Sauropsida and Shujin

General Description

Sauropsida is a land composed mainly of desert with scattered oases and occasional strings of green land. The Saurans, the part-lizard people that inhabit the land were plentiful before the invasion, their cities veritable hives of activity.

The once highly populated city of Sauropsida guards the entrance from the Caerulan Ocean to Onyx Lake. It occupies both sides of the mile-wide inlet known as the Sauran Strait. Many great bridges of stone, wood and steel span its width, some of which rise and fall, rotate or rise to let tall ships in and out – Saurans(pronounced – Saw-runs) have a well-earned reputation for unconventional thinking and innovative engineering.

Not only is the city split by the Strait, (the north known as Saurop, the south as Sida) but also by that above and below sea level. Beneath the waves lies a mysterious city of sea-people known as Shujin. Very little is known of this under-city, no outsider is ever said to have been there – those that try seem to end up inside a sea monster’s gullet.

Relations between Saurans and Shujin(colloquially known as ‘Gills’ for obvious reasons) are generally amicable with a fine trade between them of the bounty of land and sea, although there has been a clash in the past. Before recorded history it is said a Sauran engineer invented an underwater breathing apparatus which fell into the hands of some enterprising young thieves who stole a great Shujin artefact and brought it back to the surface. The following day the inhabitants of Sauropsida were awoken by the sight of
gargantuan sea creatures rising out of the water and laying waste to their city. After a day of carnage in which every bridge was destroyed and thousands killed, the artefact was returned and the creatures returned to the sea.

Shujin are rarely seen above sea level, they do not take to land on a whim. They speak very little and from what little evidence there is they are reputed to be a highly disciplined people, each individual devoted to his/her occupation and place in society. How they fared during the
invasion no-one knows, though evidence would suggest they’re underwater world has remained untouched.


Academics agree that the Shujin are the oldest race in the land. It is believed their life on the ocean floor has continued for millennia, outliving many races and species. Rarely involved in the politics of those on the land, living in complete harmony with their environment and protected by the ocean above them they have faced few threats.

The Saurans origins are unknown. Many theorise that the Felidi created them or that their existence is due to a magical accident an age ago. Cold-blooded, they thrive in the desert and the sun-drenched coast, their females giving birth to large families or broods as they are known.

Their land was once death to outsiders, any non-Sauran being killed in terrible ways. Their mutual existence with the Shujin meant there was no want for anything outside of their lands. Sauran technology was primitive but the nation’s borders were well established.

Pre-Invasion History
The newborn nation of Ilac, after defeating the Felidi, sets its sights on Sauropsida. It sends its armies but is met at the border by an immense Sauran horde. Ilac launches attack after attack but every one fails. The war drags on for several bloody months with both sides enduring heavy casualties, lack of water and sand-storms. Cinnea is invaded by the Kingdom of Kahl and this war of expansion is called off as Ilac forces march to Darkfire Keep.

In the 4th Century AV, with the population far out-stripping its ability to feed itself, Sauropsida, under Principal Octavio Scriptor, opens its doors and its people take to travelling the world. Relations with neighbouring peoples are tentative at first but soon trade flourishes and Saurans gorge on the education on offer. They bring back with them new and innovative ways to farm, build and conduct warfare. Within a few decades Sauropsida was regarded as the first city of engineering in the land.

Within 50 years of opening its borders Sauropsida signs the Accord of Nations. They began to build fast ships to take them to new lands
and formed a standing army, their warriors doing battle on the borders of other Accord nations alongside their new allies.

One morning a Shujin envoy was received in Ilac. This envoy spoke barely a word and handed the King a copy of the Accord with the signature of Empress Umiko, the only Empress the Shujin have ever
known. They left forthwith. A chair at the Council of Nations was prepared for the Shujin representative. No-one did or ever has sat upon it.
Later in the 4th Century AV in what was deemed to be the greatest threat to the Accord nations, a massive foreign fleet set sail from the land of Kanu across the ocean to the east, landing on the eastern coast of Cinnea to conquer the fledgling alliance. At anchor off the coast the fleet was attacked by a myriad of titanic sea monsters, and was annihilated. The war on land would last several more years with the Shujin attacking Archonian and Archipelago shipping. The stranded army would later become the Duchy of Archion.

The Ilac King sent a letter of thanks to Empress Umiko for destroying the fleet but did not receive a reply.

Sauropsida was particularly hard hit by the invasion. The Invaders and their Escari slaves erupted directly beneath their wonder of a city and nothing short of genocide ensued. It is estimated around a million Saurans were massacred here including all the leading families and the Principal. The shipyards were burned as was most of the formidable Sauran fleet at anchor in Komo, though some escaped to sea. Most of the population who were spared were taken to Ilac in huge trains of wagons to work the mines and bring the Scourge their precious Petrum.

Shujin itself has escaped any attack by
the Invaders although a few unlucky travellers have been captured to work the mines.

 Current Affairs
Sauropsida is a broken land. A few scattered families eke out a living within its ruins, marked by the ubiquitous magic-suppressing tattoos and subject to the whims of their Escari masters. Most of the remaining Sauran population are slaves in what was Ilac. There is no
resistance in Sauropsida.

Not one Shujin has left the waves since the Invasion.

Culture and Traditions
From egg to physical maturity takes less than 5 years for a Sauran, but they have an uncanny ability to assimilate information, so age does not indicate maturity. Before the invasion all eggs laid by females were taken to the city of Dukada to be reared to maturity by specialists, whereupon they would be returned to their families and their adult lives would begin.

It is rare for a Sauran to live beyond 30 years. It is traditional for Sauran remains to be returned to their families, wherever they died in the world. There then follows a procession to the Sauran Boneyard where the remains are placed next to the dead of the family. There is a single out-pouring of grief during this time and then the dead are barely spoken of. Saurans do not revere the dead.

There is no such thing as art in Sauran culture, this is a culture untouched by romantic or sentimental notions despite attempts by other Accord nations to develop an appreciation for it in Sauropsida. Music had started to be played at arranged marriages but was otherwise unheard.

Shujin society is believed to be very strictly categorized and stratified. A warrior family cannot be anything else, nor would they want to be. A noble family will master organisation, planning and leadership, and keep order among lower families.

Travelling ‘above the waves’ is seen as a dangerous venture by the Shujin, and with little gain. Only a few curious individuals voluntarily breathe the air. In very rare cases a Shujin can be banished from the sea as a punishment for a heinous crime.

Naming Conventions
Most Saurans are named for the order they were born in. The Latin for first, second, third e.g. Primo/Primum, Secundus/Beta, Tertius/Trien, Quartus/Quarta, Quinto/Quintus etc.

This is followed by their family name, again the latin for an animal, a virtue or a vocation e.g. Aquila, Astrologus, Bellator, Explorator, Fidelis, Fortitudo, Leo, Magus,
Mercator, Ursae, Verum

These naming conventions, similar to the slave-names the Felidi gave to the humans in the Ilac area further add to the belief that they were created by the Felidi.

Shujin names tend to be Japanese in flavour. Above the waves they go a by a single name. Below their names are far longer: Ai, Akio, Botan, Haruki, Kenji, Kenchiro, Moto,
Nagisa, Nanami, Rokuro, Tomoya, Tomiko, Uta, Yama, Youko.

Famous People and Historical figures
Principal Octavio Scriptor – The Principal who opened the doors of Sauropsida to the world. He was known for his wisdom and moral courage. It is his signature that is written on the Accord. He died of plague.

Admiral Primus Verum
– Commander of the Sauropsidan Fleet. He escaped along with a handful of ships when the Scourge attacked Komo. He watched his city fall and his fleet burn and is said to have vowed revenge. His whereabouts are unknown.

Empress Umiko of Shujin – She is the Head of State for Shujin and has been for time immemorial. No-one knows what she looks like or how she came to become Empress. She is rumoured to be the greatest ritualist the world has ever known.

Tomoko – A famous Shujin healer and bard, said to have visited every nation in the Accord and worked miracles in some of them. He returned to the waves in the 3rd Century but returned at the beginning of the 5th. He was in Sauropsida at the time of the invasion. His whereabouts are unknown.

Racial demographics
There used to exist in Sauropsida a large community from the Duchy of Archion,
but this was decimated along with most of the Sauran population.

Felidi prides were a common sight in the desert, selling relics uncovered from secret places in the sand or meeting for their warriors to fight for status or a mate.

The Skyriders have three posts here – Sauropsida, Komo and Zisha – and are often seen flying off across the Ocean. To what lands they go and who they talk to remains a mystery.

Role-playing a Sauran or a Shujin
Sauran personality is often dictated by the season, being cold-blooded they need the sun’s rays for energy. In summer they are highly active and buzzing with energy. In winter they can be slow and ponderous, taking sleep whenever possible (this does not affect any in-game abilities).

They have a curious mind and are a pragmatic people always looking for solutions. To outsiders they could be accused of being emotionally stunted as they show very little, but when they do it comes like an avalanche, particularly during grief. This can make Saurans very hard to connect with, but when a Sauran recognises an outsider as a friend it is for life and akin to being of the same family, and a Sauran would lay down its life for its family.

Shujin are a highly focussed and disciplined people. They do not waste words or time and dedicate themselves completely to their profession. Most Shujin do not travel the land
and those that do rarely make a habit of it, perhaps venturing above the waves once or twice in a lifetime, and there is always a strong reason that compels them to do so.

Shujin live for centuries, maybe even millennia, but going above the waves is generally regarded as a young one’s game. Very rarely do more venerable Shujin breathe fresh air. No Shujin to date has settled permanently on dry land, the call of the ocean is instinctual and all return there eventually.

Saurans come in many different shapes and sizes. Their colours vary as much as the different species of lizard they are descended from. Some have spines and barbs all over their skin, some are virtually human-looking except for the odd patch of scales.

The minimum phys-rep for a Sauran is a scale effect somewhere across the skin. This can be in small sections or all over the body. This can be augmented with any additional appendages from the reptile/dinosaur world: fangs (perhaps producing poison), reptilian contact lenses, fan-style necks, tails are a common feature, barbs, claws, and scales of many different colours, hard armoured plates like a turtle, or perhaps they shed their skin.

Sauran clothes, armour and weapons are chosen on pure practicality. Style has never been a factor in the mind of Sauran. This can often lead to a mix of different styles and a very curious dress sense with varying colours and garments.

Shujin are underwater people at various stages of evolution. Some may never leave the sea. They vary greatly in their features from normal skin colour with gills on the face to coloured blue or green from head to toe with scales and even crustaceans on their face and body. The minimum required Phys-rep for a Shujin is a set of gills. This can be done by makeup but preferably by a prosthetic. This can be augmented with fangs, contact lenses, painting the skin, scales, fish mouths, even pincers, anything from the world of sea creatures.

Shujin clothing, armour and weapons are generally of Japanese origin but many opt for weapons connected to the sea and sailors, such as tridents, harpoons and suchlike. Although attached to their own weapons and clothing it has been known for Shujin to take on the style of a culture they have chosen to stay with for a time.

Saurans were led by the Principal. Before the Invasion, who took this position was decided by a ruling parliament. No parliament or Principal now exists. Sauran broods have their own hierarchy in terms of importance.

The Shujin are led by the mysterious Empress Umiko. There has never been an Emperor and if rumour is to be believed she has been in power for centuries. Noble families deal with the politics of the nation and families below this are defined rigidly by their profession.

Saurans are known for their almost child-like lust for life and ferocity in war. They are masters of sailing and of technology. Before the invasion they made up the majority of the Accord’s navy. With their penchant for innovation and improvement they could produce a warship every two weeks that was unmatched in the known world for speed and durability in harsh weather. They had never known defeat at sea and it is said they will now never know victory again. The fleet was annihilated mostly set afire at anchor in Komo’s harbour, and the thriving shipyards were burned to the ground, the practice of shipbuilding banned, an entire industry wiped out in one fell swoop.

Following the signing of the Accord it was required that Sauropsida develop a standing army. All foreign offers of aid in this venture were refused and there came into being the largest army among the Accord nations. It was best described as a swarm with no discernible structure and a single General in charge. Casualties in war were always numerous but the speed of their charge, numerical advantage and of course their innovative siege weapons meant the Sauran army lost very few battles.

Shujin has never fielded an army nor a navy, but as the Kanu invasion fleet discovered, when the Shujin were angered nowhere on the oceans was safe. Their command of the creatures of the sea will never be equalled by any navy.

Shujin warriors that leave the waves have proved themselves time and again among the nations of the Accord. Their raw physical ability and magical power has laid many a challenger low.

Sauropsida saw a lot of its wealth come from rare underwater ingredients, highly prized by Alchemists, Physicians and Ritualists. It also did a roaring trade in engineering, supplying most of the empire with innovative ways to pump water, bridge rivers and overcome architectural problems. The city was also a shipping hub for trade with far-away lands, though much less so than the Archipelego. Before the Invasion Sauran ships would fetch a high price.

Its biggest import was food from Cinnea and wood from both Castann and The Delvings. This would feed the insatiable thirst of the shipyards and brought with very close ties with Castann, less so with The Delvings.

Post-invasion however they have very much returned to their roots. The practice of engineering has been banned by the Invaders and the few Sauran survivors mainly make their living with small land-bound caravans.

Most Saurans do not worship any god, though they acknowledge their existence. They are seen as beings of great power best not trifled with but ‘worship’ is an alien concept in the Sauran mentality.
Occasionally individuals have taken on religion, especially those that have chosen to live abroad like those in Cinnea or The Wastes, but for the most part Gods and Guardians play very little part in the day-to-day life of a Sauran. Temples to Elder exist across the state but before the Invasion it was constant thorn in the side of the established Elderist hierarchy that so few of these Lizard-men had been converted. In the mind of the Sauran of Sauropsida religion simply has no bearing on day-to-day life.

It is believed the Shujin have a very rigid belief system steeped in ceremony and etiquette. It is the only culture to resist the spread of Elderism. It has been gleamed from snippets of conversation that they do not worship their gods as beings but more as abstracts such as Tide, Wave, Light or Darkness.

Saurans unlike many other cultures are rarely touched by magic, in fact it is often the case that the touch of a Sauran can drain mana from a magical practitioner. They have an innate distrust of any established magical hierarchy and instead put their trust in technology and crafting. That is not to say that Magic is unknown in Saurans. Many of those who live in, Castann, Cinnea and The Wastes have learned various magics, even mastering them.

Shujin are believed to perform profoundly powerful rituals. Some believe that their underwater ceremonies can even affect the very world, perhaps bringing great natural disasters to their enemies, and relieving famine or bringing greater crop yields to their allies.

Cultural attitudes
Ilac – Saurans have been to war with Ilac before and they take pride in the fact that that they halted their legions and defended their borders. Since then Saurans have fought side by side with these noble humans and a mutual respect has developed. Sauropsida benefited greatly from Ilac educational establishments and its economic might.

Shujin will generally visit Ilac as their first port of call when they come above the waves, receiving a Royal Warrant guaranteeing them safe passage across the Accord. They are seen as a friendly presence and some Shujin have occasionally settled in Ilac city and Mestreeh for years.

The Duchy of Archion – Just before the invasion the Duchy of Archion had succeeded Ilac in becoming Sauropsida’s biggest trading partner. Relations had become closer with Archonian troops helping to protect Sauropsida’s northern borders in the desert from raiders.

Shujin find Archonians a distinct curiosity, seeing them as perhaps the most highly advanced of the land creatures. Their distinct fashions and attitudes, their strong army and technological breakthroughs were of particular interest.

Castann – Saurapsida’s wonder of a fleet would not have come into existence were it without the wood from the forests of Castann. They had fought before but over the centuries the two nations had built an excellent relationship. There is something that draws these two peoples together. Castanni are not known for great displays of emotion and this seems to compliment the Sauran psyche. Seeing a Sauran and a Castanni partnership whether in business, mercenary work or even magic, was a very common sight indeed.

Many a Shujin has wandered the rain forests of Castann, visiting its various tribes and wondering at the flora and fauna. In some more remote, less worldly tribes they are even worshipped as Gods. Some have even walked the steps to the Oracle Mount and had their futures read.

Cinnea – You used to find many Saurans in Cinnea, attending the open air schools in ritual magic, and learning to farm in an attempt to bring life to their desert home. Some have even joined families and settled there.

Shujin are attracted to Cinnea and its mastery of the magic ritual. When a Shujin meets a Cinnean Master Ritualist their meetings can go on for days. It’s is believed, though not confirmed, that there has been a correspondence between Cinnea and the Shujin Empress, where no other nation has succeeded in communicating with here.

The Delvings – Saurans rarely venture this far south, the cold playing havoc with their metabolism, but when needs must they will endure the cold. They cannot be described as having a close relationship any Delver, though a few diplomats can be said to have close ties. Saurans find Delvers hard to read and thus hard to connect with.

Shujin are known to have ventured into the Delvings but little is known of their attitudes towards them.

Drengfold – Again you rarely find a Sauran in Drengfold due to the climate but it is not unknown for them to settle there. Drengans and Saurans have fought and sailed together and they get on well.

Shujin are well received in Drengfold, almost revered. Some coastal communities worshipped them as gods for a time until the truth was revealed. It is still a tradition to this day to send messages in bottles to the sea-people. Since the invasion many a couple have sent messages praying for a child. None have been answered.

The Eyrie – The Saurans have built one tower for the Skyriders in Sauropsida. Neither a Sauran nor a Shujin is known to have had any sort of relationship with these people, though of course they are a curiosity.

The Felidi – There are few Felidi prides here now but they are as welcome as any in Sauropsida. Some prides have settled in the city, but most wander the desert. Their magic ability is highly respected as are their skills as warriors.

The Wastes – Wasters are seen as a blasted people, and foolish for allowing religion to decide their fate. That said they are a desert dwelling people and this connection is unavoidable. Also respect rose for them when they entered the Accord and a Waster caravan had become a common sight in Sauran cities.

Many Shujin have wandered the Wastes. Why they are attracted to this blasted desert is unknown. They are welcomed as honoured guests such is the hospitality of the Wasters. Shujin have been known to cure ailments and illnesses, garnering them a reputation as well-meaning visitors.

Djinn – Desert dwelling spirits, some malevolent, some well-meaning. These are regarded as tricky and have lured many to their deaths, however if dealt with smartly can bring benefit to those they encounter including the granting of wishes or the recovery of relics of great power.

Bandits – A few gangs of bandits have crossed the border from Ilac and raid through the desert. They often disguise themselves as Felidi or Saurans to ambush the unwary.

Desert Spirits – Some parts of the desert are said to be haunted by the spirits of dead Saurans. Whole armies are said to have been seen.
Sea Monsters – All manner of sea creatures come from the depths around Sauropsida. Swimming is not advised in this area and many a young Sauran has lost its life.

What Now for Sauropsida and Shujin?

What is happening beneath the waves? Does Empress Umiko have a plan or is she content to wait out the danger? Why did they sign the Accord if they will not fight?
Can the Saurans recover their civilization from the purge of Sauropsida? Who will be the new Principal? Where has the remainder of the Fleet gone?

Towns and Places of Interest
Saurop (south) & Sida (north) – Capital of Sauropsida. A sprawling centre for knowledge and once the largest population of Saurans at several million. Now a ruin where a few scavengers manage to avoid Scourge patrols and continue some sort of existence there.

Komo – Home to the once proud Sauran fleet and centre of the ship-building industry. When the Scourge invaded the ships and shipyards were burned, some escaped across the ocean to the east under Admiral Primus Verum.

Zisha – Second city of Sauropsida and trading hub. First port of call on the ‘Lumber Trail’ – wood from Castann and The Delvings on its way to Komo for the building ships. Before the invasion it was said to be home to various retired or escaped criminals.

Dukada – Where the Sauran young are raised from egg to maturity. An entire generation was lost when the Scourge swarmed over this integral place. Some eggs still lie there, never to hatch.

Sauran Boneyard – The bodies of dead Saurans are taken here. There is no ceremony but the yard is organised by brood.
Shujin – The underwater home of the Shujin and dominion of Empress Umiko. The exact size and sprawl of the Shujin Empire is unknown.