Medium-Size Aberration (Aquatic)
Hit Dice: 7d8+7 (38 hp)
Speed: Swim 50 ft.
AC: 18 (+2 Dex, +6 natural), touch 12, flat-footed 16
Attacks: Bite +4 melee
Damage: Bite 1d8-1
Face/Reach: 5 ft. /5 ft.
Special Attacks: Hypnosis
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., spell reflection
Saves: Fort +3, Ref +4, Will +8
Abilities: Str 8, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 16, Wis 17, Cha 13
Skills: Hide +15, Knowledge (Arcana) +13, Listen +13, Spellcraft +13, Spot +13, Swim +7;
Feats: Blind-Fight, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Skill Focus (Hide)B
Climate/Terrain: Any aquatic
Challenge Rating: 5
Alignment: Always chaotic evil
Advancement: 8-14 HD (Medium-size); 15-21 HD (Large)
Level Adjustment: +3
Few creatures of the deep enjoy reputations for cruelty and hatred as extensive as that of the morkoth.
The top half of a morkoth resembles a deep-sea fish with bulging eyes, protruding teeth and a sail-like fin along its back. Its lower body resembles that of an octopus in that it has eight tentacles, but the creature also sports limbs like the legs of a crustacean. Occasionally a morkoth has a squid-like beak instead of a mouth, but the typical version just has a maw like that of a fish.
A morkoth lives a solitary existence, spending most of its days inside a maze of tunnels constructed of rock or coral at the bottom of the sea. The outer part of a morkoth’s lair usually consists of six tunnels, all spiralling outward, crisscrossing and interconnecting with one another in a bewildering pattern. The creature’s actual home is at the centre of this maze.
A morkoth uses a variety of lures to draw prey into its clutches. It may dangle treasure as a prize, but its hypnosis ability is the most powerful lure at its disposal. Once in a morkoth’s clutches, a victim doesn’t usually survive for long, since these creatures are interested in capturing only food, not slaves or captives. A morkoth has little interest in treasure except as a lure for prospective victims.
A morkoth’s bite is its only offensive weapon. Normally it uses its hypnosis ability to lure a passing creature through its maze, then devours its prey alive. The morkoth is a cautious monster, so it chooses its victims carefully. Typically, it tries to lure the last in a group of passing creatures into its tunnel, hoping that the others won’t notice that one’s absence until it is too late.
Hypnosis (Su): Any creature passing within 20 feet of the entrance to a morkoth’s lair must make a successful Will saving throw (DC 14) or be hypnotized. A hypnotized creature moves unerringly through the maze at its usual speed. Once in centre of the lair, the affected creature floats quietly in a trance, waiting to be devoured at the morkoth’s leisure. A hypnotized creature is helpless against the morkoth’s attacks but may attempt a new saving throw at the same DC each round that the morkoth attacks it. A morkoth can hypnotize any number of creatures at one time. When it is outside its lair, this ability has a range of 20 feet. Hypnosis is a mind-affecting compulsion effect.
Spell Reflection (Su): The morkoth has a special type of spell resistance that causes the effect of any spell, spell-like ability, or magic item that it successfully resists (even those that affect areas) to bounce off and reflect back at the caster. If the caster of a spell or the user of a spell-like ability or magic item fails a caster level check (DC 15), he or she becomes either the spell’s target or the point of origin for the spell’s effect, as appropriate. If the morkoth is the subject of a dispel magic spell that is not reflected, its spell reflection ability is suppressed for 1 round.
A creature that has successfully resisted the morkoth’s hypnosis ability might try to rescue a friend who was drawn into the tunnels. The passages of a morkoth’s lair are so narrow that only one Medium-size character can swim through any 5-foot section at a time. An ambitious DM could map out the mazelike tunnel system and allow the characters to try to work their way through it.
Alternatively, the DM could handle penetration of the lair abstractly as follows: Roll 2d6 to determine the number of intersections between the tunnel’s entrance and the morkoth’s lair, allowing 10 to 40 feet between intersections.
At each intersection, have the lead character make an Intuit Direction check (DC 15) to discern the correct path. Each correct choice brings the group one intersection closer to the lair; each incorrect choice adds 1d6 intersections to the route and an equal number of rounds to the time needed to complete the trip.
It is always possible to navigate any labyrinth by simply choosing one wall and following wherever it goes. A creature using this method can eventually find the morkoth’s chamber without error, but this route is usually not the shortest possible path. Roll 1d6+6 for the number of intersections the rescuers must traverse using this method.