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Encephalon Gorger

Medium aberration, chaotic evil

Armor Class 16 (natural armor)
Hit Points 71 (11d8 + 22)
Speed 30 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
12 (+1) 16 (+3) 14 (+2) 20 (+5) 15 (+2) 15 (+2)

Skills Perception +5, Stealth +6
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 15
Languages Common, Deep Speech, telepathy 120 ft.
Challenge 7 (2,900 XP)

Special Traits

  • Alien Mind. Encephalon gorgers can maintain concentration on 3 simultaneous spell effects.
  • Mindsense. The encephalon gorger is aware of the presence of creatures within 300 feet of it that have an Intelligence of 3 or higher. It knows the relative distance and direction of each creature, as well as the creature’s approximate Intelligence score (within 3 points). Creatures under the effects of magic that protects the mind cannot be detected by the encephalon gorger.
  • Mind Screen. The mind of an encephalon gorger is an alien and dangerous place. Should a creature attempt to scan the mind or read the thoughts of an encephalon gorger (with detect thoughts, telepathy, or the like), it must succeed on a DC 15 Intelligence saving throw or be driven insane, gaining a flaw from the Indefinite Madness table (see the SRD). On a successful save, the creature is confused for 1 minute (as the confusion spell).

Actions

  • Multiattack. The encephalon gorger makes two attacks with its claws and uses Mindfeed if it has a creature grappled.
  • Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (2d6 + 3) slashing damage If the target is Medium or smaller, it is grappled (escape DC 16). Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained, and the encephalon gorger can only use its Mindfeed on the grappled creature and has advantage on attack rolls to do so.
  • Mindfeed. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature that is grappled by the encephalon gorger. Hit: 7 (1d8 + 3) piercing damage, and the target must succeed on a DC 15 Intelligence saving throw, or take 33 (6d10), and the target’s Intelligence score is reduced by 1d4. The target dies if this reduces its Intelligence to 0. Otherwise, the reduction lasts until the target finishes a long rest.
  • Adrenal Surge (2/day). The encephalon gorger surges with adrenaline until the end of its turn. While under this effect, it gains a +2 bonus to its AC, it has advantage on Dexterity saving throw, and it gains an additional action on its turn (as the haste spell).

About

This creature is a sleek, pale-skinned humanoid with leathery white, semi-translucent flesh. It is a bit taller than an average human. Its features are delicate and precise. The creature’s arms and legs are spindly, and each ends in four digits. This creature is completely hairless and its eyes are small, with nictitating membranes.

Encephalon gorgers (sometimes known as cranial vampires) are malevolent creatures from another dimension or plane of existence. They are greatly feared by intelligent creatures, for they use such beings (their brain fluid to be exact) to power their great cities. Many of these creatures have constructed strongholds or outposts on the Material Plane, though it is unknown when they first appeared.

Encephalon gorgers dislike direct sunlight, though they are not harmed by it. When traveling aboveground during daylight hours, they usually cloak themselves in robes of gray or black. The gorger’s leathery, whitish flesh is nearly translucent, and in older encephalon gorgers, one can faintly see veins and other organs pushing grayish-brown blood through its body. Its mouth is lined with short, needlelike teeth, with the canines being most pronounced (perhaps the reason these monsters are sometimes called cranial vampires).

Encephalon gorgers enter battle using their claws to slash and grapple their foes, going first for targets with the most delicious, intelligent brains.

Once it grabs its prey, it sinks its teeth into the foe’s head, draining it of cerebral fluid. However, an encephalon gorger will not put itself in danger by ignoring other threats around it, so generally, it only drinks when all of its other foes are either dead or engaged with others of its kind. Encephalon gorgers often make use of slave creatures and dumb beasts to engage an enemy’s warriors while it sidles behind its chosen victim. Often times, an encephalon gorger attempts to capture rather than kill its prey, especially in the case of intelligent humanoids. Captured prey are taken to one of their alien cities, where they are handed over to the Breeders who tend the slave pits. Encephalon gorgers advance by character level; many have levels in wizard or psionic-oriented classes. At least one such gorger capable of interplanar travel is always present in any Prime Material Plane outpost.

Society

Encephalon gorgers refer to themselves as Silians, and they make their homes deep beneath the surface world or hidden far away from prying eyes (cloaked by natural occurrences such as fog or mist or hidden by magic). Underground lairs resemble great domed cities, while those on the surface resemble iron fortresses of exquisite craftsmanship. Each lair, regardless of its location, has dozens of slave pits and breeding pens filled with captured, intelligent humanoids (or other creatures). The slaves are maintained by a specialized group of Silians called the Breeders. It is their job to tend to the food supply of the city at all times and to gauge the relative worth of each and every humanoid used by the gorgers for feeding.

Encephalon gorgers sometimes trade with other races, usually trading for slaves, who are taken to the Breeders. Other slaves are kept by particular encephalon gorgers and assigned menial tasks. Once such a slave has exhausted its usefulness, it is “recycled” in the food pens so long as it isn’t dead. Dead slaves are discarded, then ground up into a bland paste that is fed to the other slaves.

Little is known of particulars regarding the gorger’s society such as reproduction, lifespan, aging patterns, and so on. A few things that are known come from a group of adventurers that saw one of the iron fortresses and lived to tell about it. They spoke of large vats filled with cranial fluid maintained by the Breeders and of young Silian being grown in these vats. They also spoke of the horrid squalor of the breeding pits and the slaves kept in them.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Tome of Horrors © 2018, Frog God Games, LLC; Authors: Kevin Baase, Erica Balsley, John “Pexx” Barnhouse, Christopher Bishop, Casey Christofferson, Jim Collura, Andrea Costantini, Jayson ‘Rocky’ Gardner, Zach Glazar, Meghan Greene, Scott Greene, Lance Hawvermale, Travis Hawvermale, Ian S. Johnston, Bill Kenower, Patrick Lawinger, Rhiannon Louve, Ian McGarty, Edwin Nagy, James Patterson, Nathan Paul, Patrick N. Pilgrim, Clark Peterson, Anthony Pryor, Greg Ragland, Robert Schwalb, G. Scott Swift, Greg A. Vaughan, and Bill Webb