5 to 6 feet average
M to F Ratio
The name Ophionian derives from the term Ophion, the great serpent, which in itself is derived from the fabled Ophion Empire. As such, the name Ophionian means one who is from Ophion or one who is a child of the great serpent. A more contemporary interpretation of the name detaches Ophionian from the mythos of Ophion as a state, and relates it instead to the giant serpent.
According to Ophionian myth, their kind once was part of a vast empire founded by a figure called Kroalagaptra, known as the Ophionian Empire or the Ophion Empire. To what extent this empire spread is unknown by the tales of the myth and by any archeological evidence, for which there is little to none. Regardless, not long after this great figure died did the Ophion Empire fracture into satraps and decay, with their populations scattered across the surface realms. One successor state in particular, Naukashana, claims legacy to Ophion and resides in the underground region of Naukashana. When this empire was or how much truth there is behind it, is an absolute mystery. However, the people of Taicanis, are notable for having very loose cultural ties to Naukashana, and even have prominent artistic traditions which seem to depict Ophionians in splendorous marble; which may be indicative of some ancient and lost connection.
Ophionians are born with a unique and bizarre physical aspect, which is their serpents. These are, in the most literal sense, serpent appendages that grow from their heads as though they are hair, varying in thickness and coloration. Each of these serpents is autonomous, and in itself is a unique biological mechanism which they can control completely. These appendages visibly have mouths and eyes, but do not share in full function with the living snake that they take the physical appearance of. Each appendage lacks in a digestive mechanism or throat connected to any stomach, but each does have a small connection to a small lung which is able to circulate air through the appendage so that it may hiss. Additionally, these appendages can smell, sense heat and limited vision, albeit very dulled. This provides the Ophionians with a very unique interaction with their senses, and they also commonly use their serpent appendages to interact with their environment. How such a unique feature developed in them is unknown, as it is both very specific and very abnormal; but nonetheless, it has proven to be a blessing and a curse to their kind. These serpents do not change dramatically as the Ophionian ages.
On the human side of things, they are, for the most part, human. Their snake appendages are connected to a larger circulatory system, but otherwise the Ophionians share in the same organs and biological design as humans. Their serpents play the roles in hair color, and their skin can vary across the same range of colors as humans can. Unique to them in terms of their more human biology is the slow metabolism of an Ophionian, requiring them to eat far more infrequently, and their abnormally long lifespans on average.
Ophionians are born after ten months in the womb, after which the mother births a large, soft, egg; from which the egg must incubate by her side for two additional months before the baby is born. Ophionian babies are half the size of a human baby once they leave their egg, but will grow rapidly, their serpentine appendages shedding continuously as they grow. For an Ophionian, development is mildly stalled, with puberty beginning at fifteen, and this period of sexual and bodily development ending around twenty-five years of age. In the reproductive realm, Ophionians are capable of reproduction in the last five years of their development, and will remain fertile until they are sixty years of age. Beyond sixty they will grow more and more infertile, though even before this point they are only able to reproduce given sufficient time to recover from pregnancy and birthing. As they age, they will wither in the likeness of normal humans, but at a slower rate. Ophionians on average die around a century of age, but there are recorded cases of Ophionians living beyond this average on rare instances, with the oldest being said to have lived to see a little over two centuries of life.
Ophionians are omnivorous by design, able to equally consume all foods; but what is most unique about their diet is that their digestive periods are very long. With a slow metabolism to convert energy for cells, the digestion period is also extended to last for quite some time. On average, Ophionians consume food on a weekly basis, typically as one large meal which will last them until their next feeding comfortably without much body deformation after the first day. During pregnancy, Ophionians will feed up to three times a week.
Ophionians are not able to handle as wide a range of climates as others, sharing in some unique issues compared to other races. Ophionians require warm climates, be it wet or dry, and have very little tolerance for climates which are cold. This is evident in their limited interactions with cold environments, what few can survive having to depend upon geothermal vents to maintain the heat they seek for survival. This can be staved off through ample clothing, but not as a long term solution to adapt them to cold climates.