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RPG Item: Serpentfolk Hide: Classic Monsters Reskinned
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Year: 2013
Electronic (PDF, DOC, eBook, HTML, etc.)
Product Code: AJ H106
10 pages
Size: Letter
English
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From publisher blurb:

Snakes… Why did it have to be snakes? I’ll tell you. It’s because there’s something about them that triggers primitive instincts within us. They are at once symbols of wisdom, and sources of fear. We think they’re cool, but we don’t ever quite trust them. They’re powerful, sensual, and deadly.

We’re back to my fascination with sword-and-sorcery again, and primitive cultures blended with sophisticated magic. I like the mix of crude, tribal serpentfolk coexisting with advanced, learned versions of the same species. I trace it back to my fascination with the Sleestak and the Altrusians in the original Land of the Lost television series. Then again, a lot of my campaign setting of Desteon was influenced by Land of the Lost.

There’s also something Cthulhoid about them as well, and I’m certainly not the first to point this out or utilize them in this way. I see the advanced serpentfolk as almost science fictional, from the future, another dimension, a faraway star, or some combination of the three. In my mind their magic is only magic of the Arthur C. Clarke variety — technology, sufficiently advanced, seen as a supernatural force only by lesser minds. They’re scary because they may well have a firmer grasp on the true nature of the universe than we do, and they know how to exploit that knowledge. It also means their motives are often unknown, and unknowable, because their minds are working on a completely different level than other humanoids.

In Serpentfolk Hide, I went for a blend of the advanced and the degenerate, and I played around with the mystery of which came first. Were the primitive serpentfolk uplifted, or were the civilized serpentfolk somehow struck down? Was there a single, cataclysmic event, or did it take place over time? Why do they both coexist — or is time travel somehow involved? I leave it up to you to run with the unanswered questions, search for answers in your own campaign.

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