The Naga (Custos serpens) are giant Awakened sentient serpents.
Naga are usually around 10 meters in length and are found throughout the world. They tend to resemble the dominant snake species of their homelands. Despite their intelligence, Naga were not recognized as sapient for many years following their discovery in 2013. Indeed, many security corporations caught Naga and trained them as security animals, not realizing that their captives were studying as much as being studied.
The Naga used this underestimation of their intelligence to their advantage - as Naga were retired from security service (or simply escaped on their own), they returned to their homelands and relayed everything they knew about metahuman society (including a near-complete understanding of many metahuman languages) to their fellows.
During this time period, many Naga throughout Asia gathered around the ruins of Angkor Wat, in Cambodia. With the assistance of many paranormal creatures, the Naga succeeded in almost completely stamping out tourist travel to Angkor Wat. There, they set about creating a genuine national government. Though they called themselves "The Naga Kingdom," the nation was in reality a coalition of Naga and other intelligent paracritters working together to establish a safe haven away from metahumanity.
Eventually, in the early 2060s, the Naga revealed themselves as a sapient species, and officially founded the Naga Kingdom of Angkor Wat. Their success in this endeavor was most likely aided significantly by the cultural reverence towards Naga that had developed in East Asia during the half-century following their initial discovery.
Naga have their own language, but are also fully capable of learning and speaking almost any metahuman language. They do have some problems with hard consonants, though, making languages such as German problematic.
Naga are cold blooded, magically active snakes. They are long-lived, and can grow to around 10 meters long by adulthood. They tend to mimic, in appearance, the dominant snake species of their various homelands. In the Naga Kingdom, most are analogous to various Python, Viper, and Krait species. In Amazonia, most Naga are Anaconda variants.
Like all cold blooded animals, Naga have difficulty operating in colder climates. As a result, most tend to remain in or near warm climates year round, though a few have ventured elsewhere.
Naga species follow their analogous snake species when it comes to venom. Most are venomous (though the constrictors such as Anaconda and Python are not), and some (spitting cobras) can even project their venom at a distance.
Naga scales are incredibly tough, to the point where they can protect against many physical attacks, up to and including small arms fire.
Naga are, universally, magically active creatures, and have a strong predisposition towards spellcasting. Additionally, especially in Asia, they are believed to have the power to bring magical good fortune.
Most of the Naga who venture out into the wider world are spellcasters, serving as magical security in various corpsec entities. It is also likely that most of the Naga who choose to navigate the metahuman world find that spellcasting is necessary simply to get around. Without arms, hands, or fingers, many Naga rely upon magic to operate in a world designed for bipedal creatures with opposable thumbs.
Currently, the following national entities recognize Naga as citizens:
- Bangla Commonwealth
- Indian Union
- Salish-Shidhe Council
- Sri Lanka
- United Canadian and American States
- Czech Republic