Lords of Creation: Spawn of the Everlord
The Midgard Serpent was created close to the dawn of creation. Sahu, wishing both practice at creating mortal lives and to make her sea a more deadly place build upon the body of a regular sea serpent. She added more and more deadly talents and power, before breathing the power of intelligence into it. Though Midgard Serpents can be found all over the world, they are more commonly found surrounding Illyria than anywhere else. They tend to live more in moderate to shallow waters than the true depths to avoid the Kraken/.
The Midgard Serpent, as one would expect, is similar to the more mundane sea serpent in many ways. In terms of shape, general physiology and so forth they’re all but identical. However the Midgard Serpent is on average 25% larger for its age, trends towards reds rather than blues or greens in terms of scale color, has golden ‘armor’ most notably around its head and neck, and has a large jagged horn on its forehead.
Though physically potent, it’s a Midgard Serpent’s innate magic abilities that make it truly dangerous. Most notably is its horn. Aside from being a potent slashing weapon and all but indestructible, it’s also capable of shooting potent blasts of lightning not unlike a chain lightning spell. This can completely devastate a ship without even having to come within close contact, which is a favored tactic of the best. In addition, the Midgard Serpent has an innate ability to charm sea creatures weaker than itself. In general a Midgard can command non-sea serpent, non-intelligent sea creatures totaling its CR. Most use this to enslave lackeys to ram into ships, or forward scouts to report if anything dangerous is in its territory. It can also completely dominate a single sea serpent equal to its own CR, which it often uses as a lieutenant or even body double.
Midgard Serpents are not a unified race. They aren’t even pack predators. They are ferociously individualistic, and only truly come together to mate. The life cycle of a Midgard Serpent begins in the Under Ocean. Hatched from an egg among thousands of siblings, the creature is too weak to take to the open ocean, or even the Under Ocean itself outside of the pool it was birthed in. To gain strength the serpent must bide its time to grow, and is forced to devour its siblings to do so as there is no other food to sustain it in its pool. As a Midgard Serpent devours its kin it absorbs their intelligence and power, slowly gaining knowledge of their own language, their magical powers, and even basic knowledge of their society. Though thousands are born in a single mating from a single pool, usually it is only one adolescent serpent that slithers out into the Under Ocean upon reaching about twelve feet in length. Upon leaving the pool, the Midgard Serpent chooses a name for itself, usually something verbose and arrogant with many ‘g’ or ‘b’ sounds. Common names include Mogrig, B’lupilog, and Gobnub.
By this point the Midgard Serpent is completely capable of hunting by itself and using all of its powers. Its first order of business is then swimming out to find a relatively save coral reef, sunken ship, underwater cave or other lair to hide in. The purpose of having a permanent lair is three fold. Firstly, Midgard Serpents are terrified of Kraken. A permanent hiding place to keep themselves safe is the only real way to avoid being killed by the monsters. Secondly, it marks their territory as being a large space centered on their lair for other Midgard Serpents to plainly see. Finally, a Midgard Serpent LOVES treasure. It does not love treasure for treasure’s sake, nor is it picky – a clay pot is a valuable to it as a chest full of gold. The true reason a Midgard Serpent loves treasure is that it’s proof of their dominance, their strength, and their cunning. Midgard Serpents cannot craft their own gear. As such any gear they possess must have been extorted, stolen, or otherwise looted from other races or Midgard Serpents. The larger their horde, the more secure they feel as each piece of treasure is proof of a physical or mental victory over an inferior opponent.
The area in which a Midgard Serpent lives is known as a territory. Often this is the end of it. However in areas where many Midgard Serpents dwell, particularly off the coast of Illyria, their are often areas known as barony’s. The general reason a barony emerges is that there are too many Midgard Serpents in an area to divide territory in a way that doesn’t result in power struggles and squabbles. As such, the strongest Midgard Serpent browbeats the numerous small territories of weaker Midgard Serpents and claims them for its own. However, Midgard Serpents love to lord their power over others, and often these large swathes of territory can be hard for a single serpent to defend on their own. The victor is given the title of Baron, and all the lesser serpents are called Vassals. The Baron controls the territory, defends it from more powerful intruders, but allows the Vassals to dwell and hunt within it. In return, the Vassals pay tribute from their hoard, give the Baron a share of their hunt, and aid the Baron in their wars to claim yet more territory.
In most areas of the world Barony’s never emerge, or if they do they are temporary in nature and fracture upon the Baron’s death. Illyria is an exception – though the borders change regularly, there are almost always twelve permanent Baronies off the coast of the continent. What’s more, rather than being names after their Barons a new Baron takes their name after the Barony itself. The twelve Baronies of Illyria are Goblub, Nashob, Mblen, Blagel, Nemiog, Billiboblobill, Ghan, Sahulabaal, Sahugor, Rabulsahu, Coraboa and Entirigo.
Mating for Midgard Serpents is a messy, brutal affair. A female generates eggs once every ten years, though its rate for any two MIdgard Serpents cycles to match up. While in heat a female becomes irresistible to male Midgard Serpents, and produces a hormone that can spread miles around to attract a mate. Upon having a potential suitor approach them, a female serpent immediately attacks them with all of her power. If she wins, she either chases the suitor off or kills them utterly depending on her mood. If she loses however, she offers herself to her superior mate in a violent, thrashing coupling. Upon finishing the two part ways and the female ceases to produce her hormone. Incubation is usually for one year, during which the female serpent begins what can be a long arduous trek into the darkness of the Under Ocean. Once there she finds a pool separated from the ocean at large and drags herself over to it, lays her eggs, and leaves, thus completely the life cycle. The average Midgard Serpent lives for 200 years, though it can be hard for a female serpent of over 100 to find a male strong enough to bring it to submission.
The world is nothing but shiny things waiting to be taken, and weak creatures holding onto them until a Midgard Serpent can be deigned to collect them. That is the general attitude a Midgard Serpent has to the world at large, and it colors its interactions with every living being. At best, Midgard Serpents are brutal extortionists. At worst, they are murders and looters.
Occasionally a Midgard Serpent will approach a coastal settlement of another race. When they do so, a typical greeting is to blast the town with several bolts from its horn, before demanding a payment be made or else the town be destroyed utterly. If the town complies, the Midgard Serpent takes the reassure eagerly, demands more payment in a months time, and retreats back to the depths to return another month, usually without the lightning fan fare. If payment is refused, or a later visit shows they do not have another, the Midgard Serpent blasts the settlement with lightning until it is chased off or there is nothing else to blast. Midgard Serpents are persistent – even if there is no payment to be had on one visit, it will often visit multiple times afterwards to see if the inhabitants had changed their mind or made more treasure.
Often this approach leads to rebellion, the calling of adventurers, or other such things. The Midgard Serpent often sets contingencies for such things. One of their most popular methods of avoiding death are to send their sea serpent thralls to the town disguised as themselves (after the first visit where horn magic is not required) disguised as themselves, and use ventriloquism magic to speak through the servants lips. This way if there IS a fight, and it looks bad, the sea serpent is the one killed and not the Midgard Serpent itself. This way it can recoup in its lair, plot, and eventually reemerge when the troublesome adventurers or other such nuisance is gone. Midgard Serpents will not fight to the death, using their thrall and charmed sea animals as meat shields if they are attacked and to slow down pursuers. The only time a Midgard Serpent will fight to the death is when in its own lair, as it has a firm advantage there and leaving it means leaving their horde.
Unlike with land settlements, Midgard Serpents usually simply sink ships and the like. No matter what they offer, a Midgard Serpent can usually benefit more by simply sinking the vessel and plundering it when it is on the ocean shore. Their preferred methods of capsizing ships include goring a hole in the hull from underneath with its horn, blasting its mast at range with lightning, or sending hordes of sharks or other such creatures to ram the hull until it shatters. Midgard Serpents don’t play fair – the water is their element, and unless the sailors have people capable of fighting in it death is a foregone conclusion.
The only race Midgard Serpents truly fear are the Kraken. Knowing their psychopathic nature and refusal to cut the deals the serpent is so fond of, a Midgard serpent will run or hide at the mere hint of a Kraken. Occasionally a Baron will gain confidence, gather all their Vassals and go forth to hunt one of the mighty beasts. There have yet to be a single survivor from such foolish hunts.