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In a situation that’s familiar to us by now, Yuan-ti would get a revamp and a lore infusion in the upcoming Monster Vault (and you can see how that looks like here), and this entry presents stat blocks that complement the ones that would come out in the MV.

The Lore

The lore section of this page lacks the nifty creation myth from the MV entry, sticking to a more generic “perfidious infiltrators” profile for the yuan-ti. It does add a new bit, however: the snake god Zehir doesn’t just want to see his favorite people thrive in the world. His true goal is to become the supreme authority in the cosmos. Zehir is convinced that the universe can only withstand the return of the primordials if it’s led by the strong hand of a single absolute ruler.

So this means we have at least two authoritarian assholes in our current pantheon: Asmodeus and Zehir. Big Z’s goals are not widely known in the world - only his most powerful and trusted servants are privy to this mystery. There are other gods who are aware of this but they’re content to merely keep an eye on the snake god as long as his machinations continue to hurt their enemies. Things might get more heated should Zehir explicitly turn against his fellow deities.

The Numbers

Yuan-ti are Medium Natural Humanoids with the Reptile keyword. They have a ground speed of 7, and 5/tier poison resistance.

While the MM1 and Monster Vault gave us heroic and paragon stat blocks for snaketongue cultists and yuan-ti, the MM3 gives a bunch of high-epic stat blocks that apparently represent those individuals who are closest to Zehir and actively working towards his goal of complete world domination.

There’s plenty here for all sorts of all-yuan-ti encounters, but they also employ various sapient humanoid cultists, and make pets or allies of any creature who is even remotely similar to a snake.

The individual stat blocks are relatively simple, making me think PCs are supposed to face them in large numbers. It would certainly be possible to downscale them to lower levels without changing much else about their stat blocks.

Coil of Zehir

A Large yuan-ti who’s almost completely snaky, its arms almost vestigial. It’s a Level 26 Controller with 235 HP.

The Coil’s basic attack is a Reach 3 Slam that does light physical damage, pulls the target 2 squares, and grabs it on a hit. The Coil can only have one victim grabbed at a time, and it can hit them with Crushing Coils for an automatic 40 damage that also dazes them for a turn. As a minor action, it can use a Close Burst 3 Tail Sweep that does no damage and knocks targets prone.

The Coil wants to grab hold of someone and squeeze them to death, using tail sweeps to keep would-be rescuers away. Dazed victims can still try to get away (Athletics DC 38 or Acrobatics DC 39), but their other options are sharply limited.

Yuan-ti Abomination Berserker

Abominations are those ‘snakier’ yuan-ti with humanoid torsos but the lower body of a giant snake. Another Large variant, Berserkers know how to fight and know they shouldn’t attack other yuan-ti or cultists. That’s about it. The others treat them nicely to avoid accidents, and then point them at whoever they want dead. Berserkers are Level 27 Brutes with 293 HP.

These creatures fight with Reach 2 Slams that do heavy physical damage. Every so often they’ll spin and do a Roundhouse Slam (recharge 4+), making a basic attack against every adjacent enemy. If you hit them while they’re bloodied, they can make a free slam against you as a reaction. Simple but effective.

Yuan-ti Malison Guard

Copyright 2010 Wizards of the Coast.

Malisons are the more humanoid yuan-ti, still covered in scales and with snake heads, but otherwise humanoid. This is an elite front-line fighter who serves Zehir proudly despite the shame of having legs. It’s a Level 27 Soldier (Leader) with 242 HP. It knows how to fight in formation and its Overlapping Scales aura (1) gives a +2 bonus to AC to all allies inside.

Guards fight with scimitars and longbows, both of which deal decent damage and inflict ongoing poison damage (save ends). The scimitar marks for a turn on a hit.

These creatures want to be in a tight formation with either other melee allies, or with an artillery detachment.

Yuan-ti Abomination Spitter

An abomination with well-developed venom glands that produce a “blessed” venom far deadlier than that of a mundane snake. It’s Level 27 Artillery with 186 HP. It can Spit Venom out to Range 20, dealing immediate and ongoing poison damage on a hit. It can also Spray Venom (recharge 4+) on a close burst 5, dealing poison damage and dazing (save ends). If someone closes to melee, it can bite to deal physical damage and inflict ongoing poison damage.

If an attack hits the spitter, it can flare its Cobra Hood as a reaction to gain +4 to AC for a turn.

Yuan-ti Malison Blessed

An epic priest of Zehir, receiving blessings directly from the deity. It’s a Level 28 Controller (Leader) with 250 HP.

Most of the blessed’s controllery effects are passive and always on. It projects an aura (3) of Zehir’s Favor that allows allies inside to reroll failed recharge rolls. It also projects an aura (5) of Zehir’s Agony that deals 15 poison damage to any enemy starting their turn inside. While bloodied, the blessed can Slither Away, gaining a +2 bonus to speed and a +5 to all defenses.

The blessed’s active actions are few, but powerful. It fights with a scimitar whose strikes damage, strip poison resistance, and inflict a -2 penalty to saves vs. poison effects (save ends both). And yes, about 90% of all attacks described in this MM3 entry are poison effects. Including this one.

The blessed can also use Zehir’s Command as a minor action, allowing two allies within 5 squares to either make a basic attack or shift their speed as a free action. If an enemy within 5 squares shifts, the blessed can use Shifting Feet as a reaction to slide them 2 squares.

While these creatures are technically regulars, they have the action efficiency you’d expect from an elite.

Yuan-ti Malison Assassin

Copyright 2010 Wizards of the Coast.

This one has a sword and it very much wants to stab you with it so you can sample the many substances it put on the blade. It’s sent after people who anger Zehir directly. It’s a Level 28 Lurker with 194 HP.

The assassin’s basic Longsword deals very light damage and blinds for a turn on a hit. A victim who cannot see the assassin for any reason is subject to a Death Strike that deals standard physical damage, inflicts ongoing 15 poison damage, and imposes a -2 penalty to saves (save ends both). After the first failed save, the damage worsens by 5 and the save penalty by 1. Someone also targetted by the Blessed could be looking at a total -5 save penalty here!

If a ranged or melee attack hits the assassin it can use Shield of Zehir to make sure a blind victim adjacent to it also suffers the attack’s damage.

Yuan-ti Malison Stalker

A relentless pursuer sent after victims who steal from Zehir’s temples or commit other crimes against the yuan-ti people. They’re Level 28 Skirmishers wtih 254 HP. They’re more or less equivalen to PC avengers.

Stalkers use greataxes and have 5e advantage on their attacks if the target is the only creature adjacent to them. They can also teleport 3 squares as a minor action, which means they can move up to 13 squares a turn without spending their standard action, and they can charge someone from 20 squares away. It’s impossible to outrun a stalker.

Molt of Zehir

Literally a person-shaped bag of snakes, made from the cast-off skin of a yuan-ti. This apparently just happens when an epic yuan-ti molts, it’s not a conscious ritual or anything. The snakes just appear from somewhere and crawl inside the skin.

Molts are Level 26 Minion Skirmishers. They have a basic bite attack and when they die the dispersing Horde of Snakes acts as a Close Burst 1 attack that damages and inflicts ongoing poison damage (save ends).

Final Impressions

I’m not overly fond of classic yuan-ti lore these days, because it has too strong a whiff of “yellow peril” about it. I’d probably come up with something different for them if I had to.

Mechanically, these creatures are kind of interesting, though each one is very simple. Mechanically, I think you can knock 10 or even 20 levels off them if you don’t want your PCs to wait until the campaign’s endgame to fight the snek people.