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New Monsters

Sword Wraith

Creating a Sword Wraith

Sword Wraith is a template that can be added to any humanoid creature (referred to hereafter as the "character"), provided that the character is a now dead, and did at some time in the past, possess and use one of the Swords of Wayland. Sword Wraiths are created through complex dark rituals. It is important to know which of the swords that a particular wraith wielded during its life as that sword has a bearing on a wraiths special powers.

Hit Dice: Increase to d12. 7 HD, or as the character, whichever is greater.
Speed: Same as the character
+4 or the character's natural armor, whichever is better
Damage: Same as the Sword of Wayland that created it.
Special Attacks: A Sword Wraith retains all of the special attacks of the character, as well as those listed below.
Special Qualities: A Sword Wraith retains all of the special qualities of the character, as well as those listed below, and also gains the undead type.
    Magical Sustenance: A Sword Wraith draws magical energy in from spell effects and magical items that are near it. The creature is able to derive several benefits based on the number and type of magical effects that it draws upon. [See table below.]
Saves: Add an additional +3 Fortitude, +2 Reflex, and +4 Will to the characters original scores.
Abilities: Same as the character except for Constitution. As an undead, Sword Wraiths have no Constitution.
Skills: Same as the character.
Feats: Same as the character.
Solitary or (1-7 if all seven have been created)
Challenge Rating: Same as the character +2 (minimum of 4)
Treasure: None
Alignment: Any evil
By character class, or by the favored class of the sword that created it.

Sword Wraiths are horrible undead monsters created through the corruption of the Swords of Wayland. They are the animated forms of the bodies former sword-holders fused with the corrupted intelligence of the individual sword. The result is an intelligence which is part sword-holder, part corrupted sword, and part overwhelming evil. Because the bodies of the former sword-holders are frequently decayed to various degrees, a Sword Wraith can take almost any form depending on the level of decomposition of the body when it was turned into a Sword Wraith, so one could easily be mistaken for some form of skeleton, zombie, ghoul, mummy, or other well known undead. If the body was only recently killed (perhaps even for the specific purpose of turning it into a Sword Wraith!), it can even resemble a vampire, or indeed be completely indistinguishable from a living creature of its species unless some magical means is employed to determine its undead nature. No matter how the Sword Wraith looks, though, it is always carrying a weapon of the type that spawned it, and it has all the abilities of that particular sword. The curse of the Sword Wraith is such that it feeds not just on the lifeforce of the living, but it also draws its power from magic around it. It gains its existence from a Sword of Wayland, but it can become far more powerful from the ambience of magic around, particularly magical items and, to a lesser degree, magical spells. Many an adventurer has lost his life to this fact in that he was carrying more magical items around than was good for him…

In truth, Sword Wraith are still closer to wraiths than other undead - the creature is primarily a manifestation of the sword’s corrupted intelligence, which still survives even if the body is destroyed, though this can be extremely difficult to notice. The sword carried by the creature is a pure manifestation of the Sword of Wayland which was corrupted to create it - the sword has no true substance, and does not exist in a physical sense. If a Sword Wraith is killed in combat, it merely means that its host body is destroyed, but the actual manifestation of its curse persists in an ethereal state much like a ghost, which means that in time it can heal itself and then, perhaps, reanimate its dead host body or even find a new one. While in this ethereal state it is harmless to creatures of the Prime Material plane, though.


As the name implies, Sword Wraiths are powerful sword masters. They base their power on the skills of the body they inhabit, but they always have at least the Hit Dice, Attack bonuses, Number of Attacks, Intelligence, and Armor Class indicated above. If that of the host body was better at the time of the host’s death, however, that amount is used instead. If the host’s body was able to cast spells or was a master swordsman, then the Sword Wraith will possess those skills also.

Sword Wraiths use swords as weapons so they don’t have special touch attacks such as paralysis (like ghouls), Strength drain (like shadows), or energy drain (like wraiths). In addition, Sword Wraiths get bonuses depending on the amount of magic within 30 feet. The DM should total up the amount of magic used by the party prior to meeting a Sword Wraith. For all active magical items, a +1 is added to the table below for every 4,000 gp (or xp value times five) worth of total magical items. These including constantly active items such as magical armors or Rings of Protection, etc., but not items which are totally inactive when not actually used, such as a Wand of Magic Missiles (in case of confusion, a magical item falls into the former category, e.g., a Staff of the Magi which has many charged functions, but still has some powers which are always active). For spells, only spells that are active over a period of time are counted (not Magic Missiles, Fireballs, or Cure Light Wounds, which are all instantaneous). For each spell of  3rd, 4th, or 5th-level (e.g., Stoneskin, Fire Shield, Minor Globe of Invulnerability), add a +1 to the table below, add +2 for each spell of 6th or 7th level, and +3 for any 8th or 9th level spells. For each +1, the Sword Wraith gains another of the bonuses below. If the list reaches the end, it starts over. All bonuses on the list are cumulative (except the ‘Hit only by…’ bonus).

Magical Sustenance

+1 bonus to AC

+2 bonus to AC

+1 bonus to all saves

Protection from Good effect on Sword Wraith

+ 10% Magic Resistance

+2 bonus to AC

+2 bonus to attack rolls

+3 bonus to damage rolls

+3 bonus to damage rolls

Prayer effect on Sword Wraith

+10% Magic Resistance

+3 bonus to AC

+2 bonus to all saves

+2 bonus to attack rolls

+2 bonus to damage rolls

+10% Magic Resistance

Sword Wraith may heal 1d8 x 10 percent of sustained damage once per day.

Sword Wraiths may be hit only by silver or magical weapons. A vial of holy water causes 2d4 points of damage to a Sword Wraith, and it can be turned by priests as a ghost.

Sword Wraiths are not harmed by sunlight as such, but they hate the brightness of the day and prefer to stalk the nights. They lose most of their special powers when facing the sun, so they shun it. They seem impervious to spells such as Continual Light, however. Like most undead, Sword Wraiths are immune to Sleep, Charm, Hold, Death, or cold-based spells.

These undead have one special weakness, however. If the Sword of Wayland that was used to create a specific Sword of Wayland is used against it, it is very dangerous to it. A Sword of Wayland used to create a Sword Wraith becomes dormant and is merely a Sword +1 of its type until the Sword Wraith with which it has been cursed is destroyed, yet against that Sword Wraith the sword is still +5 to attack and damage. Every time the Sword Wraith is hit by that sword it must roll a Fortitude saving throw against DC 15 or take an additional 1d8 points of damage and then roll a Will save, also against DC 15. If the latter save is also missed, the Sword Wraith is utterly destroyed, and the Sword of Wayland is freed from the curse bestowed upon it by the Sword Wraith’s existence.

It is not known what the actual goals or preferences of Sword Wraiths are, but given that they were created by corrupting magic, they are probably servants of some dark entity, perhaps seeking out powerful magic on Mystara, such as other Swords of Wayland.


Sword Wraiths are created by dark rituals and evil magic. Some say that spells such as Reincarnate or Trap the Soul may be used during the creation of such a creature, but little is actually known of this. Some say that the creation of a Sword Wraith requires a living, beating heart, so blood sacrifices are required to complete this horrible curse. If the body of a dead sword-holder was missing a limb, that limb must be replaced by a new one during the process, so it’s possible to meet Sword-Wraiths which are nothing but skeletons except for an arm which has only just started to decompose!

Needless to say, the creation of Sword Wraiths are tied in no small part to Immortals of Entropy and their servants, or perhaps even more ominous powers, so few indeed will known of these undead sword masters. It is probably safe to assume that no more than one can exist for each sword at any given time, though. On the other hand, there is some speculation that it is actually required only to have the body of a former sword-holder, not the actual sword, to create a Sword Wraith, though having both certainly makes the rituals easier…


Sword Wraiths have no natural place on Mystara and exist solely to perform their own dark purposes. They are an abomination of nature and a hideous corruption of life.

Initial Sword Wraith of ‘Lohnibbog’

Victor Mauricio, human Ftr5: CR 5; Medium Humanoid (5 ft. 10 in. tall); HD 5d10+5; hp 39; Init +4; Spd 30 ft.; AC 10; Atks +8 melee, +5 ranged (1d6+3/crit 18-20/x2); SA ; AL NG; SV Fort +5, Ref +1, Will +1; Str 17, Dex 11, Con 13, Int 9, Wis 11, Cha 6.
Skills: Climb +11, Jump +11.
Feats: Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Sunder, Improved Unarmed Strike, Cleave, Great Cleave.

Victor Mauricio,Sword Wraith Ftr5: CR 7; Medium Humanoid (5 ft. 10 in. tall); HD 7d12; hp 42; Init +4; Spd 30 ft.; AC 14 (+4 natural); Atks +13 (+5 sword) melee, +5 ranged (1d6+5/crit 19-20/x2); SA sneak attack (+1d6); AL CE; SV Fort +6(+3 template, -2 curse), Ref +3(+2 template), Will +5(+4 template); Str 17, Dex 11, Con --, Int 9, Wis 11, Cha 6.
Skills: Climb +13 (+2 sword), Jump +11, Move Silently +6, Hide +6, Listen +6.
Feats: Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Sunder, Improved Unarmed Strike, Cleave, Great Cleave.
Possessions: None

This is the first Sword Wraith created by the cult and the first the PCs will meet. It is the animated body of Victor Mauricio, a 5th-level fighter from Darokin who found the sword during an adventure and used it until he was killed during his adventures. The cult was then able to excavate his body and animate it. Victor wasn’t very experienced, so the Sword Wraith will have only the basic stats plus those of the sword Lohnibbog.

The Sword Wraith also gains bonuses for magical items carried and spells used by the PCs as described above.


Copyright © 2001, John Calvin, Max Monas, and Jens Schnabel. Used by permission. All rights reserved.