Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves - The Yuan-Ti's Background Explained

"Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves" had many eyes turned to see if a good "Dungeons & Dragons" movie could be produced. While the film did take a few creative liberties with the source material to make it better fit into a movie fit for the silver screen, it also took a lot of care to show how much the creators loved the game. Watching "Honor Among Thieves" felt like watching Chris Pine and friends convince everyone why they should play "Dungeons and Dragons" right up until they finally confronted the big bad at the end.

The film focused on a core party of characters, but there were many Easter eggs and direct callbacks to the fantasy tabletop role-playing game. Amongst all of this world-building, the film also included different races of creatures that stray far from human. One such race is the Yuan-Ti, which did make a brief appearance in "Honor Among Thieves." During the trek through the prison, one Yuan-Ti can be seen behind bars, looking particularly disgruntled by being imprisoned. Sadly, these creatures weren't the movie's main focus, but for anyone purposefully looking for those Easter eggs, the Yuan-Ti, a human-snake species, likely caught their eye.

While Yuan-Ti are diverse in appearance, ranging from mostly human with only a few snake attributes, to mostly snake, they're easy to pinpoint thanks to their distinguishing features. The Yuan-Ti are almost always aligned neutral evil, hence the film showcasing their version of a Yuan-Ti in a jail cell.

Yuan-Ti are also known as serpentfolk or snake-folk

Yuan-Ti are serpent-like people who can appear mostly human or mostly serpent but always have some indication of their snake-like heritage. The Yuan-Ti are usually easily identifiable, whether it's snake eyes, colorful scales, or an entire serpent body. As a species, the Yuan-Ti hail from Malatra, a jungle that houses three cities, Kara-Tur, Purang, and Seng.

In Yuan-Ti society, those who most resembled snakes are at the top of the food chain. The more snake-like features one possesses, the more revered they are. The more human-like among them are good for connecting with societies outside their territory, though.

The Yuan-Ti worship Sseth, a chaotic evil god represented as a flying serpent. It's believed that following the Sacred Ways of Sseth is what led to the birth of the Yuan-Ti. In reality, the Yuan-Ti began as human. The Yuan-Ti eventually rose to power through many magical experiments that forced human males to reproduce with snakes.

Still, Sseth is integral to Yuan-Ti's society. Sseth was worshipped for his cunning as well as his expertise in dark practices like poison, traps, and even murder. Due to this alignment, most Yuan-Ti are considered neutral evil unless proven otherwise. Most races look down on the Yuan-Ti for being corrupt monsters.

Their reputation stems from more than just their religious practices, though. The Yuan-Ti are carnivores who enjoy a good hunt. This led them to prey on anything warm-blooded that they can devour, including humans.

The Yuan-Ti's abilities in D&D

Yuan-Ti are known for being incredibly intelligent and have this advantage over most other races. As a playable character, the Yuan-Ti have specific advantages that the player can utilize. This includes Darkvision, the ability to see perfectly well in the dark, though Yuan-Ti see in shades of grey. They also unlock Serpentine Spellcasting, which allows them to learn the Poison Spray cantrip. They can cast Animal Friendship on any snake. They will also learn to cast Suggestion at level 3.

Beyond that, they gain Magic Resistance, meaning any magic that will force them to make a saving throw will likely not impact them. Other race abilities include Poison Resilience or complete Poison Immunity depending on the specific build.

When the Yuan-Ti are utilized as NPCs (non-playable characters), they have even more abilities. This includes (but isn't limited to) more spells, the ability to completely transform into a snake, snake-like bite attacks, and coiling around enemies for a constrictor-like attack.

Some other innate magic that the Yuan-Ti could be capable of included Cause Fear, Darkness, Polymorph, Snake Charm, Neutralize Poison, and more.

Yuan-Ti are known for laying out traps and ambushing their enemies rather than directly confronting them. Most will choose a bladed weapon to wield, and when traveling in groups, they will send their least valuable member of the team first. If casualties ensue, they want to offer the one they'll regret the least first.