Friday, January 16, 2015

Terophidians

I wanted to design something iconic for Centerra.

After all, D&D has its beholders, which have that great eye theme going for them.

Digression: If I ever used a beholder in my game, I'd make it more alien and less bestial.  The world grows more bizarre the closer you get to it.  Observers are everywhere, watching your tribulations and your combats and reporting back.  There are eyes in the ceilings.  There are things in your eyes.

So those are the eye-archetype.  I made a mouth.

Terophidians

They are created by wizards out of their own brains.  Get a bit of your own brain out of your head.  A hook up the nose, or behind the eye.  Either way, you're going to need a hammer and chisel.

It'll only cost you your highest level spell slot.

Take that piece of brain and drop some alchemy on it.  Call to demons, summon the thunder.  Heat up the vats and lend shape to shapeless flesh.  Look it in the eye and give it a name.

Terophidians are part of their creators, and they inherit much of their parent.  They are not necessarily loyal, but they are at least faithful to their creator's goals.  (That's why wizards go through the trouble of creating them.)  Do you hate the king of Noth?  Create a terophidian, and you'll have someone else who hates them.

They grow up with their head full of someone else's dreams.  They remember a mother who never birthed them.  They love women who would vomit if they ever met.  They remember kissing these women with lips that they do not have.

This messes them up, as you would expect.

They are ugly in a way that their creator wasn't, when they were a part of them.  They are powerful (in their hands in their heads in their mouth).  And they are immortal.  And they cannot learn spells, though they have six spells that they are born with, fickle and immutable.

They often inherit wizard towers, with all the resources inside.  Apprentices who would claim the tower after the wizard's death are usually killed.  Their only loyalty was small, confused, and to the wizard who created them.

In the end, they all descend into jealousy and avarice.  Even the ones who start out decent.

Biology and Abilities

They look like moray eels with broad gullets.  Their skin is brown, wet, and loosely layered, like a turd.  Their teeth are stilettos emerging from pink gums.  Their eyes are hurt chunks of obsidian.

They're 30' long and they fly, fast like plague winds or bad news.  They have two hands which float independently.  Sometimes they decide to grow more hands, and they'll have four, or six, or ten.  There's no limit on the range of these hands, but all they have is a sense of touch.

Terophidians sometimes give their hands to a servant to carry with them.  The hand can scratch out messages, after all.

They have six tails, each of which contains a different spell that their creator chose to imbue them with.  Sometimes these spells betray their original mission.  More often they're just spells designed to kill, dominate, and charm, because why else does a wizard create a terophidian out of a lobotomy?

Each spell can be cast up to six times a day, but cannot be cast twice within three rounds.

The Craw

Each terophidian has an interior, pocket dimension, like a bag of holding.  The craw is huge--a miniature dungeon.

To get there, just climb down its second throat.  (It's first throat is more mundane, and leads to a stomach no larger than a cow's.)

Terophidians eat a lot, but they do not grow larger.  At least, not on the outside.  All of their expansion is on the inside, adding new rooms and new hallways.  They can see everything inside the organic halls of their craw, and their voice is everywhere there.  They can be damaged from the inside, and even killed, but if they die the pocket dimension is cut off from the material plane, and there is no way to return.

Terophidians never poop.  They excrete into the void between dimensions.

The Minions

In addition to growing more hands, terophidians can also grow minions inside their craw.  These minions have their own pocket dimension inside them, which they use to store themselves.

So they look like exceptionally ugly weasels, hairless and wet.  But when they want to kill something, they vomit out their bodies.  Imagine a skin-weasels sphincter-mouth stretching to ungodly proportions, and you'll have the right image.

Their bodies are the size and strength of gorillas.

And after they've killed you, they swallow themselves down again, and crawl back into a moushole.

holy shit I drew this picture like a decade ago

Terophidian
HD 6
AC leather + shield
Fly at horse speed
Atk claws x4 (1d6 each)
Intelligence as jealous genius
Morale 8
Spellcasting: knows 6 spells that their creator knew, can cast each 6x day but each spell takes 3 rounds to recharge
Pocket Dimension: have a whole miniature dungeon inside them, disconnected upon death

*some terophidians have different numbers of claws

look how cute the lil one is
before his barfs up the rest of himself
HE'S WEARING HIMSELF AS A HAT

Minion (weasel form)
HD 3
AC leather
Move as human
Atk claw (1d6 each)
Intelligence as dog
Morale 10
Pocket dimension: can switch between big and little forms at will)

Minion (gorilla form)
as above, except:
HD 6 (double HP from weasel form)
Atk claws x2 (2d6 each)

How to Use These Guys in Your Game

Sure, you can use them as the masterminds behind the mastermind.  They can do that.  Be sure to give them some shape-shifting and domination spells.  They like mouth-motifs, so be sure to litter their dungeons with toothsome doors and magic mouth spells.

Other ideas:

A terophidian has kidnapped the princess!  Go kick the terophidians ass, but don't kill it (otherwise you'll sever the internal dimension).  This may or may not require tying down a terophidian with tent stakes and nailing its mouth open.

A teropidian has been taken over by terrorists!  It needs you to get in there and take them out!  Alternatively, it's minions have mutinied and now they drive their daddy around like a flying eel-car, committing petty crimes and mutilating cows!

Rescue some treasure from inside a dying terophidian!  

A terophidian's has gotten cancer of the pocket dimension!  Weird shit is happening in there.  Also, it's interior dungeon-dimension has grown so large that it seems to be contacting other dimensions.  You are hired to brick up this dimensional fistula.

A terophidian is posing as a noble (shapeshifting), going to parties, and then kidnapping people by swallowing them.  It's the crime of the century!  Alternatively, it's stealing bigass statues and art pieces and no one knows how.

5 comments:

  1. if a beholder is an eye and these guys are mouths why not call them orators?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would be equivalent to calling a beholder a projector. Actually an anti-beholder could be neat.
      "Orator" works with the spells, but I think the main focus is on the consumption. Let's see what Google suggests for Latin equivalents:
      Consume: Utor, tollo, lacero, mando, degulo
      Swallow: devoro
      Eat = Vescor, rodo... tango? That's weird.
      Devour = Exedo, manducor.

      Exedovescor? Exeducor? Manducor? Mandotollo? Devolacer?

      Delete
  2. Sounds too greek. I liked the "terror" + "ophidian" connection but I guess neither of those are true. I could call them Maw-Maws? Gaping Stevens? Hellmouths? Hexarcana? (Hex meaning six.) Hexmaws? Jaws of Fate? Prismatic Eels? Thaumatic Snap-Gullets?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The prefix "tera(to)" means "monstrous", so terophidian would be a monstrous serpent. Makes sense to me.

      Delete
    2. The prefix "tera(to)" means "monstrous", so terophidian would be a monstrous serpent. Makes sense to me.

      Delete