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Another one from the 1e Fiend Folio, though its lore is new for this edition.

The Lore

A monster is considered “aberrant” in 4e when their origins or workings are heavily tied to the Far Realm. Usually this means they come from the Far Realm, but that’s not the case with meenlocks. Meenlocks are the victims of an alien disease, and it’s this disease that comes from that horrible place.

Known as Meenlock Corruption, it eventually changes its victims into naked mole rat/crab hybrids like those in the illustration. Meenlocks gather together in subterranean lairs built in caves, ruins, or in the shallow Underdark.

These lairs usually have relatively easy access to the surface, with at most an easily-rolled boulder blocking their main entrance. The creatures themselves scatter and hide when their lairs are invaded, fighting only when cornered. All of this is because their main defense is Meenlock Corruption itself. Anyone who enters their lairs is exposed to the disease.

As the corruption progresses, it dominates the victim’s mind and compels them to return to the lair where they were infected. If such a victim spends more than two days in there, they turn into a new meenlock.

Meenlocks are driven to seek new victims as well - that’s how they increase their numbers. To that end they can ally with other creatures who are themselves resistant to their infection, in exchange for victims who are not. Potential allies include foulspawn, or powerful evil wizards and psions.

The text of the book is a bit confusing but it looks like it’s possible to restore someone who was turned into a meenlock. You need to kill the creature, burn its body, and then apply the Remove Affliction and Raise Dead rituals to the remains. How’s that for an extreme treatment?

The Numbers

Let’s start by detailing the Meenlock Corruption disease. It’s a Level 9 Disease, with an improve DC of 20, and a Maintain DC of 15. Unlike most other diseases, its resistance rolls use Insight instead of Endurance. Stage One inflicts a -4 Will penalty. Stage Two makes the victim grant combat advantage. Stage Three makes the victim become dominated by the meenlocks who infected it, and driven to return to their lair.

As usual for 4e diseases, when you reach Stage Three you stop making resistance rolls to improve. A Remove Affiction ritual might be able to save the victim if performed before the transformation is complete. Otherwise you need the more drastic procedure described above (kill them, burn the body, Remove Affliction, Raise Dead).

Meenlocks themselves are Small Aberrant Humanoids with Speed 5 and Darkvision. Their signature ability is Dimension Step (recharge 4+), a move action that allows them to teleport 8 squares. All of them fight with their claws and with a suite of mental powers blending fey magic and aberrant psionics. The specifics vary per individual stat block.

Meenlock Stalker

Stalkers possess powers that make them particularly suitable for the gathering of new victims. They’re Level 9 Controllers with 97 HP.

In combat, a Stalker will first and foremost try to forge a Horrid Link (minor action, recharge 4+) with a victim. It has a range of 10 squares and happens automatically. Whenever the stalker takes damage, the linked victim takes 1d10+5 damage. The link lasts for a turn or until the stalker uses the power again.

The Stalker can then use two powers against the linked victim. Both are ranged attacks targetting Will and inflicting light psychic damage, with different rider effects. Maddening Whispers dazes (save ends). And Twisting Whispers force the victim to make a basic attack against a creature of the stalker’s choice. It also exposes the victim to Meenlock Corruption.

Their Claws are simple basic attacks with average damage, so stalkers have an incentive to stay away from the PCs and work solely through the Horrid Link. Their default goal in a fight is to infect as many PCs as possible with Meenlock Corruption, though they might have others depending on who they’re allied with.

Meenlock Corruptor

This one trades damage potential for increased control. It’s devastating to party cohesion in both defensive and offensive ambushes. It’s a Level 11 Lurker with 89 HP.

Once again, its claws are simple basic attacks. The star of the show here is Corrupting Mind, a very complex at-will ranged attack. It deals no damage itself, but does a lot of other things. First, it exposes the target to meenlock corruption. Then, it inflicts a custom condition named Mental Disarray (save ends). A target affected by this is considered dominated, gains 2d6 bonus damage to all attacks, and is unable to see the corruptor.

Failing the first save against mental disarray makes the condition last until the end of the encounter! Whenever a victim in this state takes more than 10 damage, the meenlock corruptor takes the same amount, and the victim can make a saving throw.

Once per encounter the corruptor can also use a Psychic Shriek to hit a close blast 5, dealing psychic damage and knocking targets prone.

So yeah, another dominator that’s worse than a succubus. Since Corrupting Mind is at-will, it’s possible that the whole party would get dominated at once when fighting a corruptor. The more of them you add to a single encounter, the bigger the chance of this happening. Once a target is dominated for the encounter, Team Monster should avoid attacking them. It’s up to the PCs to do those 10+ damage to their mind-controlled friends.

Final Impressions

Another disease-themed monster that tackles its theme in a creative manner. Not many diseases use Insight instead of Endurance. Your beefy Endurance-trained defenders will get a nasty shock if the party doesn’t figure this out before exposure.

Mechanically, both of them are quite dangerous. PCs fighting an all-meenlock encounter group will spend as much time attacking each other as they will fighting the monsters. The corruptor is particularly terrifying in this regard. If possible, avoid using more than one of those in an encounter group unless you want your PCs to really suffer.