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    Postfest IV: Magic of the Serpentfolk
    Posted on Mon, April 04, 2005 by Dongul
    Cebrion writes "Excerpts from The Elder Races: Arcana & Ecologies Vols. 26-30: Magic of the Serpentfolk

    "Little is known of the Elder Races, but I will tell you of one of them: the Serpentfolk. The Serpentfolk were (are) a race of exceptionally gifted magicians oft confused with the yuan-ti, to the detriment of many scholars. Little is known of them, their origins, and of the power they once held upon Oerth. Only recently has evidence of this ancient and once preeminent reptilian race begun to surface…

    ---Mulgath the Wanderer, Savant-Sage of Dyvers"

    Magic of the Serpentfolk
    By: Cebrion
    Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

    Excerpts From The Elder Races: Arcana & Ecologies Vols. 26-30: Magic of the Serpentfolk from the Hand of Mulgath the Wanderer, Savant- Sage of Dyvers

    In the long forgotten past, before the Elves came to dominance in the world, and long before the human kingdoms and empires of Oerik came into being, the Elder Races ruled the world. It was a time when the demi-human races were young, and humans were but savages, and other, darker things ruled in the world. Many scholars continue to argue about who the Elder Races were, what their cultures were like, and why they declined. Recently recovered texts from the early days of the Elven Kingdoms adds to what little information sages have collected on one of the Elder Races, the Serpentfolk. It is said that the Elves took part in a great war against the Serpentfolk, hunting them to extinction. Recent archeological evidence suggests that this is far from the truth. Here follows my collected dissertations on the Serpentfolk (excerpted from the texts cited) given at the annual symposium of scholars in the city of Dyvers on the 3rd day of Readying, 586 CY.

    --- Mulgath the Wanderer, Savant-Sage of Dyvers (C.Y. 587)

    Magic of the Serpentfolk

    The magic of the Serpentfolk is assumed to be broad in its scope, though the only surviving texts illuminating the various magics inimical to them are contained within a collection of vellum (actually Elven skin) scrolls collected from various locations and compiled within a codex known as the Elder Scrolls. Perusal of this collection reveals that the Serpentfolk had (have) a thirst for magical knowledge, though this trait seems to only manifest in the poisonous half of the breed(see The Elder Races: Arcana & Ecologies- Vols. 21-24: Ecology of the Serpentfolk for additional references). The contents of the Elder Scrolls focus heavily upon the magical disciplines of enchantment, necromancy, and transmutation, with only a slightly lesser emphasis given to the other magical disciplines. There is no evidence to suggest that the Serpentfolk specialized in any single magical discipline more so than any other. Here follows a selection of spells from the Elder Scrolls (with additional notes after each entry) concentrating mostly on the least covered disciplines:

    Acid Gout
    Conjuration [Acid]
    Level: Sor/Wiz 2
    Components: V, S, M
    Casting Time: 1 standard action
    Range: 10 ft. per level (100 ft. maximum)
    Duration: Instantaneous
    Saving Throw: Reflex half
    Spell Resistance: Yes

    You unleash a stream of caustic acid from your outstretched hand that deals 2d6 points of damage, plus 1 point of damage per caster level (maximum 2d6+10).
    Material Component: A single drop of any type of acid applied to the caster's palm.

    Note:The portions of the Elder Scrolls containing this simple spell were retrieved from the far western wastelands by the Baklunish wizard Hamrad Gorgin, indicating that the Serpentfolk may have once inhabited those lands, or simply that the individual who possessed these portions of the scrolls traveled there, for whatever reasons. It has been found that the weakest of acids, such as that found in the acidic juice of certain fruits, will suffice to cast this spell. Using rare and expensive aqua regia (100 gp per casting) as the material component for this spell causes the spell to function as if 'heightened', though it causes the caster some discomfort (1d6 damage). The arid climate and relative lack of water to alleviate the pain of acid burns would make this particular spell all the more horrifying to be a victim of in the western wastelands.

    Evocation [Force]
    Level: Sor/Wiz 2
    Components: V, S, M
    Casting Time: 1 standard action
    Range: Medium (100ft. + 10 ft. / level)
    Target: Up to five creatures, all must be
    within 30 ft. of each other.
    Duration: Instantaneous
    Saving Throw: See below
    Spell Resistance: Yes

    This spell conjures forth a glowing mote of sickly greenish-yellow light that streaks from the caster's hand to unerringly strike its intended target, causing 1d6 points of damage with no saving throw allowed. Upon impact, the mote of light bursts into tiny motes that strike the original target and any other individuals within 5 ft. of the original target for 1d6 points of damage. A successful Reflex save reduces damage from the burst effect by half. For every three levels of the caster beyond 3rd, another mote is generated by the spell, up to a maximum of five motes at 15th level. Spells or items that prevent or absorb damage from the spell magic missile also prevent or absorb damage from this spell.
    Material Component: A pinch of phosphor.

    Note: This spell is generally thought of as being an improvement upon the magic missile spell, and is unique to the Serpentfolk. The Elder Scrolls containing this spell were found in the hands of a tribal shaman living deep within the Amedio Jungle.

    Witch Fire
    Level: Sor/Wiz 4
    Components: V, S, M
    Casting Time: 1 standard action
    Range: Medium (100ft. + 10 ft. / level)
    Target: One Creature or Item
    Duration: See Below
    Saving Throw: Special
    Spell Resistance: Yes

    This spell conjures forth a small portion of energy form the plane of Concordant Opposition, which takes on the shape of a small flickering flame in the palm of the caster’s hand. The caster may hurl this flame at a single target within range and must make a successful ranged touch attack. The energy of this spell is not truly fire per se and it will burn targets that are normally immune to fire. A creature hit by the flickering flame must make a Reflex saving throw to escape the flames before they become engulfed in them. A successful saving throw causes the flames to flare up, scorching the target for 1d4 points of damage for every two levels of the caster before they go out. If the saving throw is failed the flames engulf the target, causing 2d4 points of damage plus 1 point of damage per level of the caster each round, for as long as the flames continue to burn. The flames will continue to burn for one round for every two levels of the caster. The flames can only be extinguished prior to the end of the spell’s duration with a successful dispel magic spell. The energy of this spell burns inwardly, such that it will not harm anything other than what the spell is cast upon and generates no heat.
    Material Component: A clear colored gemstone of 100 gp value. The color of the spell’s flames will match the color of the gemstone used.

    Note: This spell was apparently used to immolate those beings that committed a heinous crime against the Serpentfolk as a race, or against their dark goddess, the Serpent Mother. This spell was reserved as a special form of execution for traitors and blasphemers, though based on Elven accounts it also apparently saw wide use in the Elven Wars. Most recently this spell has been found to be extremely effective against such creatures as trappers and cloakers, as any compatriots engulfed by such creatures are not harmed by the spell, while the creature is. This spell comes from a collection of scrolls found centuries ago within a ruin lying within the central Great Wood, or what is now known as the Suss Forest.

    Spell Absorption
    Level: Sor/Wiz 8
    Components: V, S, M
    Casting Time: 1 standard action
    Range: Personal
    Target: You
    Duration: Until expended or 10 min. / level

    This spell protects the caster from incoming magical attacks, absorbing them and making the absorbed spell’s magical energy available for the caster to use to empower their own spells. This spell will absorb up to one spell level for every two levels of the caster. Only spells that target the caster or their gear can be absorbed. The caster instantly detects the level of the spell that is cast upon them as it is being absorbed. Absorbing a spell requires no action on the part of the caster. If the caster absorbs a spell of a level which exceeds the total limit of spell levels that that can be absorbed or have yet to be absorbed, they sustain 1d6 points of damage for every extra level the total is exceeded by from the backlash of magical energy. For example, a 16th-level wizard under the effect of spell absorption may absorb up to eight spell levels of spells targeted upon them. The wizard has previously absorbed a fireball (a 3rd-level spell) targeted upon them. They are then targeted by a destruction spell (a 7th-level spell). The second spell is mostly absorbed, but as the total absorbed spell levels exceeds the wizard's spell absorption total of eight spell levels by two, they sustain 2d6 points of damage directly from the magical backlash. There is no saving throw against this backlash effect and any protective magics are completely bypassed, including spell resistance. The effects of any spell that is even partially absorbed are negated, and only backlash damage is sustained.

    At any time during the duration of the spell, the caster may use absorbed spell levels to cast any spells they currently have prepared or know without actually expending the spell for the day. The caster must still provide any required components or XP cost for any spells cast as usual. The spell ends when all absorbed spell levels have been used by the caster, or when the duration of the spell absorption spell ends, whichever comes first.
    Material Component: A tiny hoop strung with a netting of fine silver wire.

    Note: This spell is looked on as a variant of the spell turning spell. Each has its place in the overall scheme of battle magic tactics. This spell further illustrates the Serpentfolk’s aptitude for manipulating magic. This is also the earliest known form of spell absorption magic found thus far on Oerth, and it can be assumed that the Serpentfolk were among the first to master this form of magical manipulation and create items duplicating its effects. This spell comes from a single scroll “acquired” by my esteemed self from a less than cooperative yuan-ti priestess during one of my many sojourns into the jungles of Hepmonoland. A curious connection exists between the Serpentfolk and the Yuan-ti, which is examined further in The Elder Races: Arcana & Ecologies Vols. 21-24: Ecology of the Serpentfolk.

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    Associated Topics

    Arcana of OerthGreyhawk- D&D 3.0/3.5/D20/Pathfinder

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    Re: Magic of the Serpentfolk (Score: 1)
    by Argon on Tue, April 05, 2005
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    Bravo, well done! This is a great article and I like the fact that each and every part of the submission is laden with a history behind it. Good use of existing information and I'm sure many people will appreciate the new spells.

    Re: Magic of the Serpentfolk (Score: 1)
    by GVDammerung on Wed, April 06, 2005
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    I agree with Argon. I really like this presentation. I was quite at a loss when considering how one might submit something on this topic. You have put together what I would think would an excellent template. Very good job!

    Re: Magic of the Serpentfolk (Score: 1)
    by Argon on Fri, April 15, 2005
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    I know you didn't win for this article but I'm very surprised you didn't come in second for this submission if not first. I had a hard time chosseing between this submission and the screaming colum and I believe this article deserved much more attention then it received.

    I think you did a great job and even though you didn't win I wanted to give you Kudos on this submission which should of been at least second on the list.

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