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Sentient Serpent Template (CR +2)

A sentient serpent is a snake that is intelligent and self-aware and has unique special abilities. Sentient serpents are usually created by the will of a serpent god, or an evil god, demon, daemon or devil or by means of the sentient serpent spell (see Chapter 3: New Spells). Sentient serpents often do not feel beholden to their creators, so creating one is a risky venture.

Most sentient serpents share many of the same personality traits. They are universally moody and possessed of a sense of superiority. Many are philosophical and intellectual but tend to be hedonistic, valuing pleasure, luxury, and subservience from others. Most sentient serpents are languid, cold and dispassionate, except when angered or when their hunger is aroused. During these times, sentient serpents are frightening to behold and exceedingly dangerous. The offspring of sentient serpents are usually normal snakes, though rarely, a single gifted hatchling is born sentient.

Creating A Sentient Serpent

Sentient serpent” is an inherited or acquired template that can be applied to any snake with an Intelligence score of five or less.

A sentient serpent uses the same statistics as the base creature, but its Intelligence and Charisma scores each increase by 3d6 points, while its Wisdom increases by 1d6 points. It also gains 2d4 skill points and learns to speak 1d4 languages. There is a 25% chance the sentient serpent also gains 1d4 levels of sorcerer. Sorcerous sentient serpents may continue to increase their levels of sorcerer with time and experience. Many sentient serpents frequently acquire levels of cleric, druid, or rogue on their own.

Challenge Rating: same as the base creature +2

Type: The creature’s type changes to Magical Beast and its Hit Dice change to d10s.

Alignment: The creator of the sentient serpent may choose to change the creature’s alignment to any neutral alignment.

Feats: All sentient serpents automatically gain three of the following feats: Eschew Materials, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Skill Focus, Silent Spell, Still Spell.

Special Qualities: Sentient serpents gain the following special qualities:

Sorcery

There is a 25% chance the creature gains 1d4 levels of sorcerer. Suggested bloodlines include, but are not limited to: aberrant, abyssal, arcane, destined, infernal, protean, serpentine, and shadow.

Greater Eschew Materials (Ex)

A sentient serpent with the Eschew Materials feat can cast any spell with a material component costing 100 gp or less without needing that component.

Spell Stillness (Ex)

When a sentient serpent uses the Still Spell feat, the spell slot level does not increase.

Sample Sentient Serpent Creature

Deadly king cobra sorcerer 6: CR 12; Large magical beast; HD 3d10+18 plus 6d6+18; hp 72; Init +6; Spd 20 ft., climb 20 ft., swim 20 ft.; AC 19, touch 11, flat-footed 17 (+2 Dex, -1 size, +8 natural); BAB +6; CMB +9; CMD 22 (can’t be tripped); melee +10 (1d8+4 plus poison, Bite); SA: poisonous bite, hood flare; SQ: darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, greater eschew materials, scent, spell stillness; AL NE; SV Fort +11, Ref +7, Will +8; Str 16, Dex 15, Con 22, Int 14, Wis 17, Cha 16

Skills: Acrobatics +10, Bluff +8, Climb +10, Intimidate +8, Knowledge (Arcana) +9, Perception +11, Spellcraft +9, Stealth +10, Swim +10 Racial Modifiers +4 Stealth

Languages: Common, Draconic

Feats: Combat Casting, Eschew Materials, Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Silent Spell, Still Spell, Weapon Focus (bite)

Hood Flare (Ex)

Opponents within 15 ft. of a king cobra that is flaring its hood must make a Will save (DC 14) or become shaken for 1d6 rounds. Those who successfully save do not need to save again for 24 hours. Opponents who cannot see the hood flare do not need to save.

Poison (Ex)

Bite—injury; save Fort DC 17; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d3 Con; cure 2 consecutive saves. In addition, if the target fails the initial save by five or more points, they suffer one of the following additional effects from respiratory failure due to the cobra’s venom: 1) vision limited to 50 ft. in daylight, or vision halved in dim light due to blurred/dimmed vision, 2) -2 Dexterity penalty for 1d6 rounds, 3) -2 to hit and Reflex saves, 4) fatigue that does not end until the victim receives a delay poison or neutralize poison or until the character makes a successful healing check while being treated for poison with the Heal skill. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Greater Eschew Materials (Ex)

Cast any spell with a material component costing 100 gp or less without needing that component.

Spell Stillness (Ex)

When using the Still Spell feat, the spell slot level does not increase.

Sorcerer Bloodline: Destined

Bloodline Arcana: Whenever you cast a spell with a range of “personal,” you gain a luck bonus equal to the spell’s level on all your saving throws for 1 round.

Bloodline powers: Touch of Destiny (Sp), Fated (Su).

Sorcerer Spells Known (unlimited/6/5/3 per day; save DC 13 + spell level): 0— acid splash, detect magic, mage hand, message, open/close, ray of frost, read magic; 1st— alarm, charm person, obscuring mist, sleep, unseen servant; 2nd— blur, invisibility, speed of the mamba*; 3rd — hold person.