Monster: Olkyari, the Unnameable Casket-Bearer


Syrikhali folk legends tell that olkyaris are the rotting pits of dead stars, left too long in the fetid heavens before they were cast down to Vinramar. The jharethil called them the Unnameable Casket-Bearers—sentient receptacles for some long-misplaced relic from the Darkplane. Their original charge forgotten, they crop up now and then, hunting for creatures to imprison in their extradimensional innards.

Living Wormholes. An olkyari is an orb of absolute darkness about the size of an orange. It might be easy to miss one in a shadowed alleyway, but those who do see the olkyari never forget the dread of it, nor the absolute stillness with which the patient spot stares at them like a hole in the fabric of reality.

Olkyaris each contain a demiplane into which they can absorb other creatures. The size and complexity of the demiplane depends on the age of the olkyari and how many creatures currently reside in it. A younger olkyari's innards are the size of a small room, but the demiplane of an olkyari that has absorbed thousands of creatures over eons is essentially infinite.

Hunters in Shadow. Even those encompassed by an olkyari never truly understand its motives. Their blasphemous perception of reality is likely so foreign to the understanding of natural creatures that to know its mind would be death.

Still, olkyaris are not the most intelligent of creatures, and their behavior seems to emulate that of a simple apex predator. It hovers menacingly in dark areas, waiting for unsuspecting creatures to approach. When its chance comes, the olkyari projects a long, barbed tendril from the dark orb which snags victims one by one. Once they are worn down, these unfortunate souls are absorbed into the olkyari's extradimensional gullet.

Bearers of Hidden Worlds. The creatures that live within the olkyari's extradimensional gullet quickly settle into organized societies. They are deeply convinced that their lives are normal, that the olkyari is their divine benefactor, and that only hard work will make them happy. This is convenient for their host, which is fed and invigorated by any energy expended within the demiplane. The more populous and active its prisoners, the stronger and more potent the olkyari becomes.

The physical nature of the olkyari's demiplane is as varied as the absorbed creatures that inhabit it. The environment and terrain tend to reflect the olkyari's mood, if such an incomprehensible creature can be described as having moods. Indeed, it can use its actions to innately cast the control weathermirage arcane, and project image spells at will to target any area within its demiplane—although it can't concentrate on more than one at a time, and it can't perceive what's happening within itself without the use of project image. Some olkyari aggressively police their demiplanes.

Although an olkyari isn't automatically aware of what's happening inside it, it can sense a relative drop or rise in energy. If the demiplane's population shifts up or down by one-third, the olkyari will know. Similarly, the creatures within its gullet can't suddenly cease working without their host feeling it.

Despite occasionally bizarre conditions, the societies that form among creatures absorbed into the olkyari are industrious. They often find ingenious and absurd ways to employ scant natural resources and found objects to support life in the demiplane. The charm over these creatures has them completely convinced that life couldn't be better (as long as they stay busy).

An olkyari with no creatures absorbed is theorized to have a demiplane measuring 10 feet in each dimension. This cube doubles in size each time a creature is absorbed, making it about 1 cubic mile at 10 occupants, 31 miles at 15 occupants, and more than 1 trillion miles at 50 occupants. After absorbing 70 creatures, the demiplane is the size of a large galaxy. Once it reaches 100 occupants, it is basically limitless. At such a vast size, the olkyari's demiplane might contain its own stars, planets, and galaxies.

This logic has led some astrologers to the conclusion that all of existence is in fact the gullet of a single, unimaginably ancient olkyari whose demiplane is so infinite that it has lost touch with the minds of its occupants. If true, such an epiphany would be of little comfort.

Follow these instruction to alter the basic olkyari below into a more mid-range version (raising its challenge rating to 10).

  • Double the olkyari's hit points and speed
  • Add a +2 bonus to its AC, attack rolls, saving throw DCs, and its Dexterity and Constitution modifiers
  • Increase its regeneration to 10 hit points per turn
  • Increase the number of creatures it has absorbed to 5d100
  • Change its death burst to deal 1d4 bludgeoning damage for each 100 unconscious creatures that are vomited when it dies
  • Change the damage dealt by its Barbed Tendril to 35 (6d8 + 8) and the damage dealt by Absorb to 53 (10d8 + 8)