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In Like a Beholder, Out Like a Beholder
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Introduction

Illithid Sorcerer

Among the most iconic elements of the Dungeons & Dragons game are its unforgettable monsters. Dragons roam the skies, seeking towns to burn and plunder. Hordes of ravening orcs lurk sullenly in the wastelands and barren places, waiting for the chance to sweep down on the unsuspecting lands of humankind. Demons and devils pry and push at the borders of their infernal planes, seeking the opportunity to enter the world and wreak their terrible evil. Bizarre, antediluvian monstrosities -- things of deadly eyes, squirming tentacles, and mind-poisoning horror -- lurk in the deep and remote places, dreaming terrible alien dreams of conquest and dominion over the world outside. These are the aberrations, creatures whose very existence outrages nature, creatures that belong to distant times and dimensions of cosmic terror.

THE BOOK OF ABERRATIONS

While this book might seem to be intended primarily for Dungeon Masters, the monsters discussed in this tome are so powerful, iconic, and prevalent in the D&D universe that any player wishing to know more about his character's adversaries should be interested in the information contained herein. Chapter 9 includes a number of feats, spells, and prestige classes for characters whose principal enemies include monsters of the aberration type. While the focus of this book is on aberrations, many of these new rules elements can apply to other creatures. New aboleth, illithid, and silthilar (a new aberration swarm) grafts can benefit an adventurer in any sort of campaign, as can any of several new domains and magic items.

Naturally, Dungeon Masters will find dozens of new monsters, monster feats, monster spells, and tremendous amounts of hidden lore about these same creatures. Everything you need to highlight an iconic aberration race in your campaign (or to survive such an event, if you are a player) can be found in this book. Each chapter devoted to one of the major aberration races also includes an encounter site, complete with keyed locations and ready to be used in an existing campaign.

Unlike the creatures that populate Draconomicon or Libris Mortis, aberrations share few common characteristics other than a broad thematic link. Other than the fact that they're all inhuman monsters that have powerful magical abilities and dwell deep underground, aboleths, mind flayers, and beholders do not really share any common origins or physiology. Therefore, the major races of aberrations are each discussed in their own chapter, with little reference to other aberrations.

The major aberration races include the following monsters:

Aboleths, or the deep masters, are the loathsome lords of the underground seas. Perhaps the most alien and inscrutable of all the major aberration races, the aboleths are mighty psions and mages whose sinister influence wells up from the deepest places in the earth.

Beholders, the terrible eye tyrants, command fearsome innate magical power. With a single glance they kill, paralyze, confuse, or enslave their foes. Rapacious and arrogant, a single beholder can easily become the overlord of its own realm of evil.

Mind flayers, or illithids, are brilliant, cruel, and terrifying creatures. Mind flayers might comprise the single most dangerous threat to the dominion of humanoids in the daylight lands of the surface world.

Neogi, the slave takers, are a race of greedy and sinister merchants who spin their webs of gold and misery across the human world.

Grell, or the eaters, are an alien race of predators that haunt the wild and lonely places of the world. Armed with an indecipherable admixture of alchemy and science, the fearsome grell ruthlessly destroy all other races that blunder into their territory.

The Tsochari, or the wearers of the flesh, are a race of invasive parasites that wear the stolen bodies of their victims so that they can pass in human society. The six races mentioned here pose the most widespread and virulent threats to humans and other good races. They combine magical power, ruthless genius, and cold, calculating malice; they are alien and inscrutable, things born of madness and nightmare. Brave indeed are the heroes who venture into their domains.

Of course, the Far Realm and the deep, dark places of the earth are responsible for spawning forth many more creatures than these. Many other aberrations can be found in this book, including the half-farspawn, a new template for the offspring of creatures that have consorted with aberrations; the psionic psurlon; and the bizarre silthilar, masters of grafts.

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