Monster Of The Week: Nothic
Benny Jimbob Leonardo Wolfgang III was a curious boy. Carving ingots from the congealed remains of adventurers passed in the womb of gelatinous ooze, he pondered on intricacies of their deaths. He wore these trinkets like trophies; cursed fingers, lost teeth, errant tongues...and one very curious music box. They shook collected in this case, jangling to and fro like percussive reminders to never mess with a wizard...
Pulling our visions into messy arcane studies, pits flanked by dangerous ooze, and dark caverns of mystery, we rest our eye upon one of my favorite little critters in this whole game.
Sporting leathery skin and angry spikes, with claws for climbing, and a mouth often gaped, the Nothic is unnerving on its own, but its enormous, unblinking eye sets it far apart from its other cave kin. Despite its stark appearance, though, the Nothic can form rich bonds and motivations, even spilling themselves into an industry all their own.
A baleful eye peers out from the darkness, its gleam hinting at a weird intelligence and unnerving malevolence. Most times, a nothic is content to watch, weighing and analyzing the entities it encounters. Not particularly powerful, the elder evils bestowed upon the curious gothic a horrific gaze - an unblinking eye to rot the flesh from bones.
But the arcane nature and lust for knowledge has cursed the Nothic. Once wizards of their own make, their lives are twisted by the dark curse left behind by Vecna, the Whispered One. Vecna was a powerful lich who sought to transcend his undead form to godhood, and threatens to consume the material realm in his wrath.
A Nothic retains no awareness of their former glory, skulking amid the shadows in places rich in magical knowledge, their memories only strange dreams and hallucinations, twisted specters of liars and illusions. It is these memories, though, that grant them a unique magical insight to extract knowledge from the creatures they stalk. This information they may give, for a price, be it gold, magical artifacts, or secrets to be traded.
Their love of magic and obsession with artifacts drive them to infiltrate arcane sanctuaries and academies, some seeking a vague assertion that their state could be reversible, like a splinter in their mind. They covet magical script and scry, some going so far as to organize and categorize existing spaces. Some wizards even look upon the appearance of a Nothic as a blessing; a creature to keep safe their secrets in exchange for knowledge.
By The Numbers
Not prone to overt violence, the Nothic isn't built for battle. Their claws are negligible, and though they sport a decent AC (15), and a good average hit points, one can be felled by a few good rolls. That is, if you don't get caught in its Rotting Gaze first.
The iconic move can severely damage a low-level PC, and outright murder your wizard or sorcerer. And straight look at their basic numbers doesn't call into account what resources their coveted "sanctuary" may carry. A Nothic with a Blink scroll is infinitely more dangerous than one you'd find in a field, and a DM (like myself) that chooses to build upon the striated knowledge of a twisted once-wizard may find some curious surprises to spring on a low-level party.
Like I said, the Nothic uses to be a spell caster - a creature devoted to the arcane. This means that those cognitively aware enough of their own affliction would seek to remedy it. Which births Nothic alchemists and artificers, brewing elixirs and constructing shadows, seeking to silence the incessant voices of their fragmented memories.
For those who drink the ill-made elixirs, further mutations plague their forms. Orcish blood infuses their body with resistance; devilish magic turns their blood to smoke, their steps to shadow; Fey magic infuses the spines and spurs with wild magic that explodes with their emotions.
On the other side, the unhinged artifice breathes new terrifying life into their visage. An extra set of arms of offset their twitchy nature; electric infusers to inject them with strange mutagens, all the better to defend their workshop from intruders. If you were driven to mad industry to silence the voices in your head, what would you make?
See you at the table.
Easy setup. The lady in my life asked for a drink, and found this recipe on Pinterest...
So we tested it out.
The Recipe according to the internet:
5 oz Silver Tequila
2 oz Blueberry Liqueur
4 oz Lime Juice
2 oz Triple Sec
2 cups of Frozen Blueberries
1 cup of Ice
*Toss it all in a blender, churn it up, and pray. Makes 3-4 servings.
+ ...this is...a rough sipper.
+ The lime is a bit too much here. Lime is supposed to elevate the Tequila's iconic bite, but something in here makes it a weird soup.
+ Triple Sec is a decent thing, but it can't do much against the blueberry mash.
+ There's a drink here, but it seems confused.
+ I disagree with the silver tequila.
In case it wasn't obvious, this did not succeed.
So, I fixed it.
4 oz GOLD Tequila (might I suggest Patron)
2 oz Blueberry Liqueur
2 oz Lime Juice (sweetened)
1 oz Dry Curacao
1 oz Sweet and Sour Mix
*Throw into a shaker with a few ice cubes, shake the hell out of it, and strain into two glasses.
+ Lovely and boozy.
+ Dry Curacao is a beautiful replacement for Triple Sec that maintains its flavor without overpowering, and you don't need as much for the same effect.
+ Sweet and Sour with the Blueberry Liqueur creates that "blueberry juice" sense that the original was going for, and true that there's no fruit in this, but isn't better to taste good anyway?
The shaker is better than the blender. It's a concentrated dose, so we're making and drinking less, BUT it's stronger, so take it with some food.
Enjoy your blueberries, and happy new year.
(for more recipes, fiction, and content, visit my Patreon)
Professional Game Master musician, music teacher, game designer, amateur bartender, and aspiring fiction author.
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