Friday, January 4, 2013

Dark Tendril

Welcome back to a much delayed Frightful Fridays! For this week's first feature, I'm working from an image that Theodric the Obscure uncovered. This one intrigued me quite a bit, and my imagination wandered to the concept of these tentacles as stand-alone creatures in one sense, but they actually are part of a greater, more terrifying whole. Days after the adventurers scramble to eradicate these dark tendrils that appear one night all over their home town (or a town they coincidentally happen to be passing through), the tentacles reappear to menace the town or perhaps follow the characters around. Eventually, the characters should realize that the tentacles aren't autonomous creatures; instead they belong to another more powerful creature.

I hope you enjoy the dark tendril, and I'll be back in a few hours with the second feature (to make up for missing a week)! 

This black, worm-like creature does not have obvious eyes, but it seems to find its way around with no problem. Additionally, rather than having a tail, the creature just ends apparently at its midsection.
Dark Tendril CR 10
XP 9,600
NE Large aberration (evil, extraplanar)
Init +7; Senses blindsight 100 ft.; Perception +16
Aura frightful presence (40 ft., DC 19)

AC 24, touch 16, flat-footed 17 (+7 Dex, +8 natural, –1 size)
hp 127 (15d8+60)
Fort +11, Ref +14, Will +13
Defensive Abilities amorphous, DR 15/good; Immune cold, poison, mind-affecting effects; Resist electricity 20

Speed 50 ft., burrow 20 ft., climb 20 ft.
Melee slam +19 (4d6+13 plus grab and 1d4 Constitution drain)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 15 ft.
Special Attacks constrict (2d6 plus 1d4 Con drain), incomprehensible mind
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 15th; concentration +17)
3/day—black tentacles

Str 28, Dex 25, Con 18, Int —, Wis 19, Cha 15
Base Atk +11; CMB +21 (+25 grapple); CMD 38
Feats Great Fortitude(B), Lightning Reflexes(B)
Skills Climb +17, Escape Artist +19, Perception +16, Sleight of Hand +19, Stealth +19; Racial Modifiers +12 Escape Artist, +12 Perception, +12 Sleight of Hand, +16 Stealth
SQ compression, rejuvenation

Environment any terrestrial
Organization solitary, pair, or mass (3–8)
Treasure none

Special Abilities
Constitution Drain (Su) A dark tendril’s attack potentially steals its victim’s life essence to feed the creature controlling the dark tendril. When a dark tendril hits with its slam attack or while it constricts its victim, the victim must succeed at a DC 21 Fortitude save, or the dark tendril drains 1d4 Con. A dark tendril gains no temporary hit points from the Con drain.
Incomprehensible Mind (Su) A dark tendril is essentially mindless, but characters can telepathically access the alien mind controlling it. However, anyone who does so must succeed at a DC 19 Will save or become stunned for 1 round. The save DC is based on the dark tendril’s Charisma.
Rejuvenation (Ex) Destroying a dark tendril only temporarily works while its parent creature lives. A new dark tendril replaces the destroyed creature in 2d4 days.

An unknowable, other-dimensional creature settles on a town and extrudes its tentacles throughout town to feed itself and literally feel out the town’s defenses. If nothing stops the creature, it devastates the town within a week, leaving no real evidence of its attack once it withdraws its dark tendrils. A manifested dark tendril weighs 400 pounds and ranges in length from 5 feet to 15 feet.

While a dark tendril is mindless and sightless in and of itself, it has sophisticated senses that allow the creature to transmit detailed impressions of its surroundings to the entity controlling it. Depending on the controlling creature’s desires, a dark tendril will attack or attempt to sneakily scout around. The creature can twist and contort itself to enter many areas normally inaccessible to something of its size, and it can even reconfigure itself in an attempt to steal items of value. The controlling entity does this to increase tension in the location it plans to invade and to possibly sow discord among the residents. Finally, a dark tendril can cast off some of its material to create an effect equivalent to casting black tentacles, which it uses to restrain problematic foes.

When a dark tendril is reduced to 0 hit points, its controller becomes aware of the tendril’s “death” and withdraws the damaged tentacle back to its home dimension. Observers note that the dark tendril disappears when it is slain. Those who slay a dark tendril certainly gain the parent entity’s attention and may find themselves the target of more dark tendril attacks later.

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