Death Among the Dunes: Desert Monsters
With their punishing climate and near-total lack of precious water, deserts are one of the most hostile environments in existence. Those who spend enough time among the desert sands know that some monsters can thrive even in these hellish wastes. Such creatures are feared and respected by wise adventurers, for they are invariably predatory and deadly—a consequence of evolving in a place where the most reliable source of life-giving water is a fresh corpse.
Those who travel the desert sands sometimes witness the unsettling sight of small patches of dune moving of their own accord. The wise among these travelers give such patches a wide berth, for they know that these are no mere oddities of the desert landscape, but signs of a deadly predator known as the blood snake.
A red-scaled reptile 20 feet long and as thick around as a human’s arm, the blood snake is well-adapted to its desert home. Its hide is tough enough to repel attacks from smaller predators, and it’s very resistant to both the venom of other predators and the desert heat.
The blood snake is a master hunter in its own right, using a combination of stealth and brute force to catch and consume its prey. It burrows into the desert sand and moves through it as easily as it moves aboveground, and its bite delivers a potent neurotoxin that renders its prey completely paralyzed. The snake then quickly chews its way into the paralyzed victim through the stomach and makes its way to the heart, which it consumes in one bite.
Blood Snake Level 8 Lurker
Medium natural beast XP 350
HP 68, Bloodied 34; Initiative +11
AC 21, Fortitude 21, Reflex 19, Will 19; Perception +12
Speed 6, burrow 6; Tremorsense
Resist 10 fire, 10 poison
[mb] Bite * At-Will
Attack: +9 vs. AC
Hit: 2d6 + 5 damage, and the blood snake makes a secondary attack against the target.
Secondary Attack: +4 vs. Fortitude
Hit: The target is unconscious (save ends).
Sandswallow * At-Will
Effect: While the blood snake is on sand, it can make a Stealth check to become hidden. The blood snake remains hidden even if it does not have cover or concealment.
Skills Endurance +11, Stealth +12
Str 20 (+9); Dex 17 (+7); Wis 16 (+7)
Con 14 (+6); Int 2 (+0); Cha 10 (+4)
Alignment unaligned; Languages —
Blood Snake Tactics
A blood snake always starts its attack while hidden by using sandswallow, relying on the element of surprise to deliver the first bite attack. After its victim is paralyzed, the snake delivers coup de grace bite attacks until it consumes the victim’s heart, which occurs with the attack that kills the victim.
Level 8 Encounter (1,750 XP)
5 blood snakes (level 8 lurker)