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Serpent Slayer Excerpt

Any intelligent being who learns what the yuan-ti are up to can be considered a foe of the vrael olo, but some individuals devote their entire lives to thwarting the serpentfolk. Certain alert Harpers and Red Wizards fall into this category, as do high-ranking priests of human deities who have glimpsed the true might and nature of the yuan-ti. Such characters view the Slithering Ones as the ultimate doom of humankind if their power is not broken soon.

In recent decades, certain priests of Helm took vows to smash the yuan-ti and thereby became the first true serpent slayers. But this path is by no means limited to followers of the Vigilant One -- or to clerics.

Serpent slayers aren't part of a formal organization, but they do aid each other whenever possible. They sometimes scratch small recognition marks on stone or in dirt to denote the location of a cache, hidden route, or suspicious feature. Their sign is an oval snake head with a forked tongue, impaled by a dagger through the head's lone visible eye. If this sign is surrounded by a diamond-shaped outline, it warns of danger.

Hit Die: d8.

Requirements

To qualify to become a serpent slayer, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.

Base Attack Bonus: +6.
Skills: Concentration 4 ranks, Knowledge (nature) 2 ranks, Spot 4 ranks.
Feats: Combat Casting, Dodge, Mobility.
Spells: Able to cast arcane or divine spells.

Class Skills

The serpent slayer's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Concentration (Con), Craft (any) (Int), Knowledge (all skills taken individually) (Int), Listen (Wis), Search (Int), Spot (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), and Survival (Wis). See Chapter 4 of the Player's Handbook for skill descriptions.

Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Class Features

All the following are class features of the serpent slayer prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Serpent slayers gain no proficiency with any weapon, armor, or shield. Armor check penalties for armor heavier than leather apply to the skills Balance, Climb, Escape Artist, Hide, Jump, Move Silently, Sleight of Hand, and Tumble, and double the normal armor check penalty applies to Swim checks.

Spells per Day/Spells Known: When a new serpent slayer level is gained, the character gains new spells per day (and spells known, if applicable) as if he had also gained a level in whatever spellcasting class he had before he added the prestige class. He does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained (bonus metamagic or item creation feats, bard or assassin abilities, and so on), except for an increased effective level of spellcasting. This essentially means that he adds the level of serpent slayer to the level of whatever other spellcasting class he had, then determines spells per day, spells known, and caster level accordingly.

If a character had more than one spellcasting class before he became a serpent slayer, he must decide to which class he adds each level of serpent slayer for the purpose of determining spells per day and spells known.

Venomguard (Ex): A serpent slayer gains a +4 bonus on saving throws against the venom of all Scaled Ones.

Detect Poison (Sp): At 2nd level, a serpent slayer gains the psionic ability to use detect poison (caster level equals serpent slayer level) at will.

Poison Immunity (Ex): At 3rd level, a serpent slayer becomes immune to all poisons.

Locate Serpent (Sp): A 4th-level serpent slayer gains the ability to sense Scaled Ones nearby. This ability functions like the locate creature spell (caster level equals serpent slayer level), except that it detects only Scaled Ones. The serpent slayer can determine the kind of Scaled One detected, but a specific individual can be distinguished only if the serpent slayer has previously touched her. This ability is usable twice per day at 4th level, and one additional time per day for every two serpent slayer levels thereafter (three times per day at 6th level, four times per day at 8th level, and five times per day at 10th level.

Neutralize Poison (Sp): At 5th level, a serpent slayer can use neutralize poison (caster level equals serpent slayer level) three times per day.

Ward Serpents (Su): Beginning at 6th level, a serpent slayer can hold serpents at bay. This ability functions like a protection from evil spell(caster level equals serpent slayer level), except that the deflection and resistance bonuses apply to attacks from serpents, and summoned serpents cannot touch the serpent slayer. This ability is usable once per day at 6th level and one additional time per day for every two serpent slayer levels gained thereafter (twice per day at 8th level and three times per day at 10th level).

Witherscales (Su): At 7th level, a serpent slayer can deal 2d4 points of damage to any Scaled One with a melee touch attack.

Strike of the Serpent (Sp): Once per day, an 8th-level serpent slayer can use true strike (caster level equals serpent slayer level) to augment an attack against any Scaled One. He gains another daily use of this ability at 10th level.

Smite Serpent (Su): Once per day, a 9th-level or higher serpent slayer can attempt to smite a Scaled One with one normal melee attack. He adds his Charisma bonus (if any) to his attack roll and deals one extra point of damage per serpent slayer level. If the serpent slayer accidentally smites a Scaleless One, the smite has no effect, but the ability is still used up for that day.

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