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A beholder's lair is made up of several chambers and...

The farthest chamber from the entrance is the beholder’s personal quarters, where the creature sleeps and studies any magic treasure it has accumulated. (Lords of Madness 50)

...but that's pretty much all it says. I know that, given their iconic status, far more than what's in the Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 accessory Lords of Madness (2005) has been written about beholders, especially in Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, Second Edition, so someone must've been tasked with writing about a beholder's sleeping habits and its choice of furnishings.

According to Dungeons and Dragons canon, do beholders sleep in beds? If so, what sort of beds do they prefer? Do beholders make use of other furniture?


Background: While designing a beholder's lair, I realized I had no idea what furnishings a beholder would require. (No, I didn't get very far. Thanks for asking.) Specifically, I didn't know if a beholder would have a bed or if it would need a bed. Further, I don't know to what degree a beholder relies on its at-will 325-lb.-capacity telekinesis to manage its belongings. I know I would a lot.

I've tagged this question both and because, while this is question concerns a Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 campaign, canonical information from other editions of Dungeons and Dragons is acceptable if information from that edition is unavailable.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I would assume that a very large and extra-fluffy pillow is sufficient as a sleeping place for beholders. Unless they can levitate while asleep, in which case they require no extra furniture. \$\endgroup\$ – Shoat Apr 29 '15 at 19:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Shoat That's actually one of my chief concerns: I really don't know if beholders hover while sleeping. I quoted the only mention in Lords of Madness of beholders sleeping. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Apr 29 '15 at 22:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ Bathtub full of Vizine? "It gets the red out" seriously though, excellent question! \$\endgroup\$ – Ben-Jamin Apr 30 '15 at 4:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Regarding hovering while sleeping... Here's an, uh, "official" source saying they do: youtube.com/watch?v=Ohj1ZIXiO44&t=54m28s \$\endgroup\$ – AceCalhoon Apr 30 '15 at 16:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AceCalhoon I applaud your steadfast determination to actually sit through that rabid excuse for a movie and notice a beholder hovering while sleeping, and actually remembering it when coming upon this question. \$\endgroup\$ – Ruut May 23 '15 at 6:04
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While the general section on beholders in Lords of Madness doesn't give any particulars of the furniture in the beholder's lair, there is an example lair detailed later in the chapter (page 56). I won't reproduce the whole thing here, but the important room for our purposes is the beholder's personal chamber:

This large chamber is quite impressive; the walls and ceiling are covered with intricate carvings depicting beholders eating humanoids, and vast fields of mushrooms with writhing tendrils. On the ceiling above, the image of a single immense beholder watches everything. Two large, uneven stalagmites protrude from the floor along the northeastern wall, and to the south stand several well-made statues of powerful-looking adventurers and fearsome monsters. In the center of the room sit numerous desks, each of which is covered with mounds of papers and books.

This chamber is Sekarvu’s personal lair, and where it spends the majority of its time.

There is no mention of a bed, or indeed any furniture beyond the desks. So either the beholder sleeps on a desk (face it, we all have occasionally), or it continues to levitate while it sleeps.

A possible source of further details on beholders would be the AD&D 2e book I, Tyrant, which was the book in the Monstrous Arcana series dedicated purely to beholders.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I must've overlooked that. (There's no mention there of sleep, see?) Thank you. However, if this description could be compared to at least 1 other canonical beholder lair, that'd be awesome. (I'm suspicious of any sample size of 1.) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Apr 30 '15 at 15:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ IIRC, "I, Tyrant" mentioned that beholders float because of a gas filled organ of some sort, and that they still float during sleep. Beholders are also very fond of specially made mirrors (can't remember the details, I don't own the book) that allow them to see throughout their lair with their reflected 360 degrees vision, as well as shoot their eye rays from one room to another. Their lairs often end up a cross between "richly decorated" and "hall of mirrors". \$\endgroup\$ – Dungarth Apr 30 '15 at 15:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I completely understand that - I'll have to keep looking. I almost bought I, Tyrant from drivethrurpg, but I decided I shouldn't start buying things to answer questions on SE (it's a path that leads to me being poor). \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Apr 30 '15 at 22:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan In 'Eye of the Beholder I' the beholder, Xanathar, had a pretty plain lair. It was polished stone with arcane orbs sitting on pedestals, and carved patterns in the walls. Of course, that is a video game over 20 years old. There is a book about him for 2nd Edition entitled, "Waterdeep and the North." \$\endgroup\$ – Ruut May 23 '15 at 6:11
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There is another example lair, from Mysteries of the Moonsea.

It seems beholders have nests,

each one a bowl-shaped indentation atop a stone pillar, holds fluffy piles of feathers, fabric, and other soft materials

So in the Moonsea, these three sleep on fluffy pillows.

Personally, I'm kind of disappointed with how mundane the lairs are in these examples. I'd rather treat a beholder as an aberration with an "alien mindset" (per MM) - despising humanoids and their ways of life.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Or can at least. ("Must" depends on stronger evidence.) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 30 '15 at 19:50
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I've done some looking and found some information on Beholders.

Firstly, it seems that when a Beholder sleeps, only their main eye closes and the rest blink intermittently, allowing the Beholder to maintain awareness. Because Beholders are highly intelligent and it seems that levitation is their natural form of movement, it would make sense that a Beholder would be able to use its levitation while sleeping. I also want to add that in the episode of Futurama that has a beholder, he is sleeping while floating. I found this info here.

As for what kind of furnishings a Beholder would have; they are generally greedy and lust for both wealth and power. So, it's likely that a Beholder would have slaves within his lair along with large amounts of gold, gems, magical implements, or anything else that may increase their power. The lairs of Beholders are often Carved by the Beholder that lives there itself, or parts of it would be. Since Beholders are rather large creatures - 5-8 foot floating orbs - they wouldn't be able to fit in smaller passages of the Underdark, so they instead carve out where they need to go. This would likely result in passages that might be easy for a beholder to move through, but hard for most PCs: such as completely vertical passages. For the beholders actual chambers, I imagine it would be a circular or spherical chamber at the top or bottom of a vertical passage.

As for what kind of furniture they might have, I'm assuming it wouldn't be a whole lot or it would be very specific to Beholders or even that specific Beholder. A place to look might be the Spelljammer books - which I don't have - as they have beholder ships and could very well explain the kind of stuff they keep on these ships.

I found this information on a few pages located here, here and here

If you'd rather beholders didn't sleep floating in the air, another idea I thought of was that they could just sleep in a nest or something made out of their dead enemies.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This is almost entirely conjecture. It also displays very poor grammar. Your points about vertical tunnels into beholder's chambers is possibly your strongest, but it's lost in the general mess. Please clean it up a bit. \$\endgroup\$ – Jeff Apr 30 '15 at 17:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ I spruced up some of the grammar and formatting. As @Jeff points out, it's not entirely clear how much of this is based on research and how much is conjecture. For instance, I skimmed the pages you linked, and see that information about vertical chambers came from there. Could you make your citations clearer? \$\endgroup\$ – DCShannon Apr 30 '15 at 20:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure that Futurama counts as D&D canon, either \$\endgroup\$ – Adeptus May 1 '15 at 0:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Adeptus I dunno, Gygax voiced himself on Futurama (season 2, episode 29); that might be association enough to count. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan May 1 '15 at 18:03
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Beholders are intelligent creatures so I presume they produce written letters and orders and contracts. I would imagine a beholder would have a writing desk (but no chair). It would definitely have bookshelves and scroll cases as well as light sources.

For sleeping, I'd imagine that the height of comfort would be a bean bag. :-)

I could imagine a levitating creature having a social conditioning about being on the ground (down there? with the dirt and insects?!) so maybe a hammock would be more appropriate.

They don't wear clothes so no wardrobes.

Do they wear jewellery? If so a jewellery box and mirror wouldn't be out of place.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I suspect this answer is gaining downvotes because it doesn't cite a source, and therefore appears to be made from whole cloth. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Apr 30 '15 at 4:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't think a Beholder would really need a writing desk. If the Beholder can write using telekinesis, it isn't too hard to imagine that it could simultaneously hold the parchment in midair with telekinesis. \$\endgroup\$ – Theik Apr 30 '15 at 9:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ ..so we end with Ikea discarding the idea of a whole line of Beholder furniture... so spartan the beholder's room. \$\endgroup\$ – Corven Dallas Apr 30 '15 at 12:36

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