In a recent discussion about level draining undead in Labyrinth Lord, several DMs and players indicated that they would rather kill a character than have him level drained. And in SOME cases I understand (although personally I have no real problem with level draining undead).
But you see, I love wights. I like vampires and wraiths and spectres also.
So what do you do to replace the venerable wight if you don’t use level-draining?
Give him some other scary power or two to even out the odds (especially since they are already cleric-turning fodder). Roll (or choose) on the following table once for every two hit dice of the undead (rounding up). You can also just create new undead by upping the hit dice of the wight (and decreasing his AC 1 point for every 3 hit dice you give him). The other upside? Since he’s not relying on his level draining touch attack, you can kit your undead menace out with a cool weapon or two.
Uniquely Undead (d30)
- Limited Flight – 60′ (20′) movement rate. Seems to walk through the air.
- Dimension Door – as the spell, 3/day
- Special Senses – Detects magic, life and invisibility at will
- Animate Dead – as the spell, 2/day
- Darkness – as the reverse of light at will
- Unnatural Might – +2 to hit and damage
- Track Life – Once he’s met you, he can track you without fail. Even across the planes if need be. The only way to break the trail is to die and be brought back to life.
- Magical Ability – casts spells as a magic user, caster level of 1/2 the undead’s hit dice
- Clerical Ability – casts spells as a cleric, caster level of 1/2 the undead’s hit dice
- Withering Touch – touch causes plants to wither and other living things to rot. Deals 2d4 damage to creatures.
- Putrefying Aura – all food and drink within 20′ is rotted and destroyed – magical food and drinks get their owner’s save versus poison.
- Massive Claws – unarmed attacks deal an extra die of damage, or 1d8 damage if it didn’t have such an attack.
- Diseased – attacks transmit mummy rot (see the mummy description)
- Striking Aura – the palpable aura of fear freezes all those who see the undead. Save versus paralysis when encountering the undead or be paralyzed for 1d6+1 rounds.
- Paralyzing Strike – the undead’s blows paralyze as a ghoul (although elves are not immune)
- Vampiric Drain – damage dealt by the undead in melee heals it an equivalent amount.
- Weakening Blow – the undead’s blows drain Strength or Constitution (choose/roll which) like a Shadow.
- Soul Eater – creatures slain by the undead cannot be raised or resurrected. The undead gains 1 HD for 24 hours, and permanently gains 1 hit point.
- Curse of the Fallen – undead casts curse 3/day (typically opening a battle with such a curse).
- Soul Wrench – the undead’s blows are deadly. The target gets a save versus death.
- Wail of the Haunted – once per turn the undead can howl or wail. Living creatures within 60 feet must save versus paralysis or run in fear.
- Wail of Mourning – once per hour the undead can howl or wail. Living creatures within 30 feet must save versus death or die.
- Breath of Decay – once per turn the undead can make a breath weapon attack (typically a magical “blast” of decay, but sometimes shards of bone, or regurgitated black evil, or even fire or gas or something thematically appropriate) in a 15′ cloud in front of him that deals 1d6 damage /2 hit dice of the undead.
- Faithless – turned by clerics as if the undead had 3 hit dice more than it has.
- All But Invisible – cannot be detected except by touch and feel. Cannot be detected by magic, psionics, sound or scent, etc.
- Immortal – unless destroyed by a cleric’s turn undead attempt, dissintegrated, or burned and the ashes mixed with holy water, this undead will reform in 2d12 hours after being slain.
- Regeneration – the undead regenerates 3 hit points per round except from holy damage. It ceases regenerating if destroyed.
- Charm Gaze – gaze attack acts as a charm monster spell
- Arcane Devourer – attacks drain one spell from a spellcaster’s prepared spells (starting with highest level spells, specific spell chosen randomly). If the undead successfully saves against a spell cast upon it, the caster of the spell also loses another spell as if struck by the undead.
- Hollow – when struck down, the undead splits open producing an insect plague as the spell as well as a 10′ radius cloud of poisonous gas (to which the undead insects are immune).
Have more suggestions? This table can easily be expanded from a d30 to a d100 if you volunteer enough new ideas in time for issue 3 of Dyson’s Dodecahedron.