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Frequency:Very rare
Activity Cycle:Any
Intelligence:Very (11-12)
Alignment:Neutral evil
No. Appearing:1
Armor Class:N/A
Hit Dice:N/A
No. of Attacks:N/A
Special Attacks:Despair
Special Defenses:See below
Magic Resistance:See below
Size:M (6' tall)
Morale:Fearless (20)
XP Value:0

A bussengeist is the spectral form of someone who died in a great calamity brought on by their own action or inaction. They look much like they did in life, save that they are partially transparent. Over time, the gloom and suffering that the spirit is forced to witness takes its toll and the features of the creature become sad and tired. Thus, these harbingers of doom often appear far older than they were at the time of their death.

The bussengeist is a ghost-like creature that finds itself drawn to scenes of great disasters or tragedies. With a slow, sad pace, it walks the countryside travelling from crisis to crisis. As a rule, the bussengeist does not cause the disaster to occur, but is drawn to it for some reason. Once present, however, the aura of despair that surrounds the creature can certainly make an already bad situation worse.

Bussengeists are able to communicate with those around them via a limited form of telepathy. More often than not, however, they will convey only gloomy tidings of impending doom, not information that might be used to avert the coming catastrophe.

Combat: Bussengeists do not engage in combat directly. Their lot in life (or death, as the case may be) is simply to witness time and time again the type of disaster that killed them.

When a bussenseist arrives to view a scene of destrudion, it radiates an aura of despair. This aura will affect only one side in a battle, generally the side most akin to “good”. All creatures within 120 feet of the bussengeist suffer a penalty of -4 on all attack and damage rolls, saving throws, and proficiency checks. Other die rolls may be negatively affected as well, at the DM's option. The effects of this aura can be avoided by characters who make a successful save vs. spells.

While a bussengeist cannot be harmed by physical weapons, it may be confronted, driven off, and even destroyed by some spells. Attempts to turn undead, however, will prove fruitless.

A bussengeist can be forced away from a place by a wizard or priest who employs a control undead, holy word, limited wish, or dismissal spell. A bussengeist driven away in this manner will return in 2-12 hours, however, and will be immune to further casting of the same spell by the same wizard. The forbiddance spell can be cast to prevent a bussengeist from entering a given area for the duration of the spell.

While these means will serve to provide temporal protection from the bussengeist, destroying one is another matter entirely. The only way to annihilate a bussengeist is with a wish or dispel evil.

Habitat/Society: Bussengeists are solitary wanderers. Unlike the typical nomad or vagabond, however, they have no control over their movements. They are constantly drawn from tragedy to tragedy and forced to witness scenes of destruction similar to that which ended their own lives. As a rule, only those persons who feel remorse for their actions will become bussengeists. For example, a traitor who allowed an invading force to gain access to a walled city and was himself slain in the ensuing battle might become a bussengeist. If he was killed without warning and felt no pity for those his actions had brought misery to, he would not be transformed. If, on the other hand, he knew that he was about to die and had reason to feel that he had acted in error, he might well become a bussengeist. In his afterlife, he would visit cities in the process of being raided by barbarians, castles being overrun by monsters, and similar scenes.

Bussengeists travel from place to place in an insubstantial, though not invisible, state. Once they reach the place they are forced to travel to, they begin to radiate their aura of despair. Once the catastrophe that drew them has occurred, they will feel a need to move on. Walking with a slow. methodical stride they will seek out another place where a tragedy is about to unfold.

Bussengeists generally arrive at the scene of a disaster 1-6 days before it is to occur. Thus, the inhabitants are given some warning that a crisis is at hand (if they are wise enough to recognize the tragic, spectral figure of the bussengeist for what it is).

Ecology: Being an unnatural creature, the bussengeist has no real place in the ecology of the world it has left behind. The same is not true, however, of the course of history. There are many scholars who can point out great battles which, they claim, can only have been decided by the influence of these tragic souls.

The essence of these creatures, if captured in some way, can be a powerful magical component. It is rumored that many cursed magical weapons are forged in fires fanned by the breath of a bussengeist and that their power are harnessed in the creation of drums of panic or a harp of discord.