Khaastas were tall, reptilian humanoids that bore only a passing resemblance to the lizardfolk of the Material plane. Their bodies were covered in small, tough scales that were brightly colored in intricate patterns that were unique to the individual. They had lizard-like heads with a flared crest. Khaastas typically wore bronze armor and carried exotic weapons.
Khaastas were notoriously chaotic and disorganized, with an intricate code of prestige that stemmed from a "might makes right" mentality. They were also warlike and cunning.
Khaastas were tough, dangerous warriors but lacked the natural magical abilities that were common to extraplanar creatures.
Khaastas charged into battle wildly, preferring ambushes. They were known to use giant lizards as mounts.
Only two things mattered to khaastas: wealth and prestige. Wealth, they would gain by acting as mercenaries, smugglers, and bandits. Prestige, they gained through their convoluted code of prestige that involved challenging authority, backstabbing, brute force, and nonlethal duels. They worked for anyone who could meet their price and would not hesitate to challenge or abandon if their employer proved to be weak. In fact, the khaasta code dictated that they take from the weak rather than trade.
Khaastas lived in roving bands ruled by the strongest individual. They were carnivores and all of them, both male and female, were capable warriors.
The khaastas had their origins in the Abyss, where the demon lord Demogorgon created them as servant-warriors. They served him loyally for thousands of years in this way. However, as Demogorgon's power grew, many true demons came to serve him, including in his armies; the most intelligent of them became his generals. These generals found the khaastas to be fractious, hard to command, and not as effective in combat as demons. When they complained of this to Demogorgon, he contemplated the khaastas's loyal service before, in a rare moment of generosity, granted them their freedom.
With their newfound freedom, the khaastas promptly became mercenaries, making deals with other demonic powers in exchange for hunting territory. In particular, they came to be closely allied with the demon lord Sess'innek.
Much later, sarrukh who survived the fall of their Okothian empire began to seek out allies in the Abyss; when they discovered the khaastas, they erroneously assumed that khaastas were no more powerful than the lizardfolk of the Material plane and promptly tried to enslave the khaastas. The attempt both failed and caused the khaastas to declare war upon the sarrukh. The khaastas set into motion several plans, and the resulting war continued for centuries before a brilliant khaasta general named Maadar'il led the khaastas to victory. The surviving sarrukh returned to hiding in Okoth. However, the khaastas had come to hate the sarrukh intensely, and Maadar'il declared that the war would not be over until all the sarrukh were dead.
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- Eric Cagle, Jesse Decker, James Jacobs, Erik Mona, Matthew Sernett, Chris Thomasson, and James Wyatt (April 2003). Fiend Folio. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-2780-1.
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