Today, we begin our explorations of the Hall of Infamy for the World of Samardan. For those who may not be familiar with the concept, a Hall of Infamy is a list of regional antagonists whose role is to generate conflict for our heroes to resolve. The basic structure for a Hall of Infamy is simple:
- One Supreme Over-Arching Enemy: Defeating this antagonist should require only the toughest, meanest, most experienced adventurers available. The Supreme Enemy is typically located in a ruin.
- Two Major Enemies: Defeating these antagonists is not a job for novices, and should require well-established, well-prepared veteran adventurers. Major Enemies are frequently associated with cities, lairs or ruins.
- Four Minor Enemies: Defeating these antagonists should be very difficult for novices, yet defeat can be accomplished at the hands of seasoned adventurers who are starting to build a reputation for themselves. Minor Enemies are often found in lairs.
We've already identified our Supreme Enemy for this campaign: The Farleni (or the Mind Masters of Orkelium, the Forked Tower).
Farleni, the Mind MastersHistory: The Farleni are a race of alien psionic parasites that once inhabited a distant world, before unintentionally being brought to Samardan by the Ancient Ones. Upon their arrival, the Farleni spread quickly, seeking a way to contact their homeworld. After an intense battle, the Farleni were finally contained and cryogenically frozen for research purposes in the scientific research facility now known as Orkelium, the Forked Tower.
Life Cycle: Farleni are a race of parasites that go through numerous phases: Larva, Pupa and Adult. Much like insects, adult Farleni are physiologically differentiated by their role in their hive-like society: workers, soldiers, drones and queens. Larva can only grow within the body of another creature. When the larva matures into the pupa stage, it migrates outside the body of its host, but continues to ride its host as it grows and matures. When the host creature dies, the pupa will either seek out a new host or begin the transformation into an adult Farleni, with highly developed psychic powers. Workers are the most prominent, being sterile servitors that serve the main body of the Farleni "hive-mind". Also sterile, the much larger soldiers use their psychic powers to control local vermin and small creatures in order to protect the "hive-mind". Fertile male drone Farleni serve as the immediate guardians of the queen with their stunning mental blasts, while the queen leads the "hive-mind" and lays the eggs that will eventually hatch to become larva and start the cycle of life once again.
Stat Blocks: The following stat blocks for each form are based on the Sword & Planet: An Old School Roleplaying Game of Planetary Romance, which I wrote last year. Please feel free to convert these stats to the system of your choice, if you wish to use them elsewhere.
- Farlen, Larva: DEF: 10; HD: 1/2; ATK: 1 bite (1d2); ST: +2; SP: Farleni traits, control host; SPD: 4; CL: 1; XP: 300.
- Farlen, Pupa: DEF: 11; HD: 2; ATK: 2 tentacles (1d4); ST: +3; SP: Farleni traits, ride host; SPD: 5 (swim 6); CL: 2; XP: 450.
- Farlen, Worker: DEF: 13; HD: 4; ATK: 4 tentacles (1d6); ST: +4; SP: Farleni traits, mystic powers (daze, fear); SPD: 5 (swim 6); CL: 4; XP: 900.
- Farlen, Soldier: DEF: 15; HD: 6; ATK: 4 tentacles (1d8); ST: +5; SP: Farleni traits, mass dominate (all creatures within 30 ft, max 24 HD worth, Will negates), mystic powers (daze, fear); SPD: 6 (swim 9); CL: 5; XP: 1,200.
- Farlen, Drone: DEF: 17; HD: 8; ATK: 4 tentacles (1d8); ST: +6; SP: Farleni traits, mind blast (all within 30ft cone are stunned and unable to act for 2d4 rounds, Will negates), mystic powers (dominate person, fear, phantasmal killer, telepathic bond); SPD: 6 (swim 9); CL: 6; XP: 1,800.
- Farlen, Queen: DEF: 18; HD: 9; ATK: 4 tentacles (1d6 + mindfire poison); ST: +6; SP: Farleni traits, mindfire poison (1d6 plus -1 penalty on Will saves, Fort negates), mystic powers (daze, dominate person, fear, phantasmal killer, scrying, telepathic bond); SPD: 5 (swim 9); CL: 8; XP: 3,600.
Special AbilitiesFarleni Traits: All Farleni have the following abilities: take half damage from acid and cold, take double damage from electricity, telepathy (100 ft range), detect thoughts (20 ft range), sense hive-mind (1 mile range).
Control Host: Larval Farleni will burrow into the flesh of an unconscious or helpless victim and, 1d4+1 rounds later, attach itself to the brain stem of its host. There, it will attempt to control the actions of the host (Will save to resist). Removing a burrowing Farlen larva requires a Very Difficult (DC 25) Healing skill check to successfully remove the larva without killing the patient. Once it has attached to the brain stem, the difficulty increases to Nigh Impossible (DC 30).
Farleni Traits: All Farleni have the following abilities: take half damage from acid and cold, take double damage from electricity, telepathy (100 ft range), detect thoughts (20 ft range), sense hive-mind (1 mile range). The larva cannot be hurt directly while its host is alive; only when the host is dead will the larva release the host's brain and attempt to find another host.
Ride Host: Pupal Farleni will grapple and ride a victim and extend tendrils that, 1d4+1 rounds later, attach themselves to the brain stem of its host. Once attached, it will attempt to control the actions of the host (Will save to resist). Removing an attached Farlen pupa requires a Difficult (DC 20) Healing skill check to successfully remove the tendrils without killing the patient. Once it has attached to the brain stem, the difficulty increases to Very Difficult (DC 25). The host suffers half of all damage dealt to the riding pupa.
The rest of the powers should be self-explanatory.