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The pyroserpent is a creature from the Spelljammer campaign setting.

2nd Edition StatsEdit

Climate/Terrain: Phlogiston

Frequency: Uncommon

Organization: Flock

Activity Cycle: Any

Diet: Carnivore

Intelligence: Semi- (2-4)

Treasure: Nil

Alignment: Neutral

No. Appearing: 2-20

Armor Class: 5

Movement: 6, Fl 9 (B)

Hit Dice: 3+2

THAC0: 17

No. of Attacks: 2

Damage/Attack: 1-3/2-8

Special Attacks: Constriction, spore

Special Defenses: Explodes when killed

Magic Resistance: Nil

Size: M (15' long)

Morale: Steady (11)

XP Value: 650

DescriptionEdit

The pyroserpent is a feared denizen of the phlogiston. It is a large snake about 15 feet long, covered with slick scales of the same swirling rainbow color as the phlogiston (effectively giving it +1 to surprise). The snakes are undetectable at a range of more than 50' in the phlogiston. Although the creature can move in the same slithering manner as a conventional snake, the pyroserpent prefers to fly, being propelled by its own natural telekinetic ability. This telekinesis cannot be used to move anything but the snake's own body.

The pyroserpents travel in flocks of up to 12 snakes, in search of food and a place to lay their eggs. It is a fearsome sight indeed to see such a group approaching one's ship!

CombatEdit

The pyroserpent attacks with its vicious but nonpoisonous bite. If the serpent strikes with an attack roll of 5 or greater than what it needs to hit, its victim will be trapped in the snake's coils as it attempts to constrict the victim. Each round that a victim is trapped in a pyroserpent's coils, he receives 2-8 points of damage automatically (no attack roll is required). For example, the pyroserpent bites a 3rd-level fighter in chain mail with 15 dexterity (AC 4). The creature needs an attack roll of 13 to hit the fighter (THACO 17). If the attack roll is 18 or higher, the fighter is trapped in the serpent's coils. The snake will automatically release anything in its coils if it suffers greater than 50% of its total hit points. Otherwise, a bend bars roll is required (at a -2 penalty) to escape the constriction. Any attack on the snake that misses the snake has a chance to hit the constricted victim (roll another attack roll vs. the entrapped victim).

The pyroserpent has a very special defense that causes anyone who knows about these creatures to think twice before attacking. If the snake is killed, its body ruptures in a small burst of flames. Under normal conditions, the explosion would not be a problem. When the creature erupts, it reacts with the highly flammable phlogiston and explodes in the equivalant of a 5 HD fireball in a five-foot radius of the snake's body. All rules for explosions in the phlogiston as outlined in the SPELLJAMMER™ boxed set apply.

If the pyroserpent scores a bite, there is a 20% chance that it will release spores from its mouth into the victim. This is how the pyroserpent breeds, for these spores form into eggs, gestating inside a living host. As the spores grow and develop, the victim will become increasingly weak. After one week, the victim will lose one point of Constitution and Strength per day and suffer a cumulative -1 to hit per day. When either Strength or Constitution reaches zero, the victim dies. This is caused by the growing embryos consuming all of the nourishment in the body, and the victim actually starves to death. A cure disease spell will destroy the eggs, at which time the victim will regain lost Strength and Constitution at a rate of one point per day. If the victim dies, 2-8 young pyroserpents will emerge from the corpse.

Habitat/SocietyEdit

The creatures have no real society. They tend to follow one self-elected leader who is the strongest of the flock. If it is killed, a power struggle will ensue to determine who will be the next leader.

EcologyEdit

Natives of space have found many uses for the body parts of a pyroserpent. This is profoundly difficult, because it is nearly impossible to kill a pyroserpent without the creature exploding, completely destroying all body parts. The only known way to do this is to trap the creature and take it into wildspace, where it is unable to live. The snake will die within one hour of removal from the phlogiston. Even this method is not certain to preserve a pyroserpent, because once the creature is brought into wildspace, it will begin to thrash about wildly, attempting to escape its bonds. If the thrashing of the creature kills it, it will erupt into flames as it dies (but without the explosion).

The scaly skin of the pyroserpent is highly prized since it is an excellent camouflage in the phlogiston. The blood of the creature is sought by many alchemists, as it can be used in a variety of fire-based potions. The meat of the pyroserpent is an exotic delicacy on many tables, and has been known to sell for as much as 1000 gold pieces per serving!

ReferencesEdit

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