Will-o'-wisps were malicious creatures that appeared as torches or lanterns seen floating through swamps.[4]

Description[edit | edit source]

The will-o'-wisp appeared to be nothing more than a hazy ball of light, colored white, blue, violet, green, or yellow, glowing as brightly as a flaming torch.[4][6] As such, it was easy to mistake one for a lantern, torch, or dancing lights.[6] Especially within the foggy marshes they tended to inhabit.[4] They tended to take on a blue, violet, or pale green hue whenever they were engaged in combat.[6]

In fact, their faintly glowing bodies were just transparent balls of spongy matter, measuring 1 foot (30 centimeters) wide and weighing around 3 pounds (1.4 kilograms). Although they had no vocal organs, will-o'-wisps could vibrate to emit a ghostly sound, with which they could speak.[4]

Abilities[edit | edit source]

These creatures could alter the brightness or dimness of their bodys' glow. This ability was used to confuse their prey.[6] A will-o'-wisp could even extinguish its glow, becoming for all intents and purposes invisible[4] to all except creatures who see invisible objects.[6] They typically did the latter whenever they were surprised or frightened.[4]

Will-o'-wisps had total spell resistance, making them immune to most spells, apart from magic missile, maze[4] and protection from evil.[6]

A will-o'-wisp could discharge electricity, inflicting small electric shocks on attackers.[4][6]

Personality[edit | edit source]

These creatures displayed exceptional levels of intelligence.[6] They reveled in luring travelers away from safe paths, bewildering them.[4]

Combat[edit | edit source]

A will-o'-wisp would avoid combat if at all possible, but would attack with electric shocks if pressed.[4]

Society[edit | edit source]

Will-o'-wisps were typically found singly, in pairs, or in "strings" of three or four orbs.[4][6]

Diet[edit | edit source]

These creatures subsisted upon the powerful emotions that are associated with fear, panic, and death.[4][6][note 1] They would often seek to lure creatures away from safe paths,[4] into perilous situations so they could feast upon their desperate emotions.[4][6]

Homelands[edit | edit source]

Will-o'-wisps were typically found in deserted, dangerous places where ones movement could get inhibited. Such as bogs, fens, swamps, as well as swampy dungeons and dungeons full of quicksand or pit-traps.[6]

On Toril they were known to be inhabit the Vast Swamp, where they were often sighted from the Way of the Manticore.[7][8][9] As well as its counterpart in the Plane of Shadow, the Shadow Swamp.[10]

They also harassed travelers in the Glaun Bog of Tasseldale.[11]

Relationships[edit | edit source]

Some will-o'-wisps served the dark Chultan demigod Eshowdow, and their appearance was seen by his followers as a sign of his favor.[12]

Notable Will-o'-Wisps[edit | edit source]

A squadron of will-o'-wisps once occupied Durlag's Tower in the Western Heartlands, but found themselves utilized as a part of the tower's own defenses.[13]

Adventurers battling Shadowscale lizardfolk and will-o'-wisps in the Vast Swamp.

In early Eleint of the Year of Lightning Storms, 1374 DR, a will-o'-wisp cooperated with the Sharran cultists at the Lost Refuge in the Vast Swamp. It posed as a torch outside the gatehouse and haunted the surrounding swampland, while helping to defend the base from intruders. It was presumably destroyed by adventurers in service to Mystra when they assault the base.[14]

Appendix[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. These creatures were originally described in Monster Manual 1st edition as feeding upon "fleeing life force".

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Adventures
Curse of the Azure BondsDungeon #71: "Dreadful Vestiges"Pool of Radiance: Attack on Myth DrannorCormyr: The Tearing of the WeaveDungeons & Dragons Essentials Kit
Video games
Eye of the Beholder II: The Legend of DarkmoonNeverwinter Nights: Tyrants of the Moonsea
Novels
The Paladins

Further Reading[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Chet Williamson (July 1998). Murder in Cormyr. (TSR, Inc.), chap. 18, p. 114. ISBN 0-7869-0486-0.
  2. Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Christopher Perkins (2014-09-30). Monster Manual 5th edition. Edited by Scott Fitzgerald Gray. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 301. ISBN 978-0786965614.
  3. Rob Heinsoo, Stephen Schubert (May 19, 2009). Monster Manual 2 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 209. ISBN 0786995101.
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet and Monte Cook (October 2000). Monster Manual 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 255–256. ISBN 0-7869-1552-1.
  5. Doug Stewart (June 1993). Monstrous Manual. (TSR, Inc), p. 361. ISBN 1-5607-6619-0.
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 6.12 Gary Gygax (December 1977). Monster Manual, 1st edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 101. ISBN 0-9356-9600-8.
  7. Ed Greenwood, Julia Martin, Jeff Grubb (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition (revised), A Grand Tour of the Realms. (TSR, Inc), p. 57. ISBN 1-5607-6617-4.
  8. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 112. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  9. Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (March 2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 39. ISBN 978-0-7869-4119-3.
  10. Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (March 2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 79. ISBN 978-0-7869-4119-3.
  11. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 141. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  12. Eric L. Boyd (1997). Powers and Pantheons. (TSR, Inc), p. 81. ISBN 0-7869-0657-X.
  13. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 227. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  14. Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (March 2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 51, 58–59. ISBN 978-0-7869-4119-3.
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