Excerpts 04/08/2005

Lords of Madness Excerpt
By Bruce R. Cordell, Jennifer Clarke-Wilkes, JD Wiker

Aberrations and more await you within the pages of Lords of Madness! With this D&D accessory, you can learn more about aboleths, beholders, mind flayers, neogi, grell, Tsochari, and more. Additionally, PCs who wish to hunt these creatures can add new feats, spells, magic items, and grafts to their list of options. (Plenty of choices abound, so be prepared to start making even tougher decisions on what your character should do or get next!) Our sneak peek of this book includes a look at chuuls, beholder magic, mind flayer goals, neogi defilers, grell anatomy, Tsochari, half-farspawn, some sample feats, and a couple of prestige classes.

Beholder Magic


Although they are naturally potent adversaries, beholders understand the value of augmenting their capabilities with additional magic. Yet beholders are not known for their skill or even their interest in creating magic items. Therefore, most of a beholder's magic gear has been stolen from others.

Since most magic items are crafted by humanoids, a beholder cannot use all of the items it finds. Still, it hoards weapons, armor, cloaks, boots, gauntlets, and similar magic items so it can study them to charge its dweomerlobes.

A creature with a beholder-shaped body can wear the following magic items:

  • One headband, hat, or phylactery on the body. A beholder can only wear a helmet specially designed to fit over the creature's entire body.
  • Three pairs of eye lenses or goggles over the central eye and up to two eyestalks (one pair per eye or eyestalk).
  • Three amulets, brooches, medallions, necklaces, periapts, or scarabs on up to three eyestalks (one item per eyestalk).
  • One belt worn about an eyestalk.
  • One pair of bracers or bracelets on a pair of eyestalks.
  • Up to three rings on up to three eyestalks (one ring per eyestalk).

Beholders cannot wear vests, vestments, shirts, robes, suits of armor, cloaks, capes, mantles, gloves, gauntlets, boots, or shoes.

Beholder mages and elder orbs are exceptions to the rule that beholders do not create magic items. Some of the items fashioned by these powerful creatures are among the treasures sought after by their lesser kin and adventurers alike.

Relations among Beholders

A beholder's typical reaction to encountering another beholder is rage. If possible, the beholder directs its minions to attack the other beholder and kill it, but sometimes this tactic isn't the best one available. In such a case, the beholder is driven to attack the other beholder personally.

Of all creatures, a beholder is perhaps the most invulnerable to others of its kind, due to its antimagic cone. A combat between two beholders is savage and ruthless, especially if the terrain doesn't allow one an advantage over the other. A beholder that is able to ambush another can end the fight quickly.

When two beholders meet on equal ground, each rotates quickly enough to keep its enemy in the area of its antimagic cone. Thus, the encounter rapidly degenerates into a frenzied battle of flashing teeth and tearing flesh. Each beholder uses Flyby Attack to swoop in, bite its enemy, and then retreat to a point where its foe cannot escape its cone of antimagic with a single move action, forcing the foe to take two moves to escape the antimagic or retaliate in a similar swoop-bite retreat tactic. Sometimes, a beholder can use the surrounding terrain to turn the tide of battle in its favor by using its eye rays to attack its enemy indirectly. For example, a beholder could use disintegrate rays to drop trees or cave in a roof on an enemy, or it could use its telekinesis eye ray to hurl objects at its enemy. (If the beholder uses the violent thrust form of telekinesis -- that is, using magic only to launch the object, which thereafter moves of its own accord as if it had been thrown -- the object maintains its velocity and trajectory even after it enters an antimagic cone.)

In the exceedingly rare cases where more than two beholders meet, the resulting melee is proportionally more savage and destructive. Beholders in such a fight team up against the one that looks the most unusual. The beholders form groups based on their similar physical features and work together to nullify the others. As each beholder falls, the groups reorganize so that the next most unique-looking beholder is the common target.

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