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Naga, Dark
Climate/Terrain: Any except arctic/any land
Frequency: Very rare
Organization: Trios, pairs, alone or work with other lawful
evil creatures
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 naga are fey creatures who have human-like faces (with fanged mouths) on leathery, snake-like bodies. They usually work with other evil beings for mutual gain or survival. Dark naga 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 naga have natural ESP powers (80' range), and use this ability constantly.
Dark naga have a (non-poisonous) bite and a poisonous tail-sting; the barbed stinger does physical damage, and any struck being must save vs. poison or take 1-2 hp 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 only verbal spells. It may learn these spells from dragons, Phaerimm, or other creatures who can cast spells with but a word or thought (act-of-will spells, as opposed to spell-like natural powers, can easily be altered into verbal-release magics . . . but the devising of a verbal-only version of a spell that normally has somatic and material components is not nearly so simple a matter). It may devise new spells, or verbal-only spell versions, itself by means of experimentation. Either means of acquiring new magics is slow and expensive, and this can often force dark nagas into servitude to a stronger evil creature or anyone who hires them, or into the life of an adventurer.
Dark naga 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 carrying 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 quite intelligent enough to direct attacks at multiple opponents, even attacking foes in front of and behind it, simultaneously, if caught between them in a narrow passage.
Dark nagas cannot be mind-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 spellbooks), that has more than one entry or exit, and at least one place narrow enough that they can block it with their body, and singlehandedly 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 bisexual, and give birth to a squirming mass of many wormlike young which they promptly abandon to fend for themselves. Intelligent enough to know they can prevail against few creatures in the Realms alone, dark nagas work with other evil creatures, such as orcs, hobgoblins, drow, phaerimm, beholders, and the like. They like to fill a "commander and magical strike force" role, perhaps in a sergeant-like intermediary rank, under a more powerful ruler -- but they are wise enough to adopt the faith, beliefs, and rules of whatever group they join.

Ecology: Dark naga do not willingly eat other dark naga, but they will eat just about anything else, both alive and dead. They eat a few lichens and 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 ("cover this 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 foe, swallowing items, scrolls, and spellbooks 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, but it also protects the cargo against digestive juices, and has the unusual side-effect of shielding magic from all detection spells.

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