A beholder, sometimes called a sphere of many eyes or eye tyrant is a large aberration normally found in the Underdark. These large, orb-shaped beings have ten eyestalks and one central eye, each containing powerful magic. Powerful and intelligent, beholders are among the greatest threats to the world.
Beholders are immediately identifiable, essentially a floating head with one, single, cyclops-like eye surrounded by ten smaller eyestalks. Other than this, the main feature of a beholder’s anatomy is its massive, gaping maw. Because of these features, beholders are occasionally known as “spheres of many eyes” or “eye tyrants, although the latter also refers to a specific type of beholder. Because their entire body is covered in eyes, beholders have the capacity to see in all directions at once, making it nearly impossible to ambush them while also giving them an unusually high degree of perceptive ability. Additionally, beholders have the ability to perceive in even the most darkened environment, although without the capacity to see color under conditions in which a human or similar creature would be rendered blind.
Beholders are also capable of flight, in spite of their lack of wings or similar physical features, simply hovering above ground effortlessly. The effects of this flight resemble those of the wizard spell feather fall.
Beholders are not particularly strong but are inherently magical creatures, each of their eyes possessing an innately magical nature. Beholders, who often attack for seemingly no reason, will often try to end a battle as quickly as possible, unleashing their terrifying abilities all at once. Among the most basic of these attacks is their deadly ability to project magical power from their eyes, in varying forms such as instilling fear within, charming, knocking out, petrifying, disintegrating, slowing, or killing their enemies. Any combination of these is possible, although they often use only two at a given time.
Many, but not all, beholders also have the capacity to use their central eye to project a field of antimagic, which cancels the effects of all supernatural abilities within a small cone of 150 feet in length. In addition to enemy spells, prayers, or similar effects this also affects a beholder’s own eye rays, suppressing their power. However, the lack of the ability to cast its eye rays at full strength is hardly a hindrance, as turning to face its enemies in this manner also allows a beholder to attack them with its large, toothy maw.
Beholders are often found occupying deep, underground caverns. Frequently, these lairs are carved out by the beholders themselves, using their eye rays to mold the environment for their purposes. Often, these lairs are built vertically rather than horizontally like most buildings, with beholder architecture frequently exhibiting a large number of vertical shafts through which beholders and other flying creatures can use with ease, while walking creatures find their navigation hindered. Beholders worship Gzemnid.
Xenophobic yet vicious creatures, beholders are quick to attack enemies, including anyone they deem not “like themselves.” Beholders, as a rule, are violent and greedy, hungering for both wealth and power over others. This is made all the more complicated since more than one variety of beholder exists, each believing itself to be the pinnacle of bodily perfection and they view other beholders who differ from this image in even the most minute details as loathsome enemies and inferiors.
Beholder minds are divided into two separate entities. Each of these entities thinks and acts on its own accord even though it is bound to the same body as the other half of its mind. Neither half of the beholder's mind trusts the other, so they hide a lot from each other, creating a very paranoid relationship. "Sane beholders" are beholders whose minds are not "divided" so to speak. There are still two entities within the beholder, but neither hides anything from the other, making a less paranoid beholder. However, the persona of a "Sane beholder" is just as likely to be considered "insane" by anyone else as the persona of any other beholder. Because there are two entities within a single beholder, that beholder should always be recognized by its full name when in conversation with them, or they will perceive it as speaking to only one of the entities.
Life and BreedingEdit
Beholders possess both male and female reproductive organs and at the age of 30 they decide to reproduce giving birth to 3 to 6 live young. Beholders are not accepted as full adult members of Beholder society until they have reproduced so most will reproduce as soon as they get a chance. Beholders need about 10lbs of food and 2 gallons of water per day. Unlike humans a Beholder can eat a large meal and then go for days or even weeks with out food or water. Thus a Beholder that just ate a 170 pound adventurer can go for about 17 days without eating though it will still have to drink because the body didn’t have enough liquids to fit the Beholders needs.
A Beholder Mage look exactly like other beholders of it’s breed except their large central eye has been blinded, either in combat or on purpose. They can turn up to 9 of their eyestalks into spellstalks, they will NEVER turn their telekinesis eyestalk into a spellstalk. The Beholder Mages have three distinctive appearances depending on where it’s from:
- Fottsotti: These Beholders average 6 feet in diameter. Their coloration is usually a cool color -such as purple or blue- on top, graduating down to earth tones -such as brown and yellow- on the bottom. Their skin is pebbly and they have visible nostrils. They have jointed and articulated eyestalks.
Grrahaleck: These Beholders average 5 feet in diameter with wrinkled, pinkish flesh with clearly visible blue veins. Their central eye is slightly smaller and their mouth is wider than average. Their eyestalks are short and unjointed, resembling simple extrusions of the Beholders skin. The eyes at the end of the of the eyestalks are oversized. Ravonstiil: These Beholders are jet-black with metallic silver markings and their eyes look like swirling gray smoke. Their silver markings and eyes flash with light when the Beholders are angry.
Beholder Mages are accepted as special members of Beholder society. Some Beholders pity the Beholder Mages because of their blindness and some of the Beholder Mage dislike this pity while other love it. Beholder Mages tend to be more tolerant towards non-Beholders but will never be anything but violent towards Beholders of other breeds.
In spite, or perhaps because of their hatred of diversity, beholders come in a variety of forms, some of which are listed below.
- Bloodkiss beholder
- A kind of vampiric beholder that, instead of shooting rays from its eyestalks, uses them to suck its prey dry of blood. Also sometimes referred to as a Deathkiss beholder.
- Death tyrant
- Death tyrants are undead beholders akin to zombies.
- Elder orb
- These beholders are born with amazing longevity, to near-immortality.
- Ultimate eye tyrant
- An enormously powerful variant of beholder with the capacity to stun nearby enemies as well as a greater range of eye ray abilities.
- Hive mother
- Hive mothers have the ability to magically dominate other beholders.
A vast number of beholderkin exist. Not true beholders, these creatures do not share the race's xenophobia, although most are still quite evil and cruel in nature.
- Death Kiss
- This creature's eyestalks are replaced with blood-draining tentacles.
- Beholder hive shock troopers.
- Eye of the Deep
- A aquatic subspecies of beholder. It most notable physical change is it's two large clawed arms.
- An eyeball is a tiny beholderkin with four eyestalks.
- A Gauth is a subspecies of beholders specifically bred to combat spellcasters.
- A Observer is one of the most socially adept of the beholder family.
- An overseer resembles a large, fleshy tree with mouths on its trunk and eyes on its branches.
- A spectator is an extraplanar beholderkin with four eyestalks.
- A tollark is a patroller beholder mage mount.