Perilous Gateways

The Trail of Tears

By Eric L. Boyd

The swordwraith template and sample swordwraith first appeared in the Living Greyhawk Journal, Volume 1, Issue 3, and, with the exception of the "In The Realms" section, is the creation of Sean K Reynolds.

Swordwraith (Template)

Some mercenaries are so dedicated to a life of war that they rise from death to continue the battle, prowling the site of their deaths or the places of their burial and looking for foes to put to the sword.

Swordwraiths appear similar to how they did in life, although their equipment is more battered and their flesh appears insubstantial. In dim light or darkness, their eyes glow dimly. As most in a particular band come from the same mercenary company, they usually bear the same insignia.

Swordwraiths speak any languages they knew in life. Some have been willing to parley with those they consider their military equal.

Creating a Swordwraith

Swordwraith is a template that can be added to any humanoid or monstrous humanoid creature with levels in fighter (referred to hereafter as the "base creature"). The creature's type changes to "undead." It uses all of the base creature's statistics and special abilities except as noted here.

Hit Dice: Increase to d12.

Speed: As the base creature.

AC: Same as the base creature.

Special Attacks: A swordwraith retains all of the special attacks of the base creature and also gains the following attack:

Strength Damage (Su): A creature struck by a swordwraith's melee weapon takes 1 point of temporary Strength damage.

Special Qualities: A swordwraith retains of the special qualities of the base creature and also gains the following:

Damage Reduction (Su): A swordwraith's insubstantial-appearing body is tough, giving the creature damage reduction 10/+2. Despite their appearance, swordwraiths are not incorporeal.

Turn Resistance (Ex): A swordwraith has turn resistance +2.

Saves: Same as the base creature.

Abilities: Same as the base creature. As undead creatures, swordwraiths have no Constitution score.

Skills: Swordwraiths receive a +4 racial bonus to Hide and Move Silently checks.

Feats: Swordwraiths gain the Alertness and Iron Will feats.

Climate/Terrain: Company (2-8) or squadron (11-20 plus leader 1-4 levels higher)

Challenge Rating: Same as the base creature +2.

Treasure: Standard

Alignment: Usually lawful evil

Advancement: By character class

In the Realms

Companies of swordwraiths that continue to fight long-forgotten battles have long haunted the Fields of the Dead, and woe betides the unwary traveler who stumbles on to the field of battle. Some 200 of their number have been organized in recent years by members of Velsharoon's clergy into an order of knights known as the Order of One Thousand Nightmares. The ranks of these nightmare-riding undead knights continue to grow, but the aims of their necromancer masters remain unknown.

Sample: Male swordwraith Ftr5; CR 7; Medium-size undead; HD 5d12; hp 32; Init +5; Spd 20 ft.; AC 20 (touch 11, flat-footed 19); Atk +10 melee (1d8+6/19-20, +1 longsword); or +7 ranged (1d10+1/19-20, +1 heavy crossbow); SA Strength damage 1; SQ Damage reduction 10/+2, turn resistance +2, undead traits; AL LE; SV Fort +5, Ref +3, Will +5; Str 17, Dex 13, Con -, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8.

Skills and Feats: Climb +4, Hide +1, Jump +4, Listen +6, Move Silently +1, Ride (horse) +5, Spot +5; Alertness, Cleave, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Power Attack, Quick Draw , Weapon Focus (longsword), Weapon Specialization (longsword).

Strength Damage (Su): A creature struck by a swordwraith's melee weapon takes 1 point of temporary Strength damage.

Turn Resistance (Ex): The swordwraith is less easily affected by clerics or paladins. When resolving a turn, rebuke, command, or bolster attempt, the swordwraith receives a bonus of +7.

Undead Traits: Immune to poison, sleep, paralysis, stunning, disease, death, effects, necromantic effects, mind-influencing effects, and any effect requiring a Fortitude save unless it also works on objects; not subject to critical hits, subdual damage, ability damage, ability drain, or energy drain; cannot heal damage if there is no Intelligence score, (though fast healing and regeneration work normally); negative energy heals; not at risk of death from massive damage, but destroyed at 0 hit points or less; darkvision 60 ft.; cannot be raised; resurrection works only if creature is willing.

Magic Items Carried: +1 longsword, +1 heavy crossbow, +1 breastplate, +1 large metal shield, +1 cloak of resistance, potion of gaseous form

The Trail of Tears