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(Psionic) Phrenic Scourge

The creature before you stands in a dark robe, its face hidden by a cowl and its hands seem to twitch in unnatural ways as you view it. As you realize that it is not what it seems, its form collapses and it slithers into the darkness, leaving an empty robe even as you feel it stretching its predatory mind out towards you.

(Psionic) Phrenic Scourge CR 8

XP 4,800
LE Medium aberration (evil, lawful, psionic)
Init +3 Senses Telepathy 100 ft., unnatural vision

DEFENSE

AC 16, 13 touch, 13 flat-footed (+3 Dex, +3 natural)
hp 44 (8d8+8)
Fort +3, Ref +5, Will +9 DR 5/bludgeoning or slashing, PR 25

OFFENSE

Speed 30 ft.; burrow 15 ft., climb 30 ft.
Melee 2 tendril clusters +9 melee (1d8 plus implant)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks Implant, psi-like abilities, sap will

Psi-like Abilities (ML 9th)

At-Willempathic connection (affects animal, fey, giant, magical beast, monstrous humanoid, aberration, dragon, elemental and outsider types, duration 9 days, DC 19), aversion (duration 13 hours, DC 19), read thoughts (DC 16), mind control (duration 9 hours, 5 targets, DC 16), psychoport.

The save DCs are Intelligence based; see below.

STATISTICS

Str 10, Dex 16, Con 12, Int 19, Wis 17, Cha 15
BAB +6; CMB +6; CMD 19
Feats Ability Focus (implant), Ability Focus (sap will), Alertness, Weapon Finesse
Skills Autohypnosis +6, Bluff +10, Climb +8, Diplomacy +10, Disguise +8 (+10 acting), Intimidate +7, Knowledge (psionics) +15, Perception +16 (+22 if unclothed), Sense Motive +10, Spellcraft +15, Stealth +14

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Implant (Ex)

The tips of a phrenic scourge’s tendrils constantly die and regrow, much like a human’s fingernails. In any round in which the scourge successfully Strikes the same victim with both tendril attacks, the tip of a tendril breaks off in the flesh and begins to burrow, unless the victim succeeds on a DC 17 Fortitude save. The larva burrows through the host, following its nervous system until it reaches the brain. This takes 1d4+1 rounds, causing 2d4 points of damage per round. When the larva reaches the brain, the subject dies instantly. At any point in this process, the larva can be destroyed with remove disease or heal.

This ability does not function against constructs, elementals, oozes, plants, or undead, and is not instantly fatal to foes with multiple heads. Any creature with natural regeneration or fast healing resists the effects of the implanted larva. The larva is not expelled, but neither can it proceed to the brain. It does continue to cause damage every round, however, as it tries to burrow (assuming the damage it causes exceeds the fast healing or regeneration, of course).This continues until the larva is destroyed, as above, or until 2d10+1 rounds have passed, at which point it dies on its own. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Dispassionate Insight (Ex)

Despite having emotions, phrenic scourges don’t interact with the world through them, but through cold, piercing logic; thus, all psi-like and supernatural abilities a phrenic scourge has use its Intelligence instead of its Charisma for all purposes.

Sap Will (Su)

As a standard action, a phrenic scourge can use this psionic attack to manifest a 20- ft.-radius sphere, which the scourge can center anywhere within 30 ft. (a common tactic is to center the ability on itself, as a scourge is immune to its own sap will ability). Anyone caught in this sphere must succeed on a DC 20 Will save or lose the will to act for 3d4 rounds, during which they are stunned. Once used, this ability can’t be used again for 2 rounds.

Phrenic scourges often use this ability to take out groups of enemies at once, or to hunt for victims they can make into slaves or breeding vessels.

Unnatural Vision (Ex)

A phrenic scourge sees and hears through its entire body; this gives it a +6 racial bonus to Perception checks, and makes it impossible to derive any benefit from flanking it.

When a scourge is disguised as a humanoid, and thus wearing clothes, these benefits are lost.

Compress (Ex)

Although they normally stand as humanoid, phrenic scourges are not bound to that form. By shifting and relaxing their tendrils, they can thin themselves out, or flatten themselves into a mass of writhing limbs no thicker than a snake. As a full-round action, a phrenic scourge can move up to its Speed through a Space as narrow as two or three inches in one dimension, as long as it is at least a foot or more in the other dimension. For instance, a scourge could fit through a hole that was two inches by fourteen inches, but not one two inches by four inches.

Skills: Phrenic scourges have a +8 racial bonus on Climb checks and can always choose to take 10 on Climb checks, even if rushed or threatened.

ECOLOGY

Environment Underground or temperate plains
Organization Solitary, pair, brood (3–5), or hoard (3–5 plus servants, in any combination of duergar, gnolls, troglodytes, or similar humanoids)
Treasure Double standard

Most phrenic scourges take to wearing humanoid robes, which easily hide their alien features for the casual observer, allowing them to disorient potential attackers and often giving them the upper hand. As combat is joined, they often slither away from these robes to reveal their true natures: writhing coils of tendrils and tentacles, like some madman’s dream had leapt from his mind and taken physical form.

A phrenic scourge is a cunning foe who will turn friend against friend, playing on weaker minds with the use of powerful suggestions, aversions, and charms that make almost any creature regard the scourge as their erstwhile friend. Ideally, this reaches the point where the scourge implants their “true friends” with larvae, dooming them to painful deaths as the breeding grounds for more of their ilk.

Phrenic scourges prefer to hang back out of melee, battering foes with their psionic abilities or sending thralls to fight in their stead. When facing weaker or lone foes, however, they close and attempt to lash the victim with their tendrils, in hopes of implanting him with larvae and breeding a new scourge.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Psionics Unleashed. Copyright 2010, Dreamscarred Press.