Contributed by: Thulsa ()

"... over a heavy gilded screen a Face looked at the Cimmerian. Conan stared in wonder at the cold classic beauty of that countenance, whose like he had never seen among the sons of men. (...) He thought fleetingly of the marble perfection of the body which the screen concealed -- it must be perfect, he thought, since the face was so inhumanly beautiful. But he could see only the god-like face, the finely molded head which swayed curiously from side to side. The full lips opened and spoke a single word in a rich vibrant tone that was like the golden chimes that ring in the jungle-lost temples of Khitai. It was an unknown tongue, forgotten before the kingdoms of man arose, but Conan knew that it meant, 'Come!'" -- Robert E. Howard: "The God in the Bowl"

Large Aberration

Hit Dice: 9d8+36 (76 hp)
Initiative: +1 (Dex)
Speed: 40 ft.
AC: 16 (-1 size, +1 Dex, +6 natural)
Attacks: Bite +9 melee
Damage: Bite 2d6+6 and poison
Face/Reach: 5 ft. by 5 ft. (coiled)/10 ft.
Special Attacks: Constriction, poison, charming gaze, spells
Special Qualities: Vulnerability to secret phrase
Saves: Fort +7, Ref +6, Will +9
Abilities: Str 18, Dex 13, Con 18, Int 15, Wis 17, Cha 17
Skills: Concentration +13, Listen +15, Spellcraft +10, Spot +15
Feats: Alertness, Lightning Reflexes, Improved Grab

Climate/Terrain: Temperate and warm land and underground
Organization: Solitary or nest (2-4)
Challenge Rating: 9
Treasure: Standard
Alignment: n/a
Advancement: 10-13 HD (Large); 14-27 HD (Huge)

Appearance: Manserpents are huge, snake-like creatures with human heads. Their "hair" is a mass of tiny snakes, and their face often emits an unearthly golden glow. They are cold-blooded with glittering black scales and grow to an adult length of 10 to 20 feet. Wise and patient, these creatures can stay still for hours but move swiftly when alarmed. They favor resting in a semi-aware state that conserves their energy and makes them very hard to surprise.

Manserpents speak the language of the serpent-men. Most also speak ancient Stygian.

Combat: Manserpents are highly intelligent and prefer to use their charm gaze and magical abilities from a distance, although they will fight ferociously if angered into physical combat.

  • Improved Grab (Ex): To use this ability, the serpentman must hit with its bite attack. If it gets a hold, it can constrict. Grabbed victims are also automatically hit by the poisonous bite of the snakes in the manserpent's hair.
  • Constrict (Ex): A manserpent deals 1d8+10 points of damage with a successful grapple check against Large-size or smaller creatures.
  • Poison (Ex): The poison attack is actually dealt by several tiny snakes which form the serpentman's hair. Fortitude save (DC 18); initial and secondary damage 1d8 temporary Constitution.
  • Darkvision: Manserpents have darkvision to 60 feet.
  • Charming Gaze (Su): As charm person, 30 feet, Will save (DC 17).
  • Spells: Manserpents cast spells as 7th-level sorcerers, and can also cast cleric spells and spells from the domains of Chaos and Evil as arcane spells.
  • Vulnerability to Secret Phrase (Su): Like their brethren the serpent-men, these creatures have a special vulnerability to the ancient phrase "ka nama kaa lajerama". If this phrase is uttered in their presence, they suffer the effects of a symbol of pain (no saving throw allowed).

Habitat/Society: Aeons ago, the serpent-men and the man-serpents were part of the same race of intelligent serpents. For unknown reasons, two different races evolved; serpent-men with human bodies and serpent heads, and the man-serpents with serpent bodies and human heads. Both races were almost driven to extinction by primitive humans who fought them with weapons of bronze and newly discovered sorcery.

While surviving serpent-men returned in human guise to rule men for a brief time, the man-serpents retreated to pre-human ruins in the deep jungles. Recently, a few have returned to Stygia to serve the might of Thoth-Amon.

Ecology: Man-serpents are carnivorous and swallow their prey whole. They can go for weeks or months without feeding, however, and can also sustain themselves magically, although they prefer a human diet, which they are usually fed by snake-worshipping priests.