Friday, May 26, 2023

Dungeon23 (Bonus): The Snake-Men of the True Temple


Snake-men by caste: Emissary, Myrmidon, Noble (adapted from AI images courtesy of NightCafe)

Number Encountered (#): 1d4 (1d4)

Armor Class (AC): Emissary 7 [12]; Myrmidon 5 [15] or 6 [14]; Noble 6 [14]

Hit Dice (HD): Emissary 4; Myrmidon 5; Noble 6

Move (MV): 120 ft. (40 ft.)

Attacks (ATK): Emissary 1 (1d6 short sword); Myrmidon 1 (1d8 sword or 1d10 polearm); Noble 1 (1d4 dagger or staff); and/or special

Saving Throw (SV): Emissary - fighter 4; Myrmidon - fighter 5; Noble - cleric 6

Morale (ML): Emissary 7; Myrmidon/Noble 8

Treasure (TR): C-type or by HD

Alignment: Chaotic

Experience (XP): Emissary 400 (or HD + two specials); Myrmidon 600 (or HD + three specials); Noble 1,400 (or HD + four specials)


Snake-men are ancient, ophidian monstrosities, whose origin dates back to a shrouded time before the history of humans, and perhaps even demihumans.  They have a mysterious connection to both dragons and the Old Ones. 

Snake-men are sterile, and reproduce by merging their essence with that other humanoid creatures via sorcerous and alchemical processes they refer to as flesh-crafting.  Centuries, perhaps millennia of this practice have caused three distinct castes to form, with their degree of ophidian ancestry determining their primacy:

Emissaries:  These are the most humanoid-like, resembling humans or demihumans with up to 20% snake-like features. They are the lowest caste, and are used as workers, spies, and negotiators with other, lesser beings far from the snake-men's domain.  While Emissaries prefer humanoid or monstrous thralls to do their fighting, they can still be formidable foes.

Myrmidons: The warrior caste is approximately 50% closer to their ophidian ancestors, and they command the lower Emissaries while still serving under the superior Nobles.  In combat, they are typically armed with swords and shields, or polearms, in addition to their ophidian abilities.

Nobles: The greatest of the snake-men are almost completely serpent-like and alien in appearance.  They command all the other castes without question, and prefer to have them, or other servants fight in combat.  If forced to fight, they tend to favor natural ophidian weapons if they possess them.  Nobles often employ magic items such as wands or staves and the highest among them – considered great rulers of their cities, know more spells than those indicated below.

Regardless of caste, all snake-men have serpentine features from the following table.  Roll 1d10 to determine their distinguishing feature: Emissary – once, Myrmidon – twice, Noble – three times.  A repeated roll may improve the ability to an advanced version with additional or greater utility (counts as two abilities.)  Roll again on a third, repeated result.  Furthermore, these features are more pronounced by caste.  For example, an Emissary might have snake-like eyes; a Myrmidon will have snake eyes and a human-reptilian face, while a Noble will have an entirely serpentine facial structure:

1.       Snake eyes or pheromones: charm person 1/day; Advanced: charm (monsters) 1/day

2.       Distendable jaws and fangs: bite attack for 1d8 damage; Advanced: bite is poisonous (save against poison or die)

3.       Extendable hood: can spit poison that blinds for 1d10 rounds (victim saves at +2); Advanced: spits acid for 1d6 damage, which burns for an extra 1d6 the next round, and the blindness is permanent unless cured magically.

4.       Snake tongue or heat-sensing pits: surprised only on a 1-in-6; Advanced: can detect hidden or invisible enemies within 30 ft.

5.       Snake arms: 1d4/1d4 damage bite attacks; Advanced: bites are poisonous (save against poison or die)

6.       Ophidian lower limb(s): constrict for 1d4 damage  every round after hit; move reduced to 90 ft. (30 ft.); Advanced: snake limb(s) provide an additional slap attack for 1d6 damage and can climb or swim at double move.

7.       Shed scales: Can regenerate 1 hit point per round for 1d4 rounds after taking damage; Advanced: can shed entire skin to maneuver or escape (acts like an invisibility spell for one round.)

8.       Thick scales: AC +1; Advanced: prehensile, serpentine torso can dodge for an additional +1 to AC.

9.       Venomous blood: Deals 1d4 poison damage to any creature that successfully hits the snake-man with a melee attack; Advanced: blood is acidic and burns for an additional round.

10.   Camouflaging scales: Can blend seamlessly with surroundings for a 3-in-6 surprise chance; Advanced: scales bend light, causing a displacement effect (attacks are at -2 against it.)

Any snake-men that have a poisonous attack or venomous blood are immune from ophidian poisons themselves.  In addition, all snake-men are competent sorcerers.  Emissaries and Myrmidons can cast the following spells once per day: (cause) fear, darkness, and animal friendship (snake charm.)  Nobles delve deeper into sorcery than the other castes and can cast the following once per day: (cause) fear, darkness, levitate, polymorph (others,) animal friendship (snake charm,) and (transmute) sticks to snakes.

Snake-men live in antediluvian ruins and cities in near-unreachable parts of the world or underground, often shared with other creatures aligned with Chaos.  For every group (2 or more) snake-men encountered, there is a 1-in-6 chance that there is an additional snake man of one caste higher, and a 1-in-6 chance of 1d4 additional snake-men of one lower caste (Emissaries may have 1d4 humanoid or monstrous thralls of dungeon levels 1-3 instead.)  Snake-men Noble rulers are unique creatures only found as supreme overlords of their remote cities.  Snake-men with a higher caste present enjoy a +1 bonus to morale.

Despite their strict societal structure, byzantine intrigues frequently occur both within and between castes of snake-men.  Some stories exist about members of lower castes secretly employing flesh-crafting techniques to artificially rise above their station - considered a capital crime.  The snake-men also practice flesh-crafting on other creatures in a bizarre, religious manner, as if it was part of some sacred duty.  They are almost certainly responsible for the existence of several types of monstrous humanoids, beasts, and mongrel aberrations that plague the world above.  Sorcerers prize the snake-men’s scriptures (a dangerous task to obtain) for their transmutatory secrets.

Snake-men speak the secret language of all snakes, the unholy language of Chaos, and can also speak the Common tounge (if they mussst.)


 This work includes material taken from the System Reference Document 5.1 (“SRD 5.1”) by Wizards of
the Coast LLC and available at The
SRD 5.1 is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License available at

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