The streets are seemingly cast in a dark and gloomy shade among the lit up lamps. Flittering insects cast sinister shadows on the cobblestones below. However, the chill down your back is far from a winter wind. You feel it, don’t you? A cross between a clacking of razor blades upon your coat mixed with the sharp feeling of exposure to ice. It’s right behind you. As to what it is? You dare not find out, but your doom is likely spelled out for you, regardless. Before you can react, the words, “I have use for you” buzz in your mind before all turns to black.
Author’s Note: Weird Western stuff is fun, but it’s only a single flavor of the Gothic. I’ve always been one for horror in an urban environment, such as jolly old London. Plus, I wanted to switch gears to something a little more traditional D&D. Also, I was really eager to bust out some references to Castlevania! (Yes, most of them are Symphony of the Night.)
Variant Ghost: Phantom Monk
Despite an eternity suffering in their current state, these monks remain obsessively devoted to the cause… a little too much. Their divine focus upon the material plane cost them their focus to the afterlife, the outer planes. Now, they strive to act better than in life in hopes that they’ll be granted their final wish. Some snap in their current state, luring onlookers and travelers to their demise. Some even team up with other forms of undead. The rest aid holy crusaders in any way possible, usually lurking from their accidental haunts.
- Change Alignment: lawful good (rarely lawful evil)
- Increase Wisdom to 18 (+4)
- Resist Radiant Damage
- Gain Minor Miracles. Gain spell-like ability, using Wisdom (+6 to hit, DC 14) for casting. Gain the following:
- At-Will: Message, Spare the Dying, Toll the Dead
- 1/Day Each: Cure Wounds, Goodberry, Healing Word
- Gain Battle Blessing (1/Day). The phantom monk may inspire holiness within a creature. As an action, the phantom monk may grant a creature within 5ft. the ability to add 2 (1d4) radiant damage to each of its attacks for the next hour.
- Challenge. Increase to 5 (1,800 XP).
The dapper gentleman from down the block is no friend to keep. In secret, he is a dark fiend out for your soul. Like many cautionary tales, some strangers are best avoided. However, his suave persona and kindly demeanor is attracting to many people, especially young and innocent ladies he courts… if only because their souls are all the more sweet. Could this be just a higher devilish being, a general in the infernal invasion of the mortal world, an avatar of el diablo himself? It’s hard to say, but his suave demeanor will find a way into your heart… and soul, one way or another.
Medium fiend (devil), lawful evil
Armor Class 18 (infernal armor)
Hit Points 275 (29d8 + 145)
STR 18 (+4) DEX 16 (+3) CON 21 (+5) INT 23 (+6) WIS 20 (+5) CHA 26 (+8)
Saving Throws Strength +10, Dexterity +9, Constitution +10, Wisdom +11
Skills Deception +14, Insight +11, Perception +11, Persuasion +14
Damage Resistances bludgeoning/piercing/slashing from non-magical weapons
Damage Immunities cold, fire, poison
Condition Immunities charmed, exhausted, frightened, poisoned
Senses darkvision 120ft., passive Perception 21
Languages all, Telepathy 120ft.
Challenge 23 (50,000 XP)
Devil’s Sight. Magical darkness doesn’t impede the devil’s darkvision.
Infernal Armor. Old Scratch doesn’t wear armor, however he may instead choose to add his charisma modifier in place of his dexterity.
Innate Spellcasting. Old Scratch’s magical ability is charisma (+14 to hit, DC 22) and can use the following magical spells:
- at-will: dominate person, fabricate, hellish rebuke (3rd level), mislead, programmed illusion, suggestion
Magic Resistance. The devil has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
Magical Weapon. Attacks by the devil count as magical.
Multiattack. Old Scratch can attack three times per round.
Bone-Cracking Cane. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 10ft., one creature. Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage. The target must make a (DC 22) Constitution saving throw or take an additional 29 (6d6 + 8) bludgeoning damage and the target’s next attack, check or saving throw is made with disadvantage.
Corrupted Touch. Melee Weapon Attack: +14 to hit, reach 5ft., one creature. Hit: 18 (4d8) necrotic damage plus 21 (3d8 + 8) fire damage.
Charming Gaze. One creature within 30ft. of the devil must make a (DC 21) Charisma saving throw. Upon failure, they are charmed by the devil for upwards to 1 hour. The devil may only have up to one creature charmed at a time. If a new creature is targeted, the only one is freed. However, the devil may try to actively charm its current subject, after the hour, warranting a new saving throw.
Teleportation. Old Scratch can move up to 60 feet, to any open area within that space.
Manipulative Defense. While an attack is within reach of a charmed ally, Ol’ Scratch will use a reaction to force them to take the attack instead. This does not affect the charmed condition that the creature is under.
Old Scratch can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. Old Scratch regains spent legendary actions at the start of his turn.
Attack. Old Scratch may make an attack. He may only do this twice per round.
Come here, my darling. Ol’ Scratch can use a legendary action to command a charmed creature. The creature must use its reaction to move up to its speed to get closer to Ol’ Scratch.
Infernal Healing. Old Scratch uses his own infernal powers to heal his wounds. He regains 13 (2d12) hit points.
Spell (2 Actions). Old Scratch uses an innate spell.
Teleportation. Old and can Scratch uses his teleportation action.
Corpse Weed (C:SotN)
A putrid, mutated plant with the head of a zombie grafted into it. This abomination is the result of advanced alchemy mixed with potent dark magic. Such creatures tend to be found in corrupted gardens and underground caves.
Medium plant, neutral evil
Armor Class 13 (natural armor)
Hit Points 28 (5d8 + 5)
Speed 0ft. (stationary)
STR 6 (-2) DEX 15 (+2) CON 13 (+1) INT 4 (-3) WIS 9 (-1) CHA 7 (-2)
Skills Perception +3
Damage Vulnerabilities fire
Damage Resistances lightning, necrotic, thunder
Damage Immunities acid, poison
Condition Immunities poisoned
Senses passive Perception 13
Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)
Lanky Monster. For intents and purposes related to reach, pulling, pushing, moving objects and carrying capacity; this creature is considered one size larger.
Lunging Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 10ft., one creature. Hit: 9 (3d4 + 2) piercing damage.
Acid Spittle. Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, range 60ft., one creature. Hit: 9 (2d6 + 2) acid damage.
Variant Skeleton: Bone Musket
Infantry men from a forgotten war, scooped up by some maniacal undead warlord to guard his castle. They patrol in their groups, much like they did in life. However, now they serve a much darker cause.
Cooperative Unit. Bone Muskets always travel in groups, to assure that their allies have enough time to reload their weapons while they unload on a foe. Only when the group is down to one that you see the bone musket get more desperate in tactics.
- Increase stats. Dexterity 16 (+3), Intelligence 10 (+0)
- Increase hit points to 26 (4d8 + 8)
- Gain saving throws. Dexterity +5, Constitution +4, Intelligence +2
- Resist piercing, slashing from non-magical weapons; necrotic
- Replace Shortbow with Musket. Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, range 60ft./180ft., one creature. Hit: 12 (2d8 + 3) piercing damage. The target must also make a (DC 13) Dexterity saving throw or be pushed back up to 5 ft. Reloading takes a bonus action or action.
- Gain Group Tactics. While adjacent to other Bone Muskets, attacks with Musket are granted advantage.
- Increase challenge to 2 (450 XP)
A nefarious foe, hellbent on tormenting all unfortunate souls that he may come across. Leaping from rooftop to peak, he leers down at his foes, awaiting to strike. A cursory glare is all Jack needs to spot his prey, before he leaps into deadly action. This maniacal killer loves ambushes and surprising foes with his unnatural leaps, his namesake. And strangely enough, while sylvan in nature, there’s a strange underworld presence to this legendary horror.
Medium fey, chaotic evil
Armor Class 16 (natural armor)
Hit Points 49 (9d8 + 9)
Speed 40ft., Climb 30ft.
STR 14 (+2) DEX 19 (+4) CON 12 (+1) INT 14 (+2) WIS 10 (+0) CHA 16 (+3)
Skills Perception +4, Stealth +6
Damage Resistances fire
Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, paralyzed
Senses Darkvision 60ft., passive Perception 14
Languages Common, Abyssal, Sylvan
Challenge 2 (450 XP)
Innate Magic. Spring-Heeled Jack uses its Charisma (+5 to hit, DC 13) for its magic. It knows the following:
- at-will: feather fall, fire bolt, minor illusion (ghost sound only), misty step
Spring-Heel. Spring-Heeled Jack may leap his move speed, jumping 20 feet up high in the process, without taking falling damage. Likewise, Spring-Heeled Jack cannot be targeted by opportunity attacks while leaping away from enemies in this manner.
Crooked Dagger. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5ft. one creature. Hit: 6 (1d4 + 4) piercing damage. If the target has no allies within 10ft. or Spring-Heeled Jack has advantage (from surprise, flank or another method), it may add an additional 10 (3d6) damage.
Fearful Stare. All creatures within 15ft. of Spring-Heeled Jack must make a (DC 13) Wisdom saving throw. Upon failure, the targets become frightened for up to 1 hour. However, they may attempt another save at the end of their turn. Creatures that succeed a saving throw are immune to this effect for 24 hours.
IMAGE CREDIT: Count Strahd – Clyde Caldwell, Phantom Monk – Sir Gilbert, Dapper Devil Mascot – Dapper Devil, Bone Musket Corpseweed and Thornweed – Pariahexilewraithg, Spring Heeled Jack – MO-ffie