Dragon Magazine


Dragon #198

Frequency:Very rare
Activity Cycle:Any
Intelligence:High (13)
No. Appearing:1 or 2-12
Armor Class:0
Hit Dice:9+18 (63 hp)
No. of Attacks:3/2, by weapon type
Special Attacks:Spellcasting, magical items
Special Defenses:Immunity to some spells
Magic Resistance:Nil
Size:M (5-7’)
Morale:Fearless (20)
XP Value:18,000

Vartha means “guardian spirit” It is one of the few undead that are not necessarily malign. A vartha is a guardian spirit in many senses. It can be a spirit conjured or cursed to protect a specific area or treasure. It can also be a spirit that appears to aid a character in times of need. Lastly, it can be a spirit sent to hunt down wrongdoers. A vartha does not share the generally gruesome appearance of the undead. It looks like a newly dead corpse, after the body has been treated by a mortician.

Combat: A vartha has high attribute scores (S 18/75, D 16, C 16, I 13, W 17, Ch 15). It wears partial plate armor +2 (AC 2) and wields a morning star +2. The magical items and attribute scores have been calculated into the vartha’s statistics.

While it is undead, a vartha should otherwise be treated as a fighter-cleric with the following clerical spells, each of which can be cast at the rate of one spell per round, once each per day: bless, command, detect evil, light, remove fear; sanctuary; augury, detect charm, hold person, know alignment, silence 15’ radius; animate dead, dispel magic, locate object, remove curse; detect lie, tongues; commune.

A vartha can be of any alignment. One of evil alignment may have the reverse of appropriate spells (e.g., curse instead of bless).

A vartha is not affected by sleep, charm, hold, cold, electricity, poison, or death magic. A raise dead spell returns it to life as a 9th-level fighter/9th-level cleric. If the vartha serves anyone involuntarily, it need not make a save vs. spells against the raise dead spell, and the spell automatically works. The chance for a cleric to turn a vartha is the same as the chance to turn a spectre.

Habitat/Society: Vartha vary in motivation. A vartha guarding its own treasure may have voluntarily become undead through greed. A vartha forced to guard a treasure not its own may be under a curse or commanded by a more powerful being. A vartha sent by the DM to help a character may be that character’s guardian spirit, perhaps an ancestor. A vartha hunting down a wrongdoer may have been a marshall in life, continuing its mission after death. Vartha do share one personality trait: They are all highly motivated, even driven, whatever their purpose.

Last Modified: March 01, 2014, 12:54:33 GMT

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition

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