Dungeons & Dragons Online

The Glowing Horror, or How To Embrace The Mayhem

Hey everyone! I'm back with the next horror monster. The Possum was a really tough act to follow, as the Velamen was kinda dead in the water after posting, but thankfully I do not care. Hopefully you'll enjoy this next installment, and all the ones to follow!

Google Drive Version

Thanks to Thanks to TigerT20, 仮面ライダーTheG, and Bimgus in the discord for feedback.


Introduction

The mind is an interesting thing. It is a mixture of both the basest urges and the most complex thoughts and calculations running in tandem, producing a near-infinite array of unique consciousnesses to populate the world. From benevolent and wise advisors to wicked masterminds, and of course the ever-present fool, the common civilizations already hold a diverse array of personalities and intelligences. Expanding beyond the norm into the realm of beasts, constructs and otherworldly beings, the array diversifies exponentially.

However, in any mind there exists the potential for malfunction. A chemical imbalance, a traumatic experience or just a sharp blow to the head can result in a mind growing insane, completely out of its own control. Some minds may be working perfectly as intended, but with such jarringly alien values and experiences that they seem insane to the vast majority of others. Despite their differences, all of these minds would likely feel revulsed or confused when confronted with a consciousness that actively chooses to be insane, simply because it enjoys having no control over itself. The Glowing Horror does not care if it is thought of in this way, as it is too busy screaming and telekinetically hurling objects around.

Spontaneously and inexplicably appearing in a flash with a great electrical discharge, a Glowing Horror appears as an entire disembodied human nervous system bearing brain, eyes and teeth wrapped in a neon-green light. With its brilliant glow and constant frenzied shrieking, the dreadful apparition may disrupt any situation it manifests in even before it begins to use its paranormal powers. Electricity dances across the Glowing Horror, sizzling across surfaces and causing metal objects to spark and leap within the telekinetic maelstrom it unconsciously surrounds itself with. Mechanisms go out of control, liquids boil and bubble and spells threaten to overload with energy unless their casters can resist the monster’s chaos. And woe betide the poor fool that gets too close, for the creature’s nerves are highly compatible with other lifeforms and it will not hesitate to puppeteer them with agonizing psychic waves and electrical signals to the brain. However, should the targeted mind be strong enough, the Horror will find itself on the other side of the reins. It doesn’t seem to care much, though.

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So deep is the Glowing Horror’s hatred of its own sanity that it would rather destroy itself than be forced to perceive the world in a normal fashion. Nobody knows why the thing chooses to joyfully dash its own psyche to pieces even at the cost of its own power and survival, as its mad rampage is often just as harmful to it as anything else. It will even expose itself to the will of others and risk losing what little autonomy it has left, just as long as it doesn’t have to think for itself. What part of consciousness could possibly be such poison, and how is such a seemingly feeble-minded creature aware of it when the greatest scholars are not? Could it be that there is some ultimate universal truth, and that we are far better off not knowing it?


How and When to use it

The Glowing Horror is a loud, bright, weird-looking creature. It doesn’t have as specific a narrative use as some of the other monsters I’ve created, but there are still definitely some suggestions I have. First, its chaotic appearance and gameplay mechanics bring more potent feelings when triggered suddenly. Abrupt chaos is this thing's specialty, so consider a slow, methodical, mysterious buildup that gets thrown out the window the instant this screaming brain shows up and begins wreaking havoc. It's a jumpscare monster that doesn’t stop being loud and sudden after the initial fright is over, so play into its overwhelming nature. It has a decent variety of abilities, so have it constantly changing up what it's doing each round, not giving the party time to breathe. When combined with its startling appearance and near-random strategy, the players will get dragged into the complicated, frenzied mindset that the monster embodies. Ideally, the Glowing Horror is placed into a short yet intense encounter, popping in just to dump terrifying anxiety onto the players as they struggle to strategize around a sheer and total lunatic with unknown capabilities, and then finishing with a genuine sigh of relief once it's over.

Another thing to consider is how vulnerable to mental control the Glowing Horror is. It’ll almost certainly fail any INT or WIS saves that the party can throw at it, and its Brain-Jack ability can backfire on it with a well-placed crit. Also important to all of this is that the Horror isn’t specifically hostile to the party, it just has a dangerous presence and attacks at random. The thing is gleefully insane, but that can also work in the player’s favor. If they get it under their control somehow, they are now in possession of the loosest cannon there ever was, and they have no idea when or how it will go off. Of course, to the average party that will be just as thrilling and fun as it is dangerous.

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In summary, the Glowing Horror is there to flip the scripts, turn the tables, wreak havoc and just in general go apeshit wild. Have fun.


Glowing Horror

Medium Aberration, Chaotic Neutral CR: 4

AC: 10 43/43 HP Prof. Bonus: +2

Speed: 0 ft, 40 ft hover Save DC: 13

Languages: Screaming

STR: 7(-2) DEX: 14(+2) CON: 10(0) INT: 5(-3) WIS: 7(-2) CHA: 18(+4)

Saving Throws: DEX +3

Skills: Intimidation +6, Arcana -2

Senses: Perception 8

Damage Immunities: Psychic, Lightning

Damage Vulnerabilities: Acid

Luminescence: The Glowing Horror emits bright green light in a 20 ft radius around itself. All stealth or perception rolls made by any creature within this area have disadvantage.

Haywire: Whenever a creature within 50 ft of the Glowing Horror attempts to cast a spell or use a magical ability, they must pass an INT save to do so. On failing the save, the ability or spell is not triggered and instead all creatures within a 1D4x5 ft radius sphere centered on the caster take 1D6 lightning damage.

Neuro-Feedback: The Glowing Horror is not hurt by Psychic damage or Lightning damage. Instead, upon being hit by either type it heals back 1D4 HP for every 10 damage dealt, with a minimum of one roll of the D4.

Intentionally Insane: If by any means the Glowing Horror’s INT or WIS score is brought to 10 or above, it explodes instantly dealing 2D8 thunder damage to all creatures within a 30 ft radius sphere and killing itself.

Actions:

Freakish Shock: Melee weapon attack, +5 to hit, reach 5 ft. 2D6+4 lightning damage. If this attack would roll with disadvantage, the Glowing Horror may make an additional identical attack using its bonus action.

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Haywire Storm: (Recharge 5-6) All loose objects within a 60x60x60 ft cube centered on the Glowing Horror rise into the air and start moving erratically. The area is counted as difficult terrain for 3 rounds, and upon rolling a 1 or 2 on a D20 for an attack roll within the area the attacker’s weapon is wrenched loose from their hands, dealing 1D8 damage of the appropriate type as it does so. The dropped weapon is moved 5x1D4 ft in a random direction, and the wielder must move to it and pick it up using a bonus action in order to use it again.

Brain-Jack: (Recharge 6) One creature possessing a nervous system within 5 ft of the Glowing Horror takes 1D6 psychic damage, and must pass an INT save or be controlled by the Horror. This save is repeated at the start of their turn, and upon breaking free they take another 1D6 psychic damage. While controlled, the creature cannot move more than 15 ft away from the Horror, and will automatically be pulled along if it moves. Controlled creatures cannot attack the Horror, and must attempt to move between it and any hostile creatures. The Glowing Horror can use its reaction to force a controlled creature to make an attack of opportunity in its stead.

Upon rolling a critical success on the initial save, the targeted creature instead controls the Glowing Horror for the next 1D8 hours.

Reactions:

Cacophony: (2/Day) Activated in response to being targeted for an attack. All targets that can hear the Glowing Horror within 20 ft, including the Glowing Horror itself, must pass a WIS save or have disadvantage on all attack rolls until the end of their next turn.

Source

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