The n’gathau are a sadistic and cruel race of extraplanar creatures that journey the planes in search of living flesh to further their craft and trade. While demons and devils fight an everlasting war for souls, the n’gathau collect the flesh of their enemies, flay and destroy it, and reconstruct the tortured in blasphemous likenesses of their former selves. Additionally, they sometimes capture the essence of a slain outsider and bring it to their native plane where it remains in eternal torture. Most horrifying of all, the n’gathau were once humanoids themselves: taken by beings known as the Twelve and transformed via disfiguring tortures. Living creatures are the n’gathau’s desire, for the dead serve no purpose; that is, the n’gathau cannot enjoy the suffering of one that cannot scream. The average n’gathau is a walking collection of bizarre tortures, piercings, chains, flayed skin, and hooks. No two n’gathau are identical in their suffering; the pain endured by each is unique. Each n’gathau is created through a highly complex and carefully guarded method that the n’gathau themselves do not remember. What is known is that the method consists of the most excruciating and horrible tortures a creature can imagine. A n’gathau remembers nothing of its previous life once the transformation is complete. Only the most powerful, most evil of mortals ever catch the attention of the n’gathau. Such mortals are captured, brought to the Plane of Agony, and given over to the skills and scalpels of Veruard (see below).
The n’gathau are not demons, nor devils, nor are they fallen celestials. Although they hail from a plane aligned with evil forces they are not associated with Hell or the Abyss. The Plane of Agony is a neutral ground, as it were, to which chosen humanoids are taken and slain outsiders are sent to be tortured for their misgivings and failures (as well as for the pleasure of the n’gathau and the Twelve). Chosen humanoids are tortured and reconfigured into a more “pleasing” form. Slain outsiders are tortured for eternity. The bitter irony for the demons and devils is that their torturers and jailors were once mortals who now gain pleasure from their suffering. The n’gathau follow a chain of command, not as rigid as devils, and definitely not as undefined and chaotic as the Abyssal races. Twelve “overseers” watch over and control the lesser n’gathau (those created with this template), while the strongest and most powerful of the n’gathau, the Quorum, rules all.
The n’gathau engage in a bizarre trade with other extraplanar races. In exchange for living creatures, the n’gathau offer reliquaries that contain the power that mortal pain and suffering offers. These reliquaries are most often used as spell components, used to craft constructs, or used in the creation of magic items. When a living creature is tortured and mutilated, its screams and suffering are captured by machines of alien construction and fabricated into small reliquaries. These items are in turn traded to those who offer the n’gathau what they desire in return—flesh.
N’gathau are monstrously sadistic, and engage in the torture of captive beings for the simple pleasure of it. Any creature subjected to torture by a n’gathau suffers 1d2 points of Constitution damage per day. A n’gathau will not let its plaything die as a result of the torture. When the captive’s Constitution drops to 1 the n’gathau grants it a reprieve from the torture until it is back to full health.
“N’gathau” is an acquired template that can be added to any humanoid or monstrous humanoid of Small to Large size with at least 6 HD (hereafter referred to as the “base creature”). It uses all the base character’s special abilities and statistics, except as noted below.
Challenge Rating: Same as the base creature +3.
Alignment: Always neutral evil.
Senses: A n’gathau gains darkvision 60 ft.
Armor Class: Natural armor improves by +4. This stacks with any existing natural armor bonus the base creature has. This natural armor bonus may be increased or decreased by the n’gathau’s mutilations.
Hit Dice: Change all racial Hit Dice to d10s. Class Hit Dice are unaffected. They are engineered to have maximum hit points for their Hit Dice.
Defensive Abilities: A n’gathau gains DR 10/magic. They are immune to poison and acid and have resistance fire 5 and cold 5. They have spell resistance equal to their CR +11.
Attacks: A n’gathau retains all the attacks and damage ratings of the base creature, and also gains a slam attacks if it didn’t already have one. Damage for the slam depends upon the n’gathau’s size (see natural attacks). If it already had a slam attack, it retains its old damage if it is greater. A n’gathau’s natural attacks are considered to be evil and magic for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.
Special Attacks: A n’gathau retains all the special attacks of the base creature and gains the following. Saves have a DC of 10 + 1/2 the n’gathau’s HD + the n’gathau’s Charisma modifier unless noted otherwise.
Cruelty’s Bliss (Su): N’gathau relish in the suffering of others. When a n’gathau scores a successful critical hit against an opponent (with a weapon attack or a natural attack), it gains a +2 competence bonus to attack rolls, checks, and saves against that opponent for the remainder of the encounter. This bonus can only be gained once per combat against a particular opponent.
Delicious Agony (Su): By making a successful grapple check against an opponent up to one size larger than itself, a n’gathau can claw or cut away a small portion of an opponent’s flesh (using claws or a light piercing or slashing weapon) and devour it. This attack deals 1d2 points of Constitution drain to the opponent. A n’gathau heals 5 points of damage each time it drains Constitution points (regardless of the number of points drained). A creature without flesh (such as an ooze, skeleton, etc.) is immune to this effect. A n’gathau without usable arms or hands does not gain this ability. A n’gathau that has no mouth or whose mouth has been rendered unusable can still benefit from this ability as their sense of touch is heightened to a level far beyond mortal comprehension.
Exquisite Suffering (Su): As a melee touch attack, a n’gathau allows a creature to share in the sensations of its agony, thus overloading the senses of the opponent. The opponent must make a successful Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 the n’gathau’s HD + the n’gathau’s Con modifier) or be stunned for 1 round. Creatures with more HD than the n’gathau are immune to this effect. This is a mind-affecting attack and whether the save is successful or not, the creature is immune to the exquisite suffering attack of that n’gathau for one day.
Horrifying Appearance (Su): The sight of a n’gathau is so disturbing that any creature with fewer Hit Dice than the n’gathau and Intelligence 3 or higher seeing it must make a successful Will save or be shaken for 1d6 rounds. Creatures with more HD than the n’gathau are immune to this effect. On a successful save, the opponent is immune to the horrifying appearance of that n’gathau for one day.
Special Qualities: A n’gathau retains all the special qualities of the base creature and gains the following.
Limited Immortality (Ex): When a n’gathau is slain its form is taken before the Twelve, who decide whether the slain creature is condemned to an eternity of torture and suffering or whether the creature is reconfigured. A reconfigured creature remembers nothing of its previous existence and for all intents and purposes is an entirely new creature. All existing mutilations are removed and new ones are added (determined randomly or by DM choice).
Mutilations (Ex): All n’gathau have 1d4+1 mutilations (or more), determined by DM choice or by rolling on Table: Body Part and Random Mutilations below.
Feats: N’gathaus gain Improved Critical (slam attack or another natural attack, or with a weapon), Iron Will, Toughness, and Weapon Focus (slam attack or another natural attack, or with a weapon) as bonus feats.
Organization: Solitary or sect (2-5).
N’gathau Characters:N’gathau are always neutral evil, which causes characters of certain classes to lose their class abilities (such as paladins). In addition, certain classes suffer additional penalties.
Clerics: Clerics lose their ability to turn undead but gain the ability to rebuke undead. They also lose access to their current domains (unless their domains are one of the following listed here). N’gathau clerics all worship the Quorum and have access to the Death, Destruction, Evil, and Knowledge domains.
Sorcerers and Wizards: These characters retain their class abilities, but if a character has a familiar, the link between them is broken, and the familiar shuns its former companion. The character cannot summon another familiar.
|4-5||Chest or Back|
|6||Abdomen or Back|
|7||Upper Arm (roll 1d6; odd = left, even = right)|
|8||Lower Arm (roll 1d6; odd = left, even = right)|
|9||Hand (roll 1d6; odd = left, even = right)|
|10||Upper Leg (roll 1d6; odd = left, even = right)|
|11||Lower Leg (roll 1d6; odd = left, even = right)|
|12||Foot (roll 1d6; odd = left, even = right)|
To randomly determine the mutilations of a particular n’gathau, first roll 1d3+3 to see how many mutilations the n’gathau has. Next roll 1d12 on Table: Body Part to determine the affected body part for each mutilation. Finally, determine the effects of each mutilation using the mutilations below. Some mutilations have side effects (bonuses or penalties to skills, ability scores, saves, or special attacks or qualities); any side effects are given with the description of the mutilation.
Random Mutilations: Roll 1d20 for each mutilation determined above and apply the effects as detailed below.
1: Attachment: The body part has some sort of gear attached to it via hooks, pins, or barbs. Examples include chains, pouches, jewelry, bones, or any other small object that can dangle from hooks. There is a 50% chance the attachment is actually a weapon either grafted to or embedded in the flesh. Weapons are always of the slashing or piercing type such as daggers, knives, scythes, etc.
2: Degloving: The body part has been completely skinned, revealing muscle, bone, and sinew. If the degloving is to the torso, the n’gathau’s natural armor bonus is reduced by –1.
3: Dislocation/Disjointed: The body part is horribly dislocated and has been braced and bolted into an unusual configuration. This dislocation results in a –2 to Strength and a +2 to Dexterity. These modifiers can only be gained once.
4: Electrification: The body part is encased in a latticework of metal bars and wires that constantly crackle with electricity, causing the entire body to twitch. The electrical charge deals an extra 1d2 points of electricity damage with slam attacks and attacks with metal melee weapons. If around the head it grants immunity to electricity and deals 1d2 points of electricity damage per round to anyone grappling the n’gathau.
5: Extension: The body part has been fully disarticulated and artificially extended with metal plates and rods. The extension is not enough to increase the n’gathau’s reach, but it provides a +1 bonus to melee attacks from that limb (where applicable).
6: Flaying, Major: The body part has been flayed open down to the bone, and the incision is held open with hooks, metal staples, or brackets. If the affected body part is the head, roll 1d6; on a roll of 1, the top of the head has been removed and the brain is fully exposed. The exposure results in a –1 penalty to natural armor bonus. An exposed brain also results in a –2 penalty to Intelligence. The save DC to resist the n’gathau’s horrifying appearance is increased by +2 (maximum of +4 from multiple uses of this mutilation).
7: Flaying, Minor: The body part has had several small square sections of flesh cut away or flayed open. A minor flaying to the head is a trepanation, which exposes a small portion of the brain. Trepanation provides a +2 bonus to Intelligence or Wisdom (DM choice).
8: Metal Plate: A metal plate has been crudely bolted, stapled, or in some way attached to the body part. The plates provide a +1 natural armor bonus.
9-10: Piercing, Single: The body part has a single metal spike, hook, ring, screw, or other object fully embedded in it or driven through it. A piercing to an arm, hand, foot, or leg provides a +1 bonus to damage using natural attacks with that limb (where applicable).
11-12: Piercing, Multiple: The body part is lined and pierced with several small metal spikes, hooks, rings, screws, or other objects. Hooks, spikes, nails, and other such devices can be used to automatically deal 1d2 points of piercing or slashing damage each round to grappled foes.
13: Prosthetic: The body part has some sort of prosthetic or mechanical replacement. On a roll of 1-4 on 1d6, a prosthetic hand or arm is a bladed weapon of some kind that deals slashing or piercing damage one size category larger (for just a hand) or two size categories larger (for an entire arm). If the body part is a leg or foot, a metallic device that roughly duplicates the function of that limb has replaced it. A prosthetic on the chest, abdomen, head, or neck is a strange device of unknown function.
14-15: Stitching: The entire body part is covered in random surgical-looking stitches of either metal or cloth. If the stitching is on the face, roll 1d6; on a roll of 1 the eyes have been sewn shut, and on a roll of 2 the mouth has been sewn shut. Otherwise, the stitching is in a random pattern across the face. If the eyes have been sewn shut, the creature is effectively blind, but has been imbued with blindsight to a range of 60 feet. If the mouth has been sewn shut, the n’gathau is effectively mute and cannot speak. If the stitching is to the torso, the n’gathau’s natural armor bonus is increased by +1.
16: Tubes: The body part has 1d3 tubes embedded in it, each leading to another body part (determine randomly on Table: Body Part). Flowing through each tube is a sickeningly colored liquid of unknown origin. These feeding tubes provide a +2 inherent bonus to Constitution. The bonus to Constitution can only be gained once.
17: Utter Mutilation: The body part has been totally mutilated and carved beyond recognition. It has been subjected to nearly every mutilation on this table, and some that aren’t. The save DC for the n’gathau’s horrifying appearance is increased by +2. If the mutilation is to the torso, the n’gathau’s natural armor bonus is increased by +1 as well.
18: Wire Wrapping: The body part is wrapped tightly in a fine wire or wire mesh that digs into the flesh.
19: Searing: The body part is completely burned almost beyond the point of recognition. If the searing is to the torso, increase the n’gathau’s natural armor bonus by +1. The n’gathau also increases its fire resistance by +5. The bonus to fire resistance can only be gained once from this mutilation.
20: Carving/Scarification/Branding: The body part has a unique pattern of strange and elaborate symbols cut into the flesh or the flesh has been burned and branded. The base character’s natural armor bonus increases by +2 if this mutilation is to the torso.
Rulers of the Plane of Agony
The n’gathau are ruled by an enigmatic sect of frighteningly powerful demigod-like beings called the Twelve. Very little is known about them except for their names and appearances; their history and true origins are locked away in the minds of the Twelve themselves and the catacomb of vaults lining the Plane of Agony. Though reclusive and secretive, it is known (supposedly by one who has seen the Plane of Agony and lived to tell about it) that the Twelve, as mighty as they are, are but servitors of a greater being called the Quorum. Below is listed all known information about the beings known as the Twelve.here as a sample if you wish to use one or more members of the Twelve as a direct adversary in your campaign. Keep in mind that Aagash is probably the least powerful of the Twelve, and feel free to adjust the power level of Aagash to meet the needs of your campaign.
N’gathau from the Tome of Horrors Complete, Copyright 2011, Necromancer Games, Inc., published and distributed by Frog God Games; Authors Scott Greene, Erica Balsley, and Casey Christofferson.