Esziss is the homeland of the Dragonborn race. Any Dragonborn on the face of Atroa can trace their bloodlines back to Esziss. Unfortunately, it is also the home of the Yuan-ti, medusas, kobolds and many, many chromatic dragons. A tropical menagerie of plants, animals, and fell horrors, only the strong of spirit call Esziss home. In Draconic, Esziss means 'womb' or 'nest', and many dragonborn think of their homeland as they would a nurturing mother. The dragonborn have civilized small sections of the jungle landscape, their first and most prominent is their capitol, the latoral metropolis of Barrzsa. Heavily fortified against airborne threats (primarily dragons) and the other reptilian monsters that dwell within the jungle, Barrzsa is the safest place in all of Esziss. Other outlying settlements exist, but they are less protected and often have a barbaric social structure.

Among the civilized races in Esziss, dragonborn are the most prominent, but there are also humans, shifters, half orcs, genasi, and even 'civilized' kobolds. There are no dwarven or halfling settlements in Esziss, but there are many elven settlements and a couple eladrin city-states.

Dragons pose the greatest threat to the cities of Esziss. This is only exacerbated by the Yuan-ti and kobold tribes that ally with them. Tiamat finds most of her worshipers in these southern jungles. Green, black, and even a few red dragons have been known menace the people of Barrzsa and the smaller settlements. Ruins are scattered throughout the jungle, reminders of the ancient Dragonborn Empire of Arkhosia that fell centuries ago. Barrzsa is the only remnant left intact.

The Aranath desert the borders the jungles is home to more draconic horrors; blue, brown, and grey dragons menace those brave enough to travel the harsh terrain. Some genasi also make this desert their home, primarily firesoul and a few earthsoul tribes have been known to take-up a nomadic life in the deserts.

Bogtangle- About thirty years ago, Uri Farwalker, prospector and unabashed adventurer, returned from an expedition to locate and plunder the fabled fortress city Shertasth, a ruin once held by the dreaded yuan-ti long ago. Most knew about the swamp to the south, but until Uri coined the name Bogtangle, it was just the swamp. Few ventured into the blighted mire because it was home to bullywugs, lizardfolk, alligators, venomous serpents, and bloodsucking leeches. Uri, however, believed a ruin existed in the swamp, and so he led his expedition into its heart, knowing he could find good serpent gold among the banyan trees. Uri never found the ruined city, but what he did find were feral humans, whom he dubbed the Tanglers.

Finding a human settlement in such a bleak place surprised Uri, but he took advantage of the situation after he and his crew fell ill after picking up something from the leeches. He paused there for several days while everyone recovered, and as he did so, he talked to the people to learn more about them. The Hastaani, as they called themselves, were suspicious of the outsiders, but the gold coins Uri offered for food and shelter put them at ease. They kept no scrolls, no written histories, but instead they shared stories each night over the campfires, telling (or likely retelling) their histories as told to them by their ancestors. From what Uri could piece together, these people were descendants from slaves held by a race of serpent people, who threw off their shackles long ago in a bloody uprising. Having won their freedom, the refugees fled into the swamps where not even the serpent folk would follow. The Swampers claimed the yuan-ti city was an accursed place, shattered by the gods for their blasphemous worship of the demon known as Merrshaulk, and that to seek it out invited the same fate the serpent folk themselves faced.

The time Uri spent with the Tanglers left an impression. He saw the conditions they endured firsthand. A depression about a thousand miles in diameter covered the swamp, and low-lying mountains ringed it to all sides except where a wide sluggish river flowed in from the north. Brackish, foul, murky water spread all across the region, so dry land was a commodity. Where it rose, it featured thorn bushes, quicksand, and lairs for nastier denizens.

The Hastaani proved innovative when dealing with their environment, building their homes atop stilts hammered deep into the mud. Each hut had a single communal room, with daub-and-wattle walls, and they roofed it with whatever they had on hand: moss, leaves, reeds, and so on. Rope ladders and walkways kept everyone connected, and every family had at least one skiff with which to hunt frogs, fish, and alligators.

Uri later found out that the village Uri discovered was but one of several communities, some active and thriving, and others abandoned long ago. That each village kept to the same customs, told the same stories, and guarded themselves in the same fashion confirmed they were a single people, with a common heritage, but scattered by circumstances and resources.

By an outsider’s estimation, the Hastaani are a primitive folk, spread across simple and backward communities without any of the modern innovations found in the civilized lands. Yet, as Uri learned, they made do with what they had, lived in peace with one another, and presented a united face through social obligations and strong connections that acted as a glue for all the people in each village. Though simple in demand, Uri learned they were clever, due to having overcome their hardships through surprising ingenuity and determination.

Shorter than most humans, the Hastaani rarely stand taller than five and a half feet and no more than one hundred and fifty pounds. Most have red- brown skin and black or brown hair. Their eyes are somewhat almond-shaped, not unlike the elves, with coloring matching their hair. Uri did encounter a few instances of green or golden eyes, and learned such people were called histachii, or “inheritors.” The people believe that such an eye color indicates a connection to the yuan-ti, who sometimes forced slaves to drink potions mixed with their venom to awaken their minds and grow their power.

When Hastaani wear clothing, the simple garb is made from animal skins—usually snakeskin. They adorn their bodies with tasteful piercings in their ears and noses, and favor extensive tattooing, using inks harvested from their environment. Hastaani weaponry tends toward bone and wood, since metal is uncommon and doesn’t last long in the swamp. They are excellent archers and smear venom on their arrows. Warriors cover their skin and hair in gray mud to blend into their surroundings.

The Hastaani regard each day they are free from their reptilian masters as a gift and, as such, they treasure the moments, embracing the few pleasures they can coax from their homeland. They have tight-knit communities, where each is responsible for the other, and the community’s survival takes precedence over any other concern. What territory they hold, they guard, patrolling their lands to protect the village from attacks. Aside from the yuan-ti, of whom the Hastaani have seen little, they count bullywugs as their archfoes because these wicked humanoids are slavers, raiding villages for captives they can use much as the serpent folk did long ago.

A mystical people, the Hastaani worship versions of the major gods worshiped in civilized lands, though many take on a decidedly less refined guise and might be depicted in the animals living in the Bogtangle. For example, Pelor is depicted as a marsh wren, in whose bright yellow feathers lives the sun. The Hastaani also commune with the primal spirits, paying special homage to Monster Slayers, Old Grandfather, and the Soul Serpent. The demon, Merrshaulk, is real to the Hastaani, and each year, at winter’s end, they make animal sacrifices to the demon to avert his gaze from their communities.

Capitol: Barrzsa
Regional Benefit: Gain Athletics as a trained skill and a +2 bonus on any Athletics checks. You also gain a +2 bonus on saves vs poison.

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