Other areas where the reptilian races exert their influence in different ways are detailed below.
The Chultengar is the easternmost of the Jungles of Chult. This narrow band of tropical rain forest lies between the Sanrach Mountains and the Luo Peaks (a continuation of the Peaks of Flame stretching eastward toward the town of Narubel).
In addition to scattered tribes of batiri (goblins), roosts of wyverns, and a few bands of wild dwarves, the Chultengar is home to one of the largest settlements of pterafolk in the Jungles of Chult. Those that dwell on the mountain slopes overlooking the Chultengar prefer to hunt in the jungle and on the northern plains of Thindol to the east.
Each pterafolk tribe answers to a spirit naga chieftain. These spirit nagas and others gather annually in a great Conclave of Spirits held in the depths of the Chultengar and led by a trio of ha-nagas. Only the juvenile male bronze dragon named Felgolos and the late Thongameir "Stormspells" Halargoth have ever seen the Conclave of Spirits and survived.
The spirit nagas (and thus, indirectly, the pterafolk) are allied with the Sauringar tribe of Narubel. Small bands of yuan-ti regularly travel between the City of Seasnakes and the Chultengar bearing goods seized by the pirate ships that frequent Narubel's harbor. This tribute is offered as payment to the spirit nagas for their aid in keeping Narubel isolated from the rest of Thindol for the past century.
Like the legendary Shandaular, the ruined city of Ilimar is divided between the two ends of a portal. The portal's northern terminus lies in the western reaches of the Gulthmere Forest, near the southern shore of the Lake of the Long Arm. This set of ruins is the domain of giant spiders and serpent-bodied lamia nobles descended from the infamous Nessmara, who recovered the Maguscepter and reigned as Westgate's queen from 615 DR to 616 DR. The portal's southern terminus lies on the eastern slopes of Muaroghal (the East Wall of Halruaa), north of the Great Swamp of Rethild. This portion of the ruined city is ruled by a circle of spirit nagas who are worshiped as gods by the lizardfolk tribes of the Great Swamp.
Millennia ago, Ilimar was founded by a minor clan of sarrukh whose members served as slave procurers for the great empires of Isstosseffifil and Mhairshaulk. Three Ilimari sarrukh who have been in hibernation since before the drow conquest of Dambrath still lie buried amidst the southern ruins. Just as the lizardfolk venerate the nagas as divine beings, the spirit nagas revere the long-buried sarrukh as gods and patiently await their next awakening.
The Great Swamp of Rethild pools around the eastern end of Halruaa's Wall, marking the western border of Dambrath. Its borders mark the boundaries of Kethid, a lizardfolk kingdom ruled by King Ghassis (CE male lizard king sorcerer 15), a shrewd, well-traveled leader. Ghaseis is unique among the lizardfolk because he has secretly acquired and mastered at least three Halruaan skyships, which some claim he has employed to sail amongst the stars.
Under the leadership of his field commander Sladdis (CE male lizardfolk fighter 12), Ghassis dispatches companies of lizardfolk mercenaries, known collectively as the Servants of the Royal Egg, to fight in distant wars. Most recently, the Servants have been active in Tethyr's War of Reclamation and the Jungles of Chult. Members of this company exhibit little initiative but lots of single-minded determination and an intense sense of group identity, so strong leadership is vital in achieving the desired results. Ghassis is rather indifferent about the fate of his Servants, but he is willing to use their talents to his own benefit as long as it is convenient to do so.
The ruins of Lhesper lie along the northern tip of Lake Lhespen in the heart of the Shaar. The town was founded in the Year of the Whispering Stones (-373 DR) by Lapal émigrés fleeing the Empire Plague that had beset Lapaliiya two years before. Lhesper remained independent until the Year of the Wailing Mothers (297 DR), when the imperial armies of Qysara Shoon V marched across the Shaar, conquering all the territory between the Shining Sea and the Landrise.
Although Lhesper regained its independence in 437 DR and again in 451 DR, its freedom did not last long. In the Year of the Fanged Beast (640 DR), Yeenoghu's cult rose to rapid prominence among the gnoll tribes of the Shaar. Lhesper, one of the first towns to bear the cult's wrath, was left in ruins. The few survivors, still ethnically pure Lapal, migrated north to found the town of Shaarmid.
For centuries, the ruins of Lhesper served as hunting grounds for gnoll warriors, but now they are once again inhabited. The latest occupants are members of the Coiled Cabal who are searching for the legendary Emeralds of Merrshaulk, a set of massive gemstones inscribed with the ancient divine spells of Mhairshaulk. The stones were stolen when the Lapal tribes first fled the Lapal Sea to found what- would one day become Lapaliiya. In the waning days of the Empire Plague, they were taken to Lhesper for safekeeping, only to be lost when that town was overrun by gnolls.
Whether or not the Coiled Cabal succeeds in locating the Emeralds of Merrshaulk, the strategic location of this base makes the expense of maintaining it more than worth the while. Therefore, the yuan-ti have exerted their power over the human bandit tribes of the region, forcing them to bring any human travelers they capture back to ruined Lhesper for sacrifice to Sseth or transformation into broodguards or tainted ones.
The Nagalands encompass the upper reaches of the Nagaflow, the southern half of the Nagawater, the plains of Serpent's Holding, and the Naga Plains. Although the Nagalands lack any sort of formal government, this region is uncontestably the collective domain of the nagas, and no other rearm controls this region.
The Nagaflow is a long; lazy river that originates in the heart of the Chondalwood, broadens into a deep, freshwater lake known as the Nagawater upon joining with the Wintercloak River, then drains into the Vilhon Reach in the shadow of Nimpeth. The southern half of the Nagawater is the domain of numerous water nagas and increasing numbers of banelar nagas. The upper reaches of the Nagaflow are the spawning grounds for all the naga subraces. In addition, a Yuan-ti anathema named Phelriss secretly uses the area as a lair. Phelriss is attended by a cult of dark and spirit naga followers who venerate it as a god.
Between the Nagaflow and the River Arran lie the Golden Plains, named for their tall, golden grasses. These plains are home to centaurs, the Talu-min tribe of Lion warriors (Calishite humans), and gnolls. The western edge of the Golden Plains, along the eastern shore of the Nagawater, is known as the Naga Plains. This region is inhabited by guardian nagas who dwell in hollow trees and other hidey-holes, and by spirit nagas who dwell in subterranean caves exposed by the waters of the Nagaflow.
The band of plains between the Nagawater and the Winterwood has been named Serpents' Holding by the Brada-min tribe of Lion warriors (Calishite humans) and the inhabitants of the fortified village of Nagarr. Countless varieties of snakes, including a spitting snake known as the mlarraun, lair in this hilly, rolling terrain.
Two disconcerting rumors have emerged from the Nagalands in recent years. One holds that agents of Teldorn Darkhope of Mintar have rediscovered a means of transforming water nagas into banelar nagas, . and that the increasing numbers of the latter subrace in the Nagawater are the results of such magical transformations. The other rumor holds that a dark naga named Calliope, consort of Pristoleph the Purple (LE male Chondathan human wizard 12), has hatched a clutch of dark nagas with arms in the depths of the Chondalwood. Her progeny are said to be growing to maturity even now in the catacombs of Pristal Towers in Innarlith. (In fact, the arms of these nagara are yuan-ti grafts placed on them by Phelriss.)
Peaks of Flame
Three volcanic peaks rise from the depths of the Jungles of Chult, spewing smoke and ash into the skies. The Peaks of Flame, as these volcanoes are known, are linked via a network of lava tubes to a region of the Underdark known as the Firelands that lies just below the Jungles of Chult. In the heart of the Firelands is the Burning Rift, site of many portals to the Elemental Plane of Fire.
Azers, hell hounds, flamesnakes, magmins, salamanders, and other fiery creatures have all migrated to the Firelands via such portals and then made their way to the lava-strewn slopes of the Peaks of Flame. Red dragons and pyrohydras are naturally drawn to the range and are commonly encountered here as well. But by far the most numerous inhabitants of both the Peaks of Flame and the Firelands are tribes of firenewts and their giant strider mounts.
Morndin Vertesplendarrorn, the Emerald Crater, is the shattered remnant of a fourth peak, which lies just north and west of the three active volcanoes. The wild dwarf tribes of the region make regular pilgrimages to this truncated cone, which is sacred to Thard Harr. Since its creation in the Year of the Quivering Mountains (77 DR), the Emerald Crater has been home to Esmerandanna, an emerald great wyrm known as the Resplendent Queen and guardian of the most sacred carvings of the dur Authalar.
Legend has it that the Peaks of Flame stand over a pair of doors leading to the Fugue Plain. When the doom of the world approaches, Dendar the Night Serpent (an elder eternal evil that feeds on the unremembered nightmares of all creatures) will break down these doors and escape into Abeir-Toril. The god Ubtao stands guard against that day because if he does not defeat her, the Night Serpent will swallow the sun.
Located deep beneath the city of Waterdeep, the Slitherswamp is a largely unexplored sublevel between Levels Four and Five of Undermountain. Halaster stocked the Slitherswamp with abductees from Najara in the Year of the Sighing Serpent (1289 DR). and it is still populated primarily by dark nagas, ophidians, and snakes of all sorts. Contact between the Slitherswamp and Najara was not reestablished until the Year of the Serpent (1359 DR), when a dark naga dwelling in Undermountain discovered a portal. This particular portal linked the Slitherswamp with an area of rolling grasslands in the shadow of the Serpent Hills some 3 miles west of what is now Ithkyxan's Lair (see Najara).
More than half of the Slitherswamp's inhabitants vanished via a second portal during Halaster's Higharvestide in the Year of the Gauntlet (1369 DR). This group is now imprisoned in the depths of the Nameless Dungeon in the High Forest, and no contact has been made to date.
The Port of Shadows is a teeming hive of evil that lies deep beneath Waterdeep, on Level Three of Undermountain. In the wretched heart of this subterranean city's mercantile district, among the stone columns of the lower Trade Lanes, a magnificent structure stands out among the nearby homes and taverns. Its walls are carved with images of serpents and scales, and two powerfully muscled, snake-tailed Yuan-ti (CE male halfblood yuan-ti fighter 4) stand guard at its gates. Called the Snake Pit by its wary neighbors, this imposing edifice is the residence of Zstulkk Ssarmn, a prominent slaver of the Iron Ring consortium.
Disturbing sounds emanate from within the structure at all hours, and odd, spicy odors leech through its walls. A company of pureblood and halfblood yuan ti is always on hand to deal with intruders, along with a host of charmed Large constrictors, monitor lizards, Large vipers, and other reptiles that patrol the interior corridors. The floors are dotted with concealed pits filled with vipers, and hidden chutes that lead directly to a temple of Sseth below the structure.
In the heart of Zstulkk's mansion, a coiled ramp leads down into the stone below. At its bottom lies a cavern lit with lurid red flame. Magic heats pools of water and causes small geysers to erupt around the cavern floor, making the air steamy. The resulting atmosphere is reminiscent of the southern jungles, though no trees or ferns grow this far underground. From the cavern floor, a small step pyramid rises like a coiled serpent, its stone walls carved with more reptilian imagery. At this temple, Zstulkk Ssarmn leads his Yuan-ti brood in worship of Sseth (now Set), preaching that the Great Snake will lead his people back to the power they held during the height of Mhairshaulk and Serpentes.
This cavern is the terminus of the skull-shaped portal in the tail of the Great Petrified Serpent that lies in the Serpent Hills. Travelers emerge from thin air r.ight in front of the entrance to the temple - and right under the watchful eyes of two halfblood guards. The guards greet yuan-ti visitors from the Serpent Hills formally and invite them to refresh themselves in the warm pools until Zstulkk Ssarmn can meet with them. They swiftly attack any other creature that passes through the portal, but they try to take captives rather than kill intruders outright, so that Zstulkk can interrogate the prisoners at his leisure.
A carved snake's head juts out above the temple doorway, and its ruby eyes serve as a scrying mechanism for Zstulkk Ssarmn. A mirror hanging on the wall of his sleeping chamber in the mansion above constantly shows what the snake's gemstone eyes can "see." In this way, he keeps track of all visitors approaching the temple via the portal.
Although his origins and original tribe are unknown, Zstulkk Ssarmn is an important figure in Skullport's thriving slave trade and a founding member of the Iron Ring - a consortium of slavers that keeps the slave business running in the city. The abomination has only recently completed his temple to Sseth, and he is now working hard to increase the numbers of yuan-ti in his employ. Zstulkk encourages his underlings to operate vigorous breeding programs and keeps the resulting eggs safe in the subterranean temple. He also accepts new recruits from the Chultan Peninsula, Najara, and Hlondeth, but he does not allow any Yuan-ti to remain in the city without joining his organization and swearing loyalty to him. So far, the only Yuan-ti to escape from under his thumb is his own nephew and sworn enemy, Nhyris D'Hothek, who sometimes frequents the cellars of the Dizzy Drake tavern to plot his revenge. Zstulkk dreams of bringing all of Skullport under yuan-ti domination and converting the city into a serpentine city-state, with himself as priest-king. In such a manner, he hopes to found not only a city but also a great tribe of his own.
In addition to the yuan-ti who travel to Skullport via the portal, Zstulkk Ssarmn happily welcomes pureblood and tainted one spies from Chult who arrive via merchant ships operated by the Rundeen. Zstulkk commands legions of spies throughout Skullport and even in Waterdeep because he has come to realize that information is truly the most valuable commodity in Skullport.
Skullport lies along the subterranean river Sargauth. Over the centuries, several portals large enough for entire ships to pass through have been built in the cavern walls along this waterway. One such portal, about 400 feet east of Skull Island, is only faintly visible as a scratched outline in the stone. (A successful DC 30 Spot check enables a character to notice it from a ship's deck. A character actively scanning for it can find it with a successful DC 20 Search check.) Triggering the portal requires no special key - just extraordinary confidence on the part of the ship's pilot, since the vessel must be steered bow-first into the wall. When the bowsprit makes contact with the portal, the vessel and all its contents are transported instantly to the middle of the Lapal Sea.