Biology · Races

Lamia

Overview

Lamia are a sapient female only species from the planet Kaf. Although they belong to a type of faye known as naga, lamia are the only extant species since the end of the Ghulat Wars cataclysm. From the waist up Lamias appear to be humanoid, but below their hips in place of legs, they possess a large powerful snake-like abdomen and tail used for locomotion and self-defense.

Quick Species Profile

Nagini lamia   “liminal snake”

Life Expectancy

Average: 150 years

Max: 350 years

Average Height: 145 to 167 cm (4’9″ to 5’6″)

Average Length: 6 to 8.5 m (20 to 28 ft)

Average Weight: 90 to 230 kg (200 to 500 lbs)

Creature Type: Faye Demihumanoid

Biology

Appearance

Hair: Black, Brown, Red/Orange, Blonde, Green, Midnight Blue
Ears: Round, Pointed
Eye Color: Brown, Amber, Green, Yellow, Blue, Gray, Red
Eye Pupils: round, vertical slit
Tongue: rounded, long, forked
Nails: rounded, pointed
Scales: smooth, rough; solid colored, patterned

Their bodies above their hips appear very similar to human women including having mammary breasts on their chests in adulthood. Lamias have equivalent body size to humans from the waist up, but their serpentine coils and tail generally reach 15 to 23 feet in length near adulthood. This length can make them appear to be larger than they really are when stretched out, but idly standing with their lower body coiled, Lamias can take up the same room as a woman in a wide skirt.

Lamias tend to have vibrant colored scales on their coils, many of which match their hair color, most appear to be green, brown, black, yellow or various patterns, with some being bright colors like red or blue. Typically, their coils are completely scaled up to the waistline. Sometimes however, they have patches of scales along their back, shoulders, faces and hands.

Their hair is commonly jet black, brown, red, green, blonde, with other colors are seen as very exotic in societies. Some may have typical round ears or pointed ones similar to fairies. Many have eyes which are slit pupils but round pupils are also common. The color of their eyes mainly come in amber, blue, yellow, green and light brown, although nearly all eye colors are possible. The complexion of their (non-scaled)skin has the same range as humans; from beige to tanned to brown.

Physiological Traits

Serpentine Anatomy: Now for members of the naga family including lamia, their most distinguishing feature is their humanoid pelvis leading into a scaled legless body and tail referred to as their coils. Despite many still thinking they are just a long tail, it is more accurate to say it is an extension of their abdomen as a snake-like structure. As such, most of their visceral organs are housed in this snake like part, and only one foot from the tip is technically a tail as it only has pure skeletal muscle and bone.

Humanoid Anatomy: The humanoid portion of their midsection is mainly where their respiratory system and heart is stored. Lamia lungs, like those of most birds and harpies, are fixed-volume organs that receive a constant, unidirectional airflow driven by air sacs that function like bellows. During inhale, the air sacs inflate – one drawing in fresh air via the trachea, the other drawing air out of the lung. During exhale, the air sac full of fresh air is expelled into the lungs, while the other expels out through the trachea. So they have the air sacs where the lungs would normally be in the human torso, with pretty much the whole rest of the torso being the fixed-volume lungs where the actual gas exchange with blood happens. Also note the pelvic region of the torso before the serpentine abdomen contains the gonads and excretory organs. This is because the GI tract and excretory system of lamia go through the entire length of the coils and loop back to end where the anus and urethra would be on their humanoid portion.

Scaled Skin: All have scales covering their coils and tail, other common places include their hips, back, shoulders, lower parts of their face. Lamia can have scales that are smooth, “keeled” [where the scales possess a ridge down the center of the scale (much like the keel on the bottom of a boat)], or “granular” [where the scales appear “bumpy” or pyramidal]. Keeled and granular scale morphologies give them a “rough” texture. They shed their scales all at one time in a process called ecdysis and once the lamia has constructed a new, inner layer of scales (keratin), a fluid is excreted between the new and old layers of scales in order to separate them. This fluid is then re-absorbed and the lamia sloughs off her old layer of scales in a single piece (provided she is healthy and under optimal environmental conditions).

Variable Body Heat: Although Lamia have mammalian traits, they do not regulate their body temperature in typical mammalian fashion as theirs track ambient temperatures.  At lower temperatures, they use behavioral thermoregulation, such as when cold, Lamia huddle together or shiver to generate heat. Conversely, when they get too hot, they retreat to cooler shaded areas.

Slightly venomous saliva: Lamia possess small fangs for canine teeth, but lack the larger fangs of venomous snakes and other types of naga, and most are not known to secrete venom. However chemical testing of their saliva has revealed it retains a weak mixture of nuerotoxins and hemotoxins, though it is harmless to most beings larger than mice. Bites from a lamia that break the skin may only leave numbness around the area for larger beings (from the almost venom, obviously germs from the mouth could be much worse!)

Sensory Tongue: Like a snake, the tip of a Lamia’s tongue possesses the “Jacobson’s organ”; that allows a Lamia to detect smells in the air. Many have long tongues than have a forked tip as well.

Tail Rattles: Those with strong Rattle Lamia heritage have a rattle that is composed of a series of hollow, interlocked segments made of keratin, which are created by modifying the scales that cover the tip of the tail. The contraction of special “shaker” muscles in the tail causes these segments to vibrate against one another, making the rattling noise (which is amplified because the segments are hollow). Their threats advertised by the loud shaking of the titular noisemaker (“rattle”) at the end of their tail, deters many predators and foes.

Heat Sensing Pit Organs: Rattle, python, and some boa lamia have infrared-sensitive receptors have freckle-like grooves in their face.  They are actually a second set of vision organs, with sensitive tissue that allows them to sense the electromagnetic waves emitted by the thermal radiation of warm objects or warm-blooded animals.  Commonly in rattle lamia, the grooves are located between the nostril and the eye, in a large dark “spot “on each of their cheeks. Other infrared-sensitive ethnic groups have multiple, smaller labial pits resembling freckles lining the upper lip, just below the nostrils.

Variable forms of Serpentine Movement:

The key to all naga’s movement are ventral scales. These specialized rectangular scales line the underside of a lamia, corresponding directly with the number of coil ribs. The bottom edges of the ventral scales function like the tread on a tire, gripping the surface and propelling the lamia forward.

Lateral undulation, also known as serpentine locomotion, is the “typical,” s-shaped way for snakes and naga to move. This consists of the lamia not only pushing off of the ground beneath her body, but also pushing off of the sides of the objects in her environment, giving the lamia increased speed and agility (often granting it the ability to out-maneuver humanoids and other potential predators). Lateral undulation is also commonly utilized while lamia are swimming in water.

A much slower method of movement is rectilinear locomotion. This technique also contracts the body into curves, but these waves are much smaller and curve up and down rather than side to side. When using rectilinear movement, the tops of each curve are lifted above the ground as the ventral scales on the bottoms push against the ground, creating a rippling effect similar to how a caterpillar looks when it walks. This locomotion is most commonly seen in large, heavy-bodied naga/lamia.

When attempting to climb up a tree or move across a low-friction surface, lamia will often utilize concertina locomotion, which is similar to the movement of an accordion, going from a spread-out state to a bunched-up state. Concertina locomotion is slow-going and energetically costly (requiring up to 7 times more energy than lateral undulation).

While crawling on a low-friction or shifting substrate like sand, lamia will tend to move using sidewinder locomotion. This is a complicated motion whereby the snake utilizes its own momentum to propel itself forward using a series of lateral “body throws” (in the form of “loops”) initiated by the head/neck and followed through by the body, resulting in the appearance of a series of independent (not connected), s-shaped “footprints” in the substrate (which are oriented at an angle to the net direction of motion).

When a lamia needs to cross a distance quickly, she may opt to use saltation (jumping). This is basically a modified form of concertina locomotion, where the lamia rapidly straightens its body in an anterior to posterior fashion while lifting its entire body off of the substrate. To clarify, this process consists of the lamia jumping (or faux striking) and throwing her entire body forward, lead by the head and shoulders. Saltation is a rare form of locomotion that is primarily utilized in aggressive or escape behavior.

Constrained to select arboreal groups, these lamia are capable of a limited form of flight called “gliding.” This is where the lamia “leaps” from atop a tall object (e.g., tree) and glides safely down to the ground (typically traveling much further laterally than vertically). To clarify, this process consists of the lamia “jumping” off of the tall object (to “catch” the air), making her belly concave (instead of convex) to create an air-foil (similar to a plane wing or parachute), moving her body in a way similar to lateral undulation (to propel the snake forward), and using her tail as a rudder to direct the final trajectory (on the ground or another tree).

Biomagical Attributes

Regeneration Factor: Lamia can passively regenerate wounds in a short time via biomagical reactions speeding up the process. The extent of this regeneration can prevent the development of scar tissue and even regrow entire limbs within a few minutes however these actions do not set any broken bones on its own. In addition, this trait is significantly slowed in anti-magic areas or when the subject is increasingly exhausted.

Negligible Senescence: Lamia lack any measurable deterioration from aging due to their cells high regenerative properties. They do not have any reduction in functional or reproductive capabilities past maturity. The rate of mortality doesn’t increase past old age either, meaning that most can live for centuries and are biologically immortal or ageless. Lamia however are not deathless and still get ill or injured enough to die.


General Diet

Lamia are primarily carnivorous and ingest other animals (preferably freshly killed or quickly seasoned). Terrestrial and arboreal lamia often feast on insects, snails, spiders, scorpions, poultry, rodents, lizards, turtles, as large hooved game is generally for rare occasions of those who herd animals. Those near the water will partake of various fish, frogs, toads, newts, squids, octopi, crabs, lobsters, seabirds, occasionally even seals or small sharks.  They can acquire prey mainly by constricting (wrapping around them and squeezing), or simply overpowering them. Technically, naga in general are able to swallow very large prey, stretching their jaws and possessing a very extensible throat and stomach like actual snakes. However, lamia are more likely to break apart or chew their food as their species have the teeth to do so. As such they are likely to be weak for those who don’t swallow their food whole very often.

 

Besides meat, they may also partake of fungi or animal derived products like eggs or milk. This change in diet may also have altered their biology; with the spread of dairy farming providing a new and rich source of food, leading to the evolution of the ability to digest lactose in many adults. Lamia are one of the rare Kaf species who historically milked animals and thus a good number are lactose-tolerant in adulthood. This has lead to lamia culture having the most animal dairy based treats and confectioneries compared to other species.

 

When animals or their derivatives are hard to come by, large or starchy vegetables like tubers and rhizomes, beans or even fleshy fruits can make up the difference in their diet. The majority of lamia will avoid most things leafy, small seeds, or dry breads however. Lamia are capable of digesting virtually anything but hair (which is occasionally excreted in the form of “hairballs” along with the “normal” waste).

Reproduction

The pelvic region of the upper torso before the serpentine abdomen contains humanoid genitalia and a excretory urethra. Lamias give birth to live children, they do not lay eggs. Although they are a female only species, they have a number of options in order to become pregnant and have children (well daughters).

First is parthenogenesis, creating a similar female child. Despite reproducing asexually, and being an all female species, lamia still have to engage in pseudo-copulation with others of its own species, behavior that  promotes fertilization during ovulation, as those who do not “mate” do not become pregnant. This means that the ovulating lamia can have a “virgin birth” by way of creating half-clones of herself (due to a mistake during oogenesis, whereby a polar body can act as a sperm and fertilize the egg). This can also be stimulated by other female humanoids or demihumanoids.

Their reproduction process does not need male fertilization, although male humanoid or demihumanoid genetic contribution can help promote the species genetic diversity and thus is sought out when available. Lamia born from these unions inherit a small amount of genetic material from the father, which goes into traits or features that don’t drastically alter her physiology as a member of her mother’s species

Lamia are pregnant with their daughters for roughly 9 months until giving live birth. As lamia have mammary glands, they provide their babies with milk from their breasts until they are old enough to try solid food.

Lifespan and Growth

When first born, they are basically miniature versions of their mothers. And they stay near their mothers and feed off their milk for the first year or two. Puberty begins roughly around 14 at the earliest and is more common near 16.

Being faye, lamia lack the physical and degenerative symptoms of aging. The typical life expectancy of a lamia is 150 years, being higher in developed nations.

History

After the war isolated various naga species, and their habitats, it became hard for remaining males and females to find mates of their respective species. It likely that there were multiple cross-bred Naga species but the one that became the ancestor of lamia obviously won out.  The lamia species resulted from the hybridization of different sexual species of naga, a process that instilled the parthenogenetic females with a great amount of genetic diversity at the outset.

They also inherited the disdain that civil cultures had for many types of naga as well. For many years they were regarded as monsters who preyed upon the settlements of humanoid species like Fairies or Homins, by stealing them for breeding or possibly eating them. Stories about them led to areas banning lamia and occasional hunts if there was an expected nest nearby. For the lamia, some did indeed kidnap humanoid males for mating purposes but overtime more and more decided to isolate themselves or attempt to protect their territory. In addition, certain nations would partake in trafficking humanoid monsters including lamia many for forced manual labor or sex services, as monsters would often lack any protection given to persons.

Their monstrous status didn’t change until psychological case studies on another monstrous species, Harpies revealed that many of the preconceived monster traits were mainly a product of their environment. As such there was a slow but eventual acceptance with others species and into society and civil moments began to recognize that lamia were intelligent creatures and demanded equal protection under the law. Germ theory was rediscovered by a lamia, whose race developed cheese making, leading the way for microbiology. What followed after was half a century of independent alchemist experiments confirming the concept. Another lamia would apply this to medicine for a decade by following the pathology of a silkworm disease, saving the silk industry. International legislation was passed that declared the lamia race to have official personhood.

Culture

Ethnotypes

  • Garter
  • Rattle
  • Boa
  • Python

Architecture

Another property of their snake like bodies is that they don’t really need solid flooring to get around. A series of criss-crossing poles line most elevated floors for most Lamia to move across comfortably. This allows them to make taller buildings at an earlier tech level than most surrounding  species, since the building would not have to support as much weight. From the interior, most buildings and cities would probably look incomplete to other species and highly reminiscent of scaffolding, with beams and poles connecting the individual buildings and serving as walkways to the Lamia. It would look kinda like a tree cities, in fact, just with stone/sod/wood buildings in place of tree trunks.

 

Dwellings near water often have canals that are preferable for moving around inside a settlement over roads and footpaths. For their snakeskin abdomens, they prefer what feels like preferable textures like sand, wooden bead mats and carpets. They aren’t usually comfortable with stairs, so in lamia intended structures moving from level to level will use either something like ramps or cables to climb.

 

For places that would see a lot of traffic, such as public buildings, most likely, a wide ladder-like scaffolding would be installed to allow many lamia to use them at once. For private residences, where comfort and aesthetics matters more, a pillar with sticks sticking out of it would be preferred. Think of one of those Chinese training dummies, just taller and with more protrusions.

 

In place of beds, they use cots slung off the ground or would most utilize some sort of cushioned pole. The lamia would wrap their tails around the pole and use the cushion to rest their heads.

 

Lamia living spaces contain floor heating, mainly so they can quickly regain lost body heat, like a patch of stone floor with hot water being circulated under it. Low income housing has a minimal amount of heat, most of which provided through fireplaces, while richer housing would have pipes embedded within the walls and floors through which warm water flows, similar to electric wiring in modern homes. Having one of those pipes go through the center of their sleeping poles would be particularly valued.

 

It goes without saying that the Lamia prefer housing with very good insulation. Apart from solid, thick walls,  they find much greater use of greenhouses other than growing crops. The wealthy would have greenhouses as part of their estates, to be used as winter housing or as a cross between a garden and a hot tub.

Spirituality

Lamia, despite their whimsical natures, are a very spiritual and expressive people, and place great value on the unseen elements of the world, especially spirits of the earth and water. This makes shamans more common in their society who act as healers and spirit guides for the clan.

In the polytheistic era, Lamia worshiped the Shen goddess Nüwa as she was believed to created all the naga species in her and her husband’s Fuxi image. Even today imagery of the two is respected and Nüwa is often believed to reincarnate as a lamia many times since the Samasara Pilgrimage.

 

Lamia traditions are usually strongly tied to freedom and community, believing that while they are stronger as a whole, none should hold power over another entirely, and should be trusted with their own devices for good or ill, making the matriarchs more of a stand in only for drastic issues that threaten to tear the clan apart.

Gender/Family

They rarely have more then a parent/child hierarchy in their family groups, seeing the entire tribe as an immediate family.

Usually a mated pair of lamia lives in a cave, hut or similar small home, dwelling together – though larger homes for larger families is expected.Traditionally, the oldest female of a clan leads as the “Matriarch”, who makes all important decisions for the clan, blesses mated pairs, names babies, and oversees the daily life of the clan. During times of war, usually the matriarch’s mate (if any), commands behind the front lines and orders the hunters and warriors of the community, though if none such mate exists, the high mother has been often seen in such positions as well, acting as judge, jury, and executioner in most cases.

Traditionally, pairing was done with multiple partners (swinging), or social monogamy with a single partner. During this time lamia would also have relations with males of other races, often discretely from the public. Some clans would go as far to take away humanoid males of nearby settlements to be made as communal breeding mates for all the clan’s post-pubescent lamia.

Dress/Modesty

Modesty differs between the size of the group themselves. Solitary or small scale bands often will be fine with being nude, those in larger groups that are near conservative races or in developed nations will typically have at least some type of clothing, though very few will actually be ashamed of their own nudity. In many lamia dwellings, bare chests are acceptable since they all develop breasts at some point. Most wear wraps, or skirts and dresses to accommodate the shape of their lower halves and are incapable of wearing clothing for legs such as trousers. In developed cities, there have been made silicon decorative triangles that they place over their genitals to serve in the aspect as panties. Otherwise, most lamia lack undergarments for practicality or personal preference.

 

Socialization

Majority of lamia children learn by imitating their parents and the other adult lamia around them. This is a hands on approach that emphasizes direct experience and learning through inclusion. The lamia girls feel that they are vital members of the community, and she is encouraged to participate in a meaningful way by community members. In addition their are stories and songs passed orally that often explain community rules. Those that had fathers of another race may also learn from them if they live with the lamia or go join their father’s community, giving them a different upbringing than other lamia.

Magical Use

Most lamia are potentially powerful spell casters, though their talent often appears rather late in their life. Most of their early years they mostly have the capacity for small magic for domestic or mundane use. They usually possess a favored element or type, which means that they feel more at ease and focused when in contact with that element. They are also more prone to learn magic based around this category, and more resistant to being damaged by it as well. Beyond the spells they are taught at home, lamia who want to learn more magic will often become an apprentice for an expert magician in the community. 

 

Science and Technology

Transportation

Due to their overall anatomy, lamia are limited in the types of transportation they can take mainly due to how much they weigh and space they take up. Lamia haven’t made their own unique kinds but existing vehicles can be modified to fit lamia passengers. Public transportation in metropolitan areas are often made to accommodate demihumanoids like lamia.

Weaponry
 

In battle, lamia mostly use their tail, along with their bare fists and sometimes a weapon. A lamia’s tail is tremendously strong, and can do great damage when swung, crushing their foes between the ground and their tough scales. Indigenous Lamia tribes are trained with curved knives, daggers, spears, javelins, halberds. Lamia in metropolitan areas are more likely to adopt various personal firearms.

Communications

Lamia don’t have any special forms of communication beyond simply talking to each other. They did adopt the communication devices and media from more developed races however.

 

Medical Treatment

Traditional medicine of early lamia societies mainly focuses on folk remedies consisting of ground animal bones ingested or animal fats used as ointments. The first major change came from being introduced to the systems of Ayurveda and Zhongyi which expanded the type of treatments that could be used. Some of the most popular portions, are the message therapies common to them. Chiropractic was developed from popular introduced physical therapies and became prevalent due its great effectiveness for lamia back problems and fostered more physical therapies.

A lamia medical practitioner was one of the first in develop the germ theory of disease which led to the creation of antibiotics, antisepsis, and the process of sterilization during surgeries. Although the weak toxins innate to their people have been enhanced for warfare, its use has also led to the process behind anti venom and other pharmaceuticals derived from the concoctions.

Manufacturing

Traditional lamia creations are limited to handmade objects made from materials in their natural environment like plant fibers, clay, stone or animal parts. These are simply made for everyday practical use, by those with a general repertoire of skills. Common examples are basket traps made for catching difficult prey.  They are mostly made for personal use thought very recently, some individuals have made multiples for the purposes of selling them.

 

Author’s Notes

Lamia were a late addition to the “core races”, I was convinced due to being influenced by other shows and stories I was watching. Snake research yielded a lot, but cultural research onto lamia lead to the naga which had a huge amount of interesting points. I also heard confusion between what to call snake humanoids the Greek lamia or Vedic naga, so I worked it so I could have both. The decision of making them female only due to their name, lead to a lot of research on female only species like whip tail lizards. Overall I hope their alien biology makes the lamia an interesting people to make stories about.

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