Beholder Collector's set
Welcome to the Beholder Collector’s Set ‘Rules’ released by the DDM Guild. To mark this memorable event, the Guild has issued new stats for each figure included in the set. Astute players will note that some of these figures are recasts of earlier beholder miniatures. Those of you who have an eye for the letter of the rules will also point out that, as such, should probably use pre-existing stat cards for play.
However, the concept of using an Eye of Frost as an Eye of Flame is not only intuitively unsatisfying, it also touches on a different section of the floor rules. It turns out that you are not supposed to modify a piece to misrepresent its capacity to attack. This generally means adding something like a crossbow to a figure with no ranged attack, but having a figure look like it does cold attacks (and it does in the RPG), but actually doing fire damage might qualify.
To be honest, the cleanest, but least satisfying, answer was to ban the Eye of Frost (or insist it be repainted for use in sanctioned tournaments). In addition, we would simply permit the ghost beholder to be used as a beholder lich, and allow the eye of shadow as the original ‘beholder’ miniature. The beholder eye tyrant is just fine, and could be used as is.
However, the crystalline qualities of the first three beholders provide a mechanism by which they can easily and readily be dissociated from their slightly more mundane predecessors, and this creates the possibility for official stat cards to be released, as a special exception to the standing floor rules. That is, the Ghost Beholder, the Eye of Frost and the Eye of Shadow are legal, as long as they remain transparent (ie., unrepainted) and clearly identifiable as the three beholders included in the Collectors Set.
You can find their cards here along with an bonus epic card for the tyrant and a preview (beta version) of a new concept called ‘reminder’ cards. The card included explains the ‘basic ranged’ attack power.
Notes on Designing the New Beholders
These Beholders are somewhat of a departure from previous designs, and really reflect the original Beholder concept that dates back to AD&D. The idea here was to make a creature that happens to be quite dangerous if you stay away from it, but quickly becomes deadly as you approach it. We’ve not seen a lot of Beholders represented on championship match tables, and so we hope that some of these can make the cut.
The Eye of Frost is very good at ranged combat, and is well defended, but you need to be patient to play him, because he moves very slowly. If there were an Ecology of the Eye of Frost, one might point out that the ability to slow a target would be critical to predation (beholders tend to be carnivores). And once a target gets in close, its probably too late.
The Eye of Shadow moves very quickly (for a beholder), but is far more fragile than its frozen cousin. It is definitely a ‘techy’ piece to play, and could replace or complement a Shadow Dragon in a themed warband.
The Ghost Beholder is meant to be the tough cookie of the three, and can pretty much stand alone against the first two. A soul-starved, insubstantial mulit-eyed floating cranium that flies through walls, feeds on fear, and bounces hapless victims off of walls before possessing them? What’s not to like? Just keep him away from skull cleavers, who seem to have his number.
One last note about the basic ranged attack, in case some of you are wondering about interactions with existing rules. It cannot substitute for a basic melee attack, although, as listed, it may be used instead of a basic melee attack to make opportunity attacks.
Yes, we have goodies for the OE players as well, right here. These Beholders are also somewhat of a departure from previous designs. I felt that a Beholder should have a choice using a cool eye ray effect, or of simply making a ranged attack with one of the minor (simply damaging) eyes to eliminate fodder, and so these three are the first OE beholders to actually have ranged attacks coupled to their eye rays. I also wanted to introduce something new into the old version, without actually changing any rules That said, I think you will agree that these new stat cards are fun to play, and the Beholder personalities reflect their revised edition forms, but with some real first edition flavor.
The Eye of Shadow is a lord of mayhem, not a tyrant. With somewhat less fortitude than the other beholders, this one stands out as very mobile and reasonably hard hitting for its cost, fitting nicely as the only Beholder to belong to the CE faction. He doesn’t actually slide enemies like a normal beholder; he teleports them to a space within 3 that he can see (as the acting creature).
The Eye of Frost is more structured. Solid defenses and hit points, and the desire to slow his opponents to his speed, or convert them into ice sculptures. He is a chilling tyrant, and thankfully activates only once per turn.
The same is not true for the Ghost Beholder. Incoporeal, this horror poses a real threat as a titan build, particularly with help from cause wounds or negative energy effects. Never failing morale, its sure to be around until the very end of your match.
Hope that this lets you have some fun with the newest set.
Warm wishes for the New Year.