Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Shadow's Apex Part 24: Beholda' Gangsta's

After doing some extensive beholder research due to my lack of xp with the monster, I have to admit that I'm beginning to like them more and more and I'm feeling a bit of regret that I've yet to use them in one of my games. I guess late is better than never, as the saying goes.

First of all, I'm keeping in mind as I put this together that these beholders have an arcane theme ('cause that's the dice's story and I'm sticking to it). I'll probably stray from that theme before all is said and done, but I want it to at least have some impact on my decision making. I'll also be keeping in mind that at least one method these beholders use to achieve their goals is slavery.

Beholders were originally cast as lawful evil monsters back in the 1st edition Monster Manual, so I'm going to assume that they have a very orderly civilization (if you can call it that). The beholders will have a very strict hierarchy amongst themselves, and will reign over a cult. Normally, when I think of a cult, I think of a bunch of kooky religious nuts trying to usher in the end of the world with some cyanide and kool aid. But what if this particular cult isn't religious at all? What if it functions more like a well organized street gang? Those at the top can do and get away with almost anything as long as they maintain power. Those on the lower levels have a very strict code that they must follow or risk serious punishment from those in higher ranks. Aspiring members must prove themselves by "putting in work." So on and so forth.

Making the street gang comparison gives me lots of material to steal from the real world. I'll still refer to it as a cult and call it the Society of the Eye or some other mysterious and sinister name, but all of the trappings will be those of a street gang: a particular color (or colors) that is considered sacred, a number that is considered sacred, a nonverbal means of communication (whether it is "stacking" or something else), a ritual beating as the initiation ceremony, a love for tattoos, and many other street gang stereotypes that leap to mind. Designing this beholder organization will certainly be interesting...

Unfortunately, I'm running out of time to write, so I'm going to have to split this into two posts. Let's finish by reemphasizing the key points that I've established about this particular group of beholders:
  • Slavery plays a large part in their society.
  • They make use of arcane magic in some form.
  • They are very organized.
  • They lead a cult of humanoids who function as their agents in places where their influence wouldn't ordinarily be accepted/tolerated.
  • The cult functions like an organized street gang.
Hopefully I'll be able to get some quality writing time tonight or tomorrow and finish this up. This is turning out to be more interesting than I originally thought...
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