Broodguards were emaciated and had no skin or hair. Instead, they were covered in tough scales that gave off a faint odor of rotting flesh. Their eyes were bloodshot and small. They had a forked tongue, which constantly flicked in and out of their mouths, which were filled with dull, yellowed, hooked teeth. They had thin fingers that ended in sharp black claws.
Broodguards instantly attacked any humanoid or non-reptilian creature. They were fierce fighters, but their tactics were simple, including charging at their target and attacking with their claws and fangs. They would fight to the death to defend their yuan-ti masters or the eggs they were assigned to tend. In combat, broodguards never used armor or weapons. Once per day, a broodguard was able to go into a berserk state, increasing its strength in battle.
Broodguards were among the lowest castes in yuan-ti society. Mere slaves, they were totally submissive to their yuan-ti masters, obeying every command without hesitation. Their purpose was to defend eggs and hatchlings within brood chambers. They also performed basic tasks, such as moving eggs or caring for hatchlings, but only when under supervision of other yuan-ti. They were assigned other tasks when required, including guarding prisoners or hunting.
Broodguards were created by the failed transformation of human prisoners into tainted ones by the yuan-ti. The transformation process involved forcing the prisoners to drink a special concoction brewed from yuan-ti venom and a specific mix of herbs and roots. If the humanoid survived drinking the potion but failed to transform into a tainted one, they became broodguards within a week or two. Human devotees within yuan-ti cults would undergo this process voluntarily.
The transition could be reversed using magic. After drinking the potion, the transformation could be prevented if the following spells were cast in this order: neutralize poison, dispel magic, remove curse, and heal. If successful, the process was halted and reversed; however, the individual's intelligence was permanently reduced. Only a wish or miracle spell was able to return a broodguard to its original state after the transformation took effect.
Broodguards were obligate carnivores. Their diet usually consisted of vermin and insects and whatever else the yuan-ti left for them.
- Mike Mearls, et al. (November 2016). Volo's Guide to Monsters. Edited by Jeremy Crawford, et al. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 203. ISBN 978-0786966011.
- James Wyatt and Rob Heinsoo (February 2001). Monster Compendium: Monsters of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 94–96. ISBN 0-7869-1832-2.
- Doug Stewart (June 1993). Monstrous Manual. (TSR, Inc), p. 370. ISBN 1-5607-6619-0.
- David Wellman (November 1989). “The Ecology of the Yuan-ti”. In Roger E. Moore ed. Dragon #151 (TSR, Inc.), p. 34.
- Richard Baker and James Wyatt (2004-03-13). Monster Update (Zipped PDF). Wizards of the Coast. p. 7. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2018-09-10.
- Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd, Darrin Drader (July 2004). Serpent Kingdoms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 18. ISBN 0-7869-3277-5.