by Night: Part Ten
By Steven Schend
Dock Ward -- bottom of Waterdeep Harbor in and around Umberlees
fools and Calishites would dream of robbing Umberlee of her due. `Tis
said those whove sought to steal from her serve her forevermore,
always within reach of the riches they sought in life."
all the ghosts and restless spirits about Waterdeep, locals remain amazed
that so few cause direct harm to those who witness them. Of course, those
with sense take care to remind folks that spirits who would do harm to
others often leave few witnesses to tell tales of their threats.
harmful type of ghost -- one which is more tale than terror to the living
-- is not really a ghost at all. A cautionary tale of these Cache dwellers
is told by land-lubbers and actually corroborated by the merfolk Guard
of the Harbor. It is said that all those who drowned as a result of trying
to steal money donated for Umberlees Cache now remain its undead
guardians. These tales float around most often on the days of the Fleetswake
Festival in Ches, especially during the collection of Umberlees
Tithe for the year.
the earliest days of Waterdeeps port, anyone insane enough to steal
monies collected for Umberlee during the last two days of Fleestwake are
doomed to an early grave. Regardless of where they die or how, they allegedly
return to a watery grave, doomed to see the riches they sought to steal
yet find the wealth useless to them. Others simply suggest that Cache
dwellers are only those who drowned in or around Waterdeep Harbor. While
not all stories agree, they do hold that those who transgress against
Umberlee pay for it dearly.
describe these "ghosts" as watery phantoms, closer in form to
devil rays (or ixitxachitl) than to whatever race conceived them in life.
They are rarely seen, as the merfolks underwater lighthouse keeps
them within the rift and at bay. Little else is known of them, other than
the fact that very few crazy enough to cross the threshold and enter the
Cache caverns ever return. Mermaids speak of victims who escape long enough
to gasp out the tales repeated herein, then quickly expire.
Stories: Obviously, many stories tie to Umberlees Cache, an
unfathomably deep chasm at the bottom of Waterdeep Harbor. Into this rift
locals each year throw thousands of gold coins in hopes of appeasing the
Bitch Queen and keeping Waterdeeps ships safe on the seas. Only
a few tales, however, deal directly with the Cache dwellers, as though
few people know of them -- or few wish to think about this curse on the
greedy and departed.
edge of Umberlee's Cache stands a lighthouse with a magical light. This
structure guides the mermen patrols, acts as a tethering spot for giant
sea horse steeds, acts as an armory and storage facility for the mermen,
and serves as a post for guarding Umberlee's treasures. It also acts as
a subsurface beacon for the ships above. What few know is that the light
is actual sunlight, magically transmitted to the crystalline beacon via
a sister crystal within the Guardhouse near the griffon stables and training
area up on Mount Waterdeep. For every hour of sunlight that shines on
that crystal, the crystal below shines for three hours. The natural sunlight
blinds the Cache dwellers, making them averse to attacking the subaquatic
populations around the City of Splendors.
Notes: The Cache dwellers are a new type of undead creature. Here
are the adjusted statistics for one of the few "ghosts" within
Waterdeep that can be fought at all.
5d12 (32 hp)
+7 (+3 Dex, +4 Improved Initiative)
AC: 19 (+3 Dex,
5 ft. by 5 ft. / 5 ft.
Create spawn, engulf
Undead, turn resistance, sunlight powerlessness, unnatural aura
Saves: Ref +6,
14, Dex 16, Con , Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 17
+15, Intimidate +11, Spot +9
Solitary or team (2-4)
(They guard untold millions of coins sealed in magically protected chests
and coffers. However, a character who grabs any of that treasure becomes
cursed and is pursued by those faithful to Umberlee until his or
dweller is an incorporeal creature that looks nothing like it did during
its lifetime. It appears as a transparent form akin to a waterlogged cloak
with a drawn hood, beneath which lies a barely discernible pair of shadows
(to hint at eyes) and a ragged maw. It is silent, though those in its
grip would swear they heard an infernal moaning that overwhelmed their
dwellers attack with their life-draining touch, though they take full
advantage of their dark environment and often attack from nonstandard
quarters, such as directly beneath or above a victim, since most targets
are not used to fighting in an aquatic environment. Some say they push
or pull their victims deeper into the Cache to make them sacrifices to
Spawn (Su): The body and belongings of any humanoid slain by a Cache
dweller dissolve into an equal amount of brackish water, which transforms
into a Cache dweller within 1d4 days. Casting protection from evil
on a body before the end of that time averts the transformation. The new
Cache dweller possesses no abilities or memories of life, nor is it under
any command other than to kill those who would approach or touch Umberlees
(Ex): A Cache dweller, in attacking, wraps around its foe (up to Medium
size) as a standard action. The dweller cannot make a slam attack during
a round in which it attempts to engulf. Opponents can make opportunity
attacks against the Cache dweller, but if they do so they are not entitled
to a saving throw. Those who do not attempt opportunity attacks must succeed
at a Reflex save (DC 13) or be engulfed. The Cache dweller gains a +6
attack bonus on successive attacks to an engulfed creature. Engulfed creatures
also are considered grappled and trapped within the dwellers body.
Attacks on Cache dwellers with an engulfed victim split damage evenly
between the dweller and its victim.
Powerlessness (Ex): Cache dwellers are utterly powerless in natural
sunlight (not merely a daylight spell) and flee from it. A Cache
dweller caught in sunlight cannot attack and can take only partial actions.
Resistance (Ex): A Cache dweller has +2 turn resistance (see Monster
Manual, page 10).
: Immune to mind-influencing magic, poison, sleep, paralysis, stun,
and disease. Not subject to critical hits, subdual damage, energy drain,
ability damage, or death by massive damage
Aura (Su): Wild and domesticated animals can sense the unnatural presence
of a Cache dweller at a distance of 30 feet. They do not willingly approach
nearer than that and panic if forced to do so; they remain panicked as
long as they are within that range.
Cache dwellers are incredibly hard to see even in well-lit areas. They
receive a+10 racial bonus to Hide checks to be noticed one at all due
to their near-transparency in their dark underwater lair. If unnoticed,
Cache dwellers engulf victims on their first attacks.
in 2001, Realms by Night leaves the City of Splendors
for a look at the ghosts of Silverymoon.
in Wisconsin in 1967, Steven Schend fell into the world of fantasy quite
quickly, growing up on L. Frank Baums Oz books and Edgar Rice Burroughs
Tarzan and Barsoom novels. From 1990 to 2000, Steven has been with TSR/Wizards
of the Coast. He began his career as an editor and worked on a multitude
of projects including the D&D Cyclopedia. By 1994 he
had found his home as a designer in the Forgotten Realms. and hes
enjoyed swapping tall tales with Elminster and company ever since, as
well as his recent entry into the science fiction worlds of the Alternity
game system and the wild game world of Marvel Comics. Steven has written
more than 50 game products and magazine articles, as well as one published
short story, though he now makes vague attempts at playwriting and screenplays