A watchghost, or an unsleeping guardian, was a rare and powerful undead being that was as intelligent as it was in life.[1]

Description[edit | edit source]

The upper parts of watchghosts, such as their arms, were made of white flesh, but their legs and torso were skeletal. Their eyes appeared to be deep dark holes that sunk into their face. As a whole, unsleeping guardians looked more elegant and sophisticated than other undead.[1]

Watchghosts were not mindless like typical undead, and retained their full intelligence after rising in undeath.[1]

Abilities[edit | edit source]

These unique undead could easily detect all magical items within 60 ft (18 m) by illuminating them in an icy-white light. As this could be cast at will, it allowed for watchghosts to easily spot intruders, and even lure more monsters into a fight. If they wished to speak with their foes, they spoke as they did in life, but their voice was often accompanied by whispers.[1]

Such creatures did not only have a singular form; they could become insubstantial whenever they chose. Their insubstantial form made them immune to any sort of standard physical attack (but magic weapons were more effective), though in this state they also did no damage. This form allowed them to pass through solid matter, such as rock and earth, as well as allowing them to fly. Thus, they could use this form to watch for potential attackers, and take them by surprise.[1]

Personality[edit | edit source]

Bound watchghosts would only follow the wishes of their masters. However, should their masters be killed, they would completely change. These watchghosts, known as "wild" or "free" watchghosts, would gain free will. Thus, they may have chosen to aid beings, or seek revenge on those that caused their initial death.[1]

Combat[edit | edit source]

These ferocious guardians were troublesome to combat. Because of the nature of their undead state, it was impossible to turn them. In addition, they were immune to spells that involved them becoming charmed, being put to sleep, and held. In addition, they were also fully immune to all poisons and cold-based damage, being petrified or polymorphed, and death magic. They were even able to resist other spells, and holy symbols and holy water had no effect at all. Powerful clerics that usually dominated undead creatures, such as by turning them or dousing them in holy water, would find themselves utterly useless.[1]

Watchghosts did not only have great defensive capabilities and a large set of immunities, but could also deal great damage. They usually attacked with cold-based abilities, such as chilling touch, but up to twelve times per day, watchghosts could send out chill rays. These freezing-cold light rays had a range of 90 ft (27 m) and could penetrate all basic spell barriers and magical protections. If the ray managed to get through, it would hurt the victim and drain them of their energy, causing them to be slowed for up to 24 minutes.[1]

Ecology[edit | edit source]

These undead had no need for consumption, and could not reproduce. Thus, they usually have very little impact on ecosystems.[1]

Creation[edit | edit source]

Unlike other undead created by standard necromancy spells, watchghosts could only be created by a specific spell[2], create watchghost.[1] Only master necromancers could cast such a powerful spell, and must have been willing to bind their lifeforce, spend plentiful gold, and even use parts of their own body, to summon watchghosts.[1]

Uses[edit | edit source]

Once created, watchghosts were fully under the command of their masters, which were usually liches or powerful vampires. As they were intelligent, they were often tasked to protect items of great value, or tombs. They were fully loyal to their masters, and were bound to them until their masters were slain. Watchghosts could be made to work together, if ordered to do so.[1]

History[edit | edit source]

In the mid 14th century DR, Hasklar's Arms & Armor, a notable weapons store in Yartar was protected by a watchghost. The watchghost wielded the store's weapons, causing customers to believe that they were animated.[3]

Rumors & Legends[edit | edit source]

The stories of watchghosts were told all throughout Faerûn. The dungeons of Castle Waterdeep were rumored to be haunted by several of these undead, and some even said that the watchghosts lurked in the secret passages of the palace. Other rumors mention that watchghosts were behind the murder of several Shadow Thieves.[1]

Elysree Csimaee, the Harper of Berdusk, was believed to have a watchghost of her own. It would watch over her at all times. The legend became so popular that a ballad was written about it, and was known as Elysree's Phantom Lover.[1]

The Moonlit Tower was said to house creatures such as steel shadows and watchghosts.[4]

Notable Watchghosts[edit | edit source]

Appendix[edit | edit source]

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Video Games

References[edit | edit source]

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