Thursday, September 28, 2017

Neothelid Overlord

The neothelid, as I’ve written before, was Pathfinder’s answer to D&D’s proprietary mind flayers.  But it served another purpose as well.  Remember that, originally, Pathfinder was not a game system; it was a game setting—and as such, it needed to differentiate itself from the other 3.5 settings out there.  Neothelids, with their wormlike shapes, suite of mental powers, and seugathi servants, confirmed what other early Pathfinder products had already begun to suggest: Golarion was a world where Lovecraft’s Old Ones and Outer Gods had a definite footprint...or rather, a definite pseudopodprint.  

The neothelid overlord is a neothelid on its way to becoming…something else.  Something much closer to those entities that dwell in the blackness between the stars.  The overlord’s head splits.  Its consciousness begins to transcend its biology.  Its tails dig as if they want to become roots.  Its psychic powers become true psychic magic.  And just looking at it risks madness.

At CR 20, neothelid overlords are campaign-ending villains.  Defeating a conclave of these creatures should be the culmination of years of effort in game time (and possibly even real time).  Of course, failing to defeat a neothelid overlord conclave…well, that doesn't even bear thinking about.

Adventurers bring down a city’s ruling class of necromancers…in the process, exposing a subterranean kingdom of ghouls to the notice of the surface world as well.  But it turns out the ghoul kingdom is a necessary evil, for they are all that keeps a neothelid overlord in check in his mushroom-forest vault.

Strange benefactors have aided a party of adventurers against demons and devils throughout their career.  But then these same benefactors begin to suggest strikes against druid stone circles, goodly temples, and even angelic redoubts and hidden celestial cities—a pantheistic hatred alarming in its intensity.  Careful investigation uncovers seugathi cultists and rumors of dark wormlike lords older than the gods themselves, who worship Powers from a reality that predates this one.

The world of Chasm should have split in two—as is all too apparent from the near-bottomless canyon that circles the planet like a hellish meridian.  The only thing holding the shattered sphere together is a monstrous bhole trapped in stasis long ago.  Now, a neothelid conclave seeks to awaken the bhole and free the worm to split Chasm like an apple in an offering to their dark gods.

Occult Bestiary 36–37

This week’s radio show had a pretty big AAA radio (adult album alternative) feel to it.  Listen for new Courtney Barnett and Sunny & Gabe, some great Mason Jennings, and even a Judy Collins song for the protest-minded, written by Where the Sidewalk Ends author Shel Silverstein.  (I even play some songs I know you like, dear online readers.)  Stream or download it now till Monday, 10/02/17), at midnight.

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