These two creatures are coming up shortly in my group’s Iron Gods campaign…
Creatures out of nightmares, chokers hunt quietly in the darkness, preferring to bring down individual prey when possible. They are small, no larger than a halfling, but their arms, legs, and fingers are disproportionately long and often twitch so quickly that they seem blurry.
Dwellers in Darkness. Little more intelligent than animals, chokers are often confused and fascinated by the habits and customs of civilized creatures, and will lurk for days in dark places, watching humans and other settled races go about their daily lives. When alone in a house, chokers try to touch everything in sight, moving objects around or secreting away small items that seem important. A choker can hide in an attic or an eve for days, sewing fear and mistrust within a house until they choose to stop playing and devour their prey. They subsist solely on the flesh and blood of living creatures, and prefer those with some measure of intelligence.
Bringers of Silence. Perhaps the most frightening aspect of fighting with a choker, however, is their ability to steal a creature’s voice with a touch. As they rarely speak, themselves, they little understand why voices are do important, but they know well enough that losing one is terrifying, particularly for magic-users.
Cowardly Hunters. While chokers can hunt prey of any size, they prefer to pull small or smaller creatures into the darkness and feed on them. As such, they enjoy hunting halflings, gnomes, and children from larger races. They will rarely attack someone holding a weapon, preferring to watch and wait for an opportunity to strike when the target is sleeping or unawares. If truly roused to anger, a choker will leave an armed target alone and hunt its family, instead.
Small aberration, chaotic evil
Armor Class 13
Hit Points 31 (7d6 + 7)
Speed 20 ft., climb 10 ft.
STR 16 (+3) DEX 14 (+2) CON 13 (+1) INT 4 (-3) WIS 13 (+1) CHA 7 (-2)
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception +13
Languages: Undercommon, Aklo
Challenge 2 (450 xp)
Cunning Action. On each of its turns, the choker can use a bonus action to take the Dash, Disengage, or Hide action.
Multiattack. The choker can make two tentacle attacks, unless it is currently restraining a target.
Tentacle. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, 10 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6 + 3) bludgeoning damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC 15). Until this grapple ends, the creature is restrained and can neither speak nor cast spells. The choker can restrain no more than two creatures in this way.
Called the rhu-chalik among its own people, the void wanderer travels the cosmos as advance scouts for dark masters that live in the spaces between the stars. Millions of these diminutive tentacled aberrations are birthed every hour and flung into the universe to seek out planets that are ripe for colonization. They can move through the void of space, whose airless cold is harmless to them, but often prefer to find interstellar ships and feed on the crew as it ship ferries its deadly, hidden cargo.
Silent Stalkers. Living invisibly among a population for decades, void wanderers wait for a society to cover a plant and advance technologically until they are almost space-faring before the summon their masters’ fleets. During this time, they prey on individuals of every species and every kind of creature, wearing them down until they enter a fitful sleep, at which time the void wanderer duplicates their consciousness and transmits it across the depths of space for some unknown purpose. The leaders and the lowly alike are copied in this way.
Immortal Hunters. As long as its eye remains intact in its gel-like casing, the void wanderer can never be truly killed. It will always regenerate. Because the void wanderer’s body and eye are so flexible, a creature must choose to attack the eye, specifically, to do damage to it. Any attack or effect that blinds the void wanderer will prevent its regeneration, as well. Void wanderers prefer to avoid direct combat, however, choosing instead to attack creatures while they sleep, inflicting increasing degrees of exhaustion until a creature is unable to fight back.
Connoisseurs of Pain. The void wanderer’s pain touch can deliver various kinds of pain, from the feeling of freezing to the feeling of being stabbed, and void wanderers often administer multiple types of pain to the same creature, to see how it will react. When they have the opportunity to share memories with a creature, they often choose an emotionally painful one, to administer yet another variety of agony.
Small aberration, chaotic evil
Armor Class 15
Hit Points 75 (10d6 + 40)
Speed 5 ft., fly 60 ft.
STR 12 (+0) DEX 16 (+3) CON 19 (+4) INT 13 (+1) WIS 14 (+2) CHA 16 (+3)
Damage Immunities cold
Condition Immunities poisoned
Skills Intimidate +6, Perception +5, Stealth +6
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 15
Languages telepathy 100 ft.
Challenge 6 (2,300 xp)
Compression. The void wanderer can enter any space larger than its eye.
No Breath. The void wanderer does not need to breathe.
Void Transmission. When a creature falls unconscious while it suffers from any level of exhaustion as result of the void wanderer’s project terror ability, the void wanderer can spend 10 minutes in direct contact with the creature copying and absorbing the creature’s consciousness. If the creature is awoken before the process is completed, the void transmission fails, and the void wanderer must start again. If the process is completed successfully, the void wanderer transmits that conscious to any location of its choosing in the universe. The location must have the capacity to receive and story these transmissions. If a creature’s consciousness is successfully transmitted, it suffers from one additional level of exhaustion for the next 24 hours. This level of exhaustion cannot be cured by any means until the end of this time.
Regeneration. The void wanderer regains 5 hit points at the start of its turn. When it uses this ability, its eye glows slightly. The void wanderer dies only if it starts its turn with 0 hit points and the single grey eye in the center of its body has been shattered. If the void wanderer is blinded by an attack or spell effect, it does not regenerate until the blindness is cured.
Innate Spellcasting. The void wanderer’s innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 14, +6 to hit with spell attacks). The void wanderer can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:
At will—detect thoughts, invisibility, mage armor, share memory
1/day—modify memory, sleep
Multiattack. The void wanderer makes four attacks with its tentacles.
Tentacle. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (3d6) bludgeoning damage, and the void wanderer can choose one of the following effects:
Pain Touch: The target must succeed at a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or gain disadvantage on all attack rolls, ability checks, and saving throws for 2 rounds. Additional pain touches increase the duration by 2 additional rounds.
Spell Strike. The void wanderer affects the target with any spell that it knows, regardless of the range of the spell, as though that spell has a range of touch.
Project Terror. Ranged Attack: +6 to hit, range 60 ft., one target on whom the void wanderer has used detect thoughts within the last minute. Hit: the target gains one level of exhaustion as its mind is overwhelmed by waking nightmares.
2nd level divination
(spell lists: Bard, Warlock, Sorcerer, Wizard)
Casting Time: 1 action
Components: V, S
Unless the target succeeds at a Wisdom saving throw, you momentarily link your mind with the target’s and share a single memory of no longer than 1 minute. You can show the target one of your memories, show the target one of its own memories (even if that memory has been buried or suppressed by magical or other means), or view one of the target’s memories.
At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 3rd level or higher, the length of the memory increases by one minute for each slot level above 2nd.
Hacking the Choker and the Void Wanderer
The choker strikes me as a creature from a horror movie, its motions jerky, its head perpetually cocked to the side as though it almost understands your pleas for mercy. It attacks from above, hiding in darkness. In the medieval fantasy setting, it’s important to remember how rare light is. Just because our clerics and wizards can cast it all day long doesn’t mean that the darkness isn’t out there, and isn’t terrifying for most people. Candles do little to fight it off. There is always the chance that something is lurking outside our vision, waiting for the feeble candle-light to die out.
The choker was a relatively easy conversion: it had to be fast (thus the rogue’s cunning action) and it had to shut down an opponent’s ability to speak. They don’t have a lot of hit points, but they’ll make your wizard think twice about relying solely on her spells…
While an individual choker might be a great threat for a low-level party, a pack of chokers could still threaten a higher level group, particularly because multiple chokers could take all of a party’s magic-users out of a fight for a few rounds while still attacking other characters.
The name rhu-chalik is catchy, but I couldn’t imagine a medieval people calling something that. They’d call them “space demons,” if they even understood the concept of “space.” I wanted to tie the regeneration ability to the eye, because that makes it a little more scary, and forces a party to think hard about disposing of the creature. Making the eye glow was important, because the characters need a hint about why the thing keeps getting back up.
I also wanted the void wanderer to have some more complex abilities. Most monsters in 5e, it seems to me, do one thing or another thing, and maybe there is a rider (grappling, poison, etc.). I haven’t seen any that could attack and then choose what happens next. Since the void wanderer has four attacks, it was important that they not do much damage, individually, but that each could have different effects: pain touch to impose disadvantage, then share memory, for example. The spell strike ability only works for the CR if the void wanderer doesn’t have any damaging spells, though. It uses those spells to get to know its opponents, or even make them seem to disappear, to frighten their allies, then it flees and uses its knowledge to attack later, invisibly.
A void wanderer with damaging spells would be a lot of fun, and would be an easy way to raise the CR.