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    Postfest V, Part III: The Serpentfolk
    Posted on Sun, September 11, 2005 by Dongul
    Cebrion writes "
    Little is known of the Elder Races, but I will tell you of one of them: the Serpentfolk. The Serpentfolk were (are) a race of exceptionally gifted magicians oft confused with the yuan-ti, to the detriment of many scholars. Little is known of them, their origins, and of the power they once held upon Oerth. Only recently has evidence of this ancient and once preeminent reptilian race begun to surface…

    ---Mulgath the Wanderer, Savant-Sage of Dyvers



    The Serpentfolk
    By: Cebrion
    Used with permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

    SERPENTFOLK

    Medium Humanoid (Reptilian) Hit Dice: 4d8 (18 hp)
    Initiative: +5
    Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares)
    Armor Class: 19 (+4 natural bonus, +1 Dex, +3 studded leather armor, +1 light shield) touch 11, flat-footed 18
    Base Attack/Grapple: +4/+4*
    Attack: Bite +3 melee (1d4+1) or sword +5 melee (1d8+1) or bow +5 ranged (1d8); Bite +2 melee (1d4 plus poison) or sword +4 melee (1d8+1) or bow +5 ranged (1d8)*
    Full Attack: Sword +5 melee (1d8+1) and bite +3 melee (1d4+1), or bow +5 ranged (1d8); Sword +4 melee (1d8+1) and bite +2 melee (1d4 plus poison*), or bow +5 ranged (1d8)*
    Space/Reach: 5 ft./5ft.
    Special Attacks: Spell-like abilities, poison (see below)*
    Special Qualities: Serpentfolk traits, detect poison, spell resistance 14
    Saves: Fort +1, Ref +5, Will +4
    Abilities: Str 13, Dex 13, Con 11, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 11 Str 10, Dex 13, Con 11, Int 13, Wis 11 Cha 13*
    Skills: Hide +9, Listen+9 , Spot +9, Swim +6 (+5)* Disjointed: Balance +3, Climb +3 (+2)* Escape Artist +3
    Feats: Alertness (b), Blind-Fight (b), Multiattack, Improved Initiative.
    Environment: Any non-arctic
    Organization: Squad (2-3), patrol (5-8 plus 1 sergeant of 2nd to 4th-level), or band (10-30 troops, plus 1 sergeant of 2nd to 4th-level for every 5 troops, 2-5 5th-level lieutenants, and 2 7th to 9th-level captains.
    Challenge Rating: 3
    Treasure: Standard (double standard in lair)
    Alignment: Always neutral evil
    Advancement: By character class
    Level Adjustment: +2 (see text)* Insert an Image Below

    *Statistics in italics marked with an asterisk apply only to The Blessed (see below).

    Physical Description:
    Serpentfolk are an ancient and evil race of snake-like humanoids, long thought to be extinct throughout Oerth, who ruled vast territories thousands of years ago. Although serpentfolk are omnivores, they prefer the meat of sentient “lesser races,” which to them means all sentient races other than serpentfolk. Their scaly hides range in color from tan to green to brown, with black being uncommon. Rare albino serpentfolk have either pure white or off-white coloring. The underbellies of serpentfolk vary from pale white to dark tan. Serpentfolk often have markings on their bodies, such as stripes, rings, diamonds, or splotches. These markings vary widely in color and may be any shade of brown, green, or even black, crimson, or yellow. Their light sensitive eyes are yellow-gray, yellow-green, or amber in color with a vertical black iris; albinos having pink or red eyes.

    Serpentfolk range in height from 5 to 7 feet, and weigh between 150 and 250 pounds, and are deceptively strong for their slim and compact appearance. Serpentfolk known as The Blessed tend to be smaller in stature, are usually magically gifted, and have a poisonous bite. The Blessed are also prone to having features similar to various venomous snakes, such as a cobra’s hood, or coloring. Serpentfolk dress in tattered garments of silk, satin, velvet, and fine linen; reminiscent of their once grand and opulent empire.

    Serpentfolk speak Draconic.

    COMBAT
    Serpentfolk are cunning fighters and prefer to initiate attacks through ambushes. Serpentfolk leaders, The Blessed”, to lead from the rear, though not out of fear of coming to harm. Leaders direct their troops, evaluating how a combat is proceeding, and then employ their own abilities where they can be the most devastating to the enemy.

    Spell-Like Abilities: 1/day - animal trance (DC 12 or 13*), cause fear (DC 11 or 12*), charm person (DC 11 or 12*), darkness; 3/day- speak with animals (snakes and reptiles only). Caster level 4th. Saves are Charisma-based. Save DCs in italics are for The Blessed.

    Cold Torpor: Serpentfolk are adversely affected by extreme cold. Any time a serpentfolk is affected (even partially) by a spell or effect with the cold descriptor, they must make an additional Con based saving throw vs. a DC equal to that of the effect they were targeted by or be affected as if by a slow spell for 1d6 rounds. If subjected to extreme levels of cold (0 degrees F or less), serpentfolk must make a saving throw for each full hour they are exposed to it (DC 11, +1 to the DC cumulatively for each additional hour that passes), or enter a state of suspended animation. This effect functions as per the temporal stasis spell, except that the serpentfolk will awaken once the temperature returns to a warmer level (at least 50 degrees F). It is not known how long a serpentfolk can survive in a state of cold torpor.

    Disjointed: Serpentfolk have very flexible spines and joints, and are also able to dislocate their limbs as a standard action. The dislocated limbs are pulled in close to the serpentfolk’s body which allows them to move in a snake-like fashion on their bellies and slither into spaces that would normally be too small for them. The base speed of a disjointed serpentfolk is 15 ft. (3 squares). While disjointed, a serpentfolk can only perform a bite attack.

    Skills: Because of their snake-like anatomy and coloring, serpentfolk have a +4 racial bonus on Hide, Listen, Spot, and Swim checks. While Disjointed (see above) a serpentfolk also gain a +4 racial bonus on Balance, Climb, and Escape Artist checks. The skill modifiers given in the statistics block include a -2 armor check penalty (-4 on Swim checks) for wearing studded leather armor and carrying a light shield.

    Serpentfolk Armor & Weapons: Serpentfolk usually do not wear heavy armor, as it is uncomfortable for them. They favor light armor made of leather, leather embellished with stylized roundel studs or rings, hide armor, and scale mail. The heaviest armors serpentfolk are known to wear are breastplate armor, and a combination of plate and scale armor equivalent to banded mail. Serpentfolk use spiked and bladed shields of all types.

    Serpentfolk make use of many familiar, yet archaic looking weapons. They favor curved or wavy bladed swords and daggers, maces, composite bows, various polearms, spears, and javelins; hafted weapons usually feature spikes or blades at either or both ends. Among their unique weapons are the fanged mace and bladed gauntlets, which have the following statistics:

    Mace, fanged
    Martial, one-handed melee weapon; 15 gp
    Damage (s) 1d6, Damage (m); 1d8, Critical: x 2, Weight: 8 lb., Type: Bludgeoning and slashing.
    Similar to a heavy mace, the flanges on a fanged mace are hooked at the upper end and are honed to a razor edge. Fanged maces are favored by serpentfolk clerics and warriors.

    Bladed gauntlets
    Exotic, light melee weapon; 30 gp per pair
    Damage (s) 1d4, Damage (m) 1d6; Critical: 19-20, Weight: 3 lbs. each, Type: Piercing or Slashing.
    Bladed gauntlets are reinforced gauntlets with blades affixed to the outer arms, which extend for twelve inches beyond the end of the gauntlet. The wielder may either punch or slash with them. When worn in pairs, bladed gauntlets may also be used to block incoming blows as if the wielder were armed with a light shield, gaining a +1 shield bonus. While the wielder’s hands are considered free when wearing bladed gauntlets and the wearer may cast spells with somatic components, they may only hold small objects while fighting. Bladed gauntlets are favored by serpentfolk warriors and rogues in the main.

    Most serpentfolk armor and weapons are usually made of metal alloys, the most common being an iron-bronze mixture. Brass is occasionally used for main components, but is more often used for decoration, as is copper. Steel is rarely used and is reserved solely for weapons with thin bladed edges. Weapons forged for the purpose of enchantment are mostly made of an adamantine-based alloy. Gold and polished gemstones figure prominently in the decoration of serpentfolk armor and weapons, and in jewelry. Serpentfolk do not make use of mithril or silver in any craft, other than alchemy.

    Serpentfolk Society

    Serpentfolk have a matriarchal society in the main. A council of elders made up of the most wise and powerful serpentfolk rule each serpentfolk enclave. The ruling council is overseen by the most powerful female cleric among The Blessed. The Blessed are serpentfolk who have been marked for greatness and include among their ranks mostly clerics, sorcerers, wizards, and the occasional bard, druid, or rogue. Bards, exalted among the serpentfolk due to their rarity and responsibilities, are the lore keepers of the serpentfolk and serve the council of elders directly.
    Serpentfolk bards do not serve to entertain like the bards of other races and, due to their great responsibilities, are seldom seen outside of serpentfolk enclaves.

    Serpentfolk hold the draconic races in higher regard than others, and other reptilian races marginally higher than other warm-blooded races. Serpentfolk regularly ally themselves with evil dragons (usually green or black) and with dark and spirit nagas. They view these races as brethren, and treat with them as equals. Reptilian creatures such as basilisks, boalisks, hydras, and giant lizards are often employed as guardians. Serpentfolk often make use of lizardfolk, troglodyte, and kobold slave warriors. Snakes of all varieties and sizes are kept as sacred pets. The serpentfolk and the yuan-ti are related, yet they are not allied whatsoever. Serpentfolk have a profound hatred of yuan-ti, and will always make an effort to attack them; from a position of advantage if possible.

    Serpentfolk enclaves vary in size from a few dozen individuals to a few hundred individuals, though at the height of their power serpentfolk enclaves varied in size from a few hundred to a few thousand individuals. A serpentfolk lair will have half as many noncombatant young as adults, and one egg per five adults. Ancient texts state that there may have once been, and still might be, serpentfolk enclaves located within the dark fastness of the Suss Forest and beneath the mountains of the central Flanaess, as well as in Hepmonaland and the Amedio Jungle. Wherever there are dark hidden places there is the potential to find serpentfolk.

    The patron deity of the serpentfolk is an ancient goddess known as the Serpent Mother, whose sole goal is to return her children to the place of dominance they once held over the other lesser races.

    SERPENTFOLK AS CHARACTERS
    Most serpentfolk leaders, also known as The Blessed, are wizards, sorcerers, clerics, or very rarely, druids. Serpentfolk clergy worship their fell goddess, the Serpent Mother. Clerics of the Serpent Mother have access to two of the following domains: Animal, Darkness (see Book of Vile Darkness), Domination (see Complete Divine), Evil, Knowledge, or Magic. The powers of serpentfolk druids stem from their vile connection to the Serpent Mother rather than to the powers of nature itself, and they use their powers in unnatural ways.

    Serpentfolk characters possess the following racial traits (certain gifted serpentfolk are known as The Blessed and gain slightly different abilities):

    - +2 Strength, +2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence (or +2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence, +2 Charisma for The Blessed).
    - Darkvision 90 feet.
    - Spell resistance equal to 14+ class levels.
    - +2 racial bonus on Will saves against spells and spell-like abilities.
    - Medium size.
    - A serpentfolk’s base land speed is 30 ft. (6 squares).
    - Racial Hit Dice: A serpentfolk begins with four levels of monstrous humanoid, which provides 4d8 Hit Dice, a base attack bonus of +4, and base saving throw bonuses of Fort +1, Ref +4, and Will +4.
    - Racial Skills: A serpentfolk’s monstrous humanoid levels give it skill points equal to 7 x (2 + Int modifier, minimum 1). Its class skills are Hide, Listen, Spot, and Swim. Serpentfolk have a +4 racial bonus on Hide, Listen, Spot, and Swim checks. While Disjointed (see above) a serpentfolk also gain a +4 racial bonus on Balance, Climb, and Escape Artist checks.
    - Racial Feats: A serpentfolk’s monstrous humanoid levels give it two feats. Serpentfolk receive Alertness and Blind-Fight as bonus feats.
    - Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: A serpentfolk is automatically proficient with simple weapons, the fanged mace, bladed gauntlets, and light armor.
    - +5 natural armor bonus.
    - Natural Weapons: bite (1d4); or bite (1d4 plus poison - DC: 11, initial and secondary damage of 1d6 Con) for The Blessed.
    - Special Attacks (see above): Spell-like abilities, poison*.
    - Special Qualities (see above): Cold Torpor, Disjointed, detect poison.
    - Automatic Languages: Draconic, Common. Bonus Languages: Elven, Halfling, Gnome, Orc, Gnoll, Goblin, Dwarven (The Blessed may choose any language as a Bonus Language).
    - Light Blindness: Abrupt exposure to bright light (such as sunlight or a daylight spell) blinds serpentfolk for 1 round. On subsequent rounds, they are dazzled as long as they remain in the affected area.
    - Favored Class: None.
    - Level adjustment: +2; for The Blessed +2 if they have an NPC class, or +3 if they have a PC class.
    "
     
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    Re: The Serpentfolk (Score: 1)
    by mortellan on Tue, September 13, 2005
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    Excellent work Cebrion! It's everything I came to expect from your discussions in greytalk. The torpor and disjointed rules were quite appealing, something I would never have thought of. I also liked the unique serpentfolk weaponry, that adds to their distinctiveness and would make some interesting magic items I'm sure.




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