View Full Version : Pathfinder Race: Serpentine Medusas (WIP)

2015-01-22, 04:29 AM
I play a great deal of low-action, mechanics light, roleplay heavy games, and have over the years made many friends in such games. One of my friends from these games is recently getting into pathfinder, and they're someone who loves reusing old characters into new settings with new twists. Unfortunately, it's hard to recreate a lot of these character's races and abilities in pathfinder, but I decided to give a go at it. One of his favorite characters is a gorgon, and in setting, Medusa's long lost (a large number of centuries) daughter. The setting's gorgons are quite different from Pathfinder's medusas, and I wanted to make a playable character race like the medusas, so I decided to make them, so my friend could potentially play their character in pathfinder, I worked out mechanics, and we're collaborating on fluff.

These gorgons are called serpentine medusas, cause both gorgons and medusas are different things in this setting, but they are essentially snake-centaurs, kind of like Lamia Matriarchs or Lillends, but their upper body have skin coloration similar to their scales, as well as scaley patches, plus snakes for hair.

I estimated the race as being about 28 Racial Points, but it's fudged at bits, the traits are modified from their race-builder guide in many places, but I think I got it pretty balanced (for a monstrous race).
This is my first piece of homebrew for pathfinder, ever, and it's not finished fluff wise, plus I want to add more alternate racial traits, but here for your viewing pleasure, Serpentine Medusas, in commentable google docs form.



Serpentine Medusas are...

Physical Description:



Alignment and Religion: Serpentine Medusas are usually fairly moderate and carefully considered in their beliefs and ethics, and rarely stray towards what they see as extremism. Lawful Good and Chaotic Evil Serpentine Medusas are very rare, though Serpentine Medusas of all alignments can be found. Much of the Serpentine Medusas’ history is lost, and any patron gods they may have once had have long ago died, ascended, or lost interest in the race, if they existed at all. Lacking gods of their own, isolated groups tend to worship nature spirits, or be non-religious. Less isolated groups often adopt and venerate the patron gods of nearby humanoid species. As such, Serpentine Medusas can be found who worship most major gods who will not turn them away.

Adventurers: The drive to look for new horizons occasionally burns inside the normally laid back Serpentine Medusas, driving them from their homes out into society at large. While true adventurers are rare, often Serpentine Medusas can be found who have fled their comparatively primitive villages to make a life for themselves in major cities. Those who further go on to delve into the long forgotten corners of the world are very rare, but the occasional Serpentine Medusa has taken up the mantle of heroic adventure.

Female Names: Clio, Redlohecalp

Male Names: Biggus Dickus (all males are named Biggus Dickus)


Ability Score Racial Traits: Serpentine Medusas are agile and contemplative, but their bodies are prone to sickness and changes in environment. They gain +2 Dexterity, +2 Wisdom, and –2 Constitution. (0 RP)
Size: Serpentine Medusas are Large creatures and thus gain a +2 size bonus to Strength and a –2 size penalty to Dexterity. Large races take a –1 size penalty to their AC, a –1 size penalty on attack rolls, a +1 bonus on combat maneuver checks and to their CMD, and a –4 size penalty on Stealth checks. A Large creature takes up a space that is 10 feet by 10 feet and has a reach of 5 feet. (7 RP)
Type: Serpentine Medusas are Monstrous Humanoids of the Reptilian subtype. (3 RP)
Speed: Serpentine Medusas have a base speed of 20 feet, but their speed is never modified by armor or encumberance. (-1 RP)
Languages: A Serpentine Medusa begins play speaking Common and Draconic. Serpentine Medusas with high intelligence may choose from the following: Any human language (pick one), Aklo, Sylvan, Infernal, Elvan, Aquan, Terran. (0 RP)


Improved Natural Armor: Serpentine Medusas have thick hides and tough scales which grant a +2 natural armor bonus (3 RP)


Swim: Serpentine Medusas have a swim speed of 30 feet and thus gain a +8 racial bonus on Swim checks (2 RP)


Bite: Serpentine Medusas have a natural bite attack which deals 1d3 damage and is a primary natural weapon, or secondary if the user attacks with manufactured weapons or unarmed strikes in the same round. (1 RP)
Toxic: A number of times per day equal to its Constitution modifier (minimum 1/day), a Serpentine Medusa can envenom a weapon that it wields with its toxic venom. Applying venom this way is a swift action. A Serpentine Medus never risks poisoning themselves if they apply this to their natural weapons. Serpentine Medusa Venom: Injury; save Fort DC 10 + the 1/2 user's Hit Dice + the user's Constitution modifier; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d2 Str; cure 1 save. (1 RP)


Darkvision: Serpentine Medusa++++s have Darkvision 60 ft. (0 RP)
All-Around Vision: Serpentine Medusa’s snakes alert them to threats and let them react to things their main eyes cannot see. They have a +4 racial bonus on perception checks and are immune to flanking. (4 RP)


Serpentine: Serpentine Medusa’s have no legs, and instead move by slithering across the ground. They can never have effective protection from caltrops or similar hazards, and find great difficulty with stairs. They are immune to tripping, and use weapons and (but not armor) as if they were a medium sized creature. Serpentine Medusas may use their tails to perform unarmed strikes as other races might use their feet. (2 RP)
Frightful Gaze: Creatures within 30 feet of a Serpentine Medusa that meet its gaze must succeed at a Will saving throw (DC 10 + the 1/2 user's character level + the user's Charisma modifier) or stand paralyzed in fear for 1 round. This is a mind-affecting fear effect. A target that successfully saves cannot be affected by the user's frightful gaze for 24 hours. The Serpentine Medusa cannot stop this effect except with a physical barrier between their face and others, such as a mask. (6 RP)


Mountain Born: Serpentine Medusas of the nomadic mountain tribes rarely fish and rarely swim, and as such do not have the swift swimming prowess of their island kin. Instead their bodies harden against the harsh environments. Serpentine medusas with this trait receive a +4 racial bonus on Constitution checks and Fortitude saves to avoid fatigue and exhaustion, as well as any other ill effects from running, forced marches, starvation, thirst, and hot or cold environments. This trait replaces Swim.
Tree Dweller: Serpentine Medusas who make their homes deep in overgrown jungles, hunting for food and moving among treetops, have a natural knack for climbing and anchoring themselves to trees and walls. These serpents are often more slender than others of their kind. Serpentine Medusas with this trait have a climb speed of 20 feet, and gain the +8 racial bonus on Climb checks that a climb speed normally grants. This trait replaces Swim.
Diplomat: Some Serpentine Medusas don’t have the benefit of thick hides and scales to protect them. These frail serpents must rely more on their ability to socialize to survive. Serpentine Medusas with this trait gain a +2 bonus on Diplomacy and Bluff checks. In addition, when they use Diplomacy to shift a creature's attitude, they can do so up to three steps up rather than just two. Many males possess this trait, due to their tendency to be smaller and frailer than females, they often lack natural armoring as well. This trait replaces a Serpentine Medusa’s natural armor bonus.

Unsorted Notes:

The societies of serpentine medusas are often matriarchal, in groups of between 10 and 50 members (depending on morph). Outside of tribes and clans, it’s not uncommon for lone serpentine medusas to find lives in larger, more cosmopolitan cities.
The preferred weapon for most serpentine medusas is the bow and arrow, though they are a adaptive race and may find proficiency in most weaponry.
Come in three primary morphs, Island, Mountain and Jungle. Each has a somewhat different appearance and society from the others, but are effectively the same race and species still.
Island morphs live in tropical and subtropical island villages, often living off of fishing. They are adaptive and may specialize in most classes.
Most likely group to trade and make contact with outside races, these are the ‘default’ appearance of the race. Have grey-green skin with smooth scales and around one dozen hair-serpents, with lime green eyes and some iridescence in the scales.
Island societies are often fairly relaxed and open to trade with other races, and are the most likely to have individuals who immigrate to larger more cosmopolitan cities.
Art revolves around painting, engraving, and sea-based jewelery work. Music revolves around vocals and percussion.
Most numerous and well known variety.
Mountain morphs live in temperate to northern mountain ranges without permafrost. They are more or less nomadic and lean toward specializations in classes such as barbarians and hunters.
This morph has a rougher appearance, with brown and copper coloured scales and copper coloured eyes, with between 8 and 10 head serpents and a more robust build. An individual of this morph will usually appear more solid and robust than a similar individual of another morph.
Mountain societies are nomadic and often subsistence hunters, living off game in small groups of 6 to 12 individuals. Several small related groups may be spread across a wide territory. They may occasionally trade with dwarves and other mountain races, and will set up semi-permanent camps to winter.
Art revolves around needlework and engraving.
This group is isolationist by nature but will often open up to non-hostile races for trade.
Jungle morphs live in deep tropical jungles in large canopy villages. They are more isolationist and can become aggressive if guests show up uninvited, but will hold themselves to be polite and diplomatic until unwanted guests are driven off.
They are longer and more slender than the other morphs, with a dark green, mottled and irregularly striped skin tone. Their eyes are a deep yellow.
Jungle morphs are the most magically inclined of the serpentine medusas, and are also the most likely to develop regional folklore.
Jungle morphs are the most social of the three main varieties, though only within their own societies. Villages may reach 100 members, headed by an elder matriarch and her daughters.
The art of jungle morphs revolves around stonework and occasional metalwork.
The gender ratio is roughly 7-1 females to males. In medusa society the males are often given some leniency, as they are markedly smaller and less robust than the females (though not to the point of requiring different statistics). As such, serpentine medusas are often matriarchal in leadership, with males being seen as reliable and able, but somewhat fragile.
males often train in diplomatic and artistic skills out of necessity.
Breeding occurs every few years, less often for serpentine medusas in colder or harsher climes. Several able females will produce one or two eggs each, which have a 10 month incubation period and are taken care of in different methods depending on morph.
In areas with warm average temperatures and soft soil, mothers will come together and place their eggs in communal incubation pits, insulated with detritus under mud. This is especially common in tropical island and jungle societies.
Eggs begin with the texture and hardness of polished stone, gradually becoming more fragile as they incubate.
Eggs are left and supervised in shifts for several months before being carefully retrieved, then cared for for the last month or so before hatching. They are marked at birth by mothers using various materials from inks to tar, so as to allow mothers to keep track of which offspring is hers.
In cooler temperate regions where incubation nests are viable, they are often placed in a central area of the village, warmed by small fires which are kept lit by the mothers and their families.
In colder northern regions, eggs are less numerous and are carried for those months by the mothers themselves, often bundled in a sling made of thick material and/or animal skins. The eggs are protected by the entire group and taken care of in shifts - while a jungle village may have anywhere from 6 to 10 eggs incubating at a time, a mountain clan may have 1 or 2 at most.

A note on Sexual Dimorphism in the race. I initially discouraged my friend from including sexual mechanical sexual dimorphism (such as strength and frailty) descriptions in the fluff, for personal reasons and that mechanical sexual dimorphism went out the window in 2e for good reason, but eventually relented. As presented, there's no mechanical enforcement of the sexual dimorphism, just a vague encouragement that males might take the diplomat trait, and should possibly play with lowwer strength scores. You can still play a small, weak, frail female or a strong armored male if you want. In the standard fluff these would be considered rare, but they do happen, and there's no reason you have to play with that aspect of the standard lore! I think as it stands, it adds a bit of character to the race, and as gorgons are typically seen as all female, and in real life male snakes are often smaller than the females, I think it makes a bit of sense.

No I will not be keeping the names long term I just haven't thought of anything yet. The unsorted notes section will likely be removed once we sort all the information into a more formalized description, and we've come up with a few things we have yet to add, and will continue to be working on this. If you have questions lore wise, I'd love to hear them, and I can either give answers or it may be something we never thought of and can work out!

Questions? Comments? If you wish, commenting privileges are open to all on the google doc copy, and specific comments can be made on relevant text there if you want. Highlight the section and right click it to see the comment option. This is my first ever homebrew project and I think I did a decent job, and am excited to see what other people think. I know it's very basic, and doesn't deviate much from the race builder.