The Poison Tide

the poison tide

THE POISON TIDE

EVIL IS RISING

The Poison Tide is not merely one of the most evil and dangerous of these factions, it is perhaps the most alien. Its membership consists almost entirely of aquatic beings, creatures hostile to all traditional forms of sentient life.

ATTRIBUTES OF THE POISON TIDE

Size: Gargantuan (501–1,000 members).

Alignment and Purpose: LE; Ending the worldwide supremacy of humanoid civilizations, and obliterating or enslaving all the “abominations” who dwell on the surface.

Approximate Class Breakdown: Fighter 20%, Ranger 20%, Rogue 20%, Cleric 15%, Barbarian 10%, Sorcerer 10%, Other 5%. Note: the majority of the Poison Tide are not humanoid and lack levels in any class at all.

Resources: The Poison Tide has access to all the riches of the sea floor, from naturally occurring veins of ore to the various treasures, goods and magics found in the hulls of countless sunken ships. Although they rarely have need of surface currency, the funds they have access to when necessary are practically infinite.

Central Headquarters: The Poison Tide is spread throughout the oceans of various

worlds, and many of its members never leave their home territories. Nevertheless, the organization does have a single locus of power, called the Temple of the Risen Sea.

Known Enemies: The Poison Tide considers every sentient creature that dwells above the waves to be its enemy. Certainly the various governments, guilds and communities on land would happily return that antipathy, but the truth is that very few but the most learned specialist sages have even heard of the Poison Tide.

A GENERAL OVERVIEW

The Poison Tide is a religious cult, rather than an organization in the truest sense of the word. They do not worship a specific deity, but rather adhere to a specific belief and mindset. The members of the Poison Tide believe firmly that the surface is an unholy place, that all the races who dwell on land are abominations, affronts to the gods of the “True World,” as they often call the sea. They call themselves the Poison Tide after their ultimate goal: to

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eventually wash over all the lands of all the worlds like a flood, leaving nothing alive above the ocean surface. As powerful as they are, and even with access to forgotten magics, the cult as yet lacks the power for anything so dramatically cataclysmic. For the time being, they focus on more attainable goals — such as the utter enslavement or destruction of entire surface societies.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE POISON TIDE

Centuries ago, a sect devoted to the worship of a primal and destructive ocean god constructed their greatest shrine on a rocky island hundreds of miles from shore. Called the Temple of the Risen Sea, this enormous structure of marble and coral was intended to serve as the seat of the priesthood, the site of their holiest rituals and most elaborate sacrifices. Here was concentrated the might of the sect, and of their god, imbuing the waters for miles around with a divine and chaotic power.

Unfortunately for the sect, the name they chose for their temple was all too apt. Within a decade, an undersea eruption changed the face of the ocean floor, sending earthquakes rippling outward like eels snaking through the planet’s crust. Rock crumbled, and the island vanished beneath the waves, drowning all those within the temple, an ironic final act of tribute to their aquatic deity.

Time slowly covered the sunken temple with layers of coral and the crawling plants of the ocean floor. Creatures great and small passed through the flooded halls, or took shelter within the marble rooms and made them their lairs.

One such squatter was the creature who would one day be known as Apothehra, though it had no name at the time. It had little to distinguish it from any other giant octopus. It dwelt at the center of the Temple of the Risen Sea, making

its home near the altar, only occasionally squeezing its enormous but spongy bulk through the corridors to go in search of prey.

Precisely what happened next, even Apothehra isn’t certain. Perhaps the altar, the scene of sacrifices and the focal point of the faith and devotion of an entire drowned priesthood, emanated an aura of unholy energies. Perhaps the now forgotten god of the temple chose to change the monstrous creature for reasons of his own.

Whatever the case, Apothehra slowly became aware that centuries had passed, and yet it had not aged — and with that revelation, realized it was, itself, aware. The giant octopus had attained sentience, intelligence, and so much more besides. Apothehra began to revere the god of the Temple of the Risen Sea; it seemed only natural, for it had been that deity who, directly or indirectly, made the creature what it now was.

Apothehra preached its new faith, and its belief in the unnamed god of the sunken temple, to other intelligent aquatic creatures. Over the course of years, it developed a small but devout following who called themselves the Risen Sea. In the depths of the Temple of the Risen Sea, in a chamber too small for Apothehra to enter, one of its newfound followers discovered a vortex, a portal to the Elemental Plane of Water. This allowed Apothehra and its apostles to draw yet greater power, for the Risen Sea could use the Plane of Water to reach the oceans of other worlds. Apothehra itself never ventured far from the Temple of the Risen Sea, but it dispatched its followers to other realms and other worlds, the better to spread their new faith throughout the oceans of the multiverse.

On world after world, the Risen Sea discovered that the creatures of the oceans, though numerous, held little real power. All the dominant governments, all the most powerful spellcasters, and all the greatest priesthoods were found not beneath the welcoming waves, but on land.

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Whether inspired by true religious fervor or simply the predatory and inhuman instincts of an alien mind, Apothehra decided that this was the divine purpose for which it had been chosen. The Beasts Above were abominations, unnatural demons. To allow them to dominate even a single world, let alone much of the multiverse, was an unthinkable affront to the God of the Risen Sea. No longer would spreading his word be the primary purpose of Apothehra and its apostles, though they would certainly continue to do so. No, they would sweep across the land like a poison tide, cleansing the impurities of the surface so that only the unpolluted life of the welcoming depths remained.

Much of the following centuries have been devoted to preparation. Apothehra, who seems ageless and immortal, has gathered additional apostles to him, swelling the ranks of the clerics among the renamed Poison Tide. They have proselytized, recruited, gathering all manner of sea creatures, from sahuagin to kapoacinth, sea hags to merrow, merfolk to aboleth, even the occasional dragon turtle or kraken. They have scoured the ocean floors of a dozen planes, gathering riches and ancient magics long forgotten by the world above. They have placed agents among the surface-dwelling fiends, some mentally controlled, others bribed with fabulous wealth, their greed blinding them to the fact that they work toward their own enslavement or destruction.

The Poison Tide is rising, and world after world may be swallowed in the coming deluge.

INSIDE THE POISON TIDE

Members of the Poison Tide are not merely alien in appearance, but in thought. Even the most evil of humanoids shares some emotions and thought patterns with the heroes and the people they victimize, if only because they share the same physiological nature.

Apothehra and its followers have no such connection. They view humans and other surface- dwellers as atrocities to be destroyed, a scourge upon the world. The notion of compassion or mercy to such vermin is so foreign, they are incapable of even considering it. Humans and surface humanoids are to be obliterated or enslaved, down to the last infant; no other conclusion is conceivable.

Of course, powerful as they are, the Poison Tide are limited in their options, given that most of them are restricted to the oceans of the various worlds they inhabit. Still, they have found more than a few means of moving forward in their quest to eventually subsume the surface world.

Coastal and Surface Raids

The simplest and least subtle of the Poison Tide’s methods is the straightforward raid. Sahuagin attacks on coastal villages, or the sinking of ships by dragon turtles, are hardly unheard of occurrences, and most governments and militias assume that such assaults are random. Raids of this sort rarely succeed in causing any far-reaching damage to a given culture or kingdom. Any capitals and centers of commerce that lie along the coast are usually too powerful to attack directly, and the Poison Tide must content themselves with invading smaller communities. Still, such raids are useful for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, it gives the Poison Tide an opportunity to take potential slaves; as most of the organization’s members are incapable of operating on dry land, they need surface- dwellers to carry out certain operations for them. (See below for more on how the Poison Tide keeps and controls its slaves.) By observing the means by which the humans of various communities fight back, and the response of the local military and government, the Poison Tide can make a surprisingly accurate assessment of a society’s strengths and weaknesses.

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An assault on a small community often serves as a test run for new strategies or magics, to ensure that they are effective before launching them against larger, more powerful targets.

The Poison Tide often uses these raids as bait. If they are prepared to strike against a nation’s government, the first step must be to weaken or eliminate any standing army. By raiding coastal cities, the Poison Tide forces the military to come to them, to attempt to hunt them down in the sea, where they have the clear advantage. Forces that might be strong enough to win a victory on land have little to no chance against the Poison Tide on the sea. Their numbers are not so great that they can face a large army directly, but they’re easily big enough to face individual brigades. All they need do is sink a few ships to dramatically reduce the numbers arrayed against them, and enough of the Poison Tide have the ability to command sea life — either through innate abilities or magic — that they can offset the humans’ numerical advantage with schools of predatory fish, sharks, eels, squid and other denizens of the deep.

Of course, the single best reason for slaughtering fishing villages or sinking ships is because they are bound by divine writ to do so. They need no tactical or strategic reasons for killing humans, need not wait until doing so provides them any advantage. They do it because that is their holy purpose, because Apothehra and its nameless god command it.

Surface Operatives

To destroy humanity, the Poison Tide needs humans. The majority of surface civilization exists away from the coasts and the largest rivers, placing them beyond the immediate reach of Apothehra and its disciples. Some of the beasts of the deep who make up the Poison Tide possess sufficient mystical abilities to temporarily change their form, to walk among surface-dwellers as one of their own. This is

risky, however. Magic can be detected, and most of the Poison Tide, while well learned in the ways of the enemy, do not know enough about the details and minutiae of these societies to properly blend in. Thus the need for agents who are familiar with the ways of the surface.

In fact, the Poison Tide has five separate but effective means of recruiting from among the ranks of those they would destroy. The first and most obvious is bribery. Apothehra’s followers have access to uncounted riches gathered from the ocean’s depths. Many humans can be easily persuaded to spy for a “mysterious patron” if the number of gold coins offered is sufficient. All the Poison Tide must do is find such a one and hire him as eyes and ears, as saboteur, or even as assassin. So long as the Poison Tide does not tell their hired dupes that they are out to enslave or destroy all of the surface — and why would they? — they can expect loyal service as long as either the money (of which there is plenty) or the individual’s usefulness (which is in somewhat shorter supply) hold out.

Sometimes, if one of the Poison Tide needs a single, relatively quick service performed on land, or perhaps requires only a morsel of information, they do not even bother with a bribe. One of the advantages gained by their constant raids on coastal communities is that they have a ready supply of captives. When a person’s entire family is hostage to his behavior, he usually performs any task requested of him. This technique is useful only in the short- term, as the Poison Tide knows that sooner or later their unwilling servant may find some way to pass information about them to others. Still, for a quick and dirty job, it’s efficient enough.

The vast majority of the Poison Tide’s human and humanoid slaves are mystically controlled. Through a combination of charms and

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more potent spells such as geas, mark of justice and the various dominate spells, they keep a small but constant population permanently loyal to them. A few helpless souls serve beneath the waves, enchanted with magics to allow breathing and survival in the depths, but most operate on land as the eyes, ears, hands and daggers of the Poison Tide. Some of these operatives are highly placed, even holding positions in national governments, but most are of the middle and merchant classes. The Poison Tide has recently become interested in gaining control of humanoid tribes such as orcs and goblins, in hopes of using them to attack and weaken human nations.

Although their numbers are extremely few, a smattering of humans choose to serve the Poison Tide willingly, even knowing that they can hope for only a life of slavery at best, the death and devastation of their race at worst. These apparent madmen come from the ranks of the cults and priesthoods of various sea gods across the multiverse. While none identified themselves as servants of the deity of the Temple of the Risen Sea, they all claim that they believe in the rightful dominance of the ocean over the land. Obviously, most humans who worship sea gods aren’t nearly crazed enough to want to sea such a thing come to pass, so these willing agents are astoundingly rare even in worlds where sea deities are the dominant power.

The final method used by the Poison Tide to expand their ranks of surface-dwelling slaves is by far the slowest, but also potentially the most effective. For the past decades, they have selectively bred those surface-dwellers they keep as slaves in the depths of the various oceans. Mates are paired up and children selected for intelligence, skill and physical prowess, but also an obedient and easily controlled mindset. Through charmed parents and the efforts of the Poison Tide clerics, these children are raised to believe that slavery and

servitude are their rightful, divinely mandated lot in life, that the creatures of the sea are superior, and that the Poison Tide’s goals are worth supporting. Their parents and the other slaves also teach them the ways of the surface, so that, with a reasonable amount of time for firsthand observation and acclimation, they could easily integrate into human society to serve as spies and agitators. So far, the experiment has not existed long enough to produce more than a small number of second-generation human slaves, but those it has are fanatically loyal and frighteningly effective at what they do. If the practice continues, and currently Apothehra and the other clerics see no reason why it should not, the Poison Tide may eventually have the equivalent of an entire human and humanoid nation at its beck and call.

Future Plans

It’s something of an irony that for all their limitless wealth, the ancient and mysterious magics they’ve recovered from the beds of a hundred seas, and the enormous power of their greatest clerics, the Poison Tide has yet to figure out how to accomplish its ultimate goal. They are brutally effective at destroying or enslaving surface communities built on or near a coast, a major river, or even a large inland lake (their leaders have sufficient magics to teleport forces there if no natural underground connection exists). Island kingdoms are especially vulnerable to the Poison Tide, as the people have nowhere to retreat. The organization can utterly disrupt shipping lanes and commerce, causing substantial economic damage. Through their humanoid slaves and operatives, they can assassinate leaders or important figures, possibly even incite nations to war if the agitator can attain a position of sufficient authority.

When all is said and done, however, all of these are mere steps on a much longer road,

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damaging but hardly sufficient to shake the dominance of the surface world. Few kingdoms are located so completely along a coastline, or are so utterly dependent on sea trade, that harassment of this sort can topple them. Few of the Poison Tide’s agents attain a sufficiently powerful position in any given government to instigate a war large enough to threaten the society’s very existence. Few of the humanoid tribes the Poison Tide now manipulates are massive enough to threaten anything larger than border communities; they might cause a nice bit of famine by burning cropland, but again, not enough to destabilize a large realm.

How, then, can the Poison Tide ever truly accomplish its objectives? As the odds are against them ever being able to assemble a large enough army on land to destroy whole kingdoms, Apothehra and the other leaders have decided that powerful magics are their only possible means of successs. At the present time, different branches of the Poison Tide, operating on separate worlds, are engaged in at least half a dozen different schemes, each with the stated goal of locating or creating a spell, artifact or other magical effect powerful enough to reshape the world. Opening gargantuan portals to the Elemental Plane of Water, thus raising the levels of the oceans and submerging all but the highest mountains; transforming all freshwater on a given world to saltwater; altering weather patterns to make the surface practically unlivable

— all these schemes, and many more besides, currently occupy the Poison Tide’s attentions. They continue their raids and machinations of the surface world, but if they ever make Apothehra’s visions come true, it will almost certainly be through manipulations of magic and planar boundaries, rather than any direct physical action against the surface. Customs and Practices

The Poison Tide’s clerics and leaders regularly hold religious ceremonies, though those ceremonies don’t resemble anything in which humans might engage. Most of them involve intricate underwater dances performed in three dimensions, usually around a holy site such as the Temple of the Risen Sea. Leaders occasionally recite a litany, and the rituals often include the sacrifice and consumption of large numbers of surface-dwellers. Sometimes a single ritual spans multiple worlds, with the priests and celebrants forming a single writhing dance that passes through multiple portals into various seas and the Elemental Plane of Water.

Beyond these occasional ceremonies, which seem to be scheduled by tide and underwater current patterns, the Poison Tide is not particularly concerned with ritual. While it is a religion- based organization, its members do not think as humans do, and the notion of taking up time with ceremony that could better be devoted to attaining their objectives or fulfilling other needs is a foreign one.

Strictures and Requirements

The Poison Tide does not have an elaborate set of laws, or a strict policy for recruiting new members. If a sea-dwelling creature learns of the Poison Tide, its objectives, and its religious basis, and decides it wants to join, it is accepted. Any member who acts against the best interests of the organization, or who assaults or disobeys one of the priests, is slain and eaten.

Beyond that, anything goes. So long as the members devote themselves entirely to the Poison Tide’s purposes, they are bound by no laws or rules. That sort of code of behavior is a creation of the Beasts Above, and has no place among the society of the seas. They do not even require participation in religious rites; any true believer in the faith participates voluntarily, and those who are not true believers either do not join the Poison Tide, or are slain the first time

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they balk at fulfilling their obligations. Personal vendettas and ambition are not unheard of, but for the most part, the members of the Poison Tide cooperate because they share a common belief and a common goal. They need no other ties to bind them.

The only real set of rules they have ever established involves the treatment of enslaved surface- dwellers. Slaves are necessary for the Tide to accomplish its goals. Some are communal property, others individually owned. Slaying or permanently damaging a slave that is not one’s own property is an affront to one’s brethren, and must be atoned for by replacing each damaged slave with two new slaves of equal or greater skill.

Influence and Outside Connections

Although its limitless riches and various magics allow the Poison Tide some small degree of influence within various communities, nations and organizations of the surface world, for the most part it is entirely a self-contained group, with few connections to anyone or anything outside its own ranks. It counts a few allies among the more extremist members of sea god priesthoods, and humanoid tribes among its tools, but that is largely the extent of its influence. Frankly, that’s just the way the members of the Poison Tide like it; any sort of large-scale alliance with the Beasts Above is such an alien concept that it likely wouldn’t occur to them even if the opportunity presented itself.

MASTER OF THE POISON TIDE

Apothehra

Male undead giant octopus Clr12; CR 22; Large Undead (Aquatic); HD 20d12; hp 177; Init +8; Spd 20 ft., Swim 30 ft.; AC 32 (–1 size, +4 Dex, +6 armor, +13 natural), touch

13, flat-footed 28; BAB/grapple: +14/+26; Atk tentacle slam +21 melee (1d8+8 plus energy drain); Full Atk 8 tentacle slams +21 melee (1d8+8 plus energy drain) and bite +5 melee (2d6+4 plus energy drain); SA: Blood drain, children of the deep, constrict, domination, energy drain, improved grab, swallow whole; SQ: Aura of evil, darkvision 60 ft., ink cloud, jet, undead traits, damage reduction 10/silver and magic, cold and electricity resistance 20, rebuke undead, spontaneous casting (inflict spells), turn resistance +4, gaseous form, spider climb, fast healing 5, create spawn; AL LE; SV Fort +14, Ref +16, Will +17; Str 26, Dex 18, Con — , Int 14, Wis 24, Cha 15.

Skills and Feats: Bluff +8, Concentration +10, Diplomacy +11, Escape Artist +14, Hide +13*, Intimidate +11, Knowledge (arcana) +11, Knowledge (religion) +12, Knowledge (sea lore) +12, Listen +17, Move Silently +13, Search +10, Sense Motive +17, Spellcraft +12, Spot +17, Swim +25; Alertness, Combat Casting, Combat Reflexes, Craft Wondrous Item, Dodge, Empower Spell, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Maximize Spell, Power Attack, Quicken Spell, Swim-by Attack (as Flyby Attack, but swimming)

Possessions: Belt of teleportation (equivalent to helm of teleportation in all respects), bowl of commanding water elementals, bracers of armor +6, periapt of wisdom +4, ring of animal friendship, ring of counterspells

Spells Prepared (Clr 6/8/7/7/5/5/4; save DC 17 + spell level): 0 — create water, detect magic (x2), guidance, read magic, resistance; 1st — command, comprehend languages, curse water, divine favor, obscuring mistD , protection from good, sanctuary, shield of faith; 2nd — bull’s strength, darkness, desecrate, fog cloudD , hold person, shatter, silence; 3rd — air breathing*, deeper darkness, dominate animalD , magic circle against

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good, protection from energy, searing light,

speak with dead; 4th — control waterD , imbue with spell ability, poison, sending, tongues; 5th — break enchantment, commune

with natureD , plane shift, true seeing, unhal

low; 6th — antilife shellD , blade barrier, dispel magic, greater, mass water breathing*.

D Domain spell. Domains: Animal (speak with animals, 1/day), Water (rebuke/command water creatures and turn/destroy fire creatures, 5/day).

Special Attacks:

Improved Grab (Ex): To use this ability, Apothehra must hit a Medium or smaller opponent with a tentacle slam attack. If it gets a hold, it can choose to constrict or attempt to swallow the victim whole.

Constrict (Ex): Apothehra deals 2d8+6 points of damage with a successful grapple check against Medium-size or smaller creatures; its energy drain damage is applied every round in which the hold is maintained.

Ink Cloud (Ex): Apothehra can emit a cloud of bloody ink 20 feet high by 20 feet wide by 20 feet long once a minute as a free action. The cloud provides total concealment. Creatures within the cloud suffer the effects of total darkness.

Jet (Ex): Apothehra can jet backward once a round as a double move action, at a speed of 200 feet. This must be in a straight line, and draws no attack of opportunity.

Swallow Whole (Ex): Apothehra can try to swallow a grabbed opponent of Medium-size or smaller by making a successful grapple check. Once inside, the opponent takes no physical damage but suffers from both Apothehra’s energy drain and blood drain attacks. A swallowed creature can climb out of the gizzard with a successful grapple check.

This returns it to Apothehra’s beak, where another successful grapple check is needed to get free. A swallowed creature can also cut its way out by using claws or a Small or Tiny slashing weapon to deal 25 points of damage to the gizzard (AC 20). Once the creature exits, muscular action closes the hole; another swallowed opponent must cut its own way out.

A creature that dies while in Apothehra’s gullet is excreted within 1d4 hours as a desiccated and shriveled corpse that may rise again (see create spawn).

Apothehra’s interior can hold one Medium, two Small, four Tiny, eight Diminutive, or sixteen Fine or smaller opponents.

Domination (Su): Apothehra can crush an opponent’s will just by looking onto his or her eyes. This is similar to a gaze attack, except that Apothehra must take a standard action, and those merely looking at it are not affected. Anyone it targets must succeed at a DC 22 Will save or fall instantly under its influence as though by a dominate person spell cast by a 12th-level sorcerer. The ability has a range of 30 feet. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Energy Drain (Su): Living creatures hit by Apothehra’s slam attacks, held in its tentacles during a grapple, or swallowed whole, suffer 2 negative levels (or 2 negative levels per round, if contact is maintained). For each negative level bestowed, Apothehra gains 5 temporary hit points. The save DC to remove these negative levels is 22, and is Charisma-based.

Blood Drain (Ex): Apothehra can absorb the blood from any living creature it has swallowed. Swallowed victims suffer 1d4 points of permanent Constitution drain each round they remain in its gullet.

Create Spawn (Su): A humanoid or monstrous humanoid slain by Apothehra’s energy drain while in its gullet rises as a vampire spawn in 1d4 days. If the victim instead dies due to

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Constitution drain, she returns as a vampire spawn if she had 4 or fewer HD, and as a vampire if she had 5 or more HD. In either case, the new vampire or spawn is under Apothehra’s command. Note that only creatures who died within Apothehra’s gullet may rise; others, even if slain by its energy drain attack, are simply dead. The DM must keep careful track of which attack — blood drain or energy drain — is the final cause of death, as both occur simultaneously to swallowed creatures.

Children of the Deep (Su): Apothehra commands the lesser creatures of the sea and once per day can call forth 2d6 octopi or medium sharks, 2d4 large sharks, 1d6 squid, or 1d4 huge sharks, as a standard action. These creatures arrive in 2d6 rounds and serve Apothehra for up to 1 hour.

Gaseous Form (Su): As a standard action, Apothehra can assume gaseous form at will, as the spell cast by a 5th-level sorcerer, but can remain gaseous indefinitely and has a fly/swim speed of 20 feet with perfect maneuverability.

Spider Climb (Ex): As a variant of the standard vampire, Apothehra shares that creature’s ability to climb sheer surfaces as though with a spider climb spell (although this has little practicality underwater).

Skills: Apothehra can change colors, giving it a +4 racial bonus to Hide checks. Apothehra has a +8 racial bonus on any Swim check to perform some special action or avoid a hazard. It can always choose to take 10 on a Swim check, even if distracted or endangered. It can use the run action while swimming, provided it swims in a straight line.

Appearance: Many second-hand reports and myths of Apothehra incorrectly identify him as a kraken. Even the most cursory glance, however, reveals that this cannot be the case, as Apothehra is very clearly an octopus, not a

squid, and is not as large as most krakens. At a distance, Apothehra is easily mistaken for a normal giant octopus, though close examination reveals that its dark blood-hued rubbery flesh is vaguely waxen to the touch, and that its tentacles are unusually gaunt. Apothehra’s beak is large, jagged, and the color of yellowed ivory; its eyes are a luminescent urine yellow. It wears most of its magic items — its rings, bracers, periapt and belt — on its various tentacles, and carries its bowl of commanding water elementals in a large sack of whale skin tied to yet another tentacle.

Overview: Apothehra itself isn’t certain precisely when its exposure to the energies of the Temple of the Risen Sea began to change it. It cannot even say for sure whether it developed its first hints of sentience and intelligence before or after it became an unholy, undead thing. Frankly, it doesn’t care. Apothehra is utterly devoted to its cause, to its faith, and to its objectives. To spread the worship of its god throughout all the oceans, and to strip all life from the lands above, are its only purposes, the only thoughts on which it dwells.

Apothehra’s undead nature bears many similarities to the vampire, though it is not precisely a vampire in the traditional sense. It is imbued with unholy energies, and it must feed on the blood of living things to survive. It shares the vampires’ vulnerability to the sun, but this is hardly an imposition to a creature that dwells in the ocean’s depths; it simply means that Apthehra can only surface at night. Neither the standard vampire’s aversion to garlic nor its inability to enter a manmade domicile without invitation have ever been tested against Apothehra. Running water clearly is no imposition. It does not recoil from holy symbols or mirrors, but neither is it willing to approach them. A wooden stake through Apothehra’s heart would presumably kill it, if one could find a stake long and sturdy enough to reach it.

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Apothehra has no coffin; the entirety of the Temple of the Risen Sea serves as such for purposes of healing and sanctuary.

NEW SPELLS

Air Breathing

Transmutation

Level: Clr 3, Drd 3, Sor/Wiz 3

This spell allows creatures normally capable of breathing only underwater to breathe air freely. Any creature that already has the ability to breathe air for the short term only, such as aquatic elves, may stack their own ability with this spell (the spell expires first). It is otherwise identical to water breathing.

Mass Water Breathing

Transmutation

Level: Clr 6, Drd 6, Sor/Wiz 6

Targets: Living creatures touched, up to two per caster level

This spell functions as water breathing, but does not require the caster to divide the duration of the spell between subjects. Every subject enjoys the spell’s full duration. It is otherwise identical to water breathing.

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