The Dragonlance Nexus

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Spectral Minion (Template)

D&D 3e (3.0/3.5) Rules

by James O'Rance

Spectral minions are the spirits of intelligent humanoids who died before they could fulfill an important vow. Even in death, spectral minions are bound by the vow or quest placed upon them while they were alive.

Spectral minions appear as they did during life, except that they are nearly transparent — like "looking through coloured glass." Any clothing, armour, or weapons possessed by the spectral minion at the time of its death are duplicated in the creature's new spectral form, although these are now part of the spectral minion and cannot be taken or given away. Spectral minions may seem to possess somewhat altered personalities in death than they did in life. They retain some but not necessarily all of the memories of their original forms; as spectral minions, their uncompleted quests dominate their minds. Often, these quests cannot be completed without the intervention or aid of the living.

Creating a Spectral Minion

"Spectral Minion" is a template that can be added to any creature or character. The creature (hereafter referred to as the "base creature") is usually a humanoid, monstrous humanoid, or giant (such as an irda). The creature's type becomes "undead." The spectral minion uses all the base creature's statistics and special abilities except as noted here.

Hit Dice: Increase to d12.

Attacks: The spectral minion possesses physical attacks only if the base creature used weapons. These weapons become part of the spectral minion, and cannot be disarmed or destroyed.

Damage: Same as the base creature's weapons; this is a supernatural effect.

Special Attacks: A spectral minion cannot use the base creature's spells, spell-like abilities, or supernatural abilities. It retains any extraordinary abilities possessed by the base creature, and gains any one of the following:

  • Berserker (Ex): The spectral minion gains a +1 morale bonus to attack rolls and damage, and make an additional attack each round at its highest attack bonus. These spectral minions are chaotic evil and have rebelled against their quest, and can only be freed by a remove curse spell.
  • Guardian (Ex): The spectral minion is quested to defend a room, passage, or an object, gains a +2 dodge bonus to AC, and can make an additional attack of opportunity each round while doing so. Guardians are usually neutral good or chaotic good and must either defend their post for 100 years and a day or complete some other assigned task.
  • Philosopher (Ex): The spectral minion spends its time in study and contemplation, usually in a library or museum, and has one free rank in Knowledge (any one) per HD. Philosophers can be of any alignment, and are often found in groups. A philosopher can cast legend lore a number of times per day equal to their Intelligence bonus, but become infuriated if asked more questions than it can answer. Some philosophers become infuriated at any interruption. Infuriated philosophers will attack or summon 1d8 warrior minions from a nearby area.
  • Reveler (Ex): The spectral minion is cursed to celebrate madly with others of its kind for all eternity. Revelers are chaotic evil. Although unarmed, their gleeful beckoning acts as a charm person spell. Any character who joins the revelers' activities for at least three minutes must make a Will saving throw (DC 10 + ½ minion's HD + minion's Cha modifier). Failure indicates that his body falls comatose while his soul visibly leaves his body to join the revelers. The affected character gains one negative level per minute of revelry until he perishes or the spectral minions are destroyed.
  • Searcher (Ex): The spectral minion stalks endlessly through its territory, looking for a particular object to fulfill its quest. Usually, the object of the quest is not to be found within the searcher's territory, and only if another creature brings the object to the searcher can it be freed. Searchers are lawful evil in alignment, posses one free rank in Search and Sense Motive per HD, and are always armed with a martial weapon.
  • Warrior (Ex): The spectral minion was locked in combat at the time of death. Warrior minions possess martial weapons, medium or heavy armour, and a bonus Weapon Focus feat. They may be of any alignment. Groups of 100 or more spectral minions are typically encountered on a battlefield, including warriors from both sides of the battle; these are so evenly matched that only outside intervention can decide the battle one way or the other, freeing both sides from their quest.

Special Qualities: A spectral minion retains any extraordinary abilities of the base creature, and gains those below.

  • Bound (Su): Spectral minions are bound to a particular territory, and may not leave it for any reason. Outdoors, they must remain within 1,000 feet of where they died. Indoors, they must remain in the room or corridor where they lost their lives. On the very rare occasion that a spectral minion's quest requires it to perform an act over a wide area, it is free to roam within that area.
  • Incorporeal: Can be harmed only by other incorporeal creatures, +1 or better magic weapons, or magic, with a 50% chance to ignore any damage from a corporeal source. Can pass through solid objects at will, and own attacks pass through armour. Always moves silently.
  • Spell Resistance (Ex): SR 16
  • Turn Resistance (Ex): +4

Saves: Same as the base creature.

Abilities: Same as the base creature, except that a spectral minion has an Intelligence score of 11, and no Strength or Constitution.

Skills: Same as the base creature (and see above).

Feats: Same as the base creature (and see above).

Climate/Terrain: Same as the base creature.

Organisation: Solitary, or same as the base creature.

Challenge Rating: Same as the base creature +1

Treasure: Same as the base creature.

Alignment: See above; otherwise, same as the base creature.


Sample Spectral Minion

This example uses a 5th-level human fighter as the base creature.

Medium-size Undead (Incorporeal)
Hit Dice: 5d10 (32 hp)
Initiative: +6 (Dex, Improved Initiative)
Speed: 20 ft.
AC: 17 (+2 Dex, +5 chain mail)
Attacks: Greatsword +6/+1 melee
Damage: Greatsword 2d6+2
Face/Reach: 5 ft. by 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Guardian
Special Qualities: Bound, SR 16, turn resistance +4, undead
Saves: Fort +4, Ref +1, Will +1
Abilities: Str —, Dex 14, Con —, Int 11, Wis 12, Cha 8
Skills: Handle Animal +7, Ride +10, Swim +8
Feats: Cleave, Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (greatsword), Weapon Specialisation (greatsword)
Climate/Terrain: Any land and underground
Organisation: Solitary
Challenge Rating: 6
Treasure: Standard
Alignment: Chaotic good


This spectral minion may have sworn an oath to protect the lost shine of an ancient religion dedicated to one of the true gods of good. While it is fearless in its vigilance against unworthy characters who attempt to enter the shrine, it will not attack characters who respect its oath and stay away.

Guardian (Ex): One additional attack of opportunity each round and +2 dodge bonus to AC when defending post.

Incorporeal: Can be harmed only by other incorporeal creatures, +1 or better magic weapons, or magic, with a 50% chance to ignore any damage from a corporeal source. Can pass through solid objects at will, and own attacks pass through armour. Always moves silently.

Undead: Immune to mind-influencing effects, poison, sleep, paralysis, stunning, and disease. Not subject to critical hits, subdual damage, ability damage, energy drain, or death from massive damage.

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