Lantern of Dread
Sarga the vampire lord smiled a sickly smile as he watched the lanterns lighting up all around him, their greenish glow illuminating the long dead barrow wights in their ancient armor. The undead king could also see the hateful glow of the warmth shed by a gathering army of elves, dwarves and men who were determined to bring the mighty vampire down. Sarga sighed as the chill wind of the night began to howl. Over the centuries this little drama had played out several times and still the vampire lord remained. Unchanging and keeping the world from changing too.
A man rode forward on a great war steed. Sarga nodded to a small contingent of wights mounted on skeletal horses that slowly rode out to greet the man, lanterns blazing from the spears that they bore.
Suddenly the man, caught in the light of several of the wight’s lanterns began thrashing in his saddle and fell to the ground, paralyzed without a hand being raised. A small group of men rushed forward and were either scattered or fell beside their leader.
Slowly Sarga rode forward on his nightmare steed, painfully slow to the living on the other side of the battle.
“Have you had enough this chilly evening?” the vampire asked.
The man, shaking himself from the strange paralysis nodded and dragged himself away from Sarga.
“I let you live so that you may see as you grow old and wither that I hold this world still in time, without the unnecessary complications of progress that blight so many other worlds,” Sarga said simply. “Go now, take your small army as so many others have and trouble me no more, just be thankful for this night.”
Wordlessly the man gathered himself and shambled back to his side of the fray that never really happened.
These ornate lanterns are often carried by undead who are immune to the frightening effects. It is not unknown for a necromancer to send several ghouls or skeletons into a conflict bearing these dreadful light sources, causing would be heroes to rush into the doom laden light.
Benefit: Those living creatures caught in the baleful light of a Lantern of Dread (35′ radius) must make a save versus spell-like devices or either become paralyzed (as a ghoul’s touch-elves are not immune to this sickly illumination) for 1d4 rounds or attempt to flee the immediate area for 1d4 rounds (50% chance of either). For one day those caught in the light of a Lantern of Dread are -1 on all combat rolls as a strange chill distracts them. The lantern burns for six hours before needing to be re-lit.
Usable by: Anyone, but usually wielded by the undead.