“C’mon down to Nothic’s Used Adventuring Gear Emporium! Only small amounts of blood on any one item!”
This abberation is one ugly motherfucker, as Arnold would put it. The Nothic is a result of a wizard who goes far too into knowledge and becomes cursed by the Lich Vecna. They have a single horrifying cyclopian eye, and several unique talents, such as incredible insight and a rotting gaze. Some would think them cousins to the Beholders, just judging by looks, but this is definitively untrue. They have much more in common with the undead, given their curse and the nature of it.
The first Nothic was introduced in 3rd Edition, and boy oh boy is it just… something.
A face that only Vecna could love, if that. While the Nothic can only speak the Undercommon language normally, there are sources that have the Nothic speak in a telepathic sense. This is pretty thematic, and in my opinion, adds to the disturbing and intrusive quality of the monster. They’re designed to unease somebody with the way they move, the way they act, and the way they look. Why not also unease them with how they talk to people?
Nothic’s smell like nothing. This is by design, as they are sneaky and hidden little buggers, too much of a smell would make them easier to find. The smell around a Nothic nest however is usually one of their last meal: of children or animals, rotting and oozing, licked clean off the rocks used to break them open. Unrelated, but a Nothic itself usually tastes like fairly dry chicken. Spices and Broth are recommended.
Despite the heavy stenches, when you see a Nothic, or it’s space, it’s usually hard to focus on the nest. The huge hypnotic eye draws your focus towards the Nothic itself, and you never want to look away again for it’s plans could be evil and you wouldn’t want to turn your back to it. In order to keep the eye interesting, the skin and claws of a Nothic are dark in color and smooth without interesting patterns. This is to keep the eye the most distracting part so that creatures become entrapped.
While it crawls, it uses a mixture of quick and slow movements, which gives it’s crawling and gesturing an eerie stop-motion effect. Like there is a strobe light flashing at it and you are only seeing every other movement. This is not the case though, and is just more intimidation and distraction methods at work.
While it speaks, you’ll feel the slimy growls and chattering in your head as a half-sound, half-feeling. It’s like the creature itself is crawling around inside your brain, plucking out your secrets and thoughts as tasty morsels to munch on. It’s just further mind games and distractions. The more a Nothic does this, the more it controls the situation, and even the most resolute paladin has a hard time being affected by it all.
The truest feeling of a fight with a Nothic however is the horrible pain of it’s Rotting Gaze. Suddenly, you feel your arm start to numb and you look down as the skin starts to dry and flake off. Then as it continues, your arm darkens and dies, the flesh sloughing right off the bone and beginning to tear apart at the elbow. It’s mostly in your head, but you’re still losing some flesh off that arm, and it’s excruciating as it rots.
These are the trials you must face if you encounter and discuss things with a Nothic. It is a creature that owns all conversations it takes part in, because it is in many ways the ultimate intimidator.
The Nothic nests and homes are simple caverns to sleep in for the night. Otherwise, the Nothic will, in a way, haunt their old wizardly towers or favorite locations, out of habit. This can include dark towers, ancient dungeons, labyrinthine caves, and even pocket worlds or personal planes of existence.
When fighting a Nothic, or speaking with one, it will do it’s best to distract you, trick you, or run. These are rarely brave creatures, and do their best to win without needing to fight at all. You will more than likely have to hunt it down, or entrap it.
The surprisingly clean and small caverns and nests of a Nothic are sparse of things with value. The Nothic trades in secrets, and wields them as weapons, becoming a duelist with words, and a great one at that. It’s material possessions are usually food, and not long for this world, as its hunger is a constant.
On the simple occasion that a Nothic does have a magical item, it will be one that can cause a huge amount of trouble, such as a Deck of Many Things or a Book of Vile Darkness. These are incredibly powerful and tricky magic items, and would wildly increase the CR of the encounter the Nothic is apart of, so keep that in mind. But there is a dark fun in handing a smaller CR creature a powerful set of items, just to see how long it can last.
No matter what the situation, an encounter with a Nothic is a really disturbing one. They will attempt to make deals, they will attempt to win with fear, and they will attempt to run.
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Image Sources: Wizards of the Coast
Roll a D20 to see what the Nothic wants you to give it in exchange for dark secrets.
2: Jars of colored ink.
3: Old ceramic mugs.
4: The ashes of spell scrolls.
5: Hairless Cats.
6: Trapped Ghosts.
7: Magic Wands.
8: Preserved Brains.
9: Two fingers.
10: Unfinished Maps.
11: Tears collected in a metal bottle.
12: Wooden Toys.
13: Porcelain Dolls.
14: Glass Eyes.
15: Burned Books.
16: A large piece of coal .
17: A colorful strip of silk.
18: A small clay figurine.
19: A dark metal bust.
20: A lost key.