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Noble Snake, Constrictor

Constrictor snakes are a large snake that kills its prey by crushing it to death in its strong coils. They climb trees readily. The constrictor flourishes in a wide variety of environmental conditions, from tropical rainforests to arid semi-desert country. However, it prefers to live in rainforest due to the humidity and temperature, natural cover from predators and vast amount of potential prey. It is commonly found in or along rivers and streams, as it is a very capable swimmer. A constrictors will also occupy the burrows of medium-sized mammals, where it can hide from potential predators.

A constrictor is a large snake, although it is only modestly sized in comparison to other large snakes such as anacondas, and can reach lengths of anywhere from 3–13 feet (0.91–4.0 m) depending on the locality and the availability of suitable prey. There is clear sexual dimorphism seen in the species, with females generally being larger in both length and girth than males. As such, the average size of a mature female boa is between 7–10 feet (2.1–3.0 m), whilst it is 6–8 feet (1.8–2.4 m) for the males. It is common for female individuals to exceed 10 feet (3.0 m), particularly in habitats where they are under less stress, where lengths of up to 12 feet (3.7 m) or even 14 feet (4.3 m) can be seen. A constrictor is a heavy-bodied snake, and large specimens can weigh up to 27 kg (60 lb). Females, the larger sex, more commonly weigh 10 to 15 kg (22 to 33 lb)Some specimens of this species can reach or possibly exceed 45 kg (100 lb), although this is not usual.

The coloring of constrictors can vary greatly depending on the locality. However, they are generally a brown, grey or cream base color, patterned with brown or reddish brown “saddles” that become more pronounced towards the tail. The coloring works as very effective camouflage in the jungles and forests of its natural range. Constrictors have an arrow-shaped head that has very distinctive stripes on it. One runs dorsally from the snout to the back of the head. The others run from the snout to the eyes and then from the eyes to the jaw. Constrictors can sense heat via cells in their lips. Constrictors also have two lungs, a smaller (non-functional) left and enlarged (functional) right lung to better fit their elongated shape.

Constrictors will generally live on their own, and not interact with any other snakes unless they want to mate. They are nocturnal; however, they may bask during the day when night-time temperatures are too low. As semi-arboreal snakes, young constrictor individuals may climb into trees and shrubs to forage; however, they become mostly terrestrial as they become older and heavier. Constrictors will strike when threatened, and will bite in defense. This bite can be painful, especially from large snakes, but is rarely dangerous. However, care must be taken to ensure that infection does not result from the injury. Temperament can vary by region, with some being more irascible, hissing loudly and striking repeatedly when disturbed, while others tame down more readily. Like all snakes, constrictors that are in a shed cycle will be more unpredictable. This is because the substance that lubricates between the old skin and the new will make the eyes appear “milky”, blue, or “opaque”, so that the snake cannot see very well, causing it to be more defensive than it might be otherwise.

Prey includes a wide variety of small to medium sized mammals and birds. The bulk of their diet consists of rodents, but larger lizards and mammals as big as ocelots are also reported to have been consumed. Young constrictors will eat small mice, birds, bats, lizards and amphibians. The size of the prey item will increase as they get older and larger. Constrictors are ambush predators and as such will often lie in wait for an appropriate prey to come along at which point they will attack. However, they have also been known to actively hunt, particularly in regions with a low concentration of suitable prey, and this behaviour generally occurs at night. The constrictor will first strike at the prey, grabbing it with its teeth; it then proceeds to constrict the prey until death before consuming it whole. Their teeth also help force the animal down the throat while muscles then move it toward the stomach. It will take the snake approximately 4–6 days to fully digest the food, depending on the size of the prey and the local temperature. After this the snake may not eat for anywhere from a week to several months, due to its slow metabolism.

Constrictors are ovoviviparous, giving birth to live young. They will generally breed in the dry season and are polygynous, thus males may mate with multiple females. A half of all females will breed in a given year, and a larger percentage of males will actively attempt to locate a mate. However due to the polygynous nature of constrictors many of these males will be unsuccessful. The reasoning being the fact that they are ovovivparous (i.e. eggs hatching inside the body). As such female constrictors without a good enough physical condition will be unlikely to attempt to mate, nor produce viable young if they do mate. On rare occassions, constrictors may reproduce asexually via parthenogenesis.

Species Descriptions

Thoughtful, deliberate, and slow to act, the noble constrictor is feared by any creature it may see as prey, yet respected for their wise counsel. They are long-term planners, never taking an action without knowing what their next five actions will be. If he chooses, a noble constrictor can be an implacable villain or an unyielding hero.

Whether they choose hero or villain is, of course, up to the individual snake. The unfortunate fact is that more choose villain than hero (though not by much).

Noble Snake, Constrictor Species Traits

  • Ability Score Modifiers: +2 Strength, +2 Dexterity, -2 Intelligence, +2 Wisdom, -2 Charisma.
  • Size: Small.
  • Base Speed: 20 feet, Climb: 20 feet, Swim: 20 ft.
  • Natural Weapons: bite (1d3).
  • Diminished Profile (Ex): A noble constrictor can pass through any space large enough for a creature three size categories smaller than itself.
  • Senses: Low-light vision (Ex).
  • Natural Talent Track: Skill Focus (Perception), Toughness.
  • Skills: +4 racial bonus on Perception and Stealth checks. +8 racial bonus on Acrobatics checks.
  • Family: Reptile.
  • Noble Animal Type: Noble constrictors have the noble animal type except where superseded by other species traits and features.
  • Social Group: None.
  • Automatic Languages: High Fauna and Serpent.
  • Bonus Languages: Bat, Camel, Canine, Common, Crocodilian, Elephant, Equine, Feline, Herdspeak, Hyena, Lizard, Monitor, Raptor, Rodent, Simian, Songbird, Ursine, and Woodland.

Racial Feats

The following feats are available to a noble constrictor character who meets the prerequisites.

  • Linked Feat

Noble Constrictor Class

Hit Die: d8

Class Skills

The noble constrictor’s class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Climb (Str), Perception (Wis), Stealth (Dex), Survival (Wis), and Swim (Str).

Skill Ranks Per Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Table: Noble Constrictor
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1st +0 +2 +2 +0 Ability increase (+2 Str, +2 Dex), natural armor +1
2nd +1 +3 +3 +0 Ability increase (+2 Dex), constrict, grab
3rd +2 +3 +3 +1 Ability increase (+2 Str, +2 Con), natural armor +2, size increase
4th +3 +4 +4 +1 Ability increase (+2 Con)
5th +3 +4 +4 +1 Natural armor +3
6th +4 +5 +5 +2 Ability increase (+2 Str), size increase

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the noble constrictor class.

Ability Increase

At 1st, 3rd, and 6th levels your Strength score increases by 2. Your Dexterity score increases by 2 at 1st and 2nd levels. At 3rd and 4th levels your Constitution score increases by 2.

Natural Armor

At 1st level you gain a Natural Armor bonus of +1. This increases to +2 at 3rd level, and +3 at 5th level.

Constrict (Ex)

At 2nd level, the noble constrictor gains the Constrict special attack. On a successful grapple check, a Small noble constrictor deals 1d2 + its Strength modifier in damage, while a Medium noble constrictor does 1d3, and a Large noble constrictor does 1d6

Grab (Ex)

At 2nd level you also gain the Grab special attack. To use this ability, you must hit with a bite attack. The hit deals normal damage and you may attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. Unless otherwise noted, grab can only be used against targets of a size equal to or smaller than the creature with this ability. The noble constrictor has the option to conduct the grapple normally, or simply use the part of its body it used in the grab to hold the opponent. If it chooses to do the latter, it takes a –20 penalty on its CMB check to make and maintain the grapple, but does not gain the grappled condition itself. A successful hold does not deal any extra damage unless the noble constrictor chooses to use its constrict special attack. If the noble constrictor does not constrict, each successful grapple check it makes during successive rounds automatically deals the damage indicated for the attack that established the hold. Otherwise, it deals constriction damage as well as described in the Constrict ability.

The noble constrictor receives a +4 bonus on combat maneuver checks made to start and maintain a grapple. If you win the grapple check, you can attempt to drag the opponent away or into deep water.

Size Increase

At 3rd level your size increases to Medium, and again to Large at 6th level. These size increases are the only way a noble constrictor can increase in size; there is no Size Threshold for snake characters. When a noble constrictor increases in size, they do not gain the statistics adjustments shown on the table under Size Threshold, but they do gain a negative level.

Alternative Racial Traits

You can exchange one or several of your character’s normal racial Traits, but of course you cannot exchange the same racial trait more than once.

As with any alternate or optional rule, you must first get the permission of your GM to exchange any of your character’s normal racial Traits for those listed here.

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Favored Class Alternatives

Instead of receiving an additional skill rank or hit point whenever they gain a level in a Favored Class, noble constrictors have the option of choosing from a number of other bonuses, depending upon their Favored Classes. The following options are available to all noble constrictors who have the listed Favored Class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the listed Favored Class reward.

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Section 15: Copyright Notice

The Noble Wild. Copyright 2009 by Lee Garvin and Skirmisher Publishing LLC.