THIS IS PART OF A SERIES EXPLORING SOME ADVICE ON HOW TO USE CERTAIN MONSTERS IN YOUR GAMES–A RESOURCE FOR FLAVOR AND OCCASIONAL COMBAT TIPS.
So, I like to take intelligent, lawful evil things seriously. Very seriously. Like Dr. Doom seriously. Hobgoblins being the more featured “antagonists” of Kalamar (the setting we in my group play most of our games) it requires breaking down ways to make them more than just “slightly less barbaric orcs”. I would recommend running Hobgoblins in certain ways–especially with 5e’s rules now about them–to really step up how scary they should be to your players.
The Pekalese warlock panted and gaped for air, exhausted from the beating he’d given the young gnome. As Tilbuck lay on the ground, a motley of bruises and a squeezebox of whimpers, Dark Carl stumbled his way to his pack. It was here somewhere. Somewhere. No. Maybe in the pocket there. No. Carl stopped to catch his breath while Tilbuck fell unconscious (finally). Taking a few minutes to cool off and even pull a boot off (it looked like he split a toenail on the gnomes helmet, shit), the warlock felt much better and far more collected. He went through his packs until he found it–an unimpressive, small dark brown egg. To anyone else, it’d have looked like a half-rotten sparrow’s egg. To Carl, it was a gift worthy of a king. Or Tilbuck, as it were. He spent the next few minutes propping the little gnome up, opening his mouth, and using an old flatbow bolt to plunge the hard little egg down his throat. The gnome choked once or twice, unconscious. It was a brutal sight as the darkly cloaked human rammed a stick down the smaller man’s throat over and over, ignoring involuntary spasms. When Tilbuck came to, throat raw, cheek torn a bit, spitting wooden splinters into the grass and speaking hoarsely, Carl only beamed.
“So…”, the gnome hacked and coughed as he groaned his way to his feet, “…did it work?”
Carl smiled, “Like a charm.”
System: The churn is an intestinal polyp from the body of a dying Great Old One. Finding one in the world is rare, but not impossible–using one requires someone with an affinity for or attunement to the mind and will of the otherdimensional beings that move behind the world. Warlocks of the Great Old One, obviously, are most able to use the Churn–but never on themselves. Anyone else trying to must succeed in a Wis save DC25 (extremely difficult), on a failure they are afflicted with 1 point of exhaustion for the next year as the toll communing with the vastness takes its toll on them (it comes back every day, even if restored or rested away).
The benefits, however, are the stuff of legend.
A warlock (or very strong-willed other person) may force the Churn–which resembles an irregular, dark brown stone–down the throat of another creature–this is difficult even for strong-willed people to tolerate and is far easier on someone unconscious. Once pushed through into their stomach (the process does 2d4 bludgeoning damage), it stays there forever. The Churn relieves its host of the need to eat, the need to drink, and grants them a resistance to poison. In return, however, the unliving stone robs them of the ability to enjoy food or drink, they lose their sense of taste and smell (disadvantaged on perception relying on smell), and on any critical hit they must roll 1d4. On a 4, on their next turn they double over and fall to the ground (expending their movement) and vomit a black, viscous substance onto the ground that bubbles and smokes (spending their action), out of which an oily, malformed creature rises (use the rules for a stirge with half HP). It has three wings, one off-center eye, is covered in oily black goo and flaps like a bat while a bulbous mouth of many thin leathery pink tentacles grasp out for flesh. It attacks the closest creature near the host on that turn. The host may act freely and normally (including using a Bonus Action or a Reaction, they have only spent their movement and Action).
“Oim tellin’ yers… he come staaaaaalkin’ in the noight. Roight up ter yer baid whil yer slaepin’. His ole gnarly hains reddy ter chalker loif outer yer.”
The rest of the group lazed about the campfire, ignoring the old ranger’s stories… and that ridiculous accent. It was always stories, more and more terrifying–or at least he intended. Whoever heard of a half-orc assassin, honestly… and where the hell was Grimsy? He’d only left to tend the horses for a moment….