Winged serpent (Dungeons & Dragons)

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Winged serpent
First appearanceMonstrous Compendium Al-Qadim Appendix (1992)
Information
Typemagical beast

In the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, the winged serpent, also known as a flying snake is a magical beast. As their name suggests, they resemble small snakes who sport large, gauzy, feathered wings, and hence have the ability to fly. They also have small crests on their heads, and a stingray-like fan on the end of their tails. They live in jungles.

Publication history[edit]

The winged serpent first appeared in second edition for the Al-Qadim setting in the Monstrous Compendium Al-Qadim Appendix (1992),[1] and reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993).[2]

Characteristics and habits[edit]

As said before, winged serpents live in the tropics. They have no permanent lairs, hoard no treasure, and do not take care of their young, so one might presume them to have no cares. This is wrong, as the one thing that a winged serpent does live for is their primary nutrition; fruit. Fruit is the love of a wing serpent's live; they eat it constantly and cannot survive without it. They feast upon mangos, coconuts and such by first finding one, and then biting a hole in them. This injects the Winged serpent's corrosive venom and causes the insides of the fruit to liquify. The creature then sucks it out like juice. In addition to eating fruit, winged serpents also mate incessantly.

Winged serpents have an interesting combat method. While their bite with its corrosive venom can do damage, it is rarely enough to do any serious harm, let alone kill an opponent. Instead, winged serpents flap their wings extremely fast, as fast as hummingbirds do with their wings, and generate static electricity. They then suck this electricity into their mouths, and breathe it, much like the breath weapon of a Blue Dragon, and cause lightning damage. Winged serpents are invulnerable to lightning but vulnerable to fire. The best way to defeat one is to distract it by showing a lavish display of fruit.

Winged serpents are not evil creatures. In fact, they are quite docile. They are sometimes tamed and kept as pets, although rarely, as with the massive amount of fruit they eat they are very expensive. They can be trained to do tricks, and can even act as guardians.

Winged serpents cannot speak, and they are regarded as neutral in alignment.

Winged serpents in the Forgotten Realms[edit]

A variation of Winged serpent appears in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. There, they are known as Flying snakes, and have leathery, reptile-like wings instead of feathered wings. An evil, bat-like version of them called the Deathfang exists also, and is the mortal enemy of normal Flying snakes.

Trivia[edit]

Winged serpents are likely associated with or based on couatls.

The creatures are the primary inspiration for the Wind Serpents in the Warcraft universe.

References[edit]

  1. Baur, Wolfgang and Steve Kurtz. Monstrous Compendium Al-Qadim Appendix (TSR, 1992)
  2. Stewart, Doug, ed. Monstrous Manual (TSR, 1993)


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