False Hydra (Adult, 6 heads) (3.5e Creature)
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False Hydra (Adult, 6 heads)
|Usually CE Gargantuan aberration|
|Init/Senses||+0/blindsight 120 ft (from each head), darkvision 240 ft, low-light vision; Listen +20 (racial), Spot +20 (racial)|
|AC||15, touch 6, flat-footed 15|
|hp||375 (25d8 HD)|
|Speed||0 ft, burrow (heads only) 20 ft|
|Melee||6 bites +27 (4d6+13)|
|Space/Reach||5 ft./1,920 ft (neck)|
|Abilities||Str 36, Dex 10, Con 24, Int 20, Wis 16, Cha 30|
|SQ||Damage Reduction 5/-, False Hydra's Song, Growth, Superior Multiattack, Supreme Meat Grinder|
|Skills||Listen (+20 racial), Spot (+20 racial)|
|Advancement||by character class (Bard)|
|Possessions||Double Goods and Items (non-edibles only)|
|False Hydra's Song||(no save; caster level check to overcome spell resistance [1/per round while singing]: HD+1d20) ( A nat 1 isn't considered an automatic failure for this roll, so if the False Hydra's HD alone is equal to or higher than the target's SR+1, then treat it as an automatic success.) (Cancels anti-charm magic after 1 round.) See Lore|
|Growth||When a gargantuan false hydra has eaten 6 gargantuan, 12 huge, 24 large, 48 medium, 96 small, 192 tiny, 384 diminutive, 768 fine, or a combination of the above that adds up to 6 gargantuan creatures the false hydra grows it's 7th and final head.|
|Superior Multiattack||A false hydra can attack with each of it's heads every round at no penalty.|
|Supreme Meat Grinder||Upon finally becoming an adult the false hydra's body has maximized it's absorption of food to prepare for growth, and has grown massive enough to gain max hp for each die.|
Strategies and Tactics
The false hydra always sings with at least one head to try and put its enemies under its spell. It prefers to have its enslaved underlings perform battle for it. When in combat, it will only attack with 5 heads until it is absolutely certain that it's song won't work.
A false hydra as an infant will often go about unnoticed. If found, it is near helpless to defend itself save with its song, in hopes the enemy will forget it any move on.
Adult hydras have enough heads to pose a menace to a decent sized party. However, they remain solitary, as their song cannot control people yet. Once they mature fully, they will be flanked by all the subjugated goons its song has entranced. Using these meat shields, it sits behind and lets them do the work instead.
Environment: The false hydra spends most of its life underground, hiding. It's infantile and adult stages consist of hunting primarily, where it drags prey into the ground to devour them. They therefore cannot live in areas where burrowing is not possible, like earth made of stone and not loose loam. Climate-wise, they are well protected by the earth in which they burrow, meaning it does not bother them much whatever goes on above the surface. However, this does not mean they will frequent places that have unstable ground either. For example, while sand is loose and easy to dig, false hydras would bake in the sun. In the same vein of logic, they do not inhabit areas that flood the earth too often, as that would drown them.
Typical Physical Characteristics: False hydras, from all known accounts, are horrific beings appearing like that of a bloated white creature. All accounts are usually of elder false hydras, which are mainly mature for all purposes. Adult and child hydras are much less known, though, in general, a lot of the false hydra appearance is speculation and artist fancy. Most concurring depictions show a white creature with a large, fat torso and squatted legs like that of a frog. It has prehensile human hands and a long neck ending with a grotesque bald head. The face of a false hydra is known to be horrifying, resembling that of a maniacally grinning human. From the shoulder area is were more heads burgeon and sprout.
Child hydras are speculated to appear like bloated lumps in the earth with a slightly oblong shape, likening them to potatoes. In this form, they have primarily a creepy head and a stump of a neck. The neck grows in the way a root does and allows the baby hydra to squirm like an insect through loose soil. Baby hydras are quite defenseless and seek other babies so they might join to become more formidable.
Alignment: False hydras are not known to have morals or be aware of them. They likely follow a bestial instinct that drives them to kill and eat. However, their design is so insidious that one cannot help but feel nothing other than malice lies in its grinning head.
The false hydra's song hides the memories of the devoured victims in the same way that it hides the false hydra, but this is not a perfect system.
Wives will wonder why there are men's clothes in her closet. People will notice that no one has lit the street lanterns these last few nights. Churches suddenly find themselves without a bell ringer.
By and large, these gaps close themselves up. The wife will forget about the clothes as soon as she stops looking at them. Or she will conveniently remember how her brother left them there the last time he visited. Or she will, on some level, recognize the wrongness implicit in the clothes, and throw them away one moonless night. She will confabulate, powerfully and constantly.
But part of her mind is cognizant of the disturbance. That part of her mind is distrusted, and sealed away. But that primordial cluster of neurons still fires. A syphilitic madman who has been locked in the attic by his family, but whose mutters can sometimes be heard during the lulls in the dinner party downstairs.
This creates pressure. In the early stages, this feels like paranoia, especially the sense that someone is watching you (and the hydra is watching you, pressing its moony face up against the window and fogging up the glass). More severe symptoms develop. Reminiscing becomes a stressful and uneasy experience, and so is avoided. Distortions of memory. The confabulations pile up, identities become muddled. Friend's faces seems subtly deformed.
Human brains were not meant to bear this weight (but things like aberrations, dragons, and outsiders are much more suited, and thus any cases of split-brain are somewhat calmer in effect). Mundane insanities sprout like mushrooms. Nervous disorders. Psychotic breaks.
In severe cases, split-brain occurs, when one part of the brain strives to communicate with the other. One of the PC's limbs might suddenly become its own entity, one that crudely and violently struggles to convey the danger to the PC.
A PC might wake up and discover that someone has scratched "IT'S WATCHING YOU RIGHT NOW. THE WINDOW." into their chest (or a dragon might scratch it in a wood floor or bedside table rather than harm itself), and there is skin beneath the fingernails of their left arm, great. If they receive a distressed letter from their mother, wanting to know why the last letter the PC sent contained the sentence "it ate him ate him in front of me but i did not see it ate him" inserted in the middle, great. If they decide that their hand is possessed by demons and cut it off, best of all (a mindflayer [assuming it's immense spell resistance was completely overcome] would likely be keeping a detailed journal that it doesn't remember writing and think it was simply writing it as it IS an interesting study, but then decide that since this isn't something it will ever get to see and study that it might as well throw the book away or sell it [maybe that's even how the part finds some information on the creature]).
This could also be the hook for the PCs: an acquaintance sends them an innocuous letter that somehow contains the phrase "help me for the love of god help me help". When they get there, the acquaintance has no memory of writing it, but looks nervous (and a little bit insane) while claiming that it's probably just some wizard's prank.
"And where is your wife?"
"Why, I've never married. Why would you joke about this?"
And the next day, tell the players that their PCs have forgotten about the wife as well. You can't get rid of the metagame knowledge in their heads, but allow them to act on their metagame knowledge whenever they can roleplay an intense feeling of paranoia or distress.
Their dreams are filled with dirges, spilling from the mouths of faceless people. And somewhere, a pale face, whose eyes are nothing but wet, black holes.
False hydras are unfortunately immune to the songs of other false hydras, and in the past have coordinated to devastating effect.
No one can say for sure where this eldritch thing comes from. People surmise it to be a sort of cursed thing that has existed in the core of the world perhaps, and tunneled its way upward. Others believe it to be aberrational energy which changed something like a potato into a menace. At the very least, they are too scant and independent to really form a real civilization. The closest they get is becoming the slaver of an entire town.
Infant hydras make no lair for themselves, as they only burrow endlessly in loose soil to their next source of food. Once they become larger and grow limbs, then they create a hollow deep in the ground, with tunnels like that of a mole for their heads to branch from the main body. These hollow caverns are usually situated deep underground, usually at thee depth of wells. These burrows are not connected to openings like a cave, and so they are very hard to reach without means of excavation.
False hydras bring little but absolute relief and joy upon their death. They are not known to hoard treasure or valuables, thus meaning one is just going to find skeletons of their prior meals in their lair than anything else. The body of a false hydra is extremely foul and emits a putrid scent when slain. It is not known to have any nutritional value. The bones of a false hydra are known to disintegrate upon its death, turning into a fluid substance like black syrup.