The strange, esoteric lizard people of the Hist, known commonly as Argonians, are a curious and alien species that has often found itself under the rule of others. Legends speaks shaped by the Hist Trees of Black Marsh, and their homeland is as dangerous as it is unexplored.
Argonians, also known as People of the Root, or Saxhleel in their native tongue of Jel, are the reptilian natives of the swampland known as the Black Marsh. The other races of Tamriel sometimes refer to them as 'lizards' or the 'Lizard Folk', which can be considered derogative. Argonians possess the most alien personalities in all of Tamriel, perceived by other races as to have no personality nor emotions.
They are known as the foremost experts in guerrilla warfare throughout the Starry Heart, a reputation brought upon them by defending their borders from enemies for countless centuries. Argonians have a lifespan similar to that of humans. According to the First Era Scholar Brendan the Persistent “the Argonian people have, throughout Tamrielic history, been perhaps the most misunderstood, vilified, and reviled of all the sentient races. Yet, those who have taken the time to experience Argonian culture have gained a greater appreciation for this noble and beautiful people". However, it should be noted that he himself went missing in his final expedition into the deeper swamps of their homeland.
Outside of Argonia, little is known of their homeland or native culture, and their alien physiology and customs are not well understood by scholars. They have been perhaps the most misunderstood of all the intelligent races.
Despite their alien outlook, some Argonians make an effort to understand and, in their own manner, befriend people of other races. Such Argonians make faithful and skilled allies.
The Argonian's reptilian nature comes through not only in their appearance, but also in how they think and act. The other races mistake them to be cold and calculating, but that is mostly because their physiology lacks the ability to express emotions in a noticeable way to non-Argonians. They are, however, capable of displaying aggression and fear in an obvious manner by narrowing their eyes or showing their teeth.
Although their physical appearance is reptilian, they are much more amphibious in reality. They have small gills behind their ears, instinctively swim in the same style as an eel, and are capable of growing feathers. Their females have mammalian breasts, although they lay eggs. Even their genders are confusing to humans and elves. It is rumored that an Argonian can change it's sex in a time of need.
Cautious and Loyal
Because they are hard to understand, humans and elves treat Argonians as cold-blooded in nature. Although this is physically true, Argonians create deep and long lasting bonds with their own people and allies. Part of this misunderstanding is in part attributed to their emotionless demeanor, which makes them nearly impossible to get to know. They are also notoriously slow to trust outsiders.
At their core, Argonians are fiercely loyal allies, making the difficulty of learning their ways and getting to know their tribes well worth the effort. Allied Argonians will fight to the death to protect anyone they deem to be family or friend.
Distrustful and Isolationists
History has not always been kind to the Argonian people. The ancient Chimer of Morrowind first utilized the Lizard Folk as slaves centuries before their Dunmer ancestors would do the same. Imperial forces have made several attempts to break through the thick swamps and jungles of the Black Marsh and had set up bases around the coastlines, essentially annexing their culture from the rest of Tamriel.
Over time, the Argonians fought back, largely through the use of guerrilla warfare, defending their borders across countless centuries. In recent years, they have broke free from their slavers and have claimed independence from the Empire.
Argonian can master Common, but their mindset results in a speech pattern distinct from other humanoids. Argonians rarely use inflection in their speech, which can make their meaning difficult to interpret. Names confuse them, unless they are descriptive. They tend to apply their own naming conventions to other creatures using Common words. Argonians use active verbs to describe the world. An argonian in cold weather might say, “This wind brings cold” rather than “I feel cold.” Argonians tend to define things in terms of actions, rather than effects.
You can use the Argonian Quirks table to determine a personality quirk for an Argonian character or to inspire a unique mannerism.
|1||You hate waste and see no reason not to scavenge fallen enemies. Fingers are tasty and portable!|
|2||You sleep best while mostly submerged in water.|
|3||Money is meaningless to you.|
|4||You love to sunbathe. If you aren't in the tropics, you wear socks filled with warm rocks on your tail.|
|5||You have learned how to laugh. You use this talent in response to all emotional situations, to better fit in with your comrades.|
|6||You still don't understand how metaphors work. That doesn't stop you from using them at every opportunity.|
|7||You appreciate the soft humanoids who realize they need chain mail and swords to match the gifts you were born with.|
|8||You enjoy eating your food while it's still wriggling.|
Argonians take their names either from Jel, their native tongue, or from the common human language. They use simple descriptive names, usually based on an individual's notable deeds, actions, or appearance. For example, an Argonian traveler may be called Nhakik, which translates as “wander”, or an Argonian who is a notable swimmer may be called Swims-with-haste, in Tamrielic. Both their Jel names and their common names are frequently hyphenated, but not always.
Male Jel Names
Ah-Ra, Asheeus, Bar-Neeus, Chanka, Deeh, Geel, Jee-Tah, Motuu, Nexith, Oosh, Pad-Ei, Resari, Skeehei, Tanaka, Teeka, Uta-Ra, Vara-Zeen, Wanum-Neeus, Xal-Geh, Yelus
Female Jel Names
Am-Eepa, Asska, Beek-Ja, Churasu, Dakee, Deel, Ei-Ei, Geeh, Heek-Sa, Jukka, Kal-Mei, Leetu, Meerana, Nam-Ja, Pekai-Vilax, Reesa, Sisar, Tulut, Wih-Jat, Xula
Tamrielic Names (gender neutral):
Black-Scale, Cuts-with-Words, Deepswimmer, Dusty-Claws, Eyeslike-Night, Follows-the-Sun, Juggles-Scorpions, Keen-Eyes, Purple Plumes, Sings-to-Lions, Walks-in-Ash
Argonians share certain racial traits as a result of their reptilian decent.
|Attribute Score Increase||Agility +2
|Your Agility score increases by 2, and your Intelligence score increases by 1.|
|Age||~75 years||An Argonian's life is usually met with hardship and because of this, their lifespan is typically shorter than it should be. On average they live to 75 years, but living to 200 isn't unattainable.|
|Alignment||Neutral Good||Most Argonians are neutral good. They often see themselves as protectors and guardians.|
|Size||Medium||Argonians are slightly taller than humans, ranging from 6 to 6 ½ feet tall.|
|Speed||30 ft., Swim 40 ft.||Your base walking speed is 30 feet. As an Argonian, you are a naturally gifted swimmer which grants you a swimming speed of 40 feet.|
|Tool Proficiency||Artisan's Tools (alchemist supplies)||These special tools include the items needed to pursue a craft or trade. Proficiency with a set of artisan's tools lets you add your proficiency bonus to any ability checks you make using the tools in your craft. Each type of artisan's tools requires a separate proficiency.|
|Languages||Tamrielic & Jel||You can speak, read, and write Tamrielic and Jel.
|Appearance||Argonians have a wide variety of cranial features such as fins, feathers, ridges, spines, spikes, or horns.|
|Argonian Combat Proficiency||You have proficiency with Short Blades and Spears.|
|Argonian Resilience||Your Argonian bloodline grants you advantage against saving throws to resist disease.|
|Bite||Argonians have very sharp reptilian teeth lining their mouths which you can use to make unarmed strikes. If you hit with this attack, you deal piercing damage equal to 1d6 + your Strength modifier.|
|Histskin||You can invoke the power of the Hist to quickly recover your injuries. When your current hit points are less than half your hit point maximum, you can use an action to immediately expend any number of your Hit Dice and regain hit points equal to the result. |
Once you use this trait, you must complete a long rest before you are able to use it again.
|Protective Scales||Your thick hide provides a natural armor. When you are unarmored, your AC is equal to 12 + your Agility modifier.|
|Water-breathing||Argonians are able to breath underwater indefinitely.|
Argonian Subrace (MoM)
Argonians are mostly found throughout Tamriel, but the lesser known breeds are hardly seen outside the deep bogs of Black Marsh. If you're a player, work with your GM before making a Naga character. If your campaign takes place outside of the depths of Black Marsh, some GMs may need a good reason with why a Naga would leave their homeland. It might create an interesting challenge for some players to have their character questioned by every guard or commoner they come across, but it might not be the experience everyone is looking for.
Naga Subrace Traits
One of the lesser known breeds of Argonians are known as the Naga. They mostly live in the inner swamps of the Black Marsh and are hardly ever seen in other parts of Tamriel. While they share many similarities with their other Argonian cousins, they have a distinct snake-like appearance.
Naga share many of the same traits as their Saxhleel cousins, but have some notable differences. Their Attribute Score Improvement, Alignment, Size, and Appearance traits are different, as noted below. Refer to the Subrace trait for a list of traits that remain, and see the following traits unique to the Naga.
The Naga is a subrace of the Argonian and shares many of their traits, including their Age, Speed, Argonian Combat Proficiency, Argonian Resilience, Bite, Protective Scales, Water-breathing, and Languages.
|Attribute Score Improvement||You increase your Endurance by 1, rather than your Intelligence.|
|Perseverance||You gain proficiency in the Survival skill.|
|Strength of the Hist||You can call on the Hist to provide its strength when you need it most, As a bonus action, your scales harden and your bite becomes even more deadly for the next minute. Your Bite now deals piercing damage equal to 2d6 + your Strength modifier, and the armor provided by your Protective Scales trait increases to 14 + your Agility modifier.
Once you use this trait, you must finish a long rest before you can do so again.