Lhiannan Shee

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Lhiannan Shee
Climate/Terrain:Subarctic to tropical woodlands
Frequency:Very rare
Activity Cycle:Night
Intelligence:Average to very (8-12)
Alignment:Neutral evil
No. Appearing:1
Armor Class:8 in darkness; 5 in strong firelight or light spell; 2 in sunlight or continual light spell
Hit Dice:5
No. of Attacks:1
Special Attacks:Charm touch, draining kiss
Special Defenses:Selective invisibility, various spell immunities, struck only by +1 or better weapons
Magic Resistance:90%
Morale:Special (always flees if attacked, but returns later)
XP Value:4,000

Rare in the extreme, the lhiannan shee (LAN-an SHE) is an undead vampiric spirit with an affinity for men of high Charisma and strong poetic ability - bards. The lhiannan shee looks like a stunningly beautiful female human, elf, or half-elf. It is thought to be the undead spirit of a woman who killed herself for the unrequited love of a bard or other artistically talented and desirable, but unobtainable or callous man.

Like many undead, the lhiannan shee is ultimately motivated to destroy those who fall into its hands. Because of its seductive nature, however, its victims would often trade their fate with no other. Bards whisper of such creatures with a mixture of muted fear and a death-wish desire.

Combat: This undead creature is naturally invisible, but it possesses the power of selective invisibility and can become visible to victims at will, with no chance of being detected by anyone nearby who lacks the use of magic. Anyone using a detect invisibility spell or power has a 1% chance per round, per level of the spell-user, of detecting the lhiannan shee. For example, a 7th-level wizard has a 7% chance of detecting the presence of a lhiannan shee each round he searches. The same chances apply to anyone using similar spells and powers, such as detect enemies, detect evil, detect undead, and so forth. This spirit is instantly aware of any divination spell cast within 120 feet of it, and it always seeks to avoid detection.

Because they are so rare and so attracted to bards, lhiannan shee are almost never encountered anywhere except in the presence of bards. In regions where lhiannan shee are known to dwell, a male bard has a 1% chance per month, per level of ability, of encountering such a creature. The lhiannan shee, once it detects a possible victim, silently follows and observes the bard for a period of at least one month before making its presence known. It follows the unknowing victim everywhere it can possibly go, learning all that it can about him. This foreknowledge, combined with this creature's unusual cunning and powers, makes this undead creature's methods particularly potent.

The spirit invariably appears to its victim when he is alone and no one else is around to confirm or deny its presence. It then uses every wile at its command to gain its victim's interest, from subtle flattery and coyness to blatant propositioning, assuming any and every role from dignified musical student to charmed trollop. All the lhiannan shee desires at this point is to have the bard voluntarily touch it or allow himself to be touched, an act that dooms him almost at once when he feels its cold, silken skin.

This spirit's physical body and clothing appear perfectly solid and real when it has materialized, though its physical appearance and dress never change. It always seems to be freshly bathed, no matter what environment it inhabits. Some bards have reported that each lhiannan shee also has a particular perfume, usually a flowery scent. At night, a lhiannan shee can pick up physical objects with an equivalent Strength rating of 8. However, the lhiannan shee casts no shadow in light and makes no sound when it walks or touches any object. During full daylight or a continual light spell, lhiannan shee are unable to affect physical objects, so they avoid daytime except for brief encounters in shadowed areas. Daylight and continual light spells do improve its Armor Class, however, by making it less material, and harder to strike.

The lhiannan shee can charm its victim by touch, a power that works only once each night between dusk and dawn, giving the bard a -6 penalty to his saving throw. If the bard fails this saving throw (Wisdom bonuses apply), he regards the lhiannan shee as his beloved, giving up all other mortal lovers in order to pursue his passion for this unearthly and pitiless spirit. Only a remove curse or dispel magic spell cast by a 10th-level or greater spellcaster, or a wish from a scroll, device, or spell, can break the hold of the lhiannan shee's charm on the victim at this point.

Upon capturing a lover, the lhiannan shee has the bard visit it every night thereafter, always in secluded places away from sight of other mortals. The bard does not willingly reveal why he must leave each night or where he is going, keeping the supernatural affair as much a secret as he possibly can. Each night it is 95% likely that the lhiannan shee wants the bard to kiss it, an act that a charmed bard cannot refuse. Only one such kiss is taken each night. This act automatically and permanently drains 1 hit point from the bard's hit point total, transferring that hit point to the lhiannan shee's own hit points, up to its maximum total of 40 hit points. This is the only method by which the lhiannan shee can “heal” damage done to it. Hit points so lost by the bard cannot be recovered except by wish spells that restore 2-5 hit points per spell, or heal spells that restore 1 hit point per spell.

A bard who is drained in this manner never notices the hit point loss, though he becomes noticeably paler and weaker and perhaps seems dazed and distracted to his companions. This hit point loss does not affect the bard's current level, and he can continue to gain experience points and new Hit Dice, though he is not likely to survive more than a month or two of such treatment. Once the bard's hit points drop to zero because of this draining kiss, the bard dies. Only a resurrection spell cast by a priest from a spell, device, or scroll, or a wish spell, can then restore the bard to life and normal sanity again.

A man under the spell of the lhiannan shee, however, does everything in his power to resist any attempt to break the spirit's control over him. Bards have even been known to attack their closest friends and allies if they suspected that the latter were preparing to take action against the spirit or to undo the charm cast over the bard. A man who sees his “beloved” undergo a direct attack strikes out at the spirit's assailants with every weapon and spell at his command, seeking to slay his new “enemies” and gaining a +1 attack bonus on all physical attacks until his “beloved” has either safely escaped or has been destroyed, which breaks the charm spell.

The lhiannan shee is affected by magical items giving protection from undead, such as certain scrolls, and it can be turned or destroyed by clerics as a wight. Magic resistance does not negate turning, and turning can be attempted even if a lhiannan shee is merely suspected but is not seen. Holy water causes 1-4 points of damage per vial. Only weapons of +1 or greater enchantment can harm the lhiannan shee, but it must be seen to be so attacked. No one has ever made a potion of lhiannan shee control, nor is this likely, because of their rarity.

The lhiannan shee is undead so it is immune to all paralysis effects, poisons, cold-based and death-magic spells, charms, holds, sleep, fear, and insanity. Electrical attacks cause half damage and cause the spirit to flee for the night. A raise dead or resurrection spell destroys a lhiannan shee if it is cast directly on it by a cleric who can see the creature. The lhiannan shee's magic resistance rating must first be overcome if it is attacked directly by magical spells or powers, with the exception of turning.

Habitat/Society: Lhiannan shee are solitary and never found working in partnership with any other being, living or undead. They react only to their own desires and whims, ignoring all else but their victims unless they are attacked or detected. Because of their love for beautiful places, these spirits usually enjoy springs, running water in natural surroundings, and unspoiled woodlands. Their treasures are merely pretty baubles they have found on the bodies of their victims, objects they mindlessly play with when otherwise unoccupied. They approach civilized areas only if following their victims, and return to their woodlands once their victims have died or have escaped their control.

The bard Mintiper Moonsilver speaks of these spirits as “the ghosts of obsession”. Strangely, there is very little poetic or musical lore about lhiannan shee. Bards who might know about them are reluctant to speak of them at all, out of fear of attracting them or an inability to confront their longing for a lost “love”. Lhiannan shee do not return such devotion. Mintiper has claimed that the faithless lhiannan shee does not remember any of its past victims once it has found a new one. Each new victim is like the creature.s first love. Priests usually serve as the main source of information on these beings, but priests know very little about them that is accurate or useful, saying that such spirits are the just rewards of imprudent bards. Some bards and sages in Waterdeep have begun to speak of them more often these days in hopes of warning others of their peril. Such warnings are not as effective as hoped.

Despite the terrifying powers of the lhiannan shee, they do offer perverse benefits to their victims in that the mad passions bards feel for them actually improve the bards' talents. As long as a bard is under a lhiannan shee.s influence, he causes all who listen to his music or poetry to make saving throws vs. paralyzation at a penalty of -1 for every two experience levels of the bard. Those failing the save have their reactions modified by two levels as per the Encounter Reactions table on page 103 of the Dungeon Master's Guide. Those making their saving throws feel acutely uncomfortable with the bard's performance, finding it somehow disturbing and unnatural. Their reactions are modified by two levels in the direction opposite that which was intended.

A bard controlled by a lhiannan shee also has doubled effects when using his music and poetry to inspire or rally others. This results in either a +2 bonus to the attack rolls of all allies, a +2 bonus to the saving throws of all allies, or a +4 bonus to allied morale. These bonuses can affect allies in melee and come into effect after three full rounds of singing or reciting before a battle begins. Because of the tragic nature of the liaison between the undead being and its victim, the bard is also capable of singing and lowering Morale scores by 4 points, if he so desires, instilling deep depression in all who hear him. These effects apply within a range of 10 feet per experience level of the bard.

Furthermore, the charmed bard causes all listening beings to take an additional penalty of -2 on all saving throws against the effects of musically based magical items such as pipes, drums, horns, lyres, harps, or chimes. Characters within 60 feet of a performing bard are also rendered immune to the effects of songs and poetry used as magical attacks, such as the singing of harpies or other bards.

Ecology: Like all undead, lhiannan shee are predators who return nothing to living ecologies. Their effects are ecologically minuscule, since they prey only on bards, but they are feared far out of proportion to their numbers. Lhiannan shee are known only from the lands of the Forgotten Realms, though some have now been reported roaming the islands of the plane of Ravenloft.