"When your body's half-covered in armored scales, and you've got a tail that slaps as hard as a warhammer, what else are you going to become but a warrior? Apparently, 'manders decided on brilliant scholars and craftsmen... but fearsome warriors, too. Plenty of them to go around."
Name: Salamander (pl. Salamanders)
Sexes: Male and Female
Height: Ranges from between 6' and 7', with males standing slightly taller than females.
Weight: Roughly 30% heavier than a human of the same height.
Skin: Salamanders have human skin over most of their bodies, with tones ranging from pale to bronze or black depending on region. All salamanders additionally have hard, leathery scales completely encasing their forelimbs and tails, always of blue or red coloration; some individual salamanders may have additional scales, manifesting in freckle-like patterns over the cheeks, shoulders, and chest.
Hair: Much as humans. Salamanders usually have red or blue hair, though some shades of grey or brown are not unheard of.
Eyes: Salamanders have large, reptilian eyes, typically with golden irises and black slits. Orange, red, green, and blue eyes are uncommon but not unheard of.
Ears: Frilled, reptilian ears are universal.
Lifespan: About 80 years.
Maturity: 18 years.
Salamanders are tall and athletically-built hybrids, straddling the difference between men and dragons — so much so that many scholars have long theorized that salamanders were created by dragons, or were once the product of dragons mating with humans. Either way, the result is the same: the race bears thickly-scaled armored limbs and a powerful tail capped with either roiling flame or a veil of aurora light.
There are two great clans of salamanders, called the Cinderscale and Frostscale. Salamanders of the Cinderscale tribe have flame-red scales, burning tails, and typically have darker skin. They make their home in the southlands and as far east as Jassira. In the north, including the Frost Marches, the Frostscale tribe has dominance. These salamanders tend to be pale-skinned, with blue scales and a strange, cold veil of multi-colored light that wraps around their tails.
Typically, salamanders are muscular and broad of build. Females have large hips and stretchy sexes, speaking to their egg-laying ancestry; males typically have large, ribbed reptilian phalluses of the same color as their scales.
Much like other races, salamanders reproduce after a male of the species leaves his seed in the womb of a female. Salamanders are noted to have relatively low fertility, perhaps owing to their draconic ancestry; most families have only one or two children at most, and even the largest salamander settlements cannot compare to an average human city without immigration from other races.
After conception, a salamander pregnancy will typically last about ten months, during which time the mother's stomach will grow quite gravid, and her breasts will swell with milk. First-time mothers usually experience a slight but permanent enlargement of the hips and buttocks during the later stages of pregnancy. Salamanders have live births, almost always to single children, and must nurse their newborns for at least a year before they can begin consuming solid food.
Salamanders come of age at about 18 years, and remain in their reproductive prime until their thirties.
Salamanders are speculated to be scions of dragon-kind, though any records of such were doubtless lost in the Godswar, and dragons themselves are notoriously tight-lipped about just about everything. On their own merits, salamanders have existed for thousands of years, living in small cities on the edge of Belharan territory such as the Frost Marches.
The most famous Frostscale city is Tychris, a marcher principality located two days' journey west of Khor'minos. The city was renowned for its glasswork in days gone by, producing mirrors and windows for lords across the world. Even the great cathedrals did business with Tychris, commissioning great works of color-stained glass that would stream rainbows of light across images taken from holy text and sagas.
For the Cinderscale, most live as nomadic hunters among the dunes and plains of the east and south. These salamanders are renowned as mercenaries, lending their great curved blades — called falxes — to any with the gold to pay for their services. These warriors were so fierce that even at its height, the Belharan Empire failed to subjugate their lands entirely.
Society & Culture
There is no one culture that defines all salamanders, even among Cinderscale or Frostscale. Many in Jassira believe them to be a race of uncouth barbarians, raging and battling senselessly all their lives, while in the Marches, salamanders are first and foremost thought of as scholars and as priests dedicated to the goddess of knowledge, Nareva.
The Frostscales of Tychris, especially, have a strong connection to their goddess. The principality has produced several notable archmages, Prince Philander II perhaps most famous among them, said to have invented an entirely new school of magic — though it was lost along with the prince during the Godswar.
It is generally believed, at least, that most salamanders have a strong sense of pride and honor. Most put a great value on their own accomplishments, and those of their family. Salamanders tend to be clannish and insular, but fiercely defensive of their relatives and loved ones. Common wisdom dictates that Frostscales are calmer and more logical, approaching problems with cool heads, while Cinderscales have a reputation for headstrong willfulness and fiery passion. No doubt those dispositions have affected their cultural development.
Only one of the conditions below must be met to unlock the Salamanders Codex entry:
- Sleep in the camp at the Ancient Archway