Sunday, February 19, 2012

B/X - Monsters as PC's - Mind Flayers

Today's Monster as PC is the utterly alien and fantastic Mind Flayer!  This would be a perfect PC to use in an evil campaign.

A few things you should know:
  1. For Psionics, I'm suggesting the use of Geoffrey McKinney's excellent system from his Carcosa supplement; it's so straightforward and easy to use.  (If you don't have it, you could come up with a psionics system of your own)
  2. Thank you, Trey, for giving me the inspiration for doing this (through reading Weird Adventures and particularly the Brain Invader!).
  3. Mind Flayers do not exist in B/X, but that shouldn't stop you.
Mind Flayer as PC

Possible Concept
Nobody knows for sure how Mind Flayers came to exist.  Are they some form of demonic spawn, or perhaps minions of some Cthulhuoid god?  Rumors abound that they are related to Brain Invaders from outer space!  If you are playing one as a PC, your goal is likely world domination – or perhaps the less ambition Mind Flayer characters may just be looking to enslave and prey upon the local cattle (umm, villagers).
Hit Dice
Ability Scores
STR -1; CON -1; INT +6; CHA -4
Armor & Weapons
Mind Flayers have a natural AC of 7 at 1st Level due to a slick, slimy secretion.  They become even more shifty and elusive as they mature, increasing their AC as follows:
·         AC 6 at 5th Level
·         AC 5 at 9th Level
Mind Flayers can still receive DEX bonuses to AC as well as use magical means (like Rings of Protection) to improve their AC.  Mind Flayers can’t use any form of armor or shield as these devices are completely alien to them.
Mind Flayers generally only attack with Psionics or Brain Extraction (or Ray Guns, if they can find one).  If hard pressed, they can wield or throw a dagger. 
Psionics: Mind Flayers are all gifted with Psionic abilities as outlined in Geoffrey McKinney’s excellent Carcosa supplement, with the following upgrades: Mind Flayers roll a d6 (instead of d4) to determine how many powers are available each day, and Mind Flayers receive one use per day, per level – which is greater than the amounts listed on the chart on page 19; Brain Extraction: Mind Flayers can attack with their tentacles (only counts as one attack); a successful hit indicates that they have latched onto the skull of their foe and will dig in to find the brain and turn it to jello!  Upon a successful hit, their opponent takes no damage in the first round but takes 1d6 damage each subsequent round.  The brain is reached in 1d4 rounds, resulting in instant death.  For large creatures, this takes 1d6 rounds..
Hate Sunlight: Mind Flayers detest sunlight and fight and defend at -2 in such light.  Additionally, their psionic abilities are penalized at -2 in sunlight. Utterly Despised:  Mind Flayers are greatly feared due to their alien and carnivorous nature; any party with a Mind Flayer receives a -3 Reaction Roll penalty.  Evil: All Mind Flayers are Chaotic, as befitting a being whose objective is to enslave the world.
Level as Magic User (e.g., 2,500XP to hit 2nd level); no XP bonuses for ability scores; Mind Flayer maximum level is 12th  
Save and combat as Magic User.
Weapon Damage
If using class-based variable weapon damage, Mind Flayers do damage as a Magic User.
Magical Abilities
The Mind Flayer PC will really only be suitable for an evil band of adventurers making their way in the underworld – or a campaign setting that is full of mystery and darkness.  Mind Flayers have no way to mask their identity as they do not employ magic spells, so ordinary towns and cities will be off limits.  The kindly DM can introduce campaign features based around a Mind Flayer’s interests, perhaps sending the PCs to explore that weird burst of light at the Barrier Peaks or spelunking at the Mountains of Madness.


  1. Good stuff. Would just need to come up with an ecology for it.

  2. Wanted to pop in and say hello. Did you draw that character? I can't tell with the little initials at the bottom?

    Happy Gaming :-)

    1. Thanks for stopping by! Your blog is a lot of fun - as is your hubby's. :)

      The image is from the Monster Manual and is by one of D&D's primary old-school illustrators - David C. Sutherland III. I didn't attribute it because it's a pretty iconic image for old-schoolers. My drawings would be a bit of a mess. :-/

  3. Wanted to pop in and say hello. Did you draw that character? I can't tell with the little initials at the bottom?
    Genting Crown