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Monday Monster: 4E Whispering Lady

Monday Monster: 4E Whispering Lady

“Come in the water,” the lady whispered. “I’m so lonely.” Stephan glanced around the campsite. He’d been on watch a few hours and had a few more hours to go, yet. Old Yoric and Bernard were sleeping, dead to the world.
Art by William Waterhouse
“Come in the water,” the lady whispered. “I’m so cold.” She was beautiful—pale as the moon, her white tunic clinging wetly to her ample curves. Even through the river mist Stephan could see her shivering as she swam.

“Come in the water, Stephan,” the lady whispered. “Come in the water.”
She knows my name, Stephan thought. How does she know my name?

“Come in the water,” the lady repeated. “I’m so lonely.” Stephan was young, and given to the impetuousness of youth. He walked into the river and went to her, stumbling through the rivers’ shallows until the water reached his chest, and then he swam. Her voice pulled him closer, her need a palpable thing between them.

And then she was beside him. When the lady caressed his face Stephan swore her cold hands stopped the world from spinning. She swam around him as if a thing of the river—and though he reached and reached for her to no avail, every time he came up empty-handed the lady’s touch had already found him.

Soon, too soon, Stephan’s tread began to falter—and as he struggled, the lady’s touch grew more and more insistent. Stephan lost himself in her, and it wasn’t until she wrapped herself around him that Stephan saw her pallor was more than just a trick of moonlight, that she gazed at him with eyes the color of spoiled milk.

And then Stephan struggled. He fought to get away from the lady, to ignore her whispers. But she was cold and she was lonely—and when she kissed him, the river took him and he knew no more.
[More…]

Whispering Lady Level 8 Elite Controller

Medium aquatic humanoid (undead) XP 700
Initiative
+7 Senses Perception +7; darkvision
Call of the Deep (Psychic) aura 3; deafened creatures are immune; any enemy in the aura at the start of its turn takes 5 psychic damage and is dazed until the start of its next turn. (If the whispering lady takes radiant damage, the aura is negated until the end of the whispering lady’s next turn.)
HP 201; Bloodied 100
AC 24; Fortitude 16, Reflex 20, Will 20
Immune disease, poison; Resist 10 necrotic; Vulnerable 5 radiant (see also call of the deep above)
Saving Throws +2
Speed 6 (swim), 6
Action Points 1
M Caress (standard; at-will) * Psychic
+12 vs. Will; 1d8 + 5 psychic damage, and the target is immobilized.
r Sweet Surrender (minor; at-will) * Psychic
Range 10; +12 vs. Will; target is pulled 3 squares.
c Lady’s Kiss (standard; recharge 5 6) * Necrotic
Target must be immobilized, stunned, or unconscious;
+12 vs. Will; 3d8 + 5 necrotic damage and target is drowning (save ends).
Longing (immediate reaction, when an adjacent enemy misses the whispering lady with a melee attack; attack)
The whispering lady makes a caress attack against the enemy.
Alignment Evil Languages Common
Skills Bluff +14, Insight +7, Stealth +12
Str 10 (+4) Dex 17 (+7) Wis 17 (+7)
Con 15 (+6) Int 13 (+5) Cha 20 (+9)

A whispering lady is a hungry ghost that lurks in rivers, lakes and seas. Always appearing as a beautiful woman between the ages of 15 and 20, a whispering lady always wears maiden’s white. Though whispering ladies have been known to approach the shore, they will not leave water any shallower than ankle deep.

Ecology
The restless ghost of a maiden who drowned herself for unrequited love, a whispering lady is an undead spirit distantly related to the more common wraith. Like a wraith, a whispering lady is bound to the location where it died in life; but unlike a wraith, a whispering lady is a corporeal spirit.

Its body prevented from decaying by the water that took its life, a whispering lady can sometimes be found haunting docks, bridges or any other interesting bit of geography from which devastated young women could easily jump in a fit of romantic self-destruction.

Whispering ladies smell of water and longing, with skin that is cold to the touch. They gather mist around them like the burial shroud they were never given. Though in mist and moonlight their pale skin can pass for that of the living, nothing of the sort can be said of a whispering lady’s eyes: they are pupil-less, their color reminiscent of a rotten fish’s belly.

Whispering ladies warp the world around them—their undying need draws creatures to them like iron to a lodestone, while their whispers assault the psyche of any creature unfortunate enough to actually draw near them. Fish are driven to frenzy when they swim too near a whispering lady; birds avoid flying over the area that marks the spirits’ gravesite; and the creatures of land that draw too near destroy themselves to give it warmth.

Habitat and Society
A whispering lady can be encountered singly or accompanied by the undead remains of her previous victims. Though certainly a dangerous foe when encountered alone, a whispering lady is most dangerous when found in the company of other hungry spirits—such as ghouls or wraiths.

Whispering Lady lore
A character knows the following information with a successful Religion check.
DC 15: Whispering ladies are cursed to haunt rivers, lakes and seas. These hungry spirits feed on the desire of the men they coax to join them in the water they cannot leave.
DC 20: A whispering lady compels her prey to join her in the water with both voice and gesture.
DC 25: Once the voice of a whispering lady compels her prey to come to her, her touch paralyzes her prey with desire. The whispering lady drags paralyzed prey beneath the waves with a single kiss.
DC 30: Though destruction of the lady’s corporeal body and consecration of her watery grave will exorcise this spirit permanently, regular offerings of virgin’s blood can keep the lady quiescent. Though such an offering invariably leaves the virgin in a state of blissful catatonia, a whispering lady who has received such an offering will remain quiet until her victim dies of privation—be it hunger, thirst or sleep.

Tactics
A whispering lady is no mindless undead – and she will not fight as one. A whispering lady is most dangerous when she uses sweet surrender to pull enemies closer to her. Once enemies are in melee range, the whispering lady will do everything she can to immobilize an opponent –relying upon the Call of the Deep to minimize opponents’ chances to harm her and give her time to set her enemies up for the lady’s kiss.

When paired with ghouls, the Whispering Lady becomes even more dangerous – an enemy who can be kissed is an enemy who can be bitten by her ghoul attendants or ambushed by wraiths.

Encounter Groups
Level 5 Encounter (XP 1,100)
• 1 whispering lady (level 8 elite controller)
• 1 ghoul (level 5 soldier)
• 1 battle wight (level 5 soldier)

Level 7 Encounter (XP 1,500)
• 1 whispering lady (level 8 elite controller)
• 1 ghoul (level 5 soldier)
• 1 pale reaver (level 5 lurker)
• 1 blazing skeleton (level 5 artillery)
• 2 wisp wraiths (level 1 minion)

Level 10 Encounter (XP 2,600)
• 1 whispering lady (level 8 elite controller)
• 2 horde ghouls (level 8 minions)
• 1 sea wraith (level 8 lurker)
• 1 battle wight (level 9 soldier)
• 1 plaguechanged ghoul (level 9 brute)
• 1 drowned ghost (level 11 artillery)

That’s two 4E monsters in a row, which is some sort of Kobold Quarterly record. We may do another one or two, given that Halls of the Mountain King is in the spotlight of Open Design right now. Let us know in comments!

4 thoughts on “Monday Monster: 4E Whispering Lady”

  1. “Though certainly a dangerous foe when encountered alone” – perhaps an article on tweaking 4E so that non-solo monsters work as single opponents? In other words, an alternative to the only official solution “more monsters”. Alone, a Whispering Lady is certainly dangerous – to a level 1 party. Not in the slightest to any level-appropriate player characters…

  2. Zapp:

    Though the “when encountered alone” part is largely meant to refer to any non-adventurers encountering the ghost (per the flavor text at the beginning), I think you’ll be very surprised to see how effective this monster is if run ruthlessly – by taking terrain into account. Not for a party of 5 8th level PCs, of course – but since she’s not a solo there’s no claim that she would be.

    For lower level parties, however, just put her in deep water and see what happens. Have her pull PCs into the water. Immobilize the PCs and watch them sink in the middle of a summer squall. Kiss the PCs and watch them drown.

    She targets Will defenses, which will make the defenders easy targets – and their armor should pull them under the waves just as easily. Given 4e’s relatively high whiff rate on attack rolls, the Lady will have numerous attempts to immobilize any melee characters who manage to swim towards her.

    But yeah, alone and on land the Lady is a scrub. Luckily, she’ll never be encountered upon land, and there are lots of thematic reasons why she might not be encountered alone, either.

  3. Like the monster a lot! I actually think elites work fine as solo monsters and this would be quite a deadly encounter given the risk of drowning

    How often can she use Longing? Is this an encounter power?

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