Astral Encounters
Crosswinds Keep and Environs
By Darrin Drader

Fazes

Along with the githyanki, another threat that plagues the Elserryn Cluster are fazes. While these creatures are rare throughout the Astral Plane, they seem to congregate near this area for reasons that have yet to be discovered. They prey upon all species, including the githyanki, who kill fazes whenever they encounter them.

The inhabitants of Crosswinds Keep have learned to fear these creatures. Because the keep lies motionless, it makes an easy target for fazes. When a faze nears the keep, the inhabitants of the keep assault them from a distance with both siege weapons and spells.

Faze
Huge Aberration (Extraplanar)
Hit Dice: 5d8+24 (45 hp)
Initiative: +7
Speed: Fly 80 ft. (good)
Armor Class: +18 (+2 Dex, +6 natural), 12 touch, 16 flat-footed
Base Attack/Grapple: +3/+18
Attack: Tentacle slam +4 melee
Full Attack: 6 tentacle slams +4 melee (1d8+3)
Space/Reach: 15 ft./10 ft.
Special Attacks: Constrict, improved grab, mind drain, psionics
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., spell resistance 16
Saves: Fort +5, Ref +3, Will +5
Abilities: Str 16 (+3), Dex 14 (+2), Con 18 (+4), Int 20 (+5), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 16
Skills: Gather Information +6, Intimidate +6, Knowledge (arcana) +13, Knowledge (the planes) +13, Listen +9, Spot +9, Survival +9
Feats: Improved Initiative, Toughness
Environment: Astral Plane
Organization: Solitary, pair, or group (3-8)
Challenge Rating: 5
Treasure: None
Alignment: CE
Advancement: 6-9 HD (Huge), 10-15 HD (Gargantuan)

A faze is a Huge creature that resembles a jellyfish. It travels the Astral Plane in search of food, though it derives sustenance from brain power. A faze has a translucent purplish domelike membrane covering its internal organs, and its skin is tough and rubbery. Six pale white tentacles trail behind it as it flies.

Nobody is certain if fazes are native to the Astral Plane, or if they originated elsewhere. Travelers on the Astral Plane dread them, though the creatures are quite rare and wondrous to behold from a distance. A faze prefers to attack creatures of good alignment, though if it has been more than a week since it last ate, it willingly attacks any creature with an Intelligence of over 3 regardless of alignment.

Combat

A faze rarely enters into combat and instead prefers to float alongside its prey while it drains the chosen victim of its Intelligence. Many of its victims are unaware that they have suffered this damage and are transfixed by the exotic beauty of this creature.

When it must enter into combat, a faze attacks with its tentacles while continuing to drain Intelligence every few rounds. It feeds upon its victims until it has absorbed a total of 20 points of Intelligence. Once it has reached this threshold, if it is not threatened by its opponents, its malign nature causes it to continue draining its victim until the victim loses consciousness (see Dungeon Master's Guide, page 290), at which point it eats the victim. If a faze has absorbed the necessary number of points but is threatened, it withdraws at full speed.

Constrict (Ex): A faze deals 1d6+3 points of damage with a successful grapple check against a Large or smaller creature.

Improved Grab (Ex): If a faze hits a target size Large or smaller with 2 tentacles, it can then attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. If it wins the grapple check, it establishes a hold and can constrict. Fazes receive a +4 racial bonus on grapple checks, which is already included in the statistic block.

Mind Drain (Su): As a free action, a faze can drain 1d4 points of Intelligence from every creature within 50 feet. Any creature that comes within 50 feet of a faze must make a Will save (DC 15) or suffer 1d4 points of Intelligence damage. Creatures are allowed a Will save (DC 15) to negate the effect. Creatures that fail their saves often are unaware that they have lost Intelligence; the faze's victim can make a Wisdom check (DC 15) to note the loss. This is a mind-affecting effect.

Psionics (Su): 3/day -- daze monsters (DC 15), feather fall, and shatter (DC 15).

Bringing the Parts Together

If you want to add a little spice to the game when the PCs visit Crosswinds Keep, allow the threat of fazes to loom. Perhaps a couple of these creatures attack the keep, and the PCs are needed to assist in its defense. Another option is that a party of people wish to head out and take on the threat farther out from the keep.

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