Legion of Entropic Gloom – A Dastardly Undead Cult

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“You’re just in time for our weekly Necronomicon Study! Sit down, have a glass of kool-aid.”

The concept of death inspires some of the oldest fears known to civilization. The end of life, the end of all we have worked for. The finality to our existence. While many fear death, the idea of undeath proves to be far more horrifying to many. The idea of losing ones self, the very essence, coming a shriveled shell that exists as a mockery of its former self. These are the fears of the undead. For that reason and more, they are a menace to civilization on the average.

Why are the undead are considered a menace to the living? For a variety of reasons, of course. Many of these reasons derive from ethics over necromancy, while others are because of their often destructive ways. None embody the latter more than a secretive cabal known simply as “the entropic gloom”. This quasi-religious order is dedicated to eradication of the living, assimilating them into the ranks of the dead. The reasons for this? Cloaked in shadow, much like themselves. It could be out of contempt for the living, some utopian ideal of unity or perhaps even a penchant for heinous acts of violence. While much of the ranks of this cult are typical undead, some have been transformed into truly incredible servants of dread forces.

Author’s Note: I loving making undead nasty nasties! This is no surprise, for those who know me well enough… So with that, here’s an assortment of living dead monsters to torture your players with. After reading up on monstrous synergy via Tome of Foes, I’ve plucked a few ideas to boot! Also, priest characters, you’re gonna have a bad day.

Entropic Gloom Cultist

These mad beings have forsaken their humanity, for the cause of relentless death. These living dead disciples of darkness are obedient pawns in their dark lords’ machinations.

  • Use the Cultist NPC (Monster Manual, P. 345). Give it Immunity to Poison damage and the Poisoned Condition, change creature type to undead, increase challenge to 1/4 (50 XP)
  • Use the Cult Fanatic NPC (Monster Manual, P. 345). Give it Immunity to Poison damage and the Poisoned Condition, change creature type to undead, increase challenge to 3 (700 XP)

Matter Crusher

A hulking ghoulish brute that shows a keen sense of intellect. This creature is a mix of reanimated bulk and negative energy infused psionic power, to further bolster its physical prowess and cunning wit. The crusher enjoys outsmarting opponents as it does pulverizing them with its raw muscle, sometimes demoralizing or manipulating them as well.

Large undead, neutral evil

Armor Class 15 (Mindcrusher’s Shield)

Hit Points 114 (12d10 + 48)

Speed 40 ft.

STR 22 (+6) DEX 12 (+1) CON 18 (+4) INT 19 (+4) WIS 15 (+2) CHA 12 (+1)

Saving Throws. Strength +10, Intelligence +8, Wisdom +6

Skills. Acrobatics +9, Athletics +9, Deception +5, Intimidate +9

Damage Resistances. necrotic

Damage Immunities. poison, psychic

Condition Immunities. charmed, frightened, poisoned

Senses passive Perception 12

Languages understands Common and one other language it knew in life

Challenge 9 (5,000 XP)

Magical Weapons. Innate psionics make its attacks magical, for purposes of resistance and immunity.

Mindcrusher’s Shield. While unarmored, the matter crusher adds its Intelligence modifier to its armor class. This ability is active as long as the creature is conscious. If it is revived or brought back into consciousness, this ability restarts again.

Psychic Warfare. Once per round, after hitting with a thrashing fist attack, the matter crusher may use a bonus action to deal an additional 7 (2d6) psychic damage.

ACTIONS.

Multiattack. The Matter Crusher may attack up to three times per round.

Thrashing Fists. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 10ft., one creature. Hit: 22 (3d10 + 6) bludgeoning damage.

Mental Corrosion. Ranged Spell Attack: +8 to hit, ranged 100ft., one creature. Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) psychic damage plus 6 (1d12) acid damage.

Psionic Rot (Recharge 6). Melee Spell Attack: +10 to hit, reach 10ft., one creature. Hit: 17 (2d12 + 4) psychic damage. The targeted creature must make a (DC 16) Intelligence saving throw or take an additional 10 (3d6) necrotic damage and fail to gain the benefits of the next rest you take. However, the latter effect ends after completing a rest.

REACTIONS.

Deflect Death. The Matter Crusher can easily push away negative forces that come its way, and onto another creature instead. It may use its reaction to deflect Necrotic or Psychic damage to an allied creature instead.

Phantom of Pain

A cosmic and starry looking wraith constantly contorted in an eternal grimace or rictus grin. It continuously shrieks and growls in frustration and anguish, taking it out on whatever living creature it encounters. Despite its mind slipping into madness, it’s still a cunning predator that always pursues the first living creature it finds. It’s likely born from a soul that died horribly at the hands of the foul howling winds of Pandemonium.

Medium undead, chaotic evil

Armor Class 16 (natural armor)

Hit Points 60 (8d8 + 24)

Speed 10 ft., hover 40 ft.

STR 9 (-1) DEX 16 (+3) CON 16 (+3) INT 7 (-2) WIS 18 (+4) CHA 8 (-1)

Saving Throws. Dexterity +6, Wisdom +6, Charisma +2

Skills. Perception +10, Stealth +9

Damage Resistances. bludgeoning/piercing/slashing from non-magical weapons.

Damage Immunities. necrotic, poison, thunder

Damage Vulnerabilities. radiant

Condition Immunities. poisoned

Senses passive Perception 20

Languages understands Common and one other language it knew in life

Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)

Ecto-Regeneration. When a phantom of pain is hit with an effect, attack or spell that deals necrotic damage; the phanton instead gains 1/2 of the total damage rolled.

Incorporeal Movement. The phantom can move through other creatures and objects as if they were difficult terrain. It takes 5 (1d10) force damage if it ends its turn inside an object.

Unstable Mind. Phantoms of pain are too chaotic and unstable to be properly controlled by others.  It will refuse to follow orders from anyone, including allies.  If the phantom is affected by a charm or fear effect, it is instead treated as if it were until the effects of a Confusion spell until it breaks free from the charm. However, it rolls a d6 with the following effects instead:

  • 1 – 2: the phantom moves in a random direction determined by a d8 and tries to attack the nearest creature in that direction. To determine the direction, roll a d8 and assign a direction to each die face.
  • 3: the phantom attacks itself, dealing no damage and restoring 1/2 of the damage that would have been dealt.
  • 4 – 5: the phantom does nothing.
  • 6: the phantom singles out the creature that tried to charm it for that round.

ACTIONS

Slowing Touch. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 13 (3d6 + 3) necrotic damage, and the target’s Dexterity score is reduced by 1d4, as all types of speed are reduced by 5ft. each (to a minimum of 5ft. movement). The target dies if this reduces its Dexterity to 0. Otherwise, the reduction lasts until the target finishes a short or Long Rest.
Creatures killed by this attack return as phantoms of pain 24 hours later.

REACTIONS

Enraged Wail (1/Day). When the phantom is first reduced to 1/2 of its hit points or less, it may use a reaction to unleash a horrid scream. All creatures capable of hearing the phantom within 30ft. of it must make a (DC 15) Constitution saving throw. Those who fail take 10 (3d6) thunder damage and are deafened until they complete a short or long rest. Those who succeed take no damage. Should the phantom be reduced to 0 hit points before taking reaction, it may still use this ability in its death throes.

Priest of Gloom –

A distorted humanoid that has been warped by wicked energies. This tainted cultist is pointy and stretched, almost fiend like if it weren’t already an undead. Refined and lavish robes adorned with polished charms and unholy symbols indicate that the priest is a powerful figure.

Medium undead, lawful evil

Armor Class 15 (Chain Shirt)

Hit Points 91 (14d8 + 28)

Speed 30 ft.

STR 11 (+0) DEX 14 (+2) CON 15 (+2) INT 15 (+2) WIS 19 (+4) CHA 16 (+3)

Saving Throws Intelligence +6, Wisdom +8, Charisma +7

Skills Arcana +6, Religion +10

Damage Resistances necrotic

Damage Immunities poison

Condition Immunities poisoned

Senses passive Perception 14

Languages Common, Abyssal, Infernal, Two Languages of choice

Challenge 11 (7,200 XP)

Energy Siphon. When an allied creature within 30ft. of the priest of gloom regains hit points, it may share 1/2 of the health with the Gloom Priest instead once per round.

Restore Undead. All healing spells cast by the priest of gloom can heal undead, but do not affect living creatures. This otherwise alters how healing spells cast by the priest of gloom will work.

Spellcasting. The priest of gloom is a 12th-level spellcaster. Its spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 16, +8 to hit with spell attacks). The priest has the following modified cleric spell list prepared:
Cantrips (at will): chill touch, guidance, thaumaturgy, toll the dead
1st level (4 slots}: cure wounds**, false life, healing word**, inflict wounds
2nd level (3 slots}: hold person, ray of enfeeblement, shadow blade*
3rd level (3 slots): animate dead, bestow curse, vampiric touch
4th level (3 slots): blight, dimension door, negative energy flood*
5th level (2 slots}: danse macabre*, enervation*, mass cure wounds**
6th level (l slot}: create undead, disintegrate
*Xanathar’s Guide to Everything
**See Restore Undead above

Turn Resistance. The priest of gloom has advantage on saving throws against any effect that turns Undead.

ACTIONS.

Multiattack. The Priest of Gloom may attack twice per round.

Darkened Staff. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, range 5ft., reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d10) bludgeoning damage plus 10 (3d6) necrotic damage.

Ectoplasmic Orb. Ranged Spell Attack: +8 to hit, ranged 40ft./80ft., one target. Hit: 11 (3d4 + 4) force damage. The target must make a (DC 16) Constitution saving throw. Upon failure, the target cannot gain the benefits of healing, gaining hit points or gaining temporary hit points until completing a long rest.

REACTIONS.

Decay Life Force. A radiant damage dealing attack, spell or effect within 60ft. of the Gloom Priest is instead converted into necrotic damage.

LEGENDARY ACTIONS.

The Priest of Gloom is capable of using up to 3 legendary actions per round. It may utilize a legendary action at the end of another creature’s turn. At the start of the priest’s next turn, it regains its legendary actions.

Cantrip. Once per round, the Priest of Gloom casts a cantrip.

Invigorate Ally (2 Actions). One allied creature (including itself) within 60ft. of the Priest of Gloom gains 13 (3d8) temporary hit points. These last for 1 minute or until another ally receives this effect.

Magical Attack (2 Actions). Should the priest cast Shadow Blade, Vampiric Touch or a related spell, the priest may choose to make an attack as granted by that spell.

Shadowy Leap. The priest teleports within 60ft. of an area that it can see.

Void Mage

The wretched underlings serving in the arcane circles of the Void Lord. These minions are tainted by impossibly malevolent magic and the ways of dreadful entropy. Despite becoming undead lackeys, they remain exceptionally powerful magic-users.

  • Use the Mage NPC (Monster Manual, P. 347). Give it the Necromancer’s spell list (up to 5th level). Give it Immunity to Poison damage and the Poisoned Condition, change creature type to undead.
  • Use the Necromancer NPC (Volo’s Guide to Monsters, P. 217). Give it Immunity to Poison damage and the Poisoned Condition, change creature type to undead.

Void Lord

Cosmic, astonishing, deathly. These shockingly garish beings are in more ways than one the epitome of decadence. More eccentric looking than the priests of gloom, these beings act as the supreme overlords of these dread cults. Gangly, diabolic, uncanny and more; the void lords are truly unnatural horrors that exemplify what makes the undead so wrong.

Medium undead, neutral evil

Armor Class 13 (16 with mage armor)

Hit Points 180 (24d8 + 72)

Speed 30 ft.

STR 10 (+0) DEX 17 (+3) CON 17 (+3) INT 21 (+5) WIS 18 (+4) CHA 16 (+3)

Saving Throws Constitution +8, Intelligence +10, Wisdom +9, Charisma +8

Skills Arcana +15, Deception +8, Insight +9, Investigation +10, Perception +14

Damage Resistances acid, cold, psychic, bludgeoning/piercing/slashing damage from non-magical weapons

Damage Immunities necrotic, poison

Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, paralyzed, poisoned

Senses passive Perception 26

Languages Common, Abyssal, Infernal, Three Languages of choice

Challenge 20 (25,000 XP)

Arcane Repulsion. Magic itself seems to slink away from the void lord, as if to avoid being sucked into its grasp. The void lord is not affected or detected by spells of 6th level or lower, unless it wills itself to be. It has advantage on checks and saves against all other spells and magical effects.

Spellcasting. The void lord is a 18th-level spellcaster. Its spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 18, +10 to hit with spell attacks). The priest has the following modified wizard spell list prepared:
Cantrips (at will): Chill Touch, Message, Minor Illusion, Toll the Dead
1st level (4 slots): Absorb Elements, Arms of Hadar, Cause Fear, False Life, Inflict Wounds
2nd level (3 slots): Alter Self, Blindness/Deafness, Gentle Repose, Ray of Enfeeblement
3rd level (3 slots): Animate Dead, Hunger of Hadar, Speak with Dead, Vampiric Touch
4th level (3 slots): Blight, Dimension Door, Shadow of Moil
5th level (3 slots): Cloudkill, Danse Macabre, Enervation, Negative Energy Flood
6th level (1 slot}: Circle of Death, Create Undead, Soul Cage
7th level (1 slot): Finger of Death, Teleport
8th level (1 slot): Abi-Dalzim’s Horrid Wilting, Clone
9th level (1 slot): Power Word Kill, Psychic Scream
*Xanathar’s Guide to Everything
**See Restore Undead above

Turn Resistance. The priest of gloom has advantage on saving throws against any effect that turns Undead.

ACTIONS.

Archmage Staff. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, range 5ft., reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 9 (2d8) bludgeoning damage. This attack counts as magical.

Life Taker Blast. Ranged Spell Attack: +10 to hit, ranged 60ft./180ft., one creature. Hit: 18 (3d8 + 5) necrotic damage. The void lord regains hit points equal to 1/2 of the damage dealt.

Void Lord’s Foul Disintegration (1/Day). Ranged Spell Attack: +10 to hit, ranged 80ft., one creature. Hit: 72 (5d12 + 40) force damage. Creatures whose hit points have dropped to zero are disintegrated into a dusty powder, along with their equipment.

REACTIONS.

Shared Entropy (recharge 4 – 6). Upon receiving necrotic damage from any creature, the void lord can sample it and fire it out in a blast wave against those in its way. The Void Lord uses its reaction in response to a necrotic dealing attack, spell or effect. It may create an area of effect in response within 30ft. of it. This ability causes half of the damage it would have taken otherwise. All creatures within the aura must make a (DC 18) Constitution saving throw. Those who succeed, take half of that damage.

LEGENDARY ACTIONS.

The Void Lord is capable of using up to 3 legendary actions per round. It may utilize a legendary action at the end of another creature’s turn. At the start of the its next turn, it regains its legendary actions.

Cantrip. Once per round, the void lord casts a cantrip.

Life Taker Blast (2 Actions). The void lord attacks with Life Taker Blast.

Magical Attack (2 Actions). Should the void lord cast Shadow Blade, Vampiric Touch or a related spell, the void lord may choose to make an attack as granted by that spell.

Replicate Spell (3 Actions). The void lord uses a spell that it either succeeded on a saving throw against or avoided through immunity. It must use one of its own spell slots to do this however.

Shadowy Leap. The void lord teleports within 60ft. of an area that it can see.

The Void Lord’s Lair.

Thoroughly corrupted realms are prime locations for dreadful tainted beings such as a Void Lord. These beings revel in the collapse and distortion of all things, a deathly dysfunction taking over. However, they are not beings of chaos themselves, as they also see themselves as order among the ruin. Through the destruction and despair around them, they are further empowered. Meanwhile, the lands around them become a cesspool of wickedness, decay and horror.

While within the lair, the Void Lord gains the following property:

  • Legendary Resistance (3/Day). If the void lord fails a saving throw, it can choose to succeed instead.

LAIR ACTIONS.

On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), the void lord takes a lair action to cause one of the following effects; the void lord can’t use the same effect two rounds in a row:

  • The void lord can target one area within 120ft. of where it can see. A massive geyser like surge of dirt, bone and rock juts from the ground, that is 20ft. high and 5ft. in radius. Creatures within reach of this effect must make a (DC 15) Dexterity saving throw or take 10 (3d6) piercing damage and 10 (3d6) bludgeoning damage.
  • Magical darkness spreads from a point the dragon chooses within 60 feet of it, filling a 15-foot-radius sphere until the dragon dismisses it as an action, uses this lair action again, or dies. The darkness spreads around corners. A creature with darkvision can’t see through this darkness, and nonmagical light can’t illuminate it. If any of the effect’s area overlaps with an area of light created by a spell of 2nd level or lower, the spell that created the light is dispelled.

Regional Effects

The region containing a legendary black dragon’s lair is warped by the dragon’s magic, which creates one or more of the following effects:

  • The land within 6 miles of the lair smells of rot and decomposition. Breathing in too much of the air or failing to cover the face will make creatures quickly nauseous.
  • The soil and water within 6 miles of the lair are irredeemably tainted. Nothing can naturally survive off of this land. Any plants that grow are corrupted and distorted, looking disgusting and sickly; possibly even undead themselves. Creatures that live within the area for more than a month become undead.
  • A sickly green fog cover the land and lightly obscures within 6 miles of the lair.

If the void lord dies, corrupted plants and animals remain until killed off, but other effects fade over 2d6 days.

The Void Lord’s challenge increases to 23 (50,000 XP) while within its lair.

 

Image Credit: Obzedat Ghost Council – Svetlin Velinov

Created by Doctor Necrotic, for Doctor Necrotic Media.  All rights and copyrights belong to respective owners.

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4 thoughts on “Legion of Entropic Gloom – A Dastardly Undead Cult

  1. Pingback: Weird Western Monsters from various sources | Daemons & Deathrays

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