Planescape

Ghostlight

2613



Climate/Terrain:Any
Frequency:Rare
Organization:Solitary
Activity Cycle:Night
Diet:Special
Intelligence:Genius (17-18)
Treasure:B,Z
Alignment:Chaotic evil
No. Appearing:1
Armor Class:-4
Movement:Fl 18 (A)
Hit Dice:7
THAC0:13
No. of Attacks:1
Damage/Attack:1d4+1 + Special
Special Attacks:Hypnotic display, dominate, energy drain
Special Defenses:Struck only by weapons of +2 or better enchantment
Magic Resistance:35%
Size:S (3’ diameter)
Morale:Average (8-10)
XP Value:6,000

A ghostlight’s a clever and malicious thing. It’s an intangible ball of energy or light closely related to the will-o’-wisp of the Prime Material Plane, but the ghostlight’s powers and unending hunger make it even more dangerous than its cousin. The creature gains sustenance by feeding on the vanishing lifeforce of dying creatures, and it actively tries to cause deaths in its vicinity to ensure a steady supply of energy. Ghostlights’re known by different names on different planes – for example, they’re called corpse-candles in parts of the Outlands.

The ghostlight appears as a faint, glowing sphere of sickly greenish phosphorescence. The thing varies from fist-size to 2 or 3 feet across, and tends to swell and shrink in a constant flicker of motion. The ghostlight’s fond of finding areas of natural luminescence to conceal its own light, and can often be found in foul bogs, dank caverns, or misty moors or coasts.

Combat: The ghostlight’s preferred form of attack is simple: It tries to lead travelers into the path of things that are likely to attack them. It can duplicate the effects of a dancing lights spell by varying the shape and consistency of its body. If it can’t induce its prey to follow, it approaches closer and begins to brighten and dim in a hypnotic, flickering pattern. Any creature within 30 feet who watches this display for more than 1 round must successfully save versus spell or become confused, per the spell, for 2d6 rounds.

If the ghostlight’s display fails to create the dangerous situation it seeks for its prey, its last resort is an attemt to dominate anything capable of killing its victim. Often, this is another member of the traveler’s party. The ghostlight must make physical contact with its chosen target; this requires a normal attack roll. The creature’s clever enough to seek out a chance for a surprise attack or a stealthy, silent rush from the behind when its victim isn’t looking. When the ghostlight hits with this attack, the victim receives a saving throw versus spell to ignore the effects. If he fails, the ghostlight flows over his body and dims until it’s no longer visible; it now controls the victim’s actions completely, and usually forces its dominated vitim to immediately attack the ghostlights prey.

The last resort for a ghostlight is physical combat. It attacks by draining energy from its opponents. Each successful attack chills the victim for 1d4+1 points of damage and temporarily drains 1 level, with the associated Hit Die loss, worsening of THAC0, and loss of any spell ability or special powers that the character of the new level couldn’t use. On drained level is recovered for every full turn of reat; any spells in memory that were temporarily unavailable due to level restrictions’re still there when the spellcaster recovers. If a character is drained to level 0, he collapses and passes out until he recovers to 1st level. If a level 0 character is struck, he must make a successful saving throw versus death magic or be slain.

The ghostlight’s weakness in combat is its insatiable appetite for death. It can sense a mortally wounded creature within 100 feet, and immediately abandons any fight to go feed. The ghostlight drains life enerfy as noted above until that victim either expires naturally or perishes from the ghostlight’s attentions. The ghostlight ignores any attack while it’s feeding until it’s reduced to 10 hp or fewer – then it tries to flee.

The ghostlight can be struck only by weapons of a +2 or greater enchantment. The creature is lightning-fast and difficult to hit in combat, but its AC drops to 0 when it’s motionless – for example, when it is feeding or dominating a creature. The ghostlight can assume invisibility for up to 5 rounds before reverting to its visible form, and will use this ability to set up an ambush or escape from foes that threaten its existence. It can also teleport up to 200 feet once per turn.

Habitat/Society: The ghostlight’s a solitary thing that stakes out a particular area as its hunting ground and then remains there for the rest of its existence – or so it seems from all recorded encounters. It’s rumored that ghostlights are spawned of the spirits of evil mortals who venture into a certain layer of the Abyss, but some cutters whisper that a ghostlight’s created by the casting of a finger of death in the wrong part of the Lower Planes. Whatever the dark of the ghostlight’s origin, it’s certain that no one’s seen a young ghostlight or even two of ’em together.

Ghostlights can communicate by a very limited form of telepathy that extends only to the range of their touch. They’re likely to seek out powerful monsters in their hunting grounds and strike a bargain to lead prey to the monster in exchange for the privilege of feeding on the victims’ life essence. Of course, ghostlights’re fickle and treacherous things by their nature, and they’ll not hesitate a moment to feed on their partner if the battle goes poorly.

If a cutter can find any way of holding a ghostlight to its word, he’ll find that the creature makes an excellent guide. It knows its land extremely well and can tell a body the exact location of any predator bigger than a fox that regularly hunts its lands. It’s also quite knowledgeable about dangerous terrain, portals or conduits, and other such things. Ghostlights can occasionally be bribed with gems, but most often they’ll want payment in food.

Ecology: Ghostlights throw off the balance of any ecology they prey on; by encouraging frequent and violent deaths, they soon ensure that the tough predators gain the upper hand, and then throw the predators at each other until nothing’s left. Most areas haunted by a ghostlight are silent places, empty of life. ’Course, this also means that if a ghostlight’s been someplace for any length of time, it’s probably very hungry and extremely likely to attack any passers-by

The exact relationship between ghostlights and will-o’.wisps is unclear, but it’s thought by some that will-o’-wisps may be ghostlights that have planewalked, or vice-versa. They share a number of characteristics and abilities.


Last Modified: January 31, 2014, 13:46:56 GMT

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition


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