As in many dragon myths a Naga could also serve as a (dangerous) source of wisdom and/or serve a community as teacher or guardian. More normally they were custodians of specific rivers or lakes and required propitiation by those who entered their territory.
In some parts of Southern and South-Eastern Asia Naga statues or carvings are used to ward off (other) evil spirits in the same way as Chinese temple dragons, dogs or Ki-lin or European Gargoyles.
Game and Story Use
- The nagas could be descendants of dinosaurs, or if you emphasize their aquatic connection, prehistoric marine reptiles which have evolved into radically different creatures over the last 65 million years.
- Or, they could be monstrous mutations of Reptilian Humanoids - perhaps a freakish evolution of a few survivors of a dead reptilian civilization, perhaps guard-monsters purposely created by the reptilians.
- For Lovecraft fans, these could be degenerate Serpent People or LLoligor.