My players will soon be traveling in the vicinity of Langitheath in Ustalav, which sports the following delightful little blurb in Rule of Fear:
Thirty years ago, when the Loslimor family sold their rural estate, the manor and its 900 acres passed hands several times in quick succession before being forgotten by any single landowner. Left with no lord or income, the dozens of peasant families occupying the land gradually drifted away, abandoning the estate—or so most believe. Every spring, new rows of flax grow in spiraling fields surrounding Langitheath, interrupted by vast runes or circles of flattened plants. Some travelers tell stories of passing near the estate and seeing small figures capering amid the fields, or of encountering strange children with eyes as cold and blue as flax flowers.
Based on this description, I'd like to set up an encounter in the vein of Children of the Corn / Village of the Damned / Midwich Cuckoos, with creepy hive-mind children slowly drawing the PCs in, overpowering them with psychic magic, and then sacrificing them to the Flaxen Man idol in the center of town, something like that.
Does anyone have suggestions for a creature that would fit that idiom? Or something close, that I could reskin?
If you substitute rapeseed, or alfalfa for the flax you could make them beekeepers and have some encounters with bee swarms. Perhaps have them command the bees. Perhaps even have some encounters with the Thriae.
Not a bad idea, but the players already went through some bee-themed encounters several sessions ago; I don't want to retread old ground.
I'm thinking I just might reskin the dark empath from Occult Bestiary and give them a <i>suggestion</i> supernatural ability to replace the explodes-on-death power.
This is intended to be a minor, along-the-route-to-somewhere-else sort of encounter, so I'm okay with there not being an actual boss monster behind it all. Just being forced to hack their way through and/or flee from a crowd of psycho hive-mind children will be disturbing enough for my players.
Here's my shot at a Midwich-Cuckoo-style monster. Based on the dark empath from Occult Bestiary. I'm not enough of a monster-builder to know whether I should adjust its CR or not.
Flaxen Child CR 2
CN Small humanoid (human)
Init +4; Senses Perception +9
AC 16, touch 16, flat-footed 11 (+4 Dex, +1 size, +1 dodge)
hp 19 (3d8+6)
Fort +3, Ref +7, Will +3
Speed 30 ft.
Special Attacks paranoid suggestion
Psychic Magic (CL 3rd; concentration +5)
4 PE—mind thrust I (1 PE, DC 13), paranoia (1 PE, DC 13), suggestion (1 PE, DC 13), thought echo (1 PE, DC 13)
Str 9, Dex 19, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 15
Base Atk +2; CMB +0; CMD 15
Feats Empath, Dodge
Skills Bluff +5, Perception +5, Stealth +9
SQ gestalt empath
Gestalt Empath (Su)
Flaxen children are especially dangerous in groups, where their psychic powers can build off one another and magnify their effects. Whenever a flaxen child uses one of its psychic magic abilities, any flaxen child within a 30' radius can contribute a point of psychic energy from its own store as an immediate action. Each extra point of PE contributed raises the save DC of the original child's psychic magic by 1.
Paranoid Suggestion (Sp)
Anyone currently under the influence of a flaxen child's paranoia ability suffers a -2 penalty to saving throws against any flaxen child's (not just the one that cast paranoia) suggestion ability.