Its widely known that the simplest Ikea Tarrasque stacks fire and acid immunity on top of a troll. So that got me thinking: what if some villain finds a way to reliably mass produce such Ikea Tarrasques into an indestructable army? Note that this is merely a thought experiment on how such a villain can build an unstoppable army to further whatever purposes thay may have. I do not intend to send the Emerald Legion against any PCs. I will not take responsibility if your PCs throw dice at you, if you send it against them.
-We start with an Evil Cabal of Mind Flayers who want to breed an invincible super soldier to further their nefarious purposes (whatever those may be, it may not necessarily be world conquest, perhaps a bunch of PCs have stupidly burnt down an innocent village, and the Forces that be feel a Tarrasque or falling rocks is too cliche).
-We need at least 3 Mind Flayers in the Cabal to perform the Voidmind ritual, but there can be more as needed.
-At least 1 (and preferably 3 or more) of these Mind Flayers should be a full Psion or Erudite
-At least 1 needs to be able to animate zombies (Wizard, Cleric/Archivist, Dread Necromancer, Warlock etc)
-And of course, they need a safe and reasonably large headquarters to carry out all their production.
-These Mind Flayers would need some means of mass-producing their own custom magical items without burning experience points. There are 2 possible ways to accomplish this
- -Use Pain Extractor/Liquid Pain from BoVD: By permanently reducing the constitution of a victim by 1, the Cabal can extract a vial of liquid pain that can be used to offset enchantment costs by 3 XP. As an evil cabal, capturing and torturing living creatures to death, to craft items isn't a major problem.
- -Thought Bottle: At the cost of 500 XP, you can backup your experience, burn a large chunk of it on crafting, and then restore your experience to a previous level. Because there is still a 500 XP cost involved, it becomes costly in the long run. But at the start, for the large downpayment of setting up, it might be acceptable.
-Our Mind Flayers needs to have access to normal Trolls AND War Trolls. The War Trolls should ideally be available as is. In the event they are not, the War Troll description states that they can also be obtained by magical experimentation with the more widely available normal Trolls as a base, although it doesn't give details. We assume such experimentation is not beyond the abilities of an Evil Mind Flayer Cabal.
-Ideally, we would want to use the Air Race Elemental Variant versions of Trolls/War-trolls. This removes their need to breath entirely, so they won't suffocate ever, even in a vacuum.
-If these species variants are not available, we can make-do with Were-Dire-Sharks (See the section on "Replacing Templates" below).
-They need access to Were-Dire-Bats. (Again if not immediately available, experiment accordingly). They can add more Lycanthropic animals as they see fit, but one that flies is essential.
Firstly the Cabal needs to craft the following items, without XP cost. The Create Food traps have to be made earlier on, but the rest don't have to crafted until after the Troll farms are up and running. Then our Cabal has a few warm bodies to feed to their pain extractor.
-Several Tippy-esque Create Food Traps
-A few magical items that confer 'Spark of Life' while worn (amulets, rings etc).
-A set of Will save boosting gear that grants will save +13 (Wisdom +6, Enhancement +5, Luck +5, Insight +5).
-A few Visards of Semuanya (roll twice for will save)
-Mass produce Clay Half-Golem grafts for Tentacles at 12000 gp + 240 XP (Tentacles count as limbs).
-Mass produce Trollbane Alchemical Goo (Dungeonscape pg 37, stops regeneration for 1 hit when applied to slashing/piercing weapon, 30 gp with DC 25 Craft Alchemy check).
-Depending on whether the Cabal is cheap, they may or may not produce the advanced enhancements listed below.
Step 1a: Breeding the first generation
-First the Cabal captures (Air Racial variant) Trolls and starts a normal Troll Farm.
-Secondly, the Cabal captures or enhances normal Trolls to get (Air Racial variant) War Trolls, and starts a War Troll farm.
-Next they select a few male Trolls and many female War Trolls to enrol in the breeding program.
-They kill the male Trolls and raise them as zombies. We use zombies rather than skeletons, as zombies retain the appropriate reproductive organs.
-Place the 'Spark of Life' magic gear on the zombie male Trolls. This lets them 'come to life'. Their offspring will then have the Gheden template (child of mindless undead) applied to them.
-Have the semi-living zombie Troll males mate with the normal War Troll females
-Notably, the Cabal only need a few males to mate with many many females. So they only need a few pieces of 'Spark of Life' gear.
-The net result should be a bunch of Gheden Half-Troll (Air Racial variant) War Trolls.
-Depending on how you intepret D&D genetics, you might also get some Gheden (Air Racial variant) Half-War-Troll Trolls. Dispose of these as you see fit (e.g. Pain Extractor).
Step 1b: Breeding the second generation
-The Cabal now has to ensure these first generation of Gheden (Air Racial Variant) Half-Troll War Trolls don't go out of control. It is recommended that the Voidmind Ritual is performed on them to ensure they can be controlled, as the next stage makes them rather dangerous.
-Half-Troll changes their type to Giant, allowing the cabal to infect the first generation with Lycanthropy. There is nothing in the rules that says an existing Lycan cannot be infected with another Lycan strain, so the Cabal can stack on as many Lycan strains as they want. Each new strain adds more animal HD to the first generation and boosts BAB, saves, HP etc
-For the purposes of this exercise, we only need 1 Lycan strains: one that provides flight. We have chosen Dire Bat for our purposes. Depending on your taste any other animal that fits these requirements will do. However Dire Bats have the side benefit of providing Blind-Sense.
-We should now have a bunch of Were-Dire-Bat Gheden (Air Racial Variant) Half-Troll War Trolls. Have them mate with one another, the Cabal should also keep track of who has the same parents to prevent inbreeding.
-Since both parents are the exact same species and the exact same templates, the offspring should inherit all of these. With the difference being that they will have Lycanthropy as an inherited template (rather than acquired) letting them fully control their forms.
Step 2a: Basic Enhancements
-Our Mind Flayer Cabal now performs the Voidmind ritual on the offspring. You need 3 Mind Flayers to perform the ritual, and it is highly recommended that at least 1 is a full psion.
-This ritual grants them additional immunities, spell resistance and ensures the absolute loyalty of the offspring to the Cabal.
-Next the Cabal equips each voidmind with Will resistance boosting gear, and the Visard of Semuanya.
-Finally, using the Trollbane Alchemical Goo to stop temporarily regeneration, the Cabal dismembers one limb and immediately replaces it with a Clay Half Golem graft.
-Upon successful grafting, the offspring gains slashing/piercing immunity which protect it from Trollbane goo, and renders further grafts impossible.
-The offspring must make a will save or become a construct (lose their Con, and hence regeneration) which makes unfit for combat, although they can still serve as slaves.
-To minimize the chances of failure, we tack on sufficient Will save boosting gear so that they only fail on a 1. We also give them the Visard of Semuanya so that they can roll twice and take the better of the two (1/day per Visard, so they need as many of these as production per day). You should suffer only 0.25% attrition rate.
-Note that we choose the limb to be replaced to be the Voidmind tentacle. This is because the tentacles can be retracted into the offspring's head to protect it from sundering.
-Half-Clay-Golem and Were-Dire-Bat is CR +3, Half-Troll is CR +2, Voidmind is CR +1 and Gheden and Air Racial Variant are CR +0. War Troll has a base CR of 12, so the resulting Half-Clay-Golem Were-Dire-Bat Gheden (Air Racial Variant) Half-Troll War Trolls have a CR of 21.
-To save me typing all that all over again, we will henceforth refer to these monsters as the Emerald Legion. This name has historic roots, as earlier versions of the super soldier relied on Emerald Dragon cross-breeding to obtain the desired templates, but that disallowed Half-Clay Golem template application.
Step 2b: Advanced Enhancements
The Emerald Legion still has a few weaknesses, which we can try and overcome with the following gear:
-Ring of Sustenance so that the Legion spends less time feeding/sleeping and more time stomping through cities. (2.2k market price)
-Spellblade weapons (6000 gp each) to protect against the following:
- -Dispel magic
- -Greater Dispel Magic
-We might be able to cram both of the above into one weapon by enchanting a double weapon (e.g. Quarterstaff), and using it as a 2-hander for damage.
-Items to Boost Saves (especially Will and Fort saves):
- -Constitution +6 (36k GP)
- -Wisdom +6 (36k GP)
- -Enhancement +5 (25k GP)
- -Luck +5 (50k GP)
- -Insight +5 (50k GP)
-A custom magic item that creates silence as a continuous effect (2 SL x 3 CL x 2000 gp x 2) = 24k gp market price. Holy Word counts as a Sonic attack and is negated by Silence.
-A +1 armor/buckler with 'Proof against Transmutation' enhancement (protects against Polymorph/Petrification, enhancement value 6, 36k gp market price)
-A +1 armor/buckler with 'Soulfire' enhancement (protects against Death effects, enhancement value 5, 25k gp market price)
-One slot has to be armor, and the other had to be a buckler, although it doesn't matter which is where.
It is arguable whether the Mind Flayer Cabal can assign feats for their Voidmind minions while they are growing up. But if the Cabal desperately need a minion to have a certain feat, they can resort to Psychic Reformation to give it to them. With 12 Giant HD, each Emerald Legionaire starts with at least 5 feats. And they might have more depending on whether they can choose their feats from animal HD. We divide this list into essential and nice to have feats.
-Steadfast Determination: Most of the things they are not immune to focus on killing them via their Fort save (see weaknesses below). While it is possible to boost their Fort Saves massively, there is still the possibility that they may autofail on a 1. Steadfast Determination prevents this, AND lets them use their crazy high Con score for Will saves in place of Wisdom. Endurance is a pre-requisite for Steadfast Determination, and is obtained free with the Gheden template.
-Bind Vestige/Improved Bind Vestige: From the tome of Magic, this lets a Legionnare make a pact with Haagenti, who will in turn grant them Immunity to Transformation. This lets them revert back to normal form as free actions, if subjected to Petrification or similiar attacks (possibly including Corporeal Instability).
May or May Not be Essential
-Poison Resistance/Poison Immunity: If it is ruled that Trollbane works when applied to dual damage weapons (see the "Weaknesses and Ambiguous Rules" section below), then they might want to take Poison Immunity to protect against Trollbane, as it is considered an injury poison. These 2 feats are from Serpent Kingdoms and require a racial bonus to poison saving throws, which Legionnaires get from the Gheden template.
Nice to Have
-Power Attack: With their high strength, they are best off using 2 handed weapons, this is an obvious choice.
-Flyby Attack: Self explanatory.
-Robilar's Gambit: Since they are virtually invulnerable, the enemy damage bonus of Robilar's Gambit is largely inconsequential. In return, they can make AoOs in retaliation. Combat Reflexes is a requirement for Robilar's Gambit, but they get that for free from the Voidmind template.
-Combat Expertise/Improved Trip/Knockdown: Their High strength makes them well suited for knockdown tactics.
-Brutal Throw: lets them throw stuff using their ludicrous strength bonus to hit, rather than use their piddling Dex score. Bring along a stack of darts if they need some kind of reasonable ranged attack, although the maximum range is still just 100 ft.
-Far Shot/Distant Shot/Quick Draw: Tack these onto Brutal Throw, and they can stand just over the horizon, and chuck a barrage of boulders at city walls.
Lowering Risk even more
Considering the significant investment each Emerald Legionnaire may entail, sometimes, the Cabal might not want to risk losing them on a mere scouting mission. They are several ways to send in Legionnaire's without risking a full powered original.
One of the common Broken Wizard tricks, is to create a self multiplying army of Monsters with Wish as an SLA. Essentially, the Simulacra can grant wishes to the wizard, the Wizard wishes for more Simulacra. While the Emerald Legion does not have Wish, their Simulacra will bear most of the original's powers, and is nearly unkillable in its own right. Ergo, a Broken Wizard could mass produce Simulacra of Legionnaire's and send them out to conquer the world.
As a side note, for non-Mind Flayers which want to construct the legion, they might create loyal Simulacra of Mind Flayers to start the process. Although the inability of the Simulacra to progress will limit the Psionics they can manifest through the Voidmind.
Another Wizard Broken trick, this creates a full powered copy including any equipment he may have. Should your Astral Projection be killed, you simply awakens back in your original body. Projecting is best accomplished by creating Simulacra of Nightmares, and having them Astral Project out with you. This way, the Projection is supernatural, and cannot be dispelled. However, it cannot enter an AMF. Furthermore, a few things can kill the projection in such a way that the original dies as well (e.g. Gith Silver Swords, Astral Dreadnoughts).
Our Mind Flayers can craft items which grant Fission when worn. Such items would cost: 7 PL * 13 CL * 2000 gp * 4 = 728k gp at market value.
-When placed on a Legionnaire, he produces a weaker clone.
-This clone is exactly the same as the original- he is nearly indestructable, he can be controlled, his senses can be used, and powers can be used through him. The clone has lower HD and lacks magic gear, but is otherwise just as useful as a standard Legionnaire.
-The clone can be sent on especially dangerous missions without worry. Should the clone die, the original will suffer a negative level, which can be recovered either naturally, or with spells.
-Should the clone be needed back at HQ immediately for whatever reason (e.g. it is under attack), the Original simply takes off the gear, and puts it back on again, and the clone will reappear next to him.
-As with Astral Projection, the Clone cannot enter AMFs.
-Unlike Astral Projection, nothing can kill the Clone in such a manner as to kill the original as well.
-However there is no Supernatural source of fission, so the Clone might be dispelled.
When fighting, the Legionnaire should Shift to Were-Dire-Bat Hybrid Form. This gives them +6 Str, +12 Dex and +6 Con. If they Rage they can get another +4 Str and +4 Con. The stat changes boosts their attack, damage and (especially) their Saves.
-By default most things will bounce harmlessly off the Legions many immunities.
-Send the Legion against fortified cities. Watch and laugh as the Legion shrugs off everything thrown at them, fly over the city walls and slaughter the opposing soldier within.
-There are a few things that can hurt the Legion as noted below.
-In such instances, the Mind Flayer masters will be instantly aware of any damage done to their voidmind minions. The Psion Mind Flayer master can use his Psionic's through the Voidmind's body to help fight/destroy these enhanced threats.
-Also, against cities that would likely pack high level mages that would normally be able to neutralize the legion, the Mind Flayer cabal might employ the Null-Psi field berserk trick (see below).
-As the Legion brings down cities, they will gain XP and advance by class levels. Some of these higher level soldiers may be assigned to be the personal guards of the Cabal.
By manifesting augmented/extended Expansion on a Legionnaire, you can increase his size to 2 categories, from Large to Gargantuan. This has several uses:
-Size increases raises its carrying capacity, if the Illithids need something especially heavy moved.
-It adds +8 size bonus to grapple and +4 size Str bonus, for a total of +10 to grapple. Useful if he needs to out-grapple anything in particular.
-The size strength bonus and increase in base weapon damage lead to increased melee damage output. If he needs that last bit of damage for hammering through some ridiculous DR.
-The size increase may be relavent for preventing certain attacks, such as the Tarrasque swallow whole.
-There is the sheer awesome factor of having a monster of mass destruction at your disposal. E.g. If a Tarrasque is rampaging through the lands, the Illithids can send one Gargantuan Troll to pound it into the dust, and then finish it off with Psionic Wish. Now picture that scene in your head for a moment. A massive troll going toe to toe with the legendary Tarrasque and coming out on top.
0. The most obvious idea is that the Legion is complete and is rampaging through the land. The PCs must find a way to stop them.
1. Perhaps the Legion is not yet complete, rather the Mind-Flayers are still experimenting with the production protocol. The PCs must find and stop them before they perfect the Legion. Along the way, they fight increasingly advanced and powerful legionnaires. Best used as a side plot to a larger, more overreaching campaign.
2. Or play the other side of the Emerald Legion Setup quest. The world is falling to something (see number 3), and the Mind-Flayers promise they can help reverse the tide. But they want the PCs to help them gather the requisite materials (capture Air Racial Variant Trolls, find schematics for the Half-Clay-Golem graft etc). The Campaign ends with the PCs leading the first completed batch against a BBEG with an equally terrifying army.
3. Normally, the other planes hold creatures far beyond the material plane. The Emerald Legion is loyal, powerful and can be mass-produced, marking a fundamental shift in the balance of power. It is now possible for denizens of the material plane (provided they have the support of mind-flayers) to challenge other planes as they see fit. Is there a celestial/infernal war? Mortals are now mighty enough to intervene. Is an elder evil awakening and unleashing a relentless tide of undead? The Legion can step in and stop them dead in their tracks. The possibilities are endless.
This section lists high-end cheese tactics which can be applied to the standard Legionnaire that can break the game even further.
Limitless Power Points
The normal limitation on the Voidmind Template is that only Psionic Powers can be manifested through a Legionnaire. This combined with the limit of 3 mind flayer masters, means that a single Legionnaire can at most only channel the power of 3 Psions (or Erudites) at once, and its masters might run out of power points at the most inopportune moments. Fortunately, there are various methods to funnel limitless power points into any one of the 3 Mind Flayer masters (and which can be done in the safety of the Mind Flayers extraplanar home base). This essentially lets the Mind Flayer Master, and in turn the Emerald Legionnaire manifest without limit.
Spells to Power Erudite
Another possible limitation is that only innate psionic powers can be channeled through the Voidmind link. Whereas in D&D spells tend to be more powerful, and have more support. Fortunately WOTC has given us the Spells To Power Erudite, letting a Mind Flayer master who took this option to 'cast spells' instead of relying on plain old Psion Powers. This can be very useful should the Legion require some specific spell to defeat a particular enemy. Combine with limitless power point abuse and you can do stuff like, say cast Disjunction every round.
Breaking the Action Economy
Mind Flayer Masters can manifest their innate psionic powers through the Voidmind host. This apparently does not require any action on the part of the Voidmind. Since there can be 3 masters, you can end up with a situation where all 3 are shooting their powers through the Legionnaire at the same time, essentally throwing out 3 powers per round.
But thats not all, the Mind Flayers can attempt to screw the action economy over and gain more actions. Psions can use Schism to let them each use one more power per round. Spell to Power Erudites can use Shapechange to transform into Chokers and gain another Standard Action. This can push the powers per round from 3 to 6.
And of course, since they don't even have to be on the same plane as the Voidmind, they can make their fortified home demiplane time accelerated, letting them take thousands of actions while only 1 round of apparent time has passed for the Voidmind (and more importantly, the enemies it is fighting).
This is a rather unique disease found in Book of Vile Darkness. Every day, it simultanouesly raises the infected's Strength score with an enhancement bonus, while dealing Constitution damage. However, because the Emerald Legion is immune to Constitution damage, intentionally infecting them with this disease will only cause their Strength Score to go up. Every Day.
Since Emerald Legionnaires can wield weapons, you could set up Spellblade Tennis system amongst them. While they need sleep, as an army, they can work in shifts. So that as long as any 2 of them are active, they can sustain the Spellblade Tennis between them.
Emerald Legion: Strengths
Their most important strength is that the protocol can be easily enhanced. As mentioned before, only 1 Lycan strain was applied to the parents, but there is no theoretical limit on the number of strains you can use, short of:
1. The size limitation (must be medium to huge animal to infect large creatures) and
2. However many were-animal strains the cabal can lay its tentacles on. Adding more Lycan strains does not significantly increase the production cost per Legionnaire (beyond the paltry sum needed to maintain a stock of the suitable Were-Animals). Go through the splat books, note down suitable animals, and stack their CR/HD/HP/BAB/Saves skyhigh.
Immunity to Damage
-Unlike normal Trolls, only acid damage is lethal for War Trolls, all other damage is non-lethal.
-With the Gheden template, they are immune to non-lethal damage (and death from massive damage), so any damage that does not ignore regeneration, is ignored entirely (including holy water which is normally a Gheden weakness, and spells which normally bypass Clay Golem magic immunity).
-With the Voidmind template they are immune to acid damage, what would otherwise be their one weakness. In fact with Half-Clay Golem, he is healed by magical acid.
-In short, without stopping their regeneration, they cannot be brought down by HP damage, not even hotter-than-normal-fire damage like divine fire and hellfire, which was a problem for half Gold Dragon normal trolls.
-One previous weakness was Trollbane Alchemical goo, which stopped regeneration. However it has to be applied to Slashing/Piercing weapons. Half-Clay Golem counters this by giving them immunity to Slashing/Piercing damage. In instances where attacks do bypass their regeneration, they also have 10/admantine & bludgeoning and 5/magic DR.
-Immunity to Slashing/Piercing also helps protect against Vorpal weapons.
Immunity to Common Secondary Effects
-Air Racial Variant, gives them immunity to suffocation, letting them fight underwater or even in vacuum.
-They are immune to mind affecting, ability damage/drain and energy drain through the Voidmind template.
-They are immune to Stunning through the Gheden template
-They are not outright immune to polymorphing, but their Lycanthrope Shapechanger subtype lets them revert back to their normal form if they are polymorphed.
-While they have Haagenti bound, they are immune to other form changing attacks (petrification, Corporeal Instability: and similiar effects), and can revert to their normal form as a free action.
-Clay Golem Magic Immunity stop many spells, even epic ones, so long as it allows SR
-Magic Immunity is not Perfect, it still allows some spells through. However, Voidmind also grants seperate Spell Resistance of HD+10 that can help fend these off. How many HD it has, depends on how many and which Lycan strains they were infected with. The Emerald Legion as decribed thus far has 16 HD and therefore SR 26.
-Although not immune to disease, most diseases kill by ability damage or drain. So they can be infected by many diseases without suffering any ill effect. If some of these diseases can be spread by secondary contact of a previously infected individual, the Mind Flayers might be able to turn the Legion into "Plague Walkers", that bear disease without ill effect and spread it on their enemies. A list of contact diseases can be found here.
-If they extend their Voidmind tentacle, that provides an extra attack with improved grab and constrict.
-When in Dire-Were-Bat animal form, they benefit from flight.
-When in Dire-Were-Shark Hybrid form, they gain +6 to Str, +12 to Dex, to +6 to Con, which boosts their attack, damage and saves.
-With the Gheden templates, its aging upon maturity is slowed to 1/4, although it is by no means immortal.
-If assisted by its Mind Flayer Psion master, the Voidmind can serve as a conduit and manifest its master's powers. This permits them to do stuff like teleport a squad into the middle of an enemy fortress. Or manifest Adapt Body to prevent death from environmental causes.
-While possessing potent natural weapons, they are still fundamentally Giants, and as such can use equipment as needed, to compensate for shortcomings, or e.g. bypass specific Damage Reduction.
Emerald Legion: Weaknesses
For all their immunities, they are still vulnerable to several things. We divide them into things we can try and overcome with equipment, and things we cannot.
Weaknesses compensated with Equipment
Emerald Legionnaires with the advanced enhancement gear listed above, are immune to the below, but their equipment can destroyed by Sundering and Disjunction. Against Disjuntion, the best we can do is boost Will saves to minimize the chances of Disjunction succeeding.
Equipment can also be temporarily disabled by a targetted dispel, so we use Spellblade weapons to help protect against normal and greater dispel magic. But non-spell Dispels might still take effect (e.g. Dispel Psionics, Voracious Dispelling/Devour Magic).
Their Magic Immunity protects them from spells and SLAs, but they can still be affected by Su abilities (and to a lesser extent Ex abilities). All the listed effects below have to be supernatural or extraordinary, but can be blocked by protective gear.
-Supernatural Death effects
-Supernatural Holy Word series of spells
-Supernatural Petrification (Although they ca revert to normal with Haagenti bound)
Weaknesses not compensated with Equipment
Some Weaknesses have no available equipment to block them. Many of these kill based on a Fort Save, so it is imperative that we get their Fort save up as high as possible, and give them Steadfast Determination, so that they won't autofail on a natural 1.
-Positive Energy Plane: Each round they must make a DC 20 Fort save or explode due to having TOO much HP. As is, their Fort save is high enough to succeed the save every round, but they still run the chance of autofailing on a 1. They need the Steadfast Determination feat to garuntee survival.
-Supernatural Graymantle: Graymantle is a level 5 Wizard/Sorcerer spell that stops regeneration, letting them get hurt. Normally, it allows Spell Resistance, but casting this spell as a supernatural ability allows it to overcome magic immunity. However it still allows a Fortitude save. The best we can do is amp up saves and add steadfast determination.
-Supernatural Trait Removal: Trait Removal is another level 5 Wizard/Sorcerer spell that removes one Supernatural or Extraordinary Ability from the target. This lets an enemy say, remove any one of the Legions many immunities. This spell comes from Serpant Kingdoms, the same book that brought us the totally broken Sarrukh. Most of what was said about Graymantle applies to this spell as well: It normally allows SR, but if cast as a supernatural ability, it can bypass that. It still allows a Fortitude save after that. (boost saves, add Steadfast Determination. Are you beginning to see a pattern here?)
-Sphere of Annihilation: Destroys anything that it touches with no save. Available to Epic Binders. However, bringing the sphere into battle isn't always advantageous for enemies of the Legion. It is possible to contest for contol of the sphere, and with multiple Mind Flayer Psionic Telekinesis support, a Legionnaire has more than a fair chance of winning that contest. Alternatively, Spell to Power Erudites can spam gate to destroy the Sphere.
Weaknesses and Ambiguous Rules
Because of the multiple template application, some things may or may not affect the Legion depending on how you intepret the rules. All of these are essentially the domain of DM fiat.
Supernatural Disintegrating effects
To appreciate the rules problem that this entails, we first need to appreciate how Disintegrate has changed. In 3.0, Disintegrate was a Save or Die that simply gave the target a fort save or be turned to dust. Back then, Disintegrate did NOT deal HP damage, which lead to the following text in the description of regeneration:
In turn, various monsters have Supernatural Disintegrate abilities that apparently draw from this 3.0 version of disintegrate, being a simple "Save-or-Turn-to-Dust". Known examples are:Originally Posted by Monster Manual I pg 314
-Umbral Blot Disintegrating Touch.
-Pyroclastic Dragon (Draconomicon) Disintegrating Breath.
When the Disintegrate spell was updated in 3.5, it now dealt HP damage, and only turned the target to dust if it reduced the targets HP to 0. But not all monsters with Disintegrate abilities were similiarly updated. This background is important, because it helps one understand why Disintegrate the Monstrous Ability, differs so much from Disintegrate the 3.5 spell, even though they have the same name.
Now, the Magic Immunity on the Clay Golem graft specificies that:
So for an Emerald Legionnaire, regardless of whether you use the 3.0 or 3.5 version of Disintegrate spell (or the supernatural version of the spell as used by Beholders), it is "converted" by his Magic Immunity to 1d12 hit point damage, which in turn, can now be negated by regeneration.In addition, certain spells and effects function differently against the creature, as noted below.
A disintegrate spell slows the golem (as the slow spell) for 1d6 rounds and deals 1d12 points of damage.
Here is where the rules start to get ambiguous: It is uncertain whether these various Monstrous Supernatural Disintegrate abilities would be similiarly affected by the Clay Golems Magic Immunity (i.e. does it still force them to save or be transformed into Dust, OR is it changed to deal 1d12 damage and slow). If it is transformed, then these various Disintegration effects would be similiarly negated by the Legion's immunity to HP damage, dealing nothing more than a slow effect.
It can be argued that the latter case should be the correct one. Principally, Disintegrate (the Spell), ignores its infinite SR (from magic immunity) entirely but its effects are reduced to 1d12 HP damage. So it stands to reason that Disintegrate (the Supernatural Ability) which ignore SR anyway should have the same effect. A precedent is set in the Clay Golem description for its Magical Acid Healing, where Black Dragon's Breath (a supernatural ability) heals the Golem.
If you take the intepretation that supernatural Disintegrate effects are not transformed by clay golem immunity, all is not lost however. We can still do the usual of amping up saves, and adding steadfast determination.
Extraordinary Brain Eating Attacks
Most notable present on Illithids and Half-Illithids. In theory, the Voidmind ritual replaces most of the Troll's brains with self-repleshing Psionic Slime, so it is not certain whether this attack would work. There is also the question on how exactly does the Illithid get through its skull since it is immune to slashing/piercing damage.
Trollbane and dual damage weapons
The text of trolbane poison simply states that "A successful hit with a slashing or piercing weapon that has been coated in trollbane will expose the target to the poison". It does not explicitly cover what happens in the event poison is applied to a weapon that deals both bludgeoning and piercing/slashing damage (such as a Morning Star), and the target is immune to piercing/slashing damage.
It can be argued that since trollbane requires slashing/piercing weapons to deliver the poison, a creature that is immune to both types of damage will not be exposed to the poison even if weapon bearing the poison incidentally also did bludgeoning damage. However not everyone may agree with this.
If you take the intepretation that dual damage weapons can apply Trollbane despite slashing/piercing immunity, Trollbane can still be blocked by Poison Immunity (which can be acquired by feats as described above), since it is an injury poison.
This is an interesting exception, being both a strength and a weakness. While in the field, the Legion becomes immune to all the above weaknesses. However, at the same time, they lose their ability to shift into hybrid form, and hence their flight. Furthermore the link to their Mind Flayer masters is a Supernatural ability, and so is severed and they regain free will.
Thats not always advantageous for the enemies of the Legion. Being half undead golem trolls means they are evil and will attack relentlessly even without their Master's influence. And while within the field they are virtually impossible to kill. So, using an AMF them won't stop them from wailing on their targets, and makes them much harder to kill.
Oddly enough, a Mind Flayer Psion Master can manifest Null-Psionics field through the voidmind, intentionally severing the link, making the Legionnaire far more tougher. He can also dismiss his own Null-Psi field and regain control of the Legionnaire. In this way, the Null-Psi field serves as a "Frenzy" button. So the Mind Flayers can e.g. teleport an Emerald Legion squad into the middle of a fortress, activate Null Psi-field, wait until the screams stop, and then dismiss Null-Psi to regain control of the squad.
AMF, Freedom and Emerald Legion Welfare
There is one item that creates a permanent Antimagic field- Antimagic Shackles (132k GP). Should a Legionnaire manage to obtain one while free of his master's influence, he could voluntarily put them on himself, thereby freeing himself permanently from the control of the Cabal. (Yes, shackles set them free). That said, their Masters could easily try to sunder the shackles to regain control. E.g. Within an AMF, Legionnaires can't fly. So they could use another Emerald Legionnaire, and fire off Crystal Shards from a safe distance.
Furthermore, every self-respecting Mind Flayer cabal should school themselves in the Evil Overlord List.
Possible things to improve their lives:48. I will treat any beast which I control through magic or technology with respect and kindness. Thus if the control is ever broken, it will not immediately come after me for revenge.
-Flavor their Food: Add prestidigitation to the create food traps, so that the Legions will think about the tastiest gruel they ever had back home, before choosing between helping the masters volutarily, and attacking and destroying said home.
-By RAW, Grafts have no statistics of their own and can't be attacked or damaged separately from the creature to which they are grafted. So in theory, enemies shouldn't be able to Sunder the half Golem grafts. But we put it on the retractable tentacle anyway just in case.
-If they need to mature their trolls in a hurry, the Illithids can use Genesis to create a Demiplane where time passes at an accelerated rate. They can then put their trolls on the plane and they will age faster.
Replacing Air Race Variant
If you cannot or otherwise do not want to use Air Racial Variant, another possible template which grants Water Breathing is Amphibious, a +0 LA Template from Stormwrack which can be applied to Monstrous Humanoids, which includes War Trolls.
However, the fluff in Amphibious states that such creatures are occasional anomalies, rather than something that can be systematically bred. As such, they theoretically cannot be used for mass production, although obviously the laws of your universe (read DM fiat) may decide otherwise.
Alternatively, you can add a Lycanthrope template that provides Water Breathing of some sort. For this I recommend using Were-Dire Sharks, which not only provides water breathing, but also a Size increase to Huge and swallow whole.
Note that both of the above *merely* gives them Water Breathing which isn't as powerful as Air Racial Variant's total suffocation immunity (E.g. they can now suffocate in Vacuums). Hence, if you do decide to use these instead, you will probably want to add Necklace of Adaptation (Market Price 9,000 gp) to their standard equipment list.
Gheden is the ONLY template used in the Emerald Legion that comes from Dragon Magazine, and which might not be permitted in some circumstances. An alternative would be to use a Lycanthrope with Ferocity (e.g. Dire Boar), which allows a Legionnaire to keep fighting even when he drops into the negatives, thereby rendering non-lethal damage ineffective.
-Switched to Crystal Troll/Emerald Dragon
-Added note that this is merely a thought experiment
-Crafting without XP via pain extractor
-Quirks with the Antimagic/Null-Psi fields
-Use Half-Scrag to qualify for half-golem grafts
-Re-added Stained Glass half golem graft, how to reduce graft attrition. Added how to protect graft from sundering.
-Changed Stained Glass to Clay to protect against Trollbane Goo.
-Changed to Winged War Troll to get round type pyramid problems
-Added Will boosting gear to Advanced Enhancement list to help against Disjunction
-Changed Winged to Were-Dire-Bat for shapechanger subtype to protect against polymorph
-Added note on Fission gear
-Added note on Emerald Legion Welfare
-Added more potential feats: Robilar's Gambit and Knockdown.
-Converted to Epic Lycanthropy
-Added possible Campaign Ideas
-Revised layout a little, elaborated on AMF, Freedom and Drowning
-Added section on Abusage.
-Added Spellblade Tennis and Note on Poison Immunity
-Added note on Disintegrate ambiguity.
-Added Replacing Templates
-Replaced Were-Dire-Shark with Air Racial Variant
1. Your general thoughts?
2. Anyway to to protect their equipment from:
3. Anyway to protect them against:
-Sphere of Annihilations
-Umbral Blot Disintegrating Touch
-Pyroclastic Dragon Disintegrating Breath.
-Supernatural Trait Removal
4. Any other way to give cheaper or more permanent protection from:
5. Besides those already mentioned, any other holes in their defenses I might have neglected?
6. Any other suggested Feats (especially those that boost defences)?
7. Any other Campaign Ideas?