Once Lost

The Once Lost are a bizarre race of Aberrations found in the oceans near the city of Murkeye.


Roughly 40 years before the Devastation, the Dark Lord Dagon began a program to cross-breed several varieties of demon and aberration, the goal being to create an amphibious shock trooper capable of quickly striking from the waves, laying waste to a coastal settlement, then retreating to the sea before enemy reinforcements could arrive. Verciterix, a Mind Flayer Favored Soul of Dagon, was put in charge of the project. Verciterix chose a small, out of the way world of little consequence for his experimentation-the planet that would later be the home of Otep. Roughly fifty miles off the coast, an underwater compound was created at the bottom of the sea.

By the time of the Devastation, the program was several generations in, and showing too much promise to be worth scuttling and starting over as the world fell apart. After the unlikely victory (of sorts) of the Six Saviors, Verciterix chose to move on with the project-at the very least, there would be less chance of interruption, as those sentients who remained were preoccupied with rebuilding the world. With Dagon's dark blessing, the project went on. For more than two decades, Verciterix hatched new generations of hybrids, but with frustrating results. Demonic traits were appearing with acceptable frequency, but the creatures' temperament was infuriating to the Mind Flayer. Despite the thoroughly evil stock the broods were created from, they seemed only to inherit their Demonic parents' tendency towards chaos, with no apparent inclination towards good or evil. This was a critical failing-the eventual goal of the project was to create sadistic creatures that would relish in causing pain, yet still be controllable-chaotic but otherwise amoral creatures were the antithesis of the desired temperament. Each brood made Verciterix more and more frustrated, as the broods grew physically stronger but did not mentally improve. This tendency made them difficult to control.


One day, after spending his waking cycle meeting out harsh discipline, Verciterix stopped to receive his daily allotment of power from Lord Dagon. Nothing happened. The Illithid tried again, and panic began to mount as he was unable to contact his Dark Lord. None of the other wardens in the compound were able to retrieve their powers-it was as if Dagon had simply ceased to exist. Within a few days, the broods realized their captors had become impotent, and decided that their time behind the Mind Flayer's bars had come to an end. The hybrids turned on their jailers, and the dark seawater ran dark red with the jailers' tainted blood. Verciterix was among those slaughtered, nearly powerless to resist.

The creatures had been designed to work together, and thus had been designed with a hive-mind. However, desire for autonomy had created a second brain in the creatures. Though they were all individuals, they were all linked, as well. This ability led to a strong sense of community among the creatures-and coordinated their battle plans against their former masters. After their overthrow of Verciterix and his ilk, the Hidden Angels of Otep met in secret to discuss the Lost. Ninety years ago, most of the Celestials had left in order to preserve balance in the world; a few had stayed behind to make sure that evil would have no unfair advantage. These hidden Angels realized the compound of monster men with demon blood could not be ignored. The Solar recommended their destruction. The Archon pointed out that while the creatures had demonic blood, they were not inherently evil, and destroying them was not strictly necessary. Toudeilibach the Eladrin believed he had a better idea. He appeared before the creatures in a glowing cascade of light. He spread his arms, and proclaimed them to no longer be lost creatures, and infused their beings with goodness. Toudeilibach is still worshiped as a demigod among these creatures, who used his proclamation as their name-from henceforth, they referred to themselves as the Once Lost.

Relations and Physiology

The Once Lost retained their chaotic bent, but felt just as equal a pull towards doing good works. Around 173 AD, the first reports came of sailors facing certain death as storms tore their ships apart and monstrous creatures boiled up from the depths below, only to find not rending claws but firm grips carrying them to shore-sometimes a journey of fifty miles or more. Other reports surfaced of hideous beasts-Aboleths and the like-washing ashore riddled with puncture wounds, as if stabbed dozens of times by spears. It wasn't until the January of 232 that the Once Lost made their first public appearance. The citizens of Arliss, a small fishing village, were starving-a blight had ruined most of their crops the previous summer, and what little reserves were left had begun to run thin. On the morning of January 14th, a dozen shapes came wading out of the cold harbor. Each carried a net in its misshapen hands, and each net was filled to swelling with either clams or fresh fish. The creature in front began calling out to the townfolk in a language they did not understand; many of them hid, as the creatures were terrifying to look upon. However, Bjarni Herjolfsson, a dwarven trader from Underport approached the beasts and recognized words in Undercommon. Though his understanding of their language was limited, Bjarni was able to establish that the creatures wished no harm to the citizens of Arliss. A wizard, Brigham Jennings, was summoned to the docks, where he realized the creatures' language also contained words and grammar from Abyssal. Working together, Herjolfsson and Jennings were able to roughly translate the pidgin language of the Once Lost, and work out that they had come to Arliss because they heard the people were starving, and wished to trade the food they had brought for items only the landwalkers could provide. Within three years, the Once Lost had learned to speak Common and had a regular trade routine established with the people of Arliss. Shortly thereafter, the Once Lost began branching out to a few other landwalker cities in the area.

Relations with the Once Lost remained strained for some time, due to their monstrous appearance, until a Scylla drifted into the harbor of the city of Murkeye. The ships in the harbor battered it will cannon fire, but were surprised to see dark colored creatures erupt from the waves and stab it with spears and axes. As the Scylla thrashed, dozens of sailors were knocked into the water-and hauled to the docks by hideous but benevolent creatures. Any doubts as to the pureness of the Once Losts' hearts were banished that day, as Once Lost healers crawled out of the water to aid those wounded by the Scylla. They made no requests in return, simply sliding back into the sea. Since that time, the people of a handful of cities in the area have grown to accept the Once Lost as benevolent creatures who may be a bit unsettling, but are worth having around.

The Once Lost are all hideous, but very different in appearance do to the fact that they were created in a somewhat piecemeal fashion. Since overthrowing Verciterix, the different broods have all cross-bred with one another, but this has only made their appearance more random, not less. Most of them share a few common traits-thick hides that are practically exoskeletons, non-prehensile facial tentacles, and asymetrical body types are the most common. Some Once Lost are equally quick on land and sea, but most are faster in the water. All Once Lost are humanoid in shape, though most have a hunched posture on land. Their method of locomotion in the water is a series of valves, similar to the way a nautilus moves. The Once Lost diffuse oxygen through membranes on their skin and are thus able to breathe air and water with equal ease. Some features of the Once Lost are supernatural in origin; for example, many Once Lost have a small portion of the essence of the Abyss residing in their skin, making only lawfully aligned weapons puncture through. Perhaps due to their Aboleth genetics, the Once Lost are untroubled by water pressure and can walk along the bottom with ease. The Once Lost have anywhere from two to seven eyes, depending on the individual, and they can see in the dark. The Once Lost have displayed slight precognitive ability, and are psionically active, though few choose to refine this native talent. All indications point to the Once Lost having only one sex.

Game Stats

Mechanically, the Once Lost are Synads (Complete Psionic) with the Amphibious template (Stormwrack)Abyssal Heritor Feats (Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss). They can be of any alignment, but prefer Chaotic Good. Once Lost of Lawful alignment are rare, but tolerated, while Evil Once Lost have their minds severed from the hive-mind and are exiled.

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