What I've read seems to suggest "no". I haven't found anything in the SCAG that suggests this as true.

I'm aware that in Adventurer's league there was a reference guide for the monsters in Volo's for playing them at the table, but I can't find it.

And of course I'm ignoring the "be what you want to be" rule. Because I feel that if you are playing in a campaign setting such as Forgotten Realms you need to apply the rules of that realm, and as far as I can tell, it rules that Yuan-Ti are evil snakes.

I know that as Yuan-Ti are regarded as evil, one might apply similar logic to the Drow, but even in the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide it mentions that heroic Drow such as Drizzt have changed the minds of people. But nowhere in the book did I find a similar entry about Yuan-Ti.

So to the extended knowledge base here, are there examples in the novels, sourcebooks, etc, that would suggest Yuan-Ti are good?

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    \$\begingroup\$ You have tagged both dungeons-and-dragons and dnd-5e. Do you want sourcebooks from just 5e? Or from any edition? Do you want only insights from Forgotten Realms as your question hints at? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 12, 2018 at 21:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DavidCoffron Yuant-Ti also figure in Greyhawk, so it might be that any setting's lore will be helpful. Tommy, do you have Volo's Guide To Monsters? (The book from WoTC) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 12, 2018 at 21:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ I've voted to hold the question because I think it's unclear how [dnd-5e] and [dungeons-and-dragons] interact here. Rather than us asking what sources are acceptable, can you just edit in to the post what the source of the question is? I.e. why do you need to know? Are you writing an RPG novel? Running a home game? Trying to present something to your GM? Writing an adventure for publication? When we know that answerers themselves will be able to judge which materials from which editions they want to reference. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 2:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd love to see this re-opened, but I agree that we may not need both dnd-5e and dungeons-and-dragons \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 30, 2021 at 10:29

1 Answer 1


Insights from Volo's Guide:

  • Yuan-Ti in general are described as highly rational, proud, and generally sociopathic/evil, but it's a sort of evil that can coexist with others in a functional society. Their path is that of infiltration, influence, and intrigue rather than bloody conquest and destruction.
  • The d6 table of Ideals includes three (Evil) ideals and three (Any) ideals.
  • The PC version is listed in the "Monstrous adventurers" subsection, which is specifically set aside for "creatures normally cast as villains". Provided explanations range from "they're evil but also in the party and its okay" to "really, this particular one isn't evil".
  • The description given doesn't provide any explanation that would imply that Yuan-Ti necessarily must be evil, in the way that, say, a demon pretty much has to be evil. It's more that they're an evil culture, that raises them with evil ideals, and that Yuan-Ti traits cause them to tend that way naturally.
  • The character block describes their alignment as "typically neutral evil".

In general, then, the overall conclusion seems to be that Yuan-Ti are almost all evil, but that it's reasonable that exceptions might exist. Yuan-Ti are also described as being relatively few in number, though. Heroic ones may be rare enough that whether or not any happen to exist at any particular time is a matter of chance.


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