Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Enlightened Contemplative

Several of the monsters in the Occult Bestiary fall into the category of “Monsters You Always Knew Were Psychic, So Here Are Some Slightly More Powerful Versions Built With the New Rules.”  Which is totally okay by me—it rewards GMs for buying the new books and adds complexity to existing monster societies without erasing the non-psychic versions that came before.  Everybody wins.

So you’d assumed that enlightened contemplatives are, like, super contemplative.  (Hell, ordinary contemplatives have evolved to barely even have bodies…how much more enlightened can you get?)

But instead—unlike similar advanced occult monsters that we’ve covered before (the xill matriarch or the yithian elder, for instance)—enlightened contemplatives aren’t necessarily revered by their contemplative kin.  In fact, the other contemplatives are scientists who think the esoterically minded enlightened contemplatives are a little crazy.  They get results, sure…but at what cost?  “Daring,” “reckless,” and “radical” are all words used in the Occult Bestiary to describe these pioneers.  Or are they schismatics…or heretics…or phrenic-disrupting outright monsters?  It’s up to you…and that’s what makes these brainy guys fun.

A mesmerist believes he can have a better hold over his victims if they are exposed to the energies of various esoteric planes and demiplanes.  He is guided in his studies by an enlightened contemplative who secretly has her own agenda, involving the use of interlaced mindscapes and transitive planes to achieve travel between the planets.

Trapped on another planet, adventures seek shelter from rabid plains girallons in the mountain fastness of an order of contemplatives.  The sentient brains have no answers for the party, but they suspect a splinter coterie of contemplative renegades might. Reaching these “enlightened” contemplatives means hiking through a thorny jungle of cannibal wood.  The adventurers find the splinter contemplatives under siege from terrible, four-armed wights.

An order of enlightened contemplatives cannot perceive gnomes—neither their physical forms nor their mental patterns (likely because of the gnomes’ fey heritage).  Instead they must infer gnomes based on the descriptions and tales of other humanoids.  Disturbed to encounter a phenomenon unexplainable by either contemplative science or enlightened contemplative metaphysics, these esoteric sages hire bounty hunters to round up gnomes to study, creating prison camps for small folk they cannot sense and subjecting them to laboratory experiments whose data they only dimly comprehend.

Occult Bestiary 17

If you never read my original entry on contemplatives, maybe give it a look—I had a lot of fun with it.


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  2. After reading the original contemplative page and then this one, I had the thought to combine the last entry here and the barbarian sacking of the Opal Monastery, where the barbarians are actually the players and the monastery is a front for the contemplatives. Of course, to such enlightened beings obsessesed with those types of experiments, regular mortal adventurers would seem like barbarians - and those monks at the monastery aren't there by their own will, to be sure. It practically writes itself!