Alhoons were magic-using outcasts from mind flayer societies who had defied the ruling elder brains to achieve a limited form of lichdom. Only the most powerful mind flayer mages could achieve true lichdom and were known as illithiliches; however, many in the Realms did not make this distinction.
Alhoons looked liked they had in life except that their skin possessed none of the wet, smooth, slimy texture of living illithids, instead, appearing dry, wrinkled, and cracked as a result of the powerful magic resistance that had prevented a perfect conversion to lichdom. They had to work hard to keep their skin hydrated—such as by taking frequent baths or by consuming liquids—or else it would begin to dessicate.
They detested—but were not generally harmed by—bright lights, extreme temperatures, and lack of food.
Many Alhoons had been wizards or sorcerers in life, and thus combined these abilities with with their innate skill at psionics and the formidable resilience of a lich to become truly dangerous beings. In close quarters, they used their tentacles to targets the heads—and brains—of their foes. As undead creatures, they were highly resilient, and further were quite resistent to most anti-undead magics, such as turning. However, most did not enjoy the full range of powers possessed by a true lich.
To become an alhoon in the first place required that a mind flayer be a deviant among its kind for purusing arcane magic, and so they already tended to be cruel and ambitious even by illithid standards. Their powerful combination of arcane magic and psionics led them to become a threat to the established order of the Underdark and beyond as of the mid-to-late 14th century DR. They spurned the elder brains who ruled illithid societies, and had no qualms about mentally enslaving illithids, a taboo in mind flayer society. They were ignored, feared, and hated by mortal illithids for their rejection of the illithid circle of life, culminating with the physical and psychic merging with an elder brain.
Although alhoons did not need to drink or eat, they did often consume liquids and foods, both to keep hydrated and for pleasure. Liquids were ingested without regard to either their nutrition content or toxicity. For food, they devoured brains as did living mind flayers—granting them flashes of insight into memories of the brain's former owner—and developed a taste for eating slugs, leeches, and worms (in particular, they enjoyed glow-worms).
Alhoons in the Underdark were known to band together into closely knit and interdependent communities in order to counter the threats of their enemies, including drow, duergar, aboleths, cloakers, beholders, true liches, and living illithids. While more than capable of forming alliances with other creatures, alhoons were incapable of viewing the living as more than livestock. Alhoons on the surface were generally solitary, and would often seek out isolated wizard towers to slay the occupants and claim them as their own.
In the Year of Sundered Webs, −339 DR, the Netherese sorcerer-king Ioulaum disappeared from Netheril as the phaerimms' lifedrain spells were causing his life-sustaining magic, Ioulaum's longevity, to fail. Ioulaum embraced lichdom and established a lair in the depths of the Northdark, and the first illithiliches (who referred to themselves as as the Alhoon) were believed to have been his students recruited from the nearby mind flayer city of Ellyn'taal. Ioulaum’s intentions for recruiting mind flayer students became clear when he created an undead elder brain from the minds of his illithid students and then merged his own sentience into it. Most of his illithilich apprentices were destroyed in the ritual, and Ioulaum's last human apprentice, Tabra, mistook this violence as a battle in which the mind flayer students had betrayed their master and murdered him. To avenge her master, she cast the now perfected Ioulaum's longevity on herself and slaughtered the last few of remaining mind flayers of Ellyn’taal. However, a few of the illithiliches escaped and spread the secret of illithilich creation to mind flayer communities throughout the Realms Below.
Around the same time as the beginning of the Retreat, circa the Year of Moonfall, 1344 DR, alhoons began infiltrating the ruins of Myth Drannor seeking magic items and spellbooks. They used their powers to turn other denizens of the ruins against each other—notably the phaerimm and the baatezu—while they hid and searched. Over the next 25 years, approximately forty alhoon would arrive in Myth Drannor, and they enlisted the aid of nagas, deepspawn, gargoyles, and any newly arrived adventurers to continue distracting their rivals in the area.
By the mid-to-late 14th century DR, the alhoon were becoming a force with which to be reckoned across the Underdark as they gained control of communities of mind flayers, beholders, and Vhaeraunite drow. Rumors abounded in cities like Menzoberranzan that their spies were everywhere, and preemtive measures were taken should the alhoon begin mental intrusions into the drow power structures. On the surface, they had begun to infiltrate the Dalelands by capturing seculded wizard towers.
In 1369 DR, the alhoon who dwelt within the ruined Myth Drannor and its Dwarven Dungeons were driven out by members of the Cult of the Dragon and their red dragon dracolich ally, Pelendralaar.. In the same year, alhoons were known to have taken up residence in the abandoned drow city of Telnarquel.
- Hwarlg, the illithilich who found his way into the Crypt of Rothilion in Myth Drannor's Polyandrium but ended up trapped inside by the tomb's arcane defenses in 1369 DR.
- Iryxreer Alhixarblot, an alhoon active in the ruins of Myth Drannor in the mid-to-late 14th century DR.
- Ralayan, an alhoon who served as right hand to Priamon Rakesk of the Twisted Rune.
- The Beast Lord, an alhoon who dwelled within the ruins of Dekanter and perfromed horrific arcane experiments to create Dekanter goblins.
- What We Face in Dreams... • Undermountain: Stardock • Pool of Radiance: Attack on Myth Drannor
- The Nether Scroll • Dissolution
- Referenced only
- Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor • Silverfall
- Video Games
- Referenced only
- Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor
- Organized Play & Licensed Adventures
- Stardock Under Siege
- Steven E. Schend (1998). The Fall of Myth Drannor. Edited by Cindi Rice, Dale Donovan. (TSR, Inc.). ISBN 0-7869-1235-9.
- Eric L. Boyd (November 1999). Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide to the Underdark. Edited by Jeff Quick. (TSR, Inc.), p. 22. ISBN 0-7869-1509-9.
- Ed Greenwood (March 1993). The Ruins of Myth Drannor. Edited by Newton H. Ewell. (TSR, Inc.). ISBN 1-5607-6569-0.
- Richard Lee Byers (August 2003). Dissolution. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-2944-8.
- Mike Mearls, et al. (November 2016). Volo's Guide to Monsters. Edited by Jeremy Crawford, et al. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 171–172. ISBN 978-0786966011.
- Bruce R. Cordell, Eytan Bernstein, Brian R. James (January 2009). Open Grave: Secrets of the Undead. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 164. ISBN 0786950692.
- Richard Baker, James Jacobs, and Steve Winter (April 2005). Lords of Madness: The Book of Aberrations. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 157–158. ISBN 0-7869-3657-6.
- Ed Greenwood (1992). Menzoberranzan (The City). Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc), p. 88. ISBN 1-5607-6460-0.
- James Wyatt and Rob Heinsoo (February 2001). Monster Compendium: Monsters of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 89–90. ISBN 0-7869-1832-2.
- Carrie Bebris (2001). Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor. (Wizards of the Coast), chap. 3, p. 59. ISBN 0-7869-1387-8.
- Ed Greenwood (March 1993). “Campaign Guide to Myth Drannor”. In Newton H. Ewell ed. The Ruins of Myth Drannor (TSR, Inc.), p. 61. ISBN 1-5607-6569-0.
- Ed Greenwood (March 1993). “Campaign Guide to Myth Drannor”. In Newton H. Ewell ed. The Ruins of Myth Drannor (TSR, Inc.), p. 63. ISBN 1-5607-6569-0.
- Ed Greenwood (March 1993). “Campaign Guide to Myth Drannor”. In Newton H. Ewell ed. The Ruins of Myth Drannor (TSR, Inc.), p. 64. ISBN 1-5607-6569-0.
- Richard Baker, Ed Bonny, Travis Stout (February 2005). Lost Empires of Faerûn. Edited by Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 101. ISBN 0-7869-3654-1.
- Ed Greenwood (1992). Menzoberranzan (The City). Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc), p. 54. ISBN 1-5607-6460-0.
- Ed Greenwood (1992). Menzoberranzan (The City). Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc), p. 21. ISBN 1-5607-6460-0.
- Ed Greenwood (March 1993). “Campaign Guide to Myth Drannor”. In Newton H. Ewell ed. The Ruins of Myth Drannor (TSR, Inc.), p. 62. ISBN 1-5607-6569-0.
- Ed Greenwood (August 1999). “No More in Armor for My Sake”. Silverfall (TSR, Inc.), p. 24. ISBN 0-7869-1365-7.
- Sean K. Reynolds (2000). Pool of Radiance: Attack on Myth Drannor. Edited by Michele Carter. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 43. ISBN 0-7869-1710-5.
- Ed Greenwood (March 1993). “Myth Drannor Adventures”. In Newton H. Ewell ed. The Ruins of Myth Drannor (TSR, Inc.), p. 19. ISBN 1-5607-6569-0.
- Steven E. Schend (January 1997). Undermountain: Stardock. Edited by Bill Olmesdahl. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 14–15. ISBN 0-7869-0451-8.
- Steven E. Schend (August 1997). “Book Three: Erlkazar & Folk of Intrigue”. In Roger E. Moore ed. Lands of Intrigue (TSR, Inc.), p. 22. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.
- James Wyatt and Rob Heinsoo (February 2001). Monster Compendium: Monsters of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 53. ISBN 0-7869-1832-2.
Brainstealer dragon • Gnome ceremorph • Gnome squidling • Mindwitness • Mozgriken • Tzakandi • Uchuulon • Urophion
Brain golem • Cranium rat • Nyraala golem • Illithidae • Illithocyte • Intellect devourer • Mind worm • Neothelid • Nerve swimmer • Oblex • Oortling • Ustilagor