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Month Index: October, 1996


From:     TLHawkins@???.com
Date:     Sun, 20 Oct 1996 19:27:01 -0400
Subject:  Re: Astromundi Cluster: Eye-Sore
I have always considered beholders too powerful an opponent to confront
players with in an adversarial situation.  Yet their intelligence presents
tremendus role-playing potental in the right setting.  The following is a
setting where that potential could be realized.

Eye-Sore
Type: Sphere , earth
Size: (B) 72 (roughly) miles diameter
Population: 250
Primary Inhabitants: Beholders 20%, Slaves (various races) 35%, Beholder-kin
45%.
Exports: Art, Food (Fungi), Minor Magic, Gems, Crystals, Brain Pate' (an
illithid luxuary)
Imports: Slaves, Food (small mammals), Raw Materials
     Seen From Orbit: Grrk'eggrrk-Zohr (or Eye-Sore as most non-beholders
call it) is a spherical rock that has been sculpted to resemble a beholder
Hive Mother.  The Mouth is a gigantic cavern complete with guest spelljammer
slips, dry docks and repair stations.  It can accommodate any type of ship
under 65 tons regardless of landing requirements.  The main eye is a shinney
surface with the disturbing ability to blink at approaching ships (a clever
permanent illusion that responds to approaching large bodies).  The ten other
"eyes" end in
glassteel domes over large mall-like galleries.  Located near the Grim
Regions of the Inner Ring (but outside the actual asteroid belt),
Grrk'eggrrk-Zohr enjoys a peaceful (as is possible for a beholder Hive)
coexsitance with its neighbers.  Relations with Deyomad are strained but
not openly hostile since the beholders of Grrk'eggrrk-Zohr are of the same
true breed beholder race.
     Description: One of the more creative beholder Hive-Cities,
Grrk'eggrrk-Zohr has prospered by following the neogis' example of
"bargaining instead of biting".  Although they still consider all other races
(including other beholder races) as inferior, they gain tremendous
ego strokes by selling their art to the "lesser" races.  Most customers come
for the infromation or minor magic and buy the art as a side-line to keep the
beholders happy.  Some neogi, illithids, Antilans, drow and an occasional
arcane or reigar consider the art to be worthy and actually purchase it for
its own sake.  They gem and crystal embellished pieces
are by far the best sellers.  Most other races find most of the artwork to be
distrubing and horrific.
     Perhaps the most unusual feature of Grrk'eggrrk-Zohr the habit of the
local beholders to have personal attendant slaves (charmed into willing
servitude), of which no two are of the same species.  Each beholder likes to
be "unique" and so there is only one representative of
any given race among the charmed slave population.  This can be a problem for
visitors of a race that is new to the beholders, as beholders without an
attendant will greatly desire their "employment".  Races that are common,
especially natives of the cluster, have little for fear
in the from of a "job opening".
     Of all the "art" produced in the city, the most spectacular is the
Bombardment.  A beholder uses its eyebeams to create a complex light show
against a flat surface.  Crystals and prisms enhance the display and the
beholder mages have produced lenses that allow the performers to rapidly
change colors and effects.  The Grand
Bombardment which is held once a year consists of the cities master
performers working in concert.  If held in the upper domed galleries, the
concert of lights can be seen from space and is both breath-taking and eerie.
 Of concern to outside races is the lenses used by these performers.  It has
been noted that these minor magical items
can change or alter the function of a beholders eye stacks.  This presents an
unknown, yet possible danger as the beholder-mages improve on their
craftsmanship.
          Grrk'eggrrk-Zohr is governed by Zuovn'uth'eltszhl, a Hive Mother
who enjoys nothing more than flattery.  She however tires of it from the same
individuals over time, so more than a few kind words will not go far in her
presence.  She is a shrewd schemer and runs an information trade in the
shadows of the "gallery shows",  which tends to bring in
even more customers.  Only a selected few know her true plans and then never
all of them.
     Common beholders are the noble "artists"of the Hive-City.   There are
dozens of true beholders in the population and many beholder-kin.
 Zuovn'uth'eltszhl is assisted by four beholder mages and Ngreazg'phod, an
Elder Orb (with psionic abilities).  Little goes on in the city that
Ngreazg'phod is not aware of.  Charmed spies even reside in cities or
communities of other races.  How a Hive Mother and an Elder Orb can co-exist
in the same lair is unknown and contrary to all known beholder behavior
patterns.  The elves and illithids (agree for once) that one secretly
controls the other and presents an image of cooperation to the constant
stream of buyers and visitors.
      Grrk'eggrrk-Zohr is guarded/patrolled by groups of 1d4 mounted
Directors with 2d6 lensmen troop.  Any non-citizen found wandering without an
escort is attacked on site.  Zuovn'uth'eltszhl is also attended by about ten
examiners.  They are living storehouses of knowledge about the cluster, its
history and art.  Overseerers lurk in alcoves and remote corners of the city,
making infiltration by outsiders almost impossible.  Orbis are kept in a
secured section of the city due to their importance to the rest of the
Hive-City.  Many visitors will usually be present viewing the displays and
engaging in covert information trade.
     Adventure hooks:  There are few places in the cluster where more
important or interesting "gossip" can be heard.  The bombardment performances
are usually followed by a mixing of the patrons and those seeking to acquire
or sell information have a ready market.  How accurate that information might
be is another matter, but even the Elves have visited on occasion to discover
their enemies plans.  Racial hostilities must be put aside or the cities
Directors are called in.  The inhabitents have a flare for the dramatic and a
staged duel makes a
welcomed diversion.  Also, beholder artists are often scheming to eliminate
or discredit their rivals.  Enveloping outsiders in these petty revenge plots
is not an uncommon thing.
     The Antilans have a great interest in the recent magical lens
technology.  They are planting rumors that another Beholder Hive-City has
begun creating various art works and intends to rival Grrk'eggrrk- Zohr.
 Should this ruse work and Zuovn'uth'eltszhl decide to act upon it, an
all-out beholder war will erupt in the region again.  If the players should
find out the Antilans plans, they would be faced with a choice of allowing
the war to occur or exposing it and have Zuovn'uth'eltszhl owe them a great
favor.
     Should  any group be bold enought to capture and extract the information
from one of Zuovn'uth'eltszhls' examiners, there is not telling what kind of
knowledge can be found.  This would would of course bring the wrath of the
Hive-City down upon the offenders shoud the be discovered.  Keep in mind that
the beholders are still evil, paranoid, and increadible egomaniacs.
     Sources/Reference Material:  AD&D Monstrous Arcana: I, Tyrant  (although
not all of the material in that work has been strictly adhered to)


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