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Serpentkin

There is ophidian magic in your blood. Though this is a sorcerous bloodline common to serpent people, they are not the only ones whose lineage is touched by this power. It is possible your kin have admixed with serpent people at some point in the past, or that they were part of the cults of Yig. It may also simply be that someone in your lineage was too close to the blasphemous rites of Yig’s own. Whatever the reason, you are an inheritor of the venomous and entrancing magics of serpent-kind.

Ophidian Heritage

Non-serpent people sorcerers of this bloodline often show some kind of serpentine traits in their bodies. These are often hidden , as they may be seen as signs of corruption or evil. How old were you when this trait manifested? Do you wear it proudly, or do you hide it in some fashion? (These are all cosmetic traits, having no game effects.)

Ophidian Sorcery

You have peered into the ophidian mysteries that lie coiled within you, and come away changed. You learn the poison spray cantrip as a bonus cantrip. When used by you, this cantrip does not have a vocal component, and you spray the poison as a fine mist from your mouth. Additionally, you know the animal friendship and speak with animals spells as bonus spells which do not count against your spells known. You gain the ability to cast speak with animals as a ritual. You may also cast animal friendship without spending a spell slot as long as it is targeting a serpent of some kind.

You recover this ability when you complete a short rest.

Viper’s Blessing

You are blessed with certain snake-like gifts as a result of your heritage. You gain darkvision out to 60 feet. If you already have darkvision, its ranged extends to 120 feet. Additionally, you gain resistance to poison damage and gain advantage on all saving throws against poison.

A Hiss from the Shadows

At your call, wicked ophidian spirits slither from out of the dark places of the world to do your bidding. At 6th level, you gain the spell conjure animal as a bonus spell which does not count against your spells known. The spirits are fiends rather than fey, and they all must take the form of various serpents. Additionally, when casting a spell that inflicts damage, you may sacrifice one of your summoned spirits to empower that spell with ophidian potency. The snake in question disappears from its spot, consumed by the spell, which inflicts additional poison damage based on the creature’s challenge rating: CR 2 creatures inflict +4d6 poison damage, CR 1 creatures inflict +3d6 poison damage, CR 1/2 creatures inflict +2d6 poison damage, and creatures of CR 1/4 or lower inflict +1d6 poison damage.

Serpent’s Form

At 6th level, you come into your true ophidian inheritance, gaining the ability to transform into a serpent. You may use your action to magically assume the shape of any serpentine beast of CR 1/2 or lower that you have seen before.

This CR limit increases as you gain levels: at 8th level, you can assume the form of CR 1 serpents, and at 10th level, you may assume the form of up to CR 2 serpents. You can use this feature twice, and regain expended uses of it when you finish a short or long rest.

You can stay in beast shape for a number of hours equal to your sorcerer level (rounded down). You then revert to your normal form unless you expend another use of this feature.

You can revert to your normal form earlier by using a bonus action on your turn. You automatically revert if you fall unconscious, drop to 0 hit points, or die. While you are transformed, the following rules apply:

  • Your game statistics are replaced by the statistics of the beast, but you retain your alignment, personality, and Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores. You also retain all of your skill and saving throw proficiencies, in addition to gaining those of the creature. If the creature has the same proficiency as you and the bonus in its stat block is higher than yours, use the creature’s bonus instead of yours. If the creature has any legendary or lair actions, you can’t use them.
  • When you transform, you assume the beast’s hit points and Hit Dice. When you revert to your normal form, you return to the number of hit points you had before you transformed. However, if you revert as a result of dropping to 0 hit points, any excess damage carries over to your normal form. For example, if you take 10 damage in your serpent form and have only 1 hit point left, you revert and take 9 damage. As long as the excess damage doesn’t reduce your normal form to 0 hit points, you aren’t knocked unconscious.
  • You can’t cast spells, and your ability to speak or take any action that requires hands is limited to the capabilities of your serpent form. Transforming doesn’t break your concentration on a spell you’ve already cast, however, or prevent you from taking actions that are part of a spell, such as call lightning, that you’ve already cast.
  • The sole exception to the above is the cantrip poison spray, which you may explicitly still cast in serpent form.
  • You retain the benefit of any features from your class, race, or other source and can use them if the new form is physically capable of doing so. You can’t use any of your special senses, except for darkvision, which explicitly carries over.

You choose whether your equipment falls to the ground in your space, merges with your new form, or is worn by it. Worn equipment functions as normal, but the GM decides whether it is practical for the new form to wear a piece of equipment, based on the creature’s shape and size. Your equipment doesn’t change size or shape to match the new form, and any equipment that the new form can’t wear must either fall to the ground or merge with it. Equipment that merges with the form has no effect until you leave the form.

Serpent Features
d6 Feature
1 A small set of fangs that drop down from behind your teeth when you are angry or afraid.
2 A forked tongue. This could be an actual serpent’s tongue, or it may be a tongue typical to your origins which has developed a split down its center.
3 Eyes that narrow into slits in low light conditions.
4 Small indentations behind the ears which you can use to vaguely sense heat near you.
5 A patch of scales, serpentine in hue and texture, somewhere on your body.
6 Cold blood, making you feel the cold more acutely and seek out sources of warmth.
Serpentkin Features
Sorcerer Level Feature
1st Ophidian Sorcery, Viper’s Blessing
6th A Hiss from the Shadows, Serpent’s Form
14th Viper in the Mind
18th Avatar of Yig

Viper in the Mind

At 14th level, you gain the ability to make a creature unaware of your magical influence on it. When you cast an enchantment spell to charm one or more creatures, you can alter one creature’s understanding so that it remains unaware of being charmed.

That creature then becomes host to an esoteric entity in their dreams. When that creature completes a long rest, their dreams are haunted by ophidian imagery. A creature affected by this curse recovers one fewer hit die from that long rest than normal. When you take a long rest, this serpent imagery appears in your dreams as well, feeding you the vitality stolen from your victim. You gain two bonus sorcery points upon completing your long rest. This effect continues on a target until they receive a remove curse spell, or until you target a new victim with this ability.

At 16th level, you may have two such victims, and at 18th level, the number increases to three.

Avatar of Yig

At 18th level, you learn to channel the blasphemous powers of Yig . This functions as Serpent’s Form, save that you must spend a sorcery point and one of your uses of Serpent’s Form to change shape, and you assume the form of a guardian naga. You do not gain access to the spells typical of a guardian naga, but do retain access to your own spellcasting, including requiring only verbal components in casting those spells.

The transformation is particularly disturbing. Anyone watching it occur must make a DC 12 Wisdom save or suffer a bout of short-term madness. Those who have seen you transform in this way before may make the save at advantage.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Death in Freeport: 20th Anniversary Edition, Copyright 2020, Green Ronin Publishing, LLC. Author: Chris Pramas.