Chthonic Serpent (3.5e Martial Discipline)
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The school of the Sublime Way focuses on versatility and efficiency. Their students are taught to use many weapons, and to excel in the weapons most suited to their disciplines. Reshar believed strongly that a weapon must be usable in all situations and that a martial adept must use any weapon available.
As such, the 'soft' weapons were largely scorned by Reshar. Though masters of Setting Sun could put nunchaku to powerful use, and the spiked chain was a thing to be feared in the most skilled of Shadow Hand adepts, Reshar himself found that the weapons, though potent in the hands of a master, simply did not offer enough to warrant the special training necessary in their use. If warriors were to be efficient, choosing how to spend their time training is crucial — and time spent mastering such a complicated weapon was wasted, thought Reshar, for his vision of a martial adept was one who would not be dependent on any single weapon.
Alikarin ahn Tollerria, a friendly rival of Reshar's, disagreed with this decision. He felt, strongly, that the weapons offered opportunities that could not be found within rigid weaponry, and that training specially in their use could offer rewards to a dedicated student.
In many ways, Alikarin did find that Reshar was correct — he spent many decades simply experimenting with the weapons, and never had the success of his friend. He drew few students, because he felt he himself was still a novice. Nevertheless, he persevered, and after many years, his small dojo, though obscure and remote, had succeeded, through the combined efforts of Alikarin and his students, in developing ways of using soft weapons not only with the techniques of the Sublime Way, but also with their own discipline: the Chthonic Serpent.
The ways of the Chthonic Serpent rely on throwing one's opponent off-guard, distracting him and ruining his timing, before finally trapping him within the binding chains of their weapons. The weapons associated with the Chthonic Serpent discipline are the Dire Flail, Flail, Flindbar(MM3), Heavy Flail, Kusari-Gama(DMG), Spiked Chain, Tentacle, and Whip. The skill associated with Chthonic Serpent is Use Rope (Dex).
- 1 Learning Maneuvers from the Discipline
- 2 Game Mechanics of the Chthonic Serpent
- 3 Maneuvers of the Chthonic Serpent Discipline
- 4 Feats
- 5 Magic Items
- 6 Monsters
Learning Maneuvers from the Discipline
Because Alikarin had only succeeded in developing a successful discipline for these weapons by the time both he and Reshar were quite old, Reshar never mastered the discipline and it was never included in his school. As such, it never gained nearly the fame as Reshar's nine, but Alikarin's little dojo lives on, and masters of Chthonic Serpent may be found on occasion. Only Swordsages and Warblades may learn maneuvers from Chthonic Discipline, but most cannot. There are two ways to learn maneuvers from the discipline.
The first is to have received prior training in the discipline. A Warblade or Swordsage may start with access to Chthonic Serpent, but doing so means neglecting their training in another discipline. A Swordsage or Warblade may during character creation select one of the disciplines he has access to, and replace it with Chthonic Serpent. That discipline's associated skill is no longer a class skill for the character, and they gain Use Rope as a class skill instead.
The other way is to seek out a master of the Chthonic Serpent, one capable of 5th or higher level maneuvers from the discipline. Such an adept may train a Swordsage or Warblade in the discipline. Training costs 1,000 XP and takes a month. After the month, the character gains the ability to learn maneuvers from the Chthonic Serpent discipline, and may further swap out any maneuvers he does know at the time for maneuvers from the Chthonic Serpent discipline of the same level. He also gains Use Rope as a class skill. The difficulty of finding such a mentor is left to the DM to decide.
Game Mechanics of the Chthonic Serpent
Available To: Swordsage, Warblade
Maneuver Granting Item: Chthonic Serpent Belt
Discipline Feat: Chthonic Grip
Maneuvers of the Chthonic Serpent Discipline
- To see the full, expanded description of every maneuver, click here.
- Binding Constrictor: Strike — On a successful attack, start a grapple as a free action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity. Gain +1 to Grapple check per two initiator levels. Maintain Grapple at distance.
- Coils of Rapture: Stance — If you are smaller than your opponent, all size modifiers for Grapple checks are halved. Allows Grappling of opponents more than two size categories larger than you.
- Crack of the Whip: Stance — Whips may deal lethal damage, attack lightly armored opponents, take attacks of opportunity, and do not provoke attacks of opportunity when attacking.
- Flexible Strike: Strike — Strike ignores target's Shield AC.
- Thundersnap Lash: Boost [Sonic] — Deal additional sonic damage, and possibly deafen your opponent.
- Dance of Chains: Counter — Counter an attack with a grapple attempt.
- Introduction to Dirt: Strike — After ensnaring a creature with a Chthonic Serpent grappling maneuver (such as Binding Constrictor), end the grapple by slamming your victim to the ground.
- Viper Lash: Strike — Attack with 5 ft. greater reach, target is denied Dexterity bonus to AC.
- Boa Strike: Strike — On a successful attack, start a grapple as a free action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity. Gain +1 to Grapple check per two initiator levels. Immediately deal constriction damage equal to weapon damage +2d6. Maintain Grapple at distance.
- Careful Chains: Stance — Gain bonus to Grapple checks depending on ranks in Use Rope.
- Frenzied Serpent Flail: Strike — Flail your weapon wildly in an area, striking an opponent possibly many times in an area of effect.
- Whirling Scythe: Boost — On successful trip attempt before the end of your turn, gain free attack and deal +4d6 damage.
- Wrap-Around Attack: Strike — Against this strike, target's Shield bonus to AC becomes a Shield penalty to AC.
- Blurred Bonds: Boost — All threatened targets are denied Dexterity bonus to AC and take a −4 penalty to all checks to resist Disarming or Trips.
- Death Adder Lash: Strike — Attack with 5 ft. greater reach, target is denied Dexterity bonus to AC. Deals 1 Constitution damage.
- Rapture Rose: Strike — On successful disarm, throw opponent's weapon at another.
- Reap What Has Been Sown: Counter — Gain a free grapple attempt that does not provoke attacks of opportunity against those who try to close with you.
- Choking Python: Strike — On a successful attack, start a grapple as a free action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity. Gain +1 to Grapple check per two initiator levels. Immediately deal constriction damage equal to weapon damage +4d6. Maintain Grapple at distance.
- Way of Ourobouros: Stance — Grapple two enemies at once while dual-wielding the discipline's associated weapons.
- Whirlwind Lash: Strike — Make a Trip or Disarm attempt against all threatened enemies. This does not provoke attacks of opportunity and enemies cannot attempt to retaliate.
- Cobra Lash: Strike — Attack with 10 ft. greater reach, target is denied Dexterity bonus to AC. Deals 1d4 Constitution damage.
- Death's Embrace: Boost — Blinds each foe attacked this turn.
- Ground Kisser: Strike — After ensnaring a creature with a Chthonic Serpent grappling maneuver (such as Choking Python), end the grapple by slamming your victim to the ground.
- Anaconda Crush: Strike — On a successful attack, start a grapple as a free action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity. Gain +1 to Grapple check per two initiator levels. Immediately deal constriction damage equal to weapon damage +6d6. Maintain Grapple at distance.
- Reap the Whirlwind: Boost — On next successful trip attempt this turn, gain free full attack against target.
- Shutdown Squeeze: Strike [X-Discipline] — Squeeze a creature to unconsciousness by injecting them with Shutdown Serum.
- Calamity Symphony: Stance — All of discipline's associated weapons add 5 ft. to their reach and maintain the ability to strike at adjacent squares as well. Against any target completely surrounded by threatened squares, all attacks gain the benefits of flanking.
- Destroy Evasion: Strike — Make your target's next Reflex save fail automatically.
- Wrath of Quetzalcoatl: Strike — Attack with 15 ft. greater reach, target is denied Dexterity bonus to AC. Deals 1d8 Constitution damage.
- Bonds of Jörmungandr: Strike — Crush the life out of your target.
- Inescapable Embrace: Stance [See text] — Perfectly synergize your grappling prowess and your Use Rope skill, with each ability adding to the other. If you have Binding Growth, you become an inescapable predator.
Chthonic Grip [General] Prerequisites: Blade Meditation (Chthonic Serpent), Any two of Binding Constrictor, Boa Strike, Choking Python, or Anaconda CrushBenefit: You may initiate a Grapple with any of the weapons associated with the Chthonic Serpent discipline. Doing so requires a successful melee attack (not touch attack), followed by a successful Grapple check, but does not provoke an attack of opportunity and does not require that you move into your enemy's space. Grappling in this fashion is identical to using the Binding Constrictor maneuver.
When using Binding Constrictor, Boa Strike, Choking Python, or Anaconda Crush, these maneuvers deal an extra +2d6 constricting damage.
Special: Chthonic Grip can be used in place of Improved Grapple to qualify for a feat, prestige class, or other special ability. If you already have Improved Grapple when you select Chthonic Grip, you can choose to lose the Improved Grapple feat and gain a new feat in its place. You must meet the prerequisite for the new feat.
Snake Dance [General]
Prerequisites: Bardic Dance class feature, One Chthonic Serpent stanceBenefit: Choose a Bardic Dance you know, and a Chthonic Serpent Stance you know. You gain the benefits of that Stance whenever you use that Dance, even if you are already in another Stance because of the Martial Dance class feature.
Special: You may take this feat multiple times. Its effects do not stack; instead, choose a different Dance with which to associate any Chthonic Serpent stance. No Dance may have more than one Stance associated with it.
Summon Suffering [General]
Prerequisites: Able to cast 3rd level arcane spells, one Chthonic Serpent maneuver of 3rd level or higherBenefit: As a Swift Action, expend an Arcane spell slot in order to gain the Kyton's Dancing Chains ability for a number of rounds equal to the spell's level. Each chain animated with this ability is entitled to a single attack per round, and any one may be used as the your weapon for your attacks, though it can only be used to attack a target within 15' reach of you.
|Price (Item Level):||3,000gp (novice); or 15,000gp (scholar); or 45,000gp (master) (7th; or 14th; or 17th)|
|Caster Level:||5th (novice); or 10th (scholar); or 15th (master)|
|Aura:||Faint (DC 17) divination (novice); or moderate (DC 19) divination (scholar); or strong (DC 21) divination (master)|
A Chthonic Serpent belt looks like a rattlesnake, and the buckle is an intricate device in which the head of the snake opens, revealing two fangs which can be slid over the beads in the serpent's tail. With the buckle closed, the belt looks much like an ouroboros (a snake eating its own tail). The belt functions as a crown of the White RavenToB, except that it grants maneuvers from the Chthonic Serpent discipline.
This item comes in three varieties: novice (which grants a maneuver of up to 3rd level), scholar (which grants a maneuver of up to 6th level), and master (which grants a maneuver of up to 9th level).
- Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, knowledge of a maneuver from the Chthonic Serpent discipline.
- Cost to Create: 1,500gp, 120 XP, 3 days (novice); or 7,500gp, 600 XP, 15 days (scholar); or 22,500gp, 1,800 XP, 45 days (master)
|Body Slot||Waist +|
|Class||Swordsage + and Warblade +|
|Cost||3,000gp (novice); or 15,000gp (scholar); or 45,000gp (master) +|
|Identifier||3.5e Martial Discipline +|
|Level||7th; or 14th; or 17th +|
|Skill||Use Rope +|
|Summary||The ways of the Chthonic Serpent rely on throwing one's opponent off-guard, distracting him and ruining his timing, before finally trapping him within the binding chains of their weapons. + and Grants maneuvers from the Chthonic Serpent discipline. +|
|Title||Chthonic Serpent +|
|Weapon||Dire Flail +, Flail +, Flindbar(MM3) +, Heavy Flail +, Kusari-Gama(DMG) +, Spiked Chain +, Tentacle + and Whip +|