|“Bow to your master, Serpentine!”|
The Serpentine are an ancient race of reptilian humanoids who were once the dominant species of Ninjago. They warred with each other for countless years until banding together during the First Serpentine War to fight against the humans. Led by the sons of the First Spinjitzu Master and the Elemental Masters, the people of Ninjago rose up and locked them away in five separate tombs, one for each tribe (Hypnobrai, Fangpyre, Venomari, Constrictai, and Anacondrai). Decades later, they were released by Lloyd Garmadon and Pythor, who united the five tribes in a bid to conquer and destroy Ninjago. After claiming the Four Silver Fangblades, Pythor unleashed the fabled Great Devourer from the Lost City of Ouroboros. The colossal serpent consumed Pythor and wreaked havoc on Ninjago City, before being killed by Lord Garmadon.
After the death of the Devourer, the Serpentine were trapped in the tomb of the Stone Army. When the Ninja were searching for the hard drive containing the Digital Overlord, they found the Serpentine, and Acidicus told them of the legend of the Golden Master. Shortly after, a group of Nindroids attacked the Serpentine, but the Ninja defended them and defeated their adversaries. Though Skales declined to aid the Ninja in their quest any further, when the Golden Master attacked Ninjago City, the Serpentine helped its citizens to flee below ground and escape the ensuing destruction. Pythor, who had been aiding the Golden Master, was turned minuscule after swallowing a shrinking pill.
With the Golden Master destroyed, the Serpentine resumed their lives in Ninjago, having redeemed themselves after protecting the city's people. When the Ninja were rallying people to fight against Chen and his army of fake Anacondrai, the Serpentine joined the battle at the Corridor of Elders. Despite the new alliance, the fake Anacondrai were too powerful - leading Garmadon to sacrifice himself and be banished in order to free the spirits of the original Anacondrai to curse Chen's army. Following the battle, the Serpentine continued their lives.
According to legend, the Serpentine were created at an unknown point in time by the First Spinjitzu Master, who knew of the threat of the Golden Master and wished for there to be beings who would defend Ninjago should the Golden Master ever come into reality.
Fearing the dawn of the Golden Master's reign was imminent, the Serpentine tried to warn the people of Ninjago, but they wouldn't listen, and instead looked upon the Serpentine as enemies. The Serpentine then tried to force the people underground, but they failed, even using the young Great Devourer to scare them below the surface. After their failed attempts to protect the people, the Serpentine were seen as monsters. The lack of trust between Ninjago's citizens and the Serpentine started the Serpentine War. As the war progressed and as time went by, tensions between man and snake began to die down. However, seeking to spread chaos, Chen told each side that the other was going to attack, which restarted the war.
In another battle, the Elemental Masters battled the Anacondrai once more. As they began to win, one of the Elemental Masters (Cole's ancestor) sided with the Serpentine and the Elemental Masters lost once more. Later, as the Elemental Masters began to walk home from battle, defeated and discouraged, Garmadon realized that they should use the Sacred Flutes in order to defeat them, seeing a man use one to put a small cobra in a trance. The Elemental Masters used the flutes and drove the five Serpentine tribes into five separate tombs. As punishment for their war crimes, Arcturus and the other Anacondrai Generals, were banished to the Cursed Realm. Decades later, Chen would meet the same fate, and rightly so as he was the reason for the war's resurgence.
Ranks (from highest to lowest)
The supreme leader of the Serpentine, usually a General who manages to assert their authority over the others. It is a purely political title that has no physical changes to the Serpentine who achieves it, although Skales chose to wear a crown to confirm his position.
The leaders of each Serpentine tribe, identified by the long tail replacing their legs and their possession of their tribe's Snake Staff. Usually the highest rank of Serpentine, with the "Snake King" title coming into play if a General wishes to unite the tribes as one.
Powerful fighters in the Serpentine ranks, generally less numerous than Soldiers or Scouts. Often appear similar to their corresponding General, but with legs instead of tails and slight color variations (e.g. Lizaru has green head spikes, while Acidicus has white head spikes).
In the Ninjago: Spinjitzu Spinners game, Warriors have 1100 SP, with 500 SP in their dominant element, 300 SP in a secondary element, 200 SP in a tertiary element and 100 SP in a final element. So far, they are the highest rank of Serpentine to appear in Spinner sets.
The regular fighters of the Serpentine forces, identifiable by having less elaborate heads than Warriors or Generals. They usually have two large, stout fangs protruding from their mouths.
In the Spinjitzu Spinners game, Soldiers have 1000 SP, with 300 SP in three elements and 100 SP in the last element.
The lowest-ranking members of the Serpentine (not counting their Mini Snakes), Scouts presumably play a supporting role in combat, gathering information on targets and backing up their stronger allies in battle. They have "normal" LEGO minifigure heads, but with distinctly reptilian features such as scales, fangs, and slit-like pupils. Most have small hoods or armor plates on the backs of their heads.
In Spinjitzu Spinners, Scouts have 900 SP, with 300 SP in their dominant element and 200 SP in the other three elements.
The Serpentine generally appear as scaly humanoids with snake-like heads. Generals have snake-like tails replacing their legs, which appears to be symbolic of their position; as soon as a different snake takes dominance in a tribe, its legs will become a tail and the conquered Serpentine will have its tail replaced by legs, although every member in the Anacondrai Tribe has tails. It is possible that similar changes would occur if other Serpentine of different ranks fought to increase their standing in the tribe (e.g. a Scout attempting to become a Soldier-ranked Serpentine, or a Soldier attempting to become a Warrior-ranked Serpentine). It is unclear what would happen if a Serpentine General perished without being challenged by a fellow tribesmate - presumably, the next-strongest member of the tribe would become General by default.
In addition to proficiency in melee combat (both unarmed and with a variety of weapons), all of the Serpentine tribes have unique abilities: the Hypnobrai can hypnotize others into loyal servants or sleeper agents; the Fangpyre can turn anything they bite into a snake; the Venomari are resistant to acid and can spit hallucinatory venom; the Constrictai have powerful grips and superior burrowing abilities; and the Anacondrai are capable of turning invisible and swallowing people whole. However, all Serpentine are vulnerable to the music of the Sacred Flute, which causes them extreme discomfort and negates some of their abilities.
The Serpentine also have extremely long lifespans. According to Skales and Fangtom's dialogue in "Never Trust a Snake," some of them have known each other from before their imprisonment. Members of different tribes likewise possess the ability to breed with one another, although the results of these bonds result in hybrid mutants who lack powers. Children coming from such unions are often looked down upon in Serpentine society.
The Serpentine are vicious and warlike creatures, and their society appears to measure all things in terms of power. They solve disputes and seek entertainment in the Slither Pit, effectively a gladiatorial combat where they determine superiority by one participant being more powerful and cunning than the other. Many Serpentine look down on other species, out of arrogance or anger at being sealed away by the other inhabitants of Ninjago. They are predisposed to combat and violence to achieve their goals, and are not adverse to using dirty tricks or superior numbers to overwhelm their enemies.
This aggressive mindset often hinders the Serpentine more than it benefits them, as infighting is prevalent between Serpentine tribes, and even among different ranks within each tribe. On the other hand, Serpentine are unwaveringly loyal to those who can conclusively demonstrate their superiority, readily following the every command of such individuals - at least until their leaders show signs of weakness or incompetence.
However, some positive traits have been observed among the Serpentine. They are capable of camaraderie and friendship, as seen when Skales and Fangtom greet each other as old friends despite their tribal alignments. Additionally, Pythor sought to awaken the Great Devourer specifically to avenge his race on the surface-dwellers who sealed them away, implying that he genuinely wants to see Serpentine dominance for their own sakes. Likewise, despite having been the one to devour his tribe, Pythor was ultimately against the idea of tarnishing their name in death, getting past his own grudges to avenge the mockery that had been done to his people.
The Serpentine also seemed to have a righteous sense of justice, being quick to act in preparation for the arrival of the Golden Master, though some of their methods were questionable. Ultimately, while meaning well, their paranoia and recklessness in trying to stop their war with the humans only helped start it, and feeling wronged and unknowing of the true situation, felt they deserved vengeance on the humans for what had happened.
Following their imprisonment in the Stone Army Tomb, the Serpentine sought more pacifistic reforms, seeking to atone for their ways. As a result, nearly all of them became much more peaceful, promoting politeness and courtesy. Despite this, as a result of the past, they nevertheless remained somewhat wary of humans, but ultimately came over this in order to help them upon the attack of the Golden Master, finally bridging the gap that had separated the two species for so long. As a result, the Serpentine began to venture out onto the surface, regularly interacting with the humans as generic citizens. Additionally, the Serpentine began to have a more positive view towards hybrids, with the marriage of Selma, a possibly hybrid, marrying Skales with no known objection from others.
Despite these pacifistic reforms, however, some Serpentine, though no longer criminals, nevertheless preferred their old ways of combat and fighting. Multiple members, most notably Mezmo, continued the tradition of the Slither Pit at Yang Tavern and even invited non-serpentine, such as humans and Skulkin, to participate.
- The most common Serpentine to be owned to-date is Spitta.
- "Serpentine" is a real word, meaning "snake-like" or "related to snakes." However, the Ninjago term is pronounced with an "e" sound in the final syllable (Ser-pen-TEEN), while the real word has an "i" sound (Ser-pen-TYNE).
- Lloyd was betrayed by every single tribe of Serpentine he allied himself with.
- The only season of Ninjago where no Serpentine appeared is Season 5.
- In early concepts, Lord Garmadon was the one intended to release the Serpentine.
- Despite believing they were created by the First Spinjitzu Master, the Serpentine's true origins are ambiguous. According to Tommy Andreasen, there's a chance of a connection between the Serpentine and the tribes of Chima.