Monday, February 4, 2013


Neothelids are Pathfinder’s heirs to the throne vacated by the world’s oldest role-playing game’s mind flayer elder brains.  (And I mean “heir” literally—the name has been used in D&D for part of the illithid family tree.) 

So let’s review: Psychic abilities turned up to 11 (or, more accurately, 15d10).  Gargantuan bodies.  A range of useful spell-like abilities, including constant fly.  They’ve also got a Lovecraftian heritage—they worship the usual array of Dark Things Beyond the Stars—and their seugathi servants act as their proxies in the cities of the Realms Below.

All in all you have the makings of proper campaign-spanning villainy that will take players to the deepest ends of the earth…or blackness between the stars.

But here’s what your players need to worry about: Neothelids can trace teleports and they can teleport at will.  So if they do happen to rouse one…good luck running.

The worm-king Del Havroth Mem has lost control of its seugathi minions, who seem to have been corrupted by their time in the Naga District of the derro city of Kartoul.  It seeks proxies to retrieve them, so it can crush its errant spawn personally.

A cult leader wants to take his flock down the Underworld’s twisting tunnels.  He and his worshippers are answering the summons to prayer from the Caller from the Stars—never mind the illogic of finding a celestial being below the earth—and he needs guides and guards.  The local magistrates want him stopped but also fear reprisals from zealots if they prevent the pilgrimage.  A nomadic tribe of urdefhan reavers also frequents the planed route, and will surely seek to slay innocents and harvest souls.  And there is the little matter of the Caller itself—a neothelid tended by seugathi spawn and legions of slaves in its toxic hive city home.

Inside the world’s core is a lost world: The World Within.  It is populated by extinct tribes and species from throughout the planet’s history, as if locked in time.  This seems like a gift of the gods, but it is actually the work of neothelids—they hide the existence of the World Within, limit the various civilizations’ technological progress, and subtly experiment on its peoples.  At first glance, it appears they treat the World Within as some kind of lab experiment or big game park…but the presence of certain dark temples and manufactured portents indicate that they are trying to recreate certain conditions…and perhaps even retroactively change the history of the world.

Into the Darkness 48–49 & Pathfinder Bestiary 214

Note the Hollow World homage above, but given a Lovecraftian twist.  Speaking of which, I’m really enjoying Anthony Horowitz’s The Gatekeepers series on audiobook. The last book better come out soon…

Also, regarding the Super Bowl: GO RIDDLEPORT DIRE CORBIES!!!

The Super Bowl was not the only event this weekend plagued with technical difficulties. Crossed wires and jacked-up slider volumes in the studio sabotaged the opening of my show. Nevertheless, can you really say no to new Tegan and Sara and “The Super Bowl Shuffle”?

(For best results—the feed skips on some computers—let load in Firefox or Chrome, Save As an mp3, and enjoy in iTunes.  Link good till Friday, 2/8, at midnight.)

1 comment:

  1. Neothelids, like the Neh-Thalggu, are some of my favorites. I definitely love how Pathfinder co-opted them. Illithids are a classic, but 3.5 got really weird by expanding on them too much. Elder Brains and Alhoon were enough! No need for so many weird variants (illithid-ropers, illithid-chuuls! illithid-everything!).