Every race has members that understand the value of knowledge and history. Among the royal naga, paragons of their race, this is a universal fact. Pledging their lives to the preservation of history’s secrets this noble race spend a majority of their lives in musty, half-rotten libraries and crypts and vaults of ancient lore. Rumors of royal naga lairs abound, and many are the seekers of knowledge and power who spend their lives looking for one to share a measure of their knowledge and tutelage with. For the most part their charges aren’t vital enough or large enough for a royal naga to risk the treachery of an opportunistic thief or the like but occasionally there is a naga whose treasure is so great that he accepts novices, assistants, and apprentices
He shares his considerable knowledge with them in exchange for a term of service in helping it guard against others who would damage or otherwise remove that which the naga has taken it upon themselves to guard. Those who would give years of their life to such creatures are typically warriors or wizards, seeking ancient techniques or reserves of knowledge to hone their skills. Most assistants move on after their terms but others stay, finding that their lessons have taken on a new level of meaning to them.
The assistants who stay are almost universally elves, as their long life aids in sympathizing with the naga’s own experiences. In turn, the long-lived (even to an elf) naga find lasting companionship for the first time in hundreds of years. This companionship—along with the royal naga’s natural shapeshifting—sometimes leads to offspring, the elf–naga crossbreed known as the sthein.
The sthein resembles a well-muscled but slim elf up from the waist; below that is a sinuous serpentine body, the scales that cover their lower portion are usually of a pearlescent hue; their upper bodies are also usually oddly colored. Sthein have a fearsome visage. Their skin is usually a color on the scale between green and blue, with eyes a solid yellow, green, or white and coupled with the sharp fangs of their naga parentage, outsiders tend to view sthein as demonic creatures. This couldn’t be further from the truth, however, and they like to keep their scales gleaming and their hair well-kept in an effort to combat their often horrific appearance.
Sthein are standoffish, feeling awkward around other creatures. Their mother and father have caused them to respect two things: grace and wisdom. The knowledge of their father makes them value people, places, and artifacts of a historical nature while they love graceful things.
Despite their own agility and grace they feel awkward around the more willowy races, especially in their serpentine forms. If there was a race that made them feel comfortable it’d be the dwarves; their first-hand knowledge of history and their own lack of grace (social or otherwise) lets sthein relax in their own skin.
They have respect for any guardian archetype, seeing a role that is similar to their father. This makes them treat authority figures with respect regardless of the circumstances—to them the figure’s actions are seen in the context of protecting their charges and thus can’t be taken personally. They were also raised to respect wisdom and tend to favor the advice of elders over their gut instinct or rumor.
Because of this respect a sthein can come off as overly cautious but they temper this with an intense interest in testing themselves. Since they were sent away by their parents, they seek to prove themselves and thus can be found in the thick of things beside any other headstrong companion. Most sthein also take after their royal naga parent, they understand the value of keeping things secret and thus show a near-universal capacity for the utmost discretion when it’s required.
Sthein are raised by their parents until they reach a semblance of adulthood before being made to wander. The reason for this are two -fold. Firstly, their naga parent is against forcing a child to live life their way and send them away to experience life. Secondly, both of their parents know that eventually a powerful enemy might appear and that their child may not survive the encounter.
A sthein yearns to grow in power enough to return home and help their parents, this is an overriding end. Being ejected from the comfortable, ascetic life of their childhood so abruptly leaves many sthein doubting themselves, even as their unique heritage allows them to excel in a variety of situations.
Ultimately a sthein’s life typically ends in one of two ways: isolation or death. Sthein typically die young or end up returning home to find one of their parents slain (if not both) and end up taking up the mantle of the guardian, honoring their parents the only way they can.
Sthein have a hunger for knowledge and treasures of their own, this leads them to travel constantly. They just lack any interest in settling anywhere that isn’t with their parents. Their desires tend towards knowledge and the refining of their art, whether that art is swordplay, magic, or otherwise—taking on the classes of magus, sorcerer, oracle, psion or psychic warrior.
Beyond a simple respect for wisdom sthein have a great deal of respect for ancient knowledge and artifacts, hoping to bring back an especially useful or esoteric piece for their parents’ collection. They understand both the importance of secrets and discretion, giving them a penchant for mercenary work that demands either of the two, there are few nobles who know of a sthein’s personality and don’t keep them around for just such a task.
Ability Score Adjustments
Medium: Sthein are Medium creatures and thus have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Other Racial Traits
Speed: Sthein have a base speed of 30 feet.
Snakeskin (Ex) A sthein’s snakeskin increases its natural armor bonus by +1.
Alternate Form (Su) As a full-round action, a sthein may switch between a serpentine form and a fully humanoid form. Her abilities remain the same in all ways except for the following: in serpentine form she cannot use any magic that requires somatic components (except for spell-like abilities), and she gains a 30 foot swim speed. In humanoid form a sthein has the same facial features and coloration as in serpentine form but has 2 normal legs in place of her long tail, and her bite damage is reduced to 1d4+Strength modifier plus 1 bleed damage.
Darkvision (Ex) Sthein can see in the dark up to 60 feet.
Languages: Sthein begin play speaking Common. Sthein with high Intelligence scores can choose any languages they want (except secret languages, such as Druidic)
Alternate Racial Traits
Lock Gaze (Ex) Some sthein have a lesser form of their parent’s dual gaze instead of their dangerous bite. These sthein have a special gaze attack that forces the victim to only look at them every round they fail a Will save (DC 10+ 1/2 character level + Charisma modifier). This grants concealment to everyone except the sthein. This racial trait replaces naga sorcery and modifies sanguinous bite.
Poisonous Sheen (Ex) Some sthein lack scales but are covered in a mild poison that leaves those subjected to it sick. Whenever the sthein successfully grapples a creature or maintains a grapple, that creature must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 the sthein’s character level + the sthein’s Constitution modifier) or be sickened for 1 minute. This replaces snakeskin.
Weary Dance (Su) Some sthein show their magical ability in a different way. These sthein can cause begin dancing in a slow, hypnotic fashion as a standard action. Hostile creatures that view the sthein’s dance must succeed at a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 the sthein’s character level + the sthein’s Charisma modifier) or become fascinated for 2 rounds. The sthein may maintain this dance by spending a swift action at the beginning of her turn. This replaces naga sorcery.
Favored Class Options
Fighter: Add +1/3 on rolls to confirm a critical threat.
Oracle: Add +1/4 of a new revelation.
Psion: Add +1/4 on manifester level checks to overcome power resistance.
Psychic Warrior: Increase effective manifester level for psychometabolism powers by +1/4.
Stalker: +1/4 maneuver known of the Steel Serpent or Thrashing Dragon disciplines. These maneuvers must be at least one level below the highest level of maneuvers the stalker can learn.
Bloodforge, © 2017, Dreamscarred Press, LLC; Author: Matthew Ryan Medeiros, Jade Ripley, based on material by Owen K.C. Stephens