Serpent Men
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Basic Information

The Serpent Men were a pre-historic species of reptilian humanoids that made their way into the Cthulhu mythos from the works of Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton-Smith and others. Supposedly a pre-historic civilisation of theirs had ruled the earth in early years, before degeneracy, the coming of an ice age and the rise of primitive humans had undone them. Until that point, they had been masters of magic and alchemy, specialising in poison and biothaumaturgy. Thereafter, the majority of the survivors had degenerated further into idiotic, subterranean midgets, with the occasional atavistic survivor - often frozen in suspended animation or resurrected from mummies or other remnants. The degenerates were primarily a nuisance - occasionally popping up from their tunnels to kidnap passers-by, steal and kill or ambushing anyone fool enough to enter the eons old ruins of serpent man cities. The atavists were more prone to scheming - whether against one another or in search of power over the descendants of their former slave-monkeys.

Another "interesting" sub-plot amongst the serpent men in some sources includes sectarian violence within their ranks between those that worship their ancestral deity Yig, and those that venerate the Great Old One Tsathoggua.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • Known to the staff of The Laundry as DANUBE CROSSING - and a dangerous plague.
  • A common antagonist in the works of their creators and their successors - usually, at least in first, whilst disguised as humans.
    • In the Call of Cthulhu RPG, they were well known for a spell that allowed them to assume an near perfect resemblance to someone by eating their flesh.
  • Typically a source of strange old artifacts and ancient lore - often left lying about so that some meddling monkey will fiddle with them and resurrect or summon the serpent man responsible.
  • A slightly subversive use might be for PCs to be hired by a serpent man who is not about anything particularly wicked for a change - probably under the guise of a traveling scholar or merchant. There may be no particular reason for them to ever find out who they are working for, but the occasional hint may be dropped when their charge turns out to be surprisingly capable for an elderly civilian.
  • Even when dead, a great source of mysterious old ruins in swamps, deserts and jungles.
  • Sometimes known to crossbreed with humans. Try not to think about the details.
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