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Climate/Terrain:Temperate lands (Barovia)
Frequency:Very rare
Activity Cycle:Night
Intelligence:Exceptional (15-16)
Alignment:Chaotic evil
No. Appearing:1
Armor Class:2
Movement:12, Fl 15 (B)
Hit Dice:6+6
No. of Attacks:3
Special Attacks:Blood drain, sleep
Special Defenses:+1 or better to hit, see below
Magic Resistance:Nil
Size:M (6' tall)
Morale:Elite (14)
XP Value:2,000

Why do I close the chimney flue before going to bed? Well? Yes, vampires must ask permission to enter a home. But that same restriction doesn?t apply to everything that roams the countryside at night.

- Andrei Tiszanov

The nocnitsa, sometimes called a night terror, is one of the most terrifying creatures to plague Barovia. Possessing the most dangerous attributes of a nosferatu and shadow, this nocturnal monster seeks living blood, and its feedings are often mistaken for those of a nosferatu vampire.

The nocnitsa's natural form is that of an old crone, formed from indistinct, flickering shadows. Though she appears to be severely hunched over with age, the nocnitsa stands a full six feet tall. Its gnarled hands are tipped with wicked talons, while the creature's lower half trails off into wisps of darkness. Few facial features can be discerned, except for the white spots that serve as the creature's eyes, and the mouth filled with crooked fangs.

Nocnitsas do not communicate with other creatures, but it is not known if this is by choice or because of inability. They do emit a horrible, wheezing yowl when threatened.

Combat: Nocnitsas are powerful combatants, but unless cornered they prefer to flee rather than fight. They are cunning opponents, quickly singling out powerful warriors or spellcasters for elimination. If a nocnitsa has the advantage of surprise, it will ambush the most powerful member of group, strike quickly, and then flee into the night. Like shadows, nocnitsas are 90% undetectable in all conditions but the brightest light.

A nocnitsa possesses a Strength of 18/76, which grants her a +2 to attack rolls and a +4 to damage rolls (already factored into the monster's statistics above). The nocnitsa can attack twice in a round with her sharp claws for 1d6+4 damage each, and once with her bite for 1d4+4 damage. Nocnitsas can only be struck by weapons of at least +1 enchantment. They are not undead creatures, but take 2d4 damage from a vial of holy water, and can be turned as spectres by priests normally able to turn undead. They are immune to poison, disease, suffocation, sleep, and life-affecting spells and effects, but are vulnerable to other mind-affecting magic (such as charm and hold). Though they dislike bright light, nocnitsas are not physically affected by it, and do not suffer the worst effects of a sunray spell. A nocnitsa can fly in her natural form with remarkable agility, and can shapechange into a raven at will. The transformation takes one round, however, during which time the nocnitsa can take no other actions, and opponents receive a +4 bonus to hit the creature.

Raven Form: AC 7; MV 1, Fl 36 (B); #AT 1; Dmg/AT 1; SZ T.

Like a vampire, the nocnitsa has a powerful gaze attack. Anyone who looks into the creature's white eyes must save vs. spell of be affected by a powerful version of the sleep spell. This gaze can affect creatures of any hit dice, though it does not affect undead or other creatures normally immune to sleep. The sleep functions normally in all other respects, though it lasts for three turns (thirty minutes) and the victim is not awakened by the nocnitsa's blood drain (though he is still awakened by other attacks).

A nocnitsa can drain blood from victim who has fallen under her sleep gaze, as well as anyone who is unconscious or otherwise helpless. The nocnitsa bites the victim on the neck, and begins to drain Constitution points at a rate of one per round, much like a nosferatu. Like such undead creatures, the nocnitsa can increase the rate of this blood drain to three points of Constitution per round if it so desires. Constitution points are regained at a rate of one point every two days. Victims who reach zero Constitution are slain, but do not themselves become nocnitsas. Nocnitsas do not normally kill their victims outright, but prefer to visit them many times over the course of weeks, while the hapless soul wastes away from anemia.

An individual can be protected against a nocnitsa if the proper precautions are taken. Blessing someone before they fall asleep will prevent the nocnitsa from draining the recipient's blood for the duration of the night. Furthermore, a nocnitsa cannot enter a circle made with iron filings, though she can break the circle through indirect means.

It should be noted that while nocnitsas appear insubstantial, they are not truly ethereal, and cannot pass through solid objects or the like.

Habitat/Society: Almost nothing is known of the nocnitsa's origins or nature. At night, they slip into Barovian homes through chimneys or other convenient entrances, and seek out the youngest blood in the household (favoring small children and infants). They flee if discovered, but will often return to favorite “feeding grounds” at a later date even if they have been sighted or threatened. Nocnitsas are also known to attack wilderness travelers foolish enough to be journeying at night.

Barovians consider the nocnitsas to be a form of undead, but the Vistani know better. Oddly enough, their word for the creatures translates loosely as “visiting grandmothers”, and the gypsies are said to be protected against their feedings. The wiser raunies among the Vistani say that the nocnitsas are the embodied essence of Barovians' paralyzing fear of the dark.

Ecology: Though they are not truly undead, nocnitsas seem to be similarly isolated from the natural world, existing only to feed upon the living. They do not require sleep or any sustenance other than warm blood. Some brave scholars have observed that nocnitsas have no daytime lairs, and seem to simply vanish at sunrise and then reappear at sunset.

The Lonesome Road