Saturday, 4 July 2015

Denizens of the Wicked City 6: The Serpent Folk (playable class)

(Well, I've been dumping material on here for a month, now. Blogger says I've had 433 page views, so I guess *someone* is reading this stuff. Maybe as many as ten or twelve someones. I have a lot more material to upload, but the order in which I upload it is flexible, so if there's anything you'd like to see sooner rather than later just leave a comment and let me know.)

So. Serpent Folk.



Do not allow this man to cook your dinner.


The Brass Men and the Steel Aspirants will tell you that the Cogwheel Sage worked alone, in splendid isolation. What need could so perfect an intellect have for any other? But the Serpent Folk tell a different story. They say that there were two sages, the Sage of Cogwheels and the Sage of Gold: artificer and alchemist respectively, who studied alongside each other, searching for the secret of eternal life. In this search, they claim, the Cogwheel Sage was ultimately unsuccessful; all she managed to create was a mechanical duplicate of herself, convincing enough and almost indestructible, but with no continuity of consciousness with its original creator. But the Sage of Gold had better fortune: he perfected an elixir which allowed him, like the serpent, to shed his own skin and thus renew his youth, year after year after year. They say he is still out there, somewhere, working his cosmic alchemies, gradually purifying the universe into a higher and better form. It will take him hundreds of thousands of years, of course; but what's the hurry? He will live forever, after all...

The Serpent Folk believe that they are the descendants of the Sage's apprentices, given diluted versions of his elixir as a reward for their faithful service. (Many other people suspect that they're actually the descendants of the sage's failed test subjects, but saying that within earshot of a serpent man is a good way to end up with seven different kinds of poison in your dinner.) They have forked tongues, pointed teeth, and scaly skin; their spittle is blinding venom, and they have a taste for small birds and little furry animals, both of which they prefer to eat alive. As they get older, they repeatedly shed their skins, regaining some of their lost vitality each time; but each time they do they get sleepier and more sluggish, longing ever more strongly to sleep forever in the sun. It's not at all clear whether it's actually possible for them to die of old age, but after a century or so they become so somnolent that they only wake up a few times a year, their hearts beating so slowly that they seem almost dead. The vaults beneath the oldest Serpent Folk  strongholds are stuffed, not with corpses, but with slumbering ancestors, who wake perhaps once a year, devour a basket of small animals, and then turn over and go back to sleep. It is sometimes possible to wake them up and seek the benefit of their wisdom, but the really old ones seem to be able to sleep through damn near anything.

Like their creator, the serpent folk are great alchemists, and their services are in high demand as chemists, doctors, drug-manufacturers, and poisoners. Unsurprisingly, they have found no lack of customers for their skills in the Wicked City. 

Game information for the Serpent Folk is as follows:

  • You must have Intelligence and Dexterity 12 or higher. 
  • You can only use simple weapons, and cannot use shields, or any armour heavier than heavy leather (+3 AC).
  • You get 1d6 HP per level.
  • You gain a bonus to all attack rolls (melee and ranged) equal to one-half of your level, rounded down.
  • You get +2 to all REF and WILL saves. (Included in table below.)
  • Your scales grant a +1 bonus to AC.
  • You may try to spit blinding venom into your opponent's eyes. (This has an effective range of only a few feet, and can thus only really be used in melee combat.) This requires a ranged to-hit roll at a -2 penalty, but if it hits then the victim must save vs. poison or be blinded until they get a chance to rinse their eyes out thoroughly. (If the venom isn't rinsed out within 1d6 hours, the blindness will be permanent.) 
  • You are completely immune to poison. You can automatically identify any poison you encounter, and will know how to make the antidote (if there is one).
  • You are a master poisoner. You can create poisons which, if ingested, will kill, blind, or paralyse their victim (your choice) within 2d6 hours unless a FORT save is passed. You can also create contact poisons with the same effects, which force a save if handled with bare skin or injected into the bloodstream via a sharp weapon attack, but these are less potent, permitting the victim a +4 bonus on their save. If your victim receives medical attention before the venom takes effect, they can be cured if their doctor passes an intelligence check with a penalty equal to your level. You can always cure the effects of your own poisons.
  • You have an incredible knowledge of drugs and chemistry. Given access to a suitably-equipped lab, you can brew up a variety of drugs (including morphine), as well as useful chemicals such as phosphorous. You also know a great deal about medical pharmaceuticals, so all injured characters in your party (including you!) recover one extra HP per day for as long as they take whatever you're dosing them with. (Having multiple serpent folk in the same party does not increase this bonus.)
Serpent Folk Summary Table


Level
Hit Points
To Hit Bonus
Fortitude save (FORT)
Reflex save (REF)
Willpower save (WILL)
1
1d6
+0
14
12
12
2
2d6
+1
13
11
11
3
3d6
+1
12
10
10
4
4d6
+2
11
9
9
5
5d6
+2
10
8
8
6
6d6
+3
9
7
7
7
7d6
+3
8
6
6
8
8d6
+4
7
5
5
9
9d6
+4
6
4
4
10
10d6
+5
5
3
3

Starting equipment: Heavy ceremonial robes (treat as light jacket, +1 AC), staff (1d6 damage), locked wooden box containing portable alchemical equipment, 1d6 antidotes to common poisons, 1d6 much rarer poisons (plus their antidotes), 2d6 glass vials, 3d6x10 sp.

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