Lords of Madness
Flow of Fresh Brains!
By Darrin Drader

Bandit raids are common along the caravan routes, and the Black Thorne Mercenary Company has become infamous for the precision and efficiency of its raids. But the nature of the raids has changed of late -- nowadays, neither survivors nor corpses are left behind. Has the band turned to cannibalism, or does it serve some darker master now? Darrin Drader offers an adventure for 11th-level characters that showcases the new material on mind flayers and the illithidae monster family from Lords of Madness. So download this web enhancement now and let your PCs follow the clues to a horror beyond their wildest nightmares!

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The Flow of Fresh Brains

Mind flayers, otherwise known as illithids, are horrific creatures that originated in the far future. Faced with the imminent demise of their kind, they fled to the past with their elder brain leaders, plus certain ferocious and twisted creatures that inhabited their homeworld, as well as numerous spacefaring ships called nautiloids. Upon arrival, they took refuge in the darkest corners of various worlds and began to build their empire anew by enslaving the native humanoid races. Since then, the illithids have manipulated events in both overt and subtle ways to assure the eventual evolution of their own species.

Most of the illithids sought refuge beneath the surfaces of their new worlds, establishing colonies that thrived and grew strong where the light of the sun could not penetrate. However, a large number of them avoided inhabited areas altogether and made their homes among the stars instead. Several elder brains and their illithid followers settled on small moons or large asteroids, where they could plot out their future without interference from the native creatures of the inhabited worlds. But while this solution helped to ensure the safety of the illithid masters, it also distanced the settlements from their primary food source: the brains of sentient creatures. The vast majority of the illithids in such stellar settlements addressed this issue by using their plane shift ability to capture sentient creatures for food. As luck would have it, however, a few settlements were established on stellar bodies that happened to be rich in valuable minerals. The residents of these colonies quickly discovered that mining those substances and trading them for living slaves presented considerably less personal risk than any other method of acquiring food. Deals were made, and avenues were opened for slave trade with the inhabited worlds.

The Black Thorne Mercenary Company began as a simple group of highwaymen who brazenly defied the laws and the protectors of their lands, waylaying travelers and caravans with increasing frequency. Eventually Narulin, the ruthless fighter who led the band, was offered a chance to gain even more wealth from each raid by trading in living captives. Since the Black Thorne Company had quite a bit to gain from this arrangement and nothing to lose, the leader agreed to a partnership with a client whose purpose is evil beyond human understanding.

Who will seek out the Black Thorne Mercenary Company and its mysterious client and put an end to their depredations once and for all?

About the Authors

Darrin Drader was born in Pullman, Washington in 1973 and stayed there long enough to attend WSU. He then moved to western Washington and eventually landed a job at Wizards of the Coast, Inc. After an eight-year stay in the Seattle area, he decided to move back to eastern Washington so that he could be closer to his family. He has been an RPG freelancer since 2000, and has done design work for Dragon magazine, Star Wars Gamer magazine, Bastion Press, Mongoose Publishing, and Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

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