Lizards are tiny, nimble reptiles. Like most small animals, they are fairly ubiquitous. They feed on small insects and they use rocks, bushes, and whatever is handy to hide from predators.
Giant lizards are, as the name implies, much larger relatives of the common lizard. Giant lizards typically grow to be about 10 feet long from head to tail. They are found everywhere in the caves of Ermarian, and are also found in smaller numbers on the surface. They exude a characteristic smell -- some might say stink -- which can be overpowering in the presence of many lizards. Although some giant lizards are comfortable in water, they are not amphibians.
Giant lizards are violent, irritable beasts, stupid, lazy, and most unsuitable for domestication. However, because they are the only beast of burden that flourishes in the caves, they are commonly used as livestock by practically every humanoid race that lives underground. Their meat has a famously vile flavor, but it also keeps better underground than the meat of cows and other surface animals. Because it is nearly impossible to restrain the beasts' urges to eat things, farmers typically file down their teeth and claws, and restrain them with chains.
Interestingly enough, the primary commercial use for giant lizards is as transportation. Many Avernite merchants use giant lizards to pull their wagons full of cargo and goods. While giant lizards are not the fastest movers, they are strong enough to pull large loads long distances without tiring. Every merchant watches over their lizards closely, however, since none of them trust their lizards to be peaceful if they escape from their restraints. Since every attempt to bring horses and mules to Exile has failed, giant lizards are the next best thing.
There are also several documented cases of lizard-riders that ride giant lizards into battle. In most cases, they are Slithzerikai, but there are a few rumors of human lizard-riders as well.
Giant lizards are also valued for their tough hides, which are the primary source of leather below ground.
Fire lizards are slightly larger than regular giant lizards, and are distinguished by the flaming breath they exhale when they feel aggressive. For this reason, fire lizards are never domesticated. They are often found living in colonies alongside salamanders and drakes.
Counterparts to fire lizards, ice lizards exhale gusts of freezing breath. Unlike fire lizards, they are rarely found in large groups.
Salamanders are dangerous cousins of the fire lizard. They bear a mystical connection to the element of fire, which constantly radiates out from their bodies, burning and singing everything around them.
The rarest variety of giant lizard is the fearful basilisk. Basilisks are as slow and as stupid as any giant lizard, but they bear one of the most potent magical abilities of any creature. The gaze of a basilisk can turn other creatures to stone. Some basilisks also have a poisonous bite.
Stronger, faster, and meaner than a regular basilisk is the ur-basilisk. They often lead colonies of basilisks and are notoriously hard to control.
The crocolisk is an amphibious relative of the basilisk, at home in streams, ponds, and other small bodies of water.
Drakes are something of a middle ground between giant lizards and dragons. Drakes can live for over a century, and can grow to sizes as great as 30 feet tall and 50 feet long, from head to tail -- somewhere between half and two-thirds the size of a dragon. Like dragons, they are intelligent, capable at magic, and often collect a hoard of treasure. Unlike dragons, they are sociable creatures who compete fiercely with their fellows and may even live alongside groups of the lesser lizards.
Most drakes breath fire. A few, however, breath ice, and are known as ice drakes.
In some areas, the most powerful drakes are called drake lords, a title they must earn by completing a series of tests.
Drake skin is even more resilient than giant lizard hide, and is mildly magical. It is a common reagent in the enchanting of items. It is very pliable when properly treated, and is sometimes used to bind magical tomes, or less commonly, as simple parchment.