D&D Fight Club12/08/2001


Ethererim Mind Flayer Monk



Design notes: Generally when designing one of these entries, I have the monster in mind first. Then I look to see what classes augment the monster's abilities, or which can give it some extra surprises. This time, I wanted to create a monk, and looked for monsters that would be enhanced by a monk's abilities. It turns out that devils, my first choice, are not greatly improved by the monk's class abilities. Devils already get some of the features or don't need them, and the monk's unarmed attacks don't help either. Then I looked at the mind flayer -- and found my match. The straight monk is a good class when a character has a lot of levels in it, and the stunning attack really helps a mind flayer who wants to get in and melee with some PCs.

This month's creature also has the highest Challenge Rating of those I've created. You might not be able to use him at CR 23, but seeing the creature is fun. And he might work in epic campaigns.

It's really better not to delve into the "childhood" of a creature as strange as a mind flayer, just as it is generally unhealthy to inquire into the childhood of a demon or devil -- assuming they even have childhoods. Suffice to say that during what would be, for humans, his teenage years, Ethererim found he was a little different than other mind flayers. He liked melee far more than psionic combat, and would take risks that other mind flayers thought unnecessary or even dangerous. He stumbled into the life of a monk quite accidentally: He almost ate the brain of an aged monk who was too slow to defend herself. Ethererim, in scanning her thoughts before devouring her, learned what she could once do, and charmed her instead. He then had her teach him everything she knew, and rewarded her by letting her die of old age before eating her brain. Now he roams the world looking for food and increasing his power.

Ethererim is a mind flayer who likes to get physical with his victims, using his monk class powers to their fullest. Most mind flayers, being not that strong, use their mind blast powers and then move in on stunned and helpless victims. Ethererim is more a lone hunter, preferring to go after lonely victims. He can mix it up with a group, and will certainly use his mind blast and other powers in that case. When he can isolate an opponent, he sneaks up, leaps in with his incredible jumping ability, and unleashes a stunning attack (followed by his tentacle attacks as secondary natural attacks). If needed, he uses his haste extra partial action to make another tentacle attack against the stunned foe and his improved grab ability to attach the rest of the tentacles. In the next round, he maintains his hold on the stunned creature, pulls out its brain, and leaps away before anyone can intervene or attack. It's pretty much instant death for the victim who fails the saving throw vs. Stunning Attack, and a hard fight for the victim who does succeed at the roll. The only monk power Ethererim does not use freely is the quivering palm, because live brains are tastier than dead ones.

He could be the leader of some enemy factions, but his inability to stay in the background makes him an ineffective long-term master villain. He could make a good short-term villain, or perhaps a villain being manipulated by more powerful villains in some way. He might enslave some humanoids to rush a party of adventurers, or a small village, and use them as a distraction for his own brain-grabbing attack.

Here we offer three versions of Ethererim for varied challenge levels. He is presented with magic items equivalent to the value that a NPC of his level should have.

[8th level mind flayer]/2nd level Monk [8th level mind flayer]/8th level Monk [8th level mind flayer]/15th level Monk
Challenge Rating: 10 Challenge Rating: 16 Challenge Rating: 23
Hit Dice: 8d8 + 2d8 + 10 Hit Dice: 8d8 + 8d8 + 16 Hit Dice: 8d8 + 15d8 + 23
Hit Points: 59 Hit Points: 92 Hit Points: 131
Initiative Modifier: +6 Initiative Modifier: +7 Initiative Modifier: +9
Speed: 30 ft. Speed: 50 ft. Speed: 80 ft.
Armor Class: 18 (touch 15, flat-footed 16) Armor Class: 26 (touch 26, flat-footed 23) Armor Class: 36 (touch 25, flat-footed 31)

Attacks:

  • 4 tentacles +9 melee (1d4+1)

OR

  • Unarmed attack +8/+3 melee (1d6+1) and 4 tentacles +7 melee (1d4)

OR

  • +1 quarterstaff +9/+4 melee (1d6+2) and 4 tentacles +7 melee (1d4)

OR

  • +1 quarterstaff as double weapon +7/+2 melee (1d6+2) and +6 melee (1d6) and 4 tentacles +7 melee (1d4)

Attacks:

  • 4 tentacles +15 melee (1d4+1)

OR

  • Unarmed attack +13/+8/+3 melee (1d10+1) and 4 tentacles +13 melee (1d4)

OR

  • +3 quarterstaff +16/+11/+6 melee (1d6+4) and 4 tentacles +13 melee (1d4)

OR

  • +3 quarterstaff as double weapon +14/+9/+4 melee (1d6+4) and +11 melee (1d6) and 4 tentacles +13 melee (1d4)

Attacks:

  • 4 tentacles +22 melee (1d4+3)

OR

  • Unarmed attack +20/+15/+10 melee (1d12+3) and 4 tentacles +20 melee (1d4+1)

OR

  • +4 shocking burst quarterstaff +24/+19/+14 melee (1d6+7 and 1d6 electrical) and 4 tentacles +20 melee (1d4+1)

OR

  • +4 shocking burst quarterstaff +22/+17/+12 melee (1d6+7 and 1d6 electrical) and +18/+13 melee 4 tentacles (1d6+1) and 4 tentacles +20 melee (1d4+1)
Face/Reach: 5 ft. x 5 ft./5 ft. Face/Reach: 5 ft. x 5 ft./5 ft. Face/Reach: 5 ft. x 5 ft./5 ft.

Special Attacks/Qualities:

  • Darkvision 60 ft.
  • Spell Resistance 25
  • Telepathy (Su) -- can communicate telepathically with any creature within 100 ft. that has a language
  • Mind Blast (Sp) -- cone 60 ft. long; anyone inside must succeed at Will save (DC 18) or be stunned for 3d4 rounds
  • Psionics (Sp) -- at will as spells cast by 8th level sorcerer (save DC 13 + spell level): astral projection, charm monster, detect thoughts, levitate, plane shift, suggestion
  • Improved Grab (Ex) -- if it hits a creature size Small to Large with a tentacle attack, it may attempt to attach its remaining tentacles with a single grapple check. The opponent can escape with a single successful grapple or Escape Artist check, but the mind flayer gets a +2 circumstance bonus for each tentacle attached at the start of the opponent's turn.
  • Extract (Ex) -- a mind flayer that begins its turn with all four tentacles attached to a single opponent and who successfully maintains the hold automatically extracts the opponent's brain, instantly killing that creature
  • Unarmed Strike -- does not provoke attacks of opportunity when making unarmed attacks (Improved Unarmed Strike virtual feat)
  • Flurry of Blows -- can make one extra unarmed attack at highest base attack for unarmed attacks, but suffers a -2 penalty on all unarmed attacks in the flurry of blows (this is a full round action)
  • Stunning Attack (Su) -- once per round, can make stun attack; if struck, foe must succeed at Fort save DC 14 or be stunned for one round (cannot act, loses Dex bonus to AC) in addition to normal damage. Can use this ability 3 times per day.
  • Evasion (Ex) -- For attacks that allow Reflex saves for half damage, the monk takes no damage on a successful Reflex save
  • 1 additional stunning attack per day (monk's belt)
  • Haste once per day for up to 10 rounds [extra partial action per round, +4 haste bonus to AC] (monk's belt)

Special Attacks/Qualities:

  • Darkvision 60 ft.
  • Spell Resistance 25
  • Telepathy (Su) -- can communicate telepathically with any creature within 100 ft. that has a language
  • Mind Blast (Sp) -- cone 60 ft. long; anyone inside must succeed at Will save (DC 24) or be stunned for 3d4 rounds
  • Psionics (Sp) -- at will as spells cast by 8th level sorcerer (save DC 13 + spell level): astral projection, charm monster, detect thoughts, levitate, plane shift, suggestion
  • Improved Grab (Ex) -- if it hits a creature size Small to Large with a tentacle attack, it may attempt to attach its remaining tentacles with a single grapple check. The opponent can escape with a single successful grapple or Escape Artist check, but the mind flayer gets a +2 circumstance bonus for each tentacle attached at the start of the opponent's turn.
  • Extract (Ex) -- a mind flayer that begins its turn with all four tentacles attached to a single opponent and who successfully maintains the hold automatically extracts the opponent's brain, instantly killing that creature
  • Unarmed Strike -- does not provoke attacks of opportunity when making unarmed attacks (Improved Unarmed Strike virtual feat)
  • Flurry of Blows -- can make one extra unarmed attack at highest base attack for unarmed attacks, but suffers a -2 penalty on all unarmed attacks in the flurry of blows (this is a full round action)
  • Stunning Attack (Su) -- once per round, can make stun attack; if struck, foe must succeed at Fort save DC 20 or be stunned for one round (cannot act, loses Dex bonus to AC) in addition to normal damage. Can use this ability 11 times per day.
  • Evasion (Ex) -- For attacks that allow Reflex saves for half damage, the monk takes no damage on a successful Reflex save
  • Fast Movement -- 50 ft.
  • Still Mind -- +2 bonus to saves vs. Enchantment spells and effects
  • Slow Fall 50 ft. -- Within arm's reach of a wall, can make a fall seem as if it is 50 ft. less high
  • Purity of Body -- Immune to all non-magical diseases
  • Wholeness of Body (Su) -- Can cure 16 hit points per day on self, and can spread it over several uses.
  • Leap of the Clouds -- Jumping distance not limited by the monk's height
  • Monk's belt gives 1 additional stunning attack per day and allows monk to haste himself once per day for up to 10 rounds [extra partial action per round, +4 haste bonus to AC]

Special Attacks/Qualities:

  • Darkvision 60 ft.
  • Spell Resistance 25
  • Telepathy (Su) -- can communicate telepathically with any creature within 100 ft. that has a language
  • Mind Blast (Sp) -- cone 60 ft. long; anyone inside must succeed at Will save DC 28 or be stunned for 3d4 rounds
  • Psionics (Sp) -- at will as spells cast by 8th level sorcerer (save DC 13 + spell level): astral projection, charm monster, detect thoughts, levitate, plane shift, suggestion
  • Improved Grab (Ex) -- if it hits a creature size Small to Large with a tentacle attack, it may attempt to attach its remaining tentacles with a single grapple check. The opponent can escape with a single successful grapple or Escape Artist check, but the mind flayer gets a +2 circumstance bonus for each tentacle attached at the start of the opponent's turn.
  • Extract (Ex) -- a mind flayer that begins its turn with all four tentacles attached to a single opponent and who successfully maintains the hold automatically extracts the opponent's brain, instantly killing that creature
  • Unarmed Strike -- does not provoke attacks of opportunity when making unarmed attacks (Improved Unarmed Strike virtual feat)
  • Flurry of Blows -- can make one extra unarmed attack at highest base attack for unarmed attacks, but suffers a -2 penalty on all unarmed attacks in the flurry of blows (this is a full round action)
  • Stunning Attack (Su) -- once per round, can make stun attack; if struck, foe must succeed at Fort save DC 24 or be stunned for one round (cannot act, loses Dex bonus to AC) in addition to normal damage. Can use this ability 18 times per day.
  • Improved Evasion (Ex) -- For attacks that allow Reflex saves for half damage, the monk takes no damage on a successful Reflex save and half damage on a failed Reflex save
  • Still Mind -- +2 bonus to saves vs. Enchantment spells and effects
  • Slow Fall 50 ft. -- Within arm's reach of a wall, can make a fall seem as if it is 50 ft. less high
  • Purity of Body -- Immune to all non-magical diseases
  • Wholeness of Body (Su) -- Can cure 30 hit points per day on self, and can spread it over several uses.
  • Leap of the Clouds -- Jumping distance not limited by the monk's height
  • Ki strike (+2) -- Can use unarmed attacks and affect creatures as if using a +2 magic weapon for purposes of bypassing damage resistance
  • Diamond Body (Su) -- Immune to poison
  • Abundant Step (Sp) -- Can slip between spaces as a dimension door spell once per day cast at 7th level
  • Diamond Soul -- Spell resistance 25, which it already has for being a mind flayer. This does not stack.
  • Quivering Palm (Su) -- Make successful unarmed attack that does damage against creature of 22 or fewer hit dice to activate quivering palm. Thereafter, monk can will the target to die (free action) and target must succeed at Fort save DC 21 [24] or die. See Player's Handbook page 40.

Saving Throws:
Fortitude +6
Reflex +7
Will +12

Saving Throws:
Fortitude +9
Reflex +11
Will +18

Saving Throws:
Fortitude +12
Reflex +16
Will +22

Strength: 12 Strength: 12 Strength: 16
Dexterity: 14 Dexterity: 16 Dexterity: 20
Constitution: 12 Constitution: 12 Constitution: 12
Intelligence: 19 Intelligence: 19 Intelligence: 19
Wisdom: 17 Wisdom: 23 Wisdom: 24
Charisma: 17 Charisma: 17 Charisma: 17
Skills : Balance +4, Bluff +8, Concentration +12, Diplomacy +5, Escape Artist +7, Hide +18, Intimidate +10, Jump +3, Knowledge (local, where its base is) +9, Knowledge (history, area where its base is) +9, Listen +12, Move Silently +19, Speak Common, Spot +10, Tumble +7 Skills : Balance +5, Bluff +8, Concentration +18, Diplomacy +5, Escape Artist +12, Hide +22, Intimidate +10, Jump +11, Knowledge (arcana) +8, Knowledge (local, where its base is) +9, Knowledge (history, area where its base is) +9, Listen +21, Move Silently +26, Speak Common, Spot +17, Tumble +13 Skills : Balance +7, Bluff +8, Concentration +26, Diplomacy +5, Escape Artist +20, Hide +25, Intimidate +14, Jump +29, Knowledge (arcana) +8, Knowledge (local, where its base is) +9, Knowledge (history, area where its base is) +9, Listen +28, Move Silently +34, Speak Common, Spot +21, Tumble +24
Feats : Alertness, Ambidexterity (virtual feat from monk's belt), Combat Casting, Deflect Arrows (class bonus feat), Dodge, Improved Initiative, Improved Unarmed Strike (monk virtual feat), Multiattack, Two-Weapon Fighting (virtual feat from monk's belt), Weapon Finesse (tentacle) Feats : Alertness, Ambidexterity (virtual feat from monk's belt), Combat Casting, Deflect Arrows (class bonus feat), Dodge, Extra Stunning Attacks*, Improved Initiative, Improved Trip (class bonus feat), Improved Unarmed Strike (monk virtual feat), Mobility, Multiattack, Two-Weapon Fighting (virtual feat from monk's belt), Weapon Finesse (tentacle) Feats : Alertness, Ambidexterity (virtual feat from monk's belt), Combat Casting, Deflect Arrows (class bonus feat), Dodge, Extra Stunning Attacks*, Improved Initiative, Improved Trip (class bonus feat), Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Improved Unarmed Strike (monk virtual feat), Mobility, Multiattack, Spring Attack, Two-Weapon Fighting (virtual feat from monk's belt), Weapon Finesse (tentacle)
Alignment: Lawful evil Alignment: Lawful evil Alignment: Lawful evil
Languages: Undercommon, Common Languages: Undercommon, Common Languages: Undercommon, Common
Equipment: The bonuses for these items are included in the statistics above. monk's belt, boots of elvenkind, cloak of elvenkind, +1 quarterstaff (one head enchanted), potion of cat's grace, potion of wisdom, two potions of cure light wounds Equipment: The bonuses for these items are included in the statistics above. monk's belt, periapt of wisdom +6, bracers of armor +3, boots of elvenkind, cloak of elvenkind, +3 quarterstaff (one head enchanted), potion of cat's grace, potion of wisdom, two potions of cure light wounds Equipment: The bonuses for these items are included in the statistics above. manual of quickness in action +4 (read), manual of gainful exercise +4 (read), monk's belt, periapt of wisdom +6, bracers of armor +8, boots of elvenkind, cloak of elvenkind, +4 shocking burst quarterstaff (one head enchanted), carpet of flying 5 ft. x 7 ft., ring of jumping, potion of cure moderate wounds, potion of cat's grace, three potion of bull's strength, four potions of cure light wounds

*Extra Stunning Attacks: This feat from Sword and Fist allows the character to have 3 additional stunning attacks per day.

About the Author

Robert Wiese never knew his parents. He was raised by kindly middle-class people, and grew up on the mean streets of suburbia. There, he learned important life lessons, such as the quickest route to the mall on a bicycle, how to borrow the car, and how to hang Christmas lights on a two-story house. Later in life, he discovered D&D, and gave up on all outdoor activities. Now he lives like a hermit, coming out of his cave only to fix the Internet connection or go to work at Wizards of the Coast.

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