Feathered Serpent

Feathered Serpents

As far as the party can tell, the creatures they have dubbed feathered serpents are native only to a smallish island in the middle of the southern arm of the Great Lake.

Appearance, Age, and Growth

A feathered serpent resembles any other serpent save for its broad forewings and small tailwings. The bodies of feathered serpents are covered in brightly-colored scale-feathers (hard, bristly feathers) with longer, more birdlike feathers on their wings and tail. Their scale-feathers are patterned in seemingly amorphous splotches made up of shades of red, reddish purple, yellow, and/or orange. The underbelly scales are generally lighter in color than those on the back.

Feathered serpents are hatched from leathery-shelled eggs quite similar to those of any other snake. The young are roughly six inches long and have bristle-scales on their wings and tail that cannot support flight. These scales are horned, however, and are quite sharp. They molt into fuller feathers at around three months old when they have reached something like 18 inches in length.

During their stay on the island, the party encountered larger snakes, the largest being roughly four feet long. They initially believed these to be fully-grown adults. However, while these specimens were roughly two years old and sexually mature, they had not achieved full growth. Feathered serpents continue growing, albeit more slowly, until they are around 6 years old, at which point they will range from 6 to 11 feet in length. The fully-extended wingspan of a flight-capable feathered serpent is roughly 1.5x its body length. Feathered serpents can live for around 40 years.

Care and Feeding

The party has no formal knowledge about the feathered serpent's lifestyle. Given their home environment, it appears probable that they eat smaller lizards, birds, and insects, though they have also responded to fruits. They appear to have an active metabolism, meaning they eat far more frequently than other serpent species; however, they appear to be able to fall into a semi-hibernation state where they move little and cool significantly if food is scarce.

Despite their bright colors, the feathered serpents seem to take great advantage of thick brush and broadleaf trees to hide, though this appears to be a hunting maneuver rather than a predator-avoidance maneuver. In fact, feathered serpents are among the largest creatures the party discovered in their native habitat and are likely apex predators. It should be noted that the feathered serpent's ability to hide is limited by its bright colors; it cannot sustain excellent camouflage up close. Feathered serpents can move quite fast when they want, dashing out of hiding and launching themselves into the air to quickly snatch prey once it gets within a few dozen body lengths or so - sometimes even further away if the prey in question is particularly slow relative to the serpent.

Training

Feathered serpents appear to be somewhat trainable. They are more intelligent than a smart dog, but their ability to learn is limited by their lack of limbs and relatively solitary nature. Diligent training with copious food rewards can be a successful training strategy.

Training a feathered serpent is further complicated by the fact that they seem to produce a low-level constant static electricity field that can cause lots of minor shocks when touching them.

Temperament

Feathered serpents appear to be quite curious and docile under most circumstances. They spend a considerable amount of time lying in torpor unless food is particularly plentiful. They do not seem to have any particular fear of predation once mature and only hide or camouflage themselves to facilitate hunting.

Statistics

  • Adult (24 mo+): Str 14, Dex 16, Con 10, Int 3, Wis 8, Cha 10; Init +6, BAB +3, attack +7 (1d4 bite + grapple); Speed 20', climb 20', fly 60' (good); AC 15; hp 28; F/R/W saves +3/+6/+3; special: electric shock 1d4 on contact + stun 1 round (Fort DC 13 negates); weak against fire (-4 to saves, 150% base dmg); immune to electricity; can take double move from standstill on first round of encounter, or can take 1/2 move to launch self into the air

Skills

  • Climb +12
  • Hide +8
  • Move Silently +12
  • Spot +8
  • Survival +8
  • Swim +5

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