Monday, January 7, 2019

OSR: Abberrations: Beholders

                                                                by ChristopherStevens

It always starts the same way.  A talented, yet tormented soul struggles at some endeavor.  An artist labors over a canvas or a block of marble, endlessly dissatisfied with their own work.  A dancer finds their own technique simply unacceptable, no matter how much they practice.  A writer cannot portray the true depth of his characters, no matter what words he gives them to say.  An executive is denied a spot on the board of directors for the third time.  A beautiful woman fails to satisfy her lover.  A brilliant warrior loses a match.  A murderer leaves behind a piece of evidence at the scene of the crime.  All of them proud, all of them wracked with deep shame.  It is these souls that summon the Beholder. 

It is commonly believed that Pride and Shame was opposites.  This is not true.  Pride and Shame are brothers, one standing in the spotlight, the other selflessly supporting him from behind the scenes.  Shame fuels Pride, just as wood fuels fire.  For example, a man who is humble acknowledges his own faults and limitations.  Thus, if he fails at a task, he will not be hurt like the prideful man will.  A prideful man, on the other hand, will be torn up by his failure. 

He believes himself to be better, capable of more than his failure, so when he fails to reach his own ideal, shame will overtake him.  This is when the Beholder arrives. 

They are never summoned purposefully.  They come at their own strange whim, appearin when the proud soul is alone.  They speak in a hushed, hissing voice that only the proud soul can hear.  They insist that they are here to help, to aid the proud soul in achieving the perfection they claim.  The proud soul usually accepts.

The two then begin to work together, the proud soul laboring, while the Beholder floats around them, surveying them with its many eyes.  Beholders have incredible eyes, capable of seeing 360 degrees around them, as well as having sharp enough vision to read a book from across the street.  To them, all the small errors that would otherwise mar a work and rob it of perfection are plainly visible.  They help the proud soul correct these small errors, pointing them out and offering constructive criticism.  Beholders are always highly knowledgable about the craft of the proud soul, whether their craft be sculpture, painting, theatre, dance, fencing, negotiation, writing, sexual intercourse or death.  But as the Beholder criticizes and the proud soul works, they always find more flaws.  No matter how hard they work, they keep unearthing more flaws.  Yet the one thing they will never admit is that maybe, perhaps reaching perfection is impossible.

No, to them, failure is not an option.

So they begin resorting to other methods.

So the Beholder and the proud soul scheme together, constructing elaborate and dangerous plans to finally achieve the perfection they desire.  These plans are always foolish and violent and likely to hurt a great many people.  But that's fine. For such perfection, any sacrifice is justified.

by CMurr

The Beholders and their Fell Powers

HD 10  AC 14  Eye Rays(+4) 2 ray attacks + Bite(+3) 1d8 or Disintegration Ray 2d10
Mor 10        Saves 12 or less is a success

Levitation: All Beholders levitate. 

Eye Rays: Each Beholder has X number of Eye Rays, and can fire up to two a round.  To determine how many Eye Rays it has, roll on the "how old is this Beholder" table.  To determine which Rays it has, roll on the table labeled "What Eye Rays does this Beholder have?" below. 

Eye Capture: A Beholder, if it has an empty eye, can attempt to swallow a person with its eye.  This person must be within 30'.  As a full action, the Beholder points its eye toward that person.  This person must now make a STR saving throw or be dragged toward the Beholder by a phantom hurricane.  This suction affects no one but the person affected.  If the saving throw is failed, the person is dragged toward the Beholder, covering 10' per round, meaning that the person has three rounds to escape the suction by some means.  If they reach the Beholder, they are trapped in its eyeball, and that Beholder gains a new Eye Ray.  All Beholders have a number of empty eyes equal to 10-the number of Eye Rays.  They can also release anyone trapped in their eyes as a free action, though they are loathe to do so.

Eye of Destruction: All Beholders have the power to fire a blast of overpowering white light from their central eye, the Disintegration Ray.  The Disintegration Ray fires from the Central Eye, and no other Rays can continue firing while it is used.  This Ray hits everything in a 60' cone, with a 60' range.  Anything in the cone takes 2d10 damage.  Anything reduced to zero HP by this is annihilated, leaving nothing but memories and bits of ash.

Eyestalks: Each Eyestalk of the Beholder, each have 10, but not all can fire Eye-Rays, can store a person in them, as per "Eye Capture".  Each one, if they have a person in them, can fire a ray as "Eye Rays".  But if you cut an Eyestalk off from the main body, the person inside will spring forth and be free.  Each Eyestalk has an AC of 16 and 2 HD. 

- Use Eye Rays
- Capture Exceptional, Proud people
- Consign everything mediocre to oblivion

                                                     by Gido

To Customize your Beholder, roll on the tables below.

How old is this Beholder?


1- Young.  This Beholder is slightly smaller, with only 2 Eye Rays. 
2- Unseasoned.  This Beholder is large and vicious, totally unsympathetic to anyone who is not the Proud Soul.  It has 1d4+1 Eye Rays.
3- Experienced.  This Beholder is covered in dense scales or its flesh is lined with dozens of scars.  It is flatly unimpressed with you, ignoring you totally unless you stand in its way.  It has 1d6 Eye Rays. 
4- Old.  This Beholder is slightly shrunken, flesh dangling or scales peeling.  It is bitter and mean-spirited, mocking those weaker than it before it kills them.  It is quietly desperate.  It has 1d6+2 Eye Rays. 

What Eye Rays does this Beholder have?


1- Bondage Ray.  Any object struck by this ray changes to gain a slight red hue.  If two objects struck by this ray within the last hour touch each other, they become stuck together, as if they were glued together.  These two objects cannot be separated without damaging each other.  The only way to undo the adhesion is to kill the Beholder or get more than a mile from it.  Then the adhesion affect will cease.  The Beholder's lair is full of people, animals and objects randomly stuck to ceilings, floors, and each other.   
2- Pain Ray.  Being hit by this is pure agony.  Does 2d6 FS damage on a hit.  If you have no FS, it does 1d6 STR damage.  If the amount of STR damage equals or exceeds your STR score, you collapse onto the ground, unable to move, so great is the pain.  This Beholder is attended to by a group of 1d20 Pain Cultists, who serve it faithfully in return for zaps from the Ray, which makes them scream with pleasure.  When they aren't attending the Beholder and the Proud Soul, they are engaging in sensual foreplay involving knives, whips, and other exotic instruments. 
3- Mute Ray.  Anyons struck by this ray cannot talk for 1 round.  If you are a spellcaster, you can still cast spell, but if you roll Chaos and Corruption, roll twice for Doom Points and take the higher number.  Extended exposure to this ray can render one permanently mute.  This Beholder is attended by 1d6+1 Mute Wizards, who can cast spells and randomly inflict Chaos on themselves as they mess up a mental incantation.
4- Negative Energy Ray.  This ray only affects the Dead.  If fired at a corpse, that corpse is raised as a 1 HD Undead Servant under the control of the Beholder.  Otherwise, it is a normal Undead.  This Beholder is attended by 1d8 Undead Servants. 
5- Petrification Ray.  Any living creature struck by this ray takes 1d6 DEX damage.  If the amount of DEX damage taken equals or exceeds your DEX score, you turn to stone.  This Beholder's lair is full of statues of people, animals and petrified objects.
6- Sleep Ray.  Any living creature struck by this ray takes 1d6 CON damage.  If the amount of CON damage taken equals or exceeds your CON score, you fall asleep.  You can be awoken by a sufficiently loud sound, being injured or being slapped in the face.  Being woken up causes you to immediately regain 1d6 CON, for the purpose of taking damage from the Sleep Ray.  This Beholder's lair is full of sleeping warriors and monsters, and it is attended to by 1d6 Sleepwalkers, axe wielding maniacs who are clearly asleep, and if woken up, would be horrified to find out what they've done.
7- Fear Ray.  Any living creature struck by this ray takes 1d6 CHA damage.  If the amount of CHA damage taken equals or exceeds your CHA score you must run away from the Beholder.  You also gain the Conviction, "So long as I live, I will never fight that Beholder again."  The Beholder's lair is empty of anything living, except for a single, fearful man hiding in the corner.  He would have to approach the Beholder to leave through the only accessible exit, and he absolutely refuses, so he is hiding in a back room, praying that it never enters this room.
8- Charm Ray.  Any living creature struck by this ray takes 1d6 WIS damage.  If the amount of WIS damage taken equals or exceeds your WIS score you become charmed by the Beholder and become unable to take actions that might harm it.  You also gain the Conviction, "I would like to serve the Beholder, if it would permit me."  This Beholder is attended by 1d20 myriad monsters, people, adventurers and some 1 HD commoners who just happened to be passing by.  They all love the Beholder, but if separated from it and taken far away, they would eventually snap out of it and realize that their love was the work of enchantment.
9- Burning Ray.  Anything struck by this ray bursts into flames, taking 1d6 fire damage.  The fire continues to burn after this, doing 1d6 damage a round until you take an action to extinguish it.  The fire is non-magical.  This Beholder is being guarded/monitored by some lesser Fire Elementals, who want to make sure that proper procedure is being followed.  They will defend themselves if attacked, but otherwise will not intervene, unless someone lights a fire without asking permission.  If you light a fire without their permission, they will hunt you down and kill you.  
10- Freezing Ray.  Anything struck by this ray is covered in a thin layer of ice and trapped in place.  The person must succeed a DC 18 STR check to break out of their frozen prison from the inside, or they can have their friends chip away at the ice from the outside.  The ice has 2 HD, takes half damage from sharp instruments that couldn't pierce ice (such as a sword), and is immune to cold and acid damage.  This Beholder's lair is full of treasure frozen in ice and people frozen solid.  If careful, you could revive them.  If not, you will likely just kill them.  There are also 1d4 Water Elementals, each one spying on each other and monitoring the Beholder.  Each Water Elemental serves a different one of the Deluvian Emperors, and each one claims to have the legal right to the ice produced by the Beholder.  They are currently at odds with each other, and violence between them might break out at any moment.  
11- Acid Ray.  Any living thing struck by this ray takes 1d6 CHA damage.  If the CHA damage taken equals or exceeds your CHA score, you collapse, turning into a puddle of green slime.  This green slime behaves normally once released.  This Beholder's lair is full of green slime, and anyone entering it who cannot levitate had best tread very carefully.
12- Madness Ray.  Any living thing struck by this ray takes 1d6 EGO damage.  If the EGO damage taken equals or exceeds your EGO score, you go mad, secretly gaining an insanity of the Referee's choice.  This Beholder is attended to by 1d6 Madmen, who serve it fearfully.  They are terrified of their Dread Master, but not especially loyal, if given the chance, they might rebel, or most likely, flee.  There are also 1d20 Lunatics back at the Beholder's lair.  The Lunatics will attack anyone they see who is not a Lunatic, except for the Beholder, who they fear.
13- Mutation Ray.  Any living thing struck by this ray must make a CHA save.  On a failure, you gain a random mutation from the Referee's favorite table.  Also, if you suffer a mutation, you heal 1d6 HP/FS.  This Beholder is attended by 1d8 Mutants, who loathe and rely on the Beholder.
14- Slow Ray.  Any living creature struck by this ray takes 1d6 DEX damage and slows down, dropping down 1 spot in the initiative order and receiving a -1 penalty to attack rolls until the effect wears off in an hour.  This Beholder's lair is full of people running in slow motion, objects falling toward the ground at the speed of a mountain rising, and objects zapped so many times they seem to be motionless.    
15- Haste Ray.  Any living creature struck by this ray takes 1d6 HP/FS damage, goes up 1 spot in the initiative order, and gains a +1 bonus to speed and AC.  This Beholder is 1d6 Speed Junkers, wasteland warriors addicted to going fast, kicking ass and dying young and gloriously.  War Boyz, basically.
16- Death Ray.  Kills people.  Any living creature struck by this ray takes 1d6 CON damage.  If the amount of CON damage ever equals or exceeds your CON score, you die.  This Beholder's lair is full of corpses, unless it has servants to remove them.
17- Telekinetic Ray.  Allows the Beholder to manipulate objects.  If it is an object without a will, no save is permitted.  But for a held/worn/attached object, or a person, a save is permitted to resist the Beholder's power.  Otherwise, the Beholder can use its power to throw you around, toss you off ledges or into spikes, or hold you perfectly still so it can shoot you with its other rays.  The Beholder's lair is full of objects placed in weird places, pastries nailed to walls, books covering furniture, furniture stacked into precarious towers and etc.
18- Anti-Magic Ray.  Any magical object struck by this ray loses its magical properties for 1 round.  Spellcasters cannot cast spells, magic items suddenly become normal, and the lingering effects of magic on that object are suppressed.  Referee's discretion on what counts as magic.  This Beholder's lair is full of corpses that are actually Undead with their magic suppressed, gaudy swords that are actually magic, and tons of pretty jewelry without a scrap of magic.  If these objects are taken far enough away and you wait for a while, the magic will return and the Undead will rise, the swords will regain their power and the jewelry will become a bunch of minor magic items.  This Beholder is also attended by 1d4 Blunts, people without a scrap of magic in their souls and 1 Anti-Mage, trained to battle against Wizards and the Mystic Arts.
19- Portal Ray.  This ray opens portals in time and space.  The Beholder can use these to travel to and from any place it has been to as a full action.  However, these portals remain open for at least 1 round, and if you wish, you could follow the Beholder.  This Beholder has a lair full of fabulous, alien treasures and is attended to by dozens of unearthly creatures. 
20- Blinding Ray.  Any living thing struck by this ray must make a CON save.  On a failure, they are blinded for 1d6 hours.  After this, they must save again.  If they fail this second save, they are permanently blinded.  If they pass it, their vision recovers.  This Beholder is attended by 1d6 Blind Void Monks, who are pretending that the Beholder is actually one of the founding members of their order.  The Beholder's lair also has 1d6 other blind people, adventurers mostly, but also a mad artist cursed to never paint again, a beautiful maid who was obsessed with her own reflection, and a priest who had never seen the Gods, until now.  Now he has, and he can't stop laughing.

                                                                   by CorbinHunter

The Proud Soul and Plot Hooks

The Proud Soul is the one that the Beholder has attached itself to, the one who called it to our Universe.  Proud Souls can be strong or weak, mighty or frail.  They only have 2 thing in common.  Firstly, they are proud.  Secondly, they are just talented enough to think they can achieve perfection.  When a Beholder comes, it begins to assist the Proud Soul, becoming its partner in crime.  At first, the Beholder and the Proud Soul merely talk, but rapidly they begin to feed off each other, constructing more and more elaborate schemes.  The Proud Soul will usually be the inspiration for this wild scheme, with the Beholder lending its power to the Proud Soul, acting as a source of ideas and magical might.

However, eventually, the scheme usually fails, almost always because of the Proud Soul making some kind of mistake.  At this point, the Beholder turns to go, but not before it opens one of its eyes and attempts to imprison the Proud Soul within one of its eyestalks.  It then leaves our universe behind, until the next time it is summoned.

The table below can also function in reverse, for instance, if your players cut off one of the Beholder's eyestalks that is firing out one of its Eye Rays, whatever is trapped inside will be set free.  Simply roll below and have that creature suddenly burst out of the Beholder's severed eyestalk.

Who called the Beholder, and what do they want?

1- An artist.  Brilliant, insane, sensitive, prone to passionate rages.  Wants to create the perfect portrait/sculpture/relief of a famous general/tyrant/battle.  Will try to capture live specimens, kidnap warriors and stage re-enactments to make it look just right.  If the Beholder devours them, the Beholder gains a Madness Ray.
2- A Wizard.  Cunning, short-sighted, endlessly, pathologically curious.  Wants to create a new spell that will prove to those stuck-up jerks at his former Wizard Monastery that he truly is the most brilliant since Shadoom.  Will work with the Beholder to steal rare alchemical reagents, magic items and extract some secret information from some more powerful Wizards who live nearby.  If the Beholder devours the Wizard, the Beholder gains a Petrification Ray.
3- A Lover.  Passionate, impulsive, hot-blooded.  Wants to impress the object of their desires, who is hopelessly oblivious/of higher social rank/trapped by circumstances and will do anything to free their love/win their heart.  They will do illegal things to accumulate vast amounts of wealth to move up in the world or bribe people to achieve a higher rank, eliminate other suitors through covert means, or anything else the lover believes necessary.  If the Beholder devours the lover, it gains a Charm Ray. 
4- A Murderer.  Quiet, soft-spoken, prone to overconfidence.  Wants to commit the perfect murder.  If the Beholder devours the Murderer, it gains a Death Ray.
5- A Warrior.  Hardened, rough and tumble, noble in a crude way.  Wants to prove that he is the strongest.  Will use the Beholder to force other strong warriors in the local area into a confrontation with him, then defeat them in honorable duels. If the Beholder devours the Warrior, it gains a Wounding Ray.
6- A Hero.  Great-souled, generous, easily slighted.  Wants to prove that they are truly great.  Will use the Beholder to engineer a catastrophe then resolve it, to prove that they are the best.  Will also use this an opportunity to knock off some of the up and coming Adventurers who might surpass the Hero one day.  If the Beholder devours the Hero, it will gain a Slow Ray.
7- A Player.  Empathetic, quirky, loves attention.  Wants to put on the best theatre production possible.  Will use the Beholder to kidnap people that look the most like his characters, trap monsters and animals to use in the play, and eliminate anyone who might endanger their production.  If the Beholder devours the Player, it gains a Haste Ray.   
8- A Governor.  Ambitious, bold, has a massive inferiority complex.  Wants to successfully revolt against his overlord and not be crucified or worse.  Will use the Beholder to shore up allies, eliminate potential threats, and spy on foes.  If the Beholder devours the Governor, it will gain a Burning Ray.
9- A Royal Cousin.  Power-hungry, violent, psychopathic.  Wants to inherit the throne, despite being very far down the line of succession.  Will use the Beholder to arrange "Accidents" for all the people who might stand in the way of power.  If the Beholder devours the Royal Cousin, it will gain a Portal Ray.
10- A (soon-to-be) Suicide.  Sad, close-minded, bitter.  Wants to die in the most tragic of ways, and will use the Beholder's power to orchestrate their sad, tragic end.  Would prefer if this end causes as much suffering as possible.  If the Beholder devours the Suicide, it will gain a Sleep Ray.   
11- An Awakened spell.  Awakened, Aware, purpose-driven.  This is a spell that has achieved self-awareness through a twist of fate.  It can feel itself fading.  Soon it will be nothing more than a tool for Magic-Users or prey for an Astral Predator.  But before that, it plans on going out in a big way.  The spell wants to cast itself in a big way, in a way that no one will ever forget, to gain immortality, for a time.  What this will entail will vary from spell to spell.  For example, an Awakened Fireball may want to start a fire that burns something vital, important or famous, or merely just burn down half a city.  On the other hand, an Awakened Induce Mutation Spell might want to turn someone beautiful into a giant, hideous freak.  Either way, the Beholder will want to help it achieve this goal.  If the Beholder devours the spell, it will gain an Eye Ray that mimics the effect of the spell as if were cast at level 1.    
12- A Dead Man Walking.  Desperate, furious, filled with determination.  Wants to live.  He's barely alive- whether it be because of a wound or his condition or a curse, he doesn't have long for this Earth.  He plans to change all that.  He's going to get the Beholder to help him do whatever it takes to live.  If the Beholder devours the Dead Man, it will gain a Haste Ray.
13- A Thief.  Greedy, clever, sleazy.  Wants the big score.  He's the best around, maybe best in the world.  He could steal the knickers off a nun if he wanted to.  And this thing?  It's his ticket to the big time.  If the Beholder devours the Thief, it will gain a Telekinetic Ray.   
14- A Harlot.  Shameless, manipulative, worried.  Wants to marry someone way out of her league.  She needs a man, someone to watch out for her.  She's going to be all washed up soon.  She wants children and a man to raise them, but she's so tainted only the bottom of the barrel would be willing to look at her.  She has no intention of lowering her standards.  Instead, she is aiming high, for someone far above her station, a King, Governor, or High Priest.  Then she's going to beg, borrow and steal to trick, manipulate or strong-arm this man into marrying her.  The Beholder's going to help her, by removing other young ladies and other obstacles that present themselves.  If the Beholder devours the Harlot, it will gain a Fear Ray.
15- A Cannibal.  Charming, deceptive, hungry.  Wants to eat people and escape punishment.  He's getting worried.  One of the Elders of the City is suspicious and poking around, and the Elder's getting close to the truth.  The Beholder's going to help him go after that Elder, as well as anyone else.  If the Beholder devours the Cannibal, it will gain a Blinding Ray.    
16- An Orc.  Thoughtful, sympathetic, honorable.  Wants to hunt big game.  The Orc is pursuing its largest and most ambitious hunt yet.  But for this one, it's going to need some serious back-up.  So the Beholder's arrival must have seemed like a gift from the Gods.  If the Beholder devours the Orc, it will gain a Freezing Ray.
17- A Handsome Man, a Faerie or an Iron Fey.  Capricious, decadent, alien.  They're all Cousins, sharing similar tendencies, only differing in the specifics.  Pick whatever one most fits your setting, or the one you want the most.  They want luxury, social acceptance, and curiosities.  The Beholder's going to help them achieve it.  If the Beholder devours one of them, it will gain a Anti-Magic Ray.
18- An Outsider.  Mysterious, joyful, superior.  The Outsider has some mad scheme, the Beholder's just kerosene on an open fire.  They get along thick as thieves.  The Beholder might even feel a little bad for wanting to devour them.  If the Beholder devours the Outsider, it will gain a Mutation Ray.   
19- A Dragon.  Petulant, arrogant, totally out of touch.  Wants to increase its hoard.  The Dragon desires a specific item for its hoard, whatever that may be.  Examples include a crown, a rare set of jewels, a book, a person, or anything else.  The Beholder's going to help them with the heist.  If the Beholder devours the Dragon, it will gain a Fire Ray, or one that more closely matches the Dragon's breath weapon.   
20- A Lich.  Bored, distant, patient.  Wants something absurd (at least, it sounds that way if you can't see Deep Time).  The Beholder will support the Lich as best it can.  If the Beholder devours the Lich, it will gain a Negative Energy Ray. 

                                                                       by SamC-art

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