Ecology of the Naga
- Ravithra’s naga children gathered around the bowl placed before them, bending their sinuous necks so that they might lap up the elixir of immortality she had promised them. But their servant, Sudachala, had betrayed them.
- The bowl was an illusion, and the nagas cut their tongues on blades of sharp sedge grass. Hissing in pain, they slithered away in all directions—down dark holes, beneath ruined temples, into the most untamed of jungles, and even into the realm of dreams. Alone in the forgotten places of the world, some of Ravithra’s children took comfort in tending to lost things and old secrets, growing in power as they lorded over their newly claimed dominions. But the spirit nagas nursed their bitterness over long seasons. They had been denied godhood, and they would not forgive.
- —Prandeep Vash, Commentaries on the Azvadeva Pujila 
With their giant-snake bodies and intelligent humanoid faces, nagas are unmistakable denizens of Golarion’s dark caverns and moldering temples. The typical naga encountered by most adventurers is a cruel, suspicious creature, poised to spit a spell or lash out with fangs at the slightest provocation. But nagas can also be wise, thoughtful, and even benevolent when approached with respect. Careful students of the histories of fallen empires—including their own—nagas know secrets that even the ancient elves have forgotten.
The naga race comes in a variety of subspecies, each with its own unique physiology, supernatural talents, and outlook on the world. They dwell in equally diverse habitats: city sewers, crumbling ruins, secluded rivers, and even the Dimension of Dreams. If there is a common theme in their choice of lairs, it is isolation.
Nagas tend to prefer living in spaces that other races have forgotten, keeping to themselves or gathering only the servants they require to satisfy their needs. When they do partner with other races or settle near the hustle and bustle of civilization, it is because doing so furthers their private aims.
And these private aims are everything to a naga.
That is the one trait that unites the entire naga race, despite their otherwise divergent alignments and personalities: possessiveness. All nagas are obsessives of one kind or another, and all have a domain they think of as exclusively their own. In water nagas (Pathfnder RPG Bestiary 3 199), this expresses itself as simple territoriality.
For dark and slime nagas (Pathfnder RPG Bestiary 6 199), it manifests both in the odd collections they accrue and as a need to dominate lesser creatures. Guardian and royal nagas (Bestiary 3 198) claim ancient vaults or even entire abandoned cities. Alternatively, the domain might be an area of expertise. Lunar nagas (Bestiary 3 197) track the movement of the stars, dream nagas (Bestiary 6 198) slip in and out of sleepers’ nightmares, and spirit nagas hoard occult secrets. Whether her domain is a literal or fgurative one, in her own realm a naga sees herself as the absolute authority. Those who would challenge a naga in the domain she has claimed would do well to beware.
Nagas are reptilian creatures. Cold-blooded by nature, they prefer warm to temperate climates. Unlike snakes, most nagas are either naturally light-averse or simply too cautious to spend much time basking in the sun to warm up. Instead, they do their best to make their lairs as comfortable as possible. They collect sumptuous rugs and silken curtains with which to line their chambers, and command their servants to stoke burning braziers or fre pits. When possible, they also take advantage of hot baths or natural sulfurous springs. Nagas whose pursuits take them deep underground or into colder climates favor the spell endure elements, though they prefer to gain the abjuration from a magical ring or amulet rather than expend their magical gifs learning it for themselves.
In combat, nagas are frst and foremost spellcasters.
Even the basest water naga can cast spells in the manner of a sorcerer, and some nagas’ magical talents are so potent they can even master divine spells. Dream nagas, for their part, wield psychic spells. Encounters with a naga thus typically begin with the serpent bringing her magic to bear, sizing up the party under the cover of invisibility or obscuring mist. If the naga believes the party can be misdirected or bent to her will, she casts charm spells upon the weakest minds—and many naga varieties have supernatural talents that aid in these eﬀorts. If combat cannot be avoided, the naga casts spells from a distance, and from behind cover if possible, before slithering away. Only if backed into a corner or forced to defend her domain will she strike out physically.
Nagas are carnivorous, rightly seeing themselves at the top of their respective food chains. They tend to travel when they hunt, to preserve the sanctity of their lairs. Nagas primarily devour livestock and wild herbivores, though humanoids follow at a close second; in civilized areas, nagas hunt the slums at night, or make discreet arrangements with local drovers and slavers. With so many magical and physical attacks at their disposal, including poisonous bites or stings, they have little trouble subduing and devouring prey—some even charm their victims into a deadly embrace.
Despite their humanlike faces, nagas can easily dislocate their jaws to swallow human-sized prey.
However, digesting such huge meals leaves nagas lethargic and clumsy. Further, they regard themselves as creatures of intellect, with base biological needs being somewhat embarrassing and beneath their consideration. So while a dark naga might keep her servants in line by threatening to devour them alive, in truth naga dining is an intensely private aﬀair. Unless they have a strategic reason to do so, nagas never let anyone see them eat.
This is not to say that nagas don’t enjoy a banquet.
All but slime nagas have keen senses of smell, and they love indulging their senses with delicacies that are both fragrant and easily devoured with no hands.
The rare naga who entertains guests treats her visitors to course afer course of small plates loaded with edible ﬂowers, honeycombs, and aromatic fruits. These dishes are accompanied by wine and liqueurs served in widemouthed chalices, while incense burns in every corner. Guests at these functions would do well to thank their naga host but not linger at the table. More than one impertinent adventurer has remarked on the absence of a main course, only to become dessert afer his fellows have departed. Mating among nagas is usually an informal aﬀair driven more by instinct and lust than by aﬀection, though guardian and royal nagas take pairing seriously, and deep nagas (see page 90) reproduce asexually. Unless two nagas share a certain territory or interest, the male quickly departs afer mating. The female then lays a clutch of three to seven eggs. (Dark, slime, and water nagas may lay more, but infant fratricide is common and many of their hatchlings do not survive to adulthood.) Naga eggs take around 3 months to hatch, and the mother rarely leaves the nest in that time.
Despite these unglamorous beginnings, nagas are surprisingly doting parents. It takes naga hatchlings a full 3 years to come into their magical abilities, and in that time they are carefully watched and nurtured. Even the crude water nagas exhibit a ferce pride in those oﬀspring who survive the predation of their siblings. The mother nagas do everything they can to prepare their young for the harsh realities of their environs, indoctrinating them with a lifetime of strategies for manipulating humanoids and preserving their own skins.
Afer 3 years, the young nagas are able to make their way in the world.
Dark, slime, and water nagas immediately push their hatchlings out of the nest to forge their own domains. Other species may allow their young to remain for further magical instruction or foster them with elder blood relatives for long apprenticeships.
Firstborn guardian and royal nagas may never leave their parents’ sides, forming dynasties that can last for centuries.
Once out of the nest, a young naga works to secure territory of her own and pursue her esoteric interests.
She also eagerly hunts for gold or magical items that can aid in the pursuit of these ends. Most of the nagas encountered as sidekicks or as servants of other creatures are awaiting some payment in the form of gems, magical fnery, or rare tomes.
Once she has built up a sizable amount of material wealth, the naga departs to claim a lair of her own—ideally an overlooked ruin or temple— where she can conduct her studies in peace or force the local humanoids into servitude. Once she has established herself, she allows no other naga into her domain unless they are related by blood. With the exception of mating season, rivals are fought oﬀ and weaker nagas are bullied into submission.
Once they reach their full adult size, nagas age slowly.
If not felled by injury or disease, an active naga lives about 250 years. However, most nagas choose to hibernate about once every 70 years instead. This period of torpor, which can last for decades, has a regenerating eﬀect, essentially restarting the naga’s biological clock. For all practical purposes, this renders the naga eﬀectively immortal. However, these periods of hibernation grow longer with age, and they leave the naga’s territorial holdings at the mercy of her rivals.
For this reason, many elder nagas still seek the secret of true immortality.
Nagas primarily advance via class levels. However, a particularly long period of torpor may cause a naga to grow in both size and magical ability.
A naga who has just awakened in this manner is half-blind and must shed her skin, rendering her particularly vulnerable, and hence suspicious and violent, until she has done so. Reports exist of nagas who have attained Gargantuan and even Colossal size in the deepest jungles.
GENESIS AND SOCIETY
According to myth, nagas are the children of Ravithra, the Vudrani goddess of nagas and snakes. In these tales, Ravithra is a canny matriarch, always angling to accrue more power and inﬂuence for her nestlings.
In one well-known epic, she nearly succeeded in granting the naga race immortality, only to be thwarted by the god Gruhastha the Keeper and Sudachala, the frst garuda (Bestiary 3 123). (Human versions of the story hint that Gruhastha resented Ravithra’s shortcut past true enlightenment, while Sudachala sought to free his mother Janasini, the goddess of birds, whom Ravithra had enslaved.) Injured in the incident, Ravithra’s naga children slithered oﬀ in all directions, splintering the naga race into its various subspecies and beginning an enmity between nagas and garudas that persists to this day.
Nagakind may not have been gifed with immortality, but it was gifed with an empire: nagas were Vudra’s frst rulers. Amid the vast jungles, rolling hills, and unspeakably tall mountains of southeastern Casmaron, the early nagas built one of Golarion’s frst nationstates. Hungry for subjects and labor, they secured the services of the native ophidian races, particularly vishkanyas (Bestiary 3 281), as well as Vudra’s nascent grippli (Pathfnder RPG Bestiary 2 149) and catfolk (Bestiary 3 47) tribes. When humanity rose to prominence, nagas eagerly incorporated them into their holdings as well. Prizing the humans’ gif for stone- and metalwork, the ruling nagas spurred their servants to create resplendent palaces of marble and mahogany to house them, and soaring, intricately carved stone temples so that their slaves might worship them. Over time, the humans grew so prolifc and so capable that the nagas relied on them even for administrative tasks, creating classes of professionals that were the beginnings of the caste system that persists in Vudra even today.
Then, the naga empire fell—in historical terms, practically overnight. Not even the nagas know why. The cataclysm was so sudden, so abrupt, that it erased even the memory of itself.
A few scattered tales and persistent divinations oﬀer hints. Some—particularly spirit naga scholars—blame Gruhastha and Sudachala again, seeing the fall of nagaled Vudra as an echo of the maiming of Ravithra’s children. Another story, unearthed by scholars in Jalmeray, speaks of an assembly of hierophants, guided by Desna, that wove a spell that put all of nagakind into a torpor, in which they dreamed of their empire for 444 years. When the nagas awoke, Desna knocked the scales from their eyes, revealing the crumbling ruins of a now-fallen nation. According to certain Pathfnder archaeologists, however, the cause might be more mundane. They claim that the nagas’ human thralls, realizing that they outnumbered their serpentine masters, simply rose up in a rebellion so bloody and swif that when the next generation of nagas awoke from their hibernation cycle, they found their forebears had been utterly cast down and themselves lef with nowhere to turn for aid.
No matter the cause, the loss of Vudra shattered nagakind as a society. Already insular and territorial, nagas became paranoid and obsessive. They retreated far from the humans who had replaced their empire.
They pored over ruins and cryptic texts—their own and from the empires of others—looking for clues to turn back time or right the scales of history. Eventually their drive to study and collect became an end in and of itself. Their subspecies became even more divided and diverse, isolated in their peculiar habits and habitats, and they ceased to cooperate as a race.
Today naga society exists by and large at the family level. The nest is the core unit of naga culture, with the matriarch at the top and all others deriving their status based on their relationship to her by blood or sometimes mating, as well as on their own personal power. Most groups of nagas that adventurers encounter are thus typically relatives of some kind. Any other such grouping is usually short-lived, unless the nagas are strongly united by a common interest (such as access to an observatory or ley line). Even then, many nagas attempt to formalize the relationship through ritual adoption or some other rite that simulates the family bond.
Naga relationships with other races tend to be determined by relative power. They dominate humanoids when they can, ally with them when it is useful, fght them when they must, and avoid them otherwise. Nagas hate garudas with a passion and regard most other avian creatures with antipathy. They respect dragons for their obvious might, and many nagas have indentured themselves to one dragon or another, particularly if they think doing so will gain them access to treasure or lore. Nagas loathe divs (Bestiary 3 82) and most other evil outsiders for the destruction and despoliation they cause—though some resentful spirit nagas ally with asuras (Bestiary 3 21), eager to get their coils around stolen artifacts while revenging themselves upon the gods for a thousand slights, real and imagined.
Nagas have a contentious relationship with doppelgangers, rakshasas, and other shapeshifing races. All roughly rival nagakind in power, all have a strong presence in Vudra, and all have ruled major portions of that land at one point or another before becoming unmasked. Currently the rakshasas are once again ascendant, which means many Vudrani nagas fnd themselves compelled to work with the animal-headed fends—for now.
NAGAJOR AND THE NAGAJI
There is, of course, one exception to the nagas’ tale of societal collapse and insularity: the mighty and mysterious land of Nagajor. A peninsular nation in southwestern Tian Xia, Nagajor is a realm thousands of years old ruled exclusively by nagas. Founded by the matriarch Nalinivati, who went on to become Nagajor’s patron goddess, Nagajor is the lone surviving piece of Vudra’s lost naga empire. Indeed, many nagas claim their race arose in Nagajor, as if trying to erase the shame of their decline in Vudra.
Two things have contributed to Nagajor’s success. The frst is the nagaji (Pathfnder RPG Bestiary 4 199), a race of humanoid reptiles similar to serpentfolk, albeit stockier and well muscled. By magically crossbreeding naga volunteers and humans, Nalinivati and her aides created a servitor race more akin to nagakind in temperament, who would revere the nagas as rulers rather than resent their control.
The second contributing factor is the religious and social structure of Nagajor. Though she herself was a sorcerer, Nalinivati promoted a faith that blended druidic respect for nature with Tian notions of civic religion. Over the millennia, nagaji have come to believe that faithful performance of their duties will be rewarded in social and spiritual advancement, in this life and in their next reincarnations. And just as their patron ascended from queen to goddess, nagaji know their druids can become true nagas if they are faithful (see the naga aspirant archetype on page 196 of Pathfnder RPG Advanced Race Guide)—so why should they themselves not persevere in their stations and be good stewards of their lands? This blend of faith and tradition not only ensures that nagaji serve their masters, but also restrains the nagas’ aristocracy. Isolated in sovereign territories separated by wilderness—and bound by law not to harm their neighbors—the ruling nagas have few opportunities to quarrel and scheme beyond the local level.
The result, while not a utopia, manifestly works.
Despite superfcial appearances, the nagaji are not blind adherents to their rulers. Their naga superiors can be remote, overbearing, or dangerous, and sometimes need to be overthrown. But among the nagaji, this is always seen as a failing of that particular naga, not the system.
Their faith in the royal family, their way of life, and Nagajor as a whole remains unshakable.
For more information on Nagajor, see Pathfnder Campaign Setting: Dragon Empires Gazetteer. For the nagaji as a race, see Pathfnder RPG Advanced Race Guide and Pathfnder Player Companion: Blood of the Beast. For a look at a typical nagaji village under the inﬂuence of competing naga factions, see Pathfnder Society Scenario #3–17: Red Harvest.
Vudra is a land where deities manifest in a dizzying array of aspects and avatars, and every mortal rajah’s cupbearer might be a demigod in disguise. Meanwhile, every naga in the Dragon Empires knows that Nalinivati spent her mortal life as Nagajor’s frst queen, elevating herself to godhood through sheer might of magic.
Small wonder, then, that nagas respect the gods but feel little call to revere them. Spirit and guardian nagas don’t even need to pray to access their cleric spells. Afer all, nagas were nearly immortal once, if the stories are to be believed. And if time is cyclical (as many Vudrani mystics espouse), nagas might once again be well along the path to godhood.
Thus nagas tend to emulate the gods rather than worship them, observing their rites as a means of understanding their majesty. Some nagas even purport to be living avatars of one deity or another, encouraging humanoid thralls to worship them. To them this is not blasphemy: they truly see such masquerades as right and proper ﬂattery. Ravithra and Nalinivati, at least, do not appear to begrudge these cults.
Nagas also honor local incarnations of Calistria, Desna, Gozreh, Irori, Pharasma, and Yamatsumi. Lunar nagas favor celestial deities such as Tsukiyo; water nagas are fond of Hanspur. Dark and spirit nagas are especially tempted by fell whispers from beyond. While Ravithra grudgingly cedes this last portion of nagakind to Dhalavei, the Unsuspected Rot (see page 6 of Pathfnder Module: Cult of the Ebon Destroyers), because of their shared interest in Vudra, she grows alarmed at the growing inﬂuence that Abraxas, Geryon, Lamashtu, and Yaezhing have over her beloved children.
Below are the nine most commonly encountered species of nag.a With their race’s penchant for isolation and secrecy, doubtless more uncatalogued varieties yet exist.
Dark Nagas: Frequenting both subterranean ruins and urban slums, dark nagas are the species most familiar to adventurers. They are interested in material wealth, especially jewelry and luxury items. Dark nagas loathe other nagas—other dark nagas in particular— though they gladly lord over goblins, kobolds, lizardfolk, and orcs. Typical dark naga obsessions include macabre or gothic jewelry; grave goods; and magical bands, circlets, or torques.
Deep Nagas: Little is known of the deep nagas, found far below Golarion’s surface in the vaults of Orv. Vast, giant-headed creatures more reminiscent of purple worms than snakes, deep nagas appear to be drawn to and even feed oﬀ the ley lines that run through the planet’s crust. Cunning and powerful, they sometimes allow troglodytes, skum, and degenerate serpentfolk to reside near them, oﬀering safety so long as the tribes’ sacrifces of ﬂesh and magical artifacts keep coming. Isolated as they are deep below even their other subterranean kin, deep nagas are in many ways the least naga-like of any subspecies. See page 90 for more information.
Dream Nagas: Intent on shaping the destiny of the multiverse—or on snufng out that destiny so that the next cycle of existence may begin—the cobra-like dream nagas slip into sleepers’ minds as cryptic messengers and witnesses. Dream nagas have few allies, though they respect samsarans (Bestiary 4 230), who take a similarly long view of existence. Dream naga nests ofen owe allegiance to a single rishi whose precepts guide their actions. Dream naga lairs are always carefully tucked away deep in the Dimension of Dreams. Typically, these are flled with pearls as large as harvest apples—some of which may contain an important memory, a suspended spell, or a whispered prophecy.
Guardian Nagas: Guardian nagas protect sites of religious ecstasy or natural wonder, including shrines, monasteries, sacred grottoes, or waterfalls. Ofen they are found in mated pairs, and a single naga family may protect the same site for centuries, aiding and aided by the shrine’s humanoid faithful (if any yet remain). Many are on friendly terms with couatls. Guardian nagas place great value on preserving the rituals and regalia of endangered or extinct religions. However, theirs is a static notion of preservation, with little room for study or curation: most guardian nagas consider scholars and archivists no better than tomb raiders.
Lunar Nagas: The weakest nagas currently known, lunar nagas are nocturnal creatures who love to study the sky. They prefer to dwell on mountaintops or abandoned towers, though a rare few take positions at universities or aboard ships as navigators. Astrologers and cosmologists by nature, lunar nagas each tend to focus on a specifc heavenly body, constellation, or astronomical phenomenon, collecting instruments and treatises that will further their mastery. Ancient observatories tend to attract nests of lunar nagas, some of whom go on to form stargazing cults. Many lunar nagas are driven mad by their studies, however, so these cults ofen come to tragic ends.
Royal Nagas: The paragons of nagakind, royal nagas are majestic, fve-headed serpents with cobra hoods and crippling supernatural gazes. Even more than most nagas, they are obsessed with fallen empires and lost cities. In her native jungle, one royal naga may lay claim to an entire temple complex or shattered palace.
Other royal nagas live among humanoids, using their supernatural shapechanging ability to put on as many as fve diﬀerent guises. One of these is always a ruler, hierophant, merchant prince, or guru of some sort. Royal nagas who suﬀer a great trauma or loss of status are prone to multiple-personality disorders. Some adventurers have found themselves working for a royal naga, only to fnd the serpent’s most hated foe is simply another aspect of herself.
Slime Nagas: Slime nagas are hideous creatures that dwell in sewers and fungal caverns. They exhibit supernatural control over unintelligent oozes. In addition to her pet slimes, a slime naga ofen builds cults from the tramps, ragpickers, and mongrelmen (Bestiary 2 191) who share her sewers, masquerading as a herald of Dhalavei, as the demon lord Jubilex or Cyth-V’sug, or as a deity in her own right. Slime nagas also bully outcast Darklands species, including dark folk (Pathfnder RPG Bestiary 5 66), derros, skulks (Bestiary 2 248), and weaker nagas. Status and secrets are everything to slime nagas, and their schemes almost always involve blackmail. Ofen the secrets they collect inspire more material collections as well—a slime naga tormenting a counterfeiter may start collecting rare coins, for instance.
Spirit Nagas: Spirit nagas are the witches of nagakind, making dark pacts with even darker powers. They dwell in sites of corruption and desolation: acidic bogs, battlefelds, desecrated graveyards, and spell-blasted wastes. Greasy-haired and pockmarked, spirit nagas rely on their charming gazes to ensnare thralls. Their rare alliances are typically with other, equally foul beings, particularly lesser asuras, ogres, oni (Bestiary 3 205), and tieﬂings. Hags sometime consider spirit nagas honorary sisters. Typical spirit naga obsessions include blasphemous tomes, sacrifcial blades, spirit dolls, and objects associated with millenarian cults. For more information, see page 213 of the Bestiary.
Water Nagas: Both migratory and highly territorial, water nagas are a threat to fshers, boaters, and barges.
Nevertheless, these serpents pride themselves on being travelers and tale collectors. Riverfolk who avoid a water naga’s territory but welcome her when she comes calling can learn all manner of gossip. Water nagas ofen squabble with each other and alternately trade with or subjugate local lizardfolk, fey, and the odd green hag.
In addition to collecting stories, they gather waterproof maps, signal ﬂags, and the magical tokens given as favors by the fey.
NAGAS ON GOLARION
Nagas dwell throughout Avistan, Casmaron, Garund, Tian Xia, and beyond, as well as in the Darklands beneath the same continents. Below are only some of the many dark corners where they may be found.
Absalom: Nagas are surprisingly common near the City at the Center of the World. From the sunken alleys of the Puddles district to the siege castles that dot the Cairnlands, there is a great deal to attract the obsessive serpents, especially dark, slime, and water nagas. Of late, the spirit naga Chali Deathtongue has come to lurk in the shadows near the Ascendant Court, interrogating and dispatching acolytes of those who have failed the Test of the Starstone.
Kaer Maga: No account of nagakind would be complete without a mention of Kaer Maga, where dark and spirit nagas, known colloquially as “wormfolk,” slither openly in the streets. Presumably they seek to plumb the secrets of the Asylum Stone’s mysterious creators, though their individual motivations are likely as varied as the city’s disparate inhabitants. Some of the wormfolk here sport the elaborate golden headpieces and jewelry popular among the nagas of Nagajor, but the fact that no nagaji servitors accompany them suggests that these individuals may be exiles or apostates of some kind. Beyond the walls of the City of Strangers, in greater Varisia, nagas plunder the ruins of ancient Thassilon, fghting with local giants and lamia-kin for supremacy.
Mwangi Expanse: Nagas are found throughout the Mwangi Expanse, luxuriating in the warm climate and enjoying ample access to game. The jungles also oﬀer miles of forgotten kingdoms to explore and defend, sometimes to the death—and beyond. Recently an explorer’s journal turned up at auction in the Sargavan capital of Eleder. Though battered, the journal described a lost Mwangi city straddling a canyon, the sides connected by only two bridges (a third having crumbled into the chasm). On one side of the divide, charau-ka (Pathfnder Campaign Setting: The Inner Sea World Guide 308) gibbered and screeched. The other half of the city was held by the ghost of a guardian naga and a clan of halﬂing balloonists, who engaged in a daily barrage of spells and alchemical grenades to keep the charau-ka at bay.
Nagajor: Nagajor is the pinnacle of naga achievement in the modern er.a Like many nations in the Dragon Empires, though, Nagajor is feeling pressured to open its borders to trade, adventurers, and other outside inﬂuences. Many lower-caste nagas and nagaji see this as an opportunity. More and more villages have witnessed the rise of nagaji criminal gangs or short but bloody coups among the naga overseers. Meanwhile, drugs, rare spices, and pilfered artifacts—including giant eggs from the Valashmai Jungle—are moving through the coastal cities at an alarming rate.
River Kingdoms: Water nagas are common throughout the River Kingdoms, particularly during their spring and fall migration periods. River folk come to know the nagas in their area and avoid the creatures’ seasonal domains. One loosely afliated nest of water naga bards, calling themselves the Rattlers, spread tales of oathbreakers wherever they go—and oﬀer to assassinate the same.
Shenmen: Evil fey and undead are not the only inhabitants of Tian Xia’s land of spiders and ghosts.
Spirit nagas too depraved for rigid Nagajor fnd Shenmen to be a welcoming haven and a font of vile inspiration. Meanwhile, the upwelling of dark energies beneath Shenmen’s subterranean capital has drawn the attention—and appetites—of the rare deep nagas.
The Sodden Lands: The rain-soaked realm that was once Lirgen has become a beacon for lunar nagas, scores of whom have laid claim to the abandoned viewing towers and orreries that belonged to the Saoc Brethren.
One prominent cabal known as the Wanderer’s Children is helping a green dragon astronomer restore a vast stone calendar. The timepiece appears to track the circuits of the planets Castrovel, Triaxus, and a third, unnamed heavenly body.
Vudra: Nagas no longer rule Vudra openly, but they are by no means absent from that great realm. Most have retreated to vine-covered ruins deep in Vudra’s many jungles. A rare few, mostly royal nagas, have reclaimed their ancestral holdings, ruling them through layers of illusions, factotums, and brutal spy networks. One such rajah, Gesh Bhannacharyeh of Chakdahna, is the latest in an unbroken line of succession stretching back centuries, in part thanks to a local belief that once in a generation the rajah must don a serpent skin and kill a chimera to keep evil outsiders at bay.
Other nagas are content to carve out subtler domains.
In hilly Jaman, twin slime nagas control most of that city’s underworld. Their inﬂuence is particularly strong over the betting rings associated with Jaman’s competitive kite-fghting scene. Spirit nagas in skull masks lurk amid the cremation pits of Geer Pharas, stealing bodies from the pyres prior to their destruction. Spirit nagas also serve as the totems, tutors, and ritual memory for an academy of witch-trained slayers (Pathfnder RPG Advanced Player’s Guide 65, Pathfnder RPG Advanced Class Guide 53) known as the Night Sashes. Far to the east, at the lightning-struck Monastery of the Sky, naga mystics hone their kinetic powers over earth, air, and aether via elaborate duels atop rocky crags. Wielders of fre and water are forbidden to enter, though no one will say why.
NAGAS IN MYTHOLOGY
Nagas have a long history in real-world mythology from the Indian subcontinent, including prominent appearances in Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain texts. While their physical descriptions very from story to story, they are almost always associated with serpents in some form or another, whether taking on the shapes of serpentine humans or simply large snakes.
In the Mahabharata, nagas are presented in a generally negative light, often deceiving or scheming against the epic’s protagonists. This epic also presents the nagas’ animosity toward garudas, an element that has made its way into Pathfnder lore as well, including the tale in which nagas cut their tongues on sharp grass while attempting to drink an illusory elixir of immortality.
Modern Hinduism portrays nagas as guardian spirits of springs, wells, and rivers, bringers of rain and fertility but also drought and ﬂoods. In some Buddhist regions of southeast Asia, the concept of nagas has been merged with local traditions of dragons. In all traditions, nagas often guard treasure, be it underwater or underground, leading to their portrayal in roleplaying games as residents of ruins and isolated regions of the world.
Nagas and naga-inspired creatures have appeared in modern mythology as well, from Lord Voldemort’s snake Nagini in the Harry Potter book series to the cobras Nag and Nagaina in Rudyard Kipling’s “Rikki Tikki Tavi. ==NAGAS AND THE OCCULT== .
With their interest in astrology, dead religions, ruins, and other esoteric subjects, nagas ft naturally into occultthemed adventures. Exceptional specimens may even take levels in the occult classes, with or without class archetypes, found in Pathfnder RPG Occult Adventures.
Nagas of all types are ofen drawn to take levels as mesmerists (Occult Adventures 38), perhaps due to their serpentine physiology and the common belief that snakes hold the power to hypnotize their prey.
Collectors of macabre curios, dark nagas tend to become occultists (Occult Adventures 46) or relic channelers (Occult Adventures 93) to tap the psychic resonances inherent in these objects. Guardian nagas fnd power in defending their chosen domains as mediums (Occult Adventures 30) or battle hosts (Occult Adventures 100). Obsessed with the spirit world and sites of corruption, spirit nagas ofen become mediums or spiritualists (Occult Adventures 72). Those enthralled by blood magic become blood kineticists (Occult Adventures 88). Most water nagas are too brutish to pursue mysteries of the mind, though well-traveled individuals might train as storytellers (Occult Adventures 95) or hydrokineticists (Occult Adventures 10).
The stargazing lunar nagas are almost exclusively aeroor telekineticists (Occult Adventures 10). Royal nagas prefer disciplines that emphasize their mastery over others, especially the psychic duelist (Occult Adventures 107), sha’ir (Occult Adventures 102), and tome eater (Occult Adventures 102) archetypes. Slime nagas are potent mesmerists; many become cult masters (Occult Adventures 96) as well.
Already gifed in psychic magic, dream nagas usually continue their studies as full-ﬂedged psychics (Occult Adventures 60). Miles underground, the isolated deep nagas gorge on meat and magical energies alike, becoming ﬂesheaters (Occult Adventures 114) or ley line guardians (Occult Adventures 125). More ofen than other naga species, however, deep nagas advance with extra hit dice rather than via class levels. 
- Pathfinder - [EN] - Adventure Path - (PZO90118] - 20 - Ironfang Invasion - 04 - Siege of Stone