Looking for creatures to be nightmares...


Liberty's Edge

I'm running a big encounter in Dream, where a city is being sieged by nightmares - CR 5-10, in general. I'm looking for crazy, scary creatures - bonus points for fear effects.

The Bogeyman, duh. Lol. Seriously though, the Bogeyman.

Personally, I like the Bogeyman with both the Implacable Stalker and Nightmare Lord templates applied... and jacked up to 25HD. But that is probably beyond the scope of this exercise.

Oh yeah, and a Dreamthief Hag. I love Hags...

Liberty's Edge

I love your idea on the bogeyman, and I'd do something with it, if I didn't already have a bogeyman as one of the big bads of the campaign already. ;)

Keep in mind, they don't need 'dream powers'...they literally are the nightmares. I'm looking for things anybody might have had terrifying dreams about...the things that wake you up in a cold sweat...

Liberty's Edge

To give people ideas, I'm already going to use an assortment of aberrations, undead, and likely some freaky fey...

Chaos beast.
Harpies with mohrg tongues and a third arm like an athach.

Is CR15 too far out of bounds?

There's this Ghoul Dirge Bard, called the Masked Murderer, that is absolutely fabulous if taken from Dirge Bard 8 to Dirge Bard 10/Agent of the Grave 5. I usually try introduce her around level 12, if she is to have any real chance at posing a threat, herself. And I generally focus her four new feats more towards being a necromancer, rather than being the scariest Dirge Bard she could be.

She is rocking 5th-level spells, with DC's around 22 for said spells. Her Bardic Performance DC's are similar, but her Paralysis is around DC 25. Why she would ever be caught in melee is beyond me, and I have her hide behind her minions... run away to die another day.

Give a Shadow six levels of Oracle with the Bones Mystery, and the Bleeding Wounds Revelation... comes in around CR8. The aforementioned Bleeding Wounds Revelation adds bleed damage to negative energy effects, such as a Shadow's Strength Damage. That makes their melee touch attack deal 1D6 Strength Damage + 2 Bleed... with the Oracle levels bringing their BAB to +6, they might actually hit someone.

Again, though, I like to focus this Shadow with Oracle levels more towards being a necromancer. Between its own Create Spawn ability, the Animate/Command Undead spells, the Undead Sevitude Revelation, and the Undead Master feat... our Shadow can be quite the little necromancer.

[url=https://www.aonprd.com/MonsterDisplay.aspx?ItemName=Nightmare%20Ettercap]Nightmare Ettercap[/url, though this is more a long-term villain than a quick combat encounter. There's also the classic, a gibbering mouther. Really, there are a TON of aberrant creatures you could pick from that are truly the stuff of nightmares.

Thing is, you gotta SELL the nightmare. A gibbering mouther is gross and all, but a gibbering mouther, in the area of a child's playground with dozens of bows and ribbons in it's "hair" chattering over and over "daddy? where are you daddy? why can't I hold your hand anymore?" and so on is nightmare fuel to the right audience of players.

Hope all goes well with it.

Dont forget about music theme, for example "CTHULHU AWAKENS" by Apollon de Moura: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7xBEsLmklc

Does it have to be an actual PF monster? Because you could homebrew some terrifying stuff. I've got this character for a Green Lantern fanfic that's a literal nightmare come to life. It's a pile of arms and legs. No head, no torso, just human arms and legs in one big pile with a few bug and bird legs here and there. Couple of tentacles.

You can make something like that use unarmed strikes and a couple of natural attacks. Make it a grappler. That'd be pretty scary.

Liberty's Edge

Thanks for all of the suggestions. What I'm really looking for are pretty much throw-aways...like the terrifying aberrations, undead, and the like. I have one powerful "leader", but need chaff that's still scary. I can engineer it to be a few different encounters, but no full encounter should be past about CR 12 (that's a pretty fair encounter for the party.)

EldonG wrote:
Thanks for all of the suggestions. What I'm really looking for are pretty much throw-aways...like the terrifying aberrations, undead, and the like. I have one powerful "leader", but need chaff that's still scary. I can engineer it to be a few different encounters, but no full encounter should be past about CR 12 (that's a pretty fair encounter for the party.)

A CR9 Night Hag with a CR11 Dreamthief Hag happens to be exactly a CR12 encounter.

A CR12 coven encounter could be a Night Hag, and two Witchfires.

A CR13 coven encounter could include a Witchfire, a Night Hag, and a Dreamthief Hag.

Did I mention I like Hags? Lol.

An Utukka Qlippoth with the Cleric Creature simple template comes out to be about CR10. The Utukka has a special ability called False Prophet that allows it to pick two Domains from a small list... on this list are Nobility and Protection [and others].

If you choose the Nobility Domain as one its False Profit options, it gains Leadership as a bonus feat... Nobility's Leadership subdomain is a great choice, if you allow False Profit to gain access to the subdomains of its available Domains. The Leadership subdomain's Inspiring Command can affect more bad guys than Nobility's Inspiring Word.

Protection is a good choice for obvious reasons, and you can possibly choose the Defense subdomain. The Defense subdomain would give you two defensive auras that could again buff quite a few bad guys.

Regardless, you can take full advantage of False Prophet's available Domains before you even apply the Cleric Creature simple template. I just like adding the template to kind of play off of said False Prophet special ability. The template does not add access to any Domain abilities, but adds a few 1st thru 3rd-level Cleric spells on top of the SLA's the Utukka already has. And some Channel [negative] Energy... 4D6 (DC 18), 7/day... in this case.

Using this Utukka "Cleric" to buff bad guys' defenses, heal bad guys (both living and Undead), and also offer a threat of its own could make for a fun encounter. Plus you get to give it a Cohort/followers. Lol.

Neh-Thalggu - This crab-like nightmare has a lamprey mouth, twitching eyes on its legs, and several blisters along its back that hold human brains.

It's CR8, but for every brain that it's missing, a negative level is applied, so you can adjust the power level.

A cerebric cyst; a tiny flying brain with psychic and electrical attacks; a Chuul, a grappling crab man/monster; one of several CR 7 Demons, Daemons, or Devils; Halsoras, fleshwarped vegepygmies who weep acidic tears; a Brain Ooze b/c, why not?

I'm sticking mainly to oozes and aberrations, cuz I don't know what kind of nightmare you're running. I also only focused on CR 7 for now. If you want more Undead themed nightmares, that's a good way to go too.

Evil Outsiders are always a solid choice both for challenge and nightmare fuel. I don't know if something with DR 10/Good or Silver, Immune to Acid, Death effects and Poison alongside Resist Cold, Electricity, Fire 10, Resist Sonic 30, SR 18 and 85 HP that can make 3 decent nat attacks/round, has spells, grab/constrict/concussive grasp with a wingless, avian body, wicked claws, a 10' long tongue and so on (Suspiradaemon) would be too much for your PCs or not, but I like to really push the PCs out of their comfort zones once in a while.

Liberty's Edge

Thanks again. Some great ideas, here.

Mark: So do I, definitely. That's when they prove to be their most creative. :)

They're mythic, incidentally, and so is their final encounter: A demon-possessed gnome alchemist/champion... ;)

Insect Swarms


Giant Spider with the Swarm blood template, so that when you cut it it bleeds Spider Swarms

or really just about anything with the Swarmblooded template

You're familiar with the Worm That Walks template, yes?

A variant Skinstitch is about CR6, by itself... infested with a CR8 Hellwasp Swarm, it's still less than full CR9 encounter. You could bump the Skinstitch up to CR7 by applying both Enhanced and Resilient to it. That would bring the overall encounter closer to CR9-and-a-half-ish.

You could use a CR6 variant Skinstitch infested by a CR8 Hellwasp Swarm, and add a Deathweb spider for a full CR10 encounter. Two CR6 variant Skinstitches, two Hellwasp Swarms, and two Deathweb spiders would make a CR12 encounter... supposedly. It's more just creepy than it is overly challenging. But if you play it right, a variant Skinstitch infested with a Hellwasp Swarm should at least be entertaining.

Liberty's Edge

I am familiar with the Worm That Walks...used one as a big bad...and I love the swarm ideas!

Reskin and apply templates to existing critters. Sheep with venomous fangs, a swarm of flesh eating bunnies, wolves that can cause sonic damage with their howls.

Find out if the characters have any phobias and use twisted versions of those.
Doing the same with the players can be done, but needs a lot more care. Actually triggering your players would be a bad thing.

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