Nightmare Man, The

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Nightmare Man, The
Climate/Terrain:The Nightmare Lands
Activity Cycle:Night
Intelligence:Supra-genius (19)
Alignment:Lawful evil
No. Appearing:1
Armor Class:2
Hit Dice:14
No. of Attacks:2
Special Attacks:Dream fire, shadow walk
Special Defenses:+3 or better to hit
Magic Resistance:60%
Size:M (6' tall)
Morale:Elite (14)
XP Value:13,000

The mysterious entity known as the Nightmare Man rules over the Nightmare Court from his lair in the Grieving Cathedral. It is the Nightmare Man's curse that gives shape to this domain and binds the rest of the Court to the land.

The Nightmare Man wears dark, tattered robes, a hood always drawn over his head. The hood's shadows hide his face, though long wisps of silver hair spill from the dark opening. Only his hands emerge from the folds of the robes, and these appear as gnarled, pale appendages that are more skeletal than flesh. The robes are spun from the webs of dark dreamweavers, and dozens of these spider creatures crawl across their fraying surface.

The Nightmare Man can speak any language he has ever encountered in the dreams of his multitude of victims. When he speaks, his raspy voice sounds like a faint wind blowing through a dead forest of dry leaves and brittle branches. It carries with it a chill that no fire can eliminate.

Combat: The Nightmare Man rarely engages in physical battle. He can deliver two punches per round, each inflicting 1d2+3 points of damage. If pressed, his more formidable attack form is the terrible dream fire that is his alone to command.

Dream fire is a crackling green energy that leaps from the Nightmare Man's skeletal hands to bathe victims in cold terror. The Nightmare Man can call upon dream fire once every three rounds of combat. It explodes from his gnarled fingers in a straight line that is five feet wide and extends as far as 30 feet. All targets within its path must make saving throws vs. breath weapon or suffer its effects. Those who make the save suffer only half damage.

Dream fire inflicts 4d10 points of damage to those who fail the save. Those who succeed receive half damage. In addition, those who fail suffer further effects from the cold fire. The green energy opens the subconscious stores of its victim's mind, unleashing feelings of absolute terror. Such a victim must make an immediate horror check. No matter what the result of the check is, the victim is shaken by the unleashing of imagined terrors. The victim suffers a -2 penalty to all attack rolls and ability checks for 1d4 rounds.

The Nightmare Man has the ability to travel through shadows. By shadow walking, he can step into a deep shadow in the Grieving Cathedral and step out of a shadow in the Forest of Everchange - or anywhere else within the borders of his domain.

In addition to the dark dreamweavers that crawl over him like living adornments, the Nightmare Man is served by six powerful ennui he refers to as “the Horrors”. The Horrors oversee the Nightmare Man's six permanent dreamscapes, keeping them running so that their master is never without dream images to draw from.

The Nightmare Man also has the ability to create night terrors, nightmares given substance and independence so that they may roam beyond the Veil of Sleep - even able to enter the waking world for periods of time. The creature Mandalain, a nightmare that continues to haunt Dr. Illhousen, is an example of a night terror.

The Nightmare Man has the ability to sense intruders in his lair or in the lairs of the other members of the Nightmare Court. He often deals directly with those who find the courage to enter his Grieving Cathedral, but even events in the other lairs interest him. He will often travel through the shadows to another member's lair when he senses an intruder there. From the shadows, he will secretly watch the events as they unfold. The Nightmare Man rarely interferes in such happenings, but he enjoys watching so that he can be on hand to inhale the sweet vapors of fear that almost always accompany such occurrences.

Habitat/Society: The Nightmare Man spends most of his time wandering the halls of the Grieving Cathedral in the City of Nod. In the stained glass windows of the ancient structure, he can watch the events unfolding in every dreamscape in the Ring of Dreams. Wanderers who happen to view the moving images within the ornate glass windows must make madness checks to keep from going insane. For the images are not the masked scenes that a dreamer sees, but instead show the subconscious in its pure, unfiltered reality.

When a particularly inspiring scene presents itself, the Nightmare Man sets up an easel and canvas and gathers his brush and palette. He attempts to paint one of the moments of horror. or even some half-glimpsed wonderful dream, but such creativity eludes him. It has been said that the Nightmare Man is an artist without talent, a frustrated creator without the least spark of creativity. In truth, he has no imagination at all, no dreams of his own. He must borrow the dreams and nightmares of others, but even these can only be viewed from a distance. He cannot even participate in these dreams except as an observer.

Whenever the mood to create strikes him, the Nightmare Man touches brush to canvas and hopes that this time something different will occur. His curse, however, cannot be denied. Paint turns to blood, dripping down the otherwise white canvas in an ever-spreading stain. This angers and frustrates the Nightmare Man, sending him into a destructive, frightening rage.

One portion of the Grieving Cathedral is set aside as a meeting place for the Nightmare Court. The Consistory Court, to the right of the Altar of Dreams, is the Nightmare Court's place within the Nightmare Man's lair. How often the Court gathers is unknown, as is what agenda occupies their collective time. What is known is that such a gathering is never called for the benefit of others, but to debate new methods for inspiring fear in the minds of all dreamers.

Ecology: Though he has the appearance of an undead creature, the Nightmare Man does not exhibit any of the characteristics that usually mark an undead. Most notably, he cannot be turned by clerics. The Nightmare Man feeds on the dreams and nightmares of others. Unlike the other members of the Court who have specific areas of interest, all dreams and nightmares provide nourishment to the Nightmare Man. As long as there is a negative emotion attached to it, any dream provides energy to this cursed villain.

The Nightmare Man also craves the raw spark of creativity and imagination that others possess, as he has little of his own to draw upon. He cannot use these borrowed sparks, however, and this frustrates and enrages him to no end.

Night Terrors

The Nightmare Man has the ability to give substance and form to the worst nightmares he glimpses in the Web of Dreams. These nightmares receive a portion of the Nightmare Man's own power, thus giving them the ability to exist beyond the Veil of Sleep.

A night terror can appear in almost any form. From an undead nurse with bladed fingers to a foul murderer who strangles his victims with a supple cord, the worst fears made real become the night terrors. Though they serve their master, each night terror has a level of independence and intelligence that makes it a unique creature. A night terror might have a specific target to torment or frighten, but the methods it uses are often those of its own devising.

It takes the Nightmare Man one full night to construct a night terror, and only one night terror can be shaped during that time. The night terror is born within a dreamscape, filled with every aspect of the nightmare that shapes it. A lesser dream spawn, specifically a shadow morph, serves as the basis for a night terror. The morph loses all of its own powers and personality in the process, becoming a unique night terror. It remains a night terror until it is destroyed.

The Nightmare Man must invest a part of himself in every night terror he creates. This forges a link with the creature through which the Nightmare Man can observe events as they occur, summon the night terror to his side, or even issue commands. The link does not extend beyond the borders of the Nightmare Lands, however, so night terrors in the waking world are on their own. All the Nightmare Man receives through the link is scattered impressions of what the night terror is up to. No detailed images make it back trough the mists.

Depending on the power level of the night terror being created, the Nightmare Man suffers a temporary decrease in his own powers during the night of creation. Investing a night terror with a reality that can last beyond the Veil of Sleep costs the Nightmare Man hit points. These hit points cannot be regained until the following night; even the regenerative power of the web of dreams cannot begin to restore them until the next night starts. The number of hit points lost is variable. based on the Hit Dice of the night terror being created: 1-3 HD, 1d8 hp; 4-6 HD, 2d8 hp; 7-9 HD, 3d8 hp; 10 HD, 4d8 hp. No night terror more powerful than 10 Hit Dice can be created by the Nightmare Man.

Each night terror is created with a specific weakness that is based upon the nightmare it was drawn from. What can be used to destroy one night terror will not necessarily harm another.