Bone Skink

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Bone Skinks by Fabio.png

Summary
Status
Xenonym Bone Skink
Autonym Laghairt-bonn
Home Plane Sgèileàite
Morphology Reptilian Biped
Typoid Reptiloid
Lifespan Average: 80 Years

Pregnancy: 4 Months
Egg: 6 Months
Hatchling: 2 Years
Child: 5 Years
Adolescent: 10 Years
Adult: 60 Years
Elder: 50+ Years

Height Data 5'4" / 1.625m

6'2" / 1.879m

4'8" / 1.422m
Weight Data 260 lbs. / 117.93kg

325 lbs. / 147.42kg

195 lbs. / 88.45kg
Scale Colors Bone, Ivory, Cream, Porcelain, Beige, Alabaster
Frill Colors Solid Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Brown, Blue, Indigo, Violet in Solid, Striped or Spotted variations
Eye Colors Yellow, Orange, Red, Green, Blue
Physical Distinctions Thick Skin, Frill on Back of Head
Properties Bone Skink Properties


You want to know why we hate snakes?

If you look at our history, you'd be surprised that we even had a chance. We weren't the first to exist here, that honor belongs to the Seannathair. They saw our ancestors as primitive beasts and savages. However, they lost their dominance when they botched some attempt to make this world better suited for themselves at the expense of all other life on this world... and our ancestors rose up and seized the opportunity. They've never forgiven us for that and have been haunting us ever since. We have a living, evil enemy that wants us all dead.

That, lad, is why we hate snakes.

Ramblings of Grizzwold the Bear-Eater

The Bone Skinks are one of the original races of the Planar Council, having been members since its first incarnation, and hold the honor of being the first species that Humanity encountered outside of their own plane. They are a hard-working but carefree people, which certainly can come across as contradictory to some. To them, successful and well-lived lives are ones where they worked hard and enjoyed their free time as much as possible. "Work hard, play hard" is an adage that applies to most Bone Skinks, regardless of their upbringing.

While the Bone Skinks are now the primary sophonts on Sgèileàite, that was not always the case. Thousands of years before they evolved into their present form, a sentient race of serpents ruled over the plane that the Bone Skinks refer to as the "Seannathair". If it wasn’t for the actions of these serpent-men, the "Laghairt-bonn" wouldn’t exist today.

Physiology

Anatomy[edit]

Like with nearly all sophonts found on other worlds, most aspects of Bone Skink physiology are closely homologous to the corresponding aspects of animal physiology. Their body comprises a pair of legs, the torso, the tail, a pair of arms, the neck, and the head.

Bone Skinks are slightly sexually dimorphic, with the males having larger heads while the females have slightly elongated torsos. The accepted theory for this has to do with their ancestors using their neck frills to attract mates, whereas the extra room in the torso was to assist in the carrying of eggs.

The largest deviation from their ancestors is that the Bone Skinks are mesotherms and no longer ectothermic as most reptiles are. This allowed their ancestors to survive the colder temperatures because of an increased capability of regulating their own body heat and promoted sociable behavior. Another adaptation is a much thicker layer of scales and dermis, which helps insulate Bone Skinks and further improves their capabilities of surviving in colder climes.

Though originally quadrupedal, they are now bipedal. The evolutionary move to bipedalism has changed the overall structure of the Bone Skink. The tail of the Bone Skink is large and muscular, its primary purpose being to provide balance, a remnant from their ancestors. Their claws have shortened and their teeth have become more adapted to an omnivorous diet.

The scales of Bone Skinks vary in color but hover towards paler, bone-like colors, which is the primary factor for their given xenonym. There is some variation in color in regions that would normally be associated with the underbelly, but it is not prominent enough to garner attention.

Bone Skinks average 5 feet 4 inches in height, the tallest of them slightly larger than 6 feet while the shortest is under 5 feet. Females are slightly taller than males on average. The average weight is around 260lbs.

Life Cycle[edit]

Reproduction starts with internal fertilization and the formation of one to five eggs, though clutches over three eggs at a time are uncommon. The internal growth of the eggs is around four months, after which the female lays them for the last stretch of their development. The ancestors of the Bone Skinks would lay their eggs under decaying plant matter for warmth and protection, though in more modern times specialized furniture and coverings are in use instead.

Six months later, the eggs hatch with the hatchling phase being very similar to human babies and toddlers. They continue to grow until reaching sexual maturation at around 14 to 18 years of age. Typically, the Bone Skink lifespan spans several periods: egg, hatchling, childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, adulthood and old age. The lengths of these stages, however, have varied across cultures and time periods. Compared to other lizards, Bone Skinks experience an unusually rapid growth spurt during adolescence, where the body can grow up 25% in size.

Diet[edit]

Ancestors of the Bone Skinks were distinctly insectivorous, though as they developed and required more energy for their growing minds, their dietary needs changed. Now omnivorous, Bone Skinks can eat a wide variety of things to sustain themselves.

Primary dietary composition varies based on culture and locale, with diets ranging from nearly entirely herbivorous to others being entirely insectivorous or carnivorous. Like all other sophonts, dietary restrictions can lead to deficiency diseases, but Bone Skinks have adapted to many dietary patterns through both genetic specialization and cultural conventions to use nutritionally balanced food sources.

Biological Variation[edit]

While no two Bone Skinks are genetically identical, there is seemingly not as much biological variation that is visibly obvious when compared to other sophonts. There is little to no color variation based on inhabiting other climates, though it can affect the stockiness of their build with Bone Skinks in color climes bulkier than their cousins in more temperate or arid conditions.

Most variation occurs in things such as cranial features, blood type, eye color, color and type of pattern on their neck frill and heights and builds being things that vary across the planes.

History

Evolutionary History[edit]

The Bone Skink’s evolutionary history can be traced back to a species that, despite being plentiful, did not make headway until the great extinction event that was caused by the Seannathair.

Before this significant event, varieties of serpents, insects, and fungi predominantly filled the world. Reptiles, plants, and coatl also existed, but were simple creatures. We should note that the difference between serpents and other reptiles was immense, existing in entirely different biological kingdoms. Though snakes would develop later on, their biology is different and is a case of convergent evolution.

At their earliest, the Bone Skink’s ancestors could be found as a variety of small quadrupedal reptiles with insectivorous diets, thriving in colder environments as the serpents and their kind found it more difficult to exist there. During this time, the Seannathair could only exist comfortably within the confines of the equatorial belt and a small distance beyond — a relatively small space, given that the planet was warmer.

After the climate changing event (which is known as "Aois-fuar" amongst the Laghairt-bonn), the forms of life synonymous with the warmer temperatures fell into decline with many eventually going extinct. As the planet cooled, the range to their ancestors expanded and the newfound holes in nature provided new opportunities for them to explore.

It's fascinatin' ta think our warld used ta be sae different, dorn't ye think? Ye can still fin' ancient' crittahs 'at thrived befoh th' Aois-fuar but they ur few an' far 'atween. Ah fin' myself wonderin' what it woulds have bin lik' back when we wer' naethin' more than simple liza'ds runnin' aroond eatin' bugs.

Robaidh Mac a' Ghille Bhàin, Hemotheurgic Researcher

With new options open to them, several species found more success living out of the trees and on the forest floor. Over time, their gaits changed, their hind-limbs moving from the side of their bodies and their fore-limbs becoming larger and developing grasping digits. Because of an abundance of fruit, many species changed from being primarily insectivorous to having omnivorous diets, increasing caloric intake, which also led to developing more powerful brains.

Eventually, a few species of proto-Laghairt-bonn left the jungles to wander the sparsely wooded savannahs. It was around this time that the primitives that would eventually become the Bone Skinks gained prominence, being the earliest to develop paleolithic stone tools.

Pre-History[edit]

In their earliest days, there were several subspecies of the proto-Laghairt-bonn whom all had varying degrees of luck in the world; a greater number of them were still bound to the forests that were slowly creeping towards the equator, but the most successful few lived primarily in the open stretches of plains and savannahs. One even survived in the fungal forests that still maintained a presence along the equator, but their existence was short-lived and remains shrouded in mystery.

Though these variants of the proto-Laighairt-bonn coexisted together for some time, such simultaneous existence would not to last. Through a combination of superior genetic features and the development of primitive tools, one species came out ahead of the others. Though there was some cross-species reproduction, their fates were ultimately sealed to become nothing more than cousins in the fossil record.

Finality of Form[edit]

With no direct competition and finding themselves in the relatively safe spot at the top of the food chain, the proto-Laghairt-bonn could not only survive but thrive as the climate continually got colder. As they developed from being ectotherms to mesotherms, the primitive lizardfolk could spend more time being active, which led to pursuing activities beyond their basic instinctual needs.

The final evolutionary changes to the proto-Laghairt-bonn would ultimately slim them down due to better insulation and make them capable omnivores.

Society

Pre-Civilization[edit]

As with most species, before the development of sustainable food sources, the Laghairt-bonn existed as wandering hunter-gatherers.

Before the widespread development of tools and weapons, Bone Skinks would primarily collect seafood, eggs, mushrooms, nuts, and fruits; only really scavenging meat when found on carcasses of animals killed by predators or that had died of natural causes. As time passed, some of these hunter-gatherer groups specialized, concentrating on hunting a smaller selection of (often larger) game and gathering a smaller selection of food. This specialization of work also involved creating specialized tools such as fishing nets, hooks, and bone harpoons.

Bone Skinks would stay together as family units, with some of the larger ones forming entire clans. This change of priority from a more individualistic lifestyle to a collectivist one helped the early Bone Skinks protect themselves against the Seannathair to ensure continued existence.

Transition to Civilization[edit]

The common belief is that it was the pastoral lifestyle that led to the first progress of civilization developing versus agricultural ones found elsewhere. Tending to grazing animals, early Bone Skinks found they had more success when they could have several close pastures instead of following their animals on sometimes lengthy migrations.

While the pastoral lifestyle led to settling down in areas instead of constantly wandering, the Bone Skinks developed fungiculture and mycoforestry long before they started dabbling in agriculture and forest farming. Though the tropical bands were receding, the surviving species of various fungi there were hearty and found to be easy to grow and harvest. It was the trading of resources between different regions that facilitated the creation of early cities and nations — some of the greatest cities were centers of trade, people bringing species of fungi from the tropical regions to trade for meat, skins and other trade goods produced in the more temperate and colder regions.

Agriculture did not become widespread until they made the discovery of various other plants on Sgèileàite. Not that agriculture didn’t exist, but they primarily used cereals as feed for animals and the vegetables were more of a novelty than a staple. Most of the discovered crops were more suited for growth outside of the equatorial belt, so they spread quickly, which had a considerable effect on Sgèileàiten population levels. Newly available cereals, vegetables, and fruits also improved general levels of health and led to the development of alcohol.

Though at a severe disadvantage against the remaining Seannathair, this also led to the Bone Skinks having something to unify against which nearly eliminated the early violence you find in burgeoning sophont societies. It is theorized that the constant fear of the Seannathair also prompted an early interest in various forms of entertainment and why alcoholic beverages were so quickly integrated into society.

The early focus on trade to help spread valuable resources, entertainment to delight people normally having to live in fear and the need to defend against the Seannathair led to major city centers developing and helped usher in the transition into modern society.

Well sure, a large piece of feòil-buachrach will fill me up, but where's the ale?!

Overheard in a random Bone Skink tavern

Ethnicities[edit]

Though there are a variety of other ethnic groups that originated on other worlds, there are a few that have developed originally on Sgèileàite and thus hold a special, historical status to the Laghairt-bonn as a people. This is not a complete list, instead including the most prominent, largest, or well-known ethnicities of which members can still be found.

Daoine Le Casan[edit]

The most numerous of all the Bone Skink ethnic groups, the Daoine Le Casan can almost be considered to be the default cultural group unless otherwise stated.

Balg-bhuachair Laghairtean[edit]

One of the groups of Laghairt-bonn that developed in the fungal forests that are constrained to the tropical regions, the Balg-bhuachair Laghairtean are known for their work ethic and focus to more land-based enterprises. Their environment being an important part of their cultural identity leads to them having respect for the land and the bounty it can provide. The importance of nature and their experience with agriculture and forestry leads to them being sought by others who need help in those areas.

Nature, having a cultural significance, leads to a lot of Balg-bhuachair Laghairtean building settlements and buildings in a way to keep nature intact instead of doing things such as clearing forests, moving stones and flattening land. This limits their size to a degree but gives their settlements a quaint style.

Balg-bhuachair Laghairtean are slightly taller and slimmer than other Bone Skinks, with their scales running paler than normal. Having lived in areas that are warmer and more humid has made their faces more broad and flat to allow them to more easily keep moisture.

Tobhta Mhuinntir[edit]

There are entire regions where Seannathairic ruins litter the landscape, long abandoned by their old ophidian creators and left to rot. The Laghairt-bonn who developed here are known as Tobhta Mhuinntir and have a deeper respect and understanding for the Seannathair than most. As a cultural whole, they have a fascination with serpents instead of an aversion. They will still fight the Seannathair should one make an appearance, but the superstition of serpents isn’t as prevalent.

The Tobhta Mhuinntir are also known as the authority of Seannathairic artifacts and have figured out several of their oldest arcane spells. While a deeper understanding of their enemy has helped them survive, many question the loyalties of the Tobhta Mhuinntir to where they are ostracized by other cultures.

Tobhta Mhuinntir have stocky, shorter builds and have larger eyes. The areas they lived in ran the gamut between desolate and pleasant, as there were many Seannathair ruins everywhere. The ruins could be anything from old farmland to massive, dead cities.

Tràigh Laghairtean[edit]

Along the coasts, many fishing cultures developed, as they do on many worlds. The Tràigh Laghairtean as a people have a far deeper connection to the sea than others. With an innate love of swimming and boating, they fall into roles of exploration and mercantilism. It was the Tràigh Laghairtean who first took to the seas and explored many parts of the world that were not even known of by their kind. Though not the only Bone Skinks to love the sea, Tràigh Laghairtean sailors are naturals.

As a seafaring culture, the Tràigh Laghairtean have a love of stories and song. Many Laighart-bonn sea shanties come from the Tràigh Laghairtean with love, longing and a desire for freedom being the most common subjects of them.

Tràigh Laghairtean have darker scales and webbed digits are more commonly found amongst their lineage. Short but thin, they have chests that are more broad to fit their larger lungs. They also are found to have narrower, longer skulls. Given the number of venomous sea serpents and snakes, they are more averse to encounters with said creatures.

Slugaidh Nathraichean[edit]

A far more primitive people that are known for their aggressiveness and loathed for their acceptance of eating other intelligent beings, the Slugaidh Nathraichean have come to also be known as the "Snake Eaters". Filling role common across the planes, we can see them fill the niche of cannibalistic savages. Though they have fallen out of this trait in modernity, there are still small pockets of them that engage in this practice.

Confined to living in some of the hottest and most desolate places on Sgèileàite made their survival far more difficult comparatively to other Laighartt-bonn. This factor held back societal development and led to them being more primitive.

Slugaidh Nathraichean are definitely amongst the most hearty of the Laghairt-bonn, having more muscular, bulky bodies. They seem to have a harder time with the cold compared to other Bone Skinks, which may be due to them having less exposure to freezing climates.

Fhàsach Cinnidhean[edit]

Though they are few, certain Laghairt-bonn gathered and developed societies in the deserts of Sgèileàite. The Fhàsach Cinnidhean are a hardy people who are often seen with darker scales than other ethnicities. Family and clan have been extremely important to the Fhàsach Cinnidhean throughout the years, and they place a lot of value on family and those they decide to trust. Earning the trust of a Fhàsach Cinnidhean is no simple feat, but being considered a member of their family is nigh-legendary.

The deserts of Sgèileàite may have one day been a major part of the Seannathairic civilizations, but in the present they are littered with ruins. Unlike the Tobhta Mhuinntir, the Fhàsach Cinnidhean actively avoid any ruins they come across. Though they may allow others to enter them, it is taboo within their culture to do so.

Fhàsach Cinnidhean are small in number because of the amount of warmer deserts found on Sgèileàite, as they culturally are rather isolationist. They are known for persistence hunting, using their endurance and willpower to chase down prey to the point of them being too tired to run any longer. They are slimmer than other ethnicities, but still hardy.

Dorcha Cnàmhan[edit]

Some primitive societies embraced magic far before it had become more widespread and understood. The Dorcha Cnàmhan are a scarred people with an interesting anatomical distinction — their bones are black. Given their nature, it should come to no surprise that they excel in many magical arts, some even picking up divine and psionic crafts easily as well. It is not known how they initially succumbed to their curse, though they as a people believe it is from something Seannathairic in nature.

One of the smallest of the Laghairt-bonn ethnicities, the Dorcha Cnàmhan are known for their sickly, blistered looking skin that albeit being healthy gives them a wan and ghastly appearance. Looked down upon, the Dorcha Cnàmhan have had to fight to keep themselves in existence. Though accepted now, they still face stigma in modern times.

Though they’ve always been few, the Dorcha Cnàmhan have always had a sort of fantastical and legendary nature about them in Laighart-bonn cultures. This would lead to them either being the subject of stories to scare children or hidden, scheming enemies with one’s own clan. Thankfully, several beliefs have fallen away with time.

Dh'itheas Gual[edit]

In the southernmost regions, sprawling mountains are covered with snow and hidden temples. The Dh’itheas Gual are known as a shorter, hardier people when compared to other Bone Skinks. Dh’itheas Gual are an odd, reclusive group of Laghairt-bonn, having found their existence in the higher, now cold regions of Sgèileàite. Riddled with ancient abandoned Seannathair temples led the Dh’itheas Gual to develop a more curiosity based look at the ancient serpentine creators than the fear that was common amongst their kind.

Though nowhere near the fanaticism found in some other Laghairt-bonn ethnicities, the Dh’itheas Gual have a fascination with the Seannathair. Their fascination, however, is one more of curiosity and wanting to understand Seannathairic culture and beliefs. They spend a lot of time attempting to translate Seannathairic texts and discussing philosophy, literature and the nature of said works they translate.

Hearty, large and having an easier time in higher altitudes, the Dh’itheas Gual earned their name for eating charcoal, which helped them survive with the abundance of low-level toxic plants that grow in those climates.

Ciste-cadail[edit]

Before interacting with Humanity directly, a similar condition to what Humanity refers to as "vampirism" developed in an isolated community, spreading to close but equally isolated towns and villages. Eventually the disease passed, but the Ciste-cadail are the remnants of those who were changed and formed their own societies. Though their ancestors had conquered the disease that changed them, the Ciste-cadail still tend to enjoy fresh meat and have a far keener sense of smell than others amongst their kind. With a natural sense of celerity, they are known for being quick on their feet.

Ironic in some ways, the Ciste-cadail boast a much higher resistance to vampirism, therianthropy and other diseases or curses that alter one’s body. This has led to some of their number making a name for themselves in hunting down things of that nature, with some even reaching a point of becoming well known in history across the planes.

Ciste-cadail are the most scarce of the Laghairt-bonn, still existing primarily in tight-knit enclaves over mingling with the rest of their kind. This gives the darker skinned and pupil-less Ciste-cadail a very mysterious reputation, even if it is born of ignorance, though that is changing as the exploits of their kind spread.

Culture

Language[edit]

Body Language[edit]

Physical Contact[edit]

As mesotherms, Laghairt-bonn aren’t fully dependent on the environment for their body heat like other reptiles. Because of this, they are fond of physical contact culturally, especially hugs and full body embraces where they can enjoy the warmth of the other person they are interacting with. Physical contact is common when a Laghairt-bonn is comfortable with their surroundings.

Gestures[edit]

Given that the Seannathair can detect movement in a manner similar to serpents and snakes, it would make sense that the Laghairt-bonn developed language in a way that tried to minimize body language and movement. Those raised around Laghairt-bonn develop this trait as well and people who are unaware of it can sometimes find Bone Skink’s lack of gestures "creepy".

Slurs[edit]

Cultural Laghairt-bonn slurs involve serpents and snake-like qualities. Common terms for people themselves or their actions include "anguilline", "anguine", "aspine", "colubrine", "crotaline", "elapine", "serpentine", or "viperine". "Ophidian" is seen as more cruel than the latter collection.

You and your aspine works aren't worth my time.

A Bone Skink scribe overheard quitting their job

Volume and Tone of Voice[edit]

Saying Laghairt-bonn are loud typically is an understatement. Boisterous and wild, even when they need to quiet, they fall on the louder side.

Accent[edit]

Picked up from their native languages, the best comparison to their Allspeak accent would that of the residents of Scotland.

Religion[edit]

Explanation Myths[edit]

Being more familiar with their past than other sophonts, the Laghairt-bonn never developed extensive creation myths. Serpents have always had an extensive connection with fear, evil and the past — most likely due to the Seannathair.

Food[edit]

Taboos[edit]

As one could expect of the Laghairt-bonn, most of them, including ones not raised in their culture, will not eat snakes.

Economics[edit]

Amenities[edit]

A proper Bone Skink will tell you that life without alcohol isn't worth living.

Perception of Ownership[edit]

The Laghairt-bonn have a harder time with the idea of "individual" ownership, as Sgèileàiten Bone Skinks view things belonging to them on a family and clan level before an individual one. Metropolitan Laghairt-bonn view this as a sign of naivety and the worst of them will use it to take advantage of their more rustic brethren.

Cultural Norms[edit]

Important Values[edit]

Laghairt-bonn take immense pride in a successful day of hard work and the capability of being able to relax with no attached burdens. Those seen without a proper work ethic or capability to enjoy themselves are odd and troubled.

As part of their important values of being able workers, Bone Skinks believe that forming solid and lasting relationships with those that they work with is important.

Popular Culture[edit]

Counter Culture[edit]

In a variety of places, Laghairt-bonn are born where they cannot experience the Seannathair first hand and only hear stories, some of which have drifted into the realm of fairy tale and myth. At the extreme, some of these feel that the hatred and fear of all things serpentine is an overreaction and instead try to view them with interest and sometimes worship. These beliefs aren’t widespread at all, but are common enough that Laghairt-bonn know some of their kind are like this.

Careers[edit]

Work Ethic[edit]

Us Laghairt-bonn have been extremely lucky wit' the fact that we've never 'ad to take ourselves too seriously.

Councillor Effie Dòmhnullach

It is a core tenet of Bone Skink society that you work as hard as you can so that you can enjoy your free time with no feelings of guilt. Those who don't have a solid work ethic and spend a lot of their time relaxing are looked down upon. This can sometimes make culturally raised Bone Skinks difficult to work with when working with other sophonts.

Attitudes Towards[edit]

Children and Elders[edit]

Families and clans have been part of the Laghairt-bonn existence since before even some of the proto-Laghairt-bonn walked on Sgèileàite. As this is a genetic trait for all Bone Skinks, in places where clans may not exist, communities or even entire towns may take their place. Children and elders must be protected, with children being encouraged to help the adults work or watch to learn skills and the elderly being able to enjoy their last years free of worry or care.

Undesirables[edit]

One of the downsides of a clan based social structure is that if you are an outcast, the entire clan will generally treat you as one.

Nature[edit]

The Laghairt-bonn don't have as strong a reverence for nature in their culture as one may expect, but this due to them treating it with more of a respectful, cautionary way.

Econatural versus Supernatural Creatures[edit]

As Sgèileàite doesn't have any supernatural creatures beyond iconic, individual beings, the Laghairt-bonn evolved in a world were the flora and fauna came about naturally. Due to this, they have an instinctive distrust of supernatural beings.

Amongst the Planes

General Acceptance[edit]

Bone Skinks are beloved across the worlds of Planar Council as people find it easy to relate to the dichotomy that is inherent to their kind — working hard and playing hard. Most can appreciate one side, but those who can embrace the dualistic nature that most Bone Skinks have found them as wonderful friends, workers, and allies.

As they were one species that contributed to the formation of the Planar Alliance during the First Age, many of the newer races see their kind as a core component to the Planar Council which leads them to have an aura of respect in certain instances.

Known for being hard workers, they are often sought for their dedication to their work, whatever the task at hand may be. They are also associated with casual vice, however, so places where alcohol is in short supply or viewed as criminal may not look upon Bone Skinks in the best light. Bone Skink workers are known for getting work done, but expect time to enjoy themselves as well.

Racism[edit]

Like any species, there are some that view their kind with disdain. Common criticism and insults generally focus on hyperbole with their carefree attitude or determined work ethic and the common slurs regarding their physical form. Insults regarding scales, tails, laying eggs and their "oddly shaped heads" are common. Tricks and pranks involving snakes are also typically employed against the Bone Skinks, much to their disdain.

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