New Mutant Monday # 91 - Heway

Chris Van Deelen

No. Enc: 1d4 or 6d6 in communities
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement: 120’ (40’) in snake form
                     90’ (30’) in humanoid form
AC: 3
HD: 7
Attacks: 1 venom squirt and 1 bite or constriction (see description), or 1 venom squirt, 1 bite, 2 claws or by weapon type in humanoid form.
Damage: Special or 1d4+1 or special, 1d6+2, 1d8+2 / 1d8+2 or by weapon type.
Save: L7
Morale: 6
Hoard Class: V, VIIx3 (75% weapons, armor and gizmos), X, XIII (50% chance for both coin types)

These creatures are snakes that originated in Ethiopia and the surrounding countries but somehow found their way to the Pacific North West.

As is the case with the majority of life on the planet, these creatures were mutated through exposure to radiation as well as other toxins released into the environment during the final wars. And then to top it off, they were hit by the Uplift virus and a new, dangerous and quite antagonistic species was born into the wastelands.

Physically these creatures appear to be large snakes covered in green scales. The average specimen is around six feet in length and weighs in at nearly sixty pounds. At first glance they appear as nothing more than a large reptile, but as is the case with many creatures found in the wastelands, appearances are deceiving.

The creature can shapeshift at will, taking on a humanoid form. They always appear as scaled males and females with no hair and bright yellow eyes. The tongue remains forked and they are incapable of speech, but they can easily communicate through telepathy. While in this humanoid form, they have fully-functional arms and legs, and retain a tail that is as long as they are tall. The tail is fully prehensile and they can even use it to wield weapons. It should be noted that they can only retain this humanoid form for 6 plus 1d6 hours, and once they return to their natural state, they cannot take humanoid form again until the same length of time they were humanoid has passed.

They are also very cold, not physically, but emotionally. They are very reptilian and logical, and have no real concept of good or evil. They just do whatever is required at the moment. Many who deal with them consider them to be utterly emotionless. Which is true. They have no emotions, and any mutation or effect that causes emotion is completely lost on them – they are immune.

In combat, the creature is able to squirt class 4 poison from glands located in front of the eyes. This can be used in both snake and humanoid form. It has a range of 30 feet, and can be used 2d6 times a day. They can also bite in both forms, and while in humanoid form can choose to claw with their hands, or use weapons.

The scales covering their bodies are very hard and can even reflect light and other energy. Anytime the creature is hit by light or an energy weapon, there is a flat 25% chance that the attack will be reflected back at the attacker, automatically hitting. If they suffer more than 50% of their hit-points in combat, they must immediately make a moral check or be forced to revert to their natural form (if not already in that state), and slither for safety. Due to the much smaller size, this will allow them to escape through tiny holes or cracks, evading their enemy and living to seek revenge.

They are immune to cold, and take no damage from cold-based weapons. Also when in snake form, they can constrict around a target. This requires a successful melee strike, and then each round they will automatically inflict 1d6+2 points of constriction damage. The victim is allowed a grapple check, with the creature having Strength equivalent of 12. If the grapple check fails, the damage is automatically inflicted, and the creature gains a +2 to hit and damage with its bite attack.

The creatures will trade with others, but due to their nature, they are often harsh negotiators, with a universal ‘take it or leave it’ attitude, and have been known to kill and eat anyone who has attempted to cheat them.

Although they do prefer to consume small prey live, they will eat any meat presented, even if they have to cut it up and swallow it. They are always willing to consuming small intelligent humanoids live. They do not feel emotions and gain no pleasure from doing so, but they do seem to take more nutrition from such beings and as such will often hunt these creatures down and capture for food.

The females never go into ‘heat’ as per-say, instead they will take any healthy male specimen in the community, although they do prefer to take the strongest or the most intelligent specimens. This always happens during the month of December. They will mate for exactly three days, and the mating ritual is strange for those to witness. As snakes, they will be wrapped together, constantly coiled around one another, always twisting and moving. They will also spend at least seven hours per day in humanoid form, seemingly engaged in combat but they are in fact mating.

The females will lay a clutch of 1d4 eggs after precisely 30 days. The eggs will always be kept in a warm climate, with the temperatures at least 90 degrees. This can be achieved by use of fires or other such methods. It takes another five months for the eggs to hatch, and then the young are looked after and fed by the entire community, never knowing or caring who their parents are.

Mutation: Adaptation (cold), chameleon epidermis (modified), clinging, metamorph (modified), neural telepathy, reflective epidermis (modified), toxic weapon