The feathered serpents known as Ihhuitlcoatl and Mimicquecoatl, or more simply, Coatl, are a unique breed of new world dragon. Appearing as enormous horned snakes covered in feathers instead of scales, the Coatl are unique not only for their inhuman appearance, but for their deep connection to the spirits and the dead. While they lack hands, they are not without alternatives, and can even project a spectral humanoid torso from their mouths to wield armors and weapons on their behalf. Personality: Coatl are a proud race, descended from dragons, and believing themselves to be worth all the same respect their larger cousins warrant. Those humans who fail to deliver the appropriate respect often find them to be dangerous enemies, and those that do find them valuable, powerful allies. They can be somewhat harsh when pursuing a goal, becoming increasingly obsessive the longer the aim of their mission eludes them.
Physical Description: Coatl are huge, snakelike creatures, covered nose to tail in feathers of different colors. Coatl range in size from 8 feet to 12 feet in length as adults, with females being about 10% larger than males, and notably stronger. Coatl range in diameter at their thickest point from about as thick as a human neck to almost a foot across. Coatl possess relatively small, blunt horns above and behind the eyes, males have two pairs while females have one. They also have a number of long, flexible feathers on their chins, a small beard of feathers, which serve them like whiskers. There are several varieties of Coatl, the exact appearance depending on their subspecies.
- Emerald Coatl are the smallest variety of Coatl, between 8 and 10 feet long. Their plumage ranges through various brilliant shades of green, and is mostly composed of long, stiff feathers. They can angle these feathers, laying them down smooth, or flaring them out to catch the air, augmenting their inherent magic to allow them to glide. They use this ability and their natural skill for climbing to slither up and down trees and float between them in the dense jungles of their homeland.
- Ruby Coatl are larger, between 9 and 11 feet long. Their feathers are mostly green and short, apart from the feathery mane around the base of their head. Ruby Coatl get their name from the bare, crimson scales that make run all the way down their body along the underbelly, and the streaks of red behind their eyes and the ones that appear when they flare their manes in an intimidating fan.
- Sapphire Coatl are the largest variety of Coatl, between 10 and 12 feet long. Their plumage is usually short, but for a few ridges of longer feathers on their tail and sides, and ranges in color from a bluish-green to a deep midnight blue. Sapphire Coatl use these ridges like fins to help them steer and propel themselves through the clear, still waters of the cenotes they call home.
Relations: Most Coatl rarely interact with humans, living out in their wild communities among their kin. Those that do interact with humans typically do so in one of a few ways. Some Coatl hunt humans when food is scarce and they trespass too deeply into their hunting grounds. Others enter human societies as priests and mediums, trading on their natural connection to the spirits and their resemblance to the god-dragon Quetzalcoatl to rise to positions of authority and power. Others merely seek alliance with specific humans, looking to use their skills and talents to accomplish some mission to difficult for they themselves to take on alone. Coatl very rarely trade with humans, lacking material goods to offer and really needing nothing the humans have to offer. The different Coatl varieties respect their shared heritage, and their different niches mean they rarely if ever come into direct competition for resources.
Alignment: Coatl range widely in alignment, but they are only very rarely neutral, heavily favoring more extreme alignments.
Coatl Lands: Coatl don’t claim lands like many human nations, they live in mostly wild environments, and roam too widely to hold lands. The different varieties of Coatl live in very different areas.
- Emerald Coatl live in dense forests and jungles found all through the Mesovespuccia area. They spend almost all their time high in the canopy, preying on birds, giant insects, and monkeys, not to mention the occasional nest of eggs. They hunt during the day, sleeping through the nights in communal nests among the branches of the canopy. These communities move periodically as food becomes more scarce in a given area.
- Ruby Coatl live in small bands on the plains and in some forests, a single female and a number of males who compete for the opportunity to mate. They claim large areas of land for their band as territory. They hunt alone, at ground level, and favor large prey, such as deer, canines, and some larger rodents. They are known to go after smaller prey in lean times, and will even chase down humans when food becomes particularly scarce.
- Sapphire Coatl dwell in the aquatic tunnels that inter-connect the cenotes found all through Mayatolli. This winding network of dark caves hosts large villages of Coatl, dwelling in underwater structures carved out of the limestone walls, and nourished by a combination of aquaculture and the occasional large animal that falls, or is thrown, into the open cenotes. Sapphire Coatl have a highly complex and secretive social order.
Religion: Coatl are often strongly religious. They hold the god-dragon Quetzalcoatl in the highest respect, as bringer of the dawn, source of the winds, ancestor of all Coatl, and bearer of knowledge. Some priests even believe the glorious serpent to be alive, hidden away somewhere in the distant west. Wind jewels, conch shells carefully cut into cross-section, are worn by many Coatl, and can be found in many settlements.
Language: Coatl speak their own languages, each variety having their own unique tongue, influenced by the languages of the nearby humans. These Coatl languages are all part of the Coatli language family, the draconic tongue spoken by Mesovespuccian dragons. Most have difficulty speaking human languages, due to the dramatically different mouth shapes, and may lisp or hiss some words before they truly master the language. It is unwise to laugh at this.
Names: Coatl are named in different ways depending on their variety, but there are a few common threads. Hatchlings are named with a suffix indicating the order in which they hatched. The first-hatched and last-hatched suffixes have a variety of superstitious beliefs associated with them.
Coatl adventurers are not particularly uncommon, usually becoming Priests in the service of Quetzalcoatl, Hunters who adapt their natural hunting techniques to combat, or Warlocks, tapping the arcane power in their draconic blood.
- +2 Strength, +2 Dexterity, +2 Constitution, +4 Charisma, -2 Wisdom Coatl are strong, quick, and durable, with extremely * powerful personalities, but they can be slightly unhinged.
- Dragon Coatl are dragons.
- Medium Coatl are medium creatures, and have no bonuses or penalties due to size.
- Slow Coatl have a base speed of 20 feet.
- Low-Light Vision Coatl can see twice as far as normal in conditions of low light
- Darkvision Coatl can see in the dark out to 60 feet.
- Immune Coatl are immune to magic sleep effects and paralysis effects.
- Skills Coatl gain a +4 racial bonus to escape artist checks.
- Natural Weapons Coatl possess a primary bite attack that deals 1d6 points of damage. They can also use their tail to attack creatures their tail threatens with a primary tail slap attack that deals 1d8 points of damage.
- Life and Death Coatl are inherently tied to the forces of life and death. they gain a +1 racial bonus to caster level when casting spells of the necromancy school. They gain resistance 5 against negative energy damage. They do not lose hit points when they gain a negative level, and they gain a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against death effects, energy drain, negative energy, and spells or spell-like abilities of the necromancy school.
- Serpent Body Coatl have extremely unusual bodies that make them behave differently than most playable characters. Coatl are medium creatures, but their long, serpentine bodies fill more space than a usual medium creature. A Coatl is treated as occupying one five foot square, which is followed by a second square containing their tail. The tail normally occupies the square the Coatl last exited. The tail is a part of the Coatl; any effects targeting the tail affect the Coatl as well, and any effects targeting the Coatl apply to the tail as well. The tail has the same armor class as the Coatl, but cover and concealment are determined separately. The tail’s movements provoke attacks of opportunity as normal movement by the Coatl, but if the Coatl makes a successful acrobatics check to move through threatened squares, the movements of the tail do not provoke attacks of opportunity either. The Coatl can use a move action to rearrange their tail, placing it in any adjacent square, or coiling it up in their square. This movement does not provoke attacks of opportunity. The coatl’s tail threatens adjacent squares, but it can only use the Coatl’s tail slap to attack. The Coatl can use its tail to make drag, grapple, reposition, and trip combat maneuvers. In addition, the unusual body shape of the coatl places some unusual restrictions on equipment. They cannot wear gloves, boots, or bracers. They can wear rings, but they wear them on their fangs. However, they can wear and benefit from two magic amulets or necklaces and two magical belts at a time. Having no hands, they cannot normally manipulate objects or wield weapons, other than their natural weapons. Armor made for a coatl costs twice as much as normal. Finally, the slender body of the coatl allows it to fit and squeeze through narrow spaces as though it were two sizes smaller, tiny in most situations.
- Phantom Body Coatl are limited in their capacity to create and manipulate things by their lack of limbs. However, their powerful connection to the spirit world grants them a unique method of circumventing this issue. As a move action usable at will, a Coatl can open their mouth and partially disgorge a faintly-glowing semi-transparent humanoid form, a phantom body. This phantom body can be partially disgorged, exposing only the head or even just the face, or fully disgorged, the entire head and shoulders emerging from the coatl’s mouth. The phantom body is quite solid, and is completely under the coatl’s mental control. The phantom body lasts until dismissed with a free action, when it disappears. A phantom body cannot be targeted or damaged, being a projection of spectral energy. This is a supernatural effect. The phantom body can wield weapons, bear shields, and manipulate objects as an extension of the Coatl. However, lacking physical muscles, it uses the coatl’s charisma score or modifier in place of its strength score or modifier for any action involving its limbs. This includes any weapon attack and damage rolls, strength-based skill checks involving hands or limbs, strength checks, and any combat maneuver checks made with hands or weapons (Dirty Trick, Disarm, Drag, Grapple, Reposition, Steal, Sunder, Trip). While the phantom body is active, the Coatl cannot speak or make bite attacks. It can, however, make the phantom body speak any language it knows.
There are several varieties of Coatl to be found throughout the Aztatlan region. the details of each are described below:
- Emerald Coatl are adapted to a life in the canopy of the dense forests and jungles.
- Climb Emerald Coatl possess a climb speed of 20 feet, which grants a +8 racial bonus to Climb checks.
- Glide Emerald Coatl can float slowly thanks to their draconic blood, and steer themselves with their feathers. They take no damage from falling, as if constantly under a supernatural feather fall effect. While in midair, they can move up to 5 feet in any horizontal direction for every 1 foot they fall, at a speed of 60 feet per round. They cannot gain height by gliding; they merely coast horizontally as they fall. If subjected to a strong upward wind or any other effect that causes them to rise, they can take advantage of the updraft to increase the distance they can glide.
- Ruby Coatl are adapted to a life of hunting on open plains and forest floors.
- Quick Ruby Coatl have a base speed of 30 feet. When using the charge, run, or withdraw actions, they gain a +10 foot bonus to speed.
- Venomous A ruby coatl’s bite attack exposes the target to blackblood venom.
- Blackblood Venom; Save Fort (DC 10 +½ the coatl’s hit die + their constitution modifier); Frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; Effect 1d4 negative energy damage + 1 constitution damage; cure 1 save.
- Sapphire Coatl are adapted to life in the drowned caverns of cenotes.
- Swim Sapphire Coatl possess a swim speed of 40 feet, which grants a +8 racial bonus to swim checks.
- Water Breathing Sapphire Coatl can breathe air and water freely.