On casual observation a metallic puddle looks like any other sitting pool of water, but a closer look (normally requiring a DC 22 Perception check) notes the peculiarities of its reflections—and that they don’t mirror what they should. These strange anomalies appear randomly across both Aventyr and Alucinar, though wayward planar explorers claim to have seen them elsewhere as well. Metallic puddles are gateways between planes, separating dimensions with only a permeable barrier of liquid.
Creatures native to a plane that a metallic puddle is connected to can make a DC 20 Sense Motive check to sense where it leads and particularly focused individuals familiar with the portals are able to attune them to go to planes they are familiar with after an hour of meditation and a DC 22 Wisdom check. When traveling through a metallic puddle, creatures experience potent synesthesia (the confusion of senses)—tasting colors, seeing odors, smelling music, and feeling sweet or sour for the duration of their travel through the barrier and 3d20 minutes afterward. Otherwise these are highly valued and generally protected when found, as after a certain number of uses (generally 20, though it varies with the size of the portal) a metallic puddle loses all of its magical qualities and becomes regular standing water.
Type magic; Perception DC 18; Disable Device DC 40 Trigger proximity; Reset 1 day Effect possession by nascent psyche of the dead god (DC 30 Will save or targets are compelled for 1d4+1 hours; turn blue, +8 luck bonus to Charisma-based skill checks); multiple targets (all targets within 120 ft.) Creatures compelled by the dead god psyche trap assume superiority over anyone else and demand worship whenever asked for cooperation (fighting anyone that opposes their dominance).
The psyche of the dead god hid in the very base of its decaying brain, waiting for a suitable vessel to possess—none happened by and when its form is completely destroyed it uses the dead god psyche trap to harbor itself in as many creatures as possible.
DESCRIPTION The scepter of nightmares is a magical +1 terror burst heavy mace crafted from the spinal column and brain stem of a dead god. The wielder of the scepter of nightmares may detect thoughts (CL 5th) as a standard action. Each day, upon the first attempt to use the weapon, the wielder must succeed a DC 20 Will save or becomefrightened of the scepter of nightmares for 24 hours.
DESTRUCTION The scepter of nightmares can be destroyed using it to slay every native ameslari in the dimension of Alucinar.
NEW WEAPON QUALITY: Terror Burst
Terror Burst: A terror burst weapon explodes with a potent form of necrotic energy upon striking a critical hit. The energy does not harm the wielder. The necrotic energy causes bits of the target’s flesh to rot away dealing 1d4 Constitution damage, 1d4 Charismadamage, and 1d10 points of negative energy damage. If a weapon’s critical modifier is x3, the attribute damage become 1d6s instead. In addition to the necrotic energy damage, a target affected by terror burst must make a DC 30 Will save or be afflicted with terrible nightmares on their next attempt to sleep (as thenightmarespell; CL 20th).
Adult Nightmare Dragon CR 14 XP 38,400 CE Huge dragon (extraplanar, nightmare) Init +4; Senses dragon senses; Perception +25 Aura frightful presence (180 ft., DC 23), nightmare eater (60 ft.)
DEFENSE AC 31, touch 10,flat-footed 29 (+2 Dex, +21 natural, –2 size) hp 212 (17d12+102) Fort +16, Ref +12, Will +15 DR 10/magic; Defensive Abilities negative energy affinity; Immune cold, confusion effects, death effects, energy drain, paralysis, sleep; SR 15
OFFENSE Speed 40 ft., fly 150 ft. (poor) Melee bite +22 (2d8+7, Crit 19–20/x2), 2 claws +20 (2d6+3), tail slap +20 (2d6+7), 2 wings +20 (1d8+3) Space 15 ft.; Reach 10 ft. (15 ft. with bite, tail slap) Special Attacks crush, nightmare breath (50-ft. cone, DC 18 Will save) Spell-like Abilities (CL 17th; concentration +22) At will—darkness, nightmare (DC 20), shadow walk, sleep (DC 16) Sorcerer Spells Known (CL 7th; concentration +12) 3rd (5/day)—deep slumber (DC 18), dispel magic, inflict serious wounds (DC 18) 2nd (7/day)—command undead (DC 17), invisibility, web (DC 17) 1st (8/day)—grease (DC 16), inflict light wounds (DC 16), reduce person (DC 16), shield 0th—detect magic, detect poison, disrupt undead (DC 15), mage hand, ray of frost, read magic
STATISTICS Str 25, Dex 14, Con 22, Int 20, Wis 21, Cha 20 Base Atk +17; CMB +26; CMD 38 (42 vs. trip) Feats Critical Focus, Hover, Improved Critical (bite), Improved Initiative, Improved Vital Strike, Multiattack, Power Attack, Skill Focus (Stealth), Snatch, Vital Strike Skills Bluff +25,Diplomacy +25, Fly+18,Knowledge (arcana, local, planes)+25, Perception +25, Sense Motive +25,Spellcraft +25, Stealth +20, Survival +25 Languages Abyssal, Common, Draconic, Undercommon SQ ghost bane, umbral scion
SPECIAL ABILITIES Ghost Bane (Su) A nightmare dragon’s natural attacks act as though they have the ghost touch property. Nightmare Breath (Su) Three times per day, a nightmare dragon can breathe a 50-ft. cone of shadows. Creatures that fail a DC 18 Will save are put to sleep for 1d6 rounds and when awoken they are confused for a number of rounds equal to half the amount of time they were asleep (minimum 1 round; no save). Nightmare Eater (Su) The gluttony of the nightmare dragon allows it to spend a swift action to cause horrific dreams to invade the minds of sleeping creatures. These nightmares deal 2d6 negative energy damage and do not prompt a creature to awaken, healing the nightmare dragon the same amount of damage. The nightmare dragon can heal past its maximum hit point total though any additional temporary hit points vanish after an hour. Umbral Scion (Ex) Nightmare dragons have negative energy affinity and are immune to energy drain and death effects.
[Submitted by Tim Snow!]
ADULT NIGHTMARE DRAGON Huge dragon, chaotic evil AC 18 (natural armor) Hit Points 191 (18d12+74) Speed 40 ft., fly 70 ft. STR 22 (+6), DEX 14 (+2), CON 19 (+4), INT 18 (+4), WIS 20 (+5), CHA 20 (+5)
Saving Throws Dex +5, Con +8, Wis +10, Cha +10 Skills Deception +12, Insight +12, Perception +12, Persuasion +12, Stealth +10 Damage Immunities death effects, negative energy, poison Condition Immunities poisoned Damage Resistances bludgeoning from nonmagical weapons Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive perception 22 Languages Common, Draconic Challenge 14 (11,500 XP)
Legendary Resistance (3/day). Nightmare Eater. As a bonus action, a nightmare dragon can deal 2d6 psychic damage to a sleeping creature, gaining a number of temporary hit points equal to the damage dealt. This does not awaken sleeping creatures.
ACTIONS Multiattack. The nightmare dragon can use its Frightful Presence. It then makes four attacks: one with its bite, two with its claws, and one with its tail. Bite.Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, one target. Hit: 17 (2d10+6) slashing damage. Claw.Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, one target. Hit: 13 (2d6+6) slashing damage. Tail.Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, one target. Hit: 15 (2d8+6) bludgeoning damage. Frightful Presence. 120 ft., DC 20 Wisdom saving throw Nightmare Breath (Recharge 5-6). The nightmare dragon exhales shadow in a 50-foot cone. Each creature in that line must make a DC 18 Wisdom saving throw, falling asleep for 1d6 rounds on a failed save. When they awaken they are confused for a number of rounds equal to half as long as they were asleep.
LEGENDARY ACTIONS The nightmare dragon can take 3 legendary actions. Detect. The nightmare dragon makes a Wisdom (Perception) check. Ghost Bane. The nightmare dragon’s attacks count as magical for the purposes of overcoming damage resistances. Creatures immune to bludgeoning and slashing damage treat the nightmare dragon’s attacks as if they only had damage resistance instead. Tail Attack. The nightmare dragon makes a tail attack.
After surviving the galate, a shadow bomb trap, and the suicidal shadow haunt, the adventurers are drawn into the very center of the Sea of Nightmares where they find the massive brain of the dead god—the lair of the dream dragon’s evil double. The effects of the ephemeral waters end within 100 ft. of the dead god’s brain and the area is under the effects of the Subjective Directional Gravity planar trait, giving the PCs an opportunity to briefly rest and collect themselves.
Gray Matter The wrinkled and decaying gray folds of neural tissue surrounding the dead god’s brain are virtually impervious but still supple, creatures that press against it to sink inside of it. Any creature touching the gray matter surrounding the dead god’s brain makes a DC 15 Strength check or become pinned until they extricate themselves, a movement action that requires a Strength check (DC 15 + 1 per previous check). After being caught inside of the gray matter for 1 minute and every minute afterward, the creature takes 1 point of Wisdom damage and 1 point of Charisma damage. When either attribute is reduced to 0 the creature dies and becomes a piece of gray matter. Creatures not caught in the gray matter can attempt to help a pinned creature with a DC 12 Strength check, but failure by 5 or more causes them to slip and touch the gray matter (possibly becoming pinned themselves).
Inside the Dead God’s Brain The whole of the dead god’s brain is exposed to Alucinar, half of it having rotted away already. An evil copy of Sleepless Sonuvanje dwells within, resting and consumed with manipulating the dreams of creatures presumably in Aventyr. As soon as it detects the PCs (it has a -20 penalty to Perception checks until an adventurer enters the pinkish parts of the dead god’s brain) it attacks, ferociously defending the area and chasing down anyone that flees into the Sea of Nightmares.
Attacking the Nodes Instead of attacking the nightmare dragon [Tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday! —MM] directly, the party can target the purple nodes within the dead god’s brain. Even after the draconic monster is killed the nodes must be destroyed to completely destroy the perished deity’s psyche. While the nightmare dragon lives the four nodes have DR 10/adamantine, resistance of 10 to all types of energy (excluding force damage), and 40 hp, though after it is slain the nodes’ DR and resistances are reduced to 5. Any attacks against a node made with a dreamblade deal double damage and ignore the node’s DR.
Once the nightmare dragon and the nodes of the dead god’s brain are destroyed the entire structure discorporates into nothing, an effect that spreads to the Sea of Nightmares and many of the other recent dangers in Alucinar. Soon afterward Sleepless Sonuvanje—now well rested, alert, and not at all deserving of the title—seeks out the party and promises to take them to a place that will bring them home to Aventyr. The dragon believes the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. are enacting the final steps of their insidious plot and though he can’t be sure, he believes they are perfecting the creation of creatures called skurgxon, abominations made from the maddened designs of a demented biomancer working his craft in the wastelands of the Scorched Lands.
Resisting the gray matter is a DC 15 Strength save (or DC 15 + 1 per previous check).
The nodes have 30 hp and until the nightmare dragon is destroyed, resistance to all types of damage except for force and psychic damage.
The natives that the PCs met earlier in Alucinar reveal that the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. disruptions have caused the unsettling ofSleepless Sonuvanje, prompting the dream dragon to have terrible nightmares during inopportune slumbers, horrors that become all too real in the Plane of Dreams. Several ameslari have fallen prey to these apparitions and the locals inform the adventurers that in order to escape the dreaming island, they’ll have to overcome the draconic night terrors in the decaying mind of a dead god that’s inadvertently invaded Alucinar.
A great disturbance has been troubling the Plane of Dreams, an invasive presence that can overwhelm even the most powerful creatures on the Dreaming Island: the psyche of a dead god.
The sea of nightmares rests on the edge of Alucinar, created from the nascent thoughts and reflexive synapses of the deific corpse’s brain, prompting miasmas that push and pull on anything that wanders too close or falls into its path. Every 4 hours the sea of nightmares sends out a wave of objective directional gravity that draws creatures into its center (DC 25 Will save negates); roll 1d6 to determine which part of the Plane of Dreams it lashes out at.
Once within the sea of nightmares (which is filled by a pink-purple water-like liquid), creatures are assaulted by a host of terrifying and horrifying images upon entering the hazardous area and once every 10d4 minutes afterward. Some of these are only figmentary but not all, and many ameslari have met a grisly fate to a surprisingly corporeal danger inside the ethereal current of the dead god’s mind. These effects are always reflective of the creature targeting them—treat an effect caused by the sea of nightmares as having a caster level equal to the target’s hit dice and spellcasting attribute modifiers equal to those possessed by the targeted creature. When a resulting effect requires a caster level that exceeds the target’s hit dice, defer to the lowest level effect that does.
Suicidal Shadow HauntCR 10 XP 9,600 CE Persistent haunt (60-ft. to 100-ft.-radius of a Shadow Overlap) Caster Level 10th Notice Perception DC 22 (to notice subtle movements of the shadows) hp 45; Trigger proximity; Reset 1 minute
Effect When the suicidal shadow haunt is triggered, creatures inside of its radius make a DC 18 Fortitude save to resist its effects. Creatures that fail this save take 1 point of Constitution damage after 1d10 rounds but seem to be unaffected otherwise, though in truth the suicidal shadow haunt grants some limited malevolence and intelligence to their shadow. Only a true seeing spell recognizes that a suicidal shadow is present before it strikes. The next time a creature affected by the suicidal shadow haunt goes to sleep their silhouette animates itself in a fashion similar to shadow projection, though the shadow is focused entirely on killing its originator. The instant before a suicidal shadow attacks, its originator receives a DC 18 Will save to wake up and resist it but otherwise takes a coup de grace attack while they slumber (made with whatever weapons the shadow has at hand).
Destruction Removing the supernatural affliction of the suicidal shadow haunt requires a remove curse and remove disease cast within the same minute, causing an additional point of Constitution damage. To completely destroy the suicidal shadow haunt a total of 5 suicidal shadows must be simultaneously subjected to daylight effects until destroyed.
Type magic; Perception DC 34; Disable Device DC 34 Trigger proximity; Reset none Effect target’s equipment gains the broken condition for 1d4 + 1 hours (DC 27 Fortitude save negates); multiple targets (all targets within 60-ft.-radius of a shadow bomb trap)
The P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. have engineered an explosive contraption from the darkness of the Shadow Plane: shadow bomb traps. When the PCs encounter the shadow bomb trap it explodes in a burst of dark miasma that pervades everything within 60 ft., causing objects to suddenly take on a decayed condition—including the adventurers’ gear! Once a shadow bomb trap is triggered the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. like to follow up with an ambush either led by its agents or via an aggressive creature.