WotC Things from Beyond the Stars




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  1. #1

    Things from Beyond the Stars

    Beholders, mind flayers, and aboleths have snagged the brains of monster handler James this week. Take a look at these three aberrations after you get a good feel for the current working definition of aberrations.

    Read Things from Beyond the Stars on D&D Insider here!

    Last edited by Morrus; Tuesday, 6th November, 2012 at 07:03 AM.

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    i approve! im glad they arnt tieing them down to the far realm

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    Very good stuff here. I love this definition of aberrations. Beholders look solid, and Mind Flayers are pretty close (except for the part where they imply that brain-eating isn't useful during combat--it's their signature attack!).

    I wish the Mind Flayer in the playtest packet matched that description. The article says they stand back like a spellcaster, but in the packet the only ranged attack they have is Mind Blast (save negates and save ends, recharge 6). Wimpy.

  4. #4
    I'm still blah on the definition of abberation. The reason that "Abberation" is so ambiguous is because it's not defined by what it is, but by what it isn't. For example, the 5E version basically says it's anything that's not humanoid, natural, or naturally-derived (as many fantastical creatures are). Presumably it also excludes undead. What does that really say about the category of creatures it includes? Nothing. Furthermore, who's to say what the "natural world" is? Maybe Beholders and Mind Flayers are part of the natural world, albeit a freaky one.

    That aside, I liked the actual creature write-ups (though Aboleths bore me). Specifically, I really like the idea that the effects of a Beholder's eye rays are basically a finger-print. Also, while causing players to freak out is cool, I'm glad to see Illithid brain-eating not be considered an instant death. I find it a lot more fun to have players yelling "get it off, get it off!" over a couple of rounds (with increasing effect) instead of being held hostage to a bad roll.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmjow View Post
    im glad they arnt tieing them down to the far realm
    The title of the article is a little misleading in that respect! I mean, what is the Far Realm other than the place beyond the stars.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    The title of the article is a little misleading in that respect! I mean, what is the Far Realm other than the place beyond the stars.
    You can have something come from the blackest depths of the Material Plane rather than the Far Realms and be equally Lovecraftian.

    While Lovecraft's considerable shadow has shown up in D&D since virtually the start, IMO it sorta got shoved in our face in 4e with more prominence to the Far Realm, more definition applied to the Far Realm, and lots of creatures linked to it in retconned backstories that didn't have that link before (or had it alluded to but not pinned down).

    I'm a giant HPL fan, but a little bit goes a long way, and again IMO being so heavyhanded with it at times in 4e really worked against itself. Trying to strictly define the unfathomable cosmic horrors out there, be they from the depths of space or the -1i^e*the color blue layer of the Far Realms cheapened it to an extent. And I say this as a really big fan of Bruce Cordell's much more subtle approach to such things in 2e. The approach has colored some of my own work (PF's Devourers for instance in 'Undead Revisited').

    I like the AD&D and PF handling of the topic much better than the 4e one, so it's a good thing in my mind that WotC seems to be dialing the Far Realms down a notch with respect to aberrations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shemeska View Post
    You can have something come from the blackest depths of the Material Plane rather than the Far Realms and be equally Lovecraftian.
    But those wouldn't be from beyond the stars, which I believe was @pemerton's jab.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Viking Bastard View Post
    But those wouldn't be from beyond the stars, which I believe was @pemerton's jab.
    Sure they would...beyond the stars like outside the galaxy or dark reaches of the solar system.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shemeska View Post
    I like the AD&D and PF handling of the topic much better than the 4e one, so it's a good thing in my mind that WotC seems to be dialing the Far Realms down a notch with respect to aberrations.
    I've had HPL influence since the first deities and demigods and my first campaign in AD&D.

    But I agree with you, WotC needs to turn it down a notch.



    /humorous besides

    It's made my abominations and shoggoths commonplace!!!! A new person who joined the campaign yawned*...yawned I tell you!!!

    *he did end up dissolving into protoplasm, so I gues it was fair....
    "If you die first, we're splitting up your gear" - SkidAce
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    I remember some article or discussion tying mind flayers and aboleths together as different evolutions of the same species, which I really digged.

    This could possibly involve time travel that propelled the aboleths back in time as creation was at an end or have them be different evolutionary off-shoots with different ways of adapting (some stayed in the ocean, others ventured on land).

    Beholders are iconic but lack origin in my opinion (not a definite one required, just some ideas on where they came from).

    Regardless if you use the Far Realm or not, some more unifying factors would be nice. It's a good start anyway.
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