Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Monstrous Foes: Battle Wraith

Burning or burying the dead is a major issue in the 10th Age; bodies must be properly disposed of lest they result in things like the battle wraith below. The soul's journey to the afterlife can easily be interfered with. It's not immortal, and the weak ties that bind it together can come undone like a linen shirt unraveling. But this is not a metaphysical dissertation, this is a chance to be ware of the BATTLE WRAITH, the result of untended battle-dead:

Wraith, Battle
CLIMATE/TERRAIN: Old battlefields
DIET: None
TREASURE: Incidental
ALIGNMENT: Chaotic evil
THAC0: 17
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1-8 (melee) or 1-6 (missile)
SPECIAL ATTACKS: strength drain, fear aura, con drain
SPECIAL DEFENSES: +1 or better to hit
SIZE: M (5’-6’ tall)
MORALE: Fearless (20)
XP VALUE: 420 (melee), 650 (missile)

Battle wraiths are the spirits of those who have been slain on a battlefield and remain unshriven. Their remains tie them to this plane and the intense pain or sorrow in which they died ensures that their spirit does not loose coherence but rather forms a weak negative-energy bond. Only battles in which the most violent deaths were meted out or the most vigorous personalities were slain leave these wraiths behind. They are something like echoes of their former selves, ghostly shadows that desire nothing but to drag all thinking living things down into their own sorrow or else extinguish them forever.

Wraiths resemble the warriors they were in life, clad in the same armor and arms, whether or not these armaments are still present at the site of their demise. Their “flesh” is worn as though from constant exposure to the environment, and close at hand it is clear that it is in fact vaporous or wraithlike. Battle wraiths are normally invisible, only manifesting fully when their tombs are disturbed. 

Battle wraiths have no minds, having been driven insane by their imprisonment in ArunĂ«. They will not parlay or talk, for they prefer to simply destroy. Unnervingly, they fight in whatever formation they used when still alive, though they clearly do not have the intelligence to do so. They will keen horribly as they draw near to their foes, generally completely silent until within 5’ of their targets.

It is possible that, upon discovering a site with battle wraiths haunting it, one may be witness to the last moments of that unit. These ghostly dramas do not end when the soldiers are slain, for the simulacra rise again as wraiths and immediately turn upon those who dared intrude upon their misery.

Combat: The spirits of the battle-dead are terrifying to fight in a stand-up battle. Merely approaching their grave site will, day or night, cause them to leap forth to defend their remains. Battle wraiths are substantially weakened during the day, taking a -2 penalty to-hit (THAC0 19) as well as a -1 penalty to all damage dealt. They are clearly transparent in daylight, and cannot use their constitution draining attacks or their keening song.

When encountered at night they are their most deadly. Every melee attack that lands from a battle wraith deals 1d8 points of damage, regardless of what spectral weapon lands the blow. Being struck by the weapon of a battle wraith causes immediate coldness and numbness to spread from the wound, resulting in a loss of 1 point of constitution. This constitu

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