The Dream Specter

April 6th, 2015

Alex Riggs

Exotic Encounters Archive

                I’m a big fan of nightmare creatures that can actually get you “in your dreams.” Unfortunately, there’s a lot of complications to this sort of thing, and it’s not something that many GMs are able to play with all that often. Today’s monster is designed to play into this design by attacking its victims while they sleep, feeding on their nightmares to gain power.


Dream Specter

                The creature before you is almost entirely obscured by a heavy black cloak. Only its eyes are visible, glowing like red pinpoints of light from the space beneath its hood.

DREAM SPECTER                            CR 8
XP 4,800
NE Medium outsider (extraplanar)
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft., dreamsight; Perception +15
Aura plague dreams (60 ft., DC 23)


AC 20, touch 20, flat-footed 16 (+6 deflection, +3 Dex, +1 dodge)
hp 105 (10d10+50)
Fort +8, Ref +10, Will +9
Defensive Abilities dream armor; DR 5/magic; SR 19
Weaknesses sunlight vulnerability


Speed 30 ft.
Melee +1 scythe +15/+10 (2d4+5/x4)
Special Attacks nightmare gaze, nightmare points


Str 17, Dex 17, Con 20, Int 16, Wis 14, Cha 22
Base Atk +10; CMB +13; CMD 33
Feats Ability Focus (plague dreams), Dodge, Power Attack, Skill Focus (Stealth), Weapon Focus (scythe)
Skills Acrobatics +16, Bluff +19, Intimidate +19, Knowledge (planes) +16, Perception +15, Ride +16, Sense Motive +15, Sleight of Hand +16, Stealth +22 (+30 in darkness or magical darkness); Racial Modifiers +8 Stealth in darkness or magical darkness
Language Aklo


Environment any
Organization solitary, pair, coven (3–13)
Treasure standard


                Dream Armor (Su): A dream specter’s entire body is shrouded in a midnight-black cloak, which grants it a deflection bonus to AC equal to its Charisma modifier. The cloak also magically obscures the creature wearing it, shrouding the dream specter in an inky blackness that no amount of light can pierce, although the dream specter’s eyes remain visible as glowing red spheres. If the dream specter dies, its cloak erupts into black flames, which consume the cloak and the specter’s corpse both. If the cloak is somehow separated from the dream specter, it can be used by others in the same fashion, although it still erupts into flame if the dream specter ever dies.

                Nightmare Gaze (Su): Any creature within 30 feet that meets a dream specter’s gaze must succeed on a Will save (DC 21) or fall into a catatonic dream state. Creatures affected by this ability are stunned. This effect lasts indefinitely, but the target may attempt a Wisdom check (DC 20) each round as a full-round action to snap out of it. A natural 20 on this check is always considered a success. The affected creature’s allies can attempt to help him by shaking him, calling his name, or similar: doing so is an application of the aid another action, requires being adjacent to the affected creature, and allows the creature to make an additional saving throw. While affected by this ability, the creature is considered to be asleep for the purposes of the dream specter’s plague dreams ability, as well as similar spells and effects, such as the nightmare spell. The saving throw DC is Charisma-based.

                Nightmare Points (Su): A dream specter can repurpose the strange energy it harvests from sleeping creatures and put it to a variety of uses. As a swift action, it can expend one nightmare point to achieve any of the following effects:

  • Grant itself a +2 bonus on attack and damage rolls until the beginning of its next turn.

  • Grant itself a +2 bonus to AC and on saving throws until the beginning of its next turn.

  • Heal 10 hit points, or gain 10 temporary hit points, if it is not currently injured.

  • Allow it to cast a single 1st-level bard spell of its choice.

                Plague Dreams (Su): A dream specter’s very presence warps and twists the dreams of nearby creatures, causing them to suffer horrible, psyche-warping nightmares. Each round, on the dream specter’s turn, each sleeping creature within 60 feet must succeed on a Will save (DC 23) 0r suffer 1d2 points of Wisdom damage. For each point of Wisdom damage inflicted in this way, the dream specter gains a single nightmare point (see nightmare points, above). Each round, a sleeping creature can attempt to wake itself with a successful Wisdom check (DC 20). Unlike creatures affected with the dream specter’s nightmare gaze ability, creatures that are sleeping normally can be awakened by loud noises, being shaken by an ally, or so on. This is a mind-affecting fear effect. The saving throw DC is Charisma-based.

                Sunlight Vulnerability (Ex): When exposed to direct sunlight, a dream specter loses its damage reduction and spell resistance, as well as the deflection bonus granted by its dream armor special ability.



                Dream specters are enigmatic creatures that are believed to hail from the obscure and often misunderstood Plane of Dreams. Much like their plane of origin, very little is known about these mysterious creatures, including what causes them to leave their plane and travel to the Material Plane. Even their appearance is unknown, for they always appear covered in their trademark black cloaks, which obscure every part of them except for their glowing red eyes. The dream specters themselves have certainly not been forthcoming about themselves in any way, and in fact, seem to have little to no interest in any creatures from the Material Plane other than to prey upon their dreams.

                When they travel to the Material Plane, most do so atop a fearsome wyvern mount. These wyverns have pitch-black scales, and glowing red eyes similar to those of their masters. Other than these cosmetic differences, and gaining the extraplanar subtype, however, they are identical to wyverns from the Material Plane in every way. Dream specters seem to have a strange bond with their mounts, which allows them to call the creatures to them silently, and which causes the mounts to obey them implicitly.