Originally Posted by Crinias
Now, either way you need the statblock of the Tsochar in question, but my understanding from the description is that if it inhabits the victim, it doesn't actually control it, but due to being able to apply massive pain, its modus operandi is to basically coerce the host to do stuff for it or else.
Yes. It also has the option to "replace" the host, which kills it instantly. The text isn't clear if the Tsochar can use replace while currently inhabiting a host, but I don't see anything that says they couldn't. The threat of instant death may be more compelling to a host that can resist or shrug off 3d6 damage. I'm not sure if this process would be immediate (since it's already burrowed inside the host) or 1 minute.
Note that Tsochar can also use Take Spells (Su), which gives a DM an incredible amount of flexibility when using them as villians, as you can load them up with spells from previous victims to get them out of any tough spot. Teleportation and dimension door
effects, even low-level spells such as benign transposition
, can quickly get them out of harm's way. The only limitation on how many or which spells a toschar can cast is it's mental stats (Int 15, Wis 14, Cha 13), but there's no reason a dastardly clever tsochar can't suck a 20th-level wizard/sorcerer dry, complete with 9th level spells, and then buff his mental stats with items/spells.
A tsochar + invisibility
, particularly against sleeping PCs, is thoroughly depraved. Don't pull this trick on the PCs unless you really know what you're doing... but against an important NPC can be quite devastating. It may be months before your PCs feel comfortable about going to sleep. Then again... if going from inhabit to replace takes 1 minute... that could be a very interesting 10 rounds for an inhabited PC.
Originally Posted by Crinias
The other use of Wear Flesh is Replace, and if I read this right it basically functions as a polymorph into the victim's form, in addition to taking its spells or spell slots.
As per polymorph
, the tsochar gains:
Physical movement modes, size, reach, and natural weapon attacks
All (Ex) special attacks (but not special qualities)
Racial skill bonuses and racial bonus feats
If the new form's Con score is different, then adjust the save DC of the tsochar's poison. Note that in the new form, the tsochar may not have access to its tentacles and thus may not have Improved Grab, but it can still grapple normally and gets its Constrict damage + Poison. By taking Ability Focus and Virulent Poison (Savage Species), it can buff the poison DC by +4. Nets, lassos, tanglefoot bags, entangle
, and fatigue effects can incur Dex penalties, plus Dex damage can render a PC immobile and helpless (Dex = 0).
Originally Posted by Crinias
While statting it I realized there was a small discrepancy in rules: Tsochar have Improved Grab, and are Small Size unless they advance to Medium (which is easy since they only need to advance two more HD). According to the text of Improved Grab, this ability can only be used against creatures at least one size category or more smaller than the creature unless specified otherwise (and in this case it doesn't). So... it can only use Improved Grab (and therefore benefit more easily from its Constrict and Poison abilities) against Small or smaller creatures? What gives? Furthermore, its Wear Flesh ability only works against creatures that are its size or larger. It seems like an overlook. What do you guys think?
The text of the tsochar's Improved Grab is different from what's in the MM, so this may be an example of "specific trumps general". The tsochar's improved grab says it can use it whenever it hits with two tentacle attacks. There is no size limitation mentioned, so my best guess is that the toschar version of Improved Grab ignores the size of the target. In any case, the intent here is fairly clear: it uses it's tentacles to grab onto your face, and then burrows into your body, size restriction be damned. As Hudson might say, "Game over, man!"
My last campaign involved a planar invasion of tsochar that were trying to bring through a Cthulhu-esque Elder Gawd from the Far Realms that was going to devour the planet as an afternoon snack before naptime. Most of the important high-level spellcaster NPCs were inhabited or replaced by tsochar. Plus, lots of gibbering mouthers, chaos beasts, aboleths, mind flayers, basically anything with lots of tentacles. After driving the PCs beyond the edges of paranoia, I was going to send them up to meet the Queen of the Frost Elves up in the north, where everything around her screams "Body Snatchers!", arrest them all on trumped up charges, throw them in prison, and then the Queen announces she'll interrogate them alone.
Once she has no witnesses, the Queen would release all the PCs, and then her tsochar crawls out and announces telepathically to the PCs that he's had a change of heart, he's working with the Queen *against* the corrupted tentacle beasts from the Far Realms, and he wants to help them. But the Queen's entire royal guard and cabinet is infected, and well, just a suggestion really since he doesn't want to force them to do anything against their will, but if the PCs don't heed his advice and tread very carefully, they will all be gruesomely killed or even worse. Unfortunately, the campaign didn't get that far, so I never got to see the players' reaction.
Other tips for using Tsochar: The DR 5/adamantine and SR 14 can make them very frustrating for low-level PCs. It helps to make an adamantine dagger or Ring of Adamantine Touch available somewhere. Against higher-level PCs, tsochar are slow and very vulnerable outside of their host body, so make sure they have an invisibility
or dimension door
handy to give them a chance to escape.