Siren (3.5e Template)
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 Siren Template
[[3e Summary::Sirens are afflicted with a terrible curse of the sea, much like lycanthropy. A siren changes shape into a vicious creature and preys upon the living.]]
 Creating a Siren
Siren is an acquired or inherited template that can be added to any living humanoid, fey or giant (referred to hereafter as the base creature). The siren template can be inherited (for natural sirens) or acquired (for afflicted sirens). Sirenum, the source of the curse, is a magical disease. Sometimes a siren begins life as a normal humanoid, fey or giant who subsequently contracts sirenum after being bitten and poisoned by a natural siren. Such a creature is called an afflicted siren. Other sirens are born as sirens, and are known as natural sirens. Only natural sirens can pass on sirenum.
Siren functions as an acquired template for creatures who contract the magical disease sometime during their lifetime. Though, this magical disease is passed on to their children. A child of a siren is a natural siren unless the race's un-templated type would prevent it from gaining the template, otherwise a child born of a siren inherits the siren template and is a natural siren.
An afflicted sirens looks like a normal member of her race, except that her skin is often of a slightly unusual shade, cold or clammy. When she transforms into her siren form, her legs shrivel into powerful, sharp fins and a long fish-like tail grows from her back that allows her to slither along the ground or swim deftly through the water. Her hands extend into jagged, webbed claws and her teeth become like sharp needles. A feral glint gleams in her eyes. Her appearance resembles that of a monstrous mermaid.
A siren retains all her abilities in either form, unless those abilities are dependent upon the form itself. Example: She looses her siren claws when not in siren form, but she retains her Weapon Finesse for that unarmed attack (dealing whatever type of damage she would do as her base creature type). She looses her sharp fangs for her bite attack, but can still transmit sirenum if she is capable of doing so.
Since a siren doesn't always have feet, magical footwear does her little good. However, she can wear anklets that take up the footwear magic item body slot. When she transforms, these anklets stay around her front fins. Rings merely slide forward on her fingers to accommodate the webbing.
 Siren Types
Sirens come in several varieties. Some have the tails of great sharks, others are those of scaled fish and some are much more serpentine in appearance. Their colors also vary widely, but most have pale sickly skin when not in siren form.
Not all sirens are female, but a majority of them are. Typically, this is because sirens are more likely to prey upon men and convert women into helpful sisters. Male sirens are often loners and compete directly against small shoals of female sirens.
 Size and Type
She retains her size.
She does not gain Hit Dice for becoming a siren. However, a siren does gains abilities based on her total Hit Dice.
|1-3||Bite and Claw Weapon Finesse||She gains the Weapon Finesse feat for her bite and claw attacks allowing her to add her Dexterity modifier to her attack rolls instead of her Strength modifier.|
|4-6||Serpentine Slither||She gains the Improved Grapple feat, even if she does not meet the prerequisites.|
|7-9||Barbed Fins||She is treated as though she has Armor Spikes as well as proficiency with them when in siren form.|
|10+||Fast Movement||She gains a +10 foot bonus to all her movement speeds.|
In her base form, she gains a swim speed equal to her base land speed.
While in siren form, her swim speed increases by +10 feet and her base land speed, drops by 10 feet. Sirens are capable of slithering along the ground on their powerful tails, propping themselves up with their front fins.
Sirens employ the same attacks as the base creature (as long as her form permits her to do so). A siren gains two claw attacks and a bite attack as natural weapons (if she did not already have those as natural attacks). These weapons deal damage based on the siren’s size. A siren may attack with a weapon and a bite, or may attack with its natural weapons. The bite attack of a siren is a secondary attack.
|Siren Size||Claw||Bite||Barbed Fins|| Blood Drain|
A siren fighting without weapons uses either her claw attack (see above) or any other natural weapons she may have. If armed with a weapon, she usually uses the weapon as her primary attack along with her bite or other natural weapon as a secondary attack.
Siren Song (Ex): The siren screeches a horrific discord. A burst of sonic energy radiates from her in all directions. All creatures within the area take 1d6 sonic damage per siren HD. This ability affects a close range radius (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 HD). Targets become dazed for one round unless they succeed a Fortitude save (DC 10 + ½ her HD + her Constitution modifier). Other sirens are naturally resistant to Siren Song.
A siren can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 1 + her Constitution modifier (minimum of 1 per day).
|25ft. +5 ft./2 HD||10 + Con modifier1½ HD +||1d6 sonic/HD|
Blood Drain (Ex): A siren can deal a ghastly wound to a living victim with her sharp fangs by making a successful grapple check. If she pins the foe, her bite drains blood, dealing Constitution drain each round the pin is maintained. Damage is based off of the siren's size (see above).
Sirenum Poison (Su): (Natural Siren Only) If a siren hits with her bite attack, she may choose to inject her poison. Any humanoid, Fey or giant injected with a siren’s poison must succeed on a DC 15 Fortitude save or become nauseated for 1d4 minutes. One hour later, the victim must make a second save, at the same DC or contract sirenum. A natural siren can only produce enough poison for one bite every 24 hours. See: Sirenum Poison on the Market below for what happens when this toxin become available for trade.
Alternate Form (Su): A siren can change to or from siren form as a standard action. A slain afflicted siren reverts to her base form, although she remains dead. Separated body parts retain their siren form, however. A natural siren remains in whatever form she had upon her death.
Afflicted sirens find this ability difficult to control (see Sirenum as an Affliction, below), but natural sirens have full control over this power.
Blood Lust (Ex): Sirens crave fresh blood, and will take it any way they can get it. If a siren doesn't get at least a half-pint of blood to drink every 24 hours, she becomes Hostile, suffering a −2 Charisma penalty and must make a Save DC 15 or treat anyone who interacts with her with unprovoked aggression. She may likely attack, interfere, berate, or avoid others as she sees fit.
Amphibious (Ex): Regardless of her form, a siren can breathe both water and air.
Low-light Vision (Ex): Sirens can see twice as far as humans in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. They retain the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
A Siren gains Weapon Finesse with her bite and claws.
Sirens can be found in any marine or aquatic environment, such as oceans, lagoons, estuaries, bays, rivers, lakes, and swamps. However, sirens prefer areas frequented by hapless prey, like humans, but also reclusive enough as to not draw attention from those who might hunt them down.
Solitary or pair, sometimes shoal (3–4), or school (6–10).
Sirens typically gather in small groups and attack in concert to throw their prey off guard, though they often hold no allegiances to each other.
Same as base creature +1.
Standard, though typically they don't carry things that spoil in the water.
Sirens are typically neutral evil, as their craving for fresh flesh drives them to ignore the needs of others.
By character class. Sirens fare well at many different roles. Some like to strike heavily, others like to sneak in and strike quickly, while others learn magical arts and weaken enemies before closing in.
Same as the base creature +2 (afflicted) or +3 (natural).
 Sirenum as an Affliction
When a character contracts sirenum through a natural siren’s poisonous bite (see above), no symptoms appear until the first night of the next full moon. On that night, the afflicted character involuntarily transforms into her siren form and forgets her own identity, temporarily becoming an NPC. The character remains in siren form, assuming the appropriate alignment, until the next dawn.
The character’s actions during this first episode are dictated by the urge to seek out open water and kill and feed as much as she can. The character remembers nothing about the entire episode (or subsequent episodes) unless she succeeds on a DC 15 Wisdom check, in which case she becomes aware of her siren condition.
After the initial transformation during the first full moon, the character is subject to involuntary transformation at sunset. An afflicted siren submerged in water or completely drenched, is subject to involuntary transformation. She feels a nearly irresistible urge well up within her and must make a Control Shape check (see below) to resist changing into siren form. Any player character not yet aware of her siren condition temporarily becomes an NPC during an involuntary change, and acts according to the siren form alignment (Neutral Evil).
A character with awareness of her condition retains her identity and does not lose control of her actions if she changes. However, each time she changes to her siren form, she must make a Will save (DC 15 + number of times she has been in siren form) or permanently assume the alignment of her siren form in all shapes.
Once a character becomes aware of her affliction, she can now voluntarily attempt to change to siren form, using the appropriate Control Shape check DC (see below). An attempt is a standard action and can be made each round. Any voluntary change to siren form immediately and permanently changes the character’s alignment to neutral evil.
 Changing Form
Changing form is a standard action. If the change is involuntary, the character performs the change on her next turn following the triggering event. An afflicted character who is not aware of her condition remains in siren form until the next dawn. An afflicted character who is aware of her condition (see above) can try to resume her base form following a change (voluntary or involuntary) with a Control Shape check, but if she fails her check, she remains in siren form until the following dawn at sunrise.
 Curing Sirenum
For every disease, even a magical one, there exists a cure in nature. An afflicted character who eats a pinch of heat root within 2 hours of a siren’s poisoned bite can attempt another DC 20 Fortitude save to shake off the affliction. If a healer administers the medicinal root, use the character’s save bonus or the healer’s Heal modifier, whichever is higher. The character gets only one chance, no matter how much heat root is consumed. Heat root is a fairly common in medicinal shops and apothecaries and can be purchased for 25 gp for a pound.
Heat root is potent and spicy. Eating it may cause the character to vomit. The character must succeed on a DC 13 Fortitude save or take 1 point of Constitution damage and become Nauseated for 1d4 hours. Heat root only works if the character can keep it in her stomach long enough for it to take effect (about a minute).
The only other way to remove the affliction is to cast remove curse or break enchantment on the character during nightfall. After receiving the spell, the character must succeed on a DC 20 Will save to break the curse (the caster knows if the spell works). If the save fails, the process must be repeated.
Characters undergoing this cure are often kept bound or confined in cages until the cure takes effect.
Only afflicted sirens can be cured of sirenum.
 Weakening the Curse
A siren may eventually overcome her evil ways, however, it is the curse that ultimately manipulates her thoughts and drives her toward evil deeds. An attempt to cast remove curse or break enchantment on the character during the daytime followed by a successful DC 20 Will save allows the character to be free of her compunction toward her Blood Lust, no longer becoming Hostile and attacking others without provocation, however, the character still suffers a −2 Charisma penalty if she does not consume her pint of blood everyday.
 Sirens as Characters
Becoming a siren does not change a character’s favored class but usually changes alignment (see above). This alignment change may cause characters of certain classes to lose some of their class features.
A campaign with a focus on aquatic adventuring would favor their swimming prowess, but since a siren can also operate adequately on land, a more serpentine siren would fit in well if land-bound as well.
 Sirens in Combat
Sirens fare the best against living opponents that they can grapple and deal Constitution damage to with their Blood Drain ability. A natural siren favors draining its opponents Constitution with several bites first before it attempts to inject its Sirenum Poison. Creatures without blood or are too dangerous to attack in melee and grapple are dealt with using their sonic damaging Siren Song.
Sirens prefer to use tricks and tactics that grant them surprise or put their prey in poor positions to defend themselves. Utilizing their low-light vision, they attack at dawn, dusk and moonlit nights on their terms. They pick on the small and the weak or unarmored. Against ships, they've been known to claw into hulls and sink ships. A small shoal of sirens working in concert can cripple a ship rather quickly.
A single siren may prefer to climb up the side of a ship during a quiet hour to get the drop on a single opponent. A siren has no death wish and typically won't rush into a combat with a greater number of opponents. Often having previously lived among civilized lands, an afflicted siren is craftily aware of the habits of her prey.
Presented here is a variant on the Control Shape skill.
If you have contracted sirenum and are aware of your condition, you can learn Control Shape as a class skill. (If you are an afflicted siren not yet aware of your condition, you can attempt Control Shape checks untrained.) This skill determines whether you can control your shape. If you are a natural siren, you do not need this skill, since you have full control over your shape.
 Involuntary Change
You must make a check at sundown each night to resist involuntarily assuming siren form. If you are dowsed with water, you must also check.
|Involuntary Change||Control Shape DC|
|Resist involuntary change||25|
On a failed check, you must remain in siren form until the next dawn, when you automatically return to your base form. If you are aware of your condition, you may make one attempt to return to your base form (see below), but if you fail, you remain in siren form until the next dawn.
 Voluntary Change
In addition, if you are aware of your condition, you may attempt to use this skill voluntarily in order to change to siren form or return to your base form, regardless of the time of day or whether you are soaking wet.
|Voluntary Change||Control Shape DC|
|Return to base form (nighttime or when wet)||25|
|Return to base form (day)||20|
|Voluntary change to siren form (night or when wet)||15|
|Voluntary change to siren form (day)||20|
Voluntary changes are standard actions.
 Try Again
You can check to resist an involuntary change once each time a triggering event occurs.
You can retry voluntary changes to siren form as often as you like. However, on a failed check to return to your base form, you must remain in siren form until the next dawn, when you automatically return to your base form.
If you are an afflicted siren, you cannot attempt a voluntary change until you become aware of your condition (see Sirenum as an Affliction above).
 Siren Poison on the Market
Occasionally, a siren's poison is harvested and sold in back alley dealings and shady bazaars. Being a magical disease, it radiates a faint magical aura from the transmutation school. It is an injury poison DC 15 that does nauseation as primary damage (lasting for 1d4 minutes) and the sirenum magical disease an hour later as secondary damage. A single use of Siren Poison costs 1,500 gp.
See: Poisons for information on poison use and application.
 Example NPC
|human warrior 3|
|NE Medium Monstrous Humanoid (Human, Aquatic, Shapechanger)|
|Init/Senses||+3/Listen +1, Spot +1|
|AC|| 17, touch 15, flat-footed 13|
(+4 Dexterity, +2 natural, +1 deflection (ring of protection +1))
|hp||22 (3 HD)|
|Speed||30 ft. (6 squares) in human form. 20 ft. in siren form., swim 30 ft. in human form. 40 ft. in siren form.|
|Melee||Claw +7/ (1d4+1/×2) or|
|Melee||Full Attack: 2 Claws +7/ (1d4+1/×2) and a Bite +2/(1d6+1/×2)|
|Special Actions||Siren Song (Ex), Blood Drain (Ex), Sirenum Poison (Su)|
|Abilities||Str 13, Dex 19, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 10|
|SQ||Low-Light Vision (Ex), Darkvision (Ex) 60 ft., Amphibious (Ex), Blood Lust (Ex), Alternate Form (Su)|
|Feats||Armor Proficiency (Light), Simple Weapon Proficiency, Martial Weapon Proficiency, Weapon Finesse (claw and bite), Improved Initiative,|
|Skills||+7 Climb (Str), +8 Escape Artist (Dex), +0 Handle Animal (Cha), +10 Hide (Dex), +3 Intimidate (Cha), +1 Jump (Str), +4 Ride (Dex), +12 Swim (Str)|
|Possessions||ring of protection +1, 500 gp (kept in her lair)|
|Low-Light Vision (Ex)||A siren warrior can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of shadowy illumination. She retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.|
|Darkvision (Ex)||Darkvision is the extraordinary ability to see with no light source at all, out to 60 feet. Darkvision is black and white only (colors cannot be discerned). It does not allow sirens to see anything that they could not see otherwise—invisible objects are still invisible, and illusions are still visible as what they seem to be. Likewise, darkvision subjects a siren to gaze attacks normally. The presence of light does not spoil darkvision.|
|Amphibious (Ex)||Regardless of her form, a siren warrior can breathe both water and air.|
|Blood Lust (Ex)||Sirens crave fresh blood, and will take it any way they can get it. If a siren doesn't get at least a half-pint of blood to drink every 24 hours, she becomes Hostile, suffering a −2 Charisma penalty and must make a Save DC 15 or treat anyone who interacts with her with unprovoked aggression. She may likely attack, interfere, berate, or avoid others as she sees fit.|
|Alternate Form (Su)||A siren warrior can change to or from siren form as a standard action. A natural siren remains in whatever form she had upon her death, as do any separated body parts.|
|Siren Song (Ex)||4 times per day, a siren warrior can screeches a horrific discord. A burst of sonic energy radiates 30 feet from her in all directions. All creatures within the area take 3d6 sonic damage. Targets are allowed a Fortitude saves DC 14 to avoid becoming dazed for one round. Other sirens are naturally resistant to Siren Song. Creatures with blindsight suffer a -4 circumstance penalty to their Fortitude save.|
|Blood Drain (Ex)||A siren warrior can deal a ghastly wound to a living victim with her sharp fangs by making a successful grapple check. If she pins the foe, her bite drains blood, dealing 1d4 Constitution drain each round the pin is maintained.|
|Sirenum Poison (Su)||If a siren warrior hits with her bite attack, she may choose to inject her poison. Any humanoid, Fey or giant injected with a siren’s poison must succeed on a DC 15 Fortitude save or become nauseated for 1d4 minutes. One hour later, the victim must make a second save, at the same DC or contract sirenum. A siren warrior can only produce enough poison for one bite every 24 hours.|
Dripping wet and dressed in shabby rags, its claws gleaming in the light. It sways and rocks back and forth smoothly, eyeing you. It looks like a mermaid, but as it smiles, it reveals its ferocious teeth.
Siren warriors are a scrappy bunch. With little in the way of training, equipment and skills, they use what they have to survive and take down prey.
Siren warriors prefer to attack in concert and concentrate on weak looking prey. If the situation looks grim, they will often retreat. If they attack a boat, this means simply jumping back overboard. Typically, they attack under cover of night or during a storm or rain.
They may simply try to sink small boats and attack their prey once the ship is waterlogged.
Occasionally a siren warrior will employ trickery and pose as a human before transforming to strike her unawares prey.
Anything that she steals away or isn't using is kept hidden in her lair, often an underwater cave.