Wednesday, January 13, 2016

10 Variant Spectres

10 Variant Spectres

     Spectres are incorporeal undead who appear as they did in life. Evidence from a violent death is apparent on their ghostly body. From a throat being slit to grisly sword wound across the chest. The Spectre is one of the iconic undead originally appearing in the D&D Whitebox. They have been represented in all editions of Dungeons & Dragons. The variant Spectres presented below are based off the Labyrinth Lord rule set. Labyrinth Lord is a retro-clone of B/X D&D and AD&D 1st Edition.

The typical Spectre is a 6HD undead with an incorporeal body that is immune to non-magical weapons. They are also immune to mind-affecting abilities and their dreaded attack deal 1d8 points of damage and drains two levels/HD of experience. Victims drained to zero level or HD are slain. In 24 hours the unfortunate victim rises as a Spectre under the control of the one who killed him.

Presented below are variations of your typical Spectre. As with any alteration to a monster you should adjust experience as needed.


1. Hangman: This Spectre was killed by hanging. An noose is predominately hung around its head and the connecting rope wraps around its body. The Spectre can make a ranged attack with his noose. The range is 30' and resolved as a normal attack roll. On a successful hit the noose wraps around the opponents neck and each round the victim loses 1 level of experience. The rope is tethered to the Spectre and each HD/Level drained also heals the Spectre. The Spectre heals a number of hit points equal to the HD of the creature/character(1d8 for a monster, 1d4 for magic-user, etc). The victim can make a strength check to break free of the noose. Also attacks against the rope tethering to the victim can sever the connection by dealing dealing 5 points of the damage. The rope and noose are also incorporeal and require a magic weapon or spell to damage.

2. Quartered: This Spectre limbs are not attached to his main body. His legs and arms hover a few inches from his ghostly shape. This Spectre death was due to quartering. His limbs are able to move up to 60' from his main body. The Spectre is able to make four attacks, two with his arms and two with his legs. His two arms do 1d8 points of damage and drains 1 level. His two legs do 1d8 points of damage and no drain. His 6HD are separated between his four limbs and main body. The main body has 2HD and each limb has 1HD. To fully destroy this undead you must slay all limbs and body. The main body has no ability to attack.

3. Immolation: This Spectre was killed by fire and its body has a wreath of black flame that envelopes it. The mere touch of this Spectre transfer a portion of the black flame to engulf its victim, slowly burning their life away. On a successful attack the damage is 1d8 and each successive round the black flame continues to linger. Round 2 is 1d6 damage, round 3 is 1d4 damage, and round 4 results in a level loss. Casting a cure spell on the victim will halt the successive damage and potential level drain. This replaces the Spectre normal attack.

4. Cloud: This Spectre can spend a round to turn itself into a 10x10 cloud of darkness. The Spectre movement is reduced by 1/2 and it loses its standard attack. However, the spectre can simply move its cloud body to engulf victims and can affect anyone within its movement range. Anyone inside the cloud takes 1 level of energy drain each round.

5. Suicide: This Spectre cause of death was by suicide. The touch of the Spectre causes the victim to self mutilate himself. The touch of this Spectre does 1d4 points of charisma damage and the victim must make a save vs death. Failure results into a random act of self mutilation. After a self mutilation has occurred the victim must make a system shock roll or fall unconscious for 1d6 turns. Use the chart below for some inspiration. Also if the victims charisma is reduced to zero he commits suicide.

1D4 Self Mutilations
Spend the round pulling all your hair out. Take 1d4 points of damage and bleed for 1 point of damage each round after until bandaged or cured.
Spend the round gouging one of your eyes out. Perception based rolls are reduced to ½ and all attack rolls are at a -2. Take 1d6 points of damage and bleed for 2 hit points for each round after until bandaged or cured.
You set yourself ablaze using torches, alchemist oils, lanterns, etc. You continue to burn until extinguished.
You attack yourself with the most effective way possible. Sword to the gut, a fireball centered on you, etc.

6. Soul: This Spectre has a dark red gem that floats where its heart would have been. For each level drained the red gem burns brightly. All those within 30' must make a save vs spell or be blinded for 1 round. If 6HD or levels are drained the red gem absorbs the Spectres body. One round later the gem explodes and the Spectre is reborn as a Ghost.

7. Reflective: This Spectre glares at you intently. You must make a save vs death or the Spectre dark form replicates your own. All damage inflicted upon the Spectre this round is transferred to the victim instead.

8. Void: This Spectre body houses an extra-dimensional space that absorbs spells and weapons. Any weapon attack against the Spectre forces the attacker to make a strength check or have their weapon absorbed into the Spectre body. The Spectre also has a 50% chance of absorbing a spell cast upon it. Upon the Spectre death the extra-dimensional space is destroyed and all contents are spilled out. Any spell that was absorbed has it effect take place once the Spectre is destroyed as if it was delayed. Magic missile would be harmless, but a fireball could spell disaster.

9. Kinetic: This Spectre body is surrounded by kinetic force field that causes a backlash against any physical force. All physical attacks reverberates back at the attacker dealing the same amount damage inflicted upon the Spectre. When the Spectre attacks the victim must also make a strength check or be flung 15' away and knocked prone as a strong kinetic force pushes them away.

10. Hex: This Spectre was killed by a witch's curse granting it the ability to mutter hexes at its foes. In place of a normal attack the Spectre hexes an opponent instead. The victim must save vs death or be subjected with a random curse. Roll on chart below or devise your own. The curse last for one turn.
1D4 Hexes

Unable to receive curative magic
You speak in tongues. Companions cannot understand what you are saying and spell casting is impossible.
The next wound you take becomes infected causing an additonal 1 point of constitution damage per round until the hex duration ends. Cure disease ends this effect early.
Your fingernails grow six inches and curl. You are unable to grip your weapons.

If you enjoy variant undead check out the links below.

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