Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wednesday Werk: Quindra, Hallimox

In this week's Wednesday Werk, we'll look at the Quindra and the Hallimox.

The Quindra are an ancient race of crystalline beings.  When I say ancient, I mean ancient; we're talking aeons, epochs, and contacting the Hounds of Tindalos ancient.  Any given Quindra is probably millions of years old, at least.  This extreme age is complicated further by the Gordian Knot of space-time the Quindra inhabit: each one is actually a collective soul comprising five individuals, and all five are probably plane-hopping across planar boundaries.

This extreme age and alien intellect means that the Quindra effectively operate outside the morality of the sapient races or even the gods themselves; some half-mad sorcerer attempting to contact one for forbidden knowledge might be ignored, aided, or liquified from the inside-out without rhyme or reason (for that matter, the sorcerer might get that treatment from different facets of the same Quindra).

Sane magic-users avoid these creatures, but then again, sanity among magic-users is a very mutable quality.

There is a lot of variety among Quindra, and some of them are near-godlike.  Regardless, there are a few common qualities among them:

  • They hold the knowledge of all they have encountered in their multi-dimensional facets.
  • They even retain the sounds they have heard, and they can replay these sounds at will, even stringing them together in the speech and language of sapient races.
  • In addition to unearthly sounds, they can also emit light and energy they have captured, typically as a defensive/offensive maneuver.
  • Their multi-planar nature allows them a type of clairvoyance, allowing them to detect magic and see the invisible.
  • Additionally, some specimens can use spells they have encountered, replicating the arcane harmonic frequencies they originally perceived.
A tale from the archives of the University for the Study of the Arcane Arts and Sciences in Duchy Jepson suggests a group of Vecna cultists once attempted to capture a Quindra to extract every secret retained in its crystalline matrix.  The lone survivor succeeded, after a fashion, but touching the alien intellect of the Quindra drove him completely catatonic, and any telepathic contact with his mind was noted as being "inimical to the health and sanity of the telepath."  Some of the magi theorize that Quindra may reproduce memetically, and that this shift marked the beginning of the cultist's transformation into a new Quindra, but no one knows for certain.

The following Quindra is suggestive of a typical specimen.  This one bears no spells, either being young or simply not using them in combat.  This creature will typically open combat with Song of Control, using Flash when two or three attackers are within range.  It will frequently spend an Action Point to use Shardswarm immediately after Flash, particularly if it seeks to flee rather than fight.  It then attacks with Song of Control if available and Song of Confusion if it is not.

The Hallimox are another race of planar travelers, although rather than the typical knowledge-seekers found amongst the planeswalkers, the Hallimox are death-cultists.  They have a particular interest in the varied funerary rites of the various sapients throughout the planes, focusing predominantly on mummification rites.  Many travelers have reported seeing them in the Shadowfell (for you classic cosmologists, the Shadowfell combines aspects of the Negative Energy Plane and the Plane of Shadow, among others; as an example, the so-called Demiplane of Dread exists in the Shadowfell), although they have been found in the lands of the living, as well.

The Hallimox are noted for their psychic ability to conjure necrotic balls of violet flame, as well as their relationship with the strange living darts they carry; these creatures are bred by the Hallimox as living weapons, and they use a rudimentary telekinesis to find their targets.  A given Hallimox probably only has three or so (the DM can roll 1d6 to see how many darts a Hallimox has), but they return to their owner after attacking.  Enterprising adventurers may attempt to grab these creatures by spending three minor actions (which must be used in the same round, effectively depriving the character of a turn as it tries to grab the fast-moving dart) and rolling a DC 25 Athletics check; a grabbed living dart goes inert immediately.  If the Hallimox loses all darts, it can no longer make a Living Dart attack.

Living darts captured by adventurers typically go inert (the darts' symbiosis apparently only responds to the Hallimox), but there's always some friend-of-a-friend story suggesting that some magus or alchemist has devised a way to keep them active for future use.

The following Hallimox represents the profile suggested above.  Rumor has it that some specimens actually spread a wasting disease with their fireballs (DMs wanting to replicate this should make PCs make a saving throw at the end of combat; failure indicates that the character contracts a Level 9 disease similar to Mummy Rot).

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