The ophidian race dates back to the beginning of the Fanged Kingdom, roughly 1000 BC and were the ultimate inspiration for the creation of the dragonborn race. The gwerin rulers had uncovered hidden secrets from the aelvar--the techniques and patterns that were used to create humans and orcs. They applied these in lesser ways, breeding in traits of their favored animals, the serpents, into their slave populations of elves and humans. Almost all residents of the Jungle of Fangs descend from these experiments and alterations. The results varied tremendously. Over the 1200 years since then, the various groups have interbred primarily with similar kindreds and have created distinct lineages. The ophidians are one of these. They are the least human, the most altered.
Visually, ophidians are slender, graceful, and slightly shorter than the fang-kin, standing 5'2" on average. Males and females show little sexual dimorphism; secondary sexual characteristics are small. Facial and body hair is minimal on the majority of ophidians. Their eyes show the distinctive vertical-slit irises and most commonly are red or iridescent green. Their hair is more mottled in scale-like patterns than the fang-kin, and tends to be straight or wavy. Scale-like patches of pigmented skin cover parts of their bodies, most commonly the chest and neck and the upper legs.
Different lineages exist, each claiming to trace their heritage to a specific type of snake. Some evidence of this exists--certain groups have an operational venom sac and can inflict a nasty poisoned bite while others cannot.
Culturally, ophidians tended to live on the outskirts of society until the Ophidian Treaty. In Asai'ka, they are considered second-class citizens and discriminated against, while in the Serpent Dominion they have integrated into society pretty well and are common among the priesthood (especially the Temple Dancers). The Sha'slar Autonomous Zone is not home to many, but they are accepted if they are willing to work like anyone else. A few tribes still keep to their old ways in the deep jungle at the southern tip of the jungle, however.
Ophidian Racial Traits
Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 1.
Age. Ophidians age at a similar rate as humans and have similar lifespans.
Size. Ophidians are similar in size to humans, although generally slightly shorter and more slender. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Darkvision. You have superior vision in dark or dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of grey.
Languages. You can speak and write Common and Iadth Nedyr.
Venom-blooded. You have resistance to poison damage.
Raised among a group that counted the big constrictor snakes as their ancestral spirit animal, you have developed strength and skill with grappling.
Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 2.
Serpentine Flexibility. You have advantage on any ability check made to impose or escape a grapple.
Constricting Grasp. When you have someone grappled and you take the Attack action, you can replace the attack (or one of the attacks if you can make more than one with an Attack action) with the following. The grappled target must make a Strength saving throw against a DC of 8 + your Strength modifier + your proficiency bonus. On a failed save, the target is restrained. A restrained target may reattempt the saving throw at the end of each of their turns, ending the restraint on a success. While a target is restrained and you take the Attack action, you can forgo one attack to deal 1d4 + your Strength modifier bludgeoning damage to the restrained target.
Small but deadly, the coral snake is one of the most venomous of its kind. Your ancestors partook of that essence.
Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by an additional 1 and your Constitution score increases by 1.
Serpentine Evasion. When you succeed on a Dexterity saving throw against an effect that deals half damage on a success, you can choose to instead take no damage. Once you use this ability, you cannot use it again until you complete a long or short rest.
Poison Bite. You have a fang that you can use as an unarmed attack. When you hit with an attack using this natural weapon (which counts as having the versatile trait), you deal 1d4 poison damage + your Dexterity modifier piercing damage.
Taking after the hypnotic swaying of a cobra’s hood, you have learned to charm and beguile.
Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma score increases by 2.
Innate Spellcasting. You learn the friends cantrip. You can cast animal friendship once with this trait; if you target a snake, it has disadvantage on the Wisdom saving throw. You regain the ability once you finish a long rest. When you reach level 3, you can cast enthrall once with this trait and regain the ability once you finish a long rest. When you reach level 5, you can cast hypnotic pattern once with this trait and regain the ability once you finish a long rest.
One side effect of the manipulation imposed on their ancestors is that ophidian children have a significantly increased risk of somatic birth defects, including fused legs, malformed heads, and missing or vestigial arms. When such a child is born, they are traditionally taken to the shamans for "treatment". This treatment involves both rituals and drugs, and results in death or the creation of an isal'psa--a king snake. The malformed body part is transformed into a snake-like appendage--fused legs into a functional snake tail, missing or vestigial arms are replaced by serpentine, fanged appendages, and heads are shaped into a hooded visage resembling that of a cobra. Failures either die outright or become a full hybrid of snake and man, called a kapar'psa (protector snake) for their enhanced protective impulses.
The isal'psa are held in reverence by most ophidians, especially the more tribal ones. Polite fang-kin culture considers them unclean and shuns them, however. Isal'psa are almost uniformly sterile--the drugs and magic involved (along with the body-reshaping) removes their sexual desires and capabilities. Instead, they become emotionally cold and distant, able to lead by pure reason and persuasion. Some develop significant magical powers.