The Lash Serpent
Twas as long as a yard-arm and fast as a cobra. Took crewman Dobbs off of the rail and into the deep, that's why we dont lean over the rail, lad.
Midshipman Oberhall lecturing new sailors
A beast of sailor's stories, the Lash Serpent is one of the more obscure and difficult to classify. Some call it the Hydra of the deep, a mass of long sinuous necks capped with narrow and cruel heads. Lamp-like eyes and maws full of needle sharp teeth they boil from up from the deeps. Others speak of it as an elder being, a kraken that has mouths at the end of each tentacle.
It is the nature of the sailor's story to grow with each telling...
The Lash Serpent is a reptilian creature that has roughly the same mass as a very large dolphin while being twice its length. It paddles through the water with four long flippers and while slow, it is very maneuverable and has a surprising amount of grace. The neck comprises nearly half the length of the Lash Serpent, and despite being slender, the neck muscles are strong and well developed. It can lash out quickly from a seemingly sleepy demeanor to catch fish, squid, and other things that strike its fancy.
The head is both long and narrow, but has a deep profile to anchor the strong jaw muscles. With this probing head and large eyes, the Lash serpent is well armed to probe reefs and seafloor debris to catch the small fish and other marine life that it feeds upon.
Lash Serpents are a gregarious race and enjoy their own company. Serpent pods can grow as large as a dozen adults with half as many juveniles in the pod. These pods will cavort in shallow waters, shadow the schools of large almost jewel-like oceanic fish, and on occassion work as an ungainly pack to eliminate rivals, weakening them with bloody bites to their flanks.
Unknown to PCs and their Players
There are no magical breeding grounds, nor are there giant lash serpents. The serpent is one of the rare reptiles that give live birth usually in tidal flats on deserted islands or coastal sandbars. It is rare for more than one lashling to be born at a time.
There are also no giants or behemoth serpents. The myths and rumors surrounding them are just that, myths and rumors. When the lash serpents are caught and hauled aboard ships they are regarded as juveniles, not yet grown into full sized beasts. The catchers are rewarded for eliminating a potential terror before it came to its full strength.
The Man and the Serpent
The two species cross paths of a semi-regular basis. The lash serpent is intelligent and knows that humans and their nets are a handy place to find fish. Humans are well established in the warm coastal waters that are home to the lash serpents though their breedings grounds remain hidden and undisturbed.
More than one fisherman has hooked a lash serpent, and those few who managed to land the beast came away with wicked bites that bled profusely. As with tales told over beer, with each telling the serpent grew larger. The bite became a missing hand. Then it became a missing limb. Soon, entire crews were snatched off the decks of their ships by these horrors of the deep.
Jaws - A local was eaten by a seamonster. The local nobility and marine guilds have sponsored a hunt to catch and destroy the monster. some go out with whaling harpoons, water boiling spells and some other gimmick to find and destroy the monster. The PCs are invited to participate in the hunt.
Rock and a Hard Place - A case of giant growth potions were lost when a ship sank, one of the potions consumed by a passing Lash Serpent, creating the giant serpent right out of the fishermen's stories. They sail out to beat the creature, besides according to their tales they done it before haven't they? Driven by hunger and maddened by the side effects of the potion, the PCs must face the beast Ahab style.
Cousteau - Hunting for spell components, the PCs are tasked with bringing back a lash serpent egg. They must learn of the creatures before discovering that the serpents don't lay eggs and the spell their benefactor is researching is bogus.
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? Responses (9)
Quite nice - a good addition to aquatic fauna of any world.
Now these I like. 4/5 I like the myths about them too.
Simple yet intriguing! I like the description, physiology, and the larger than life myth. I guess that means I liked the whole sub.
What he said.
They have this hard-to-define air of realism... there could really be such a creature.
I like their ambiguous nature. The real and more-or-less harmless (so long as you leave it alone) creature with a reputation for much much more. A nice addition to any good fishing village.
Nice treatment on a realistic 'sea monster'. As others have said, the exaggerations really help sell it.
I like it. A nice sea monster that isn't a kraken or large octopus, or a shark. Very nicely done.
What others have said. The embellished stories is definitely a nice touch.