The Hectoralle

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by Ryven Cedrylle

 

HECTORALLE

Taking the term “tongue-lashing” seriously for over 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 years.

A lot of strange and terrifying things squirm their way out of the Abyss; the Hectoralle is just one of them.

A gooey, fleshy mess of eyes and mouths, the Hectoralle can raise itself to about the size of a small bookshelf and glides across the ground at speeds just a touch faster than its horrified, screaming victims.  No two eyes are quite the same color or point in exactly the same direction. From each mouth issues forth a different voice, ranging from the shrill treble cry of a squealing infant to the booming baritone produced by the land’s greatest dwarven puzhulun bellowers.  It has no limbs but can extend a tongue from each mouth that can easily grasp objects at a the distance of a wyvern’s full wingspan. The tongues are strong and light, able to deliver a blow like a heavy barbed whip or flail, but only in close quarters.

Though visually indistinguishable from one another, there appear to be two types of Hectoralle. The Shrieking Hectoralle gibbers, howls and yammers in a myriad of discordant tones and languages, causing confusion and chaos wherever it goes. Fortunately for its enemies, its bizarre and unpredictable magic sometimes backfires on it. The Chanting Hectoralle, on the other hand, speaks words of unholy power from its many mouths at once, greatly amplifying their effects.

Hectoralle

8th level caster [aberration]

Initiative +8

M: Tongue Lashing +13 vs. AC (one or two enemies) —25 damage

Natural even hit: The target is hampered until the end of its next turn.

Special: The Hectoralle may target three or more creatures with this attack at a penalty of -1 to all attacks per creature beyond the second.

C: Chant of Pain +11 vs PD (all nearby enemies; chanting hectoralle only)—20 psychic damage

16+: The target also loses a recovery.

C: Chant of  Ruin +11 vs MD (all nearby enemies; chanting hectoralle only)—16 psychic damage and the target takes a -2 to MD (save ends).

C: Discordant Shriek  +11 vs MD (one random nearby enemy; shrieking hectoralle only)—40 psychic damage and the target is confused until the end of its next turn.

Natural 5, 10, 15 or 20: The hectoralle suffers 20 damage.

C: Atonal Shriek  +11 vs PD (two random nearby enemies; shrieking hectoralle only)—30 psychic damage, the target takes a -4 to all defenses until the end of its next turn and is deafened.

Natural 5, 10, 15 or 20: One enemy may make a saving throw against any condition affecting it.

Special: Deafened is not a condition defined by the game and will need to be adjudicated by the GM. Suggested mechanical consequences may include being unable to receive the benefits of bardic music and/or taking a -4 to ‘perception’ checks.

Errant Arcana: Any time a PC caster rolls a 5 or less on an attack spell against a hectoralle, the spell instead targets another PC or PC ally. Reroll the attack.

Roiling Resistance:  A hectoralle resists both psychic damage (14+) and magic at large (8+).

Nastier Specials

Rol-licking Good Time: The hectoralle can instead deal 10 damage with Tongue Lashing to grab the target.

Harmonious Discord: A confused enemy gains a +2 on its attack rolls.

Ruined Escalation: An enemy suffering a penalty to MD does not add the escalation die to its attacks.

AC  23

PD  16            HP 134

MD  21
Building Encounters

Hectoralle can be real terrors, but lack the punch to be the main threat in a fight. Hectoralle can appear alongside bigger, stockier aberrations or even demons. Their constant noise makes it impossible for them to hide well, though they are also practically immune to surprise. Hectoralle rarely make it into civilized areas without a horde of paladins, monster hunters, or cultists behind them.

Hectoralle and the Icons

The Great Gold Wyrm cuts down any hectoralle he sees trying to escape the Abyss; his followers do likewise.  The Diabolist has occasionally tried to tame hectoralle for some purpose or another but they’re simply too mindless to be useful as anything other than a novelty.  The Crusader is said to capture hectoralle as he comes across them and turns one or two loose on his own troops as a punishment. Certain wizards believe that the babbling of the shrieking hectoralle may contain useful information if properly studied but the Archmage forbids such things.

Magic Items

Hectoralle Tongue (weapon, flail, one-handed). Always: Bonus to attack and damage (+3). Resist psychic damage (14+). Recharge 16+: You whirl the tongue in a rapid circle and it generates a bone-chilling howl. All nearby enemies who have 100 or fewer HP are stunned until the end of their next turn. Quirk: You speak with two voices. The second doesn’t always say what the first does.

Adventure Hooks

  • Too Rich a Ritual – A mad arcanist has decided to employ a hectoralle in an insane ritual, having it read dozens of scrolls and librams simultaneously. Odds are it will fail and the hectoralle will get loose. Even worse? It might succeed.
  • Culling the Cult – A petition has gone through to the Priestess to include a hectoralle-based cult in the Cathedral and despite her objections, the Cathedral has begun building a wing for them. Why is the Cathedral disobeying the Priestess? How do you stop it from making what can only be a terrible decision?

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