- "Thus the Al Nehekharin were destroyed and they collapsed into heaps of skulls and bones strewn across the desert. Their numbers could not prevail against the might of the Stegadons and the rage of the Al Saurim. Although the wailing and sight of the evil hordes would've struck terror into the hearts of mortal men, the Al Saurim were not at all afraid, they just slew anything that came near."
- —Extract from Ibn Jellaba's Expedition to Zltatlan, circa. 1150 IC.[4a]
The Saurus form one of the core species of the Lizardmen race, created by the Old Ones to be the warriors and guardians of their society. When the Temple-Cities are on the warpath, it is the Saurus who make up the hardened core of the fighting forces. This is of no surprise, for the Saurus were created solely for the purpose of warfare and nothing else. They are large and ferocious predator-warriors, so single-minded in their duties that they have no concept of thought, individuality or personality.[1b]
It is said that the Old Ones cultivated this race of reptilian warriors although whether they created them entirely, or raised them up from some primordial life form of the jungles, is not clear. What is assured, however, is their role and function. In the prehistory of the world, a time before the coming of Elves or Dwarfs, it was the Saurus who pacified the lands, fighting great battles and exterminating entire species in accordance with the Old Ones’ wishes.[1b]
- "The enemy attacked at dusk. They took us by surprise as we could not see to shoot our crossbows. The creatures which attacked us were much bigger than those we had encountered before, but not as big as the huge lizard creature which had slain so many of us with his axe. These lizard warriors came at us in ranks, armed with spears and shields, They fought savagely, thrusting with their hefty bronze and volcanic glass tipped spears. My soldiers could not stand against them. I was struck heavily with a mace from behind and felt to the floor unconscious."
- —The Voyage of Yin-Tuan to Lustria, circa 1690 IC.[4b]
As a whole, the Saurus are a ferocious but slow-witted species of reptiles, bred by the Old Ones from some kind of prehistoric crocodile or alligator they found within the swamps of primordial Lustria. The creatures they bred were more intelligent than their crocodilian ancestors and could walk upright on two powerful hind legs leaving their arms free to wield brutal weapons, but they lost the speed that crocodiles have on all four legs and the ability to swiftly move through water.[4d]
Unlike their ancestors, the Saurus are not birthed from eggs, but spawned in large subterranean caves deep beneath each Temple-City. They start out as large tadpoles that grow continuously overtime, feasting upon large insects until they are fully grown. From the moment they crawl out of the pools, they are ingrained to know how to fight. They arrive not individually, but as a cohort — an entire military unit that will stay together for the rest of their lives. All those spawned together bear the same coloration and markings as their brethren. They share a mindset, acting with an eerie, but unspoken synchronicity — the whole formation turning as one, or launching an ambush, without the need for so much as a single spoken word. [1b]
Although they do so infrequently, Saurus can speak. Their language is little more than deeply growled one-word commands. These orders issue forth from a Spawn Leader - the greatest amongst their number since they first emerged from the spawning pool. In the course of their long lives of battle, it is not unusual for a Saurus spawning to lose their champion. In such cases, if the unit survives, another of its members will eventually grow into the role — or, as the Lizardmen say, receive the gifts of the Old Ones.[1b]
The Saurus species has several different spawnings that are distinguishable from the typical Saurus spawning. These unique variants of the Saurus are specifically bred to achieve a more specialised role within their caste, such as being riders of mighty Cold One warbeasts or as the dedicated bodyguard of the Temple-Cities Mage-Priest.
- Cold One Rider - A cold one Rider is a unique spawning of Saurus warriors that were bred and trained to commune and ride the fearsome Cold Ones into battle. In fact, it is also this unique spawning that has the ability to tame these predators at all.[1c]
- Temple Guard - the Temple Guard is another unique spawning of Saurus Warriors that is distinguishable from the rest simply by their size and sheer fearsome power. They are, in essence, a more powerful variant of the common Saurus Warriors, bred specifically for their loyalty and duty to protect the Mage-Priest of the Temple-Cities.[1d]
- "I have scoured the coasts of three continents, yet in all my years of roaming I have never fought anything like the cold-blooded men of Lustria. Their main troops, large bipedal man-lizards, are seemingly immune to pain, fighting on long after foes with any sense would have fled. Time and again I have seen them fight to the last, pausing only to tug crossbow bolts from their thick hides. Even in death I have seen these creatures attack, in one case a severed head continued snapping at us for three full days, and in another, the jaw, once clamped onto flesh, could not again be pried opened, but had to be cutaway from the victim - a process none could survive."
- —From the logbook of Vincenzo Corenzo, Mercenary Capitano out of Tilea.[1a]
Saurus are brutish yet disciplined creatures. Even unarmed, they are extremely dangerous — their sharp claws can gouge grooves into rock or tear out a foe’s throat with ease. Their muscular tails can smash a man’s ribcage and their mouths are full of enormous dagger-shaped teeth. The power of their crocodilian jaws is such that a vicious Saurus bite can sever a limb or crush steel. If not killed outright, those bitten by a Saurus bear infected wounds, often succumbing to a foul fever and dying within a matter of days.[1b]
Although unable to master more complicated devices, Saurus use simple weapons to devastating effect — wielding obsinite-tipped spears and heavy clubs spiked with jagged stones. Using their great strength, Saurus can leave the roads and hack through the dense jungle of Lustria using brute force alone; however, they are more accustomed to exerting it against their foes’ stoutest legions.[1b]
Although they can, at times, appear slow of reflex and sluggish, Saurus can still achieve speed on the march thanks to the power of their loping gait. Their tough hides bear spines, bony crests and thick scales that can turn aside all but the surest of sword strokes. For further defence, Saurus will at times bear shields - bladed crescents made from the cured hides of the large scaled beasts that prowl the deepest jungles. Saurus are cold-blooded and seemingly impervious to pain, able to sustain horrific wounds and fight on without making a single sound of protest. Indeed, so alien are they that they register no emotion save a single-minded savagery.[1b]