Posts Tagged ‘mind-control’

Author’s Note: The updated version of the monster below can now be found at the Free Game Resources page of World Builder Blog. Thank you for all your feedback and please keep it coming!

Is there anything more terrifying than the idea that another could take over your mind and control your every action while you remain a prisoner inside of your own body? Other than tarantulas, I’m not sure there is.

Exploration Age has their very own mind-dominating bugs, the mystauk. If you missed my first and second posts on these baddies, check them out! These bugs fly into your head through your ear holes and attach to a host’s brain, controlling the host’s every movement. As my good friend Rudy Basso pointed out, mystauk are a lot like Yeerks from Animorphs.

Monster October continues on World Builder Blog as I bring my Exploration Age denizens up to speed. We’ve already seen The Lingering Havoc, the blazing wraith, the icebreaker shark, the gaping maw, and the sand kraken. Now, let’s take a closer look at the updated mystauk!

Harmless On Your Outside

I’m gonna get ya!

When mystauk are hostless, they are just small, green bugs with the following statistics.

Mystauk

Tiny beast, unaligned


Armor Class 13

Hit Points  1 (1d4 – 1)

Speed  10 ft., fly 40 ft.


STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
2 (-4) 16 (+3) 8 (-1) 1 (-5) 8 (-1) 2 (-4)

Skills Stealth +5

Senses darkvision 30 ft., passive Perception 9

Languages –

Challenge 0 (10 XP)


Natural Camouflage. The mystauk has advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks when hiding in an area obscured by foliage.

Actions

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 1 piercing damage.

Mystauk Domination. The mystauk chooses a humanoid creature within five feet and attempts to fly into its ear. That creature must make a DC 13 Dexterity saving throw or become dominated by the mystauk. While dominated the now intelligent mystauk controls all of the humanoid’s actions. The mystauk can communicate with the humanoid and can read its mind and see all of its memories. The humanoid acquires the mystauk-inhabited template while the mystauk dominates it.

The mystauk can choose to end the domination at anytime. If the humanoid dies or a feeblemind spell is successfully cast against the mystauk-inhabited humanoid, the effects of Mystauk Domination end and the mystauk appears adjacent to the host at the start of its next turn.

As you can see, they are pretty harmless for the most part. When mystauk have no host, they must rely on stealth to get the job done. If they managed to take over the mind of a host, that’s when their true power emerges.

Mystauk-Inhabited Template

A mystauk-inhabited host uses the host creature’s base statistics and makes the following adjustments.

  • All of the host creature’s ability scores are raised to 19. If the host creature has ability scores higher than 19, those ability scores stays the same.
  • The mystauk-inhabited creature gains and is proficient with a slam weapon attack. The slam which is a light, finesse weapon which deals 1d6 bludgeoning damage.
  • The creature’s alignment changes to neutral evil
  • The mystauk-inhabited creature learns one cantrip from the wizard spell list it can cast at-will without expending any material components. The mystauk-inhabited creature uses its Intelligence modifier as its magic ability modifier for these spells and adds its proficiency modifier to any attack rolls and spell save DCs associated with the cantrip.
  • The mystauk-inhabited creature gains proficiency in the Deception skill.
  • The host gains the Mystauk Communication and Mystuak Deception abilities.
Mystauk-Inhabited Abilities
  • Mystauk Communication. A mystauk-inhabited creature can sense and communicate telepathically with any other mystauk-inhabitied creature within 30 feet.
  • Mystauk Deception. With access to the host creature’s memories a mystauk-inhabited creature has advantage on Charisma (Deception) checks made to convince others the host is not mystauk-inhabited.

Sample Mystauk

I decided to put together a few sample mystauk-inhabited creatures, using some of the NPCs in the Basic D&D rules and Monster Manual as guidelines for how to apply the template.

Mystauk-Inhabited Acolyte

Medium humanoid (any race), neutral evil


Armor Class 14

Hit Points  17 (2d8 + 8)

Speed  30 ft.


STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4)

Skills Deception +6, Medicine +6, Religion +6

Senses passive Perception 14

Languages any one language (usually Common)

Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)


Mystauk Communication. The mystauk-inhabited acolyte can sense and communicate telepathically with any other mystauk-inhabitied creature within 30 feet.

Mystauk Deception. The mystauk-inhabited acolyte has advantage on Charisma (Deception) checks made to convince others the acolyte is not mystauk-inhabited.

Mystauk Spell. The mytauk-inhabited acolyte can cast minor illusion at-will. It’s spell casting ability is Intelligence for this spell (spell save DC 14).

Spellcasitng. The mytauk-inhabited acolyte is a 1st-level spellcaster. Its spell casting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 14, +6 to hit with spell attacks). The mystauk-inhabited acolyte has the following cleric spells prepared:

Cantrips (at-will): light, sacred flame, thaumaturgy

1st level (3 slots): bless, cure wounds, sanctuary

Actions

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage.

Mystauk-Inhabited Bandit

Medium humanoid (any race), neutral evil


Armor Class 15 (leather armor)

Hit Points  17 (2d8 + 8)

Speed  30 ft.


STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4)

Skills Deception +6

Senses passive Perception 14

Languages any one language (usually Common)

Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)


Mystauk Communication. The mystauk-inhabited bandit can sense and communicate telepathically with any other mystauk-inhabitied creature within 30 feet.

Mystauk Deception. The mystauk-inhabited bandit has advantage on Charisma (Deception) checks made to convince others the bandit is not mystauk-inhabited.

Mystauk Spell. The mytauk-inhabited bandit can cast ray of frost at-will. Its spell casting ability is Intelligence for this spell (+6 to hit).

Actions

Scimitar. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) slashing damage.

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage.

Light Crossbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 80 ft./ 320 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d8 + 4) piercing damage.

Mystauk-Inhabited Berserker

Medium humanoid (any race), neutral evil


Armor Class 15 (leather armor)

Hit Points  76 (9d8 + 36)

Speed  30 ft.


STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4)

Skills Deception +6

Senses passive Perception 14

Languages any one language (usually Common)

Challenge 3 (700 XP)


Mystauk Communication. The mystauk-inhabited berserker can sense and communicate telepathically with any other mystauk-inhabitied creature within 30 feet.

Mystauk Deception. The mystauk-inhabited berserker has advantage on Charisma (Deception) checks made to convince others the berserker is not mystauk-inhabited.

Mystauk Spell. The mytauk-inhabited berserker can cast blade ward at-will. Its spell casting ability is Intelligence for this spell.

Reckless. At the start of its turn, the mystauk-inhabited berserker can gain advantage on all melee weapon attack rolls during that turn, but attack rolls against it have advantage until the start of its next turn.

Actions

Greataxe. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (1d12 + 4) slashing damage.

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage.

Mystauk-Inhabited Commoner

Medium humanoid (any race), neutral evil


Armor Class 14

Hit Points  8 (1d8 + 4)

Speed  30 ft.


STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4)

Skills Deception +6

Senses passive Perception 14

Languages any one language (usually Common)

Challenge 1/4 (50 XP)


Mystauk Communication. The mystauk-inhabited commoner can sense and communicate telepathically with any other mystauk-inhabitied creature within 30 feet.

Mystauk Deception. The mystauk-inhabited commoner has advantage on Charisma (Deception) checks made to convince others the commoner is not mystauk-inhabited.

Mystauk Spell. The mytauk-inhabited commoner can cast acid splash at-will. Its spell casting ability is Intelligence for this spell (spell save DC 14).

Actions

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage.

Mystauk-Inhabited Cultist

Medium humanoid (any race), neutral evil


Armor Class 15 (leather armor)

Hit Points  17 (2d8 + 8)

Speed  30 ft.


STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4)

Skills Deception +6

Senses passive Perception 14

Languages any one language (usually Common)

Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)


Mystauk Communication. The mystauk-inhabited cultist can sense and communicate telepathically with any other mystauk-inhabitied creature within 30 feet.

Mystauk Deception. The mystauk-inhabited cultist has advantage on Charisma (Deception) checks made to convince others the cultist is not mystauk-inhabited.

Mystauk Spell. The mytauk-inhabited cultist can cast poison spray at-will. Its spell casting ability is Intelligence for this spell (spell save DC 14).

Actions

Scimitar. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) slashing damage.

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage.

Mystauk-Inhabited Guard

Medium humanoid (any race), neutral evil


Armor Class 17 (chain shirt, shield)

Hit Points  17 (2d8 + 8)

Speed  30 ft.


STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4)

Skills Deception +6, Perception +6

Senses passive Perception 16

Languages any one language (usually Common)

Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)


Mystauk Communication. The mystauk-inhabited guard can sense and communicate telepathically with any other mystauk-inhabitied creature within 30 feet.

Mystauk Deception. The mystauk-inhabited guard has advantage on Charisma (Deception) checks made to convince others the guard is not mystauk-inhabited.

Mystauk Spell. The mytauk-inhabited guard can cast friends at-will. Its spell casting ability is Intelligence for this spell.

Actions

Spear. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) piercing damage.

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage.

Mystauk-Inhabited Knight

Medium humanoid (any race), neutral evil


Armor Class 18 (plate)

Hit Points  68 (8d8 + 32)

Speed  30 ft.


STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4)

Saving Throws Con +6, Wis +6

Skills Deception +6

Senses passive Perception 14

Languages any one language (usually Common)

Challenge 4 (1, 100 XP)


Brave. The knight has advantage on saving throws against being frightened.

Mystauk Communication. The mystauk-inhabited knight can sense and communicate telepathically with any other mystauk-inhabitied creature within 30 feet.

Mystauk Deception. The mystauk-inhabited knight has advantage on Charisma (Deception) checks made to convince others the knight is not mystauk-inhabited.

Mystauk Spell. The mytauk-inhabited knight can cast fire bolt at-will. Its spell casting ability is Intelligence for this spell (+6 to hit).

Actions

Multiattack. The mystauk-inhabited knight makes two melee attacks.

Greatsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) slashing damage.

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage.

Heavy Crossbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 100/400 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d10 + 4) piercing damage.

Leadership (Recharges after a Short of Long Rest). For 1 minute, the mystauk-inhabited knight can utter a special command or warning whenever a nonhostile creature that it can see within 30 feet of it makes an attack roll or a saving throw. The creature can add a d4 to its roll provided it can hear and understand the knight. A creature can benefit from only one Leadership die at a time. The effect ends if the mystauk-inhabited knight is incapacitated.

Reactions

Parry. The knight adds 2 to its AC against one melee attack that would hit it. To do so, the knight must see the attacker and be wielding a melee weapon.

Mystauk-Inhabited Mage

Medium humanoid (any race), neutral evil


Armor Class 14 (17 with mage armor)

Hit Points  76 (9d8 + 36)

Speed  30 ft.


STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4)

Saving Throws Int +7, Wis +7

Skills Arcana +7, Deception +7, History +7

Senses passive Perception 14

Languages any four languages

Challenge 7 (2,900 XP)


Mystauk Communication. The mystauk-inhabited mage can sense and communicate telepathically with any other mystauk-inhabitied creature within 30 feet.

Mystauk Deception. The mystauk-inhabited mage has advantage on Charisma (Deception) checks made to convince others the mage is not mystauk-inhabited.

Mystauk Spell. The mytauk-inhabited mage can cast poison spray at-will. It’s spell casting ability is Intelligence for this spell (spell save DC 15).

Spellcasitng. The mytauk-inhabited mage is a 9th-level spellcaster. Its spell casting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 15, +7 to hit with spell attacks). The mystauk-inhabited mage has the following wizard spells prepared:

Cantrips (at-will): fire bolt, lightmage hand, prestidigitation

1st level (4 slots): detect magic, mage armor, magic missile, shield

2nd level (3 slots): misty step, suggestion

3rd level (3 slots): counterspell, fireball, fly

4th level (3 slots): greater invisibility, ice storm

5th level (1 slot): cone of cold

Actions

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage.

Mystauk-Inhabited Priest

Medium humanoid (any race), neutral evil


Armor Class 15 (leather armor)

Hit Points  42 (5d8 + 20)

Speed  30 ft.


STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4)

Skills Deception +6, Medicine +6, Persuasion +6, Religion +6

Senses passive Perception 14

Languages any two languages

Challenge 3 (700 XP)


Divine Eminence. As a bonus action, the mystauk-inhabited priest can expend a spell slot to cause its melee weapon attacks to magically deal an extra 10 (3d6) damage to a target on a hit. This benefit lasts until the end of the turn. If the mystauk-inhabited priest expends a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, the extra damage increases by 1d6 for each level above 1st.

Mystauk Communication. The mystauk-inhabited priest can sense and communicate telepathically with any other mystauk-inhabitied creature within 30 feet.

Mystauk Deception. The mystauk-inhabited priest has advantage on Charisma (Deception) checks made to convince others the preist is not mystauk-inhabited.

Mystauk Spell. The mytauk-inhabited priest can cast acid splash at-will. It’s spell casting ability is Intelligence for this spell (spell save DC 14).

Spellcasitng. The mytauk-inhabited priest is a 5th-level spellcaster. Its spell casting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 14, +6 to hit with spell attacks). The mystauk-inhabited priest has the following cleric spells prepared:

Cantrips (at-will): lightsacred flamethaumaturgy

1st level (4 slots): cure wounds, guiding bolt, sanctuary

2nd level (3 slots): lesser restorationspiritual weapon

3rd level (2 slots): dispel magic, spirit guardians

Actions

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage.

Mystauk-Inhabited Thug

Medium humanoid (any race), neutral evil


Armor Class 15 (leather armor)

Hit Points  42 (5d8 + 20)

Speed  30 ft.


STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4)

Skills Deception +6, Intimidation +6

Senses passive Perception 14

Languages any one language (usually Common)

Challenge 1 (200 XP)


Mystauk Communication. The mystauk-inhabited thug can sense and communicate telepathically with any other mystauk-inhabitied creature within 30 feet.

Mystauk Deception. The mystauk-inhabited thug has advantage on Charisma (Deception) checks made to convince others the thug is not mystauk-inhabited.

Mystauk Spell. The mytauk-inhabited thug can cast fire bolt at-will. Its spell casting ability is Intelligence for this spell (+6 to hit).

Pack Tactics. The mystauk-inhabited thug has advantage on an attack roll against a creature if at least one of the mystauk-inhabited thug’s allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn’t incapacitated.

Actions

Multiattack. The mystauk-inhabited knight makes two melee attacks.

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage.

Heavy Crossbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 100/400 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d10 + 4) piercing damage.

So what do you think? Do you want to use Mystauk in your game? Let me know!

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It’s RPG Blog Carnival time once again! This month’s theme – invasive species! If you’ve been following my blog you know that this is one of my most very favorite subjects. Big shout out to Garrison James over at Hereticwerks for this badass theme of amazingness!

Invasive species have spoken to us as enemies and engines of conflict for a long, long time. Aliens are the obvious example – Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Independence Day, and The War of the Worlds are good examples of little green men as invaders. Yet, the idea of invasive species goes beyond aliens. Monster movies like Godzilla and Cloverfield could be considered to have the invasive species theme. Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds clearly has it. What about microorganisms? Even Y: The Last Man could be considered a story with invasive species. Heck, we see it in our real world all the time! Kudzu in Georgia, African hippos in Colombia, and Burmese pythons in Florida are all examples of real world invasive species.

Even the tagline for Cloverfield ads played on the idea of invasive species.

Anyway, you get the idea. It’s a topic central to many great stories. If you’ve been following World Builder Blog the last few months, then you already know two of its iconic invasive species. Today I’ll be presenting you with the Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition statistics for the half-devil, half-aberrant morchia and the mind controlling, parasitic mystauk.

Morchia

Like this but with more aberrant stuff!

The morchia are known as The Sleeping Ones, since The Reckoning Spell put a majority of them literally to sleep in the Verdan Underdark. Still, some of the beasts have escaped the tiefling’s ritual. These half-aberrant, half-devil monstrosities live to punish all other sentient races who would call Canus home and claim a piece of it for themselves. They have a particular hatred for metallic dragons, whom they see as the oppressors and murderers of their parent races, and for tieflings, who use The Reckoning Spell against them.

Morchia are often hatching plots which involve the destruction of a local people or settlement. While they rarely work with native races of Canus, they will work with aberrants, devils, and weak creatures who are subservient to them. Those lesser beings who know their place will be rewarded.

Because of their aberrant heritage, every individual morchia has a distinct and unique appearance. Some have tentacles, others many stalked eyes, others have multiple, sharp-toothed maws, and so on. Some have many aberrant features, but all have at least one.

Morchia share a common set of traits given to them by their fiendish parents. All morchia have a set of horns upon their heads, clawed fingers, and a fierce, spear-tipped tail. They also inherited some of the devil’s resistances.

Morchia

Large monstrosity

Armor Class 16

Hit Points 157 (15d10 + 75)

Speed 4o ft.

Senses darkvision 100 ft.

Str 22 (+6)

Dex 17 (+3)

Con 21 (+5)

Int 18 (+4)

Wis 17 (+3)

Cha 15 (+2)

Saving Throws Dex +5, Con +7, Wis +5

Alignment lawful evil

Languages Common, Infernal, Undercommon

Traits

Damage Resistance: The morchia is resistant to cold, fire, poison, and damage from nonmagical weapons except those made of silver.

Magic Resistance: The morchia has advantage on saving throws against magical effects.

Telepathy: The morchia can communicate telepathically with any creature within 100 feet of it that can understand a language.

Actions

Multiattack: The morchia can make two claw attacks, one claw attack and one hurl flame attack, or two hurl flame attacks.

Melee Attack – Claw: +8 to hit (reach 10 ft.; one target). Hit: 14 (2d8 + 6) piercing damage.

Melee Attack – Rend: If the morchia hits one creature with two claw attacks on the same turn, it may use rend against that creature as a bonus action. +8 to hit. Hit: 22 (4d8 + 6) piercing damage.

Ranged Attack – Hurl Flame: +6 to hit (range 100 ft. one target). Hit: 21 (6d6) fire damage.

Aberrant Traits

Every morchia has at least one aberrant trait (and many have more). Roll on the chart below at least once to give the morchia a special ability. Unless otherwise specified, the GM determines the exact nature of the morchia’s physical feature. For instance, if a morchia has the four tentacles feature, these tentacles can grow from their head, back, waist, or anywhere else the GM chooses. GMs may feel free to plunder abilities from other aberrant creatures rather than use the table below.

d12 Feature Effect
1 Four Tentacles When using multiattack, the morchia may make tentacle attacks in place of a claw of hurl flame attacks. Tentacle: +8 to hit (reach 15 ft.; one target). Hit: 11 (1d10 + 6) bludgeoning damage, and the target is grappled. Until the grapple ends, the target is restrained. The morchia has four tentacles, each out which can grapple only one target.
2 Multiple stalked eyes The morchia may use its action to fire 1d4+1 eye rays. Use the beholder eye ray ability to determine the effects.
3 Constantly speaking mouths grow all over the morchia’s body, constantly speaking infernal incantations The whispers drive fear into the hearts of the morchia’s enemies. The creature gains a fear aura. Fear Aura: Any creature which starts its turn within 5 feet of the morchia must make a DC 15 Charisma saving throw. Failed Save: The creature is frightened for 1 minute. Successful Save: The creature is immune to this morchia’s fear aura 24 hours. In addition, as a bonus action the morchia may attack an adjacent creature with a bite attack. +8 to hit (reach 5 ft.; one target). Hit: 12 (1d12 + 6) piercing damage.
4 A foul smelling, purple ooze exudes from the morchia’s pores and absorbs harmful magic The morchia is immune to spells of 6th level or lower, but can choose to be effected by any spells cast upon it.
5 The morchia can float above the ground, propelled by an unnatural force. The morchia gains a fly speed of 40 ft. It cannot be knocked prone and continues to float, even when stunned or knocked unconscious.
6 The morchia’s forehead protrudes, a signal that its mental prowess is beyond that of other morchia. As an action, the morchia can use Dominate Person: The morchia chooses one target it can see within 50 feet. The target must make a DC 14 Wisdom saving throw. Failed Save: The morchia has access to all of the target’s thoughts and memories, and the target is charmed for 1 day or until the morchia or one of the morchia’s companions harms it, or until the morchia is killed. While charmed, the target must obey the morchia’s commands. The morchia can have only one creature charmed at a time. If the charmed creature takes any damage, it can make a DC 14 Wisdom saving throw to end the effect. A creature remembers being charmed by the morchia. Successful Save: The creature is immune to the morchia’s dominate person ability for 24 hours.
7 The morchia grows cat eyes upon its hands, which can emit a mental blast. The morchia emits psychic energy in a 60-foot cone. Mind Blast: Each creature in the area must make a DC 14 Intelligence saving throw. Failed Save: 22 (4d8 + 4) pyschic damage, and the target is stunned for 1 minute, but can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the stunned condition early on a successful save.
8 Purple, protruding veins Once per day, the morchia can enter a Pyschic Rage: For ten minutes, the morchia does an extra 10 damage on all melee attacks and has advantage on melee attack rolls.
9 The morchia has black claws, which are always sharp and stronger than adamantine. When the morchia successfully uses its rend attack, the target must make a DC 14 Constitution saving throw, or die instantly as its body is torn to shreds.
10 Third eye The morchia’s third eye emits an anitmagic field (as the spell) in a 150-foot cone. All spells, magic items, and magical effects within the area are suppressed – even the morchia’s own abilities (if applicable). At the start of each of its turns, a morchia decides which way the cone faces and whether the cone is active (the morchia deactivates the cone by shutting its third eye).
11 Acid drips from the morchia’s mouth. The morchia gains two new actions a bite and an acid spray. As part of its multiattack it may use its bite in place of a claw or hurl flame attack. Bite: +8 to hit (reach 5 ft.; one target). Hit: 16 (3d6 + 6) piercing damage and 7 (2d6) acid damage. Acid Spray (Recharge 5-6): The morchia can breathe acid in a 30-foot line. Each creature in the line must make a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw. Failed Save: 21 (6d6 damage) acid damage. Successful Save: Half damage.
12 The morchia has two aberrant features. Roll twice on this table.
You're gonna need these eye rays...

You’re gonna need these eye rays…

Mystauk

This guy is in your head!

Mystauk – terrifying mind-control parasites which latch onto the brain after entering the skull via the ear, nose, or mouth. Mystauk have only instinct, until the attach themselves to another mind. As host-less bugs they have a speed of 20 feet, fly speed of 30 feet, 1HP, AC 14, and a +6 bonus to Dexterity (stealth) checks. They have advantage on Dexterity (stealth) checks when hiding in dense foliage thanks to their green coloring.

When a mystauk crawls into a host’s head, the host must make a DC 20 Wisdom saving throw, or the mystauk infects the host. A successful save means the mystauk must leave the hosts head and cannot try to infect that host for another 24 hours. The mystauk has no other attacks.

When attached to a host, the game changes for the mystauk. They are able to fully access the host’s brain, making the parasite smarter, while making the host’s body faster and stronger. The mystauk fully controls the actions of the host until removed.

Historically, mystauk are only known to infect humanoids. Sages and scholars theorize that other species have brains too simple or too complex for mystauk to conquer and humanoids make the perfect host for them so they do not bother using other creatures as hosts. Others believe the mystauk have infected all manner of creatures, even dragons, the world just has not been made aware of such developments, because the mystauk are too deceptive.

A mystauk adopts the abilities and proficiencies of the host. All of the host’s ability scores become 20, as the mystauk is able to unlock the host’s brain and body’s full potential. For the same reason, the mystauk adds the host’s proficiency bonus to all saving throws. The mystauk is also proficient in the Charisma (deception) skill once it has a host as it has access to all of the host’s thoughts and memories. The mystauk can communicate with the host, but the host cannot hear the mystauk’s thoughts unless the mystauk wants it to.

A mystauk can tell when another inhabited host is in their presence and can communicate telepathically with any other awakened mystauk within 25 feet.

If a successful feeblemind spell is cast against the mystauk and host, the mystauk detaches from the host’s brain and cannot reattach itself to that host for another 24 hours. If the host dies, the mystauk detaches from the brain.

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Your lips kiss the foreheads of your children. Your hands wrap around your husband at night. You greet your neighbors every morning and your back hurts after working in the fields. But you did not choose to do any of these things. Your life is not your own. This is the horror of the mystauk.

Trapped within your own body, you watch and listen as your words persuade your wife to head deeper into the swamps, looking for sweet casgrove fruit to sell. She does not know your words will turn her into a helpless puppet just like you. This is the horror of the mystauk.

Your neighbor comes by, priest by his side. They are here to release you from your prison. They know you have been trapped for years. Your words and movements belonged to another. Suffocating, you were forced to watch your life through your own eyes lived by another. But they will release you! Until you uncontrollably reach forth, your enhanced strength allowing you to punch your fist right through the priest’s chest and out his back. Your other hand grabs your neighbor’s head and crushes his skull. This is the horror of the mystauk.

Ecology of the Mystauk

Mystauk are a type of fly-sized, green beetle living in the swamps of Verda. The insects feed on yellow-orange, citrus fruits called casgroves and live a life cycle of about a hundred years. Although they are insects, these tiny creatures reproduce at about the same rate as humans. But of all these features the most important is this – mystauk are mind-controlling parasites.

When not inside a host, a mystauk’s intelligence drops to an animal level. It relies on instinct to seek out food. Instinct also drives the creature towards the brain tissue of intelligent humanoids. By crawling through the ear, nose, or mouth a mystauk can attach to a humanoid’s brainstem and seize control of its body, memories, and mind.

Upon attachment with brain tissue, the mystauk becomes super intelligent. After this awakening, most mystauk desire nothing more than to remain in this enlightened state. The parasite will often assume the identity of the host and use this cover to awaken other mystauk. To the insects, this is the natural way of things. All parasites need a host.

While inside an individual’s body, the mystauk can often play the host perfectly by accessing memories. The only real change in the host’s behavior could be the mystauk’s insatiable desire for citrus fruit, which they often force the host to consume daily. Other behavioral changes can occur, but the mystauk is often careful about these as to not tip-off others that the host is possessed.

Another change comes from the mystauk’s ability to harness all parts of an individual’s brain – increased physical prowess. A mystauk-possessed host has almost supernatural strength and toughness.

The mystauk will sometimes leave the host’s body to mate. It will gather with other possessed hosts, who will hold down the humanoid host while the mystauk it out of the body. The mystauk will return to an uninhabited body after mating and return the favor of standing guard while the other insects mate. Often during these times, a mystauk will re-enter a body different from the one with which it came, which is fine by the insect. To have many different experiences in life is preferable to a mystauk.

When the host dies the mystauk immediately detaches from the dead brain and seeks out a new host or swampy environment instinctually. Its intelligence returns to an animal level, but if it finds a new host, it will remember all of its past experiences.

A mystauk also has a special sense. It can tell when another inhabited host is in their presence and can communicate telepathically with any other awakened mystauk within 25 feet.

The Goals of the Mystauk

Most of the parasites share a single goal once they have attached to a host – help their unenlightened brethren awaken. Mystauk may infect an entire tribe or village in this way without anyone realizing until it is too late. Though these occurrences are few and far between, the mystauk will obviously act more freely when they are with only other mystauk-inhabited hosts.

These communities of awakened mystauk are dangerous indeed. Many prefer to remain isolated, guarding their secret from outsiders and woe to the travelers who wander into these settlements. There is always a need for host bodies and always another mystauk to be awakened. If one of these settlements is discovered it often means a bloody conflict. The parasites will not give up their bodies without a fight. The biggest fear is one of these communities could overpower another and slowly add more and more awakened mystauk to their ranks, creating an army of inhabited hosts.

Individual mystauk also pursue other interests that are as varied as those of humans. These interests are often related to their now heightened intellect and creativity. The mystauk may take up artistic and academic endeavors, or travel the world looking for unique experiences. Often the mystauk is smart enough to make these behavioral changes gradually if their host had different interests before inhabitation, as to not tip off family and friends.

Discovery and History of the Mystauk

The tribes of Verda have long spoken of a strange force in the swamps that grabs one’s mind and makes one’s body into a prison cell. However the cause of this phenomena was discovered ten years ago by the first Aeranorian humans exploring the swamps of southern Verda. But first, these explorers found casgrove fruit. It’s exotic flavor made it popular overseas in Findalay and Parian for cooking, baking, juicing, wines, and raw eating.

The tribes of Verda warned the explorers to stay away, for there was a mysterious mind-controlling evil in the swamp. But the opportunity for profit was too great and the Aeranorians went deeper into the swamps to continue harvesting the fruit. One day an entire camp of farmers and their families left the swamp in pursuit of other endeavors. Aeranore, confused about the sudden halting of operations sent a team to investigate. After talking with the tribes and venturing in the swamps, this team uncovered the truth of the mystauk.

The farmers were eventually captured or put down. The prisoners were studied and Aeranore’s druids eventually discovered that a successful feeblemind spell will detach the mystauk from the brainstem of a host, drawing it out. However, the mystauk itself must still be killed and the host still suffers the ill effects of the spell, needing to be healed in the normal fashion.

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Eventually, Aeranorians created hooded, netted outfits so they could continue their profitable casgrove farming safely. Currently, Aeranore’s government will pay, house, and feed any citizen looking to make a fortune in the casgrove swamps of Verda. For many this is a ticket to the new world. Still, with so much casgrove fruit being farmed… accidents do happen, outfits do tear, and mystauk claim their hosts. And with all that casgrove fruit traveling to Findalay and Parian… who’s to say a few mystauk haven’t hitched a ride?

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcast on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!