Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mind Devils: Alien Nightmares

Rahasya ("Mind Devils")

No. Appearing: 1
Alignment: Chaotic
Size: M
Armour Class/Defense: 3/2
Move: 60’
Hit Dice: 8 (32)
Attacks: Tentacles: 1 Grapple +6/+2 OR 2 Large Clubs +6/+2; Bite: 1 Spear +6/+2; Sorcery (see below)
Modes: 4/4
Disciplines: See text
Special: 6th level Sorcerer,
Moral: +6
Treasure: 12
XP: 1200

The Rahasya, also known as “Mind Devils”, are a horrid menace so alien in composition that most savants agree that they are ultra-mundane in origin, although there is debate as to whether they are able to travel between their point of origin and the Lands under the Dying Sun at will or if they have become trapped here.

When encountered, Rahasya generally masquerade as human, covered in robes and cowls or full-body armour so that no flesh is visible. Should this disguise be penetrated, their inhuman nature is readily apparent: Rahasya are large, eight-armed cephalopods resembling octopi. Unlike marine mollusks however, the mantle of the Rahasya is a thick, rubbery flesh of silvery-gray colour which resists drying out in the desert atmosphere and is also highly resistant to injury (AC 3). Despite the consistency of this flesh, the mantle is highly malleable: a Rahasya can flatten itself to some 6 inches in depth , stretch to 10 feet in length, or balloon into a rough sphere of 5 foot diameter. This amorphous quality allows the Rahasya it’s masquerade in front of humans as it shapes itself into vaguely humanoid outlines and then uses two arms apiece to substitute for each of a human’s four extremities. The observant thus occasionally penetrate a Rahasya disguise when they notice that it’s “hand” seems to consist of two large fingers (actually, the ends of two tentacles).

Unlike terran octopi, the tentacles do not have suckers. They are, however, extremely powerful (STR 12); indeed, it could rightly be said that the Rahasya is one huge muscle. The upper side of a Rahasya contains seven eyes arranged in a circle around what might be called “the head”. The monster’s mouth in located on the underside: it is a circular aperture ringed with teeth, not unlike that of a leech, surrounded by multiple, smallish tentacles to guide the food into the maw. Once a Rahasya gets a bite onto something, it requires a STR Throw to pull away, although doing so results in Small Weapon Damage from the tearing away of the flesh.

However, the physical threats of the Rahasya are the least of its abilities for all members of the species are potent psychic sorcerers (Level 6). This is the origin of the name “Mind Devils”. They display racial predisposition towards the disciples of mental disruption and always possess at least one of the following powers: Sensual Obscurement (Level 1), Empathic Projection (Level 2), Hallucination (Level 3), or Feeblemind (Level 4). All other disciples to be determined randomly.

Mind Devils are, by the standards of men, subtle and cruel beings who seek their ends by devious methods and prefer to torture their enemies rather than to kill them quickly. What exactly they want is unclear, although it has been plausibly asserted that they are involved in a shadowy struggle with the Witch-Men for dominance of all the sentient species under the Dying Sun. Their plots often strike men as convoluted in the extreme.

Note: it is, of course, literally impossible to make a psychically-oriented D&D game without including Mind Flayers.  But I didn't want to just plug in regular old Mind Flayers: as awesome as they are, they are also just a little bit played out in my mind.  I always felt that it was a bit of a waste to have cephalopod beasts that didn't take more from real-world examples.  The ability of the octopus to change it's form is both amazing and kind of creepy and I wanted to use that make my Mind Devils just a bit more horrifying.  Also, having done brain-eating Sand Ghuls, I felt like I couldn't make these things eat brains too.  The image of a hooded thing pretending to be a man draws on the imagery of Leiber's two alien wizards, Ninguable of the Seven Eyes and Sheelba of the Eyeless Face, and on the horror of Lovecraft's Whisperer in the Darkness (my favourite HPL story).


  1. Cool creature. And I've always liked that pic of Ningauble.

  2. Exxxxcellent. I will take.

    And isn't "Ningauble" just a great name?

  3. Ningauble is awesome in all ways. I wish I could have found a bigger pic though.