Thursday, March 11, 2010

Serpent Men (Yuan Ti)

The deadly serpent men are slightly different from the traditional yuan-ti in the AD&D game and Monster Manual. Here are some general tidbits you know about these reptilian foes:

Serpent Men:

Descendants of humans whose blood has been fouled, serpent men have varying degrees of snakelike body parts. They are highly intelligent and evil, always plotting to advance their causes.

There are three major varieties of serpent men: purebloods, halfbreeds, and abominations. A pureblood can pass for human 80% of the time. It has only slight differences from true humans, such as slit eyes, or a forked tongue, maybe even small fangs. Halfbreeds are part human and part snake. Roll a d8 twice on the table below; a duplicate roll produces no result, but is not rerolled.

Roll Feature Effect
1 Snake head Bites for 1-10 points damage (2nd roll bite is poison)
2 Flexible torso +1 to saves using Dexterity
3 No legs, snake tail Constricts for 1-4 points of damage
4 Snakes instead of arms Each bites for 1-6 points damage (2nd roll bite is poison)
5 Scales instead of skin Armor Class 0
6 Legs and a snake tail Lashes for 1-4 points of damage
7 Slitted serpent eyes Able to Charm Person as the spell if gaze met
8 Snake glands Spit poison 10 ft (sv or 4d6 dmg)

Abominations are all snake and have only a single human feature, either head or arms, and are of large size (10 feet long). Halfbreeds and abominations disdain wearing human clothing or armor, while purebloods do not. All serpent men use weapons and other items, including magic. Serpent men do not give off an odor that humans can detect. However, animals will detect a dry, musty smell on them. The snake features of these foul creatures vary greatly from simple green and brown scales to wild patterns of stripes, diamonds, and whorls in reds and blues. Serpent men speak their own ancient language. They can also speak with any snake or snakelike creature. Those with human heads can speak any human or demi-human languages they learn.

Serpent men are very intelligent, and fight as such. They plan elaborate traps and utilize their surroundings superbly in combat. They prefer ambushes to direct confrontation. In a mixed group, the least valuable and powerful attack the opponent first. This means that the purebloods go before the half-breeds, which go before the abominations. The group leader may order particular members forward before others if it provides for a better strategy. When encountered outside their temple area, only one to four of them are in a group. In the temple area they can be found in much larger groups. Larger groups will include ophidian and histaachi servents, as well as giant snakes of dim intelligence.

Purebloods have 6 Hit Dice (and can be fighters or thieves up to 6th level), half-breeds have 7 or 8 Hit Dice, and abominations have 9 Hit Dice (and can be priests, mages or mage/priests of 9th level). All serpent men, if they have hands, always use weapons, preferring those with an edge (favoring scimitars and longbows). They use poison, particularly slow acting types, in their traps and sometimes on their weapons.
Any serpent man with a human head can cast the following spells once per day; cause fear, darkness (15 foot radius), snake charm, sticks to snakes, neutralize poison, polymorph self (to human form only) and suggestion. These spell-like powers are cast at the same level as the serpent man's HD. Serpent men purebloods may become fighters or thieves up to 6th level; Abominations can become priests of Set, mages, or mage/priests up to 9th lvl.

Serpent men are devout worshippers of evil. They also hold all reptiles in high esteem. The center of serpent men life is the temple. They tend toward old ruins far away from man, but have even been known to build underneath human cities. Their own works tend toward circles, with ramps and poles replacing stairs. In all cases they are secretive about the location of their city or temple. The abominations rule over the serpent men, and are the leaders of the temple, with the high priest (human-headed) ruling over all. Their rituals often involve bloody sacrifices. The purebloods take care of all outside negotiations, always pretending to be human. Serpent men speak their own ancient language and any others they may learn.

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