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Thread: The Serpent

  1. #1

    The Serpent

    Has there been any good stat sheets for The Serpent? I was about to do one up myself and thought I was ask ... or is there accepted class set up for him in 3.5.

    As of right now I was going to make him a Wizard 5, Fighter 7 and Eldrich Knight 8. This would get him to level 12 for a spellcaster which is what the Blood Enemies give him and still a very strong fighter. I wanted to stay away from keeping him unbeatable level 30.

    Also give him the Alternate Form Ability listed in the Monster Manual I into a Giant Constrictor Snake following the new rules for that change.

    The rest shouldn't be that hard to do up. I would think many of his spells would revolve around Enchantment and Illusion.

    Does this make sense? Any good thoughts on what to add?

    -BB

  2. #2
    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    Well, you probably want to give him 3 levels of scion, perhaps a number of awnshegh levels - although they can replace the fighter levels since he is quite physical as an awnie.

    I'd also consider, although it doesn't work well in DnD, making the serpent form a true alter shape to the man headed serpent - i.e. in serpent form the wizard levels convert to fighter levels so he is big and tough but can't spell cast, and vv in man serpent form. I'd have to come up with a way of stopping that working with spells that carry on though, and he'd win hugely from the 'shoot the wad' DnD style magic system without a handicap - possibly subdual damage carried over from used spell slots.

  3. #3
    Interesting thoughts.

    The MM controls a bit of the over-power by allowing the shapechange but keeping your HP the same (Although a new Con score could boost it,) and giving just the new Str, Con, Dex. If we are to assume he is a base 20 HD between classes in human form ... the HD equalivalent would make it a Huge Snake I think which also gives boosts to Str and bonus attack with grapple ... making him nearly unbeatable in this snake form without some sort of free action spell running (which you would hope players would be smart enough to have active.)

    At that size I would think he would also get the swollow whole special attack along with improved grapple. We wouldn't need to really boost him up beyond basic rules in that form. Errata for shapeshifting has it set up that magical items and equipment meld into the new form and become non-functional. If we were worried about him casting spells in that form we can just make sure he doesn't have wild spell feat, although the think the old books say he can cast spells in both forms, and figure that he has a snake head in both forms it would make sense.

    Having special awnshegh levels can make alot of sense. You can include the improved natural armor in there (book says his skin is tough,) and stat increases (sort of like half dragon template which might be a good base to work off of.)

  4. #4
    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    I'll have to refresh my memory, I thought he could cast in human and serpent form but not snake form.

    Improved grapple and swallow whole sound good, possibly poison as well. 3e con boosts would give a lot of hp when transforming to serpent form, you only have to look at the BRCS Gorgon to see the issues with it.

    Another possibility is that as an awnie ability he took the extra hitdice - but these only apply in awnie form (much like Geeman's unshegh ability suppresses others).

    He'd need several awnie levels to get stat increases, hit die, armour, grapple, and poison though.

    The poison may be better as a narcotic rather than as a paralytic or suchlike - he's physically powerful enough to win so the poison should really have another use. Hmmm, somehow the Serpent and narcotics go together for me.

  5. #5
    Ehrshegh of Spelling Thelandrin's Avatar
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    Andrew, are you sure that the extra Hit Dice only apply to their awnsheghlien forms? D&D has been most explicit that your HD never changes when you transform etc.

  6. #6
    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    Limiting the HD to the awnie form was a suggestion to get around the 'I need him good at both fighting and spells so he has to be L30' problem.

    One way to keep the overall levels down is to make the awnshegh powers better, but active only in awnshegh form, and bar spell casting in the awnie form (no hands, no mouth, not impossible with the right feats but should be fair to bar all the same). As a result you are effectively converting spellcasting levels to awnie levels or vv when shifting between forms.

    That should keep the levels down but still makes him effective either way - although I'd make changing take some time so he can't lob spells then shift and mosh in or give him some other transformation issue.

    It should be easy enough to track the hp - I expect that the 'don't change hp rule' in DnD is a sop to the innumerate who would whine over pro-rating, or tracking separate hp pools. You will have the same issue with con bonuses in serpent form as well.

    Given the the magian has the mage thing sewn up in Khinasi I'd consider removing the serpents spell casting ability as I'm not sure that it adds much to the character - he could always have a court mage for spells.
    Last edited by AndrewTall; 08-27-2007 at 10:47 AM.

  7. #7
    To keep him different than the Magian I would certainly keep him into Illusions and Enchantments. I can't see the Serpent tossing fireballs and the like. If he is getting attacked I would assume he would switch to the full snake form and not throw out a magic missile. Might also make sense to have defensive spells to help AC. They could transfer over to the Snake form improving his fighting ability.

    We could change the HD type, not really set in the rules but would give a basic bonus anyway. Say his HD type in snake form is D12 and in human form is d4 (because of the wizard stuff.) That would be an average of 2.5 vs. 6.5 hp. That would be 4 hp per level which would give him a bonus of 80 hp in snake form.

    The best way to stick to core rules is to have his snake form have a huge con and str bonus to give the extra hp and increase attack. Nothing says he has to be just like a typical huge constrictor snake. Get that constitution score up to 30+ and Str also over 30. The natural armor of the snake can be fairly high to make him hard to hit. Include those with Swallow whole, Imp grapple, Constrict damage and a poison would make him a menace to deal with melee ... which should be the case.

    The old books said his poison had a chance to turn you into either a snake completely under his control or a you would be subject to a powerful domination spell as a human. I would say now have the initial damage be vs. con to weaken his enemies and then have the secondary save be a domination spell but as a Fortitude save because it is poison based.

    -BB

    PS: I will certainly post stats here once we get a good idea of what might work for him.

  8. #8
    Ehrshegh of Spelling Thelandrin's Avatar
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    You could have his awnshegh HD apply to his spell-casting level, as a caster boost. I'm not a fan of having lots of rules that only apply in specific situations and run counter to the general theme. If you felt that this makes awnsheghlien too powerful, treat their awnshegh HD as only adding to their caster level and doesn't grant them any new spells.

  9. #9
    I updated the Wiki Serpent page with my idea of the Serpent.

    It follows the rules of the 3.5 BR rules and MM alternate forms and monster upgrades.

    So there was no rule breaking going on to create him. Please review. If you don't think it fits correctly let me know and I can adjust or take down.

    -I built him on the idea he was a 5th level fighter first, then gained the 3 Scion levels, then continued with wizard after that.
    - his alternate form is based off of Giant Constrictor Snake in the DM guide with a few adjustments because of size and power.
    - I gave him mostly enchantment and illusion spells which seem to suit the character.
    - I upgraded his poison attack to match 3.5 from the old rules.
    - I didn't put a pure human form because in the old books it is stated that he hasn't used that form in over 200 years. I took the Azari taint has changed him enough to not be able to take his human form anymore. Probably explains why he needs a "voice" to talk for him and he never leaves his caves.

    -BB

  10. #10
    Ehrshegh of Spelling Thelandrin's Avatar
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    Well, in the BR comic, the Serpent can both talk and cast spells in his yuanti form, but it is worth noting that that encounter takes place in his own tower.

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