Gila Monsters live far from the swamps, making their homes under the merciless desert sun of the deserts of Stygia. They spend much of their time burrowing deep into the ground, building homes in caves, tunnels, and cliff-side pueblos. The Gila Tribe live on small game, eggs, and whatever else they can scavenge. They are cautious to the point of paranoia, shunning other Lizardfolk to the point of xenophobia. The bright colors of the Gila tribe broadcast their deadly venom, serving as a warning to predators. The Gila tribe avoid fighting whenever they can, preferring to hide if possible.
Gila Monsters have tunneled into the earth, building permanent structures in the earth and stone. This has resulted in their culture and society being very different from other Lizardfolk. Unique among the tribes, they inter the bones of their dead in subterranean crypts (once they've been gnawed clean of any meat). The interment of their dead has led to the common practice of ancestor communion and worship. On the winter solstice the Gila celebrate the Day of the Dead, where they celebrate the lives of their ancestors, leave them offerings of remembrance, and protect them from Michtlan by treating the dead as if they were still alive.
The Gila Pueblos are spread out and lack a single, unified leader. Instead, each community self-governs in small family-based clans that live in a connected series of caves and burrows. The Gilas are devoted sun-worshipers, and have tracked Rae’s regular movements across the sky. This has allowed them to create the Sun-dial and a massive stone calendar that depicts the annual solstices and equinoxes. The calendar is carved into the face of the central-most mesa, at a location called Morning Rock. The calendar casts a massive shadow down, hundreds of feet, onto the desert floor below. These shadows in turn hit various stone markers to show the time and date. Every summer solstice, the Pueblos send trusted members of their clan to Morning Rock for the Meet. This council is a chance for Gilas to resolve disputes through ritualized violence. Participating Gilas paint their faces in elaborate symbols or sometimes fashion masks to call upon their ancestor spirits to aid them in their trial. The Gilas use the same word to mean “fight” and “trial.” Death during the Meet is common and expected, but banishment from the clan is considered a far worse fate. To be cut off from ones descendants results in oblivion after death.
The Gila tribe have heard rumors that far away lizards have dug a rock from the ground that shines like the sun. As a culture they now have been stricken with gold-fever. The ultimate status symbol, this gold is worth killing for. Many Gilas wish to start digging in their own territory, hoping to find the precious metal, but to do so might anger their ancestor spirits.
Notable people and places
Famous throughout the known land are the prophets known as the Wyrd Sisters. They were born to the Wyrd Witch, a Gila-tribe Lizard folk who made her isolated home high in the mesas. The two sisters inherited their mother's Wyrd Cauldron, an artifact that she crafted after a vision from Ilra the imprisoned goddess of prophecy. When the Wyrd Sisters were young, they fulfilled their mother's vision of the future when they fed her to the cauldron. Her final words to them were, " It is as I foresaw. All knowledge has a price." The Wyrd Sisters can see to the far-reaches of the world, and seemingly know the answer to any question. They have become the secret advisers to many, but rumors abound that they are in fact guiding fate to their own hidden agenda.
The most well-known lizard in all the Mesas is Drazi of Rae. He is a drunken madman who wanders the Stygian Desert, defending the Gila Pueblos and slaying monsters in the name of Rae, the Sun God. Rumors say that Rae herself has blessed this holy warrior, making him the world's first divine champion. He is welcome throughout the Pueblos, so long as he moves on in the morning.
High in the Spine Mountains, to the East of the Gila Mesas, lives a demigod known only as the Shaper. According to the stories, he has used powerful magics to craft artifacts for many of the rulers of the world. Even further to the East, on the barren plateau of Leng, there is rumored to be a city named Draa. Something wrong lives there, not of lizard born.
On the East bank of the Hungry River is a small territory called simply, "The Land." It's benign ruler, Lawgiver Kaahl, is an ancient Yuan-ti Sorcerer who fled the chaotic nation of Stygia to found a new land that will serve as a bastion for the forces of law and order. His followers must all adhere to a series of 144 strict and detailed laws that he has carved in stone at the base of his Tower of Law.
The 144 lessons of the Lawgiver
Laws of Citizenship
There are three ways for a lizard folk to live: slave, free folk, and citizen of the land.
Only a citizen of the land may own slaves.
A citizen may beat their slaves with a rod no larger in circumference than their own index finger.
If a citizen is found to starve or needlessly torture their slaves, they will be taken from them and sold on the open market.
A citizen may release their slave, and elevate their status to free folk.
If a slave escapes from the city limits, and he is returned in less than a year’s time, the owner shall pay a week’s food unto to the lizard folk who returns the missing slave.
If a slave escapes from their master’s lands, then up to five slaves of their master’s choosing shall be flogged, and twelve times shall be the number of their whipping.
If a lizard folk’s slave speaks insolently to them, her mouth shall be scoured with 1 quart of salt.
If a slave strikes someone while acting with the authority of their master, then their master shall face any and all repercussions of the slave’s action.
If a slave misrepresents their master’s authority to a citizen, then their life is forfeit..
If a lizard folk buys a slave and a claim is laid to them [by a third party] the vendor selling without right so to do is responsible both to the owner and purchaser.
If a lizard folk is in debt and sells his wife, son, or daughter, or binds them over to service, for three years they shall work in the house of their purchaser of master; in the fourth year they shall be given their freedom.
Laws of Life and Death
Twelve slaves’ lives are the equal to one free folk, and twelve free folk’s lives will equal one citizen of the land.
If a lizard folk commits an unjustified murder of a citizen, that offending lizard folk must also be put to death.
If a lizard folk commits an unjustified murder of a free folk, then they must serve that free folk’s clan for one year and a day as a slave.
If a lizard folk commits an unjustified murder of a slave, then they must provide a replacement of equal market value to the aggrieved master.
When a lizard folk dies, their possessions are to be divided among their clan by the ruling elders.
The remains of a deceased lizard folk are to be treated with respect by their clan and either interred or disposed of as their tradition dictates.
It is forbidden to eat the remains of a lizard folk, a crime punishable by death by decapitation.
A newly-born hatchling of less than one year old is not considered a person under the law and has no special rights of privileges.
If a physician operates on a slave for a severe wound and causes his death, he shall restore a slave of equal value.
A shaman or priest is necessary to usher a spirit from this world and into the next. The Rites of Michtlan must be performed within one day and night from their passing, or their spirit will be trapped.
A shaman may plead for the deceased to return to the world, reborn in a new incarnation. All other returns from Michtlan’s embrace are blasphemy.
The races of Tortle, Yuan-Ti, Bullywug, and Sahuagin are considered no different than beasts. Their lives are not protected by the rule of law.
Laws of Conduct
Lizardfolk who serve the Tanar’ri shall be put to death in cleansing flames.
Lizardfolk who unjustly accuse one of trafficking with the Tanar’ri shall be publicly flogged with a leather lash soaked in brine, and the number of their lashings shall total 144.
If a lizard folk accused a citizen of being low born, and the river ordeal proved them innocent, then the accusing lizard folk shall be publically drawn and quartered.
If a lizard folk knocks out the eye of a citizen, he too shall have his eye knocked out
If a free folk or citizen is rendered incapable of hunting by grievous injury, then their community shall equally contribute a weekly offering of food to the weakened clan.
If a citizen rejects a judgement against them or their clan, they may choose to make restitution with on offering of slaves.
If a son strikes his father, they shall cut off his hand.
The elders of the clan are to be respected, their word obeyed by those beneath them.
The fiendish Baatezu are not to be trusted, and only the Lawgiver himself is empowered to negotiate their infernal contracts.
Inebriation that leads to public humiliations shall result in imprisonment with a sentence of hard labor for six months per offence.
Beasts considered dangerous by the clan elders are not permitted inside the city gates.
Refusal to obey the rules of Law is punishable by death by decapitation.
Laws of Property
If a lizard folk commits a robbery, his hand will be cut off from his wrist.
If the robber is not captured, the lizard folk who has been robbed shall, in the presence of the gods, make and itemized statement of his loss, and the city and the governor in whose jurisdiction the robbery was committed shall compensate him for whatever was lost.
If a lizard folk has stolen goods from a temple or shrine, he shall be put to death; and he that has received the stolen property from him shall be put to death..
Property of a temple or shrine is considered to be owned by the god, not those who serve and worship there. Such possessions cannot be passed on to mortal heirs.
If a lizard folk has stolen goods from a temple or shrine, he shall be put to death; and he that has received the stolen property from him shall be put to death.
If a lizard folk kidnaps a slave child, then they must reimburse the aggrieved party the full value of the slave.
If a lizard folk commits a kidnapping of a free folk, they are to be imprisoned for one year and a day.
If a lizard folk has stolen a citizen’s child, he shall be put to death.
An annual tax shall be levied at the end of the harvest season by the clan’s elders, to provide for the common good and to honor the Lawgiver.
Any attempt to mislead the tax collectors will be considered treason, punishable by death for slaves and free folk and enslavement for citizens.
Any lizard folk who destroys the property of a citizen of the land will be forced to serve as the aggrieved party’s slave for a period of restitution determined by the Lawgiver and based on the market value of the destroyed property.
Debts earned by a lizard folk are passed down to their heirs with appreciated interest.
Laws of Justice
Even the Lawgiver himself is subject to the laws of the land.
No subject may be imprisoned without cause shown.
The Lawgiver may use his authority to appoint a justicar to administer justice and judge disputes between citizens and free folk alike.
If a judge’s edict is called into question, appeals may be taken to the Lawgiver himself by any citizen of the land.
If the Lawgiver sees fit to alter the terms of the judgment reached by a justicar , they shall call that judge to account for the alteration of the judgment which he has pronounced, and he shall pay twelve-fold the penalty in that judgment; and, in the assembly, they shall expel him from his judgment seat.
The Lawgiver shall be the final word in all disputes of the law. It is the Lawgiver who shall pronounce judgment, render decision, and deliver duly signed and sealed a verdict. Judgments, once rendered, shall be final, and shall be inscribed into the word of law for all future generations as precedent.
Neither slaves nor free folk shall have the standing to question the Lawgiver’s judgment.
If a lizard folk bears false witness in a case, or does not establish the testimony that he has given, if that case is case involving life, that lizard folk shall be put to death.
If a lizard folk bears false witness concerning grain or money, he shall himself bear the penalty imposed in the case.
If a lizard folk appeared as a witness, and was shown to be a perjurer, his tongue shall be struck from his mouth.
If a lizard folk appears as a witness, but withdraws his oath, he must make payment, to the extent of the value in litigation of the case.
A citizen may elect to have one of their clan elders speak for them before the court, where a free folk or slave represents themselves.
Laws of Family
If a slave marries a slave, and that slave is set free, the first slave does not also leave the household.
If a slave marries a free folk, they shall hand the firstborn son over to their owner, for it is property.
If a lizard folk male violates the breeding right of a citizen, they shall kill that male.
Either lizard folk joined in the union of marriage may nullify their bond at any time by simply denouncing their mate three times in a row.
If a lizard folk wishes to divorce his wife who has not borne him children, he shall give unto her the amount of her marriage price and he shall make good to her the dowry which she brought from her father's house and then he may divorce her.
Eggs unclaimed or rejected by their parent may be seized by any citizen as their slave property.
A slave of free folk who believes that they are the bloodline of a citizen may make “the Challenge of Blood.” In this ritualized combat the slave faces a champion selected by the challenged citizen. If they win, then the slave is elevated to being a citizen themselves. If they fail, then their life is forfeit. The challenging slave will be taken to the Blood Rock, where they will be chained and eaten alive by predators.
If a lizard folk has committed incest, both offending lizard folk and any progeny shall be banished from the city.
If during the course of adultery a lizard folk has caused their spouse to be killed, the offending lizard folk shall be impaled.
If a citizen of the land begets offspring outside of marriage and at any time acknowledges them as their offspring, then that offspring shall be considered an equal heir to any child born within wedlock.
If the prospective son-in-law of a citizen is rejected in favor of another after they have delivered the bridal dowry, the father-in-law shall return twofold the amount to the rejected lizard folk.
If a lizard folk decides to disinherit their heir, the judges shall inquire into his record, and if the child has not committed a crime sufficiently grave, the father may not cut off their heir.
Laws of Warfare
If the Lawgiver declares a state of war, each clan must offer up two warriors for every three civilians in their clan.
A citizen who has been summoned into war-time service may call for a replacement to be chosen from their clan, hired in their stead, or drafted from their slaves. If the citizen refuses their war-time summons and fails to secure a substitute for themselves, then they shall be put to death.
If an officer or citizen of the land is captured during a war, and during his imprisonment his property is delivered into the hands of some other lizard folk, he shall upon his release and return to his home be reinstated in the possession of his property.
It is the duty of the Lawgiver to provide food and shelter for the dependent members of the clans left behind during a war-time.
A slave or free folk who surrenders in battle becomes the property of the lizard folk citizen that they surrendered to.
A citizen who surrenders in battle will be held prisoner until the combat has ceased, than they shall be ransomed back to their clan.
It is a warrior’s right to pillage any conquered places or people.
One twelfth of all plunder that a warrior seizes is granted to their commanding officer.
When laying siege to a city, you may not spoil their trees, their crops, or their water. Those resources support the communal good and are not vlaid targets of war.
Failure to obey the commands of a superior officer will result in immediate execution.
It is a crime to execute prisoners of war who have already surrendered.
The cessation of combat can only be declared by the Lawgiver.
Laws of Agriculture
If a lizard folk hires a beast of burden, they will pay its owner as much meat or grain as it would normally consume, plus an additional 20 percent.
If a lizard folk has hired a beast of burden, and an act of the gods has struck it dead, the lizard folk that hired it is free from further responsibility.
If a lizard folk has hired a beast of burden, and a predator has killed it in the open field, the loss falls on the owner.
If a lizard folk has hired a beast of burden and caused its death, by carelessness, or blows, he shall restore beast for beast, to the owner of the beast.
If a lizard folk's beast is prone to violence, and has revealed its evil propensity, and he has not blunted its horn, or shut up the beast, and then that beast has gored a free lizard folk or citizen, and caused his death, the owner shall pay the dead lizard folk’s tribe a contribution of as much meat and skins as the dead could have acquired hunting for one year and a day’s time.
If a lizard folk hires a laborer, they shall pay him as much meat and skins as they could have acquired hunting for an equal amount of time.
If a lizard folk has presented a field, garden, house, or goods to his wife, has granted her a deed of gift, her children, after her husband's death, shall not dispute her right; the mother shall leave it after her death to that one of her children whom she loves best. She shall not leave it to an outsider.
If a lizard folk stealthily cultivates the field of another, and the aggrieved famer raises a complaint within one growing season’s time, then the thief must vacate any and all claims to the land.
If more than one growing season passes and their cultivation is not halted, then the lands and their yield shall be awarded to the thief.
If a lizard folk had let an arable field to another lizard folk for cultivation, but he did not cultivate it, turning it into wasteland, he shall measure out three bushels of barley per lost planting row of field.
If a lizard folk neglects to maintain his fields, and his negligence affects his neighbors’ farmland, the neglecting lizard folk shall replace the grain which has been damaged. If they are not able to replace the lost grain, their neighbors shall sell him and his goods and the farmers whose fields were damaged shall divide the proceeds from the sale.
If a shepherd who has been entrusted with livestock falsifies the natural increase or sells the increase for money, he is to be arrested and [upon conviction thereof] shall return 10 fold the animals [so claimed to exist] to their owner.
Laws of Magic
If a lizard folk shows signs of talent in sorcery, they must undergo training at the Tower of Law or become cast out from society.
Lizard folk practicing wild magics shall become cast out from society.
If a lizard folk has accused another of laying a spell upon him, but has not proved it, the accused shall go to the Hungry River for trial by water. He shall plunge into the Hungry River, and if the sacred river shall conquer him, he that accused him shall take possession of his house. If the sacred river shall show his innocence and he is saved, his accuser shall be put to death.
Objects imbued with magical power may only be possessed by those who have been granted special dispensation by the Lawgiver.
Warlocks are forbidden unto pain of death to enter into a pack with a Tanar’ri.
It is illegal for a citizen of the realm to do business with the Yuan-ti Artificer known as the Shaper.
It is forbidden to use magical means to dominate the will or change the emotions of a citizen of the land.
It is forbidden to use magical means to alter the odds in a game of chance or skill.
The summoning, binding and exploitation of the unwilling dead is forbidden.
Fire is the province of Rae, the sun god. All judgements related to flames shall defer to their priesthood’s edicts.
Priestly magic is to be governed and restricted by the devout, and is not beholden to the laws of mortals.
It is forbidden to use magic to swindle or manipulate a business dealing with a citizen of the land.
Laws of Trade
The value and worth of all things is assigned by the Lawgiver. The Lawgiver shall decree the weights and measures of all things.
If a builder builds a house for a lizard folk and does not make its construction sound, and the house which he has built collapses and causes the death of the owner of the house, the builder shall be put to death.
If a builder builds a house for a lizard folk and does not make its construction sound, and a wall cracks, that builder shall strengthen that wall at his own expense.
If a workman adopts a child for and teaches him his trade, the apprenticed child cannot be demanded back again by their family of birth
If he has failed to teach him his trade, the apprentice can choose to return to his father's house upon reaching maturity.
If a restaurant or innkeeper allows conspirators to meet at their house and these conspirators are brought to trial before the courts [and are convicted], the innkeeper shall be put to death.
Once a value has been assigned or a trade has been agreed to, the terms of the deal are final and absolute.
Golden Dawns from the Temple of the Sun are allowed and approved as currency of the realm.
Lizard folk who do not wish to deal in gold may still demand payment in the traditional methods of meat and skins.
Slaves purchased or brought from outside the Lawgiver’s borders are to be regarded as property.
The Lawgiver alone may set tariffs or ban trade goods from his leaving and entering his borders.
Lizard folk intentionally misrepresenting the value of their trade goods shall be publicly flogged in the village square. The number of lashes shall be selected by the presiding justicar, in proportion to their attempted fraud.
Laws of Nations
Only the Lawgiver may negotiate treaties with other leaders.
Treason against the Lawgiver and his government, whether through words or action, will be swiftly punished with public execution by devouring.
Each nation state shall have clearly defined borders that mark their territory and are garrisoned with warriors to police them.
Outside of the Lawgiver’s borders, citizens must obey the local law of the land.
Outsiders within the Lawgiver’s borders are subject to all rules, regulations, and protections experienced by the native born.
Citizens of the land that travel beyond the borders may call upon the Lawgiver for aid. The Lawgiver will not consider granting such assistance to be an act of war or aggression.
Any territories conquered by the armies of the Lawgiver are subject to his rule, taxation, and protection.
Inside the physical premises of a temple to one of the 12 honored gods shall be a sanctuary, so long as the penitent be faithful and have received refuge from the church authority.
Every summer solstice, an assemblage of justicars may petition the Lawgiver with a proposal of new laws.
Weapons and armor made from the newly-discovered alloy of Bronze are forbidden from sale and may only be carried by lizard folk who have been duly-authorized by the state.
Any community of more than 36 lizard folk who have held control of their land for a year and a day may petition the Lawgiver to be incorporated and provided with a mayor, official recognition of their township for matters of defense and supply, and access to the local circuit of justicars.
Any nation or city-state seeking to ally or trade must first denounce the Tanar’ri and their philosophy of chaos.
Laws of the Universe
The Law Of Knowledge: With understanding comes control and power
The Law of Names: Related to both the Law of Knowledge and the Law of Association. The law simply states that by knowing the true and complete name of a phenomenon or entity gives you complete control over it. Certain words hold people in awe.
Law of Synecdoche: The part is equivalent to the whole.
Law of Contagion: This law states that things which have once been in contact with each other continue to act on each other at a distance even after physical contact has been severed
Law of Similarity: Like things produce like things, or that an effect resembles its cause
Law of Association: This law is the most commonly and frequently used of all the laws of magic. This states things react upon each other by their connection with each other
Law of Opposites: The synthesis on two opposing or conflicting ideas or pieces of data will produce a new, third idea that will not be a compromise of the original two
Law of Finite Senses: One's senses are finite. They are limited to the amount of information which one can absorb and process at any given time
Law of Infinite Universes: Each person sees his universe or world a different way; therefore, no two people have identical views of the world.
The Law of Infinite Knowledge: There is always new information for one to learn
Law of Balance: This energy level is best maintained by avoiding extremes in thinking and action. One must be open minded, able to consider all alternatives, but strong enough to determine one’s personal course in life. This requires the right amount of flexibility to be able to examine new ideas or concepts in order to keep the ones which would improve one’s life and reject those that would not.
Law of Pragmatism: If it works, then it is true
Much of this game revolves around the never-ending "Blood War" between the chaotic Tanar'ri (Demons) and the rigid Baatezu (Devils). Since the Godlings' inaction allowed the demons to create a beachhead on earth in early pre-history, the prime material plane has become the main battlefield of the Blood War. Inevitably all mortals will become pawns in the war between law & chaos.