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Naga, Dark
Climate/Terrain: Any land except arctic
Frequency: Very rare
Organization: Works for others
Activity Cycle: Any
Diet: Carnivore
Intelligence: Exceptional (16)
Treasure: S,T,W
Alignment: Lawful evil
No. Appearing: 1-3 (usually 1)
Armor Class: 6
Movement: 13
Hit Dice: 9
THAC0: 11
No. of Attacks: 2
Damage/Attack: 1-4/ 2-8
Special Attacks: See below
Special Defenses: Nil
Magic Resistance: Nil
Size: L (up to 12' long)
Morale: Champion (15)
XP Value: 4,000

Dark nagas are fey creatures who have human-like faces (with tanged mouths) on leathery, snake-like bodies. Dark nagas tend to be black, purplish-black, or very dark blue in hue, and their crested heads and smooth, almost invisible scales make them look like gigantic eels more than snakes.

Combat: Dark nagas have natural ESP powers (80' range), and use this ability constantly. Dark nagas have a (nonpoisonous) bite and a poisonous tail sting; the barbed stinger does physical damage, and any being struck must save vs. poison or take 1-2 points of additional damage and fall into a drugged sleep (onset time 1 round, sleep lasts 2d4 rounds).

The most feared ability of dark nagas is their power to wield magic. A dark naga casts spells as a 6th-level wizard (4, 2, 2) and employs spells which only require a verbal component, or spells which they have modified so that the somatic component can be used by their serpentine bodies. The cost of acquiring or developing such spells can often force dark nagas into servitude to a stronger evil creature or into the life of an adventurer.

Dark nagas are immune to the effects of all known (normal and magical) acids, venoms, and poisons. Some have been known to swallow poisons and act as a courier, spitting up the dangerous liquid when they deliver it to its destination. They can spit poison that they are so dairying up to 10' distant at any opponent; this requires a successful attack roll, and takes the place of their bite, though a naga can elect to bite and then release the poison as it does so, combining the damage.

In battle, a dark naga may use its sting and either a spell or a bite in the same round. If space permits, the naga can direct its sting and bite against the same foe, but it is readily intelligent enough to direct attacks at multiple opponents.

Dark nagas cannot have their mind's read; their ESP ability somehow renders them immune to the ESP-like probes of others. They are subject but resistant to charm, sleep, hold and similar enchantment/charm spells, receiving a +2 bonus to all saving throws against this school of magic.

Habitat/Society: Dark nagas lair in rocky places, such as caverns or ruins; they like to have a home where they can hide things (such as treasures and spell books), that has more than one entry or exit, and that has at least one place narrow enough that they can block it with their body and single-handedly fight off intruders. Dark nagas are fond of traps and will devise these or hire other creatures to install them whenever possible.

Dark nagas tend to be loners, but can form stable family groups of two or three. They are hermaphroditic, and give birth to a squirming mass of many wormlike young which they promptly abandon to fend for themselves. Since they are intelligent enough to know they can prevail against few creatures in the Realms alone, dark nagas work with other evil creatures, such as ores, hobgoblins, drow, beholders, and the like. They like to fill the role of commander and magical strike force, perhaps in a sergeant-like intermediary rank under a more powerful ruler. They are wise enough to adopt (at least superficially) the beliefs and rules of whatever group they join.

Ecology: Dark nagas do not willingly eat other dark nagas, but they will eat just about anything else, both alive and dead. They eat a few lichens apd the occasional green plant, but their main diet is meat. They especially prize hot, still-fresh blood.

Dark nagas spend their lives outwardly working with or serving others. Whenever possible, however, they also pursue private goals, which may be as whimsical and odd as some human goals (to cover a desert valley with trees, for instance), but always include increasing their personal power by acquiring new spells and magical items. Dark nagas are quick to plunder fallen foes, swallowing items, scrolls, and spell books to spit forth later-for all dark nagas have a bag-like internal organ that they can use to carry things. This organ has thick, rubbery air-sac walls to protect the naga against sharp points and the like. It also protects the cargo against digestive juices, and has the unusual side effect of shielding magic inside it from all detection spells.

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