Neh-Thalggu (CR 26)
AC: 35 (-2 size, +4 Dex, +3 deflection, +20 insight), touch 35, flat-footed 11
Hit Dice: 32d8+192 (336 hp); DR: 10/epic
Fort +16, Ref +14, Will +23
Speed: Fly 60 ft. (perfect)
Space: 15 ft./10 ft.
Base Attack +24; Grapple -
Attack: Bite +26 melee, 10 head-tentacles +21 melee touch attack
Full Attack: Bite +26 melee, 10 head-tentacles +21 melee touch attack
Damage: Bite 4d10 + 12 plus poison, head-tentacles 2d10 plus ability drain
Special Attacks/Actions: Extract brains (ranged attack), poison, spells
Abilities: Str -, Dex 19, Con 22, Int 20, Wis 20, Cha 17
Special Qualities: Dimensional travel, incorporeal traits, amorphous physiology, manifest maw, SR 30
Feats: Blind-fight; Combat Reflexes; Dodge; Eschew Materials; Combat Expertise; Improved Initiative; Maximize Spell; Mobility; Power Attack; Spring Attack
Epic Feats: Superior Initiative
Skills: Concentration +41, Hide +39, Knowledge (arcana, Move Silently +39, Search +40, Spellcraft +40, and the planes) +40
Advancement: 33-66 HD (Gargantuan); 67-112 HD (Colossal)
Organization: Solitary or troupe (1 neh-thalggu and 2d4 illithids) or pairbond (1 neh-thalggu and 1 paragon illithid)
Treasure/Possessions: Triple standard
Epic Level Handbook
A creature whose brain has been harvested by a brain collector cannot be raised, reincarnated, or resurrected while the brain is in the creature, because the collector preserves and draws upon the soul and basic personality of the creature for as long as it retains the brain. Neh-thalggus' own language is a silent sign language “spoken” with their writhing head-tentacles. They can also communicate telepathically with any creature that has a language within 100 feet.
A neh-thalggu's natural weapons are treated as epic for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.
Poison (Ex): A neh-thalggu's bite injects a debilitating poison (DC 32) that damages the victim's Constitution. He or she loses half his or her current Constitution immediately on a failed save and must save again 1 minute later or lose half of his or her remaining Constitution. If the character survives, he or she heals the ability damage at the normal rate (1 point per day). The save DC is Constitution-based.
Head-Tentacles (Ex): The long, whiplike tentacles that frame either side of a brain collector's face can deliver a dangerous touch attack that, if successful, causes the target to dehydrate and wither (2d10 points of desiccation damage). In addition, each successful tentacle attack drains 1 point of Strength, 1 point of Dexterity, and 1 point of Constitution. This is permanent ability drain and may only be reversed by spells such as restoration and greater restoration. It can bring all ten tentacles to bear on a single target facing it or divide its attacks against up to ten targets that it threatens.
Extract Brains (Sp): Once every 1d4 rounds, as a full-round action, a brain collector can extract the brain from a target creature in line of sight. This attack is psionic in nature and can be blocked by a dimensional anchor currently in force on the target. The target gets a Will save (DC 31) to resist the extraction. The save DC is Intelligence-based. If the save fails, his or her brain is drawn out intact through the skull by extradimensional means and sucked up by the brain collector, lodging in an unused storage sac above and behind its eyes. If the save succeeds, he or she takes 9d6 points of damage and is stunned for 1d4+1 rounds. A brain collector prefers to absorb brains of high-level arcane spellcasters but is fully capable of extracting those of other foes as a highly effective attack. When encountered, assume a neh-thalggu has a full retinue of thirteen stolen brains. Each brain less than the full thirteen bestows one negative level on the neh-thalggu (though these never convert to actual level loss), which is a powerful incentive for the creature to always keep its brain-sacs filled. A neh-thalggu is free to draw on all the Knowledge skills of each brain it currently stores, using the base ranks in a skill possessed by each brain, and adjusted by the neh-thalggu's own skill modifiers for the Knowledge skill in question (or its Intelligence modifier, for a skill it has no ranks in).
Dimensional Travel (Sp): A brain collector's preferred method of locomotion is via dimension door, which it can do as a quickened action, once per round. It can also use greater teleport or plane shift at will as a move-equivalent action.
Spells (Sp): A fully grown brain collector can cast arcane spells as a 13th-level sorcerer (one level of spell-casting ability per brain).
Incorporeal: A neh-thalggu is not wholly in our reality but always remains partially extradimensional. Thus it can be harmed only by other incorporeal creatures, +1 or better weapons, magic, or psionics, with a 50% chance to ignore any damage from a corporeal source. It can pass through solid objects at will, and its own attacks pass through armor (except for its bite attack, which is treated as if a corporeal attack). It always moves silently unless it chooses otherwise.
Amorphous Physiology (Ex): A brain collector does not have fixed organs. As such, it is immune to critical hits, death from massive damage, sneak attacks, and coup de grace.
Manifest Maw: Though it is an incorporeal creature, a neh-thalggu can manifest its mouth in corporeal form as a standard action. While so manifested, the mouth can deliver bite attacks against corporeal creatures or pick up objects. The mouth bites as if it had Str 35.
Feats: A neh-thalggu gains Power Attack as a bonus feat, even though it has no Strength score.
A subtype applied to any creature when it is on a plane other than its native plane. A creature that travels the planes can gain or lose this subtype as it goes from plane to plane. This book assumes that encounters with creatures take place on the Material Plane, and every creature whose native plane is not the Material Plane has the extraplanar subtype (but would not have when on its home plane). An extraplanar creatures usually has a home plane mentioned in its description. These home planes are taken from the Great Wheel cosmology of the D&D game (see Chapter 5 of the Dungeon Master's Guide). If your campaign uses a different cosmology, you will need to assign different home planes to extraplanar creatures.
Creatures not labeled as extraplanar are natives of the Material Plane, and they gain the extraplanar subtype if they leave the Material Plane. No creature has the extraplanar subtype when it is on a transitive plane; the transitive planes in the D&D cosmology are the Astral Plane, the Ethereal Plane, and the Plane of Shadow.
Some creatures are incorporeal by nature, while others (such as those that become ghosts) can acquire the incorporeal subtype. An incorporeal creature has no physical body. It can be harmed only by other incorporeal creatures, magic weapons or creatures that strike as magic weapons, and spells, spell-like abilities, or supernatural abilities. It has immunity to all nonmagical attack forms. Even when hit by spells, including touch spells or magic weapons, it has a 50% chance to ignore any damage from a corporeal source (except for positive energy, negative energy, force effects such as magic missile, or attacks made with ghost touch weapons). Non-damaging spell attacks affect incorporeal creatures normally unless they require corporeal targets to function (such as the spell implosion) or they create a corporeal effect that incorporeal creatures would normally ignore (such as a web or wall of stone spell). Although it is not a magical attack, a hit with holy water has a 50% chance of affecting an incorporeal undead creature.
An incorporeal creature's natural weapons affect both in incorporeal and corporeal targets, and pass through (ignore) corporeal natural armor, armor, and shields, although deflection bonuses and force effects (such as mage armor) work normally against it. Attacks made by an incorporeal creature with a nonmagical melee weapon have no effect on corporeal targets, and any melee attack an incorporeal creature makes with a magic weapon against a corporeal target has a 50% miss chance except for attacks it makes with a ghost touch weapon, which are made normally (no miss chance).
Any equipment worn or carried by an incorporeal creature is also incorporeal as long as it remains in the creature's possession. An object that the creature relinquishes loses its incorporeal quality (and the creature loses the ability to manipulate the object). If an incorporeal creature uses a thrown weapon or a ranged weapon, the projectile becomes corporeal as soon as it is fired and can affect a corporeal target normally (no miss chance). Magic items possessed by an incorporeal creature work normally with respect to their effects on the creature or another target. Similarly, spells cast by an incorporeal creature affect corporeal creatures normally.
An incorporeal creature has no natural armor bonus but has a deflection bonus equal to its Charisma bonus (always at least +1, even if the creature's Charisma score does not normally provide a bonus).
An incorporeal creature can enter or pass through solid object but must remain adjacent to the object's exterior, and so cannot pass entirely through an object whose space is larger than its own. It can sense the presence of creatures or objects a square adjacent to its current location, but enemies have total concealment from an incorporeal creature that is inside an object. In order to see clearly and attack normally, a incorporeal creature must emerge. An incorporeal creature inside an object has total cover, but when it attacks a creature outside the object it only has cover, so a creature outside with a readied action could strike at it as it attacks. An incorporeal creature cannot pass through a force effect.
Incorporeal creatures pass through and operate in water as easily as they do in air. Incorporeal creatures cannot fall or take falling damage. Incorporeal creature cannot make trip or grapple attacks against corporeal creatures, nor can they be tripped or grappled by such creatures. In fact, they cannot take any physical action that would move or manipulate a corporeal being or its equipment, nor are they subject to such actions. Incorporeal creatures have no weight and do not set off traps that are triggered by weight.
An incorporeal creature moves silently and cannot be heard with Listen checks if it doesn't wish to be. It has no Strength score, so its Dexterity modifier applies to both its melee attacks and its ranged attacks. Non-visual senses, such as scent and blindsight, are either ineffective or only partly effective with regard to incorporeal creatures. Incorporeal creatures have an innate sense of direction and can move at full speed even when they cannot see.