The Robe of the Vipers was thought to be a mythical item; one of legends and stories. Any aspiring young mage will have heard of it, and most adventuring types will have come across the tales at some point in their journeys.
Long ago, an extremely talented young wizard named Crowley was studying at the university. He was advanced in all of his subjects and training, and was offered a position in the research lab among the finest professors upon his graduation. The governing wizards had high hopes for this young man, for not only were his physical abilities amazing, so was his sharp mind and his thirst for knowledge. He was eager to begin his researching and experiments and spent the majority of his waking moments in the library and archives looking for something that would present him with an opportunity to make his mark on history. For not only did he have a passion for his work, but also a taste for the spotlight and the perks it afforded. He had grown accostomed to the special treatment by his professors and the authorities granted him over some of the other students.
One day in the library, he came across some aged writings on an ancient species of exltremely large, highly intellegent vipers rumored to posess mystical powers. The blood of these evolved snakes was supposed to contain a high concentration of hormone which would essentially act as a catalyst/accelerator to most magical spells. In other words, if used properly, this blood could heighten the effectiveness and power of virtually any magic.
Equally as interesting to young wizard were the qualities of their venom. It was thought to be the most potent venom known to man. It effected the nervous system and the heart almost immediately, bringing on a state of complete paralysis while the heartrate accelerated to bursting. Interestingly enough, the only known antidote is the blood of the snake itself.
Though scholars had been searching for these snakes for centuries, Crowley vowed to find them and use their resources for his own gain. He had a small advantage that those before him did not: the compilation of all of the notes from everyone else, and a vastly improved mapping system of the realm. He studied for weeks that turned into months until he was sure that he had pinpointed the last known region of these ancient creatures. He was sure that even if they were extinct and he found only remains, he would still be able to extract what he needed to cultivate and harvest their “natural resources.”
To make a long journey short…Crowley *was* able to track down their ancient civilization deep in the heart of a barely accessable jungle. They resembled giant Hooded Cobras with shimmering gold sclaes. Upon finding the giant snakes, he discovered that they were willing to protect there existance at any cost. (Threre were just a few of them left.)
Crowley attacked that which he presumed to be the leader, the largest of the tribe with the greatest hood. It proved to be a long and grueling duel with magic flying everywhere. Finally, Crowley was able to best the creature, thrusting his dagger deep into the belly of the beast. As it fell, one of it’s fangs pierced Crowleys arm, rendering him helpless. The only thing that saved him was that the snake fell on him, it blood drenching him and some of it finding his rigid lips. Crowley survived, though from that moment on, the venom of the viper coursed through his veins.
Crowley then skinned his opponent and fashioned himself a robe that covered his entire body. The great head of the beast served as Crowley’s hood, the opening of it’s mouth being the place that allowed him to see.
When Crowley finally returned home, he seemed very different indeed. There was a look in his eye that the others had not before…at least not this intense. He bacame ever more conceited and arrogant. Wanting more and more authority in the school. He wore his Robe more and more often, proclaiming “Listen to me; I have mastered the great ancient race.” His appearance began to change as well. He took on many snake-like features and developed quite the lisp. Eventually he became so out of control that the other wizards were forced to subdue him. He lived a short time in the psychiatric institution, and there he died. Fearing that the Robe had something to do with his madness, and rightfully so, the council decided to destroy it rather than continue Crowley’s research and work with it. And so it was forever destroyed…or was it?
The Robe of the Vipers is a magical robe that bestows some of the powers of the ancient snakes unto its wearer.
**Wearer is able to understand and communicate with other snakes.
**If the wearer closes his eyes in the dark, he is able to see through the ruby colored eyes on the hood, although it is completely in shades of red.
**The fangs still produce a small amount of venom each day, and the wearer may attack with them and inject the venom into his victim once per day.
**The scales are thick and provide some natural armor to the wearer (at DM’s descretion); this is particularly useful to wizards as this robe does not in any way hender spell casting. In fact, due to the quality of the creature’s blood, mages might see a slight increase in their magical abilities (also at DM’s discretion).
The Robe also has a few long term effects that prove to be it’s downside.
**The more often the person wears the robe, the more he begins to physically take on snake-like qualities. His eyes will narrow; his nose will flatten, eventually becoming slits; his skin will dry out and begin to resemble scales, and it will take on a faint reptillian hue; his tongue will begin to fork, and his speech will contain drawn out S’s similar to a lisp.
**If worn for extended periods of time, the weared will eventually begin to go mad. This is due to the fact that when killed, the ancient creature was able to seal a small piece of his consciousness into his body. The longer the Robe is worn, the stronger his will gets, drawing off of the power of the wearer. Though he never audibly speaks, the wearer will begin to feel a presence and it is constantly tugging at him. At first he is able to brush it off, but eventually it overtakes him and he goes mad as he loses himself to the Robe.