Monday, October 5, 2015

The Nightgaunt Flies Again

Halloween has sparked some inspiration in me. I was going to write up some alternate types of vampires, but then I was suddenly hit with the desire to write up the nightgaunt, a species of flying humanoid created by HP Lovecraft. They lived in the Dreamlands where they served the god Nodens and guarded the mountain known as Ngranek.

The nightgaunts appeared in the poem Night-Gaunts as well as in the novella The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, both by Lovecraft. Lovecraft apparently wrote once that when he was 6 or 7, he was tormented by a nightmare in which night-gaunts would snatch him up and carry him off.

Picture by Maichol Quinto.

Medium monstrosity, neutral evil
Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
Hit Points 78 (12d8+24)
Speed 30 ft., fly 50 ft.
Str                    Dex                  Con                  Int                    Wis                  Cha
19 (+4)             15 (+2)             15 (+2)             6 (-2)               14 (+2)             10 (+0)

Skills Perception +4, Stealth +6
Damage Resistances cold, psychic
Condition Immunities blinded, frightened, paralyzed
Senses blindsight 120 ft. (blind beyond this radius), passive Perception 14
Languages understands Deep Speak but can’t speak
Challenge 3

Camouflage. When in dim light or darkness, the nightgaunt has advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks.
Faceless. The nightgaunt doesn’t have a face, nor does it need to breathe. As a result, the nightgaunt is immune to gaze attacks as well as any attacks that require inhalation, such as Stench.
Magic Resistance. The nightgaunt has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
Tickle. When the nightgaunt has successfully grappled a creature, as a bonus action it can tickle the creature with its barbed tail. Every round, a tickled creature must make a DC 14 Constitution save or be stunned for 1 round. The nightgaunt may continue to attempt to tickle the creature for as long as it is grappled. The nightgaunt may move its full speed when grappling a stunned creature.


Clawed Hands. Melee weapon attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 1 piercing damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC 14). Until this grapple ends, the nightgaunt can’t use its clawed hands on another target.

The nightgaunt (or night-gaunt) is a strange and mysterious species of wholly unnatural origin. Thought by scholars to have been summoned from another plane long ago, their motivations are unknown. Nightgaunts are more or less humanoid in shape, very thin and with slick, black skin. They have a pair of clawed hands and a long barbed tail that they use to “tickle” victims into submission. Perhaps their most unsettling feature is their complete lack of a face, while a pair of inward-facing horns adorn their head. They fly using a pair of membranous wings, and are incredibly silent.
Oddly, they are extremely reluctant to fly over large bodies of water.

Night Time Predators
Nightgaunts only come out at night. They avoid exposure to the sun, though as far as can be determined, they aren’t harmed by its rays. When they spot prey, they silently swoop down upon it, grappling it and then using their barbed tails to “tickle” it into submission. This is by no means a pleasant experience; rather, it is a disorienting and humiliating experience that can leave prey helpless.
Once subdued, the nightgaunt carries its victim to someplace typically dangerous. If it needs to, it can drop the prey while in flight, but it prefers to set the victim down safely and leave it to the tender mercies of whatever creatures may be near-by. Some think that nightgaunts, having no mouths, feed on the psychic energy produced by their victim’s fear and anguish rather than the victim’s physical flesh. It has been observed that once it has set down a victim, a nightgaunt will frequently stay close so as to observe what happens next.

Silent Sentinels

Nightgaunts are frequently encountered guarding something. How one entices these creatures to stand guard is a secret known to only a few. If they aren’t guarding something on someone’s behalf, then they are guarding their own territory against invaders. They can be very territorial and will defend their domain aggressively, groups of the creatures flocking together to challenge invaders.

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