Zagan, The Duke of Disappointment

On the cusp of deification, Zagan lost all he had worked for. As a vestige, he offers his summoners a snake’s sense of smell, the power to cause an enemy fl ee his presence, the ability to immobilize an opponent, and more effective combat abilities against snakes and their ilk.

Legend: When dwarves had yet to tunnel into their mountains and elves first walked beneath the boughs of trees, Zagan ruled over thousands. A lord in a great yuan-ti empire, he had power over hundreds of his own kind, who in turn controlled the lives of thousands of humanoid slaves. Zagan built himself up as a god to these slaves, using the yuan-ti as his emissaries to communicate with the uneducated masses over which he held sway. Over time, Zagan’s power became so great that he actually aspired to become a god. He sought and fi nally discovered the means to his goal: a grand ceremony wherein he and his yuan-ti would gather together all his worshipers and slay them.

At the appointed hour on the appointed night, Zagan collected all his people for a celebration of his glory. He could feel their worship empowering him, and with each passing minute he gained strength and felt his awareness widening. Then Zagan rang the gong that signaled the attack, and he and his yuan-ti servants fell upon the slaves, slaying them with wild abandon. At first Zagan thought it glorious, but then he felt his new powers begin to wane. With each life he crushed, he felt a bit more mortal. Zagan attempted to call off the ceremony, but in the chaos of the slaughter, the other yuan-ti could not hear him. Suddenly, a sword pierced Zagan’s chest from behind. As he looked down at the bloody blade, a sibilant voice whispered in his ear, “The World Serpent wishes you well.” A cleric among his own people had tricked Zagan into ruining his chances at godhood on the very eve of his apotheosis. At a point somewhere between godhood and mortality, Zagan passed on into the void.

Special Requirement: You must kowtow before Zagan’s seal, prostrating yourself and addressing him as a deity.

Manifestation: When Zagan begins to manifest, several snakes appear in a heap in his seal. The snakes then slither apart and rise upright along the lines of the seal. Then the crown of a head appears, with baleful eyes glowering. An ogrelike head slowly reveals itself, and after another moment, shoulders andarms appear, to which the snakes are attached. Zagan then uses his powerful arms to pull the rest of his body from the ground, revealing a long, serpentine form instead of legs. He reaches toward his summoner hungrily, his mouth gaping open in a feral grin, but the snakes on his body turn toward him and hiss, causing him to flinch backward. The brooding Zagan then addresses his summoner while calming the snakes. Binder scholars say that the snakes on his body are his most loyal lieutenants, who were killed on the night of Zagan’s murder and dragged with his soul into a vestige’s existence.

Sign: You gain a lisp and can’t help but speak in a sibilant manner.

Influence: While influenced by Zagan, you become domineering and aggressive. Zagan requires that you slay any snake or snakelike being you meet, and deface any representations of snakes or snakelike beings other than Zagan that you find.

Granted Abilities: Zagan grants you a snake’s ability to detect creatures by scent, the ability to grapple and constrict as a snake, increased combat ability against snakes and their cousins, and the power to cause your foes to avoid your mere presence.

Aversion: As a standard action, you can create a compulsion effect targeting any creature within 30 feet. The target must succeed on a Will save or gain an aversion to you, snakes, and yuan-ti for 5 rounds. An affected creature must stay at least 20 feet away from you or any snake or yuan-ti, alive or dead; if already within 20 feet, the target moves away. Any subject unable to move away or attacked by you, a snake, or a yuan-ti is overcome with revulsion.

This revulsion reduces the creature’s Dexterity score by 4 points until the effect wears off or the subject is no longer within 20 feet of you. This ability is otherwise similar to the antipathy spell, with a caster level equal to your effective binder level. Aversion is a mind-affecting compulsion ability. When you use this power, a ghostly image of Zagan manifests around your body and speaks your command with you before vanishing. After using this ability, you must wait 5 rounds before using it again.

Improved Grapple: You gain the benefit of the Improved Grapple feat (PH 95). In addition, you are considered to be of Large size for the purpose of making grapple checks, and damage you deal with a successful grapple check to a grappled foe is lethal damage.

Scent: You gain the scent special quality.

Constrict: You gain a giant constrictor’s ability to crush the life from its prey. You deal damage equal to 1d8 + 1-1/2 × your Str modifier with a successful grapple check, in addition to your normal unarmed damage (typically 1d3 + Str modifier for a Medium humanoid and 1d2 + Str modifier for a Small humanoid).

Snake Bane: Zagan’s hatred for snakes, yuan-ti, and all snakelike creatures gives you improved combat prowess against their kind. You gain a +2 bonus on melee attacks against snakes, snakelike creatures (such as nagas or yuan-ti), or creatures with a natural poison attack, and you deal an extra 2d6 points of damage against such foes when making melee attacks. This damage also applies when you make a grapple check to deal damage against a snake or snakelike enemy, in addition to dealing your normal unarmed damage and your constrict damage.