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.

New Monster: Half-Farspawn

Half-farspawn

Much as fiends produce terrible mortal progeny, certain entities of the Far Realm occasionally venture to the Material Plane to procreate. Sometimes the mortal parent is willing, a fanatical cultist or creature so debased in evil that he or she deliberately invites the union. Other times, the Far Realm being visits its horrible taint on whatever mortal creature best suits its abhorrent purpose. In any event, the half-farspawn is a creature in which the fantastically abnormal is cloaked in a guise of mundane flesh and blood.

Half-farspawn are horrible in appearance. By the capriciousness of fate and heritage, they might appear largely normal, strongly favoring the mortal parent, but always prominently bear abnormal features: extra limbs, writhing cilia, tentacles, translucent flesh, variable coloration, or slavering maws or alien eyes embedded in otherwise normal flesh. With heavy clothing, a humanoid half-farspawn might conceal its true nature for a time, but anyone viewing the half-farspawn without its coverings could not possibly miss its differences.

Half-farspawn are shunned by most other creatures. While some aberrations regard a creature descended from the Far Realm as an honored emissary, most others loathe and detest half-farspawn. They might find refuge in the alien dimensions from which their farspawn progenitor came, but in the Material Plane, they are viewed as madness incarnate. Only alienists and insane cultists regard half-farspawn as allies and knowingly aid them.

Sample Half-Farspawn

Half-Farspawn Gray Render
Large Outsider (Native)
Hit Dice: 10d10+100 (155 hp)
Initiative: +1
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares)
Armor Class: 23 (-1 size, +1 Dex, +13 natural), touch 10, flat-footed 22
Base Attack/Grapple: +10/+21
Attack: Bite +16 melee (2d6+7); in amorphous form, tentacle +16 melee (1d6+7)
Full Attack: Bite +16 melee (2d6+7) and 2 claws +11 melee (1d6+3) and 2 tentacles +11 melee (1d6+3); in amorphous form, 4 tentacles +16 melee (1d6+7)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./10 ft.
Special Attacks: Improved grab, rend 2d6+10, spelllike abilities, true strike; in amorphous form, spell-like abilities, true strike
Special Qualities: Blindsight 60 ft., change shape, damage reduction 5/magic, darkvision 60 ft., immunity to poison, lowlight vision, resistance to acid 10, resistance to electricity 10, scent, spell resistance 20; in amorphous form, also can't be flanked and not subject to extra damage from critical hits
Saves: Fort +17, Ref +8, Will +6
Abilities: Str 25, Dex 12, Con 30, Int 3, Wis 16, Cha 10
Skills: Concentration +15, Hide +10, Jump +12, Spot +16, Survival +9
Feats: Cleave, Improved Bull Rush, Power Attack, Track
Environment: Temperate marshes
Organization: Solitary
Challenge Rating: 10
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always chaotic evil
Advancement: 11-15 HD (Large); 16-30 HD (Huge)
Level Adjustment: --

This hulking, bipedal monster has a stooped frame and long, thickly muscled arms. The creature's flesh is translucent, almost gelatinous, and glistens wetly. Its bullet-shaped head has six small, yellow eyes, and its powerful mouth is full of black teeth. A pair of long, flailing tentacles sprouts from its shoulders.

Half-farspawn such as the gray render described here are sometimes found as the guardians of places sacred to Far Realm cultists, or as allies of powerful aberrations.

Combat

A half-farspawn gray render is barely sentient, but it wields its terrible magical powers with crude cunning. It frequently makes use of its blur, blink, or greater invisibility powers to confuse and disorient its prey. The creature is equally comfortable in its normal or amorphous forms, and it sometimes shifts randomly between them in the course of the same encounter.

A half-farspawn's natural weapons are treated as magic weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

Improved Grab (Ex): To use this ability, a half-farspawn gray render must hit with its bite attack. It can then attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking attacks of opportunity.

Rend (Ex): A half-farspawn gray render that wins a grapple check after a successful bite attack establishes a hold, latching onto the opponent's body and tearing the flesh. This attack automatically deals 2d6+10 points of damage.

True Strike (Su): Once per day, a half-farspawn can make a normal attack with a +20 insight bonus on a single attack roll. The half-farspawn is not affected by the miss chance that applies to attacks against a concealed target.

Spell-Like Abilities: 3/day -- blur, blink; 1/day -- touch of idiocy, stinking cloud (DC 13), greater invisibility. Caster level 10th. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Change Shape (Su): As a standard action, a half-farspawn gray render can take the form of an amorphous, tentacled mass at will. While in this form, the creature loses its improved grab and rend special attacks, as well as its bite and claw natural attacks. It gains two additional tentacle attacks, cannot be flanked, and is not subject to extra damage from critical hits. Creatures native to the Material Plane take a -1 morale penalty on attack rolls against the half-farspawn gray render in its amorphous form.

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