Adjusting Behavior by Party Level
Lord Blot treats potential guests differently depending on their level.
It doesn’t, of course, know what a level is, but it collects a lot of intelligence and makes fleeting telepathic contact with subjects, trained hawks that its servants release into the sky above its domain, and other servants up to a mile away.
Once alerted about intruders, Lord Blot casts nondetection on itself, then burrows to a position ahead of the party and 100 feet below the surface, where it casts major image to create an illusion of a massive undead giant that erupts from the earth, brandishing a tree in its rotting fist. The false giant does not attack, but threatens, menaces, and moves to cut off anyone trying to approach Lord Blot’s ruins.
Relying on its tremorsense (Blot can read the vibrations of any medium around it with alarming accuracy, gaining information from every particle it devours), the sphere directs the actions of the false giant, which, to any observers making a DC 15 Intelligence check, will appear to be guided more by sound than by sight.
As part of the illusion, Blot has the false giant turn to fog whenever it is attacked–as it does so, weapons and spells pass through it without causing harm. Although this fact may puzzle observers, any character making an Intelligence (Investigation) against DC 22 realizes the creature is an illusion. If the party instead tries to parlay with the giant, they discover that it can only make feeble rasping sounds (also illusory), apparently due to its lack of flesh. Moreover, it does not respond in any way to the Giant tongue. (Lord Blot doesn’t speak Giant.) It will, however, respond to any of the languages that Lord Blot knows, and Blot may use the illusory giant as a mouthpiece on such an occasion.
Through its own observations and the observations of a telepathically-linked hawk above the field, Lord Blot can often estimate the danger that the party might pose to it. It knows roughly how powerful a creature must be to cast a particular spell and knows what other spells it might be able to cast, once it has that benchmark. A clever party that holds back on its capabilities might fool Lord Blot, at the GM’s discretion. A party that talks to the giant instead of trying to destroy it likely earns an audience with the sphere, though conditions for that meeting may vary as indicated below.
If it has any doubts after the false-giant encounter, Lord Blot makes savvy use of its at-will divination abilities. Although clairvoyance, detect magic, and detect thoughts are all concentration effects, so that Lord Blot cannot use more than one at a time, it uses these powers and its tremorsense to spy on the surface-dwellers from its tunnels in the rock below. The sphere passes within 30 feet of visitors to scan them with detect thoughts, focusing its mind-reading on those who seem to glow most brightly under detect magic. It can, from this range, generally “hear” anything that party members say aloud, as well. If it detects hostile plans (by voice or thought) and the means to carry them out (e.g., portable holes, cubic gates), it flees, but it remembers who seemed to pose a threat and makes plans to deal with them through intermediaries.
The rest of this section describes Lord Blot’s general attitudes toward parties of particular levels. These are just guidelines, and the party’s approach to Lord Blot’s lair can modify the results if it gives Lord Blot reasons to behave differently.
Lord Blot has little to gain through conversation with low-level characters who know little and pose no threat. Hence, parties below 8th level find it reluctant to communicate. It mentally commands subordinates to chase uninteresting (i.e., low-level) intruders off its grounds. Should low-level PCs persevere and enter its lair, they hear a telepathic voice from the pit command them to leave its presence or forfeit their lives. If they refuse to leave, it attempts to drive them off, starting by casting antipathy or eyebite (fear). In such an encounter, it is reluctant to show itself, kills only incidentally, and has little interest in pursuit.
If a low-level party does have useful lore (books or prisoners to sacrifice to the pit), if the party has an interesting question, and if the party can somehow make these facts known, then Lord Blot might accept a sacrifice in exchange for an answer. Convincing, well-thought-out arguments persuade Lord Blot to answer a question in exchange for an errand or favor, if the PC succeeds at a DC 20 Intelligence (Persuasion) check. (If one intelligent character comes up with the proposal and then has the most persuasive party member deliver it, then the check may be made with the Intelligence of the first character and the Persuasion skill proficiency of the second.)
Lord Blot is most inclined to meet parties it estimates at between levels 9 to 12, taking only moderate precautions with such groups. Although such groups have the ability to escape Lord Blot (by casting antimagic shell on it and then running away, or similar evasions), they are unlikely to pose it much danger. Because they are far more likely at these levels to be facing enemies of interest to the sphere, its information is much more likely to be relevant to their needs, and their knowledge is much more likely to be of interest to Lord Blot.
Parties of 13th to 16th level may not have regular access to gate yet, and are thus treated much like adventurers between levels 9 and 12. However, because they may have items that might pose a threat or might soon reach levels at which they are threatening, Lord Blot takes more precautions with them, and, once aware of their power, begins to make contingency plans in case they ever attack. If executed, such plans often reveal cunning and patience, aiming at the weaknesses, desires, or fears of the party members, and often designed to drive wedges between friends.
Parties of 17th level and higher are powerful enough to pose a real threat to Lord Blot. Unless the PCs take deliberate pains to conceal their power, Lord Blot recognizes how much of a threat they pose before it ever meets with them. If such a party offers valuable lore and has a nonviolent history with Lord Blot, a DC 20 Intelligence (Persuade) check can entice the sphere into a cautious meeting, but it will probably want to schedule that meeting on grounds it can use as a weapon (see below), away from home, at a time of its choosing, and with its own allies or reinforcements on hand.
Next page: Lord Blot (stat block)