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Snake Cult Leader

“Bow to the serpent, for it is the keeper of secret knowledge.”

Throughout the lands, legends tell of secret cults of snake worshippers, hidden in the most unlikely places. In abandoned ancient temples, deep forgotten caves, murky swamps, labyrinthine dens within the most squalidly packed slums, and opulent noble chambers, these cults meet clandestinely, performing exotic and surreal rituals in the name of snake gods or serpentine, otherworldly beings. The most devout or cunning of these cultists inevitably rise to become the leaders, and are gifted with great powers by the beings they rapturously worship. They form a close bond and influence with snakes and snake-like creatures and are able to alter their bodies, acquiring the flexibility and sinuousness of a snake. As their powers grow, they acquire more snake qualities, and may grow fangs and merge their legs into enormous snake tails. Snakes are drawn to them, and they learn to take advantage of the primal fear of snakes held by most creatures. In exchange for these gifts they work towards mysterious ends, secretly expanding the cult, worming their way into positions of political power and influence. They often seek out and forge alliances with serpent warlocks, serpent druids and even serpentine necromancers and intelligent reptilian beings in their endless quest for serpentine knowledge and power. A cult is considered truly gifted to discover a sentient serpent, which they revere above all snakes, and who is often more than pleased by the cult’s attention, gifts and obeisance. Snake cult leaders will work directly alongside or beneath sentient serpents, and together they make a powerful force, though if evil, their great egos and self-centeredness often result in internal cult clashes or splits. However, not all snake gods are malevolent, and so non-evil snake cults and snake cult leaders have been known to exist. In areas where worship of a snake god or religion is openly allowed or sanctioned, snake cult leaders may command great respect and even rise to positions of rulership.

Hit Die: d8

Requirements

To qualify to become a snake cult leader, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria:

  • Level: Cleric 5
  • Alignment: Any neutral alignment, or within one step of the serpent god/being worshipped
  • Ability Scores: Wis 16
  • Skills: Handle Animal 5 ranks, Knowledge (nature) 5 ranks, Knowledge (religion) 5 ranks
  • Feats: Animal Affinity
  • Special: Ability to cast 3rd level divine spells, must worship a deity or religion associated with snakes, must have studied snakes for at least one month.

Class Skills

The class skills for this class (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (all) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Perception (Wis), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Stealth (Dex) and Spellcraft (Int).

Skill Ranks at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier

Table: The Snake Cult Leader
Class Level BAB Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special Spells per Day
1st +1 +1 +2 +1 Wild Empathy (Snakes) +1 level of existing class
2nd +2 +1 +3 +2 Serpentine Body I
3rd +3 +2 +3 +2 Hide in Plain Sight, Evasion +1 level of existing class
4th +3 +2 +4 +3 Serpentine Body II 2/day, Hidden Knowledge
5th +4 +2 +4 +3 Snake Companion +1 level of existing class
6th +5 +3 +5 +4 Serpentine Body III 1/day
7th +6 +3 +5 +4 Snake Staff 3/day +1 level of existing class
8th +6 +3 +6 +5 Serpentine Body IV 1/day
9th +7 +4 +6 +5 Enhanced Snake Companion 1/day +1 level of existing class
10th +8 +4 +7 +6 Revulsion 1/week

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the snake cult leader prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

Snake cult leaders are proficient with all simple weapons, flails and whips. They do not gain any armor proficiency.

Wild Empathy (Snakes) (Ex)

At 1st level, the snake cult leader can use wild empathy on snakes, just as if she were a druid, but with a +4 competence bonus.

The snake cult leader can also use this ability to influence a snake-like magical beast with an Intelligence score of 1 or 2, but she suffers a -4 penalty on the roll (negating her +4 competence bonus).

Serpentine Body I (Su)

At 2nd level, the snake cult leader’s body 82 becomes agile and somewhat flexible like a snake’s. She can even slightly unhinge some of her bones in order to squeeze through tight spaces. This gives her a permanent +2 enhancement bonus to Reflex saves and a +4 enhancement bonus to Escape Artist checks. She suffers no AC penalties when fighting in narrow spaces. When squeezing through a narrow space, her AC penalty is only –2 and she does not lose her Dexterity bonus.

Hide in Plain Sight (Su)

At 3rd level, the snake cult leader can change the coloration of herself and her equipment to match her surroundings, allowing her to hide in plain sight. This ability works the same as a shadow dancer’s.

Evasion (Ex)

At 3rd level, the snake cult leader gains evasion, as the rogue ability. If she already has evasion from another class, she gains improved evasion, instead.

Serpentine Body II (Su)

At 4th level, the snake cult leader can partially polymorph herself to grow large, retractable snake fangs and a forked tongue. This gives her the Scent ability and a natural poison bite attack that inflicts 1d8 damage plus poison (Fort DC 15 + the snake cult leader’s Wisdom modifier + the snake cult leader’s prestige class level; frequency 1/round for 4 rounds; effect 1d2 Con damage; cure 1 save). This ability lasts for one hour and is usable once per day.

Hidden Knowledge

At 4th level, the snake cult leader gains hidden magical knowledge, and adds the following spells to her spell list: lesser ghost serpent*, lesser serpentine whip*, sepia snake sigil, serpentine reflexes*, serpentine weapon*, serpent sneak attack*, serpent strike*, speed of the Mamba*, virulent venom*.

Snake Companion

At 5th level, the snake cult leader gains a snake animal companion. The companion is identical to that of a druid’s. The snake cult leader’s prestige class levels are used to determine the companion’s abilities, so a cleric 5/snake cult leader 5 would count as a 5th level druid. If the snake cult leader already has a snake animal companion from another class, then her snake cult leader prestige class levels stack with the other class to determine the companion’s abilities. If the snake cult leader already has an animal companion that is not a snake, she must dismiss it in exchange for the new snake companion, and suffers no penalties for doing so.

Serpentine Body Iii (Su)

At 6th level, the snake cult leader can polymorph her legs (including footwear and light or Medium leg armor), merging them into a long, powerful snake tail. Her base land speed is reduced by 10 ft. during this time, but the tail gives her the Constrict (Ex) ability, causing 2d6 damage plus her strength bonus. The tail also grants her a +4 enhancement bonus to her CMB and CMD when grappling and she cannot be tripped. This ability lasts for one minute per prestige class level and is usable once per day. This ability is not usable if the snake cult leader is wearing heavy armor.

Snake Staff (Su)

At 7th level, the snake cult leader may temporarily transform any non-magic staff she is holding into a rod of the python or a rod of the viper, which she may use regardless of her alignment. The staff remains transformed for 1 minute per prestige class level and may not be used by anyone else. This ability is usable a total of three times per day as a free action, but may not be used more than once per hour. If the staff is “slain” when in python form, the snake cult leader may not transform it into a rod of the python again for twenty-four hours.

If the snake cult leader ever finds a real rod of the python or rod of the viper, she may use it regardless of his alignment and may coax more power out of it than a normal user: if her real rod of the python is slain, she may use it again in two days instead of three days, and she may use a real rod of the viper’s snake head ability for 15 minutes instead of 10.

Serpentine Body IV (Su)

At 8th level, the snake cult leader can polymorph her entire head into a snake head. The snake head grants darkvision 60 ft., a +2 natural armor bonus and a natural bite attack that inflicts 1d8 damage, plus poison: Bite—injury; save Fort DC 18; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d3 Con; cure 1 save. The snake cult leader has enough poison in her venom glands to affect a maximum of three opponents. This ability lasts for one minute per prestige class level and is usable once per day.

Enhanced Snake Companion (Su)

At 9th level, the snake cult leader can temporarily enhance the power of her snake companion. The companion gains a +4 morale bonus on attack rolls and saves, plus temporary hit points equal to 1d8 + the snake cult leader’s caster level. The companion also gains energy resistance 10 to one type of energy, chosen by the snake cult leader each time the ability is used. The serpent cultist must be able to see her companion to enhance it. This ability can be used once per day and lasts for one minute per prestige class level.

Revulsion (Su)

At 10th level, the snake cult leader may instill revulsion to snakes in her opponents. This is a mind-affecting compulsion that affects one creature within 20 ft. The target must succeed on a DC 20 Will save or gain an aversion to snakes for 10 minutes. Affected creatures must stay at least 20 ft. away from any snake or snake-like creature (including the snake cult leader, if she is using Serpentine Body Iii or IV), alive or dead; if already within 20 ft., they must move away. An affected victim that is unable to move away, or who is attacked by snakes or snake-like creatures is overcome by the revulsion, and suffers a -4 Dexterity penalty. This penalty remains until the effect wears off or the subject is no longer within 20 ft. of a snake or snake-like creature. This ability is otherwise similar to the antipathy spell (caster level 16th) and is usable once per week.

Spellcasting

At every other snake cult leader level, the character gains new spells per day as if she had also gained a level in a spellcasting class she belonged to before adding the prestige class. She does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained (channeling, additional wild shapes, hit points beyond those she 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 snake cult leader, she must decide to which class he adds each level of snake cult leader for purposes of determining spells per day.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

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