Under Feet of Clay
Humanity has a dark side, and it is rarely spoken of. Throughout history, Humans have had an uneasy relationship with serpents. Depending on who tells the story, either some serpent worshiping humans committed vile acts in the forest and produced the first Vishkanyan children, or Gaia say humanity and crafted a monster to walk in their shadow. Either way, the Vishkanya is an uneasy legend among humans, who are always on the lookout for these disguised monsters. In reality, however, Vishkanya are often productive members of society, putting their adept fingers to use in weaving, or applying their knowledge of toxins and anatomy as physicians in the healing houses. Vishkanya hide their identity, because mere knowledge of their race would likely lead to exile, if not execution at the hands of an angry mob.
Despite their desire to fit in, Vishkanya have a strange draw toward the occult, and often gather in secret meetings with their kin to perform rituals of séance and connect with spirits. Besides these practices and their guarded stances in social interaction, Vishkanya strive to blend in to human society whenever possible, with the exception of those who retreat to the edge of the forest to openly exist. Those that do form a clan of powerful witches, mediums, psychics, and diviners who tame serpents. Rather than hate humanity for their treatment, the Vishkanya in these villages strive to act with hospitality and openness to prove their benevolence.
Classes: Vishkanya are naturals in the roguish arts, but also often manifest as sorcerers with the serpentine or draconic bloodlines. Those who pursue the arcane by choice often prefer to take a patron and become a witch rather than dabble in books, and most often take snakes as familiars. With their fascination with the occult, many Vishkanya dedicate themselves as spiritualists, occultists, and mediums, while others look to use their lithe and flexible forms as bards specializing in dance and tambourine. Fighters and rangers among them prefer finesse weapons and two-weapon fighting rather than relying on direct power. Alchemists are never far from a Vishkanya’s home, and they take to the art naturally given their innate poisons.
Common Names: Vishkanya take human names whenever possible. Those who want to mark themselves as blooded Vishkanya will often borrow the beginning of a human name and add “-aya” to the end as an admittance of their bloodline.
Example Adventure Hooks:
Brutus is a dancer, and knows no greater joy than moving with grace across a dance floor with a smiling stranger in his arms. In his puffy robes and light sandals, Brutus is often mistaken for a visiting noble and invited to the best parties for his smile and charm. However, merely attending the parties does not pay for food and wine, and so he will lift jewels and purses from his partners in the flurry of the dance if he must, but will prefer to take them from those around him. With time in each city at a premium until he begins to be recognized, he travels often to elude suspicion.
Dianaya is proud of her heritage, and refuses to hide who she is. Living in an isolated village with the Dark Forest of Chaos just visible over the horizon, she openly communes with shades for the farmers and dares those who would challenge her with a venomous gaze. With psychic energies at her beck and call, she protected her village until the orcs came and took her life from her. Her home lost, she headed toward the heart of Calopius, proudly displaying her pet snakes and dark skin.
Evagrius is a dedicated scribe and ideal worker in the Temple of Asklepios in Periandropolis. Though he offers healing and rest as any priest would, he hides the nature of his heritage, as well as the fact that his powers come from a patron other than the god of physicians. During his time, his viper familiar has guided his development through subtle nudges of the mind. He has offered suggestions on the development of doctrine in the church, which have so far been accepted and considered warmly. He fears, however, how he will be received when his secret breaks loose…