"The Rig Veda is clear, and the teachings of Buddha just; live a life of compassion and benevolence, seeking the crystal hearts of bhadra and samanta."
Reclusive, even in the ancient past, the Naga have remained benevolent friends of Man. But even with the slower and milder growth of Banality in India, the Naga have withdrawn further, and find themselves beleaguered by the corruption and evil of the Asura.
With the power of the Asura growing in the polluted, traffic-choked cities, few Naga leave their rural domains and many spend an increasing amount of time secluded in Bhogavati.
Wise and good natured, the Naga are Pari of river, lake and sea, where the power of the Asura is weakest, but they are quite comfortable on land and shore. Closest in nature to the Seelie of the West, the Naga follow a monarchy, but their monarchy is just, wise and compassionate, existing as servants of the people. Deeply spiritual, many are devout followers of Buddhism or the Brahma pantheon, invoking such deities as Shiva, Vishnu, Krishna and Brahma. In fact, many follow the religious vocations of Brahmin, Sidhu or Buddhist monk, trying to impart wisdom and healing to those they meet. Loving and family orientated, the Naga can also be found in Tibet, China and Japan, spread with the growth of Buddhism in these nations and now an established part of their mythos. While the Naga have never been great travellers a small number exist in the Western lands of Europe and the Americas, immigrants with the influx of Asian peoples, and these few have little trouble or ideological problem in integrating themselves into the Seelie Court.
Ultimately, three ideals dominate the lives of the Naga: dharma (duty), and the pursuit of bhadra (divine compassion) and samanta (enlightening wisdom).
They have an affinity with the Nature realm.
Appearance and Lifestyles
Naga are striking and beautiful Pari, appearing as attractive people of Indian and Far Eastern descent, with long lustrous black hair, rich dark skin and shimmering black eyes. They have a pair of graceful ivory horns, and soft feathered wings, but perhaps their most exotic feature is their serpent-like body. From the waist down their body tapers into a long snake-like tail, often as long as 15ft with jewel-like emerald scales. They wear little in their Avatar seemings, but are fond of exquisite and beautiful jewellery. They move slowly and gracefully, but can strike with the swiftness of a lunging snake when angered.
Those few who have achieved bhadra and samanta (called Bodhisattvas) are noted for the fact that their skin achieves a pale blue, gold or black coloration. A far higher percentage of Naga reach this vaunted state (akin to the Siochain) than their western cousins.
Bochcha Naga are playful and literally radiate warmth and happiness. They like nothing better than playing on the sandy shore, or frolicking on the banks of a lake or river, darting happily under the waves. Even more notable is the complete lack of childish malice, for these little ones would never dream of hurting anyone.
Jangali Naga are serene, but maintain an edge of playfulness and flirtation, delighting in the natural beauty they see. The most adventurous of the Naga, they are also the most likely to venture into the cities. Sadly, some never return.
Bara Naga are the wisest of their kind, and benevolent and thoughtful. As the leaders of their kind they are almost always the most responsible and slow to action.
The majority of Naga live as rural peasants, and always make their life near a body of water such as a lake, river or ocean. Unsurprisingly, this means many are fishermen, although others live as wandering Brahmins, Sidhu or Buddhist monks.
This was not always the case. In the times of legend they often married great and noble warriors or monarchs, creating powerful and just dynasties, but those days are now as dust, and may never return.
Birthrights and Frailties
As with any Kith, Naga have a few traits exclusive to them.
Love of Sarasvati: The Naga are completely amphibious, surviving perfectly well in air or water (fresh or salt), and can comfortably breathe either. They move with great grace and speed in the watery domain, suffering no action penalties and having a movement of 30 + (Dex x 3) yards per turn.
Blessing of Garuda: The Naga are surprisingly graceful flyers, and their soft feathered wings give them the benefits of the Winged Merit (pg. 28 Players Guide).
Radiance of Rati: Beautiful and strangely compelling, Naga have an extra dot of Appearance (even above 5).
Malindula's Tail: While graceful and prehensile, their tail means they move slowly across the ground and cannot exceed 10 + Dex yards per turn in speed. The sheer length of the chimerical tail can also present problems with it getting caught or trod on, and performing tasks that really need the use of two legs (such as driving) are next to impossible. Note however, that Naga are excellent climbers, and find little difficulty in coping with rocky cliff faces or trees.
Crush of the Stranger: The Naga have never really faced the crushing Banality that has afflicted other changelings, and have constantly hidden from it when it appeared. This means their defenses against this insidious force are weaker than most. Banality affects them as if it were one point higher than it actually is, and every point of Banality they gain counts as two points.
Views on Other Kith
The Naga have almost no contact with the Kithain.
Daitya: The giant anti-gods have begun to rally their forces after their defeat by the gods. We are pitifully few but we may have to face them again. It is our dharma.
Rakshasa: The twisted imps are ever eager to corrupt and bow to the wishes of the Daitya. Heal those who suffer from their ravages.
Sesha, Royal Empress of the Naga
Sesha is an awesomely beautiful Hindu woman, and is the current ruler of the Naga. She reigns from the great halls of Bhogavati and is everything the Naga desire of a ruler. Kind, wise, patient, and utterly devoted to the welfare of her followers, she has earned the name Sesha (after the many-headed serpent on which Vishnu sleeps) due to her great wisdom, which is said to exceed that of many minds combined. Raised as the child of an impoverished rural fisherman she has never been completely comfortable with her assigned station and is growing increasingly worried about the Asura and encroaching tide of Banality.
Born to a large Hindu family in Birmingham, England, Sharaz awakened to her Avatar while on holiday with her family in Newquay in the West Country. Luckily a pair of local Pixie and Selkie surfers are on hand to witness her awakening and ease her transition. Taken by the beauty of Newquay (and the natural magnetism of the sea) she vowed to return. She spent the rest of her childhood and teenage years in Birmingham, making many friends among the local Eshu community, and mastering the arts of Indian cuisine in her father's restaurant. Two years ago she finally realised her dream and moved to Newquay where she has set up her own restaurant (called the Shish Mahal). A favourite hangout of the local kithain, her cooking has earned her several awards and accolades. She loves her new life and can often be seen on the beach, learning to body-board with the local selkies when she's not creating a new culinary delight. Despite the success of her restaurant, her profits are modest as she keeps her prices reasonable and often helps out the homeless and downtrodden by donating many meals to the local soup kitchen's and refuges.
Recent years have seen her seeking the mysticism and heritage of her kith, and she will excitedly welcome any news or lore with a warm meal. This has made her restaurant a favoured stop for travelling kithain.
This vast fount of Glamour under the Himalayas actually consists of dozens of smaller freeholds gathered together to form a single subterranean city. The entrance is located in an isolated and beautiful ravine; an ominous cavern hidden behind the roaring cascade of a mighty waterfall, warded and hidden with powerful magics from all save the Naga themselves. Home to nearly a quarter of the Naga population, it is a breathtaking and awesome vision, literally shimmering with Glamour. Carved from the surrounding white rock into beautiful statues, arches, vaults and halls, twisting crystal-clear waters run along sunken waterways where the Naga swim, and cascade over small waterfalls. Soft multi-coloured light fills the air and the streets are paved with fanciful mosaics or emeralds, sapphires, rubies, diamonds and other precious stones, each a piece of dross. Bhogavati is without doubt one of the greatest sites of Amrita (Glamour) still remaining.
No jewel may be stolen from Bhogavati without ill fortune befalling the thief. For every jewel stolen (each is worth 1 level of Resources) the thief will suffer a permanent -1 penalty on all her dice rolls and automatically loses 1 success from any she achieves. These penalties are cumulative. According to legend the jewels were rescued from the Sea of Milk when the Asura warred with the gods.