A 3-eyed fish may not appear to be a main 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 giant three-eyed fish with minor psionic talents whose existence pre-dates the gods themselves. The aboleth dates again to the early Nineteen Eighties and is normally used as a remnant of occasions previous. While aboleths as soon as dominated over the world, they sometimes can solely be discovered in underground swimming pools in distant corners of the Underdark. In fight, the aboleth’s talents are restricted exterior of the water – their essential talents 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 briefly turns the sufferer into a water-breathing creature.
So, how did a mucus-covered fish flip into a main villain that plagued my gamers for months? The first step was to offer 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 ended in a draw after the aboleth enslaved one of many social gathering 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 social gathering and the aboleth, the following step was to show the aboleth into a doubtlessly cataclysmic menace. Traditionally, aboleths are schemers – they seduce minions in by promising their best need and their enslave skill works finest 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 grew to become a highly effective pressure working in 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 harm, I got here up with an in-world cause for why the aboleth may keep management of so many individuals directly 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 via the woods at random, after which struggling periodic psychic migraines attributable to the aboleth’s steady psychic assault on the area. They noticed the aftermath of the aboleth’s schemes infrequently, discovering battlefields crammed with lifeless 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 straight, I put them on a multi-part quest designed to “even the percentages” and produce the aboleth again all the way down to the participant’s ranges. The gamers had to determine a strategy 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 straight. Eventually, the gamers obtained a handful of particular crystal weapons that may lower off the aboleth’s thoughts management and ambushed the aboleth at his above-ground base, an beneath development synthetic lake that would supply the aboleth with a everlasting place of energy.
The last struggle was a tense encounter – the gamers efficiently ambushed the aboleth and received a invaluable shock spherical, however over half of the social gathering 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 may 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 tip, the gamers managed to attain a killing blow on the aboleth, however not earlier than the social gathering’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 tip of the creature’s story. When aboleths are killed in the Material Plane, they do not completely die. Instead their spirit returns to the Elemental Plane of Water, the place they watch for a new opening to return to our world and start a new scheme. Let’s simply hope this specific aboleth would not return throughout my participant’s lifetime.