Serpent People

The serpent people once ruled a vast empire. Their advanced knowledge of sorcery and the planes could not help them. A few survived and continue to inhabit the islands of their former realm.

Of the remaining serpent people, most are the wretched offspring of those maddened by the dread god’s coming. They have no memory of their ancestors’ former achievements and act on instinct, tainted by madness. Most of the degenerate serpent people live deep underground, rarely coming to the surface. A very few serpent people are descended from those who survived with their sanity intact. This civilized breed, mostly sorcerers, has thrived over the centuries by remaining out of sight. They either live in seclusion or adopt the forms of humans or elves, living among their successors.

Serpent people are bipedal, but they retain the sinuous necks and long tails of snakes. Coloration varies widely, though black scales are dominant among the degenerates.

Heirs to Ruins

Hardly anything remains of the great serpent empire that once dominated the world. The degenerates multiply and fester underground, breaking free every few decades to cause murder and mayhem. These attacks are usually blamed on lizardfolk, since few now can recognize the serpent people as different beings.

Civilized serpent people are very long-lived: Some of their sorcerers are over a thousand years old. They are, however, usually solitary and pursue individual goals. Even among the serpent people, few know that the Brotherhood of the Yellow Sign survived the cataclysm, and none guess that they would trifle with the Unspeakable One a second time.

Serpent People Traits

All serpent people player characters are assumed to be civilized, capable of independent thought and action driven by choice rather than instinct.

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence and Charisma scores both increase by 2.
  • Age. Serpent people mature at the same rate as humans, but can live for hundreds of years. On average, they live about 850 years.
  • Alignment. Though degenerate serpent people are almost always evil, driven by the ancient corruption of Yig, not all civilized serpent people are. Many of them certainly experience the same urges as their bestial kin, and a great many give in to those tendencies, but by no means all of them.
  • Size. Serpent people have the stature of elves and thin humans. Your size is Medium.
  • Speed. Your walking speed is 30 feet. You also have a swim speed of 15 feet.
  • Darkvision. Often raised in subterranean spaces, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
  • Bite. In your natural form, you have the ability to bite as an unarmed attack, although you lack the vicious poison of your degenerate kin. You may make an unarmed melee attack roll, which has the Finesse property, and inflicts 1d4 points of piercing damage on a hit.
  • Change Shape. You can assume the shape of any Small or Medium humanoid, appearing as another ancestry entirely, though you cannot use this ability to mimic specific individuals. You lose your Swim speed, unless the folk you are mimicking also have a Swim speed. You can remain in this shape until you choose to assume a new shape, or become incapacitated. This effect does not detect as magic and cannot be dispelled, but true seeing and similar spells reveal your true form. You may change your shape in this way up to three times per day, regaining the ability upon completing a long rest. Reverting to your natural serpent people form does not constitute a use of this ability. While in an assumed form, you count as a shapeshifter for the purpose of rules that interact with shapeshifters.
  • Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Serpentine. Serpentine is a complex tongue full of sibilant sounds and recursive meanings, a perfect language for intrigues and esoteric topics.
Section 15: Copyright Notice

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

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