This is part of my ongoing series on the Shattered World setting, which contains pieces you can drop into your own game. Time for a different take on the legendary D&D monster, the Illithid/Mind Flayer. What if Mind Flayers were all working for somebody?
A brain squid is a semi-intelligent humanoid that stands about five feet tall, with a bald-head, pupil-less eyes, and tentacles for a mouth. Unless they are badly hurt, they can change their entire appearance at will to look like any humanoid of the same height and basic body shape.
A brain squid can talk and behave like a normal person, typically by mimicking a humanoid that the brain squid has eaten. However, the greater the distance between a brain squid and its ashoka master, the more erratic its behavior, and the more likely it can be broken from its master’s control. A broken brain squid is an exceedingly dangerous and exceedingly valuable thing.
Brain squids feed off of mental anguish, which tastes sweetest from a brain being devoured whole and alive. This is the brain squid’s favorite pastime: sending thralls to capture a humaoind—particularly a child—and slicing open its skull so the squid can feast off the living brain.
Brain squids normally act alone, with a handful of thralls as support. A brain squid may spend months on the surface world, maintaining only a tenuous mental link back to its master. During this time, the brain squid will manipulate people and events towards its mater’s ends.
Mating and Young
Brain squids are created by ashoka in horrid, roiling vats deep beneath the ocean’s surface. The brain squids leave these vats full-formed, though they need about a month to physically and mentally “set.” This is the period in which they form their connection to their ashoka master, and always stay within sight of the ashoka.
Apparently, ashoka have never completely stabilized brain squids’ physical bodies. If a brain squid spends more than a year away from its ashoka master, it will begin to decompose, turning into a mindless slime monster. Even the best-maintained brain squid will only last twenty years or so. Its ashoka master quickly retracts its telepathic link from such decomposing brain squids, creating more gelatinous slimes.