Monday, October 2, 2017

The Cephasites

I am working on a Manual of Planes style post for the Cosmic Cephalopod, henceforth known as Ceph, which is the giant squid goddess that ties all of my settings together. It's looking like it's going to be a relatively big project and I'd rather not leave the blog barren for 2+ weeks just to reappear with a giant post. So I thought I would make several posts instead and end the series with a wiki-style post to compile everything in one place.

These first eleven or so posts will feature entries on the wandering monster table I'll be using for Ceph and will showcase the fauna that call her skin home.

So without further ado, allow me to introduce the cuddliest entry on the Ceph Wandering Monsters Table, the Cephasites.

Cephasites are alien mollusc-things that pepper Ceph's arms in giant mounds that look like coral reefs of scintillating colors. All cephasites have chromatophores in their skin that they use to communicate with one another and, in the worker's case, use to hunt.

Their society is broken into three castes. They are workers, soldiers, and reproducers.

A Worker (Art by Tyler Smith)
The cephasite worker is about a foot long and looks like an ant with the abdomen of a spider and the head of a cuttlefish. Its mandibles hide two tentacles, which it can launch to catch small prey or bludgeon large prey to death. The worker uses its chromatophores to change color rapidly in order to confuse prey.

Workers are the most numerous caste within a mound and their main job is to feed the soldiers and reproducers, expand and repair mounds, and hunt.

Workers are the only caste of cephasites that PCs will encounter outside of mounds.

Cephasite Workers
HD X AC Unarmored Tentacle dX Movement 40ft

Swarm - Workers hunt in swarms numbering 2d10+10. They have X hit points and roll a dX for damage rolls were X is their numbers. When a swarm takes damage their numbers are reduced by the same amount.

Mesmerize - The workers synchronize their chromatophores and unleash a rapidly changing array of colors when they hunt. Any creature that sees this color array must save versus paralyzation or act as if they had the Confusion spell cast on them until the swarm is neutralized.


The cephasite soldier caste is divided into two members. They are the walkers and floaters.

Soldiers jobs are to defend the mound from intruders.

Soldiers are only encountered inside or nearby cephasite mounds.

A Walker (Art by Tyler Smith)

The walker is about three feet tall and looks like an octopus standing with insectile arms. These are its legs and they are as sharp as daggers. Additionally it hides a sharp beak between the folds of its mantle and is capable of projectile vomiting a corrosive acid that it produces naturally.

Cephasite Soldier
HD 1 AC Leather d8 Arms d4 Beak d6 Movement 30ft

Projectile Acid d8 - If this attack misses but would have hit the target without factoring in armor, then that target's armor incurs a permanent -1 penalty due to corrosion.


A Floater (Art by Tyler Smith)

The floater is about as large as the walker and it looks like a sky cuttlefish. A hollow bone inside its mantle is filled with a light gas that allows it to float. It maneuvers with small air jets and fins that act like wings. The floater hides a sharp proboscis behind its tentacles, which it uses to dive-bomb intruders and drain their blood.

Its brain is more developed than its walker compatriot and its eyes are more acute. Therefore floaters function as a relay network for their mound, interpreting signals from one member and repeating it to another. 

Cephasite Floater
HD 1 AC Leather Proboscis d8 Fly 30ft

Dive-bomb - The floater can descend rapidly on its prey to impale it with its proboscis. This requires its full movement speed and when it does it gets +2 to both attack and damage.

Drain - If a floater successfully hits with its proboscis, it latches on to its target and drains 1hp a round.


The reproducer caste is divided into two members. They are the Kings and Queens.

The role of the reproducers is to produce more cephasites. This is accomplished by male cephasites (kings) impregnating the females (queens).

reproducers are only encountered inside mounds.

A King (Art by Tyler Smith)

A king is much smaller than his queen counterpart. He's about as big as a worker but lacks any offensive capabilities besides its large mandibles. A king is capable of releasing pheromones that compel nearby soldiers to come to its aid if it comes under attack.

Cephasite King
HP 4 AC unarmored Mandibles d6 Movement 30

Pheromones -  The king unleashes a cloud of pheromones that attract d6+4 soldiers (50% walkers 50% floaters) in a 150ft area.


A Queen without her egg sac (Art by Tyler Smith)
A queen is the largest of the cephasites at 6 foot long. She is largely immobile as she nurses her young and must rely on workers and soldiers for nourishment and protection. She is capable of accelerating her reproductive system to produce a small amount of cephasite workers. These workers usually die after a few hours.

When a queen dies she releases a cloud of pheromones that has an enraging effect on nearby cephasites.

Cephasite Queen
HD 6 AC Leather Mandibles d6 Movement 10ft 

Raging Pheromones - Upon death the queen unleashes pheromones that cause cephasites within a 150ft area to go berserk for 24 hours. Under this rage the cephasites act as if the Confuse spell was cast on them and they get +2 to both attack and damage rolls.

Rapid Reproduction - After a round of inaction the queen can produce a swarm of 2d6+8 workers. These workers die after 6 hours of life.

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