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5E: Converting Monsters from White Dwarf Magazine for Fifth Edition

Cleon

Legend
Okay, the 4E Wereserpent is venomous like the White Dwarf version but also has constriction attacks like the 3E version.

Its Constrict is pretty close to the standard 5E "grabbing" Constrict and the Drag Foe reminds me of the "grab and drag" Constrict of the 5E Water Weird[/b].

However, the Standard grappling rule allows for dragging foes as you move, so adding a Drag Foe ability may be superfluous unless you want to make the Wereserpent better at it?

That can be achieve with a Special Trait instead of a Special Action though. One that says its speed is halved only if its dragging a victim of a size larger than itself.

For reference:

SRD said:
Grappling
Moving a Grappled Creature: When you move, you can drag or carry the grappled creature with you, but your speed is halved, unless the creature is two or more sizes smaller than you.

Constrictor Snake
Constrict. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 6 (1d8 + 2) bludgeoning damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC 14). Until this grapple ends, the creature is restrained, and the snake can’t constrict another target.

Water Weird
Constrict. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (3d6 + 3) bludgeoning damage. If the target is Medium or smaller, it is grappled (escape DC 14) and pulled 10 feet toward the water weird. Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained, the water weird tries to drown it, and the water weird can't constrict another target.

The Serpentine Shift is a bit trickier. Letting EVERY serpent ally within 50 feet shift 10 feet as a free action is a bit wonky. That'd cause the old "Peasant Railgun" problem as a line of Wereserpents can shift allies along its length for any distance they like, just be all using Serpentine Shift in the same round.

Heck it's worse than the Peasant Railgun in that multiple allies can move up and down the line in any direction they like.

I'd probably have it so it allows allies to use their Reaction to move a certain distance. That'd be a lot more manageable.
 

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Casimir Liber

Adventurer
Yes - shift allowing allies to use their Reaction to move a certain distance sounds good.

I like the idea of making it a better grapple-dragger, hence:

Serpentine Strength. The weresnake can drag or carry the grappled creature with it at normal speed; speed only halved if the creature is one or more sizes larger than it.
 
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Casimir Liber

Adventurer
My initial draft had it as weaker than a wererat as that was what I made it back in AD&D - this version seems more like a controller in combat, so can still have low hit dice maybe. I switched it to a scimitar as that was what I had 40 years ago somewhere. And the wereserpent uses that as well.
 

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Cleon

Legend
Lycanthrope, Weresnake
Medium humanoid (human, shapechanger), neutral evil
Armor Class 13
Hit Points 26 (4d8 + 8)
Speed 30 ft. (30 ft., swim 30 ft. in snake or hybrid form)

STR​
DEX​
CON​
INT​
WIS​
CHA​
13 (+1)​
17 (+3)​
14 (+2)​
11 (+0)​
10 (+0)​
12 (+1)​

Skills Perception +2, Stealth +5
Damage Immunities bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks not made with silvered weapons
Senses blindsight 10 ft. (only in snake or hybrid form), passive Perception 12
Languages Common (can't speak in snake form)
Challenge 2 (450 XP) Proficiency Bonus +2

Shapechanger. The weresnake can use its action to polymorph into a snake-humanoid hybrid or into a Medium snake, or back into its true form, which is humanoid. Its statistics, other than its speed, are the same in each form. Any equipment it is wearing or carrying isn't transformed. It reverts to its true form if it dies.

Keen Smell. The weresnake has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell.

Actions

Multiattack. The weresnake makes two attacks. In snake form, it makes one bite attack and one tail attack. In humanoid form, it makes two scimitar attacks or has one blowgun attack and one scimitar attack. In hybrid form, the weresnake's first attack is with its bite, blowgun or scimitar, and its second attack is with its tail or scimitar.

Bite (Snake or Hybrid Form Only). Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d4 + 3) piercing damage, and the target must make a DC 12 Constitution saving throw, taking 10 (3d6) poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. If a humanoid target takes poison damage from the bite and survives, it must succeed on a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or be cursed with weresnake lycanthropy.

Tail (Snake or Hybrid Form Only). Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d8 + 1) bludgeoning damage. If the weresnake chooses, the target is grappled (escape DC 13) and restrained until the grapple ends. Until this grapple ends, the weresnake can't use its blowgun and its melee attacks can only target the grappled creature.

Scimitar (Humanoid or Hybrid Form Only). Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6 + 3) slashing damage.

Blowgun (Humanoid or Hybrid Form Only). Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, range 25/100 ft., one target. Hit: 1 piercing damage, and the target must make a DC 12 Constitution saving throw, taking 10 (3d6) poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.


Description

Weresnakes are insidious lycanthropes who delight in stalking and killing humanoids. In humanoid form they tend to be thin but muscular and unusually flexible. They move slowly and smoothly with occasional bursts of startling speed. A weresnake's voice is a sibilant hissing, but when in human form they can disguise this by careful pronunciation and usually speak normally with, at most, a slight lisp. Weresnakes prefer to fight in their hybrid form, which has a scaled humanoid upper body from the waist up while the lower half is that of a giant snake. The head appears disturbingly human apart from having the slit-pupiled eyes and venomous fangs of a viper.
 These reptilian lycanthropes typically prey on travelers and strangers who are unlikely to be missed, but will happily murder locals if they think they can get away with it. Weresnakes are highly insular, and most believe only their children and closest companions deserve to join their ranks. They go to great lengths to slay surviving victims who are infected with their curse.
 A weresnake is only comfortable in hot, humid conditions. Most live in tropical swamps and jungles, typically in wilderness areas although some hide in settlements. They like to lair beside water, either in a cave or burrow or some kind of building. Weresnakes are perfectly capable of constructing a hut or house, but prefer to murder a building's original owners and move in. Weresnakes enjoy the company of serpents of all kinds and often keep them as pets.

VARIANT: WERESNAKE SERPENTCALLER
A few weresnakes have the ability to summon venomous snakes. Known as serpentcallers, a weresnake with this ability is revered by its fellow serpent-men and is often the leader, spiritual advisor, or elder sage in a weresnake nest. A serpentcaller is Challenge 3 (700 XP) and gains the following action option.
Summon Serpents (Recharges After A Short Rest). The weresnake serpentcaller innately casts a 2nd-level spell called conjure serpents, requiring no material components. This spell summons 2 giant poisonous snake or 5 (1d3 + 3) poisonous snakes and is otherwise identical to the conjure animals spell.

(Originally created by Cas Liber; appeared in White Dwarf Magazine #30 (April 1982) in "Fiend Factory - In Good(?) Company", edited by Albie Fiore.)
 
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Cleon

Legend
So are we calling this critter a Weresnake like in White Dwarf #30 or a Wereserpent like in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide?

I'd assumed the former, but your rough draft calls it a Weresnake so I guess I'd better change it!

Lycanthrope, Wereserpent [?]

(Originally created by Cas Liber; appeared in White Dwarf Magazine #30 (April 1982) as the Weresnake in "Fiend Factory - In Good(?) Company", edited by Albie Fiore.)
 



Cleon

Legend
My initial draft had it as weaker than a wererat as that was what I made it back in AD&D - this version seems more like a controller in combat, so can still have low hit dice maybe. I switched it to a scimitar as that was what I had 40 years ago somewhere. And the wereserpent uses that as well.

If we're aiming for something weaker than a Wererat then shouldn't it be Challenge 1 instead of 2?
 


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