By sominator @ May 8, 2013 at 6:00am
Xenophobic, floating orbs of doom, few monsters evoke greater terror than the dreadful beholders, avaricious despots that can fire terrible rays from their eyestalks. Beholders are the stuff of nightmares. These creatures, also known as the “spheres of many eyes” or “eye tyrants,” are deadly adversaries. Beholders have bulbous bodies with a central, unblinking eye and a large maw filled with daggerlike teeth. Smaller eyes, attached to wriggling stalks, sprout from the tops of their orblike bodies. Belonging to a very ancient race, they lurk inside the Underdark, from whence most of them originate.
Beholders are hateful, aggressive and covetous, attacking or dominating others whenever they can get away with it. They exhibit a xenophobic intolerance, hating all creatures that are unlike themselves. Their basic body type comprises a great variety of beholder subspecies. Some are covered with overlapping chitinous plates; some have smooth hides or snakelike eye tentacles; others have crustacean joints. But even a difference as small as hide color or size of the central orb can make two groups of beholders sworn enemies. Every beholder declares its own unique form to be the “true ideal of beholderhood,” with others’ being nothing but ugly replicas fit only to be eliminated.
Beholders usually carve out underground lairs for themselves using their disintegrate rays. Their dens’ architecture emphasizes the vertical, and a lair usually has a number of parallel tubes, with chambers stacked on top of each other. Beholders like to fill them with trophies of intruders foolish enough to try to steal from them or unfortunate enough to cross near their hives. Beholders prefer inaccessible locations that earthbound foes are only able to reach with difficulty. When they band together, they build giant hives linked together by kilometers of tunnels and exterminate or enslave any other race in the region.
In combat, beholders use a wide range of minions enslaved by their charm rays, striking alliances with other powerful monsters and protecting themselves behind walls of creatures who are – in the beholders’ many eyes – dispensable. They prefer to fight from behind a group of submissive soldiers or brutes, firing their deadly rays at enemies from a safe distance. They can switch between various types of attacks, dealing different effects such as stun, turning flesh to stone, or utter disintegration. Their many eyes give them 360° vision, allowing them to control the space around them and to never be taken by surprise. If all other tactics fail, they can still count on their great mobility and their innate ability to rapidly float away from dangerous enemies.
These fearsome creatures have been seen by adventurers in the Whispering Caverns, the ruins of Castle Never itself, and in long-lost Gauntlgrym. The beholders are usually spotted with many subordinate creatures bound to them by use of their charm rays. Will the heroes of Neverwinter be strong enough to stand against these many-eyed scourges?
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