Episode Four: The "Evil Eye"
By Owen K.C. Stephens
"Hindsight" is a short adventure for four 15th-level characters that takes place in a lightly inhabited, mountainous region. The adventure has connections to the drow and an underground network of caves, making it particularly appropriate for the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, but is easily placed on almost any D&D world.
Adventure Background: The Cave Beckons
In the previous episodes the characters learned of a threat known as the "Evil Eye" -- which may or may not be a beholder -- which is driving every living creature from the mountain near Havenfast. They have learned where the "Evil Eye" is most often sighted, and followed a path to its cave.
The Eye Has It
The creature now known as the "Evil Eye" was once an extremely ancient and solitary beholder of the highest power (many suspect it to be a beholder mage, but this is actually not the case -- it's ghostly properties are inherent, not the result of spellcasting). Its cave was breached from below many decades ago by drow seeking the considerable treasure it had accumulated. In a pitched battle the drow killed the beholder and successfully took its treasure. But the beholder was so fiercely territorial that its spirit refused to leave its home even in death, and eventually became the ghostly creature called the "Evil Eye" today.
As long as it remained in its cave home, the "Evil Eye" wasn't a threat to the local populace. However, a few months ago some miners found its cave and began prospecting for gold within. Although they found nothing of value, the miners disturbed the "Evil Eye" and it killed several of them. The sorcerer Zareph, guardian of Havenfast, hired a band of powerful heroes to make the mountains safe once more, and the party -- mistakenly thinking that the creature was a beholder mage rather than an undead horror -- thought that they had permanently killed the "beholder mage." Unfortunately, they simply defeated the ghost without alleviating the cause of its spiritual anger, so the "Evil Eye" returned.
Angered that it had been disturbed yet again, the "Evil Eye" decided it would drive away every creature residing in, on, beneath or near its mountain home. It killed most of the animals native to the mountain, and drove away the two purple worms that lived in the caves below it -- causing them to scavenge for food elsewhere and make the attack on the caravan that the heroes witnessed in Episode I.
The "Evil Eye" is a powerful opponent, and knows it. It has all the powers of a living beholder as well as additional abilities and immunities granted by its undead state. Though it no longer remembers much about its life except its home, it is still a thinking, reasoning creature capable of plotting against its enemies and taking advantage of their weaknesses.
The "Evil Eye" normally travels in a fully ethereal state, scouting out its enemies while invisible and incorporeal. It attacks only when it believes it has an advantage, and can usually gain surprise on its enemies. If attacked on the ethereal plane it can often use its antimagic field to drive enemies back to the material plane.
The "Evil Eye"
Large Undead (Incorporeal)
Hit Dice: 16d12 (104 hp)
Initiative: +4 (Improved Initiative)
Speed: fly 30 ft. (perfect)
AC: 20 (-1 size, +11 natural) ethereal, 13 (-1 size, +4 Chr) manifested
Attacks: Eye rays, +11 ranged touch, bite +6 melee
Damage: Bite 2d4
Face/Reach: 5 ft. by 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Eye rays, horrific appearance, manifestation
Special Qualities: All-round vision, antimagic cone, rejuvenation, turn resistance +4
Saves: Fort +4, Ref +6, Will +14
Abilities: Str 10, Dex 10, Int 17, Wis 15, Cha 19
Skills: Hide +17, Knowledge (arcana) +12, Listen +25, Search +28, Spot +30
Feats: Alertness, Flyby Attack, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Shot on the Run
Challenge Rating: 15
Alignment: Lawful evil
Eye Rays: The "Evil Eye" has the same eye ray attacks as a normal beholder, although the DC of any saves against them is 22. When the "Evil Eye" is fully ethereal these rays only affect creatures on the ethereal plane. When the "Evil Eye" is manifested, its eye rays affect material targets normally.
Corrupting Gaze: This is the same as a standard ghost's corrupting gaze, and the DC of Fortitude save against it is 22. The "Evil Eye" is considered to be gazing in all directions, and may replace any or all of its normal eye ray attacks with a corrupting gaze attack.
Horrific Appearance: Rather than look like it did as a living beholder, the ghostly evil eye appears as a huge, spectral bloodshot eye with ten bloody nerve ends trailing off behind it, each of these tipped with another bloodshot eye. This is the same as a standard ghost's horrific appearance, and the Will save DC against this effect is 22.
Manifestation: This acts as a standard ghost's manifestation.
Rejuvenation: The "Evil Eye" cannot be permanently destroyed by any normal means. If killed while manifested or by attacks on the ethereal plane, the eye returns after 2d4 days and again begins scouring the mountain clean. Even if the heroes use powerful means such as a limited wish to keep the creature dead it will return if it makes a level check against DC 16 (unless the ghost has somehow lost a hit die, it cannot fail this roll).
The only way to permanently destroy the eye is to kill it, and then seal its cave off from any further encroachment. Creating an avalanche or a similar cave-in is sufficient for this, but a simple wall of stone or similar easily bypassed barrier is not. Of course, the eye is unlikely to explain its desires to the heroes, making it difficult for them to discover exactly how to get rid of it.
All the "Evil Eye's" other special qualities work as normal for a beholder or ghost.
Although this is the end of your scripted adventures in Havenfast, you can certainly take your players through further adventures in this setting. Even if the characters seal the cave of the "Evil Eye," they may have more ghosts to deal with. One of the drow killed by the "Evil Eye" could return in spiritual form once it's sealed into the eye's cave, or the adventurers who dealt with the Eye before may disturb other ghosts in their future adventures, leaving the characters to clean up their mess once again. And just what were the drow trying to get from the "Evil Eye" when they killed it in the first place?