Tuesday, October 20, 2015

[Ghosts] Black Dougal, Wanderer of the Haunted Keep

The second installment in the series of ghosts created using the Ghosts -- The Incorporeal Undead may be familiar to some old-school gamers... a warning to eager adventurers and to those who leave their companions behind in the depths of the dungeon, alive or dead...

No. Enc.: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic (Evil)
Movement: N/A
   Fly: 240’ (80’)
Armor Class: 4
Hit Dice: 2*****
Hit Points: 13
Attacks: 1 Touch
Damage: 1d6 + 1d6 Poison plus Fear
Save: F2
Morale: 12
Intelligence: 11
XP: 65

Black Dougal is an apparition, one of the many ghosts haunting the (now appropriately named) Haunted Keep. He appears as a tall, lanky rogue, with a hooked nose, deep-set black eyes, and long flowing black hair, wearing black clothing that was in style about 35 years ago. In life he was an adventuring thief; he and his party descended into the dungeons beneath the Haunted Keep, and there Black Dougal found his end, poisoned by a needle trap on a box filled with treasure. Though the cleric in the party performed the last rites of her faith, it wasn’t enough to save the scoundrel’s soul, which remained stuck behind as a ghost.

Black Dougal’s ghost is Stuck in Time, re-creating the events of the last hours of his life, from the moment he entered the Haunted Keep until his death in the room with the poison-needled treasure box. When encountered walking through corridors, rooms, and chambers, Black Dougal appears to be quite normal, and a living being, up until he ignores being spoken to, walks through a currently-closed door, listens at a door that is no longer there, or fights a battle against invisible foes. He makes his way from the entrance of the Haunted Keep, through several rooms and corridors, down a hidden trap door, and through several rooms on the first level, until he comes to the room where he died. There he bends down, before a large space against a wall as before a large box, searches it as for traps, then opens it… and gasps, falling to the floor, quite dead-looking. At that point he fades away after 1d6 rounds, and does not return to the Material Plane until the next day, to repeat it all over again…

Denizens of the keep and dungeon know to avoid Black Dougal, as to interrupt his rounds usually causes him to attack immediately (roll a Reaction Check; any result other than Friendly means attack, and Friendly means ignore, and continue on his rounds). However, if a party includes a formidable female warrior, an androgynous elf, a doughty dwarf, and/or a female cleric, Black Dougal attacks immediately, thinking that these are members of the party that “abandoned him” in the dungeons… And in fact, the party did abandon him, having dragged Black Dougal’s body with them for a few rooms, then forgot it and left it behind after a battle with some hobgoblins. The thief’s skeletal remains can be found in a secret corridor off the room where he died; all that remains are bones and rotting rags, as his equipment was taken by bandits after it was abandoned in the room where he died. The ragged clothing is still defined enough to recognize it as that “worn” by the ghost.

ORGANIZATION: Black Dougal, being Stuck in Time, operates alone, and ignores any being, provided that being does not get in his way. Should he slay interlopers, only those who resemble the members of the party that abandoned him, detailed above, need make a saving throw to avoid joining him Stuck in Time; against this save, they suffer a -4 penalty, so great is the will of Black Dougal that his erstwhile companions join him in his torment.

TREASURE: Black Dougal labors to re-create the treasure that was his undoing. To that end, any silver coins he finds he takes with him to the room where he perished and throws them randomly around the room. Thus far he has acquired 678 sp of the two-thousand or so silver pieces required. He also seeks a jewel case, two gold bracelets set with jade, and a pair of elven boots. Should he acquire these and place them together in a heap, his soul will be allowed to go on to its eternal rest.

RANGE: Black Dougal is Stuck in Time, and thus is only ever encountered outside his regular daily rounds when he is interrupted in these by an interloper. He can chase interlopers anywhere in the dungeons and in the Haunted Keep above, but he cannot leave this area.

COMBAT: When interrupted in his rounds, Black Dougal assumes a most frightful appearance: that of a rotting corpse oozing poison! He “draws” a ghostly short sword, dripping with venom, and attacks with wild abandon. Targets that are out of melee range are attacked with needle-like darts of poison. He only uses his poison sphere attack if his treasure heap is disturbed.

FEAR ATTACK (*): Any being struck by an apparition must make a saving throw versus Spells or be affected as by the fear spell.

Spawn Ghost: If an apparition slays a creature while that creature is under the effect of its fear ability, the slain creature must make a saving throw versus Death or rise again 24 hours later as a presence (0th or 1st level) or apparition (2nd level or greater).

INCORPOREAL (*): All incorporeal undead share the following abilities, immunities, and weaknesses: Bodiless, Ectoplasm, Flight, Powerless in Sunlight, and Weapon Immunity (see below for specifics for the apparition).

Weapon Immunity: Apparitions suffer only minimal damage from non-magical weapons (the minimal roll on the die possible plus any Strength bonuses); all damage suffered from such weapons is fully regenerated at the end of the round in which the damage was dealt if the apparition is not reduced to 0 hit points. If dealt a total amount of damage in one round from non-magical weapons equal to their hit points, an apparition is disrupted, and disappears, seemingly destroyed. However, it merely retreats into the Deep Ethereal, where it regenerates 1 hit point of damage per round, returning again at the same spot when it reaches full hit points.

Apparitions suffer full damage from silver and magical weapons, and do not regenerate damage from such weapons.

LIFELIKE GHOST (*): This ghost does not at first or even second glance look much like a ghost; it seems to be quite living and solid, if pale and wan, and though its clothing seems out of date, it otherwise appears much as it did in life… and thus, can surprise the heck out of those not expecting to see a ghost! It may even act like it was alive, for a while, as long as those whom it has fooled are giving it something it wants…

Once the ghost does something decidedly non-life-like, such as taking off its head, walking through a wall, or transforming into a more terrifyingly ghost-like form and attacking, all viewers must make a saving throw versus Spells; failure indicates that they are so shocked by the revelation that they are surprised, and unable to act for 1d4 rounds, in addition to any other effects of the action.

POISON GHOST (*): This ghost met his mortal end through poison – perhaps in a wine cup among erstwhile friends, or slain by a poison needle trap, or envenomed by a snake or spider, or through the breath of a sea dragon. The ghost’s manifestation oozes very real poison, and the ghost deals 1d6 points of poison damage with every successful touch attack in addition to its normal damage. Any living being within 5’ of the ghost suffers 1d4 points of poison splash damage per round.

The Poison Ghost’s poison has little effect on non-living things, though areas it has passed through are covered in poison that is poisonous to the touch; this poison lasts for one turn per hit die of the ghost before it is rendered ineffective. If the poison is touched, the victim must make a saving throw versus Poison; failure indicates he suffers 1d6 points of damage, success indicates he suffers only 1d3 points of damage. Poison Ghosts are, like all ghosts, immune to poison damage.

Once per round it can also throw a ball of poison up to 20’ plus 5’ per hit die; the target gets a saving throw versus Spells. If the save fails, the target is struck for 1d6 points of damage plus one point per hit die of the ghost.

A Poison Ghost can also spend a round extruding an ounce of ectoplasm (suffering the usual 1d4 points of damage from doing so); the next round it spits a ball of poison up to 60’, which explodes in a sphere 20’ in diameter; those caught in the line must make a saving throw versus Poison. Failure indicates they suffer 1d6 points of damage per hit die of the ghost; success indicates they suffer only half damage.

STUCK IN TIME (L): This ghost is forced to repeat the same experience over and over again. Usually this includes the last moments, minutes, or even hours before its death, or some other life-time ritual, usually on a daily basis; sometimes the cycle of repetition depends on the days of the week, cycles of the month, or rarer circumstance (Brigadoon-style). Outside these times and places, there is only a 2 in 6 chance or less that a ghost that is Stuck in Time can appear or act outside of these circumstances. If a ghost is disturbed while performing its ritual, it can react to the disturbance as appropriate, if it so chooses, or ignore the disturbance, if it feels it is beneath its dignity.

UNDEAD (*): All undead creatures share the following abilities, immunities, and weaknesses: Infravision, Mindless, Poison Immunity, Silent as the Grave, and Susceptible to Turning.

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