Last Updated on January 22, 2023
Welcome to our magic item gear guide to the Staff of the Python. In this guide, we’ll outline how this magic item works in Dungeons & Dragons 5e and which character classes can make the best use of this item as well as answer some frequently asked questions.
Staff of the Python
Staff, uncommon (requires attunement by a Cleric, Druid, or Warlock)
While attuned to this magical staff, you can speak its command word and throw the staff onto the ground within 10 feet of you. This action causes the staff to transform into a Giant Constrictor Snake. The snake is under your command and acts on its own initiative count.
On your turn, you can use a bonus action to speak the staff’s command word again and return the staff to its normal form in the same space as the snake.
You can mentally command the snake on your turn when the summoned creature is within 60 feet of you and you aren’t incapacitated. You decide what action the snake takes and where it moves during its next turn, or you can issue it a general command, such as to attack your enemies or guard a location.
If the snake is reduced to 0 hit points, it dies and reverts to its staff form. The staff then shatters and is destroyed. If the snake reverts to staff form before losing all its hit points, it regains all of them.
What Is the Staff of the Python?
The Staff of the Python is an uncommon magical staff that can transform into a CR 2 Giant Constrictor Snake when you speak the staff’s command word.
The snake obeys your telepathic commands if it is within 60 feet of you and regains any missing hit points upon transforming back into a staff. However, if the snake is reduced to 0 hit points, it automatically transforms back into a staff and shatters permanently.
The possibility for this staff to be destroyed if not handled carefully is pretty risky, but in my opinion, this is a very small downside for the sheer utility, control, and potential damage output that this magic item provides.
How Good Is the Staff of the Python?
The Staff of the Python might be the single best uncommon magic item in D&D 5e and offers far more utility and added effectiveness in combat than its rarity would suggest.
Most other uncommon magic items give you, at best, a few extra spells, a strange utility bonus, or an incremental buff to attacks. They most assuredly do not give you an at-will summonable CR 2 snake with a strength score better than a Young White Dragon.
Sure, you could get the same result by casting the beefiest version of Conjure Animals or Conjure Woodland Beings, but even at higher levels, you’ll only get to bring forth your scaly new best friend a handful of times a day. With the Staff of the Python, there is no limit to the number of times you can summon and resummon your Giant Constrictor Snake.
Assuming you just want to use the snake for fighting, all you need to do is keep it within 60 feet of you and save your bonus action for a round when your snake’s hit points start looking low. Then, turn it back into a staff, pick it up, say the command word, throw it back down again, and boom — a completely fresh snake.
So, assuming you’re not fighting any outrageously powerful enemies, you can continue to summon and resummon your snake whenever there’s a risk of it dropping below 10-15 hp, meaning you’ve always got a buffer of around 40-50 hit points sitting in front of you and the rest of your party. That’s outrageously good enough on its own, and that’s just assuming your giant anaconda doesn’t do anything other than sit there and look pretty.
Not only does the Giant Constrictor Snake have a respectable bite attack, but on a hit, its Constrict attack auto-grapples its targets (assuming they aren’t Gargantuan), preventing them from moving and applying the restrained condition. In addition to dropping a creature’s speed to zero and giving it disadvantage on Dexterity saving throws, attack rolls made against the creature have advantage, and its own attacks are made with disadvantage. Just wrap that constrictor snake around the BBEG and let the Fighter and Barbarian go to town.
There’s plenty you can do with a Constrictor Snake outside of combat too. Use your snake to stand watch while you rest (+3 perception isn’t that bad); its blindsight can detect invisible creatures within 10 feet, use the Beast Sense spell (if you’re playing a Druid or Ranger) to see through the snake’s eyes as it scouts ahead for you, hang onto its back in the water to take advantage of its outstanding swimming speed, use it as a ladder to climb over walls, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who Can Use a Staff of the Python?
How Much Does a Staff of the Python Cost?
The Staff of the Python is an uncommon magic item and costs 2,000 gold pieces, although that figure is subject to change depending on who is selling it and the rarity of magic items in your campaign.
Can I Ride a Giant Constrictor Snake?
Yes! A Giant Constrictor Snake is a size Huge creature with a Strength score of 19. This means that it can carry 1,140 lbs. and can pull up to almost 2,300 lbs. This is roughly equivalent to the towing capacity of two draft horses — assuming you can find a saddle and/or harness.
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I played my first tabletop RPG (Pathfinder 1e, specifically) in college. I rocked up late to the first session with an unread rulebook and a human bard called Nick Jugger. It was a rocky start but I had a blast and now, the better part of a decade later, I play, write, and write about tabletop RPGs (mostly 5e, but also PBtA, Forged in the Dark and OSR) games for a living, which is wild.