The following article introduces Stohpo-Ahk, based on the living spell template (from Monster Manual III). In this case, the polymorph, stoneskin, Melf's acid arrow, tremorsense have been used, which deviates from the living spells rules as written. DMs should consider Stohpo-Ahk a unique new creature, thus deviating from the norm; plus, for more information and design notes regarding living spells, be sure to consult Sean K. Reynolds' Living Spell mini-series.
Many magical battles were fought in the land of Cyre, and the vestiges of some of those battles persevere in the form of living spells. Most of them are mindless husks of life, content to attack and destroy, but through unknown circumstances one such living spell gained sentience and a will to do more than just break and kill. Stohpo-Ahk considers itself the lord of its kind, a god-king to the mindless oozes of the Mournland.
Nobody knows for sure, but based on its abilities Stohpo-Ahk is probably the fusion of at least three different living spells involving polymorphing, stone, and acid. How this came to be is unknown, perhaps they met on a dragonshard item with an affinity for shapechanging magic and that provided a matrix of stability that allowed the three entities to merge into one creature. Regardless of its true origin, Stohpo-Ahk is a living creature with abilities superior to any living spell encountered by Mournland explorers. In its normal form it resembles an animate blob of tan, stone gray, and bilious green flesh, sometimes with one or more simple toothless mouths, but Stohpo-Ahk can take the form of almost any creature of Large size or smaller. Stohpo-Ahk uses its multiple mouths to create a chorus of its own opinion, which it uses to drown out any opposing arguments.
Unique and powerful, Stohpo-Ahk believes it is the rightful ruler of the Mournland and challenges anything of Large or smaller size to prove its superiority and dominance. When it wins, it dissolves its defeated opponents in its acidic grasp. Creatures that approach it with humility and (preferably) offering gifts of tribute may be able to convince Stohpo-Ahk to talk rather than fight. The evolved ooze is aware of the Lord of Blades and considers the warforged leader its only true rival for the "crown of the Mournland." So far it has avoided confrontation with the Lord of Blades and uses its abilities to spy on him.
Stohpo-Ahk spends its time rounding up other living spells and trying to force them to merge and become sentient so that it may have minions like itself. As it doesn't know how it came to be, it has had no success in attempting to duplicate that event, but has managed to gather a large number of weak living spells into the area around its lair (a stone fortress built shortly before the Last War, its upper floors ruined but the basement well-protected) and is trying to "breed" them. Like most native creatures of the Mournland, it is considerably weaker outside the border of the gray mist, and it has not left since a near-disastrous foray about a year ago. It figures that once it has conquered all of the Mournland and managed to "breed" intelligent living spells, it can worry about how to expand its territory, whether by pushing the mists into nearby lands or finding a way to survive outside of them.
Adventure Ideas With Stohpo-Ahk
New Crossbreeds: Reports from Mournland explorers indicate new types of living spells are turning up in one part of that cursed place. These living spells combine the traits of two different low-level living spells, and their attacks alternate round by round between the two different spell effects (for example, a living spell that alternates between burning hands and color spray). Most believe that a mad sorcerer is trying to "improve upon" the existing living spells, perhaps as a weapon to use outside the Mournland, and this sorcerer has many forms or disguises. The truth is that Stohpo-Ahk is responsible, and it can be a recurring threat or villain for PC adventure in or near the Mournland on a regular basis.
The Enemy of My Enemy: While Stohpo-Ahk has no love for humanoids or other non-ooze creatures, its rivalry with the Lord of Blades is strong enough to get it to put aside prejudice and agree to parley. Investigators who want to know more about the warforged leader have a reasonable chance of bribing Stohpo-Ahk to reveal what it knows, though there's no way they can convince it to attack the Lord of Blades on their behalf. Likewise, anyone fleeing from the Lord of Blade's army may find Stohpo-Ahk offering to help them escape in exchange for knowledge about the metal tyrant and his minions. This scenario also works with the Lord of Blades wanting the non-warforged PCs to attack or spy on Stohpo-Ahk.
A Need for Magic: So far Stohpo-Ahk's attempts to create other sentient spells have failed, and it's warming to the idea of hiring or enslaving a spellcaster who might know more about magic than it does. Stohpo-Ahk may capture a PC Mournland-explorer with magical knowledge, requiring a rescue mission, or the PCs might be hired by another group to help rescue their captured ally. Of course, things are rarely so simple in Eberron, and it's possible that the captured spellcaster simply owes the other NPCs money or knows a terrible secret that shouldn't fall into the wrong hands.
Stohpo-Ahk CR 12
NE Large Ooze
Init +4; Senses darkvision 60 ft., tremorsense 30 ft.; Listen +12, Spot +12
AC 14, touch 14, flat-footed 14
(-1 size, +5 deflection)
hp 79 (10 HD); DR 10/adamantine and magic
Immune poison, sleep, paralysis, polymorph, stunning, critical hits, flanking
Resist SR 20
Fort +9, Ref +7, Will +7
Speed 20 ft. (4 squares)
Melee slam +10 (1d6+3 plus 2d4 acid)
Base Atk +9; Grp +15
Atk Options Power Attack, engulf
Special Actions alternate form
Abilities Str 14, Dex 11, Con 14, Int 16, Wis 11, Cha 14
SQ living spell affinity
Feats Alertness, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Power Attack
Skills Bluff +15, Climb +8, Diplomacy +10, Gather Information +6, Intimidate +17, Knowledge (local) +13, Listen +12, Sleight of Hand +4, Spot +12, Survival +12
Alternate Form (Su): At will, Stohpo-Ahk can assume any form of Huge size or smaller as a standard action. It can remain in its alternate form until it chooses to assume a new one or return to its natural form.
Engulf (Ex): In its normal form, Stohpo-Ahk can flow around creatures that fit within its space as a standard action. It cannot make a slam attack during the round in which it engulfs. Stohpo-Ahk merely has to move to cover its opponents, affecting as many as it can cover. Opponents can make attacks of opportunity against Stohpo-Ahk, but if they do they do not get a saving throw against the engulf attack. On a successful save they are moved back or pushed aside as Stohpo-Ahk moves forward. Engulfed creatures suffer 2d4 points of acid damage each round on Stohpo-Ahk's turn, and are considered grappled and trapped within its body.
Living Spell Affinity (Ex): Stohpo-Ahk can use the Diplomacy and Intimidate skills to influence living spells much in the same way that druids and rangers can use wild empathy to influence animals. This is not a mind-affecting effect, but rather the use of signals the living spells instinctively recognize to mean "food," "danger," and so on, and the "vocabulary" of these signals is extremely limited.
Tremorsense (Ex): Stohpo-Ahk can automatically pinpoint the location of anything within 30 feet that is in contact with the ground, so long as it is touching the ground itself.
About the Author
Sean K Reynolds lives in Las Vegas and develops worlds for Upper Deck as well as running his own small press d20 company. His D&D credits include the Monster Manual, the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, and Savage Species. You can find more game material at Sean's website.