Living Phantoms

Tonight I wanted to share with you the idea of permanency. Now I think I have addressed Permanency once before as an optional rule but I wanted to address living phantoms. Now what I mean by living phantoms isn’t a singular enemy that you can roll for and best in combat. Oh no, living phantoms are different. These are what the mind does to try and cope with what it has seen.

I would imagine that adventurers would have more than a few stories to tell after what we have thrown at them. But what if they didn’t want to relive those stories. What if their minds fought against those memories and in the effort to protect themselves made it worse?

Living Phantoms


The pressure on his chest grew as slowly he began to flicker towards consciousness. As the adventurers eyes flickered open the immediate situation was revealed as they came face to face with a shadowy mass floating above their chest. A large skull with exaggerated canines and no eye sockets snarled down at the party member. Two impossibly thin arms crept forward to suddenly dart forward to grab and squeeze on either side of the adventures chest.

As the last of the air within the adventurers chest was forcibly pushed out the adventurer began to have panic set in. Crying out towards the other shapes in the room for help was met with deaf ears as slowly a dark shadowy mist crept from the creature. As the mist spread up the adventurers body the pressure on their limbs increased. With a satisfied snarl the creature released its grip from the adventurers chest as the mist took its place. Slowly the creature reached its spindly fingers up his torso as the mist began to apply pressure to the body.

As the skeletal fingers touched the face of the adventurer the jaw spread wide on the creature and with a sickening lurch it plunged towards the face of hero.


Sitting bolt upright and looking around the familiar room the adventurer was drenched in sweat. prying their own hands away from their throat they looked around the room. The creature they had seen but instead were greeted with nothing but silence. In fact the other party members who they had adventured with for quite some time now were still peacefully sleeping. There was indeed no trace of the nightmarish creature they had seen so vividly in their dreams.


Adding elements of horror and long lasting side effects to conflict are one of the tools in our belt. This shouldn’t be used for every encounter or situation but it can drive progression of plot and discovery.

Perhaps someone in their current town knows of what is going on. Maybe these Living Phantoms are not just in their mind but others have seen them before. Perhaps they have a common link or maybe not. What we can do though is weave something slightly different into the minds of the adventurers. Each person in the party will see something different at a different time or not see it at all.

I see these things very similarly to the Wizarding worlds Dementors in appearance but really – they are all figments of the mind trying to process something unpleasant. Something like a field that can make you see anything it wants with a thought. Throw in the fact that the party where you fought it in a lightless realm and saw their allies attack them and you have a good recipe here for some mental scarring.

This condition could be long term, short term or take any form you so choose but the feeling and effect should be the same. Powerlessness, imminent danger and the feeling of insecurity.

Thanks for visiting tonight. As with anything in this blog if there is something that you try out don’t forget to let me know. I am always keen at improving my craft and feedback is always appreciated. This weekend is a big one being the end of the month so don’t forget to come back for that and as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe