A 3-eyed fish may not look like a serious menace to veteran Dungeons & Dragons gamers, however the aboleth is definitely a terrifying menace that may form a whole marketing campaign. For months, I’ve terrorized my Dungeons & Dragons gamers with an uncommon monster – the aboleth, a big three-eyed fish with minor psionic skills whose existence pre-dates the gods themselves. The aboleth dates again to the early 1980s and is often used as a remnant of instances previous. While aboleths as soon as dominated over the world, they sometimes can solely be present in underground swimming pools in distant corners of the Underdark. In fight, the aboleth’s skills are restricted exterior of the water – their primary skills are the flexibility to forcibly enslave as much as three creatures per day and to contaminate those that assault it in melee vary with a illness that quickly turns the sufferer right into a water-breathing creature.
So, how did a mucus-covered fish flip into a serious villain that plagued my gamers for months? The first step was to supply the gamers with an intimate hyperlink to the aboleth, one which gave them a cause to actively need to cease the creature. In this case, the gamers unintentionally unleashed the aboleth from his historical jail whereas trying to find a misplaced treasure – a Perfect Conch sacred to the area’s Crab Folk. The preliminary encounter resulted in a draw after the aboleth enslaved one of many get together members – the aboleth agreed to let the thoughts managed character go, however provided that the gamers walked away from the struggle.
Once I established the connection between the get together and the aboleth, the following step was to show the aboleth right into a doubtlessly cataclysmic menace. Traditionally, aboleths are schemers – they seduce minions in by promising their biggest want and their enslave means works greatest when others do not know that there is a puppetmaster manipulating them behind the scenes. Because the gamers knew in regards to the aboleth from the onset, I select to lean into the thoughts management features of the aboleth as an alternative. The aboleth rapidly turned a robust drive working within the background of the marketing campaign setting, utilizing chuul minions to kidnap innocents to show into pawns for his rising military. While enslaved creatures sometimes can try and shake out of their enslavement at any time when they take injury, I got here up with an in-world cause for why the aboleth might preserve management of so many individuals without delay with out concern of revolt.
While the gamers had few direct encounters with the aboleth, they spent months combating its chuul minions, discovering thoughts managed puppets wandering by means of the woods at random, after which struggling periodic psychic migraines brought on by the aboleth’s steady psychic assault on the area. They noticed the aftermath of the aboleth’s schemes infrequently, discovering battlefields full of useless chuul and different creatures, and even studying that beforehand pleasant factions had both willingly or unwillingly joined the aboleth’s trigger. They met creatures fleeing from the aboleth, together with the Crab Folk who have been honor-bound to observe the creature who held their Perfect Conch artifact.
Once the gamers determined to confront the aboleth instantly, I put them on a multi-part quest designed to “even the chances” and convey the aboleth again right down to the participant’s ranges. The gamers had to determine a technique to disrupt the aboleth’s enhanced psionic powers, whereas additionally defending a handful of highly effective NPCs who have been being focused by the aboleth instantly. Eventually, the gamers obtained a handful of particular crystal weapons that may minimize off the aboleth’s thoughts management and ambushed the aboleth at his above-ground base, an underneath development synthetic lake that would offer the aboleth with a everlasting place of energy.
The ultimate struggle was a tense encounter – the gamers efficiently ambushed the aboleth and received a invaluable shock spherical, however over half of the get together missed on their preliminary assaults, which stored the aboleth’s enhanced psychic powers in play. Because the gamers selected to hit the aboleth with ranged assaults, additionally they did not have sufficient melee combatants who might truly attempt to get the Perfect Conch away from the aboleth. Because they could not get the Perfect Conch away from the aboleth, they have been almost overwhelmed by the mixed Chuul/Crab Folk forces. In the top, the gamers managed to attain a killing blow on the aboleth, however not earlier than the get together’s Rogue was ripped to shreds by the once-friendly Crab Folk.
While my gamers ended the menace poised by the aboleth, this is not essentially the top of the creature’s story. When aboleths are killed within the Material Plane, they do not completely die. Instead their spirit returns to the Elemental Plane of Water, the place they anticipate a brand new opening to return to our world and start a brand new scheme. Let’s simply hope this explicit aboleth would not return throughout my participant’s lifetime.