This gaunt humanoid has pale, translucent skin and is arched backward, scuttling on its hands and feet. A mass of barbed, black tentacles extends from its exposed abdomen.
Abhominal CR 6
Speed 40 ft., climb 40 ft., swim 20 ft.
Melee barbed tentacles +11 (3d6+6 plus bleed and grab and pull)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 15 ft.
Special Attacks bleed (1d4), constrict (3d6+6 plus 1d4 Str damage), pull (barbed tentacles, 15 ft.), tear
Str 18, Dex 17, Con —, Int 7, Wis 16, Cha 17
Base Atk +6; CMB +10 (+14 grapple); CMD 23
Feats Combat Reflexes, Improved Initiative, Skill Focus (Perception), Step Up, Weapon Focus (barbed tentacles)
Skills Acrobatics +7 (+11 when jumping), Climb +16, Perception +13, Stealth +14, Swim +13
Languages Aboleth (can’t speak); telepathy 100 ft.
SQ grip, hive hunt
Barbed Tentacles (Ex)
An abhominal attacks with all of its barbed tentacles at once, grappling and raking its target.
This attack is a primary attack that deals both bludgeoning and piercing damage.
The hands and feet of an abhominal adhere to surfaces so well that its 40-foot climb speed applies even to perfectly sheer surfaces and ceilings, with no chance of the abhominal falling off unless it is actively pinned and peeled away as part of a grapple.
Hive Hunt (Su)
When an abhominal pinpoints the location of a creature, that knowledge is instantly shared with other abhominals within 100 feet.
When an abhominal attacks a creature that is already grappled by another abhominal, it can attempt to tear the creature between them with a successful pull combat maneuver check. The creature is not moved by the pull, but it takes an additional 3d6+6 points of bludgeoning and piercing damage instead.
An abhominal can communicate telepathically with other abhominals and alghollthus that are within 100 feet.
Organization solitary, pair, or cluster (3–6)
Abhominals are a result of a failed experiment in which an aboleth employed ancient technology to alter sentient humanoids. Though the test subjects died during their transformation, the strange energies involved animated them as undead horrors bound to serve their aboleth creator. These abominations share a hive mind, chattering telepathically with each other to determine a common purpose. All of them can be called into action instantly if their aboleth master issues a telepathic command, the dominating words reverberating from one connected mind to another. Abhominals hunger for the life energy of living beings, but their masters can keep their hunger in check in order to make them hunt new subjects to use in further experiments (who might end up sharing the fate of their captors).
The midsection of an abhominal rises to a height of about 2-1/2 feet, though its barbed tentacles go much higher than that. They weigh over 250 pounds.
An alghollthu that experiments with modifying sentient creatures routinely introduces a part of its awareness into the process so it can exert control over the resulting abominations. The specific transformation that resulted in the first abhominals was particularly grueling and led to many of the subjects dying. However, some subjects survived the initial process, which landed them in a holding cell for further observation. The transformation of the subjects continued within their bodies, and to date the flawed experiment has always culminated in the subjects’ death. In their final moments, they are pale and feverish, and their abdomens become bloated. Their nascent telepathy whispers dissonant echoes of the abhominal hive mind reaching out to them. Upon the moment of death, their bodies convulse, limbs snapping at weird angles, and black bile spills from their open mouths. Finally, a mass of tentacles bursts out of the subject’s abdomen, and the newborn abhominal screams out a telepathic call to others of its kind.
On the outside, abhominals are reminiscent of the living beings they once were. In addition to their tentacles and twisted postures, their insides have been transformed into something completely alien. When an abhominal is cut, its wounds ooze a brackish black liquid instead of blood. This liquid permeates their entire bodies, coloring their glistening eyes completely black. The creatures have a hardened carapace beneath their skin, allowing them to shrug off deadly blows with ease. Their hands and feet are covered in fine branching bristles that burrow into surfaces, allowing them to scramble effortlessly along even the smoothest walls and ceilings. Their tentacles are covered in microscopic barbs that inflict profuse bleeding. In addition, abhominals are able to leech vitality out of their victims with their tentacles as they tighten around the unfortunate souls.
Abhominals use their telepathic connection to coordinate their movements when hunting their prey.
Abhominals make good sentries—if one of them notices an intruder, then all of its kind within reach are telepathically notified of it as well. When the need arises, their alghollthu master can take a more direct role, commanding its abhominals to utilize more advanced tactics to combat intruders or abduct new captives.
Habitat and Society
When the number of abhominals reaches a large enough number, their nesting habits tend to fall into a particular pattern. Abhominals nest high above ground, writhing together in a clump that spreads from the ceiling downward, their tentacles entwining like a web between them. They prefer areas such as caverns or chambers with passages and openings leading to areas below, in which they tend to form a central hive that eventually expands to smaller nests located within telepathic range around it. Once the central hive is established, abhominals use hidden routes to traverse between the hive and its peripheral nests, and smaller groups of the creatures rotate between staying in a nest and prowling the areas around it. Similarly, a rotation of abhominals periodically shifts between the central hive and its outlier nests.
Abhominals are quite dependent on the telepathic connection that binds them together, which results in them going berserk if they are separated from the hive mind. This behavior became evident as soon as the first abhominal came into existence: it raved like a rabid beast, lashing out at anything that came near unless its alghollthu creator exerted psychic influence over it. When the alghollthu’s experiments resulted in more abhominals, the abominations started to exhibit more intricate behavior and purpose, and their master found it could direct the newly formed hive mind to serve its own needs. Ultimately, the creatures’ usefulness outweighed the annoying reminder of an experiment that continued to fail.
If the abhominals’ numbers grow too large, the thoughts of those swarming in the central hive begin to harmonize, exhibiting higher levels of cognizance that could pose a threat to the alghollthu’s control over its creations.
It’s possible that if the abhominals were left unsupervised, an oversized hive could find a way to turn captives into abhominals on their own, though this is not something their aboleth creators would ever willingly allow. It’s important for an aboleth master to regularly reaffirm its dominance over the abhominals under its command to keep the psychic leash that controls them intact.
When under the rule of an aboleth master, abhominals follow that master’s directions regarding other creatures.
If left without guidance, abhominals are more likely to give in to their hunger and attack all living creatures they encounter; other undead are typically left alone unless they pose a threat to the abhominals. It’s possible that certain types of undead could form a mutually beneficial arrangement with a hive of abhominals, consuming the flesh of any humanoid corpses that the abhominals leave during their hunts.
Pathfinder Adventure Path #123: The Flooded Cathedral © 2017, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Mikko Kallio, with John Compton, Adam Daigle, Kalervo Oikarinen, and David Schwartz.