Visks are lizard-like in appearance. They stand bipedal and almost upright on two clawed feet and have two four fingered and clawed hands. They are however larger than humans though they have a tendency to keep their long flat heads lowered in a hunch making them appear shorter than they are. Warrior strains can be up to three strides in length from tip of tail to snout. Their tails are long, thick and muscular and can be used in combat to deliver club-like blows. The tail is also used to help with balance.
Often their colourings range in the greens and browns, though their cousins the Siaks tend to lighter colourings. Some visks have blue and purple patterned skin, these are the bred thinkers/philosophers and are a new bread beside the warrior and worker strains.
Visks have lots of very small teeth most are canine used for shredding but the lizardmen are learning how to eat the plants that grow in the swamps as well and their physiology is adapting over the generations.
Visks have no visible external ears and their eyes are snake-like with slit pupils. These pupils can dilate giving the visks excellent vision even in low light.
Visks live in almost every human society save the Alkar as slaves. The only group of visks living free are those that have made it to the Swamp of the Free Visks in Saracan. Elves and dwarves do not keep slaves and so the visks are rarely seen in their countries and towns.
Slave visks are worker strain and are servile for the most part due to centuries of servitude, under mainly human masters. They tend to do what is asked of them and are relatively loyal and selfless as servants. Slave visks change a lot depending on their various masters.
Free visks tend to be proud and hostile to all outside intrusion. Free visks should always be considered hostile upon meeting humans in any environment or location and under almost any circumstances.
During the wars of Betrayal after the orcs had broken the dwarf/elf grip on the continent and the humans rose to power and began to over populate their erstwhile tutors the visk nation such as it was fell. Unlike the elves and dwarves they had neither the magic, arms or knowledge to survive the orcs or humanities rise to power. A small amount of visks fled into the desert where it was thought they had died. However it seems lightly that the visks sister race the siaks are the evolved survivors of this early plunge for freedom and survival.
Their towns and villages were taken and burned or remade in the image of their conquerors. The visks were enslaved wholesale. After centuries of enslavement most visks no longer even remember legends of when they were a free people.
However some visks have broken free and escaped from their masters over the years. At first there was no where for them to go and so they either lived from day to day alone and in constant hiding and fear, or they were recaptured and punished.
In the Year 1200PE seven visks fleeing from slavery in Auria make it over the border and head north along the coast. Pursued they got to the swamp between the lower Serpent river and the Blackened Sea coast. In these swamps they found their human hunters could not find them and were themselves exposed to ambush by the more swamp-natured visks. The leader of this group was called Sev’i (Sev-eye) and he proclaimed after their defeat of their hunters that they were free visks. In the years that followed the swamp became known as the Swamp of the Free Visks. So now visk slaves everywhere who manage to get free, flee towards this place. There is now an established civilisation there and the visks have learned swamp-lore and trained themselves to fight once more. At ten years old visks stop being visps and shed their skin and grow new bone becoming adult visks either as workers or warriors. Due to their salve occupation, almost all visks were bred as workers; among the free visks they breed warriors and now a new thinker breed.
It seems that these new philosopher visks are gaining the respect of the warrior strains and now are becoming the new leaders of the free visks.
Visks tend to be very strong but not too bright. Depending on strain their attributes change somewhat.
Worker Strain +2 STR +2 CON -2CHA.
Warrior Strain +2 STR +2 DEX -2INT.
New Philospher Strain +2 WIZ +2CHA -2 DEX
Their skin confers a +1 Natural armour bonus.
Their tail confers a +4 balance bonus.
Their tail can be used as a natural weapon, which which they can attack to deal 1d4 -subdual damage. This does not penalise other attacks but the visk looses his/her balance bonus until his/her next attack.
Visks have low-light vision.
Visks have +4 racial bonus to hide move silently, Wilderness Lore/Survivial in any swampy terrain.
Due to their universal enslavement Visks almost all speak common. Depending on where they were enslaved they may well speak local languages other than common but not usually. In ancient days they spoke Skalitz but due this language has been all but totally lost in their centuries of enslavement. The new Philosopher strains are attempting to recreate Skalitz in the Swamp of the Free Visks but have very little to work with. New words and ancient texts in the tongue are very highly prized.
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