Among the most foul creatures within the realms of D&D is the aberration. Some hail these terrors of entities spawned from a distant realm unlike anything else; The Far Realm. Others fear that they are perversions of our own reality, distortions that prove how horrible magic can truly be. No matter the case, they lurk in dark shadows and hover beyond the veil, as the fabric of reality is slowly torn asunder.
Author’s Note: I haven’t really tackled too many aberrations in a while. Considering they’re among my favorite monsters, I need to fix that! This time around, I have conversions of 3rd edition creatures, as well as some of my own creatures. Star Vampires, Hulking Illithids, Dragon Illithids and one of the most nefarious parasites to show up in D&D! Ready yourself for some truly menacing Elder Evils!
Brute Mind (or “Mind Brute”)
This mutant mind flayer is in fact the result of an experiment with umber hulks. Initial creations were barely intelligent mind flayers driven to rage by their creation. Most of these creatures were executed. Later models pumped in all means of psychic power and brain fluid into the host succumbing to ceremorphosis, allowing for illithid creations that retain enough intelligence, while acting as the perfect bulky soldier. Both talented in psionics and physically strong, the Mind Brute acts as a destructive ally to the dreaded mind flayer.
Plane of Origin: Prime Material Plane – Toril/Realmspace – Hiding behind the worlds of Realmspace, a converted Nautiloid spelljammer acts as a mobile laboratory. Harnessing captured Umber Hulks found deep within the nation of Amn, the illithid have begun a new project, the perfect foot soldier. Pressing their experiments as far as they have resulted in slightly mentally breaking them. Their new creations, while somewhat resenting of them, remain as obedient warriors with many of the abilities of a true mind flayer.
Large aberration, neutral evil
Armor Class 18 (natural armor)
Hit Points 94 (11d10 + 33)
Speed 30 ft., burrow 20 ft.
STR 20 (+5) DEX 12 (+1) CON 17 (+3) INT 12 (+1) WIS 13 (+1) CHA 12 (+1)
Saving Dexterity +4, Intelligence +4, Wisdom +4, Charisma +4
Senses darkvision 120 ft., tremorsense 60 ft.
Languages Deep Speech, Undercommon, Umber Hulk, telepathy 120 ft.
Challenge 7 (2,900 XP)
Disobedience Surge. Mind brutes count as being under the effects of a geas spell. However, objectives can be changed by any mind flayer.
Maddening Stare. When a creature within 30 ft. of the Umber Hulk starts its turn and can see its face, they must succeed a DC 15 Charisma saving throw. Upon failure, the victim must roll a d8 to determine the effect for that turn.
- 1-4: The victim becomes frightened and must their action to flee the area.
- 5-6: The victim falls prone, becomes incapacitated and loses their movement for that turn.
- 7-8: The victim makes an attack roll against a randomly determined creature.
Magic Resistance. The mind brute has advantage on all saving throws against spells and magical effects.
Tunneler. The mind brute can burrow through solid rock at half its burrowing speed and leaves a 5 foot-wide, 8-foot-high tunnel in its wake.
Multiattack. The mind brute may use its Slam attack three times per round.
Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 12 (2d6 + 5) bludgeoning damage.
Tentacles. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (1d10 + 5) psychic damage. The target also becomes grabbed (DC 16 to escape) and must make a DC 15 Intelligence saving throw. Failure results in being stunned for 1 minute, with the victim able to make a new save at the end of their turn.
Extract Brain. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 10 ft., one incapacitated humanoid grappled by the brute. Hit: 65 (10d12) bludgeoning damage. Creatures dropped to 0 HP by this attack are dead, as the brute eats the brain.
Consumer of Bloodlines
The gift of vampirism, given to the planes beyond. Vampires have mostly been associated with creatures of the prime material. Such a notion has proved to be foolish. While it should be impossible, amorphous entities from beyond have intentionally accepted the curse into their very being. And worse, they’ve consumed other vampires to become stronger. If the vampire is the thirst for blood, the Consumer is a thirst for so much more. They crave draining and consuming existence as a whole! While they are creatures built from what they’ve taken from others, they are also slaves to their new existence. Much like a true vampire, they cannot survive without the essence of blood itself. In fact, their old abilities to manifest the drained powers of their enemies were ultimately corrupted when they became vampires. Despite their transformation into vampires, they are a fallen race that was ironically far more powerful before the dark embrace.
Plane of Origin: Deep Ethereal – Long ago, a race of aberrations drifted within the deepest of ethereal pockets. Their ultimate goal was obtaining power by harnessing “host creatures” for their own power, manifesting their own biological weapons from the process. This race nearly came to an end at the hands of a cabal of plane-jumping vampires seeking their own demiplane to insidious planning. The cabal almost prevailed in the ensuing fight, until a variety of the aberrations used sampled powers from rival monsters that ultimately turned the tides. The cabal was devoured. However, the power of vampirism overwhelmed the deep realm abominations. While they manifested pieces of their victims, they ultimately fell slave to their prey’s own power. Their goals remain similar, but now they go on the eternal hunt for blood, lest they starve. Many have uncovered the secrets of planar incursion. Their invasion draws near. One alone could turn a city into a land of the dead.
Amorphous Horror. Their original forms are a mystery, as they usually pull from the forms of various victims they have eaten over many years. Often, they will take from their “library of victims”, when shaping parts for combat. Under duress and strain, forms become more erratic.
Medium undead (aberration), chaotic evil
Armor Class 16 (natural armor)
Hit Points 179 (21d8 + 84)
Speed 0 ft., fly 80 ft.
STR 20 (+5) DEX 21 (+5) CON 19 (+4) INT 15 (+2) WIS 14 (+2) CHA 13 (+1)
Saving Throws Strength +10, Constitution +9, Intelligence +7, Wisdom +7, Charisma +6
Skills Perception +12
Damage Immunities necrotic, psychic; bludgeoning, piercing and slashing from non-magical attacks.
Condition Immunities charmed, frightened
Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 22
Languages Common, Abyssal, Deep Speech, Telepathy 60 ft.
Challenge 18 (20,000 XP)
Legendary Resistance (3/Day). If the consumer fails a saving throw, it can choose to succeed instead.
Cosmic Teleportation (Recharge 4 – 6). Instead of its normal movement, the consumer may teleport to a point within 60 ft. It must be to a place it is capable of seeing.
Manifest Limbs. Should it choose to do so, the consumer may manifest and twist up to 1d8 limbs as an action. While this doesn’t modify attacks or grant extra grappling, these limbs to handle objects in various ways. Should a combat limb be severed, it can use this ability to regenerate it.
Powerful Build. You count as one size larger when determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push, drag, or lift.
Turn Immunity. The consumer cannot be turned.
Vampiric Weaknesses. Like a true vampire, the consumer has a number of weaknesses.
- Harmed by the Elements. If damaged by fire, lightning or radiant damage types, the consumer must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw. Upon failure, the necrotic damage dealt by its bite attack do not restore hit points until the end of its next turn.
- Sunlight Weakness. The consumer takes 20 radiant damage when it starts its turn in natural sunlight. While in sunlight, it has disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks.
- Warded. Any location warded against either undead or aberrations will prevent the consumer from entering.
Multiattack. The consumer may make up to three attacks per round, any can be claw attacks, only one of which may be a bite attack.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +11 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d8 + 5) piercing damage plus 14 (4d8) necrotic damage. The consumer reduces the victim’s maximum hit points by the damage taken and regains hit points equal to the necrotic damage dealt.
Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +11 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 16 (3d6 + 5) slashing damage. The target must also make a DC 19 Constitution saving throw or take an additional 7 (2d6) poison damage. The consumer may forgo damage to one attack and the target becomes grappled (DC 19 escape) instead.
Entropic Drain (Recharge 6). The consumer unleashes energies of the void itself, draining all means of energy from its reach. All creatures within 30 ft. of the consumer must make a DC 22 Constitution saving throw or take 55 (10d10) necrotic damage and gain 1 level of exhaustion. Exhaustion gained in this matter must be removed by a Greater Restoration spell, alternatively a similar spell or stronger. A successful save causes half damage and deals no exhaustion. Creatures killed by this attack become Vampire Spawn NPCs under the DM’s control, also losing their exhaustion levels. These Vampire Spawn act chaotically, without direction from the consumer.
The consumer can take 3 Legendary Actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action can be used at a time, and only at the end of another creature’s turn. Spent legendary actions are regained at the start of each turn.
- Bite (3 Actions). The consumer makes a bite attack.
- Careful Advance. The consumer moves without provoking opportunities.
- Claws (2 Actions). The consumer makes a claw attack.
- Observe. The consumer makes a Wisdom (Perception) check.
Brainstealer Dragon (or “Draco-lithid”)
The result of a mind flayer tadpole hijacking and devouring a dragon. The end result is a vile fusion of the two. The raw power of the dragon, meshed with the psychic power of the mind flayer. Despite being far more powerful than true mind flayers, they are still reverent to the true kind. Many take up guard in wide spaces, protecting things of great importance to the illithid. As a means of pacifying the draconic guard, the brainstealer often takes up its own hoard, typically a perversion of a dragon’s hoard but with a distinct mind flayer twist. Preserved brains are not uncommon.
While it lacks a traditional breath, they make up for it with a unique breath weapon all to themselves, a blast wave of psychic power. The shrieking wave proves to be so dangerous that it can rupture victim’s heads from sheer overload. And, when concentrated in an area long enough, their manifested psionic power begins to warp lairs around them in horrifying ways.
Plane of Origin: Astral Plane – Deep within an astral fortress, dragons were captured following a great battle against Githyanki. Mind Flayers within the citadel carved and harvested their draconic war bounties, before the idea of using them for experiments was proposed. Several scouts took to primes to secure dragon hosts. Countless attempts failed before it was perfected…. until finally, the bond was perfected. A new creature emerged, neither completely illithid or dragon. However, this new breed of magical beast remains loyal to its progenitors. In fact, lair effecting presence alone makes them an ultimate weapon for the mind flayer.
Huge aberration (dragon), lawful evil
Armor Class 17 (natural armor)
Hit Points 200 (16d12 + 96)
Speed 40 ft., fly 80 ft.
STR 27 (+8) DEX 14 (+2) CON 23 (+6) INT 19 (+4) WIS 17 (+3) CHA 21 (+5)
Saving Throws Dexterity +6, Intelligence +10, Wisdom +9, Charisma +11
Skills Arcana +10, Insight +9, Investigation +10, Perception +9
Damage Resistance bludgeoning, piercing and slashing from non-magical weapons
Damage Immunities acid
Condition Immunities exhausted, paralyzed
Senses Blindsight 60 ft., Darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 19
Languages Common, Deep Speech, Draconic, Undercommon, Telepathy 120 ft.
Challenge 21 (30,000 XP)
Amphibious. The brainstealer dragon can breathe air and water.
Legendary Resistance (3/Day). If the brainstealer dragon fails a saving throw, it can choose to succeed instead.
Magic Resistance. The brainstealer dragon has advantage on saving throws against magical effects and spells.
Multiattack. The brainstealer dragon may attack with claws or tail up to three times per round. One of these attacks may be swapped out for a bite attack.
Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +14 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 21 (3d8 + 8) slashing damage.
Tail. Melee Weapon Attack: +14 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: 19 (3d6 + 8) bludgeoning damage. The target must make a DC 22 Dexterity saving throw or be knocked prone, taking 4 (1d8) bludgeoning damage as well.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +14 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: 17 (2d8 + 8) piercing damage plus 9 (2d8) acid damage. The creature also becomes grabbed by the brainstealer. In addition, the creature must succeed a DC 22 Strength saving throw or become incapacitated as well.
Extract Brain. Melee Weapon Attack: +14 to hit, reach 15 ft., one incapacitated creature grabbed by the brainstealer. Hit: 58 (9d12) piercing damage. Creatures dropped to 0 HP by this attack are dead, as the brainstealer eats the brain.
Frightful Presence. Each creature of the brainstealer’s choice that is within 120 feet of the dragon and aware of it must succeed on a DC 24 Wisdom saving throw or become frightened for 1 minute. A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. If a creature’s saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the creature is immune to the brainstealer’s Frightful Presence for the next 24 hours.
Mind Blast Breath Weapon (Recharge 5 or 6). The brainstealer exhales a wondrous energy in a 60-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a DC 24 Dexterity saving throw, taking 66 (12d10) psychic damage on a failed save and become stunned for 1 minute, or half as much damage on a successful one with no stun effect. Stunned creatures get a new saving throw at the end of their turn. Targets brought to 0 by this attack are killed by a head explosion, if they have a head.
The brainstealer can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. Brainstealer regains spent legendary actions at the start of their turn.
- Move. The brainstealer moves.
- Sense Prey. The brainstealer makes a Wisdom (Perception) or Intelligence (Investigation) check.
Tail Attack (2 Actions). The brainstealer makes a tail attack.
- Recharge (3 Actions). The brainstealer recharges its breath weapon.
LAIR AND LAIR ACTIONS
Brainstealer dragons dwell within wretched depths of astral conduits, wildspace rocks or even subterranean wretched hives of their own. Some are capable of gaining further influence over their very own illithid creators at times too, forming their very own colony niches. While the Brainstealer usually does protecting, sometimes it uses its own defenses to ensure it is protected as well.
On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), the dragon takes a lair action to cause one of the following effects; the dragon can’t use the same effect two rounds in a row:
- All nearby aberrations within 360 ft. are alerted to the Brainstealer’s plight, sensing it telepathically.
- Maddening auras begin to warp around the lair, filling a 30-foot-radius on a point chosen by the dragon that is within 120 feet. The warp zone remains until the dragon dismisses or relocates it. Killing the dragon destroys the warp. All space within the warp grants 1/2 cover, as reality is distorted. Any non-illithid based creature (such as the brainstealer) that enters or starts its turn in the warp must make a DC 24 Wisdom saving throw or take 9 (2d8) psychic damage. Furthermore, they suffer disadvantage on all attack rolls, skill checks and saving throws until the end of their next turn.
- The floor begins to warp, becoming more amorphous and ooze-like. All terrain in the lair becomes difficult for all enemies of the brainstealer dragon. Furthermore, creatures trying to move within this terrain must make a DC 24 Strength saving throw or become grappled, as the very floor tugs back.
The region containing a legendary brainstealer’s lair is warped by the dragon’s power, which creates one or more of the following effects:
- Walls surrounding the lair vibrate with a strange psychic pulse.
- Eldritch whispers in all of the languages spoken by the dragon drift upwards to 5 miles away from the lair. These are mostly threats.
- Insane creatures line the nearby area, as well as a number of corpses devoid of brains. These corpses don’t seem decomposed at all.
If the dragon dies, the insane creatures will probably linger in the area, but other effects fade over 1d10 days.
Among the most malicious parasites known to exist. In a sense, they are similar to the illithid tadpole, who also leeches off a host. However, the mind flayer consumes the host body before growing into its adult state, while the tsochar proves prefers other gruesome ways. To the tsochari, a victim’s skin is merely a costume that they can use to attain power. Their hosts are but fleeting disguises as a means to an end. One thing they favor more than anything is a host with a connection to supernatural power.
These creatures are knotted tangles of wiry arms with barbed claws dangling at the end. With these arms, it can claw its way into and hijack a host’s body for its own ends. One way of accomplishing this is through brutally torturing its victim into submission. Should a host prove stubborn, it’s also capable of killing off the host’s mind and taking the body completely. However, should the body die, the tsochar can do little to keep it from decaying.
Plane of Origin: Wildspace – ??? – While their origin world is unknown, it is said that it was full of warped and dastardly creatures. As the worlds within its home crystal sphere slowly died out, the creatures out competed each other for existence. Not only were the worlds dying, they were literally falling apart. Few have escaped, let alone survived. One exception are the tsochar, who lucked out. Arcane scholars were trying to build gates into other realities. Among their pursuits was into the dying home world of the tsochari. In moments, the researchers were overwhelmed and taken over. In more recent decades, they’ve gone from a terror to crews to a catastrophic threat within Wildspace alone. It is rumored that they originated from the same realm as the Psurlon.
Small aberration (tsochar), chaotic evil
Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
Hit Points 44 (8d6 + 16)
Speed 25 ft., climb 20 ft.
STR 14 (+2) DEX 16 (+3) CON 14 (+2) INT 14 (+2) WIS 16 (+3) CHA 12 (+1)
Skills Deception+5, Perception +4, Stealth +5
Damage Resistances cold, lightning; bludgeoning, piercing and slashing from non-magical weapons
Condition Immunities prone
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 14
Challenge 4 (1,100 XP)
Grappler. The tsochar gains advantage on attacks against creatures it has grappled.
Magical Attacks. The tsochar’s attacks count as magical for purposes of weakness and resistance.
Spell Thief (Inhabit only). The tsochar can attempt to use any spells that its host knows. However, it can prevent this for that round by succeeding a DC 14 Wisdom saving throw.
Wear Skin. The tsochar can dig into an incapacitated creature or a creature that has failed to break free from its grapple after three consecutive rounds. The victim must be size small or larger as well as a living creature. While merged with the creature, it cannot be targeted by attacks or spells. However, when the host takes damage, the tsochar takes half of it. While inside the host, it may choose to Inhabit or Replace.
- Inhabit. While inhabiting a host body, the tsochar can only take a limited amount of actions. However, it may telepathically communicate with its host. For every week the tsochar remains in its host, its Constitution decreases by one. If the host is killed or dies for other reasons, the tsochar must either leave the host or Replace. In addition, the tsochar can be removed from the host through a Greater Restoration spell or related magic of equal or stronger level.
- Replace. The tsochar bores out the nervous system and kills the host if it wasn’t dead already. The tsochar now has full control over its host. However, the body is still dead and will decay. Within 1 month, the body is unusable.
Multiattack. The tsochar makes two attacks per round with its tentacles.
Tentacles. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d8 + 2) piercing damage. If the target is Large or smaller, it becomes grappled (escape DC 14).
Agony (Inhabit only). The tsochar may choose to deal anywhere between 4 (1d8) to 22 (5d8) damage to its host, also incapacitating it in the process.
Unsheath Tentacles (Inhabit only). The tsochar unsheaths tentacles from the victim’s body, dealing them 10 (3d6) piercing damage that cannot be resisted. After this happens, the tsochar may use its tentacles attack as normal.
IMAGE CREDITS: D20 Cthulhu Art – WotC/Chaosium; Mavros-Thanatos – Nautilidore; JamesRyman – Abolisher of Bloodlines (MtG); Kieran Yanner – Brainstealer Dragon; Colin Fix – Tsochar