A death kiss (also known as a bleeder or eye of terror) was a lesser beholderkin with tentacles that ended in mouths instead of eyestalks. Death kisses came to being as physical manifestations of beholders' vivid dreams of mass blood loss.
Death kisses resembled beholders but lacked their eyestalks and their mouth below their main eye, and instead were covered in ten, 20-foot-long (6 meters) tentacles ending in mouths. Their bodies were 10 feet (3 meters) across and their leathery skin was a mottled gray, or a muted hue of the original beholder's skin. At the end of each of their tentacles was a toothy mouth, and each tentacle was fully retractable. They could speak through their mouths and they sounded high-pitched and nasally. Only those who were not familiar with beholders could mistake a death kiss for a beholder.
Death kisses typically hunted alone, preying on anything around it with blood. When on the hunt, they would retract their tentacles and suddenly extend them to full length, surprising the target and catching them off guard.
Death kisses in combat were neither sophisticated nor subtle, violently lashing out at any nearby source of blood. By ingesting blood, the death kiss could generate electricity, which it could use to further damage its foes. Ingesting blood also caused the death kiss to recover from injury, so death kisses would seek to restrain their prey with their tentacles before draining their blood until death. Because of the electricity in a death kiss's blood, causing them to bleed out would shock those nearby, and their death could cause a complete electric discharge.
While not stupid, death kisses tended not to strategize unless a foe was completely superior, such as against a dragon or other beholder. This weakness showed in their tendency to play with their prey, leading them to make easily avoidable mistakes. The greatest strategy they might show in normal situations was to pull prey upwards as they drained them.
Death kisses would attempt to escape the clutches of their creators at the first opportunity, as they were clearly superior. They would typically submit to more powerful entities if only to keep their lives, lacking the egotistical nature of normal beholders. They were only paranoid about the loss of blood and so drained the blood of any creature they could find. They were also sadistic, enjoying playing with their prey and draining them slowly and not taking combat seriously. They might impersonate true beholders to scare off greater threats.
Death kisses could only survive by digesting the blood of other entities. This somehow generated electricity within them that was released if they bled. If food became scarce, they were capable of going into a state of heavy hibernation, from which they could only be roused by a sufficient level of heat. Simple body heat was not enough; it needed a fairly powerful degree of thermal stimulation, like from injury or fire. When traveling underground, they would put their tentacles in every nook and cranny as they navigated. While above ground, they would be retracted. Like a normal beholder, they moved by hovering through a buoyancy sac. Like beholders, the death kiss possessed an organ in the top of their head that could be used similarly to create levitation potions and magic ink. Upon death, part of the death kiss's brain would harden into a soft-sided, faceted red gem known as a "bloodeye", which glowed brightly in tandem with the strong emotions of those nearby.
Death kisses appeared when beholders had nightmares of heavy blood loss, and they would attempt to flee from their 'parents' after coming into existence. However, death kisses were capable of reproducing on their own. Death kiss young incubated in the bodies of deceased members of their kind. Within a day, one to four death kisses would erupt from the corpse, and would grow to full size within a month. Young death kisses were only half as powerful as their forebears.
Death kisses preferred to hunt alone, preying on whatever they found. They might submit to a more powerful being, although only so long as they could not escape. When two death kisses met, they might attempt to kill one another, leave each other alone, or even team up depending on the situation. The most common result was a mid-air fight to the death, with the loser becoming an incubator for the offspring of the victor.
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- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 Wizards RPG Team (2016). Volo's Guide to Monsters. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 124–125. ISBN 978-0786966011.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 James Wyatt and Rob Heinsoo (February 2001). Monster Compendium: Monsters of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 22–23. ISBN 0-7869-1832-2.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Richard Baker and James Wyatt (2004-03-13). Monster Update (Zipped PDF). Wizards of the Coast. p. 3. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2018-09-10.
- ↑ Doug Stewart (June 1993). Monstrous Manual. (TSR, Inc), p. 21. ISBN 1-5607-6619-0.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Doug Stewart (June 1993). Monstrous Manual. (TSR, Inc). ISBN 1-5607-6619-0.