What is the meaning of snake-hood? Is venom a necessary part of who you are? Life abroad will test your answers.
This is the fourth in a series of four player-character classes for use with 5E rules. (Other characters are the Demon’s Ex, Quick Jackfruit, and Charm Addict.) The Wise Serpent is an enormous cobra. As they adventure, they learn how to share their divinity with a disciple — a servitor under their spell.
Download them here:
Zedeck’s Design Notes:
This is basically a pun — “snake charmer” — turned into a playable character. That’s it, really.
Being built around charming / dominating other intelligent persons, the Wise Serpent is a snarl, ethics-wise. We wanted to look at a few things:
- What is the relationship between a teacher and a student? Between a labourer and a master that basically holds all the keys?
- Might a non-human divinity adhere to a moral universe different from our 2021 Western-traditions-derived standards?
- Having power doesn’t absolve you of agency. How you use your abilities? That’s on you. By design, any person you charm remembers how they became your thrall, and how you treated them.
Different moral universe. And different physical morphology.
This isn’t the first time A Thousand Thousand Islands has foregrounded a limbless character. And the Wise Serpent won’t be our last PC without opposable thumbs.
Some starting abilities may approximate Mage Hand. But none of these are at-will powers. The fact that your cobra is not humanoid should come up during play, early on, and it should matter.
You should never see this as a deficiency, of course. Your companions can grasp things or traverse situations on your behalf. It is not that you lack arms or legs. It is that they lack a serpent’s shape, and therefore sadly fall short of perfection.
Written by Zedeck Siew