The Silver Snake is a deadly threat to miners of silver who delve too deep and awaken a nest. All encountered Silver Snakes are exactly 3-feet long and less than an inch thick. They have shining silver scales that scrape off as they move over stone.
There are two very unusual things about these snakes that suggest a supernatural origin. The first is their uncanny ability to swim through veins of silver as easily as a fish through water. Often, a miner will just uncover a deep vein of silver only to be attacked with the Silver Snake's second unusual property. The second lies in their eyes, they can emit a blinding flash, seemingly at will, that causes temporary blindness and allows the Silver Snake to inject its venom with relative ease.
Silver Snakes sleep in veins of silver deep underground, which are often disrupted by eager miners and can result in many deaths. They seem to be uniform in appearance. When seen they are alwasy reported to be 3-feet long and completely silver with blinding orbs for eyes. Any exposed vein of silver should be considered a pontential Silver Snake attack, according some extremely paranoid miners. Others think that they only live in sufficeintly deep veins. The truth has yet to be discovered.
A few Dwarf clans have adopted the use of heavily-tinted goggle lenses to deal with the blinding flash. So far it has only delayed the inveitable, as the Silver Snakes are very quick and seem to be fast enough to deliver lethal venom to a Dwarf even without blinding them.
Myths and Legends
Some sages think that the Silver Snakes must be some sort of magical guardian designed to protect something deep underground. If you can capture a Silver Snake it would fetch a high price on the magical market. Many scholarly men would lead foolish adventurers to their doom for a chance to study one (wink wink). Many other tales exist about the Silver Snakes, from tie-ins to The Great Creation Myth, to local Elixer of Youth tales. All that is known for sure is that you don't want to dig too deep for something you don't need.
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Nasty things, but they probebly just attack because they have been disturbed.
So the plot hook for this item might start something like
'Call me Ishmaeal, when ever I get that restless meloncoly feeling, when every I feel like charging into the square and pulling every beard I encounter, I feel it quite restortive to sign up for a mining crew. It was in one such state that I took the fateful chance of signing up with a crew captained by one old and seasoned mining captain named Ahab. Blind though he was, having encountered a great silver snake of his last dig, he was still a strong looking dwarf of almost 5ft from boot to brow....'
I see why we need this in a game setting. Mining and the underdark in general, just isn't filled with enough drama or peril. When my players and I are having one of those secessions in which we are going through a detailed excavation of precious metals, I often can't find a way to induce tension. But by making every silver vein a potential death trap, the players will think twice before making another pick or hammer check.
This reminds me though
On earth silver is not found in veins generally. It is almost always associated with other metals or found in a silver nitrate ore. So is this post suggesting that silver viens are perhaps produced from the excretions of silver snakes like how the Shai-Hulud contributed to the production of melange. Perhaps mining silver would be safer if the dwarves weren't so regular with their hammer and pick strikes. Or perhaps the silver is the offspring of the silver snake, and the silver snake is just defending its children like the Horta. If only those dwarves could mind-meld.....
I also like how the snake blinds dwarves with its blinding silver orb eyes, not because it needs to....it is so quick and camoflaged that it can kill dwarf even with his blast shield down . . . but apparently just cause it can.
Seriously, I am a torn on this post. Are you trying to be silly, cause it feels silly. Is there some context to this post that I am missing?
This submission was not intended to be silly, though a lot of mine come out that way. I like the idea of these snakes being what created silver veins, through their excrement or as their children. I did not know real-world silver was not generally found in veins, this is useful information.
These creatures were meant to be a rare oddity with unusual abilities, perhaps more valuable than the silver they live it. The blinding was meant to add more potential for a magical background, I was playing with the idea of a Silver Snake eye being used in a magic item that creates a powerful light effect. I suppose the blinding could be removed if you desire.
You might have overdone it with the sarcasm, but that's OK. I think I see what you're trying to say. It just doesn't make much sense. I'm not sure how to remedy this and make it a usable submission though. Would you suggest toning down the power? A different metallic/mineral origin? Or what? Let me know what needs to be changed. Thanks.
I was not saying that these don't make sense as magical creatures or any creature for that matter need not be based on the constraints of the world they exist. If you really stickler for logic, then base them on the constraints from which the originated. What I was saying by alluding to Star Trek, Dune, Moby Dick and 'the dangerous of the deep' is that this has been done.
What I might suggest you change (if you aren't happy with the post as is)
A) You could make it a silly post...
Character #1 'Why do all those stout little men where sunglasses. . . underground.'
Character #2 'They say it is because of something called silver snakes, but I really think it is because it makes em look baddass' And in that vein. . .
If were to work this into the game world....I might put silver snakes in but I would make all this stuff regarding them just myth and tall-tails. The snake is just a harmless three foot reptile who happens to have its natural habit in a valuable resource but suffers from really bad PR.
B) Why should players care?
If you envision this as a gaming resource. maybe should focus a little on character interaction with the snakes. If the goal of this creature is just to scare PCs, because the underground isn't threatening enough already then I am not sure it is effective in that area. An 'instant death' underground snakes strikes me as a little over the top.
If these are actually thing you want the PCs to interact with, then perhaps the post should focus on that might implemented. If the PCs have to gather these snakes for a magical item then you either front load them with information-'they blind you, are fast and are super poisonous' this way the player can spend 20 minutes discussing how to get around that.
If you don't front the info. then the players have to go through the deadly an painful growing pains of learning about the snake hand on. Either way the player interactions with this could be more developed.
C) Another option would be to play-up the awful and unpleasent nature of being killed by a silver snake. These snakes could just be a really awful way to go, like being eaten by a flock of Procompsognathus. If you want send the slimy greedy villian to his own doom you can leave him the silver he craved but have it be full of silver snakes.
Don't worry about changing the mineral origin, maybe silver comes in veins in your world.
Why, this is a perfectly reasonable lifeform (okay, it is supernatural, but who cares). We have done much weirder stuff. If silver is its prime habitat (maybe it can move the faster, the purer the vein is, and purifies it with its presence), it will of course defend it.
It would be best to combine it with a 'magical' view on precious metals, each metal having certain properties and origin. Why, does silver come from the tears of a certain goddess? Or is it the blood of the only Silver Dragon, lost aeons ago? Then these snakes make immediately much more sense (even if, ironically, they are mere lifeforms and chasing them won't lead to any treasure or legendary creature).
Speaking of legendary creatures, it's nice to remember that 'going too deep' doesn't have to produce a giant demon - simple creatures can be an effective deterrent, too.
I am of the mindset like this. This is fantasy/sciencefiction. Let's roll with it. This could bEvan entire ecosystem of snakes that protect ore. Golden Snakes, etc. Perhaps it is not normal ore these snakes live in and defend but a magical ore.
Silver is silver and gold is gold. But what if this ore they live in and protect had magical properties making it unique, sort of a symbiosis between the two. These ores are the purest of the pure and radiate an aura of magic, yet have no real properties.
The tears of a goddess or the blood of a dragon, etc as has been noted. I like that. Make the object they live in fantastic and it makes the unusual more believeable if that is possible. I don't know what to add to make this any better, as it is it is good. What intrigues me more than the snakes is what I am thinking of the magical ore they live in.
Honestly, I think this is a kick-ass lifeform with a lot of potential. Could you imagine how cool one of these would be as a familiar? I wonder if you could transplant a bunch of the critters into the silver railings/walls/engravings etc of a castle or other fortress? Thinking about a bunch of snakes swimming through the silver walls and popping out to blind the party just brings a smile to my face. Also cool -- a wizard's staff made of silver. He pounds it on the ground to startle the snakes, and they surface to make the blinding attack (the wizard wears goggles and has developed an immunity to their poison).
If you were to add anything to this, it would be to expand on this base concept. Like Mourn suggested, why not create some other mineral critters? Gold salamanders, copper fish, etc. That or expand on the properties of the metals themselves.
Oh, here's another idea: why not tie these things into the mythology we were working on awhile ago? These snakes could be one of the ways that the Goldin King or Silver Queen tried to extend their influence underground, where their light could not normally go. Since you were going for a powerful light effect, anyway, connecting them to a couple of light-centric deities might not hurt.
I honestly have no idea where I was going with what I commented. However, what if this is where true Silver comes from? The only silver that harms Werewolves? and other fantastical or mythilogical creatures?