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A Keketar protean

A protean (pronounced PROH-tee-uhn[1]) is a large, serpentine creature with arms and an armored snake-like torso. They are the children and harbingers of the primal chaos of the Maelstrom, which they worship. Subtypes include imentesh[2], keketar[3], naunet[4], and the unique protean lords[5]. The internal anatomy of a protean is mutable and all proteans have the ability to change their outward form. Proteans all have the ability to fly and cannot be held or captured by normal means.[6] Proteans have no innate gender but can take on any gender they feel like, including none or both at the same time. Some proteans are created by reproduction (requiring two or more proteans), while some are formed directly from the raw chaos of the Maelstrom, and others are mortal souls that have been transformed into proteans.[7]


Proteans were the first beings to exist in the Maelstrom, which predated the presence of the other planes in the Great Beyond. Their first contact with other planes came when they accidentally created rifts in the fabric of the Outer Sphere which opened into the Abyss. The proteans soon came into conflict with the qlippoth who dwelt in the Abyss. While this war continued, other planes started to appear in the Maelstrom such as Axis. The axiomite natives of Axis also came into conflict with the proteans and the two have been locked in attempted mutual genocide for some time. According to the imentesh historians, the gods appeared from "somewhere else" after the planes had coalesced. Proteans deal with the gods warily and on a case-by-case basis.[8]


The verbal language of the proteans is constantly and quickly changing, sometimes quite radically, frustrating planar linguists. The keketar proteans have a crown of symbols that resemble writing, but linguists cannot agree on whether the proteans truly possess a written language.[7]


The proteans share a racial religion in which they worship the Maelstrom and believe themselves to be its children and an expression of its will. The religion is based on a hatred of order and stability, a respect for creators and the act of creation, and an emphasis on action as opposed to philosophy. Different proteans interpret these themes differently. The keketar proteans in particular have formed a number of different cabals, called choruses, that each have their own interpretation of how to best express the will of the Maelstrom.

In addition to the Maelstrom itself, the proteans have a pair of dualistic creator-gods called the Speakers of the Depths with which they are often in mystic communion.[9]