alienist assassin

Working my way through Vornheim.  Some clever ideas here for running a city campaign.  But what spiked my curiosity were the unique takes on some monsters and some of the unique monsters.  Can definitely imagine using these in my 5e OSR game.  

The original was a librarian (a rogue) who had made contact with alien minds and had been possessed by a cthulian like entity.  Great idea, here is a more generic version that you could use with any mad magic-user or alienist.  The base creature is an assassin keeping with the original presentation.  Vortullax’s traits (the possessing entity) are marked in purple.  These could be taken and applied to any base creature like a mage, archmage etc.  The creature must be living. 

Mysterious creature with the body of an eagle, breast and head of a stag, with 7 everburning candles entwined in its antlers. Its 7 overlapping shadows are those of men. All of Hell can be seen in the creature’s left eye so long as it lives. 

Medium humanoid (any race), any non-good alignment
Armor Class 15 (studded leather)
Hit Points 78 (12d8 + 24)
Speed 30 ft.
11 (+0) 16 (+3) 14 (+2) 13 (+1) 11 (+0) 10 (+0)
Saving Throws DEX +6, INT +4
Skills Acrobatics +6, Deception +3, Perception +3, Stealth +9
Damage Resistances flamepoison
Senses passive Perception 13
Languages Thieves’ cant plus any two languages
Challenge 8 (3,900 XP); Proficiency Bonus +3Assassinate. During its first turn, the assassin has advantage on attack rolls against any creature that hasn’t taken a turn. Any hit the assassin scores against a surprised creature is a critical hit.

Evasion. If the assassin is subjected to an effect that allows it to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, the assassin instead takes no damage if it succeeds on the saving throw, and only half damage if it fails.
Sneak Attack. Once per turn, the assassin deals an extra 14 (4d6) damage when it hits a target with a weapon attack and has advantage on the attack roll, or when the target is within 5 feet of an ally of the assassin that isn’t incapacitated and the assassin doesn’t have disadvantage on the attack roll.
Old One’s Veil (Vortullax). Warps space around it such that no attack aimed at him will connect. (This effect will be visible to the attacker as a distortion of his/her field of vision). The only way to strike Vortullax is to purposefully aim the attack away from Vortullax and succeed in an ordinary to hit roll (the DM may introduce hints to this before the battle – for example from reading the alienists diary etc). A miss has a 50% chance of hitting any other creature in the area. Magic attacks which require no movement of material through space (such as “power word” spells) work normally unless they are cast by a caster with less than 8 levels, in which case they have a 50% chance of having bizarre and unpredictable effects. Either make something up or roll on the wild magic table.

Vortullax’s Arrival. When the assassin is reduced to zero hit points Vortullax takes full control of it.  The assassin is returned to full hit points any/all conditions or effects are also immediately ended. The assassin now has access to all traits and abilities tagged with Vortullax’s name (and coloured in purple for quick reference) in addition to its original traits and actions.

Multiattack. The assassin makes two shortsword attacks.
Shortsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6 + 3) piercing damage, and the target must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw, taking 24 (7d6) poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
Light Crossbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 80/320 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d8 + 3) piercing damage, and the target must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw, taking 24 (7d6) poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
Head Toss (Vortullax). Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 30 ft., one target. Hit: 2d6 + 3 piercing damage, and the target has a bone sucked out through its skin.  Roll a 1d20 to determine which bone is targeted (a natural 20 means its the skull and the target dies instantly). The target loses the use of that appendage (if it makes sense) and takes an additional 2d6 + 3 bludgeoning damage.