If you are lucky, it announces itself with a soft rustle. If not, you are attacked by it unexpectedly and find yourself fighting for life and death. The intangible serpent knows no mercy when it comes to its prey.
Shimmering Scales. The black and green patterned body of the snake, which can reach 17 feet in length, shimmers with slight transparency. The scales allow it to move forward almost silently on the muddy ground of the forest. And this shimmering, scaly skin also makes it unpredictable in battle. It enables the snake to teleport, leaving only a flayed skin from which the ghostly copy of itself rises.
To find its way around and locate prey, the intangible serpent has an excellent sense of smell and the ability to see warm bodies in cool environments.
Tactician. The intangible serpent has developed a simple but very effective tactic for combat. Once it has spotted a victim, it sneaks up and paralyzes it with a bite of its poisonous teeth. By unhooking its lower jaw, it is thus no longer a problem to swallow its immobilized prey whole. The snake's body can expand many times for this purpose.
If it is a group of several creatures that the serpent attacks, it teleports away with its prey after its bite, leaving the others to fight with its ghost snake. After swallowing its target, the serpent returns and either grabs the next creature to disappear with or helps itself with the remains of those that did not survive the battle with the ghostly copy.
Carnivore. Intangible serpents are carnivores but will also eat carrion. This is also why they can often be found near cadaver blossoms. The berries inside the flower are at the top of the snake's menu. It is not uncommon for it to make a home for itself in the extradimensional space inside the flower and attack any creature that gets too close to the plant. Otherwise, the serpent is more likely to be found hanging from trees to sleep.
Useful Skin. Once you have successfully defeated or put to flight the intangible serpent, you can take advantage of the skin left behind and either sell it expensively or tailor garments with unique abilities. Clothes made from the serpent's skin must fit tightly to the body, giving it a shiny, scaly appearance. In exchange, like the snake before, you can teleport a short distance and leave behind a ghostly copy of yourself. Especially among assassins, contract killers, and thieves, these clothes are highly respected and fetch top prices on black markets.
Crafting. A creature can use the layers of skin left behind when an intangible serpent's ghostly copy dies or disappears to make a serpent skinsuit. Each suit is tailored to a single creature, and will require modifications to fit another. The initial construction requires two mostly intact skins. Using water, the skins can be made workable. A creature must then make a DC 15 Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) check using weaver's tools, spending 8 hours with the creature to tailor the suit to, attempting to get it to fit perfectly. On a failure, at least one of the two skins is accidentally destroyed beyond use—on a failure by more than 5 both are destroyed. On a success, the creature successfully creates a serpent skinsuit tailored to the other creature.
Tailoring the suit to another creature requires 2 hours of work and a successful DC 13 Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) check using weaver's tools. On a failure, another skin is required to try again, as the suit itself was damaged.
adventuring gear, requires attunement
A creature wearing this mostly transparent, thin suit made of snakeskin appears to have scaly skin themselves.
Ghostly Step. While attuned to this item, if you are wearing it, when you take the Dash action, you can instead expend one charge to teleport up to 30 feet to an unoccupied space that you can see. When you do, you leave behind a slightly translucent white, ghostly copy of yourself.
Ghostly Copy. The ghostly copy takes its turn immediately after yours. It disappears at the end of its third turn, when you die, or when it is killed.
You can have only one ghostly copy at a time.
Game Statistics. The copy has the same game statistics as you had right before you teleported, including your current hit points and conditions affecting you, except its intelligence score is 4. Any magic items you wore or carried left behind nonmagical ghostly versions instead.
Limited Abilities. The copy can take only an action or a bonus action on its turn, not both, and it can't use reactions. Regardless of your game statistics, it can't make more than one melee or ranged attack during its turn, and it can't cast spells.
Loyal Echo. The copy obeys your verbal commands (no action required by you). If you don't issue any, it attacks any creatures you considered hostile when it was created or, if that's not possible, takes the Dodge action and uses its move to avoid danger.
Charges. This skinsuit has a number of charges equal to your proficiency bonus. It regains all expended charges when you finish a long rest wearing it.
The serpent has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell.
The serpent can sense the temperature of its surroundings with astute accuracy. It knows the exact location of all warm-blooded creatures within 60 feet of it. This sense is blocked by thin sheets of metal, stone, at least 1 foot of wood, or 3 feet of dirt. It works around corners.
Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, range 5 ft., one target. Hit: 17 (2d12 + 4) piercing damage and the target is grappled (escape DC 15).
Additionally, the target must make a DC 13 Constitution saving throw. On a failure, the target takes 14 (4d4 + 4) poison damage and is paralyzed for 1 minute. On a success, the target takes half as much damage and isn't paralyzed. A paralyzed creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.
The serpent unhinges its jaw and attempts to swallow a creature within 5 feet of it. The creature must make a DC 12 Strength saving throw or be grappled (escape DC 15). A grappled creature is beginning to swallowed. Until the grapple ends, the creature is restrained and takes 20 (8d4) acid plus 10 (3d6) bludgeoning damage at the start of each of its turns.
When the serpent attempts to swallow a creature that it has already begun to swallow and that hasn't escaped, the creature has disadvantage on the saving throw and is swallowed on a failed save.
A swallowed creature is restrained and takes 40 (16d4) acid plus 21 (6d6) bludgeoning damage at the start of each of its turns.
The serpent uses its action to teleport to an empty space within 30 feet of its original location. If it has a creature grappled, it can choose to take that creature along, holding the grapple.
At the place the serpent disappeared, a ghostly copy of the serpent remains, occupying a thin layer of skin which the serpent left behind. When the serpent dies, all its ghostly copies disappear.
The ghostly copy has the same game statistics as the serpent had when it disappeared (including current number of hit points and any conditions affecting it), except it does not have the ghostly step ability.
The ghostly copy takes its turn immediately after the serpent and after any other ghostly copies previously created by the serpent. The ghostly copy remains for 2 (1d4) rounds, disappearing at the end of its turn.
When the ghostly copy disappears or is killed, only the thin layer of skin of the original serpent remains.
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