DIET:Thoughts, carnivore
ALIGNMENT:Neutral Evil
MOVEMENT:12, Swim 18
NO. OF ATTACKS:2, 5 or 1 (see below)
DAMAGE/ATTACK:1d8 (see below)
SPECIAL DEFENCES:Styx skin, immunity to mind-affecting spells
SIZE:L (14′ tall)
MORALE:Champion (15)
XP VALUE:8,000
AD&D 2e statistics

The Stithid, or Styx Beast, is a denizen of the River Styx, and is neither a fiend nor a friend to lower planar travellers and residents. It resembles a large mind flayer (illithid) in some respects, except that it lives in an aquatic environment. It is somewhat immune to the memory draining effects of the Styx. Its four-fingered hands are webbed, as are its flipper-like feet. A long, finned tail extends from its hindquarters, which aids in swimming. The hide of the Styx Beast is oily and slate-coloured in appearance. Five sinuous tentacles surround a beaked mouth, and squid eyes stare listlessly from its many-horned, bulbous head. When seen out of the polluted waters of the Styx, it oozes putrid, unholy fluids from its gills, mouth and pores.

COMBAT: The stithid can strike with two clawed hands for 1d8 points of damage each, or may choose to attack with the five horned tentacles that writhe around its beak. Each tentacle can do 1d8 points of damage. If at least two tentacles score a hit in a round against a man-sized or smaller victim, the stithid can freely bite with its beak each round thereafter for 1d8 points of damage. It may then seek to feed on the thoughts of its held victim. However, by the time a victim is held by the stithid, most of its memories and thoughts have already been washed away by the Styx-fluids that ooze out of every pore on the stithid’s leathery hide (or from the waters of the Styx itself if the victim is attacked in the Styx). Therefore the stithid usually does not directly confront a victim if it is seeking thoughts and memories to feed upon. 

Any stithid can make forays onto land for up to 6 hours before returning to the polluted waters of the Styx. While on land, the stithid continues to ooze the foul fluids that have the same memory-stealing properties of the Styx. Therefore, any creature who touches the skin of the stithid with bare flesh will suffer the same effects as if he/she had touched the waters of the Styx (save vs. spells or lose all memory of past life). 

The stithid is immune to mind affecting spells, mental probes, or psionics. It may have once possessed magical or psionic attacks, but has since forgotten how to use them.

The stithid craves fresh thoughts – the memories recently washed from the minds of those unfortunates who have touched the foul waters of the Styx. Thus it will often attempt to overturn Marraenoloth ferries and then filter the memories from the waters where the boat was capsized. If the ferry is well defended or too large to be swamped, the stithid will simply splash 1d6 passengers and crew in the hopes that the waters will rinse some memories overboard into the Styx.

Some stithids are smart enough, or are able to remember that they can simply threaten travellers to give up a thought or two in return for safe river passage. If a creature allows it, the stithid can simply touch the willing victims head with a tentacle and remove a thought, proficiency, skill, spell, language, or memory. Again, the victim must also suffer the same effects as a splash of the Styx’s waters, since the stithid’s skin oozes Styx fluids. The stithid can digest one proficiency, skill or spell per round. The thoughts and skills are removed in order from latest learned to the oldest memories. If a stithid is able to hold on to a victim and digest thoughts for a turn, the victim loses one level per turn. But by this time the victim must have made 10 successful saves vs. spells in order to have any memories or levels at all! This feeding conflict often frustrates the stithid, since it can sense the thoughts that slip away (due to the Styx-fluids of its own body), before it can feed on them. At this point the hungry Stithid may go into a rage and flay the victim(s) that denied it its meal.

HABITAT/SOCIETY: Fortunately for Marraenoloths, lower planar fiends and planewalkers, the stithid cannot remember much beyond a day, and forgets the locations of frequent river crossings and bridges where it can consume fresh memories. It spends most of its time on the bottom of the Styx, filter feeding out random thoughts as they flow by. When it craves fresher thoughts, it can think enough to plan the capsizing of a ferry boat, or even to venture forth on land to hunt.

ECOLOGY: The stithid filter thoughts washed away from the memories of those unfortunate enough to touch the foul, memory-draining waters of the Styx. Stithid can subsist on these thoughts, but consider them to be stale and tasteless. They crave fresh thoughts, straight from the minds of live fiends and planar travellers. Since they are apparently the only beings that can withstand the memory-stealing forces of the Styx, they have no natural enemies or predators. Fiends avoid any known stithid activity, since they are susceptible to memory loss as well.

CURRENT CHANT: Sages believe that the stithid is another spawn of Ilsensine, the mind flayer power that resides on the Outlands. It is thought that Ilsensine wanted additional spies on the lower planes to learn more about the eternal Blood War, and sent minions to ply the waters of the Styx to gather information. However, even the awesome creation that was the original stithid was not completely immune to the memory draining effects of the Styx as Ilsensine had hoped. All of Ilsensine’s aquatic creations soon forgot about their mission and even their master, and now roam the waters of the Styx without a purpose.

Source: Jim Barrett, art inspired by Zak Arntson

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