A to Z: Y is for Yuan-Ti

Today is brought to you by the letter Y and the evil half-snake Yuan-Ti.

I first heard of “The Yuan Ti” back in 1981 or so via the TSR adventure, “Dwellers of the Forbidden City.” The Yuan-Ti are an evil race of snake-people that are divided into the castes of ‘abominations,’ ‘purebloods’ and ‘halfbreeds.’ What made the Yuan-Ti unique as a monster is that they could appear in all sorts of different configurations — some might be snakes with human heads, others might be snakes with human torsos and arms or creatures with snake heads for hands, etc. We thought this was pretty cool at the time (and I still think it’s great).

The ‘forbidden city’ that they lived in was also pretty cool. It was in a valley that was accessed through a series of dungeon-like tunnels with various guards and traps. The city itself was mostly ruined and overrun with “mongrelmen” (sort of half breeds that combined the worst features of almost every humanoid), “Tasloi” (little guys that, as I recall, climbed trees and threw javelins… I thought of them as monkey-men) and “bullywugs” (frog people). Plus there was some very cool art on the cover of The Forbidden City by Erol Otus.

A few years ago I placed the “Forbidden City” in Blackmoor/Aldeboran (I was using the Blackmoor map for a while for my adventures and might go back to it… but everything can be moved from one place to another as far as I am concerned). I placed “The Forbidden City” on an island and jammed “The Tomb of Abysthor” from Necromancer Games in there. I decided that the ‘Forbidden City’ had once been a holy city of an order of Paladins who were subsequently destroyed and their city became a nest of evil. The Yuan-Ti in my campaign were actually interfertile with medusas… the medusas and the Yuan-Ti could breed and some of the children would be Yuan-Ti while others would be medusas.

The players had to travel to the city in order to return the remains of a paladin they had found to The Tomb of Abysthor (as well as rescue some slaves). This ended up wiping out half the party, but, in the end, they were successful. Good times.

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