Dancing Dead – Waltzing Restless Spirits for D&D 5th Edition

Dancing Skeletons

This is getting really spooky!

The dancing dead are a unique kind of undead.  Their main facade is appearing harmless and whimsical, making them much like dark fae spirits in some sense.  They put on elaborate shows and dances, doing incredible routines that few can do in life.  In fact, some take part in music relevant to the dance they’re displaying.  (Rumor has it that this and this are the most common musical themes.)  Most likely, the Dancing Dead were once talented masters of art and acrobatics in life themselves.

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  I made a swarm of spooky, scary skeletons for Pathfinder sometime last year or the year before and they were a blast to run!  With that, I brought them back for 5E, right on time for Halloween.  This time, I made them more generic undead.  They could be skeletons, zombies or whatever!  No matter, Happy Halloween, everyone!!

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Night Terror Bloodline – A Nightmarish Sorcerer Bloodline for D&D 5th Edition

Nightmare Mage

You are born from the stuff of nightmares.  From a young age, you had come to know fear, as fear was very much a part of you.  You faced wretched terrors as well as found methods of eventually manipulating them.  Some figure you to be mad, but you know that your mental fortitude against vile horrors is far greater than most uses of magick.

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The Graveyard Tyrant – An Amalgam horror for D&D 5th Edition

NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE

Throughout the ages, many places of rest are long since forgotten.  Eventually, departed souls come to realize they too have been forgotten.  In self-pity and despair, they either continue to haunt these grounds or return from the afterlife.  Eventually, these souls bond together as their hatred and sorrow grow, slowly fusing with the forsaken ground as well.  A hivemind made of dirt, bone and soul arises to bring forth legions of undead to chastise the living.  These creatures are known as Graveyard Tyrants, commanding waves of undead horrors while seeking to control the living out of a sense of vengeance.  These tyrants often stir where cemeteries once stood, watching them with a sense of duty and honor; as they feel no one will tend to the grounds besides them.  While they have a great hatred towards living creatures, they have a connection to the realm where they were spawned and will do anything they can to protect it.

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Ghostly Haunt: A template of the Unquiet Dead for D&D 5th Edition

https://i2.wp.com/media.wizards.com/images/magic/daily/boab/boab156_ghost.jpg

When a soul faces great tragedy, not even the dead are granted final repose.  When this isn’t the case, some sort of plight plagues ghosts, tethering them to this world.  The whole experience horrifies, saddens and angers them greatly.  Ghosts are created from all the mortal races of the multiverse, trapped in the realm of the living until they can finally break free into the lands of the dead.

Creating Ghostly Haunts

Ghostly Haunt is a template applied to any living non-planar creature.  Creatures with this template have died and returned as undead.  Stats after the jump.

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Arcane Corruption: The Dark Side of Magic for D&D 5th Edition

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Wizards are weird.

In darker settings, distant beings and magical powers are hard to trust… and for good reason.  In older iterations of the game, as well as darker fantasy RPGs like “Dungeon Crawl Classics”, delving into the supernatural had a risk far beyond a price tag and losing a spell slot or gaining the ire of a church.  Exploitation of eldritch powers could leave the victim becoming mad, diseased, or both.  Turning the forces of chaotic energy into an orderly event is by all means a paradox in and of itself, taking its toll on those who craft too much.  Likewise, making bargains with incomprehensible entities too takes its toll.  Those who take either too far risk becoming mad or warped beyond recognition.

And worse than exposing yourself to the unknown in immersing yourself is realms tainted by absolute corruption.  Desecrated lands, alters to dark gods, creatures that are the truest essence of evil and so on.  These sources of the most vile powers in existence are just as likely to twist and decay the soul into something it is not… or was not.  While some struggle with sanity, distortion at the hand of dark powers are far worse.

If you prefer, here are some alternative lists that can work as well.  Mutations – Part 1 (Benefits), Mutations – Part 2 (Drawbacks), Wild Magic Surge (Alternate)

Author’s Note: This is inspired by corrupted magic from Dungeon Crawl Classics, Carcosa, Taint from D&D 3.5 Heroes of Horror and the Insanity option from the Dungeon Master’s Guide.  At its core, this is a variant of the Sanity and Madness rules from the D&D 5E DMG.  Also, this is merely a draft for my concept.  Expect revision at some point!

Made by Doctor Necrotic, for Doctor Necrotic Media.

IMAGE SOURCE: Dungeon Crawl Classics

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Caretaker Devil – Fiends in a doctor’s disguise for D&D 5th Edition

https://sylvaansuz.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/plague31.jpg?w=520&h=849

“Of course I’m a trusted physician!”

A young boy in clothed in brown rags runs eagerly towards a worn bed, where an ailing woman rests.  A figure clad in a concealing black cloak, featureless hood and obscuring mask steps forward with only a small bag and case of alchemical potions in his possessions.  The figure bellows in a croaking and almost inhuman tone, “Fear not, for I have what you need.  You mustn’t worry about payment, the joy of your soul is all I need.”  The woman meekly nods in acceptance, not caring what the price might be. Taking out a vial, he instructs in his gravelly voice, “drink this quickly.”  As she drinks the vial’s contents, warm color returns to the woman’s previously pallid and cold tone.  As she reaches to hug her child in celebration, the stranger leans in on the other side of her.  “Now, a matter of payment.  Something of yours belongs to me now,” he whispers.  Before she can react, the cloaked man quickly gets up and walks at an eerily brisk pace out of the room.  As he reaches the doorway, he vanishes into a flash of vile flames.  The woman, now clutching her son, cries in fright and realization as the small boy looks blankly at the empty doorway in confusion and shock.

Disguised as plague doctors, these nightmarish humanoids thrive on deception, sickness, and devouring of souls.  They always take the form of a hunched humanoid in plague doctor garb, seeking out whatever sickly being is beyond treatment.  They offer divine healing at a price that will one day come up.  The price of course is the victim’s soul and their eternal damnation.  Of course, victims are rarely of what they’re getting themselves into.  This is because Plague Devils have done all they can to understand the domains and lands they try to integrate into.  They’re experts at crafting inconspicuous alchemical salves that, by themselves, can only offer helpful effects.  More than anything, these enticing deals send the most desperate and needy of victims right into their clutches.  While not as combative as other devils, they excel in espionage tactics and recruitment.  In fact, they double as recruitment agents for the ongoing Blood War, hoping to turn the tides in the name of the Nine Hells, Baator.  On the battlefield, it is an infernal combat medic, bolstering troops with diabolic salves.

Author’s Note:  I originally wanted to stat up a plague doctor, but that would be a physician NPC or a charlatan.  Then I considered making an undead, but that would be too obvious.  And so, I went with a fiend.  They’re driven by corruption and terror, the embodiment of numerous fears that continue to haunt us in one way or another.  In the case of this monster, they embody a fear of doctors and physicians.  I also wanted to make a monster that was a jab at the anti vaccine movement…  So, yeah…

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Big Daddy and Little Sister – Technological Deep Sea Marvels for D&D 5th Edition

https://www.2kgames.com/cultofrapture/features/bigdaddyart/bouncer.jpg

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The multiverse holds many constants and variables, countless realities, countless possibilities.  Among them are societies aspiring for greatness.  These societies seek to build a utopia far away from the world they find so corrupt.  One such place was the City of Rapture; no gods, no kings, only man.  It was here one could hope to achieve greatness, without everyone else tearing you down with virtues of forced altruism, manipulative institutions and suppression of personal achievement.  It was here one had the power to join the captains of industry, but many forgot that someone had to scrub the toilets.  The bloody king of Rapture himself turned on his own ideals as a con man took advantage of the plight to mobilize an army.  As the final nail in the ideals of rapture, mutated and brainwashed humans bonded to cybernetic diving suits were used as both support for Rapture and part of its crumbling defense.  These sad beasts were dubbed “Big Daddies”, tasked with protecting the equally mutated “Little Sisters” to ensure they harvested the dread drug that overtook the entire city.

And what of the creepy little girls that follow them around?  These poor little children were snatched up by some crooked Dr. Frankenstein and turned into little monsters.  Now, they babble incessant nonsense while draining bodies of the wonder drug that ruined the city.  The macabre display unnerved people before civilization fell apart, but it continues regardless of the squabbling splicers that roam the endless dilapidated halls.

Some realities have taken notice of these metal titans!  From secretive collaborators in the floating City of Columbia (Burial at Sea is canon, deal with it), to various other realms not even likened to the underwater city; horrible new creations have arisen after being inspired by Big Daddies  and the Little Sisters themselves.

Author’s Note:  BioShock remains to be one of my favorite games.  So I figure to keep in line with my horror-theme for October, I’d convert one of the most iconic parts of the franchise; Big Daddies and Little Sisters.

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