Ubbo-Sathla, the Tome Keeper

Ubbo-Sathla, the Tome Keeper

CR 24; XP 1,228,800
CN Outer God of ancient secrets, primeval life, protecting knowledge
Primary Source Clark Ashton Smith, “Ubbo-Sathla”

Cult

Domains Chaos, Knowledge, Madness, Protection, Rune
Subdomains Defense, Entropy, Insanity, Language, Memory, Wards
Favored Weapon heavy pick
Symbol partially shattered stone tablet covered with illegible runes
Temple caverns, glacial rifts
Worshipers antiquarians, historians, librarians, those who seek the meaning of life at all cost
Servitors oozes (particularly shoggoths)

Influence Stage 1 (DC 30)

Area 1,000-foot radius; Nucleus 15-foot radius
AC 42; Saves +25; hp 520
Effects fast healing, protect lore, spawn ooze, Tablets of the Gods (2), tentacles (10d6), undulant terrain
Escalation Every time Ubbo-Sathla absorbs a living creature with its tentacle attack, it has a 25% chance to escalate to stage 2.

Influence Stage 2 (DC 32)

CR 27; XP 3,276,800
Area 2,500-foot radius; Nucleus 15-foot-radius
AC 45; Saves +28; hp 640
Effects fast healing, protect lore, spawn ooze, Tablets of the Gods (4), tentacles (20d6), undulant terrain
Escalation Every time Ubbo-Sathla absorbs a living creature with its tentacle attack, it has a 50% chance to escalate to stage 3.

Influence Stage 3 (DC 35)

CR 30; XP 9,830,400
Area 1 mile radius; Nucleus 15-foot-radius
AC 48; Saves +31; hp 760
Effects fast healing, protect lore, spawn ooze, Tablets of the Gods (6), tentacles (30d6), undulant terrain

Defeat

Combat Ubbo-Sathla’s influence may be defeated by damage. Doing so once it has escalated to stage 3 influence is the only way to study the Tablets of the Gods.

Destruction of Lore If the Tablets of the Gods are destroyed, there is a cumulative 10% chance per round that Ubbo-Sathla’s influence is destroyed as well.

Influence Effects

Protect Lore Ubbo-Sathla was originally created to guard the Tablets of the Gods, but in its mindless obsession with protecting lore, it will protect any object containing written information of any sort. Any such object (books, carved tablets, notes scribbled on scraps of parchment, and so on) that are left untended within Ubbo-Sathla’s influence are transported by long tendrils of protoplasm at the start of any round on which they are untended to merge with Ubbo-Sathla’s nucleus. Once merged, they cannot be utilized or studied as long as Ubbo-Sathla’s influence remains active, but they may be targeted by attacks to damage to destroy them. For the purposes of resolving saving throws, all sources of knowledge protected by Ubbo-Sathla are considered to be equipped by Uboo-Sathla’s nucleus, and use the influence’s saving throw bonus to resist effects.

Fast Healing Ubbo-Sathla’s nucleus heals damage inflicted to it equal to 10 points per current Tablet of the Gods in its possession per round.

Spawn Ooze At the start of each round, Ubbo-Sathla spawns a number of oozes at random points throughout its influence. The total CR of oozes created cannot exceed Ubbo-Sathla’s current influence stage times 20. Shoggoths are a favorite ooze for Ubbo-Sathla to spawn in this way.

Tablets of the Gods A number of Tablets of the Gods equal to twice Ubbo-Sathla’s current influence exist within the god’s nucleus. These tablets may be destroyed only via damage inflicted by artifacts or creatures of demigod status or greater; each has hardness 30 and 500 hit points, and use Ubbo-Sathla’s influence’s AC and save modifiers. Destroying all of the Tablets of the Gods is one way to potentially banish Ubbo-Sathla, but if Ubbo-Sathla’s influence can be removed without destroying the Tablets of the Gods, these potent artifacts remain behind and can be studied.

Each Tablet of the Gods contains one potent item of lore, but to successfully learn from a tablet, a character must spend 2d4 days in contemplation studying a single tablet, taking breaks for only a few hours at a time each day. Each day the study progresses, the character must make a successful Fortitude save equal to the highest influence DC Ubbo-Sathla reached to resist suffering 3d6 points of ability drain to a randomly determined ability score as the otherworldly strain of studying secrets meant only for the gods takes its toll. If the character survives to the end of the 2d4 days of study, the tablet he was studying crumbles to dust and the character gains a potent boon. The nature of this boon should be determined by the GM—examples include learning a fundamental secret of life or reality or the multiverse, a permanent +1 increase to an ability score, the ability to cast a single 4th-level or lower spell as a spell-like ability 3 times a day, the ability to cast a single spell of 7th level or lower as a spell-like ability once per day, or enough experience points to gain a level.

Tentacles At the start of a round, Ubbo-Sathla’s nucleus spawns a number of immense tentacles that attack each and every creature in the area of influence. These tentacles automatically hit for 10d6 points of bludgeoning damage per influence stage, with a successful Reflex save halving the damage. In addition, each time a character takes damage from one of these tentacles, roll 1d10 on the following table to determine any additional effect that occurs beyond the bludgeoning damage. When you roll on this table to determine the additional result, add Ubbo-Sathla’s current stage to the result—thus, at stage 4, you’ll roll 1d10+4 and there is no chance of a tentacle having no additional affliction.

Roll Result
4 or less No additional affliction
5–6 Hallucination: The victim must make a successful Will save or become confused for the following round.
7 Poison: Tentacle—injury; save Fort; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d4 Str drain and 1d4 Wis damage; cure 3 consecutive saves.
8 Vampirism: Ubbo-Sathla is healed of damage equal to 1/4 of that inflicted by the tentacle strike.
9 Parasitic Spores: The victim must make a successful Will save or parasitic spores seize control of the victim’s mind. Once afflicted in this way, the victim falls under the thrall of Ubbo-Sathla and does everything possible to defend the nucleus. This is a mind-affecting disease effect, and is permanent until cured by remove disease or similar spell.
10 or more Absorption: The victim must make a successful Fortitude save or be pulled into Ubbo-Sathla’s body and absorbed. This instantly kills the victim (who can thence only be restored to life via miracle, true resurrection, or wish) and heals damage to Ubbo-Sathla equal to the victim’s normal maximum hit points.

Undulant Terrain The ground within Ubbo-Sathla’s influence is coated with a thick, trembling layer of protoplasm. This layer of sludge transforms the area into difficult terrain. Oozes do not treat this area as difficult terrain.


Ubbo-Sathla, called Tome Keeper and Unbegotten Source, is a mindless primeval being. When the world was created, unknown cosmic forces created the Tablets of the Gods and forged Ubbo-Sathla as their guardian. Part-fungus, part-animal, part-plant, all hideous, Ubbo-Sathla’s quivering mass guarded the Tablets until they corroded into indecipherable ruin.

While technically not a Great Old One, Ubbo-Sathla commands the power and terror of one. No cult truly worships it, though a few tribes have learned how to summon and control it. Ubbo-Sathla itself ceaselessly writhes but does not normally move from place to place. It prefers to remain in one place and defend the Tablets of the Gods. It mindlessly but violently lashes out at any intruders, of which it encounters few. Some believe Ubbo-Sathla was the first form of life on multiple planets. It absorbed energy from its environment and spawned tiny (harmless) lesser entities from its surface, called “efts”, which may eventually evolved into plants, animals, and fungi.

Ubbo-Sathla and the Tablets cannot properly be separated, as the creature uses the Tablets as a sort of external skeleton to give itself support and form. The Tablets contain primal wisdom, including the secrets to life and death. They are written in a cosmic tongue suitable only for the minds of superintelligent beings that reason in dozens of dimensions at once. At the center of the Tablets, surrounded by them, is Ubbo-Sathla’s large “fruiting body” atop a mass of tentacles or stalks, while more limbs wrap around the Tablets, holding them upright in turn. The entire mass of elder wisdom and raw protoplasmic horror is as one monstrosity.

Legends hold that the Tablets deteriorated over time as their function was fulfilled and Ubbo-Sathla slowly lost its purpose. After millions of years the Tablets crumbled to powder, after which Ubbo-Sathla spawned itself into oblivion. In esseence, it bore young until it simply dissolved into a mass of efts. But temporal non-existence is hardly a defense against its terrible influence.

Summoning Ubbo-Sathla

Today, Ubbo-Sathla (the Tome Keeper) can be contacted in two ways. The first is by time travel. This can be dangerous of course because Ubbo-Sathla co-exists with other primal beings from the dawn of time, such as the hounds of Tindalos (page 458). The second is by breaking the laws that govern time and space to bring it to the present time. Of course, dangers exist in so doing–this might alert other time-conscious beings (such as Tulzscha, dimensional shamblers, the hounds of Tindalos, the great race of Yith, outer spawn, or entities from the Dreamlands).

Ubbo-Sathla, as a mindless guardian, is no one’s friend. It will even attack the cult that summoned it if they linger after it finishes forming. As such, it is an excellent defender of anything that requires protection. While only the elder lore forms it, other precious and durable materials can be kept within its purview. The safest time to deposit these is when it is still forming.

Some cultists seek to summon Ubbo-Sathla that they might study the Tablets of the Gods, but the creature poses a significant threat while the would-be student is trying to read these cyclopean stone slabs.

Ubbo-Sathla in Combat

When attacked, Ubbo-Sathla flails potently, directed not by intelligence but by raw instinct. It spews forth primal fluids, which immediately form into shapeless entities. The spread of these horrible blob-things is part of the general environment when one is near the Tablets, and they are encountered constantly. In addition, Ubbo-Sathla can flail with its stalk-like limbs, which inflict poison, acid, and other harm in addition to their raw crushing strength.

As a fungal being of protoplasm, Ubbo-Sathla possesses no vital spots or organs. It regenerates from damage at a tremendous rate, and the repulsive entities it spews forth intercept attacks. It is virtually indestructible, and any force great enough to destroy Ubbo-Sathla would certainly also destroy the precious Tablets of the Gods, thus negating its purpose.


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