In today's Plane Above
excerpt, we introduce the quom -- rocketing across the Astral Sea on comet-ships constructed from the glowing remnants of their shattered realm, the implacable but fanatic quom strike fear into the hearts of adventurers and evildoers alike.
History of the Quom
These mortal inhabitants of the Astral Sea trace their history to the time before the Dawn War. At that time, the quom were the healers, mediators, and scholars of the Astral Sea. Their occultists discovered many of the arcane formulas that underpin magical powers still used today. They dedicated themselves to the service of others and recognized all peoples as one. When they performed great deeds of benefit to all, their deity, Lakal, rewarded them with ecstatic moments of personal communion.
Unlike other early deities, Lakal was not worshiped as an individual god. She was the home realm of the quom and could be perceived only in those fleeting instants of spiritual connection. But in another sense, to dwellers in that realm, she was around them every moment of their lives as part of their ordinary physical surroundings.
The Doom of Lakal
The first inkling of the doom that befell the quom occurred when their mediators were unable to avert the Dawn War. Final destruction occurred when Bahamut pursued Nihil, a primordial incarnation of nothingness, across the Astral Sea for a final reckoning.
Their titanic battle started elsewhere but ended in Lakal, as both deities crashed through Lakal’s silvery-green veil. Bahamut blasted Nihil with his holy breath, destroying Nihil, shattering its body, and causing shards of its deceased nonbeing to permeate the body of Lakal.
On that day, Lakal died and the realm exploded into a thousand comets and countless smaller particles. Everyone present in the realm died instantly. The only quom left were the thousands that had spread out through the Astral Sea and other worlds to tend the wounded in the Dawn War.
The Vow of the Quom
As Lakal’s dying shrieks reverberated in their heads, the surviving quom chose, as one, to set aside the ways of peace. From that day forward, they vowed to heal only their own. With unyielding determination, they sought to revive Lakal by tracking down and reassembling her sundered parts, slaying anyone who stood in their path without mercy or moral purpose, just as their families and their deity had been slain. If those victims were innocent bystanders in a greater struggle, so be it. They were in the wrong place at the wrong time, just as Lakal had been.
The quom call their project to reassemble all the parts of Lakal “the unsundering.” They work ceaselessly to gather up every fragment of Lakal, no matter how small. The largest parts were long ago discovered. Now, the quom comet-hunters, as they are called, track down tiny shards. When a hunter is within 15 feet of one, he or she is capable of perceiving a speck of Lakal as tiny as a pinpoint.
The unsundering puts the quom in conflict with all other inhabitants of the Astral Sea. Many of the tiny motes of Lakal that the quom now hunt have long since integrated themselves with other objects. They are often found in magic items that have been scattered throughout the known realms over the years. It is entirely possible that a magic ring purchased in Sigil or found in a mortal-world dungeon contains a long-lost speck of Lakal matter.
Lakal-matter also functions as a nutrient, and as such it can be found in edible plants and the bodies of living animals. Many creatures have infinitesimal bits of Lakal embedded in their bodies. Although a small incision might be sufficient to remove a mote of Lakal matter lodged in the skin or a surface muscle, a spot in one’s lungs or heart requires an extraction that proves fatal to the patient. The quom perform these murderous surgeries without qualm or hesitation.
One or more characters, or their equipment, might be targeted by the quom. The quom have enough experience with adventurers to realize that few such individuals allow one member of their band to be singled out and destroyed, so an adventuring party that has one member targeted by the quom is likely to be attacked en masse.
Even if they aren’t being targeted at a given time, characters need to be on their guard around the quom. One peaceful encounter with a quom does not guarantee that a future encounter will not lead to violence, since in the intervening time one or more characters might unknowingly ingest motes of Lakal. Fragments of Lakal large enough to be seen look like softly glowing crystals. When quom comet-hunters find new motes, they press them against the hull of their comet-ship, growing each ship one tiny piece at a time. On the day when all the pieces are gathered, the ships will be set on a collision course with one another, and Lakal, the realm and the deity, will be reborn.
Some say that before Lakal can be fully reconstructed, Bahamut will have to die, to atone for his unthinking role in her doom. Until they are close to having recovered all of her, the quom see no reason to actively pursue this goal. They do, however, treat Bahamut’s worshipers and clerics with special contempt, finding excuses to pursue and slay them even when they are presently free of any remnants of Lakal.
Quom harpoonists are experts at using their deadly weapons to retrieve those who flee from them.
Level 19 Artillery
Medium immortal humanoid
Initiative +16 Senses Perception +20
HP 142; Bloodied 71
AC 31; Fortitude 31, Reflex 32, Will 31
Speed 6, fly 3 (while within the Astral Sea)
+26 vs. AC; 2d6 + 7 damage.
Ranged 10/20; +26 vs. AC; 3d6 + 7 damage.
Ranged 10/20; +26 vs. AC; 4d6 + 8 damage, and the target is pulled 3 squares and immobilized (save ends). Each Failed Saving Throw: The quom harpoonist pulls the target 3 squares.
Harpoonist’s Determination (free, when an enemy within 5 squares of the quom harpoonist, or one that is immobilized by harpooning javelin, scores a critical hit; encounter)
The quom harpoonist makes a basic attack, shifts 1 square, pulls a creature immobilized by harpooning javelin 3 squares, or moves its speed.
Skills Bluff +18, Insight +20
Str 19 (+13)
Dex 25 (+16)
Wis 22 (+15)
Con 22 (+15)
Int 19 (+13)
Cha 19 (+13)
Equipment scale armor, cutlass (short sword), 5 javelins
Quom Harpoonist Tactics
Standing behind a line of enforcers and fanatics, a quom harpoonist uses harpooning javelin as often as it can to immobilize enemies and pull them closer. Then it lets its allies do the rest.