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The poltergeist is a terrifying undead spirit that sends people screaming from the sites they haunt. They are the cause of thrown objects, broken furniture, and incessant wailing and moaning, driving the living from the places they haunt. Creatures who can see the invisible report that poltergeists are clad in chains and rags, with faces twisted at the horrors they have seen.


The poltergeist is said to be born of a heinous criminal whose moral wickedness went unpunished in life. In death, they bear the chains of their sins, and wander the location of their demise at night.


Most poltergeists dwell at the site of their death, haunting family homes and places of business, never wandering more than 100 ft. from the site. Their purpose seems to be to disrupt the lives of those who live in the location. Their alignment is Lawful Evil, and their suffering has often traumatized them to the point of having Low Intelligence (5-7). Their morale is simply average (10).

A poltergeist accomplishes its goal of driving off the living by throwing things. Any object a reasonably strong person could throw a poltergeist can also throw. Any "hit" scored (THAC0 15) deals no damage (dangerous objects that hit are treated as "near misses"), but induces a supernatural fear that causes the victim to drop what they are holding (50% chance) and flee in terror in a random direction away from the poltergeist for 2d12 rounds. A creature is allowed a save vs. spell to avoid the terror, and if they succeed, they are immune to further fear attempts by the poltergeist.

Phantom Shift[]

A poltergeist that is particularly strong can manifest a terrifying illusion that reveal the time in which the poltergeist was still alive. These visions often reveal the cause of the poltergeist's undead state. Characters along during a phantom shift can interact with the illusion, but any attempt to destroy or damage it -- or any attempt by the illusion to destroy or damage a character -- shatters it and returns the scene to the present time, without any harm being done. A phantom shift may repeat at a specific time, or it may loop endlessly, but they seem to be connected to the time of the poltergeist's death.

Driving Away a Poltergeist[]

A poltergeist can be turned as if it were a ghoul. Sprinkled water or a strongly presented holy symbol do drive back a poltergeist, but don't do it any harm. A poltergeist can be struck by weapons, but only if the weapon is silver or magical (they have an AC of 10 and 4 hp). A poltergeist that is reduced to 0 hp is destroyed, and disolves.

A poltergeist can also be laid to rest through other means, such as allowing it to rectify the crimes that keep it bound in chains.

Either way, overcoming a poltergeist is worth 65 XP (a level III chalenge).

Wandering Poltergeists[]

Some few poltergeists are not bound to a location, but rather condemned to wander forever, from place to place, never finding peace. Wandering spirits are weaker -- they have 3 HP, and they can be turned as skeletons. They aren't capable of performing phantom shifts.

Related Creatures[]

The poltergeist is a type of geist.


Monstrous Manual