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The church of Semuanya (pronounced: /sɛmˈænjɑːse-moo-ÆN-ya[7]) was the primary religious organization dedicated to the worship and service of the lizardfolk god Semuanya, The Survivor.[1][8][note 1]


Semuanya's creed was simple and straightforward; ensure the safety of one's self and the lizardfolk as a whole. Unless it directly pertained to survival or the propagation of the species, nothing else truly mattered.[9]


The seemingly simplistic societies of most lizardfolk reflected their deep-rooted faith in Semuanya,[1] who they took great pride in[10] and whose mythology led most to condemn intelligence (if not cunning or tactical acumen) as a pointless and wasteful trait that led to overthinking and cultural corruption. They adopted the view of Semuanya, that life was meant to be lived, and that the most important parts were hunting, fighting and breeding.[1]

There were known exceptions to this philosophy, such as the existence of the occasional sterile, hermaphroditic lizardfolk with unusually complex brains and greater innate intelligence. Members of this uncommon breed were revered as beings touched by Semuanya's divinity, closer in being to Semuanya's sundered mate Kecuala. Despite usually becoming shamans and advisors, these lizardfolk rarely rose to true positions of power, could not breed, and even if they could were seen as undesirable by female lizardfolk due to their higher intelligence, and so their influence was rarely enough to truly advance their people.[1]

Despite their general anti-intellectualism, lizardmen that worshiped Semuanya were among the civilized groups of their kind[11] that defied the popular view of their people as savage beasts.[12] They did not consider humans and demihumans to be targets for hunting, and generally released any such captives, or failing that put them up for ransom.[11]


Lizardfolk had a history of interpreting many things as avatars of Semuanya. The corrupted priest Varak of the Mere of Dead Men once convinced the Scaly Death tribe of lizardfolk that the hezrou demon he summoned was actually an avatar of Semuanya and himself the creature's chosen servant. The awestruck creatures obeyed, yet failed to inform the other tribes out of a desire to hoard the glory of their chosen status.[13] The lizardfolk near Baeniff Tor were known to sacrifice people to the giant crocodile Kheshebik out of a belief it was an avatar of Semuanya,[14] while those in Chult had legends that a dragon turtle who dug a series of clean water wells throughout the region was also an avatar.[15]

One tribe was known to worship an aspect of Semuanya who embodied the sun itself before Semuanya retracted its light to punish them for their hubris, causing them to descend into savagery.[16] Lizardfolk in the Tun Marshes worshiped the black dragon Skurge as an emissary of Semuanya,[17] while lizardfolk first founded the City of Lizards after hearing tales of sarrukh fighting a dragon turtle, which they interpreted as servitors of Semuanya (who they would later honorably inter) battling a great wyrm of the depths.[8]

There were also varying beliefs about how Semuanya operated. A relatively sophisticated and civilized tribe of the Tun Marshes believed that Semuanya sent the animals that they hunted.[18] Native lizardfolk shamans in Chult, when feeling the need to appease or appeal to Semuanya, sacrificed people to their sacred wells, sometimes specially prepared within their tribes and sometimes taken from outsiders who violated taboos.[15] Obstacles could be interpreted by lizardfolk as a sign from Semuanya to push themselves towards greater physical excellence.[19] When disputes and questions of leadership arose within a lizardfolk tribe, the feuding parties fought to the death, for it was believed that victory was proof of Semuanya's favor.[1]


Semuanya's shamans and witch doctors, often the leaders of their tribes, were the general care-givers of those tribes, particularly in the fields of healing and medicine,[3][20] and brought the blessings of Semuanya to their people whenever called upon.[10] They emulated the god's taciturn ways and usually counseled avoidance of humanoid races and isolation in general for their people.[3][20]

Though the shamans were not given tests,[11] they were required to sacrifice a tenth of the tribe's hunting trophies,[11] and worshipers as a whole were instructed to serve where needed, frequently in the form of Semuanya tasking them to recover a tribe's lost eggs or aid other warbands.[1] Shamans of the older generation would teach those of the next.[1]


Semuanya was widely revered by lizardfolk,[19] but their shamans were not an organized priesthood.[3] Despite the god's frequent requests,[1] they had no interest in the affairs of other tribes, counseling isolationism and dissuading contact even with outsiders of their own species, with the exception of interbreeding.[3]

Shamans of Semuanya were required to breed every season, and those that lost the ability to do so slowly lost their divine powers, prompting most to ritualistically end their own lives.[3] In any case, when a shaman could no longer fulfill their duties they would be replaced by their younger counterparts.[1]


What true clerics Semuanya possessed functioned as shamans regardless. The deity's close connection to nature made it easy for lizardfolk who grew up worshiping Semuanya to worship nature itself, and so there were a great number of lizardfolk druids.[10]


Lizardfolk shamans oversaw the rites and ceremonies that honored Semuanya,[21] which generally took the form of breeding and battling as benefitted the tribes.[1] Clerics of the Survivor did not hold regular services,[10] although hunting prizes were sacrificed on the full moon monthly.[22]

In times of peace, prayers to Semuanya took the form of long chants and epic songs intoned in Draconic, while in times of war these were shortened to hisses and reptilian barks before battle.[1] Should the lizardfolk prevail in battle, captives became the centerpieces of great rites involving dancing, storytelling, and ritual combat which ended with them either being consumed or sacrificed to Semuanya.[21]

Base of Operations[]


Semuanya was a favored deity to the lizardfolk of Surkh,[23] and lizardfolk worshipers of theirs existed 4 mi (6.4 km) inland on the Chultan peninsula.[15] The lizardfolk and muckdwellers of Najara also favored them,[24] as did the stingtails and asabis of Isstosseffifil.[25] Free asabi in Anauroch commonly did likewise after they met a lizardfolk cleric of Semuanya and adopted the faith.[26]

Shrines & Temples[]

There were no true shrines or sacred places of Semuanya;[10] their temples existed only in the minds of their worshipers.[1] The only physical representation of worship made for them was the occasional symbol or idol,[1] such as stone shrines,[22] bizarre totem poles carved from trees[27] or palisades carved with pictographic symbols of the deity.[18]

The lizardfolk of Chult's inland believed that the water from their wells were holy sites of Semuanya, not too holy to use, but holy enough that proper homage had to be paid before drawing it in the form of whispering prayers. Notably, the waters of the wells were actually holy, although despite their beliefs to the contrary, the regular sacrifices the lizardfolk performed using them were irrelevant to the purity of the water.[15]

The lizardfolk clerics of Semuanya around the Spines of Surkh erected wards around the local crypts, but were so lax that many scaled undead rose around the region.[8]



Shamans of Semuanya wore hide-kilts.[22]


Semuanya's favored weapon for his followers was the club. A lizardfolk cleric who cast weapon of the deity would receive a +1 screaming club.[2]

The lizardfolk of the Vast Swamp brewed a potent paralytic poison they said was sacred to Semuanya and not to be shared with outsiders.[28]


Semuanya's shamans strove for the emotionless, reptilian ideal, granting them not only immunity from spells which influenced emotions, but the power to dispel the effects of hostile emotional influence by touching the afflicted.[11]

Lizardfolk shamans could obtain notable but limited power solely through following their god.[9] The powers they could draw from were in some way limited by alignment; for example, chaotic neutral clerics accessed the god's influence over animals, while lawful neutral ones gained power over plants.[6]

Visards of Semuanya were masks created by shamans of the god to venerate and emulate them. Such masks, which sat most comfortably on the broad snouts of lizardfolk but could be worn by other humanoids, were adorned with dried streaks of colored mud and patches of cultivated moss. The wearer of a visard suffered a loss of intellect, which was considered by the shamans to be a tie to the ancient, instinctual ways, but this was compensated for by increased understanding of the natural world and the ability to call on Semuanya's power to expand the mind and enhance one's wisdom. Wearers also better understood spellcraft, and could cast more powerful versions of summon nature's ally.[29]


Semuanya's shamans were opposed by those of the powerful tanar'ri lord Sess'innek, all of which attempted to slay them on sight. The demon had made substantial progress in corrupting the lizardfolk, his honeyed words promising strength intoxicating to many of the simple race, who saw only weakness in the old ways of Semuanya's shamans.[3][30] In Surkh, Semuanya's faith was also endangered by the Cult of Tiamat, who secretly awaited the day they could challenge the primacy of the church of Semuanya.[8]

Notable Worshipers[]

  • Ashala, a cleric of Semuanya and member of the Sharptooth tribe in the Vast Swamp of Cormyr.[31]
  • Sutholo, a dedicated follower who believed Semuanya was not aloof and uncaring as often described, but calm and reflective, revealing their plans in subtle ways. Displaying an unusual degree of curiosity and open-mindedness, he possessed a fearlessness born of belief in a predetermined natural order rather than raw savagery.[18]
  • Thaalis an evil cleric of Semuanya who resided in the mines below Baeniff Tor in the Evermoors.[14]



  1. There is no known proper name for the overall body of clergy dedicated to Semuanya, nor is there a unified formal organization. Instead, the term "church of Semuanya" is adopted for discussion and wiki purposes.


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