Thought Eater

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Thought Eater
Climate/Terrain:Ethereal Plane
Activity Cycle:Any
Diet:Mental energy
Intelligence:Not ratable
No. Appearing:1-3
Armor Class:9
Movement:6 (ethereal plane only)
Hit Dice:3
No. of Attacks:0
Special Attacks:Psionics, absorb: psionics, spells, and intelligence
Special Defenses:Ethereal existence
Magic Resistance:Absorb (See below)
Size:S (3' long)
Morale:Unsteady (5-7)
XP Value:1,400

Thought eaters are natives of the Border Ethereal, and they only survive in ethereal form. They appear as sickly gray skeletal bodies with oversized platypus heads. They have webbed skeletal paws, suited to swimming through the ether.

A thought eater has only one desire - to avoid death. For some reason, they die almost instantly on the Prime material plane. Fortunately for them, they have several psionic powers which help to prevent this.

Combat: Thought eaters are unique. They have no combat abilities except their innate psionic talents, even on the Border Ethereal, so they can be easily slain if encountered there.

Thought eaters are far from harmless, however. Although they cannot survive outside the Border Ethereal, their psionic powers extend into the Prime material plane. This is one of the few known examples of transplanar extension.

The thought eaters' psionic sense is always operating. Because of their unique abilities, they can sense psionic activity in the Prime material plane, as well as the Border Ethereal. When they detect psionic activity of any kind, they will shift to the location of the emanations.

Their only “attack” is their innate ability to absorb psionic energy. They can absorb psionic energy within 60 feet of a true psionicist or psionic creature, or within 10 feet of a wild talent. Thought eaters drain 10 psionic points per round and they will also absorb any spell cast in the area as well as memorized spells (5 points per spell level). Finally, they can feed upon Intelligence, with each point converted to 10 PSPs that they absorb. They will feed until all victims die or escape, or until they themselves are sated. This occurs when they reach a number of points equal to their PSPs.

Although they feed on brain power, thought eaters are essentially stupid. Because they lack intelligence, they are immune to all telepathic attacks and controls (psionic or otherwise). Their preferences and the order in which they feed are always the same: 1) psionic points being expended (causes power to fail); 2) magical energy being expended (causes spell to fail; 3) PSPs; 4) memorized spells; 5) Intelligence. Note that if a thought eater consumes all of someone's Intelligence, the victim will become a vegetable (effectively dead). The Intelligence loss is permanent, unless it is relieved by restore or psychic surgery.

Spells can be re-memorized and drained PSPs can be recovered naturally The thought eaters' feeding frenzy has the sole purpose of maintaining thought eaters in the ether. Their bodies process PSPs the way humanoids process food, at a rate of 3 PSPs/hour. If they run out of points, they drop out of the ether into the Prime material plane and meet an instant death.

Note that ethereal beings are invisible to creatures on the Prime material plane, it is probable that a thought eater will attack and feed unnoticed and uncontested until sated, or until its victims are out of range. Although it only has a movement rate of 6, this is ethereal movement, allowing passage through walls, trees, etc. as if they didn't exist.

Any defense mode except those with a 0 maintenance cost will prevent the thought eaters from feeding. This includes spells like mind blank, and magical devices that thwart psionic attacks.

Psionics Summary: Thought eaters have 1d100+100 (101-200) PSPs. Their score is 18. They boast a natural, innate form of psionic sense (in a metapsionic power), which operates continuously at no cost to PSPs. They also absorb PSPs - see Combat.

Habitat/Society: Little is known about thought eaters, except that they exist solely in the ethereal plane and are very solitary beings. Magical research has indicated that they are not malevolent; their attacks are for the sole purpose of staying alive, the same as any humanoid hunter. Some sages believe that though eaters are the final fate of psionisists, once they die.

Ecology: Thought eaters carry no treasure. When one dies, it automatically drops out of the ether and materializes on the Prime material plane. Of course, they are usually dismissed as platypi that died from starvation.