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Serpent Warlock

“Look into my eyes.”

There are those students of the arcane for whom the serpent holds an irresistible lure. They are fascinated with the serpent’s powers of stealth, swift deadly attack, armor, fear, and their spellbinding effect upon the minds of their prey and those who observe them. These individuals are driven to delve deeply into the mysteries of the serpent, using their knowledge and magic to unlock its hidden powers.

Many evil serpent warlocks are worshippers of fierce nature gods, snake gods and gods of magic or forbidden knowledge. These serpent warlocks are often found working with snake-cults and intelligent snake-like monsters, especially in cities where such groups and creatures must keep their presence secret from the local populace. The serpent warlock’s ability to freely move about the city and interact with its denizens is invaluable to these groups, who use the warlock as a go-between or revere them for their powers.

However, not all serpent warlocks are evil. There are some who simply regard serpents with enormous respect and admiration for their uniqueness and amazing abilities. Others have a strong bond or fascination with nature, and regard serpents as efficient animal predators perfectly in harmony with their environment.

For these individuals, the serpent is a special creature that symbolizes perfection of form and function, and secret knowledge.

Hit Die: d8

Requirements

To qualify to become a serpent warlock, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria:

Class Skills

The class skills for this class (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (all skills taken individually) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Profession (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), Stealth (Dex), Swim (Dex) and Use Magic Device (Cha).

Skill Ranks at Each Level: 3 + Int modifier

Table: The Serpent Warlock
Class Level BAB Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special Spells per Day
1st +1 +1 +2 +1 Serpentine Emulation, Serpent Form 2/day, Serpent Sneak Attack +1d6
2nd +2 +1 +3 +1 Snake Fangs, Eye of the Serpent 1/day +1 level of existing class
3rd +3 +1 +3 +2 Serpent Sneak Attack +2d6, Serpent Scales (+2 natural AC)
4th +3 +2 +4 +2 Serpent Form: Tiny Snake +1 level of existing class
5th +4 +2 +4 +3 Serpent Form spell
6th +5 +2 +5 +3 Serpent Sneak Attack +3d6, Serpent Scales (+3natural AC) +1 level of existing class
7th +6 +3 +5 +4
8th +6 +3 +6 +4 Serpent Sneak Attack +4d6, Serpent Form: 3/day +1 level of existing class
9th +7 +3 +6 +5 Serpent Scales (+4 natural AC)
10th +8 +4 +7 +5 Serpent Form: Huge Snake +1 level of existing class

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the serpent warlock prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

A serpent warlock gains no additional proficiencies in any weapon or armor.

Serpentine Emulation

At 1st level, the serpent warlock begins focusing his research and thoughts upon the mystical nature of serpentkind. From now on, all his abilities and intellect are bent on emulating serpents. From this point on, all summon monster spells the serpent warlock can cast, either from spells acquired in the past or from future spells he learns, can only be used to summon snakes (celestial and infernal versions are acceptable, as well). If the serpent warlock has any familiars or animal companions that are not serpents, they immediately leave him without incurring any penalties to the serpent warlock. The serpent warlock may acquire a new familiar or animal companion if he has some means that allows him to do so, but they must be serpents of some kind. Serpent Form (Sp)

At first level, the serpent warlock gains the ability to assume the form of a small, Medium or large snake, twice per day, as if using beast shape II. If the snake form can constrict or has poison, the serpent warlock may use these abilities, even though they are not normally allowed with beast shape II. While in serpent form, the serpent warlock gains an additional +1 Strength bonus and +3 temporary hit points for every two serpent warlock levels. These bonuses stack with the bonuses provided by the beast shape spells. The serpent warlock gains one additional daily use of this ability at 8th level.

Serpent Sneak Attack

This is like the rogue ability of the same name, except the serpent warlock may only use this ability when using his Serpent Form power. The extra damage dealt increases by +1d6 at 1st level, 3rd level, 6th level and 8th level. If a serpent warlock gets a sneak attack bonus from another source (such as rogue levels), the bonuses to damage stack when in serpent form.

Eye of the Serpent (Su)

At 2nd level, the serpent warlock gains the ability to fascinate opponents with his gaze, when using his Serpent Form ability. The ability is a mind-affecting compulsion enchantment usable once per day, requires a full action and works against only one opponent within 30 ft. who can see the serpent warlock’s eyes. The serpent warlock stares intently at his victim, who must make a Will save (DC 13 + 1 per serpent warlock level) or stand transfixed, fascinated and unable to take any action as long as the serpent warlock stares at him, for a maximum of 1d6 rounds. If a transfixed victim takes damage or must make a save while transfixed, it is immediately freed. The serpent warlock must concentrate to maintain his gaze upon the victim, and the only action the serpent warlock can take while doing so is a 5’ step per round. However, the serpent warlock may make one melee bite attack upon the victim if it is within range while transfixed, and this counts as a sneak attack, but doing so immediately frees the victim from its state of fascination and it may act normally starting on its next round. Also, if the serpent warlock suffers any damage or makes a save or a skill check while maintaining the gaze on a target his concentration is broken and the target is freed.

Snake Fangs (Ex)

At 2nd level, as a free action the serpent warlock can grow a set of retractable, venomous snake fangs that allow him to make a bite attack when in his normal form. The bite attack is a standard action that inflicts 1d4 dmg (1d3 if Small) plus the serpent warlock’s Strength modifier and injects a debilitating poison: Bite—injury; save Fort DC 10 + 1/2 the serpent warlock’s caster level + his Constitution modifier; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1 Con damage; cure 1 save. The fangs can be used for a number of rounds per day equal to 3 + the serpent warlock’s Intelligence or Charisma modifier. The serpent warlock does not get this poisonous bite when using Serpent Form. If an assumed snake form already has a poison bite attack, the bite attack and poison for that form is used.

Serpent Scales (Ex)

At 3rd level, the serpent warlock’s skin becomes permanently hard and scaly, giving him a +2 natural armor bonus when in his normal form and a +2 bonus on Escape Artist checks. The scales become harder and thicker at level 6 (+3 AC) and 9 (+4 AC). Because of his scaly appearance, the serpent warlock suffers a –2 penalty to Cha checks in social situations with intelligent, non-reptilian humanoids, except when using the Intimidate skill, in which case he gains a +1 enhancement bonus.

Serpent Form: Tiny Snake (Sp)

At 4th level, the serpent warlock can now use his Serpent Form ability to assume the form of a tiny snake. In addition, his Serpent Form ability now functions as beast shape III.

Serpent Form Spell

At 5th level, the serpent warlock may cast spells while in serpent form. However, he may do so only once each time he assumes serpent form. The spell must be one the serpent warlock knows and/or has prepared. The serpent warlock substitutes hissing for verbal components and rhythmic swaying for somatic components. He must have had any required material components on his person before assuming serpent form and these components are still consumed as normal.

Serpent Form: Huge Snake (Sp)

At 10th level, the serpent warlock can now use his Serpent Form ability to assume the form of a huge snake. While in serpent form, the serpent warlock now gains a +2 Strength bonus and +4 temporary hit points for every two serpent warlock levels. Spells: At every even serpent warlock level gained, the character gains new spells per day as if he had also gained a level in a spellcasting class he belonged to before adding the prestige class. He does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained (metamagic or item creation feats, hit points beyond those he receives from the prestige class, and so on), except for an increased effective level of spellcasting. If a character had more than one spellcasting class before becoming a serpent warlock, he must decide to which class he adds each level of serpent warlock for purposes of determining spells per day. Each time the serpent warlock achieves a new level and learns new spells, at least one of them must be chosen from the serpent warlock spell list. All other spells may be chosen from his former class’s spell list.

In addition to the spells listed below, any sorcerer/wizard spell with “Poison” or “Venom” in its name or its type should be added to the Serpent Warlock’s spell list. Divine spells on this list count as arcane spells for the serpent warlock and do not require a divine focus.

Serpent Warlock Spell List
Level Spell(s)
0 (Cantrips) 0 (Cantrips)all
1st animate rope, cause fear, charm person, expeditious retreat, hypnotism, keen senses, magic fang, speak with animals, summon monster I (serpents only), true strike
2nd darkvision, charm animal, hypnotic pattern, invisibility, resist energy, scare, see invisibility, serpent’s wrath*, speed of the Mamba*, summon monster II (serpents only), summon snake swarm*, virulent venom*
3rd beast shape I, burrow, dispel magic, dominate animal, greater magic fang, lesser ghost serpent*, haste, hold person, lesser serpentine whip*, poison, sepia snake sigil, serpentine reflexes*, serpentine weapon*, serpent sneak attack*, serpent strike*, skill of the rogue*, slow, suggestion, summon monster III (serpents only), summon venomous snake swarm*
4th arcane eye, aura of venom*, beast shape II, bestow curse, dominate person, fear, freedom of movement, greater ghost serpent*, lesser amphisbaena call*, lesser geas, locate creature, python rod*, scrying, stoneskin, summon monster IV (serpents only)
5th animal growth, baleful polymorph, beast shape III, cone of venom*, feeblemind, greater serpentine whip*, hold monster, mind fog, permanency, phantasmal killer, polymorph, prying eyes, serpent coils*, summon monster V (serpents only), symbol of pain, symbol of sleep, viper rod*
6th beast shape IV, eyebite, geas/quest, greater dispel magic, mass haste, mass suggestion, mislead, move earth, repulsion, sentient serpent*, summon monster VI (serpents only), symbol of fear, symbol of persuasion, transformation, true seeing, wall of serpents*
7th creeping doom, finger of death, greater amphisbaena call*, greater scrying, mass hold person, power word blind, sequester, summon monster Vii (serpents only), symbol of stunning, symbol of weakness, vision
8th antipathy, binding, demand, iron body, mass charm monster, mind blank, power word stun, protection from spells, symbol of death, symbol of insanity, sympathy, summon monster VIII (serpents only), temporal stasis
9th dominate monster, foresight, mass hold monster, power word kill, shapechange, summon monster IX (serpents only), weird
Section 15: Copyright Notice

Grimoire Viperian: A Tome of Exotic Lore Copyright 2021 Magic Skull Games Author: Steven F. Johnson