The party is about to face in battle a beholderkin, an overseer (Lord of Madness 139–40) and its allies:

  • a beholder (Monster Manual 25–7)
  • 2 directors (LoM 137–8)
  • 7 spectators (LoM 140–1)
  • 8 gauths (MM 26)

Additionally, the overseer has has successfully used its dominate person eye ray against a blue thrallherd who commands a small army of goblins. The overseer is aware of the party's capabilities.

The PCs are tier 4 and level 11 with typical wealth for their level. The PCs include an adept/church inquisitor, a fighter/rogue/master thrower, a ranger/halfling outrider, and a warlock. They will have the assistance of an NPC pirate crew that consists of the captain (an ECL 11 bard/marshal/legendary captain), the first mate (an ECL 11 ninja/scarlet corsair), the big guy (an ECL 8 barbarian/war hulk), the ship's mage (an ECL 6 warmage), and a handful of other crew members who probably won't matter in a fight against such creatures.

The PCs plan to suppress temporarily the overseer's domination of the blue with protection from evil spells and make 11-min.-at-a-time alliances with the blue and its army in hopes that the goblins'll wreck a few eyeball monsters for the PCs.

As a being of vast intellect (Int 20!), the overseer has likely considered this eventuality and has contingencies for its contingencies for when the goblins eventually revolt. (Some of these contingencies might involve its major creation eye ray? See below.)

I expect that the actual beholder will be slain—perhaps by the overseer itself—in the ensuing goblin-beholder(kin) battle. (The overseer's plan all along to remove its potential rival anyway.) So after the party dispatches the remaining lesser beholderkin, it'll be time for the PCs to go mano-a-ojo against the overseer itself.

And it's for this final battle that I want to maximize the overseer's tactics. I can do that for everything that the overseer can do (which is a lot) except that I'm struggling with the overseer's major creation eye ray.

The description of the overseer's major creation eye ray says that an overseer uses it to create for itself or its minions useful miscellaneous gear. Lords of Madness has some beholder magic items, but it makes no suggestions as to what sort of mundane items an overseer would find useful, be it in battle or just to have sitting around for anywhere from over a day (if vegetable matter) to only 90 seconds (if a rare metal). (Its caster level for its eye rays is 14.)

An RPGNet thread has a list of 101 uses for the major creation spell, but many of those suggestions assume a mundane humanoid is employing the spell rather than an extremely powerful magical tree-eyeball monster.

How would an overseer in this situation employ optimally its major creation eye ray?

Note: an overseer's major creation eye ray is a supernatural ability which requires a full round action (which replaces the standard 10 minute casting time of the spell). Since the eye rays are supernatural, they cannot be disrupted and never require concentration checks. So, I am mainly looking for uses during combat.


If I'm reading your question correctly, your adventuring party is going to attack just the overseer; it won't be defended by any minions. So we don't need to worry about what sorts of mundane weapons it might create for its minions. (It would create explosives, presumably, but we don't have good rules for those.)

Instead, the overseer should create traps. The traps page on d20srd lists a variety of traps, magical and non, poisoned and non.

The major creation spell can create vegetable or mineral objects, but it seems to me that most poisons don't fall into those categories, so (eg) the CR6 wyvern arrow trap (Atk +14, 1d8 damage, Fort DC17, 2d6 CON / 2d6 CON) probably won't work.

The overseer seems to lack the disintegrate spell, or any other efficient way to dig, so (eg) the CR9 wide-mouthed pit trap (DC25 Reflex, 10d6 falling damage) also seems nonviable.

However the CR6 spiked blocks from ceiling trap (+20 melee, 6d6 damage, 10-by-10 area) seems like it would be pretty viable. Likewise for the fusillade of spears trap, the built-to-collapse wall, the wall scythe trap, et cetera.

The overseer might prepare these traps in advance, or it might create them during combat since its ability can be activated in one round. The overseer is limited in this by the volume of major creation, which can only create one cubic foot of traps per level.

(Presumably when outside of combat the overseer is smart enough to create the parts for a trap in separate castings and assemble it. Within combat this is unlikely to be a good tactic.)

You'll want to think about which (if any) of the traps can be created within that volume. You might also consider improvising some new traps, such as a two-foot-diameter rolling stone sphere.

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