James: Great Old Master Freeman: Hungry Arms
Book: VGtM 179-180
· Imagine a big spider…but with the neck and head…of an eel.
o Yup. I said it.
o Also in Volo’s the use the wording “outsize spider” meaning “large”. First time I ever heard of that word.
· Now take this spider-eel, or speelider…if you will…and give the power to poison the body and mind so that they can subjugate enemies that are otherwise more physically powerful than them.
o Evil as they come, they are meanies of the slaver kind, and not opposed to enslaving the even the weakest of their own.
· Originating from far-flung territories of the material plane, they at one point abandoned their home to enslaved creatures across different realms and planes.
o Thus they can also be found in the Feywild, Shadowfell, and the Astral and Ethereal Planes.
o To do this they originally enslaved Umber Hulks (ep41), assimilated them into manual labourers and the designed and built sleek, spider-y plane traversing vessels.
o Once they started journeying they met aberrant entities along the way. Entities that look like stars and embody evil.
o They formed pacts with these entities and magic was granted to some of their kind. Some were known by the following names: Acamar, Caiphon, Gibbeth, and Hadar (Arms of Hadar and Hunger of Hadar spells anyone?)
· The most unfathomable part of a Neogi is its mind. It has the ability to control other minds, and since this ability is so innate they think it entirely appropriate to do so.
o This raises an interested question of why and how they are evil.
o Neogi do not distinguish individuality, even among their own kind. The only thing that separates is the ability to control others or not.
o They find the concept of hatred just as foreign as love, and do not comprehend emotions experienced by most races and ancestries.
o Even loyalty without authority is unthinkable and considered foolish.
o There seems to only be power and it’s use over others.
· The live about the same length as humans, and experience the same results of aging.
o When a neogi grows older and weaker, it is overpowered by younger neogi and injected with a special poison.
o This poison transforms the old neogi into a bloated mass of flesh called a Great Old Master.
o Young neogi then lay eggs atop the mass and when they hatch the Great Old Master is devoured, alongside the weakest of the hatchlings.
§ Only the strongest surivive.
o The hatchlings that survive are then controlled by an adult and taught how the neogi society works, they must prove their place within it, their training of mastery over others starting with learning to control a young Umber Hulk.
· Neogi that reach adulthood and find their place mark themselves and their slaves with dyes, transformational magic and tattoos that represent rank, achievements and ownership.
o Thees also mark whether or not a neogi or its slave must defer to one of a higher station or risk severe punishments.
“Damn eel-spiders want to enslave us all! And no, they don’t taste good.”
Forgotten Realms Wiki
· The 2e book Under the Dark Fist gives us a Neogi proverb: “The enemy of my enemy is my enemy.”
o Virtually hated among all known Crystal Spheres on the material plane.
· Expanding slightly on their hierarchy, it was completely common for a neogi to own its own slaves, but also consider itself the property of a superior.
o Such as a ship captain.
· Most slaves were also considered less than the Umber Hulk, and little more than food.
o I thought there would be more on Grey Renders here, since they were the inspiration for covering the neogi.
o There is nothing more than that they were commonly seen together (as common as a Grey Render may be anyway).
§ And I think maybe Grey Renders are one of the few exceptions on where they fit alongside Umber Hulks in the slave hierarchy.
o There was also the speculate that the neogi created Grey Renders
§ But nothing more is mentioned.
· They are considered a trader race among the Crystal Spheres, but only to a point.
o Trading occurred only when they felt they were not in a position to simply take.
o Those who traded with Neogi were also often the most desperate, since there was always a risk of being enslaved during a trade.
o However, they also fit a unique pocket of trade in that they could travel through extremely harsh conditions and often deal with races and groups that were generally extremely hostile.
§ Including mind flayers or drow. Sometimes setting up shop near their enclaves or cities.
o Which meant they could often have very rare commodities in their possession.
o They are also very cautious in both trade or combat, choosing not to engage in either unless significant profit or gain was on the horizon.
§ Where possible, communities will sometimes ban together in order to destroy groups of neogi that may have settled nearby for trade.
· Not physically powerful, slaves like Umber Hulks were often used to weaken an enemy force, and their unique poisons could be delivered through a bite or via weapons.
o Not mention of course, their ability to enslave with their minds.
· Their most common spelljammer ships were known as deathspiders (which we visited in our Wilds of Space and Illithids episodes), and a less common, lighter ship known as a mindspider.
o Some of the ships not simply navigating the Phlogiston of space, but also travelling between planes.
o They are known to hunt githyanki and djinn vessels.
o Typically a spelljamming helm is required to sail a spelljammer
§ You may remember helms are basically magical thrones or captain’s seats.
§ They were mostly (if not solely) sourced by the race known as the Arcane (or mercane).
o However, neogi either acquired their helms elsewhere, or controlled their spelljammers by different, unknown means.
· Their pacts with Elder Evils were very much like that of a Warlock (which explains the spells of Hadar)
o Their use of magic usually covered things like poisonous and venomous attacks, use of fear and domination, and identifying strengths in potential slaves.
o They were sometimes also known use a rare necromantic ritual to creature undead Umber Hulks, fusing multiple dead bodies into one.
o While not pious, and offering no prayers to their deities or those with whom they have formed a pact, speaking a deity’s or patron’s name incorrectly was considered sacrilegious, and usually resulted in a slow and painful death.
o The Neogi religious pantheon included the following:
§ Ka'jk'zxl, the dead god of creation.
§ Kil'lix, a chaotic evil lesser god of death, murder, and poison.
§ Kr'tx, a chaotic evil lesser god of war, brutality, and strength.
§ P'kk, a lawful evil lesser god of fear and tyranny.
§ Thrig'ki, a neutral evil lesser god of "love" (actually more like envy and jealousy in human terms).
§ T'zen'kil, a neutral evil lesser god of torture, pain, and suffering
Under the Dark Fist – WotC