Devil Drake

Climate/Terrain: Any non-Arctic
Frequency: Rare
Organization: Solitary
Activity Cycle: Any
Diet: Carnivore
Intelligence: Supra (19-20)
Treasure: Varies
Alignment: Neutral
No. Appearing: 1
Armor Class: 3
Movement: 6, Fl 18(C)
Hit Dice: 6
THAC0: 14
No. of Attacks: 1 or 3 or 4
Damage/Attack: 2d6 (Strangulation), 2d8 (Bite), 1d6 (Front Claw), 1d6 (Front Claw), 2d8 (Rear Claw rake)
Special Attacks: Strangulation
Special Defenses: Camouflage
Magic Resistance: 35%
Size: S (4′ long)
Morale: Elite (14)
XP Value: 2000

Among the more highly prized familiars sought out by spellcasters of all types is the curiously named Devil Drake. Also known as a Noose Lizard or Garrote Drake the Devil Drake have a tail much longer than it’s body length would otherwise suggest. It is this trait that distinguishes the creature regardless of how camouflaged it is. Devil Drakes seek out wizards to feed off of their psychic energy, but have been known to associate with anyone that practices magic if there is a chance of gaining access to such energy through the course of adventures. Devil Drakes might be capable of spoken communication, but mostly they use a limited telepathy to speak to the people they are attached to, and then only rarely.

Combat: In a fight against creatures smaller than itself a Devil Drake fights much like a large cat with a bite, two front claw attacks, and if both front claws connect a rake with its’ rear claws. Against larger targets, at least those with discernible necks, the Devil Drake will fly over its’ prey and entangle the victim’s throat using it’s powerful and lengthy tail. A Devil Drake’s tail is fully five times longer than the length of it’s body and it isn’t unusual to find them in excess of twenty feet long. The tail is extremely dexterous and can also be used to whip an opponent for damage as per a bullwhip. If the target is sized small or smaller and has a neck the Devil Drake can get access to the Noose Lizard will wrap it’s tail around the hapless creatures’ neck and hoist it into the air. If the target isn’t killed outright the Drake will drop them from extreme height and let them perish that way. People being choked can attempt to bend bars with a +2 bonus to free themselves from the tail of the Devil Drake but must forego all other actions to do this. Only one attempt is allowed per person per strangulation. Failure to break free means the Devil Drake continues doing 2d6 damage every round until the Devil Drake relinquishes it’s hold.

Devil Drakes are not very aggressive and will prefer to watch potential enemies for prolonged periods of time before deciding on a course of action. The Devil Drake can change the colors of it’s scales at will to match it’s surroundings or to make itself more visually appealing to people the Devil Drake wants to be around. The one thing that always gives the Devil Drake away should it try and pose as another type of dragonet is the Devil Drake’s extremely long tail.

Habitat/Society: Devil Drakes are solitary creatures when it comes to others of it’s own kind. They do enjoy the company of humans, elves, and other demihumans and will spend hours sitting on a high perch watching their activities and silently basking in the psychic energies of these people. The higher the intelligence and wisdom of those gathered the happier and more content the Devil Drake is. This has a number of effects on the Devil Drake and the people it is attached to; first, it means the Devil Drake begins to slowly take on elements of the alignments of those it is monitoring (this becomes more pronounced when the Devil Drake is an actual familiar of a spellcaster), and second it can cause emotions among those being monitored to become noticeably exaggerated. This doesn’t necessarily indicate a problem but it can disrupt normal relationships if left unchecked.

Ecology: Devil Drakes feed the same as any other carnivorous animal, but they consume far less actual food if in the presence of highly sentient beings from which it can draw psychic energy. In extreme cases the presence of the Devil Drake can cause these people to have mild headaches or suffer restless sleep. The benefits to spellcasters though offset these inconveniences. Spellcasters that have a Devil Drake gain one additional spell for every single spell level that they can cast each day. Furthermore their magic is boosted as though they were two levels higher than they actually are. While Devil Drakes themselves cannot cast spells they can be extraordinarily beneficial to those that do.

Devil Drakes are just like other dragons in their love for treasure. The absolute value of the loot it hoards is of little consequence to the Devil Drake as it is more concerned with the sheer volume it is able to accumulate. A clever wizard will make sure it’s Devil Drake companion has an ample pile of copper coins and nearly worthless gemstones to sleep on and play in. The Devil Drake can become terrifyingly possessive of it’s treasure trove and will even hiss at a long-time companion and threaten violence if it senses that somebody will take even a single coin from it’s coveted loot.

It isn’t immediately clear how Devil Drake’s reproduce or what their courtship rituals entail. Most researchers get distracted by their own headaches and sleepless nights and never get around to finding these answers.