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Feathered Serpent

by Jamie Baty

HWR1 28, HWA2 61
Medium Magical Beast
Hit Dice: 2d10 (11 hp)
Initiative: +3 (+3 Dex)
Speed: 20 ft. (4 squares), fly 90 ft. (good)
Armour Class: 14 (+3 Dex, +1 natural), touch 13, flat-footed 11
Base Attack/Grapple: +2/+2
Attack: Bite +5 melee (1d6)
Full Attack: Bite +5 melee (1d6)
Space/Reach: 5 ft. /5 ft.
Special Attacks: -
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60ft., flight, low-light vision, serpent-mint consumption
Saves: Fort +3, Ref +6, Will +1
Abilities: Str 11, Dex 17, Con 10, Int 2, Wis 13, Cha 16
Skills: Hide +4, Listen +6, Move Silently +4, Spot +7
Feats: Weapon Finesse
Environment: Any Warm forests and plains
Organisation: Solitary, Company (2-5), or Nest (5-20)
Challenge Rating: 2
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 3-4 HD (Medium); 5-6 HD (Large)
Level Adjustment: -

This is one of the most beautiful snakes you have ever seen- with colourful feathered wings and jewel-like eyes.

Thousands of years ago the feathered serpents abounded in the lush rainforests of the Azcan Empire. With the coming of Atzanteotl, a new species also arrived: The winged viper, which was similar to the feathered serpent, but poisonous and with the wings of a bat.

The feathered serpent is a lovely creature, admired even among those who consider ordinary snakes abhorrent. Most varieties display brilliant coloration such as vibrant green scales, brilliantly coloured feathers on the two broad wings, the tail, and in tuffs behind the skull, and eyes of jewel-like clarity, with hourglass shaped pupils.

Commonly encountered feathered serpents have an intelligence about on par with a dog (the folk of Colima train them as watchdogs). There exists another stage in the life of feathered serpents, where their intelligence matches at least that of a human. Serpents in this phase of their life are not presently found anywhere in the Azcan Empire, or Mystara for that matter.

In most Azcan lands feathered serpents have disappeared altogether. They remain in legends, such as the ones of great kings like Atruatzin who were rumoured to converse with them. The legends have been distorted, however, because only winged vipers are familiar; so it seems to the Azcans that once the vipers spoke and were allies of humans, but no longer are, when in fact there was an entirely different species that Atzanteotl's spawn drove away.

The one place where feathered serpents are found is the plain between the Bay of Colima and the Aztlan Mountains. Here grows a plant called serpent-mint, which makes feathered serpents strong enough to resist the vipers and their poison. A few feathered serpents have been reported in other regions.
Half-forgotten myths among the Azcans allude to a powerful queen who lives in the sky and rules the feathered serpents.

The feathered serpent is generally non-aggressive, but it will defend itself, as well as those it is attached too, with its bite.

Flight (Ex): A feathered serpent can cease or resume flight as a free action.

Serpent-Mint Consumption (Su): A feathered serpent gains 1-10 temporary hit points, +1 natural AC, and +1 to all attack rolls, damage rolls, saving throws and skill checks after consuming a sprig of serpent-mint. These bonuses last for 1d4 hours.

Skills: Feathered serpents have a +4 racial bonus to all Spot and Listen checks.