Beholder
Beholder
pic_beholder.jpg
Biological information
Type Aberration
Size Large
Intelligence Sentient
Life span -
Sociological information
Planet of origin -
Achieved warp -
First contact -

Beholders resemble floating orbs of flesh with a large mouth, single central eye, and lots of smaller eyestalks on top with deadly magical powers.

Beholders are common antagonists, like the deadly neogi and sadistic illithid. However, one thing prevents them from being the most dangerous faction in wildspace: the beholders are engaged in a xenophobic civil war of genetic purity.

There are a large number of variations in the beholder race with some sub-races having smooth hides and others chitinous plates. Other noticeable differences include snakelike eyestalks or crustacean-like eyestalk joints. Some variations seem minor such as variations in the size of the central eye or differences in skin color. Each beholder nation believes itself to be the true beholder race and sees other beholders as ugly copies that must be destroyed.

Beholders use a large number of different ship designs. Some of these ships feature a piercing ram but others have no weaponry. All beholder ships allow a circuit of beholders to focus their eye stalks into a 400 yard beam of magical energy. These ships are powered and navigated by the orbus (plural "orbii") race of beholders, who are stunted, albino, and very weak in combat. Hive mothers are even rarer than elder orbs. Although their name implies a feminine gender, these beholders are as gender-neutral as typical members of their species. Their name stems more from the fact that they have the ability to magically dominate other beholders.

Beholders may have been created by the Daelkyr but have since rebelled.

Hiveships? Or maybe just fold space like Dune Navigators.

Massive tyrant ships.

Description


The beholder is the stuff of nightmares. This creature, also called the sphere of many eyes or the eye tyrant, appears as a large orb dominated by a central eye and a large toothy maw, has 10 smaller eyes on stalks sprouting from the top of the orb. Among adventurers, beholders are known as deadly adversaries.

Equally deadly are a number of variant creatures known collectively as beholder-kin, including radical and related creatures, and an undead variety. These creatures are related in manners familial and arcane to the traditional beholders, and share a number of features, including the deadly magical nature of their eyes. The most extreme of these creatures are called beholder abominations.

The globular body of the beholder and its kin is supported by levitation, allowing it to float slowly about as it wills.

Beholders and beholder-kin are usually solitary creatures, but there are reports of large communities of them surviving deep beneath the earth and in the void between the stars, under the dominion of hive mothers.

All beholders speak their own language, which is also understood by all beholder-kin. In addition, they often speak the tongues of other lawful evil creatures.

Habitat/Society


The beholders are a hateful, aggressive and avaricious race, attacking or dominating other races, including other beholders and many of the beholder-kin. This is because of a xenophobic intolerance among beholders that causes them to hate all creatures not like themselves. The basic, beholder body-type (a sphere with a mouth and a central eye, eye-tipped tentacles) allows for a great variety of beholder subspecies. Some have obvious differences, there are those covered with overlapping chitin plates, and those with smooth hides, or snake-like eye tentacles, and some with crustacean-like joints. But something as small as a change in hide color or size of the central eye can make two groups of beholders sworn enemies. Every beholder declares its own unique body-form to be the true ideal of beholderhood, the others being nothing but ugly copies, fit only to be eliminated.

Beholders will normally attack immediately. If confronted with a particular party there is a 50% chance they will listen to negotiations (bribery) before raining death upon their foes.

Ecology


The exact reproductive process of the beholder is unknown. The core racial hatred of the beholders may derive from the nature of their reproduction, which seems to produce identical (or nearly so) individuals with only slight margin for variation. Beholders may use parthenogenic reproduction to duplicate themselves, and give birth live (no beholder eggs have been found). Beholders may also (rarely) mate with types of beholder-kin.


The mind of a beholder is powerful and versatile
enough that it can envision literally any possibility, and
it prepares accordingly, making it virtually impossible
for any invaders to catch it unawares. This way of thinking
could be interpreted as a form of paranoia- and
if so, it would be the most extreme form imaginable.
While a human tyrant might be rightfully paranoid
about unperceived threats, a beholder is paranoid even
though it perceives everything, because that attitude is
the natural companion to eternal vigilance.

Beholders are among the few creatures that can shape
reality in their vicinity. In addition, beholders don't
truly sleep when they rest. Instead, a beholder's mind
remains semiconscious even as it dreams. As a result,
on rare occasions when a beholder dreams of another
beholder, the dream-reality becomes warped and takes
on physical form, becoming another actual beholder.
To call this process reproduction would be inaccurate,
because in most cases the old and new beholders fight
to the death- a fact for which the rest of the world
is thankful.

A beholder believes it is superior to all other entities.
Unintelligent foes are regarded as food or pets. An intelligent
creature is seen as food or a potential minion.
A beholder's true rivals are other beholders, for only
another beholder has the intellect, power, and magic to
threaten another of its kind.
Most of a beholder's mental activity is devoted to
unearthing plots against itself (real or imaginary), planning
attacks against known rivals, and preparing its
defenses against all possible threats. It considers itself
the center of the world, in a narcissistic way; of course
the clan of duergar moving into its territory is because a
rival is trying to oust it, of course the gang of adventurers
in its lair were sent to kill it by a cowardly rival, and
so on, because it is the perfect example of beholderness
and all other creatures are jealous.
A beholder's arrogance is a prominent aspect of its
personality. Although it isn't inclined to brag of its superiority,
especially in combat, it is dismissive of its
opponents' efforts and insulting of their abilities and
failures. An exceptional challenger can earn a measure
of respect- enough that the beholder might be merciful
and pacify the creature with a charm ray or a sleep ray
instead of killing it outright. Of course, this mercy has
a purpose; the defeated opponent is interrogated, subjugated,
and offered a role in the beholder's retinue once
its will is broken. A beholder might consider a group
of skilled adventurers to be a valuable prize and use
its abilities to capture them all for this purpose, giving
them the opportunity to serve as guards, spies, or assassins
against a rival. Refusal means, at best, servitude as
a charmed minion, and at worst, disintegration.

The lair of a beholder is a reflection of the creature's
mind-set- designed to anticipate, and thwart, any plan
that would-be invaders might devise. Each of its chambers
is isolated, accessible from only one or two other
areas, giving the beholder control over the route that enemies
must take to reach the sanctum where the owner
of the place lies in wait.
A beholder usually creates its lair in an area of natural
caves, shaping the chambers with its disintegration ray.
Most of the entryways and passages that it fashions to
connect one chamber with another are too narrow to
admit creatures larger than itself (particularly in the
innermost chambers). If any large openings between
adjacent caves exist naturally, the beholder constricts or
seals off such openings, either by employing slave labor
or by collapsing the tunnel itself.
Regardless of its overall configuration, every beholder's
lair is oriented to take full advantage of the creature's
flight ability. Adjoining chambers are connected
by vertical or steeply sloped tunnels that the beholder
carves out of the surrounding stone, each passage
barely large enough to admit the beholder's body. Enemies
that are too big to traverse these smooth-walled
tunnels will find it difficult to move deep into the lair
and virtually impossible to confront the beholder in
its sanctum.
Minions and other creatures under a beholder's control
generally have their own living spaces in the lair.
Because a beholder's minions are typically not able to
fly, many of these chambers are connected to others by
staircases or gently sloping ramps in addition to the tunnels,
so the beholder can easily move its minions around
as the need arises.

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