Weekly Beastie: Demonic Toupee

demonic-toupeeThe Demonic Toupee basically started off as a joke. “Hey guys! What if we did an evil wig?” “Oh yeah, remember the time The Simpsons did that?” “Haha! Oh yeah!” The more I thought about it though, the more I thought that an evil wig could be more than just a Simpsons-did-it.

To be sure, there was no way an evil hair piece was going to match the immediate horror of something like the Maggot God. They’re too small and (let’s admit it) too silly to do that. Like many an unassuming item however, they have the potential to be insidious. And we like insidious.

The Demonic Toupee isn’t going to bash your players’ skulls in or leave them in teeny tiny pieces on the floor. If you’re the kind of GM, however, who enjoys parasites and mind control, our toupee might be the one for you.

A pay-what-you-want, OGL compatible PDF of the Demonic Toupee can be found at DriveThruRPG. You can also support our Weekly Beasties by giving to our Patreon page. The Beastie itself can be found below:

Small beast, unaligned

Armor Class 5 (natural armor)

Hit Points 14 (3d6)

Speed 15 ft.

STR 4 (-3)  DEX 8 (-1)  CON 10 (+0)  INT 14 (+2)  WIS 14 (+2)  CHA 10 (+0)

Senses Passive Perception 12

Proficiency Bonus +0

Challenge 2 (50 XP)

Skull Latch. The Demonic Toupee pushes its tendrils into its target’s skull and takes over their brain. This takes about one minute during which the PC (if their hands are free) can perform three Reflex DCs (14 or higher) to try and toss it away. If they fail or the Toupee catches them unable to defend themselves, the Toupee will infest their brain and take over their mind.

Parasite Boon. When the Demonic Toupee takes control of a character’s body, the GM should add its HP to that of its new host. The Toupee’s AC, Strength, and Dexterity should also be replaced by the host character’s, adding a +1 bonus to each.

Detach. The Demonic Toupee will typically do everything it can to keep its host alive. If a situation appears truly hopeless however, it may abandon its host body. Once detached, it will attempt to flee. If this happens with an NPC, they’ll die almost instantly after the Toupee abandons it. If this happens to an infected PC, they will take 3d12 damage. Additional permanent injuries may also occur.

Multiply. The Demonic Toupee cuts a piece of itself off to create offspring. The Toupee takes 1d6 damage every time it does this. The new Demonic Toupee will start off with hit points equal to the result of the d6 damage roll. After a day’s rest, the new Toupee will heal back to full strength.

Originally created by a trickster demon, the Demonic Toupee is often used as a tool of revenge for those possessing the infernal knowledge to create it.

When placed on a creature’s bald head, it forces its way into their brain with hair-like tendrils and takes control of their body. With few natural defenses of its own, it then does what it can to secure the safety of its host. Having access to their memories, it will mimic their mannerisms to blend in. The Toupee can also trigger chemical reactions in their brain to increase their physical abilities.

Imbued with an endless drive to expand its influence, the Toupee sucks nutrients from its host to grow its own body. Once its “hair” is long enough, it cuts off pieces of itself that then become new Demonic Toupees. Its offspring will defend and defer to their creator so long as they remain close by.

Where to find a Demonic Toupee

The Demonic Toupee was originally created by a demon that was fond of playing tricks. It’s not a naturally existing creature that appears in the wild. A GM wanting to play a Demonic Toupee might have them sitting in a jar in a wizard’s tower, or as on sale in an shady spellcaster’s shop. Pick a place that makes sense for your world.

Infecting a PC with a Demonic Toupee

While a GM may understandably be reluctant to infect a Player Character with a Demonic Toupee, it can happen and should be considered.

If someone tries to place a Demonic Toupee on the bald head of a PC (or it crawls onto their head of its own power), it will attempt a Skull Latch. The PC may attempt a Dexterity saving throw. If they roll above a 14, they’ll be able to throw the Toupee away and escape its control. They may retry the DC three times. If they fail all three times, the Toupee will successfully take over their brain. If, for any reason, they can’t use their hands, the Toupee’s Skull Latch will automatically succeed. If they’re asleep when the attack begins, they’ll wake up and have a chance to respond.

If the PCs willingly put a Demonic Toupee on their head, it will automatically perform a successful Skull Latch.

Removing a Demonic Toupee

When a person is discovered to be the host of a Demonic Toupee, most (sensibly) regard it as a death sentence. The Toupee pushes its tendrils deep into its victim’s brain and its removal results in damage that many people can’t survive. There have been cases however, where people have been able to free themselves from the grip of these diabolic parasites.

When a Toupee latches onto a PC, the GM can ask them if they want to try and remove it. If they say “yes,” the GM should tell them to perform a Wisdom saving throw. If the result is below a 17, the GM should tell their will isn’t strong enough and they can’t overcome the Toupee’s control. They can attempt this Wisdom DC once a day.

If the PC succeeds, the GM can say that the Toupee is having a hard time maintaining its control and that have a brief window to act. They should then ask the PC to perform a Strength DC. If the PC rolls above a 14, they’ll rip the Toupee from their skull. Allied PCs can also try to pull it off. If they fail this DC, the Toupee will regain its composure and they’ll need to wait another day.

Removal, unfortunately, isn’t the end for the strong-willed PC. Since the Demonic Toupee was embedded in their brain, removing it will result in serious (3d12) damage.

At the GM’s prerogative, tearing away a Demonic Toupee may cause permanent brain damage, leaving a lasting influence on the characters abilities. Roll a d6 to determine the results:

1-2: Left/Right Arm (-2 Strength)

3-4: Left/Right Hand (-2 Dexterity)

5: Speech (-2 Charisma)

6: Sight (-2 Wisdom)

If an infected PC is near death, it’s also possible that a Demonic Toupee might decide to Detach and flee on its own. The damage and potential injuries are the same as when the player removes it of their own volition. 

So a Player’s been taken over by a Demonic Toupee.

As a GM, there are two ways you can approach this unfortunate circumstance.

The first is to take control of the PC away from their player. Many players will see this as cruel or unfair, so it should be done cautiously and only after they’ve been given the chance to try removing the Demonic Toupee. That said, if they refuse to try or try and fail, it should be considered perfectly legitimate to take control of the infected PC.

An alternative would be to allow the player to continue controlling their PC, but to do so with the stipulation that it’s being controlled by a Demonic Toupee. Even if the PC acts almost identically to their former self, its goals must shift to match those of the Demonic Toupee’s: grow, spread and conquer.

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