). They were so single-mindedly religious that their 'god', a snake being of some kind, granted them 'gifts'. While this snake 'god' is not officially recognized as a deity by any other, nontheless it is a subtly powerful and very intelligent entity. Having founded a sect of extremely well-controlled humans who lived and died for it, its powers appear to have grown. The gift which was given to the Yuan-Ti was the gift of being brought closer to their god. It would transform them and bring them physically and spiritually closer to to the pure snake form.
The race of Yuan-Ti were already extremely intelligent and cunning. Some of their ranks became mutated to snake forms.. with snake heads, tails, scales etc.. these few also had further developed psychic (psionic) abilities. Among these skills were such talents as mind control.
So what happens when you take a race of devotees and breed them for your own purposes, training them endlessly to serve, then grant them physical and psionic powers? You get a race which is so incredibly intelligent and capable as to completely outshine any available competition.
The first appearance of the Yuan-Ti ∞
|Monsters:||Histachii / Sch'theraqpasst|
|Article:||"Ecology of the Yuan-Ti, The"|
This report is not strictly true. I have had a report that the Yuan-Ti first appears in an adventure. Back in the day, it was not uncommon to see an adventure module written around the introduction of a new monster.
One anonymous report says: The yuan-ti first appeared in the First Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons module Dwellers of the Forbidden City, by David Cook, published by TSR, Inc. in 1981.
The Slayer's Guide to Yuan-Ti ∞
A quote from that product:
The Yuan-Ti are often portrayed as sadistic, malevolent creatures intent on dominating the world at all costs. The very image of the scaly, humanoid reptiles with venomous fangs and wicked, yellow eyes fills most people with dread. For Game Masters, this makes them the ideal antagonists: Alien in both appearance and motivation, they can easily, and with little explanation, be dropped into any campaign or adventure as the fiendish masterminds behind virtually every conflict the characters run up against. Unfortunately, this also tends to make them borderline caricatures of evil, their wickedness resembling nothing so much as the machinations of the moustache-twirling, dastardly villains of yore.
Casting the serpent people in such a superficial, one-dimensional light does a tremendous disservice to them and their timeworn culture, though. They are a society of long standing tradition, placing as much value in erudition as other cultures might place in martial prowess. Coming originally, as they do, from the Middle Kingdom, their society is feudalistic by nature, ruled over by a supreme monarch-an Emperor or Empress-and administered by faceless hordes of bureaucrats, scholars and imperial clansmen. Unlike the Middle Kingdom, this ruler is not considered the son or daughter of Heaven but is instead descended from a very real ancestor in their distant past. The Heavens and Hells of the human world abandoned them, and so they literally become their own gods, who are just as multi-faceted, complicated and inscrutable. Inevitably, this stirs up a moral whirlwind that would destroy those with less resilience. Yet, despite the chaos and spiritual ambiguity plaguing their peoples, the Yuan-Ti manage to not only thrive, but to create order and structure from all this. Art and literature are held in the highest esteem. Well-educated scholars come from all walks of life, regardless of breed, birth rank or social standing. And the arcane arts, despite being monopolized by the Ministry of Rituals, make the Yuan-Ti into some of the most formidable spellcasters ever known.
However, sinister times have recently fallen on the Yuan-Ti. Hei-An Da-Di, the dark lord of the north, makes his presence felt more than ever before. The Empress Wu, temperamental and unpredictable, continues to ignore the council of her advisors and sends legions of her elite soldiers out into the world to panic and terrorize the human kingdoms she so desperately hates. Meanwhile, two factions have arisen out of the shadows, one embittered by the stagnation of their culture, and the other unwilling to change in the slightest in order to save it. Both war over the ideals that will dictate the future course of Yuan-Ti history.
Player Characters will discover a wealth of possibility hidden within the vast empire of the Yuan-Ti. For the inquisitive, there is a new culture to study; for the diplomatically savvy there are new alliances and treaties to be negotiated; and for the bloodthirsty, there are new foes aplenty to kill. The Yuan-Ti are not born evil, but enough evil permeates their culture that characters may be busy for years to come just trying to eradicate it. And, maybe, they might make a difference.
As every Slayer's Guide focuses upon a single race of creature, this one takes a hard look at the Yuan-Ti. Inside you'll find information on: their culture and society, from their mythological origins to the state of the empire under the Empress Wu; their biology, uncovering the many mysterious breeds, their mating habits and the habitats where they reside; and on their own particular military methodology, describing the brutal methods used to spread their beliefs and ways. While useful to players with an interest in the Yuan-Ti, this book will benefit Game Masters much more considerably. Incorporating a compelling villain, much less an entire villainous species, has always been problematic to the conscientious storyteller, and of all the races the Yuan-Ti are probably one of the most difficult. Hopefully, the book you now hold in your hands will make this easier for you by shedding a new light on their beliefs, philosophies and goals, by making the race as a whole more rounded and balanced.
Finally, at the end of the book, you will also find a sample Yuan-Ti outpost called Bei Po Jian, designed both as a singular encounter and as the basis for a complete adventure. At the very least, it will give you a good idea of what a typical, if small, Yuan-Ti community looks like.