Just beyond the veil of reality exists an entire bestiary worth of wretched things. These monsters and entities lie beyond our grasp, waiting for the right moment to strike. Many of these creatures are quite similar to the everyday and mundane aspects of life we take for granted, while others are incomprehensibly alien. While in the comfort of our homes, we take much for granted. But, on the road? We are much more vulnerable. The elements, wildlife and even fellow people can prove to be potential hazards. But, even more troubling is the strange and supernatural sights that we all hope to never encounter…
Author’s Note: If there’s one thing I love in a ghost story, it’s encounters on the road; when you’re traveling, far away from home and quite vulnerable. And worse yet? Many of the things stalking you take up the guise of something far from insidious at all. While some predators will fight head on, others are bit more crafty. And some? They’re just quasi-mindless masses of hunger.
Also, special thanks to Ian for helping to create the Haunting Traveler. I shall inform you on how many people it kills, I promise!
Tortured souls covered with a molten plaster caste. Under the waxy caste they’re burned and disfigured. But without that knowledge, they look no different than really ugly statues and sculptures; some mad artists retribution against their critics. Now, the damned souls are trapped as literal decadent pieces of some macabre garden display, waiting to attack anyone who treads on their resting place. When they stalk prey, they often pose and try to blend in with other pieces, darting away whenever there’s no concentration at them. Worst yet, they’re masters of stealth. Their casing oddly makes them even harder to listen for.
Medium undead, chaotic evil
Armor Class 18 (thick plastered armor)
Hit Points 39 (11d8 – 11)
Speed 25ft., climb 25ft.
STR 12 (+1) DEX 17 (+3) CON 8 (-1) INT 13 (+1) WIS 14 (+2) CHA 7 (-2)
Saving Throws Intelligence +3, Wisdom +4, Charisma +0
Skills Acrobatics +5, Athletics +5, Stealth +7
Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities poisoned
Senses Darkvision 60ft., passive Perception 12
Languages understands Common
Challenge 3 (700 XP)
Creepy Sculpture. While still, this monster is indistinguishable from a regular sculpture.
Impossibly Quick. As a bonus action, the plastered creep may take a dash or disengage action.
Silent Stalker. Unless intentionally sought after with an active perception check, detecting this creature is impossible.
Multiattack. The Plastered Creep may attack twice per round.
Lobbed Blade. Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 60ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) slashing damage.
Curved Blade. Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 60ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d8 + 4) slashing damage.
VARIANT. Living Creep
The creature’s type changes from undead to humanoid.
This creature is an uncanny mockery of the human form, a bipedal frame made of leeches. These hazardous creations are made from the victims of swam parasites. Upon being drained dry, they exude an aura of pain that gathers the likes of countless annelids and insects to it. The creatures bond and form an abomination that looks like the former victim, oily and made with grotesque and discolored flesh. These disgusting creatures tend to cling towards the thickest of marshlands. They love to attack any creature who strays too far off a trail.
Medium monstrosity, chaotic evil
Armor Class 16 (natural armor)
Hit Points 95 (10d8 + 50)
STR 18 (+4) DEX 15 (+2) CON 20 (+5) INT 9 (-1) WIS 7 (-2) CHA 3 (-4)
Skills Acrobatics +4, Perception +2
Damage Vulnerabilities fire
Damage Resistances cold
Damage Immunities acid, poison, psychic
Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, paralyzed, poisoned
Senses Darkvision 120ft., passive Perception 12
Languages understand Common and Deep Speech
Challenge 4 (1,100 XP)
Reel In. If a creature is grabbed by the Reaching Strike attack, the Vermin Man may use a bonus action to pull them close. The grabbed target must succeed a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw or be pulled within 5ft. of the Vermin Man.
Swarming Monstrosity. The Vermin Man is capable of breaking pieces of itself into small swarms. As a reaction to taking damage, a piece of the Vermin Man breaks off. This functions like the Swarm of Insects (Monster Manual, Page 338). Upon dropping a swarm, the Vermin Man loses as many hit points equal to the swarm’s maximum (22). Only one swarm can exist from the Vermin Man at a time.
Multiattack. The Vermin Man may attack twice per round.
Reaching Strike. Melee Weapon Attack: +# to hit, reach 15ft., one target. Hit: 10 (1d12 + 4) bludgeoning damage and the target is grabbed. The Escape action DC is 14.
Vermin Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +# to hit, reach 5ft., one target that is grabbed. Hit: 9 (2d4 + 4) piercing damage plus 5 (2d4) poison damage.
Travelers that die of loneliness, isolation, regret and despair often come back as something as vindictive monsters who want to bring other wanderers with them. More often than not, it’s usually a harsh environment that ultimately claims them. They often find their way into adventuring groups and try to get them lost in the void before sun rises. They say that if one gets lost with the Haunting Traveler before sunrise, they’ll become one themselves. Should they survive till the morning, their ghostly new friend is gone, taking anyone foolish with them.
To the non-discerning eye, the haunting traveler looks like a weak and weary traveler ravaged by the elements, giving an indicator of how they eventually died. Ironically, the cause of their death has strengthened them in undeath. They’ll do whatever they can to come across as innocuous and feeble, more than anything. Above all, it will do whatever it can to avoid giving away its undead nature. Should their hosts let their guard down, it will begin to drain a host of choice, preferably in an isolated area. In a worst case scenario, it will fight against its mortal victims in an effort to drag them down to its lowly state as well. And worse yet? This restless spirit is hard to finally put to rest.
Medium undead, neutral evil
Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 93 (14d8 + 28)
Speed 30ft., hover 30ft. (5ft. off the ground)
STR 16 (+3) DEX 14 (+2) CON 15 (+2) INT 11 (+0) WIS 14 (+2) CHA 18 (+4)
Saving Throws Intelligence +3, Wisdom +5
Skills Deception +10, Insight +8, Perception +5, Performance +7
Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing and slashing from non-magical weapons
Damage Immunities necrotic, poison, (see Deathly Origin below)
Condition Immunities charmed, exhausted, frightened, poisoned
Senses blindsight 60ft. (see Deathly Origin below), passive Perception 15
Languages Common, any other languages it knew in life
Challenge 7 (2,900 XP)
Create Spawn. Any creature that dies from the Haunting Traveler’s Follow Me attack or while suffering exhaustion as a result of Follow Me becomes a haunting traveler of the same type 1d4 hours later unless targeted by Raise Dead or higher level resurrection magic. Upon being turned into a Haunting Traveler, only a spell such as Wish or True Resurrection can bring them back to normal.
Deathly Origin. Haunting Travelers often suffer gruesome ends at the hands of the environment around them. As such, the creature is bound to be different, depending on what killed it. Once chosen, it cannot be changed for this creature. The Traveler gains the following based on one of the origins below:
- Frozen/Drowned: Immune to cold damage, your Follow Me attack deals cold damage, gain blindsight in water or in cold regions
- Dehydration/Burned: Immune to fire damage, your Follow Me attack deals fire damage, gain blindsight in hot areas
- Poisoned: Immune to acid damage, your Follow Me attack deals poison damage, gain blindsight in marshlands or swamps
- Mauled: Immune to one non-magical piercing or slashing damage, your Follow Me attack deals magical piercing or slashing damage, gain blindsight in forests
- Smashed: Immune to non-magical bludgeoning, your Follow Me attack deals magical bludgeoning damage, gain blindsight in hills and cliffs
- Struck: Immune to lightning damage, your Follow Me attack deals lightning damage, gain blindsight during storms
Eternal Wanderer. The traveler can never truly rest. Upon being reduced to 0 HP, the creature disintegrates into an earthly form fitting for its deathly origin. The traveler will reform within 20 miles of the site of its original death 24 hours later. However, if the creature’s place of death is located, it can be permanently killed through one of the following ways, before it respawns:
- The area is consecrated by a spell such as Ceremony.
- The body is found and either buried alongside a prayer of mourning or is destroyed.
- An object that has personal value to the traveler must be placed on their death site alongside a prayer or is destroyed.
Playing the Victim. The traveler gains advantage on Deception and Performance checks to portray itself as a weak mortal.
Multiattack. The haunting traveler may attack twice per round, but one attack must be Traumatic Slam.
Follow Me. The Traveler beckons a creature to follow it into the void. A creature within 30ft. must make a DC 15 Wisdom Saving Throw, Reach 5ft. Upon failure, the target takes 13 (2d8 + 4) damage (See Deathly Origin) and gains 1 level of Exhaustion. The target is also charmed by the traveler and make make a new saving throw at the end of its turn. The charmed target is oblivious to damage from this ability and is not aware of being charmed after the effect ends (unless told or through use of magic.)
Traumatic Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d8 + 3) bludgeoning damage plus 4 (1d8) psychic damage. The target must also make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or have their speed reduced to 0ft. until the end of their next turn.
Image Credit: Foggy Trail in Catskills, NY – Abbyb1432, Plaster Splicer – Irrational Games, Mimicry Marcus – Capcom, Hitchhiking Ghosts – Moheart7
Haunting Traveler is inspired by this blog post, as well as the ideas of one of my good friends, Ian Kozar. Made by Doctor Necrotic, for Doctor Necrotic Media. All contents are property of their respective owners.