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Dybbuks were a type of loumara (disembodied demonic spirits) that could possess and control dead bodies. They parasitically inhabited mortal corpses in order to partake in their vices and would murder others to steal their forms. 
Description[edit | edit source]
Translucent and undefined, a dybbuk's true form was rarely seen as it floated silently through the air. Even when unseen, their presence was followed by brief sensations, the reek of rotting lilies, a chilling breeze and sudden feelings of loss. Even when noticed, most could only make out a faint flicker of light trailed by tendrils of faded haze.
When properly seen, dybbuks appeared as see-through jellyfish with the nebulous features of a humanoid face drifting across their body's surface. They wriggled through the air with scores of smoky tendrils 5 feet (1.5 meters) long on their undersides that could intertwine to form a pair of arms if needed.
Personality[edit | edit source]
Dybbuks had a driving compulsion to indulge in material pleasures, but lacked the corporeality to do so in their normal forms. To achieve their wicked ends, they used the bodies of the first suitable, dead mortals they could find, judging the quality of a corpse by its physical condition, attractiveness, social ties to its society, and whether or not their death was known. It was disputed how many memories of the deceased they inherited, if any, but their natural deceptiveness and acting ability helped them to pass as their host regardless, normally keeping the victim's possessions and imitating their lifestyle.
Despite their expertise in impersonation, dybbuks struggled to keep their nature under control for long, quickly descending into uncharacteristic debauchery, delighting in sordid behavior. They also derived glee from horrifying witnesses by making their bodies act in unholy ways, such as puking blood, excreting vermin, or contorting limbs to scuttle across the floor.
Activities[edit | edit source]
Dybbuks spent most of their time looking for a "perfect" host body to animate—an ideal paragon of the race's society in both appearance and standing and who had died without major injury, preferably before their death was discovered. Other bodies were merely tools to insinuate the dybbuk closer to its pre-selected target before masterminding their death. If all went according to plan, they'd use their new form as they'd used any other, quickly defiling it in unrestrained decadence unless forced to move on.
Abilities[edit | edit source]
Dybbuks could possess most corpses, whether of humanoids or beasts, so long as it still had a head or was otherwise not ruined beyond recognition. A sufficiently intact body was immediately reinvigorated by the dybbuk's fiendish energies, removing all visible wounds, health conditions, and traces that the creature was once dead. If too heavily beaten, however, the dybbuk would be expelled from the former undead victim, causing the body to fall to the floor. However, bodies they'd been expelled from but which were still in usable condition could be repossessed seconds after the dybbuk left, restoring them once again to peak condition. An effective means to ward a corpse from a dybbuk was to create magic circles against chaos or evil or similar dispelling magic, which would not only drive the dybbuk off if they were already possessing the body but also daze them for a short time upon doing so.
Even without a host, dybbuks were incredibly dangerous creatures that sapped the very vitality from those they fought through their touch, causing flesh and bone alike to wither and crumble. Once per day, they could focus their necrotic power to create a truly chilling effect, potentially killing those that couldn't resist with their touch alone, even when inhabiting another form. They could inspire terror similar to fear and phantasmal killer spells, when not simply twisting their hosts to frighten onlookers, and could create mind-rending mists. Their incorporeality made them difficult to pin down, especially when combined with their power to create dimension doors or simple obscuring mists.
Dybbuks could also impart a kind of unnatural gift, filling a target with anger and causing their eyes to glimmer white. The profane link between the two allowed it to monitor the recipient's condition, similar to a status spell, and possess them upon death when on the same plane, no matter the distance between them. Willfully accepting a dybbuk's gift, while not necessarily evil, was a chaotic action that caused even the most lawful individuals to radiate an aura of chaos. Wicked strength filled the recipient, and their very strikes were empowered by the forces of chaos. The gift faded after a day's time and could be prematurely ended through a dispel chaos spell.
Combat[edit | edit source]
Dybbuks were elusive and predatory but avoided combat when in their true forms as they knew that it was only then that they could be truly killed. Only when trapped—which was difficult situation to do given their incorporeality—would they be forced to fight. Skilled in going unseen, they tried to escape through a combination of mist and teleportation or by terrifying their enemies into scattering. If able to focus on a single enemy they tried to kill them from afar, or failing that, quickly moving in to deliver a death blow.
Society[edit | edit source]
Although they could easily blend into the societies of others, relishing opportunities to possess those with jobs related to the dead, dybbuks were solitary and selfish beings that lacked their own cultures. Even when surrounded by acceptable corpses, they denied other members of their kind access to certain bodies as fervently as they sought them out. Within the Abyss, they could be found in the lecherous realms of Graz'zt and Malcanthet.
Ecology[edit | edit source]
Although dybbuks commonly ate and slept, they didn't need to do so to sustain their hosts since the bodies under their power didn't rot or worsen in condition except when misused by the dybbuk. They were drawn to large cemeteries, massive battle sites, and other places rife with cadavers to control, although doing so might cause competition between them. Unable to possess the already animated dead, they avoided regions with dense, undead populations.
Creation[edit | edit source]
Like all loumaras, they were born from the dying thoughts of the gods from the Dreaming Gulf. The Demonomicon of Iggwilv speculated that each breed of loumara evolved from the dreams of a specific member of the pantheon, with dybbuks thought to have been spawned by a goddess of love and art.
Appendix[edit | edit source]
Appearances[edit | edit source]
- Organized Play & Licensed Adventures
- Hellfire Requiem
References[edit | edit source]
- Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (May 29, 2018). Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. Edited by Kim Mohan, Michele Carter. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 132. ISBN 978-0786966240.
- Ed Stark, James Jacobs, Erik Mona (June 13, 2006). Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 36–37. ISBN 0-7869-3919-2.
- Ed Stark, James Jacobs, Erik Mona (June 13, 2006). Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 107. ISBN 0-7869-3919-2.
- James Jacobs (September 2007). “The Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Apocrypha”. In Erik Mona ed. Dragon #359 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), p. 43.
Connections[edit | edit source]
Caligrosto • Dybbuk • Guecubu • Manitou
Adaru • Alkilith • Armanite • Arrow demon • Babau • Balor • Bar-lgura • Bulezau • Cerebrilith • Chasme • Dretch • Gadacro • Glabrezu • Goristro • Hezrou • Jovoc • Kastighur • Klurichir • Lilitu • Mane • Marilith • Maurezhi • Mavawhan • Molydeus • Myrmyxicus • Nabassu • Nalfeshnee • Palrethee • Rutterkin • Solamith • Sorrowsworn • Spyder-fiend • Succubus • Uridezu • Vrock • Yochlol
Draudnu • Ekolid • Golothoma • Laghathti • Sibriex • Uzollru • Verakia • Wastrilith
Abyssal chicken • Abyssal scavenger • Abyssal wretch • Abyssal wurm • Bebilith • Bonegouge assassin • Deathdrinker • Demon spawn • Ferrolith • Ghour • Haures • Immolith • Jarrlak • Kazrith • Mahataa • Maw demon • Nashrou • Quarrak • Quasit • Rageborn • Retriever • Shadow demon • Shoosuva • Skulvyn • Tomb demon • Voracalith • Whisper demon