The Shokan are a race of four-armed humanoids from the Mortal Kombat universe. Native to Outworld, they dwell within the subterranean kingdom of Kuatan. Said to be half-human, half-dragon hybrids, they are tremendously powerful warriors that dwarf humans in strength and size. Their skin textures vary greatly, including solid yellow/brown colours with darker spots on the back, like Goro and Sheeva, and a pattern almost identical to a tiger's stripes, as seen in Kintaro.
Shokan society is structured under a monarchy with a king and queen ruling their people and representing Kuatan's concerns to the Emperor of Outworld. Their heir is usually a prince in line for the throne. Multiple heirs to the throne must compete with one another and demonstrate their ruthlessness by fighting to the death. The victor thus becomes the ruling crown-prince who will eventually inherit the throne. Furthermore, on a single particular day, it was customary to give the King a present.
Among the Shokan, there is one rule that surpasses all others: survival of the fittest and most ruthless.
At least two distinct Shokan racial variaions have been identified: the royal Draco and the lower-class Tigrar lineage. Goro and Sheeva are from the Draco lineage while Kintaro is of the Tigrar.
For ages, the Shokan loyally served The Outworld's Emperor, Shao Kahn. One of their kind would always serve in some high capacity within Kahn's empire. They would usually face competition with the Centaurians for this role but they maintained it for generations.
One Shokan, Goro, would be chosen to serve as Outworld's champion in the Earthrealm Mortal Kombat tournaments. It was at his hands that Earthrealm's former champion, the Great Kung Lao, died.
After Prince Goro's supposed death following Liu Kang's first Mortal Kombat victory, Kintaro would take this role in Outworld but he too was defeated. This would be the start of their fall within Shao Kahn's eyes and their status was reduced during the invasion of Earthrealm with Motaro serving as a general, while Sheeva served as a bodyguard for Queen Sindel.
Following Shao Kahn's failed invasion of Earthrealm, the merger between Outworld and the realm of Edenia would be reversed. Since then, the Edenian royal family has forged a wartime alliance with the Shokan, who had fallen out of favour with Shao Kahn.
Years later, during the time of the Deadly Alliance, the united Edenians and Shokans marched on Shao Kahn's weakened army. Goro was exhausted from battle and was struck from behind by Noob Saibot. He was mortally wounded, apparently dying from the injury. So, Princess Kitana held and attended a royal funeral for her former ally. However, Goro was able to survive, being saved from death by Shao Kahn himself, with the promise to return the Shokans to their former glory and banish the Centaurians in exchange for his allegiance. Agreeing to these terms, Goro placed his royal seal on a nearby fallen disfigured Shokan (whom Kitana and the other Shokans found and mistook for him) and resumed his place at Shao Kahn's side. He (along with Shang Tsung) aided Shao Kahn in reclaiming his stronghold and his throne as the emperor of Outworld.
In the altered timeline, despite the failures of Goro and Kintaro in Mortal Kombat, the Shokan maintained their position of favour with Shao Kahn during the Outworld Invasion of Earthrealm. After the emperor's death, the Shokan pledged their allegiance with Kahn's heir Mileena and remained loyal to her when she was ousted from the throne by Ko'atal.
As the Outworld Civil War raged on, Goro was grievously wounded in kombat against Kotal Kahn, who amputated the Shokan prince's arms. Having been humiliated in the worst possible way for a Shokan noble, Goro fell before his father Gorbak, begging for death. Instead, Gorbak wept for his son and vowed retribution, launching an invasion of Z'Unkarah and challenging Kotal Kahn to battle. However, Gorbak would be slain by Kotal, leaving Kuatan leaderless. With his injuries, Goro was disavowed from ascending to the throne and so leadership was decided with a tournament amongst the strongest Draco-Shokan warriors in the kingdom. One of these warriors was Sheeva, who won the tournament and was crowned the new Queen of Kuatan.