Despite having been role-playing for over 30 years, it's only recently I really got to grips with the otyugh, when the authors of a module that I was running chose to put one in... and I had great fun with it! This otyugh, and it was just the regular run-of-the-mill standard one, turned out to be very polite provided that the characters talked to it (and fed it) rather than waded in with sword and spell. Ended up with a memorable, enjoyable and quite unexpected moment of role-playing from this side of the GM screen...
So, to the latest instalment in this series exploring the full potential of the otyugh. The 'flensing' template presented here comes, we are told, from generations of transmuters experimenting to create the perfect beast of war and seeking ever more horrifying ways of dealing damage to the enemy, but preferably in a controlled manner. The limited but real intelligence of the otyugh coupled with its outlandish and quite terrifying appearance fits the bill quite well, especially with a bit of tampering. So, the flensing otyugh is equipped with nasty barbs all over its tentacles and the predisposition to relish the spilling of blood.
Here we have the flensing template itself, two examples of it applied to an otyugh (standard System Reference Document version where the otyugh is an aberration and the Grand OGL Wiki one with the otyugh starting as a magical beast)... and if you might be wondering what to do with a one of them, there's an encounter with several of them in a wizard's tower - the fellow had been messing around, transmuting away, you see... only his containment spells suffered a cascade failure and, well, someone's got to clean up the mess. Never quite as simple as it seems, there are a few little twists to keep the characters on their toes, and it should prove an entertaining interlude.
As if that were not enough there are a couple of new spells for your spellbook - Buttress of Skulls and Strangling Web - both quite handy for defending your lair, and a variant air elemental that has a distressing habit of flinging blood around! To round things off, there's a devious young lady spellcaster, the daughter of the owner of the tower and an interesting NPC in her own right.
A nice little addition to your bookshelf, it's always fun to put a twist on things that your players think that they know about!