“From the depths of the sandy wastes, a large snake-like beast emerges. The creature’s size doesn’t shock and amaze you, but the revelation that it’s roughly humanoid! The creature swings two curved blades from its reptilian arms. As you manage to dodge the swinging blades, a set of fangs jut from the beast’s mouth, imbedding its bite and venoms within your flesh. You begin to feel woozy as the creature taunts you in its serpent tongue.”
Strange Reptilian Creatures
The Serpent-Folk are a strange breed with many plausible theories on their origin. Some say they were the creations of ancient deities from beyond the stars, dating before humanity itself. Others say these serpents were creations of dark rituals and weird sorcery, perhaps even unholy union. Others claim they’re simply evolved Naga.
Complex and Unwelcoming Societies
No matter the truth, these beings live complex lives, often isolated from non-scaled folk. Some have societies run by plutocracy, while others are driven by loosely tethered social bonds and near animalistic impulse. Either way, their fearful and xenophobic nature results in rare contact with outsiders. Either way, trust is hard for a serpent-folk to obtain and equally hard for them to give. As cold-blooded creature, it should be no surprise they’re often found in warm locations.
Ability Score Increase: You gain a +1 bonus to Dexterity
Age: You become mature by age 14. However, Serpent-Folk typically live to around 60/65 at most. Some can live upwards to around 80 though.
Size: Creatures of your race count as Medium size
Type: You are a humanoid, despite looking like a beast and a monstrosity.
Speed: You speed is 30 ft.
Snake Bite: You gain a natural bite attack. It deals 1d4 piercing damage, utilizing strength or dexterity. As you gain levels, your damage also increases; 1d6 damage @ L.6, 1d8 damage @ L.12, 1d10 damage @ L.18
Nasty Crunch: You’re able to produce a numbing venom from your fangs. While overdoing it would be a draining experience, you’re able to store just enough to turn a combat around. When you hit with a bite attack, you can trigger the target to make a Constitution saving throw versus 8 + Your Proficiency Bonus + Your Constitution modifier. Failure results in being poisoned until they succeed their save. Targets can make a new save at the end of their turn. You may use this ability once per short rest before using it again.
Snake Sense: You gain proficiency in Perception checks. In addition, you advantage on checks to smell with your forked tongue.
Senses: You gain Darkvision extending out 60 ft.
Languages: You speak and understand common. You may also speak with snakes and snake-like creatures in your own unique tongue.
This race of serpent-folk were born of an ancient eldritch power beyond reason or sanity. Their spawned race slightly reflects their archaic and maddening power.
Ability Score Increase: You gain a +1 bonus to Wisdom and a +1 bonus to Dexterity.
Cosmic Mind: The blood of a long dead Elder God flows through you. It protects you from similar entities that would enjoy destroying or tormenting your kind. You gain resistance to psychic damage.
Crooked Tongue: You are able to twist words in your favor from your connection to elder creatures. You gain proficiency in either persuasion or deception.
Viper Blood –
While not as old as the Ancient Touched, the Viper Blood are empowered by strange and dark sorcery. However, their internal magicks are far from dark, they are a means of augmenting their own abilities.
Ability Score Increase: You gain a +1 bonus to Charisma and +1 bonus to Dexterity.
Mystical Blood: Your connection to unfathomable magicks has given you some minor arcane talents. You know Poison Spray as a cantrip, which you may cast at-will. Upon reaching level 3, you may cast False Life as a 2nd level spell once per long rest. Upon reaching 5th level, you may cast Acid Arrow once per long rest.
Legacy of War: Long have your people faced constant battle at the hands of conquerors and bigots. Thus, training with an assortment of weapons has become important from a young age. You are proficient with the long sword (Qama), great sword (Ram Dao), scimitar, and short bow.
The Sasaran are a breed of bioluminescent naga-like creatures that can slightly bend light around them. Unlike other Serpent-Folk of their kind, this variation tends to stay within the darkest part of jungles and sometimes even underground realms.
Ability Score Increase: You gain a +1 bonus to your Constitution and +1 bonus to Dexterity.
Cloak of Light: Your bioluminescent scales glow within dark places. As an action, you can activate or suppress a bright light. This creates 30 ft. of normal light, 30 ft of dim light.
Brilliant Flash: You can use your glowing scales to harness limited power over light itself! As a bonus action, you create a flash of blinding light. Every creature within 20 ft. must make a dexterity saving throw vs. 8 + Proficiency Bonus + Constitution modifier or be blinded for 1 round. You may use this ability once per short rest.
True Serpentine –
The True Serpentine are more beast than folk, driven by wild impulse and honing their snake-like form to their benefit. They almost never have humanoid legs, but have more powerful snake-like tails instead.
Ability Score Bonus: You gain a +2 bonus to Wisdom.
Climber: You can slither not only along the ground, but up surfaces. You gain a climb speed of 30.
Serpent’s Constraint: You gain advantage to grapple a foe, using Strength checks. At DM’s discretion, this bonus can extend to Athletics. The foe must be no larger than one size from your own (typically Large size.)
Serpent’s Poison (Feat)
Prerequisites: Serpent-Folk race
- You gain a +1 bonus to your Constitution stat.
- Your bite attacks are now considered magical in nature and gain the finesse keyword. Also, once per round, these attacks also deal an extra 1d4 poison.
- You gain resistance to poison damage and gain advantage on poisoned saving throws.
Campaign Option: Serpent-Folk Degenerates
Your connection to an extra dimensional wilderness has caused your humanoid traits to vanish beneath your scaly skin. You have no arms, but have gained “phantom limbs” from a latent psychic power. You function exactly like the regular Serpent-Folk. However, instead of a sundered/injured limb, the attack causes the mind to not focus on the “attacked arm” as well, perhaps losing all focus on it. All in all, this racial variant is purely cosmetic. However, you are ostracized for looking like a merely very large snake, despite your sentience.
Credit: Yuan-Ti by Tony De’Terlizzi; Samuel and Cody (the original creator of the Sasarin Naga race) from the Homebrew Dungeons & Dragons 5th facebook group for ideas and rebalancing, as well as Shadow_in_the_Mist; Created by Doctor Necrotic for Doctor Necrotic Media