This report was commissioned on the 10th of Midspring, 5135, by Research Lead Cassandra on behalf of Iolas Torra.
Brutish creatures of scales and acid, deep snakes are often coerced or bribed into serving as guards for elemental mages or noble families. Self-centered mercenaries to the core, even the smallest of these snakes make effective “watchdogs.” Magical Beasts most often found on the Elemental Plane of Earth, and sharing some of that same elemental heratige, these snakes prefer to lair near naturally caustic environments, such as toxic pools near volcanos or particularly sulfurous hot springs. Like many magical beasts, deep snakes possess some small amounts of mystical prowess, usually possessing Green acid, poison, and earth magics. Many additionally possess spell-like abilities allowing them to augment their attacks with similar powers. Deep snakes are particularly swift creatures and are expert diggers, adept at traveling through all but the hardest of materials on their elemental homeland.
All deep snakes – minor, lesser, and greater – are adorned in a mix of black and green scales. Their dull eyes never seem to blink and, like many reptiles, they spend long periods of time coiled up and drowsing in the caustic warmth of their lairs. Unsurprisingly, these creatures are unfazed by even the greatest of known acids. Deep snakes generate a metallic growth on the end of their tail, easily mistaken for some kind of adornment, that they use both as a weapon and a mystical focus for some of their magics. Deep snakes are known to bite and bash their opponents, occasionally grabbing and crushing their opponents while their poisons work away (though usually not a go-to strategy for them given most lack grabbing-suitable fangs).
These snakes have an excellent sense of smell. Deep snakes possess a paralytic poison that’s also capable of destroying vital tissues. Unusually, deep snakes additionally inject a caustic material with their poison, though its destructive effects are easily mistaken for the work of the paired poison. Deep snakes are also able to spit out a concentrated mass of this caustic material or of their natural poison (though only one of the two), usually up to a range of 30 feet. Unlike many of their reptilian cousins, deep snakes are inherently communal. As they age, deep snakes learn to mystically share the caustic nature of their poison with other reptiles nearby.
All deep snakes understand Terran, but only the greatest are capable of speech. Greater deep snakes tend to also understand, and occasionally are able to speak, common. They rarely learn any other languages.
Greater Deep Snakes
Greater deep snakes are massive creatures that literally glow with the corrosive power locked within them. Used by only the wealthiest of mages or nobles, greater deep snakes are typically unpredictable. In some cases, entire households have gone missing overnight when a greater deep snake was shorted a payment.
Greater deep snakes look like much larger versions of their lesser kin, measuring up to 30 feet long and 6 feet in diameter. Greater flame snakes also have darker, more jagged scales. Their hood flares emerald when they bestow their toxic gift on their allies.
There is more to these great serpents than most suspect. Greater deep snakes are unexpectedly intelligent and wise creatures, and are capable of great loyalty when treated as a peer – something not normally seen amongst their relatives. Like all deep snakes, they do tend to have a malicious streak, but are only occasionally actually evil.
Greater deep snakes are vicious combatants, considerably more formidable than their lesser cousins. They possess a strength and agility to rival even the greatest of nishoba, using their crushing tail and vicious fangs to demolish threats. Like many reptiles, greater deep snakes possess a particularly resilient hide, made all the more frustrating by their agility and uncanny reactions and their ability to slowly recover from injury if given time (though they do not usually possess true regenerative properties).
With their newfound wisdom, they have little problem shrugging off mental attacks, though it is still by far their greatest mystical weakness. Their fangs by this point have developed the strength to latch onto foes, even able to swallow human sized foes whole, though it is a tactic they rarely use if facing a group. Instead, if facing a larger force, greater deep snakes prefer to strike at their opponent’s flanks (often utilizing their burrow) and enjoy crippling their opponents with their newfound ability to project an aerosolized spray of their poison or the caustic materials within them, reaching out nearly their full body length of 60 feet. Unfortunately, even for those who managed to slay a greater deep snake, the caustic materials within them are under such pressure that they have a tendency to erupt outward when the creature is slain, coating everything for quite some distance in boiling acids. Greater deep snakes are a devastatingly powerful, a threat that should only be handled by skilled and well-prepared adventurers or royal guards, or better yet by heroes.
A greater deep snake’s fangs possess a strong mystical resonance with poisonous magics. The glowing green scales along the inside of their hoods possess a moderate mystical resonance with area- or group-affecting caustic magics. The greater deep snake has a gland that stores and secretes the caustic material within its body that possesses a strong mystical resonance with caustic magics, but considering it explodes upon the creature’s death it is rarely recovered. The steel tail of a greater deep snake possess a strong mystical resonance with earth magics.
- A Study of the Stone Species: A Bestiary of the Elemental Plane of Earth, by Yomia Effameer, pages 133-148