Daggersnake

Small Magical Beast
Hit Dice:
2d10 (11 hp)
Initiative: +7
Speed: 20 ft. (4 squares), climb 20 ft., swim 20 ft.
AC: 17 (+1 size, +3 Dex, +3 natural), touch 14, flat-footed 14
Base Attack/Grapple: +2/+0
Attack: Tail blade +6 melee (1d4+3/19-20 plus poison)
Full Attack: Tail blade +6 melee (1d4+3/19-20 plus poison) and Bite +0 melee (1d2+1 plus poison)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Poison
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, scent
Saves: Fort +3, Ref +6, Will +1
Abilities: Str 14, Dex 17, Con 11, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 2
Skills: Balance +11, Climb +11, Hide +12, Listen +7, Spot +7, Swim +10
Feats: Improved Initiative, Weapon Focus (Tail blade)B
Environment: Warm marshes
Organization: Solitary
Challenge Rating: 1
Treasure: None (see text)
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 3 HD (Small); 4-6 HD (Medium); 7-9 HD (Large)

This rattlesnake-like creature hisses a threat as it sinuously flicks its tail back in forth, warning you to stay back. On the end of its tail it sports a razor sharp blade large enough to be a dagger.

Combat
Daggersnakes attack by making swipes with their tail. Before hunting, a daggersnake carefully milks its own venom and applies it to its tail blade. They are fiercely territorial and regard creatures entering their domain as either rivals or prey.

Poison (Ex): Injury, Fortitude DC 11, initial and secondary damage 1d6 Con. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Skills: Daggersnakes have a +4 racial bonus on Hide, Listen, and Spot checks and a +8 racial bonus on Balance and Climb checks.

A daggersnake can always choose to take 10 on a Climb check, even if rushed or threatened. Daggersnakes use either their Strength modifier or Dexterity modifier for Climb checks whichever is higher.

A daggersnake has a +8 racial bonus on any Swim check to perform some special action or avoid a hazard. It can always choose to take 10 on a Swim check, even if distracted or endangered. It can use the run action while swimming, provided it swims in a straight line.

Tail Blade
The daggersnake's primary weapon can be harvested as used as a dagger, short sword, longsword, or even a greatsword (in the case of a Large daggersnake with the Improved Natural Attack feat; the feat effectively causes the creature’s natural weapon to grow one size larger than normal for its size). Such weapons have hardness 8 and normal hit points for their type. A druid (or anyone else with access to the magic fang spell) can treat the tail blade as a masterwork weapon for the purpose of enhancing it as a magical weapon.

Habitat and Behavior
A distant cousin of the rattlesnake, the daggersnake (Crotalus gladius) is fairly common on the edges of humanoid society. It appears to be a rattlesnake, but instead of a rattler it has a blade made of bone at the end of its tail. While most daggersnakes are small, in remote areas they can grow to be over 20 feet long.

A daggersnake was the successful experiment by mages of an age past. A war torn country ran low on iron supplies, and the country's mages were ordered to find a solution to the need for weapons. They magically altered the bone structure and instinctual behaviors of rattlesnakes to produce weapons made of hard bone. Today daggersnakes can be found running wild in warm marshes and most often are seen by farmers who live on the outskirts of such regions.

Whenever a daggersnake molts, a bit of bone is left at the end of its tail. This bone hardens and is able to hold an edge because of chemicals it is coated with while the daggersnake is preening itself. Over time, this becomes a segmented blade that holds an edge as well as a steel blade.

A daggersnake's tail blade is a display for mating rituals as well as a weapon. Size, color, and symmetry are taken into account by females of the species. A female daggersnake will only mate with a male whose blade is more impressive than her own.

When competing over territory, daggersnakes scrape the edges of their tails against a nearby stone as a warning. This serves as a warning and to sharpen the blade. When it isn't hunting or resting, a daggersnake cleans, sharpens, and coats its tail with saliva and poison. Their saliva has special chemicals that harden any new growth, and the poison keeps it ready for danger. A daggersnake which has recently molted can often be observed making tiny adjustments to its tail, in order to maintain as straight a blade as possible.

Like normal animals, daggersnakes rarely fight to the death. A broken tail blade at best means that snake will never mate again, but usually results in eventual death as the daggersnake has lost its best weapon.

Daggersnakes are cold blooded and lay eggs. Mating usually occurs in the spring, so that in summer when the eggs hatch there is plenty of food to be found. A female lays 2d8 eggs, buries them under a bit of damp mud, and then abandons them; daggersnakes do not care for their young.