Brain collectors, or neh-thalggus as they call themselves, are an alien race engineered to serve as scouts by the Dominion of the Black, a malevolent coalition of aliens from outside Golarion's solar system.
A brain collector collects the brains of intelligent creatures it kills—typically humanoids—and stores them in reddish blisters on its back. Although they are carnivorous, brain collectors do not eat brains; they prefer to collect them to increase their intellect, or for analysis and occult vessels. These collected brains increase cognitive and magical abilities. After having collected enough brains and absorbed a critical mass of thoughts and memories from them, a brain collector undergoes a metamorphosis into a yah-thelgaad.
On planets, brain collectors take over caves or abandoned buildings and line them with a network of flesh, allowing them to control devices from anywhere within the lair.
Brain collectors view other lifeforms as harvestable resources, even when those lifeforms worship them as gods. They also do not worship any named divinities, instead venerating the primordial forces of space itself.
Brain collectors have comparable technology to other starfaring races, but theirs differs by being primarily organic and using little metal. Sometimes, components for their technology are whole bioengineered creatures, but more often than not they come from creatures that are bred simply to be butchered for their organs. For this reason, brain collector technology often retains the semblance of life, throbbing with biological sounds, reacting when used properly or not, and being healed by positive energy.
The few manually controlled brain collector devices are done so by poking and massaging certain pressure points. More often, they directly attach to the user's nervous system through the skin, allowing them to draw power from the user, who can control them as easily as if they were part of their body.
Brain collectors' spaceships are living, tentacled creatures supported by a skeleton made out of both metallic and organic bones whose living processes produce fuel and serve as life support. Within each ship is a self-contained ecosystem that provides food and experimental material. When brain collectors need to land on a planet, their ship produces drop pods via budding, which decompose once they are on the surface.
While brain collectors rarely need equipment for themselves due to their natural weapons and magic, they still produce it for their minions. Although made out of flesh and bone, these items are functionally similar to more conventional counterparts.
On other worlds
For additional resources, see the Meta page.
- Mike Shel. (2014). Dominion of the Black. Valley of the Brain Collectors, p. 66. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-704-8
- David Schwartz. (2014). Alien technology. Valley of the Brain Collectors, p. 74. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-704-8
- Logan Bonner, Jason Bulmahn, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Mark Seifter, et al. (2019). Bestiary (Second Edition), p. 46. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-170-2
- David Schwartz. (2014). Alien technology. Valley of the Brain Collectors, p. 71. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-704-8
- Mike Shel. (2014). Bestiary. Valley of the Brain Collectors, p. 91. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-704-8
- James L. Sutter. (2012). Distant Worlds, p. 57. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-403-0