Sleeping on the Demi-plane of Nightmares can be quite dangerous. In fact, any humanoid that falls asleep there unknowingly gives birth to a nightmare wraith.
What is a nightmare wraith?
A nightmare wraith is a ghostly copy of the creature whose dreams gave it life. The wraith looks and sounds like its creator, however, its intentions and thoughts are quite different and alien.
Nightmare wraiths have limited lives, immediately dying the next time its creator sleeps and replaces it with a new nightmare twin, or exits the Demi-plane of Nightmares. The only way for a nightmare twin to free itself of this doom is to kill its creator and assume its position.
Nightmare Wraith Template
A wraith (Monster Manual, p302) can become a nightmare wraith. It keeps its statistics except as follows.
Lost Characteristic. The wraith loses its Create Specter ability.
Abilities. The wraith’s Charisma score increases by 1.
Skills. The wraith has all the same skill proficiencies as its creator, but its skills bonuses are always +6.
Languages. The wraith knows all the languages its creator does.
Challenge. The wraith’s challenge rating is adjusted based on its new trait, actions, or reactions as follows:
- CR 6 – ghostly song, incorporeal strike (without multiattack), reckless, spellcasting
- CR 7 – multiattack, parry, ranged bolt, sneak attack
- CR 8 – smite
New Trait: Bound. The wraith is magically bound to its creator. As long as the creator and the nightmare wraith are on the same plane of existence, the wraith knows its creator’s exact location and can communicate with it telepathically. In addition, attack rolls made against its creator have advantage and the creator has disadvantage on saving throws to save versus the wraith’s spells, traits, and attacks. If the creator is within 30 feet of the wraith and aware of it, it can use its bonus action to voluntarily make a DC 13 Charisma saving throw. If the creature’s saving throw is successful, the creature is immune to the wraith’s Bound trait for the next 24 hours.
New Trait: Shadow Blessing. The AC of the wraith includes its Charisma bonus (AC 16).
New Action/Traits/Reactions: Nightmare Reflections. The nightmare wraith earns a special trait, action, or reaction that mimic’s its creator’s own. Select a special trait, action, or reaction relevant to its creator from the list below:
- Spellcasting. If the nightmare wraith was created by a spellcaster, it is a 1st-level spellcaster. Its spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 14, +6 to hit with spell attacks). It knows all the cantrips (if available) and first level spells of its creator.
- Sneak Attack. Once per turn, the wraith deals an extra 14 (4d6) damage when it hits a target with a weapon attack and has advantage on the attack roll, or when the target is within 5 feet of an ally of the wraith that isn’t incapacitated and the wraith doesn’t have disadvantage on the attack roll.
- Reckless. At the start of its turn, the wraith can gain advantage on all melee weapon attacks rolls during that turn, but attack rolls against it have advantage until the start of its next turn.
- Ghostly Song (Recharges after a long or short rest). The wraith plays a haunting melody affecting those that can hear it. It can choose one of the following effects:
- Song of Fear. Each creature of the wraith’s choice that is within 60 feet of it that can hear it must succeed on a DC 14 Wisdom saving throw or become frightened for 1 minute. A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. If a creature’s saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the creature is immune to the wraith’s Ghostly song for the next 24 hours.
- Song of Inspiration. Each of the wraith’s allies within 60 feet of it that can hear it have advantage on attack rolls and skill checks until the start of the wraith’s next turn.
- Song of Befuddlement. The wraith targets one creature it can see within 60 feet of it that can hear it. That creature must succeed on a DC 14 Consitution check. On a failure, the creature is confused for one minute. While confused, the creature can’t take reactions until the start of its next turn and rolls a d8 to determine what it does during its turn. On a 1 to 4, the creature does nothing. On a 5 or 6, the creature takes no action or bonus action and uses all its movement to move in a randomly determined direction. On a 7 or 8, the creature makes a melee attack against a randomly determined creature within its reach or does nothing if it can’t make such an attack. A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. If a creature’s saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the creature is immune to the wraith’s Ghostly Song for the next 24 hours.
- Multiattack. The wraith makes three incorporeal strike attacks. If the wraith has this action can also have the incorporeal strike action.
- Incorporeal Strike. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 12 (2d8 + 3) necrotic damage.
- Ranged Bolt. Ranged Spell Attack: +6 to hit, range 80/320 ft., one creature. Hit: 21 (4d8 + 3) necrotic damage.
- Smite (1/day). Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 39 (8d8 + 3) necrotic damage.
- Parry. The wraith adds 2 to its AC against one melee attack that would hit it. To do so, the wraith must see the attacker.
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Midway through creating this, I realized that it would probably be a lot easier just to create an entirely new monster versus this very specific template (which I may still do). Ah well. Perhaps I was just exercising my template creating muscle? But I digress…
Anyways, if you dig this ability to create shadow twins of your players’ characters, please do share it! Of course, don’t share it with your PC’s. But still. Send some love!
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This monster is free for you to use in your 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons campaigns. Just not commercially.