Lizardfolk Culture (Paludia Supplement)
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Every race has its defining characteristics. For Humanity, it is the ability to reason and grasp high, abstract concepts which sets us apart from many other races. Humans are future-oriented as well, always thinking about tomorrow. For the Dwarves, it is the veneration of ancestors and tradition which defines them. For Halflings, it is the spontaneity of living in the moment which defines their existence. The Lizardfolk, by contrast, live a life driven by basic desires and impulses; it is a culture of pleasures simple and extravagant, and akin to the human concepts of epicureanism and hedonism. For Humanity, there is nobility and goodness in the struggle for virtue, for God has placed sweat and struggle between mortals and the Good. For the Lizardfolk, the struggle for survival is all-important; virtue isn't seen so much as relative as irrelevant. In their minds, satisfaction of needs and desires is paramount; charity is pointless, mercy is weakness, and the concept of natural rights is unheard of. To be fair, the lizardfolk often demand mercy when they need it, but they only do this out of the need to survive. Mercy would only be granted if serious concession were to be made, such as the payment of tribute from one tribe to another. While their desires are intense, the lizardfolk are mostly held back from extreme indulgence mainly by two things; the necessity of survival and the rule of the harsh chiefs, who use their tribes in order to fulfill their own personal, selfish desires, but at the same times keep the tribe harshly unified and set in such a way that it can't indulge in its every desire.
Humanity's inability to understand the lizardfolk stems from the differences in basic values. At the end of the day, a human may think "Have I done the right thing?", while a lizardfolk may think "Have I gotten what I wanted?" Everything in the Lizardfolk culture hinges on this and is subservient to it. For them, there is no objective, independent "Good", there is only good in what helps them to survive and fulfills their desires. Among the desire-driven ideology of the lizardfolk is the idea of naturalism; that life is best lived with few obstacles between oneself and one's desires. Such a life is lived simply and with few artificial items which could cause discomfort, such as expensive furniture or fragile glass. But don't think that the lizardfolk are ascetic or non-materialist; they do indulge in material if it gives them enjoyment. In addition to bulky artificial items being limited, so too are "artificial" ideas which don't come naturally. These ideas include the rule of law, objective truth and goodness (besides the "good" of survival), and the idea of natural law (besides the "law of the jungle".) This brings us to the next idea of lizardfolk society, shamelessness. Much like the cynic philosophers of old, the lizardfolk don't view many actions as shameful, if it has an ends which are geared towards the fulfillment of desire. The idea of shamelessness stops at the point that an action would cause harm to the tribe or anyone in it. Even so, the lizardfolk have committed reprehensible acts such as cannibalism (only a few tribes) and the creation of polygamous marriages (not as uncommon.) But even with such excesses of vice, the lizardfolk do have a few saving graces. First, they aren't inherently made or evolved to be evil, and there is no biological or divine force that can one day prevent them from ever learning the Good (although their lust and aggression are obstacles, neither of these are insuperable barriers that a lizardfolk cannot overcome.) Second, there are some basic taboos that tribes have set up which prevent certain activities (such as cowardice), even though such activities aren't necessarily harmful in a direct manner. Finally, while the lizardfolk may often be xenophobic, there is a tendency to pursue neutrality with other species; a sort of "you leave us alone, we leave you alone" sort of attitude. In truth, the lizardfolk are neutral in many ways, and they don't often enjoy torturing, blaspheming, or seeking to actively tear down goodness.
Contrary to what many outside observers would expect, the lizardfolk don't have serious tensions regarding the role of race, class, or gender. While these roles are discriminatory and unfair, they aren't questioned. The only serious tension is that of intense individual desires and cravings going up against the strict rule of the chiefs. The balancing factor in this situation is the necessity of survival; it is this harsh reality which keeps the lizardfolk from becoming indulgent. During good times, when there are no wars to be fought and there is wealth in the local economy (a rare occurrence for most tribes), there is a tendency to indulge in pleasure-seeking activities. While the lizardfolk don't believe in having too many bulky material items (such as large amounts of furniture or books), they will often indulge in items of gold, jewelry, or other gaudy possessions. Because of this tendency to pursue their own selfish purposes, often at the cost of others, the governments, taboos, and even religion of the lizardfolk necessarily have to act in a manner that opposes it, in order to survive. To get their people to obey them and maintain the order needed for the tribe to survive, the chiefs keep the populace in awe or fear. This is done in part by making sure the strongest warriors get what they want in order to ensure their loyalty; it is also accomplished through rituals and trickery which keeps the populace too stunned, awed, fooled, or blinded to react or resist. In closing, the most important thing to remember about lizardfolk culture is that rather than base their mindset on set moral values, it is always based on intense desires, even if those desires are kept buried by taboos, religions, traditions, the rule of tyrannical chiefs, and kept under the surface by the great necessity which doesn't allow for massive indulgences: survival.
Religion is treated by the lizardfolk in a very different manner than most human are accustomed. For humanity, religion deals with their relationship with God; theology and religious inquiry are generally encouraged, as is meditation and reflection. For the lizardfolk, religion is all about ritual and ceremony; deeper meaning is rare, and introspection is almost unheard of in most temples. Specifically, everything is cast in terms of gain or loss, survival or perishing. Love of God is unknown, and fear is the rule of worship. There are many different cults in Paludia; there isn't even a majority religion in most regions. For more about the religion of the lizardfolk, see here.
In the context of the general culture, religion is seen as a method of bringing material benefits for the tribe. Most lizardfolk insist that the religion of the tribe be respected, not because they are pious, but because they fear that the deity they worship will punish them for their lack of homage.
Music and Art
There is little time for fine art in the swamps and jungles of Paludia; the struggle against wars, hunger, disease, and natural disasters makes creative output a low priority for most. Still, some developed tribes have been able to come up with limited amounts of art, or at least, art as humanity would recognize it. Some tribes have limited skills with making statues and wooden carvings. Most of these carvings have religious significance. Music is almost totally limited to simple drums made of stretched animal skins over a wooden base and flutes made of wood and/or bone.
Music is usually played at festivals on holidays, or during a special event (marriage, tournament, etc.)
Clothing and Appearance
Lizardfolk don't wear much clothing. This is so for several reasons. First, the environment of Paludia is very hot, so wearing clothes for protection from the cold is unnecessary. Second, the lizardfolk don't have access to many materials from which clothing is made. Wool and cotton are very scarce in the jungles and swamps, and good animal skins for leather are hard to come by as well (except for snake and crocodile skins.) Some small amounts of jute, linen, and silk (for the rich) are imported by well-developed tribes, but for the most part, fabric and the skills needed to make clothing are rare. Finally, the lizardfolk have a preference for a more natural life. As a result, the lizardfolk do not use a lot of clothes, as it could hinder their movement, cost them money, take time to wash and maintain, and would cause more discomfort than it would bring survival benefits. Loincloths are popular among many tribes due to the minimal maintenance and cost. That said, certain lizardfolk enjoy wearing limited amounts of clothing when the effort it takes to maintain such clothes is less than the benefits it could bring. Some special cases include certain rare priests and mages who wear robes in order to show their status, or lizardfolk dancers who wear decorative clothes and jewelry, such as feather headdresses.
One piece of clothing that is never seen is footwear. This is so for a variety of reasons. First, shoes, boots, and similar gear are more difficult to make than simple robes and pieces of cloth, and the lizardfolk often lack the necessary skills to work with shoe-quality equipment and materials. Second, the lizardfolk have large and unusually shaped feet, with claws, a spur, and sometimes webbing; this makes them difficult to shod. Third, the lizardfolk sometimes require use of their clawed toes to climb trees, and these claws give them good traction on the ground while running as well; they can also use these claws to fight. Finally, the lizardfolk simply seem to have a preference for accepting the status quo on footwear; none of them have ever developed the initiative or have ever taken the time to even develop simple sandals. This might be so because the scales on their feet are tough enough to withstand marching through the swamps (which quite often have soft ground) and jungles, that they are simply used to their way of life, or that the lizardfolk have bigger things to worry about than a pair of shoes.
Another important aspect of lizardfolk culture are tattoos. About forty percent of the tribes of Paludia have a tradition of tattooing, and the significance varies from tribe to tribe. Some tattoos are given to a tribe's warriors in by the chief in commemoration of a battle. Others are given in order to mark members of the same family, and still others are used as status symbols. When traveling between villages, it isn't uncommon to see the same tattoo symbols represent different things in different tribes. A symbol that one is the chief in one village, for instance, might be a common tattoo that others get only for decoration in another tribe. There are, however, some symbols that can't be changed from tribe to tribe. These symbols are made by magic in and are tattooed into the skin of certain warriors, champions, priests, chiefs, and others.
Tournaments and Competitions
A central part of any upper-echolan lizardfolk's life are the tournaments. Part of any chief's or champion's life is the establishment of dominance. This usually occurs on the battlefield, where armies clash and many die. War, however, isn't the best way of evaluation personal combat prowess; it is the army, not the chief or even the champion that makes the difference. In the arena, this all changes. There are no ways to use sneak tactics, hide behind a wall, or receive reinforcement in a one-on-one fight. Often, these fights are to the death, but more commonly, they go on until one side submits.
Most competitions are a test of sheer size and strength; the weapons used, if any, are often crude, and the room for strategy is limited. A great warrior with incredible skill will be able to use it to his advantage, but such incredible battle prowess is rare among the crude lizardfolk. Generally, the strongest and toughest will win. The rewards for such a victory can be great. Tournaments are called for a variety of events. Some are called to honor a god or gods, others are called to commemorate the passing of a great leader, and still others are called by a chief who needs an heir; the winner will become the chief's son-in-law, and will get one of the chief's unmarried daughters, if any, as a wife. Other times, an unmarried daughter may be given away to the winner of the tournament, and he will take her home back to his tribe. This can lead to some very interesting situations for the PCs if they enter a tournament and win it; the DM has discretion in handling these... odd events.
The variety of tournaments in Paludia is great. Few have a clear set of rules, but it is generally true that a tournament consists of a number of one-on-one fights in which losers are eliminated until there are only two combatants left, who fight for the title of champion. Some tournaments use special tactics to get the combatants to fight harder. Some tournaments have been known to use magic chemicals to temporarily increase the strength and aggression of the fighters.
In addition to any material rewards of gold, equipment, and artifacts received, a champion gains a great amount of prestige wherever he goes. A known champion is also a prime choice for females to mate with, and even those who don't win a tournament every time (few do) are considered to be good mates as well; this fact can be inferred by the spike in number of births in the area the tournament was held in several months after a tournament ends.
While life in Paludia is often harsh and violent, there exist a few diversions for the populace to take solace in.
Contests: Besides the arena combat, there are other physical contests held in many villages. Some of these include fishing contests, hunting contests, and contests of strength, speed, and agility. The physical contests are only open to males. These contests are a test of practical strengths and skills necessary for survival in Paludia, and are an objective way to test the abilities of the males in each tested field. For the older males, craft-making contests are sometimes held, but this is rare. As with the strength-related contests, these contests are a good way to test their abilities. Without such skills, the lizardfolk wouldn't be able to survive, and the contests are a good way of testing them. Some contests might be open to the PCs, if so, checks for jumping, swimming, balancing, and climbing or a craft check will be needed for the relevant skills.
Dancing: A vocation normally only open to female lizardfolk, this tradition of the Paludians goes back thousands of years. Dancing is often performed by consorts for the entertainment of the chief, but is also used as a form of competition between females to determine whose agility and gracefulness is greater than the other. The skill of dancing is a luxury, not a necessity. Furthermore, the quality of performance of a dance is a subjective statement which cannot be measuring in an absolute sense. This is contrasted with the male contests which are a matter of necessity and practicality. It is quite clear that the dances are a matter of enjoyment, not actual importance. Some of these events might be open to the PCs. A perform check for dancing will be needed if this is the case.
Basking/Cooling: While it is important for the regulation of body temperature, basking in the sun and cooling off in the water or shade can be enjoyable for the lizardfolk as well.
Roles of Classes, Genders, and Races
Generally, the class system of Paludia is rigid and hierarchical. Within the same class, males are always placed above females, and members of the majority race are placed above any minorities, if the society tolerates any minorities in the first place. By human standards, this is a cruel, harsh system. To the lizardfolk, it is a system of survival which maximizes their chances for survival and procreation. There are few moral considerations aside from matters of survival and proliferation; this means that lizardfolk never enter into any carnal relationship which can't produce offspring; they never ever enter into an affectionate relationship which cannot produce offspring. Such a pairing would get the couple exiled or even executed for undermining the proliferation of the species. If a lizardfolk is unable to procreate, he or she will live a marginalized life, and no lizardfolk will enter into a relationship with him or her.
Although the purpose of relationships is to procreate, it would be incorrect to state that non-carnal romantic love is entirely unknown between males and females. Although such primitive, reptilian feelings are low and base by the standards of agape, certain lizardfolk do enjoy seeing each other for no other reason than affection and attraction, although they will inevitably desire to procreate with each other at some point in the future.
The lizardfolk have a number of family structures which differ by tribe and species. A majority, however, recognize a structure of either marriage or mating (the latter of which is a significantly weaker bond between the male and female.) Typically, each male who heads a family has no more than one wife (he has to support each one, which is expensive.) In most cases, the male and female both work, although the male provides the majority of the income (usually in the form of food brought back.) While the male is unquestionably the head of his family and can do any number of actions to his wife without serious legal repercussions, there are limits to socially acceptable behavior; these limits usually prohibit excessive abuse.
The hierarchy of the class system is very strict; if the chief finds that any of his subjects violates the social standards, that subject can be beaten, exiled, or even executed. This is supposedly to ensure that order is kept in the tribe. If exceptions are made, the fear is that the tribe itself will disintegrate, and that social cohesion will come apart at the seams. Even if the chief doesn't want to carry out a certain punishment, he finds that he often has to in order to maintain his control of the tribe. An example of a common taboo among tribes is the ban on a lizardfolk developing relationships with a non-lizardfolk, such as a human. If such a relationship were to be discovered, the lizardfolk in question would likely be banished or killed.
The lizardfolk generally discriminate against members of different species. Humans are viewed as imperialists and manipulators, Elves are seen as soft and decadent, Dwarves are understood to be drunken savages, and Halflings are thought to be thieves and liars. It is important to remember that such discrimination is rarely powerful enough to create interspecies hatred; if anything, it is based on a desire to be left alone and kept isolated from other species. Unlike some races, the lizardfolk don't view any other species as their "mortal enemy."
One of the few races respected by the lizardfolk are the dragons. This is so in no small part due to the overwhelming might that the dragons possess (and this command respect), but is also the consequence of a similar reptilian physiology and mindset, both of which the lizardfolk can easily relate to.
The relationship between lizardfolk and other humanoid races as a whole is a bit odd. The lizardfolk may have biased ideas against the other races, and yet, they are forced to admit that most other humanoid races are more successful than they are. Human, dwarven, and elven societies are almost universally more advanced, richer, and generally better run than those of the lizardfolk. The standards of success by which those societies operate is generally based on wealth, land ownership, and political influence. These standards contrast greatly with what the lizardfolk consider to be a success; that is, to have personal strength, virility, and to have the luxury of not struggling to survive. What frustrates the lizardfolk the most when they see other humanoid societies is how low the mortality rates in those societies are; this is so because by the standards of the lizardfolk, the common citizens of other humanoid societies enjoy a luxury which is generally reserved for rare nobility; not having to worry about to survive.
The lizardfolk who travel abroad are often jealous of the legal systems of foreign lands, and resentful of their inability to set up a justice system of their own. The more intelligent lizardfolk can see that the ways of other cultures are indeed superior to their own, and they cannot get over the fact that their reptilian mindset is, in many ways, incompatible with a civilized life.
Most lizardfolk villages are small, yet densely populated for such a tiny settlement. The average one-room dwelling is made out of either mud or straw, and has at least four inhabitants; usually a male, female, and at least two children. The male is always the head of his household in every lizardfolk family in every settlement. There all also a large number of thorps and hamlets, but the population usually increases fast enough to turn these tiny locations into small villages in a relatively short time. Lizardfolk settlements are usually founded in one of two ways; a migratory tribe settles down in one place, or part of the population of an already-settled village breaks off to found a new one. Often, the latter is caused by resource constraints or a younger son (who isn't the heir) of a chief wanting to have a settlement of his own, where he can be chief and start his own ruling line. Sometimes, slaves escape and form their own settlements.
The size of a lizardfolk village is independent from it's level of development; a larger settlement can be less developed than a smaller one, even though this isn't very likely. Below is a list of the different structures and locations that are usually available for the party to interact with in each level of development:
Primitive: Chief's hut or cave. This settlement has little to no contact with the outside world. This is the simplest level of lizardfolk settlement; survival is paramount. To this end, many tribes at this low level of development live in air-filled caves which can be reached from underwater. This is a common type of settlement.
Rudimentary: Chief's hut, shrine. This settlement has very minor contact with the outside world. Survival is most important, but some minor cultural developments can rarely take place. This is the most common type of settlement.
Basic: Chief's hut, shrine, access to at least one simple craft shop (ex: fletcher, bowyer, etc.) This settlement has some contact with the outside world, but not enough to significantly impact the lives of those who live there. Survival is still highest on the list of priorities, but culture apart from immediate survival isn't totally or almost totally unheard of. There are many settlements of this level.
Developed: Chief's hut, shrine or temple (if the villagers are fortunate, it's a temple), access to at least two simple craft shops, small market (where goods besides crafts, such as food, can be bought and sold), possibly one inn. This settlement has regular contact with the outside world and merchants come to buy and sell goods. There is a chance that this settlement has an arena (at this level, the arena is nothing more than a fenced off area for competitors to fight in.) At this level, survival is usually covered; there is time for ideas and culture to be generated, albeit on a moderate level at most. There are several dozen settlements of this level.
Advanced: Chief's hut or residence, temple (usually a small one), access to at least three simple craft shops, access to one advanced shops (herbalist, alchemist, etc), average market, no more than one inn. This settlement has major contact with the outside world, and its economy greatly benefits from the influx of merchants and visitors. This settlement also has an arena. At this level of development, the lizardfolk are able to move beyond survival and can develop their culture. There are a couple dozen settlements of this level.
Sophisticated: Chief's residence, at least one temple, access to at least four simple craft shops, access to at least two advanced shops, large market, no more than two inns. This settlement has much contact with the outside world, sees many merchants, and its citizens are impacted by events and ideas from far outside the settlement's borders. This settlement has an arena, and it is likely the largest in many kilometers around. At this very rare stage of development, major cultural developments can occur. There are only about a dozen settlements of this level.
There is also one town, Lixus, who's level of development is beyond any other in all of Paludia. It exists in its own class, beyond even the Sophisticated level.
As the level of development increases, the likelihood that the party will be well-received increases as well. Unfortunately, the number of settlements in each category drops as the level of development increases. Not that most tribes never advance beyond the basic level of development.
This information can also be found in the Adventuring in Paludia section.
Few lizardfolk villages have access to a wide variety of crafts. Those that are developed usually come about due to favorable environmental conditions, an example of which is a blacksmith opening up in a village which has access to nearby reserves of metal, or an tanner working in a place where animals with good-quality skins live. Sometimes, villages will trade crafts with each other. Usually, a traveling merchant is needed to take goods from one village to another, selling each good at a significant markup. While it may seem unfair that the merchant can charge more money for a good for simply moving it several kilometers (often by boat), it must be noted that without the merchants, each village or town that produces goods would be left out of the market, and not be able to sell the goods at all beyond the settlement. As a result, the merchants encourage the development of crafts. Below is a partial list of lizardfolk crafts, specifically, the list of crafts which produce transportable, tangible goods:
Apothecary: A dealer of medicines, most often in herbal form.
Blacksmith: Blacksmiths forge iron and steel into tools and weapons. This is a rare skill among lizardfolk.
Bowyer/Fletcher: A maker of bows and arrows. While many lizardfolk make their own bows and arrows, the fletcher does this as a job.
Brazier: A worker in brass, often employed in making fixtures in developed tribe's temples. This is a rare skill among lizardfolk.
Butcher: A professional preparer of meat, lizardfolk butchers are only found in very developed tribes where they service the rich.
Carpenter: A wood worker; this is perhaps the most common craft in Paludia.
Cartwright: A job found only in major trade centers, these makers of carts are quite important for the movement of goods.
Chandler: A rare job, chandlers usually work for temples or else work in the most developed of tribes.
Cooper: A barrel-maker. This is an extremely rare profession, and is very hard to find outside of the largest, most developed towns.
Coppersmith: A rare metal worker, coppersmiths are only found in settlements with access to copper ore.
Draper: A maker and/or dealer of cloth (not finished clothes), drapers have some importance in the more developed areas of Paludia.
Dyer: Someone who makes or works with dye, found most often in the developed areas, where more cloth exists to be dyed.
Enameler: Crafts made out of enamel are hard to find in most of Paludia, but some enamel workers do exist in scattered areas.
Goldsmith: A coveted, rare profession, certain chiefs will capture goldsmiths for their villages; the lizardfolk nobles love gold.
Herbalist: Someone who deals in herbs; considered a craft because certain herbs are mixed to create new products, not just medicines.
Parchment/Papyrus-maker: A very rare profession, found only in and around major temples and very large towns.
Potter: Someone who makes pots, a common craft among lizardfolk, but those who do it as a job aren't as common.
Soapmaker: A rare job, usually found in developed areas.
Tailor: A professional maker of clothing, tailors are quite rare. They usually work in places with access to cloth and dye.
Tinner: A worker of tin; surprisingly, this is one of the more common metal-working skills, but is still quite rare overall.
Weaver: A craft which is common when it comes to weaving straw mats, but very uncommon in all other forms.
Wheelwright: A common job is the larger settlements (sometimes done part-time), rare everywhere else.
It is important to note that very few lizardfolk in Paludia work in crafts as a full-time job; those that do make up less than 1 in 25 of Paludia's residents. Some other lizardfolk have limited skill in a craft, but it is secondary to their main livelihood as a hunter or fisher.
Learning and teaching are rare in Paludia; most lizardfolk don't know how to read or write, and very little literature exists in their societies. There are a few priests and chiefs who have some education, but even among most chiefs, the ability to read and write is rare. Education is almost always kept exclusively to the elite males of a lizardfolk settlement; most females have almost no education on any level. A few temples maintain small libraries, but only in the rare, developed parts of Paludia. In ancient times, the great temples were home to large caches of knowledge, both mundane and magical.
The almost universal lack of education is one of the many things which keeps Paludia primitive. Ignorance is not only to blame for the primitive mindset, but is also the blame for the lack of morality. The lizardfolk possess free will just as humanity does; it is what one does with free will that determines ones' actions. If the lizardfolk stopped to reflect on their actions in a manner unfettered by primitive traditions, intense cravings, or wild passions, life would be very different for them, and probably much better.
For the lizardfolk who do have education, the process consists of learning generally starts at age five, and consists of a combination of literacy skills, basic knowledge of geography and history, and physical training. If the lizardfolk is wealthy enough for education to continue past the age of ten years of age, he will likely learn more about history, the natural world, and maybe even basic politics (if the settlement he is from is advanced enough to support politics, that is.)
Slavery is one of the world's greatest evils. It reduces sentient beings to the status of inanimate objects, makes them dependent on the whims of the master, and fosters a culture of resentment and suspicion. More than that, it poisons both master and slave, as the slave wishes to overthrow the master, and the master wishes to keep the slave repressed. To do this, an ideology of inferiority is forced upon the slaves, which claims that the slaves are too "uncivilized" to be allow their freedom. Sadly, the system of slavery is well and alive in Paludia, and rich chiefs and powerful warriors often own slaves. Some slaves are used to work in undesirable jobs, such as extracting salt from marshes, or tanning animal hides. Rarely, an entire village will own slaves, which are considered to be communal property, even though the chief is the one who commands them in practice. Manumission (the willful act of freeing slaves) is rare, but not totally unheard of.
Regular slave markets are rare in Paludia; the system is generally operated by a system of traveling slavers and merchants who set up shop at "fairs" in which sentient beings are sold. The largest slave market by far is in Lixus.
Slavery is a very sensitive subject, and one which can only be treated by the real-life players and DM as a great wrong and evil; not just legally wrong, but morally wrong. The possibility of slave trading in the Paludia setting is one which should only be undertaken after careful consideration by the DM, and even then, only under limited circumstances. In Paludia, it is clear that slave trading exists, and there is no concerted effort by any major group to stop it. One possibility for using slavery is that an NPC might have to be freed from slavery; another is to free people from a slaver's grasp. If slavery is to be used at all in a campaign setting, it ought to be done from the point of view of the emancipator. In most Paludia quests, if slavery is mentioned, it is best treated as a background feature at most ( "the PCs see slaves hard at work in the salt marshes", or "a young slave passes the PCs as they enter the village"), and is probably better not to mention it at all.
Humanity is well-known for many legal innovations such as presumption of innocence, habeas corpus, rule of law, an independent judiciary, constitutions, protection from self-incrimination, guilt having to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in criminal cases, protection from unreasonable searches or seizures, appellate courts, trial by jury, counsel for the defendant, no cruel and unusual punishment, equality before the law, and the use of precedent when coming to a decision to ensure integrity in the system (even though such precedent may be justly broken with by measuring the differences between two cases and using the differences to justify a break from precedent, because no two cases are exactly alike.) Unfortunately, none of these are present with the lizardfolk. For them, a crime committed is a crime against the chief and tribe, and criminals are punished harshly. No code of laws is known, no counsel is offered for the defendant, and there is no presumption of innocence. Whatever the chief says, goes. The only advantage to this system is its lack of red tape; it replaces the tape with red blood.
The closest thing the lizardfolk have to a fixed set of laws is a set of taboos. Even with the enumeration of forbidden acts commanding the outcome of a small number of cases, most decisions relating to law are decided arbitrarily by the chief. It's also worth noting that taboos vary from tribe to tribe.
The most advanced legal system in Paludia is that of Lixus, which uses the same system of whatever-the-king-says-goes idea but has a big difference; the town has an interest in maintaining property rights in order to keep its viability as a trading town afloat. As a result, a sort of informal attitude has developed in which the law is expected to defend personal property rights.
The primary reason the lizardfolk are unable to set up a legal system in the way most other humanoids are able to is because of their lack of a belief in objective justice; the closest they have to that concept is revenge. There is also a fear for survival which overrules other considerations, and anyone accused of threatening the survival of a tribe is treated harshly, and will likely be punished regardless of evidence in his favor.
Almost all food consumed by the lizardfolk is crude. It generally consists of meat or fish that is either cooked or uncooked, and is in few cases, ever prepared in a fancy way. That said, there are a some instances of adventurous chiefs ordering their servants to prepare a meal cooked in spices or salt.