It shouldn’t be too hard to figure out the primary literary inspiration for this creature!
An apparition who seeks to bring people back to the path of Good.
NO. ENCOUNTERED: 1-4 (in one night)
HD: 8 (d8)
MOVE: 30′, 240′ (fly)
ATTACKS: 1 Slam (1d4), or 1 Weapon (by weapon type)
SPECIAL: Undead Immunities, Darkvision 60′, Atonement, Read Memory, Selective Invisibility, Ethereal Shift, True Sight, Spell-Like Abilities
INT: Average to Genius
ALIGNMENT: Any Good
TYPE: Undead (Unique)
Often, the hardships and vicissitudes of life cause people to lose faith in Goodness, and become greedy, cynical, and hardhearted. Those who once embraced Good, but have turned from it, are sometimes given a second chance to return to the way of benevolence. To such people Redemptive Spirits come, to show sinners who they once were, to demonstrate the damage done by selfishness, and to reveal what will happen if the malefactor does not turn from their path.
Redemptive Spirits are sometimes the souls of people who embraced Goodness only near, or after, death. Having escaped Hell and the Outer Darkness, but unable to enter Heaven, they try to earn the company of the Angels by redeeming the lost. Other Redemptive Spirits are the souls of Good people who voluntarily foreswear the peace of Paradise, in order to help the living enter Heaven.
Redemptive Spirits generally appear around times of great significance, either on holy festivals, or on the anniversaries of events personally important to the people the Spirits visit. Indeed, some Bards and Sages speculate that it is only upon such days that the Redemptive Spirits may interact with the material world. Often, Redemptive Spirits will announce themselves to be the Spirits, Ghosts, or Specters of the day on which they appear.
Although they are ultimately agents of Mercy, Redemptive Spirits are quite willing to use any means necessary to redeem souls to Good. Possessing great powers of illusion and divination, they do not hesitate to use them. Humans who encounter Redemptive Spirits will often be made to face extremely disturbing visions, and may even be subject to violence if the spirit thinks it necessary.
Redemptive Spirits can appear in any humanoid or partially humanoid form. They take such shapes as they believe will most affect their human charges. Often, these forms are dark and frightful, designed to strike fear into the heart of the one to be redeemed. Other times, the Spirit’s appearance will be completely benign. Always, the form taken by a Redemptive Spirit will be deeply symbolic. Example forms include:
The enemy knight that could never be defeated in combat.
A child, dressed in white and silver, and carrying a candle.
A leprous beggar, with a bowl full of blood.
A jolly king, whose robes conceal ghastly figures.
A man chained to a chest full of gold.
An old woman in rags, covered with frost, and appearing as if she has died from exposure.
A young woman, forced into prostitution to care for the sick baby she holds in her arms.
A faceless human figure, clad entirely in black.
A skeleton, with an hourglass representing that time is running out for the sinner.
Because they serve the powers of Good, Redemptive Spirits cannot be turned by Good-aligned Clerics. Evil Clerics, who seek to destroy all Hope, can actually Turn (but never Command) Redemptive Spirits. Such actions can easily cause an escalation of spiritual warfare, with Heaven perhaps sending an actual Guardian Angel, the powers of Evil responding in kind, and the whole ending in in true battle for the soul of the sinner.
Combat: Redemptive Spirits have no interest in anyone except the person they are redeeming. In fact, they can use their Selective Invisibility power to insure that they are not bothered by anyone but that person. They will readily use violence if they feel that it is the only way to reach their target’s heart. They may use their extensive powers of illusion to create symbolic monsters for a sinning warrior to fight, for example. On certain occasions, the Redemptive Spirit may even strike the sinner themselves, but always with a blunt weapon, and for subdual damage. Under no circumstances will the Redemptive Spirit allow the sinner to be actually killed, but they may want that person to believe that they will die at the Spirit’s hands. On those rare occasions when others can actually perceive the Redemptive Spirits, and try to interfere with their work, the Spirits will strike for real damage, and use their magical powers to deadly effect. Curiously for so powerful an entity, a materialized Redemptive Spirit can be damaged by normal weapons.
Atonement: The entire reason for the Redemptive Spirit’s existence is allow redeemable people the chance to atone for their misdeeds. Therefore, the Redemptive Spirit is capable of granting full Atonement, as the Clerical spell, once per night.
Read Memory: A Redemptive Spirit has full access to the knowledge and memories of its intended subject. This allows the Spirit to create flawless illusions that faithfully replicate entire scenes from the sinner’s life, or any place where the target has been. The Spirit also knows everything their chosen target is thinking and feeling. Note that a Redemptive Spirit only possesses this power with regard to the person to be redeemed.
Selective Invisibility: A Redemptive Spirit enjoys the benefits of constant Improved Invisibility, but they can choose to allow specific people or creatures to perceive them normally, while remaining invisible to all others. Furthermore, the Spirit can make its chosen subject Invisible in the same way, choosing whether or not certain other people will be able to perceive the sinner during the time he is with the Spirit.
Ethereal Shift: Redemptive Spirits can become Ethereal or Material, at will. When they do either, however, they can take no other actions that round. The Spirit can also bring the chosen target into and out of the Ethereal plane, but cannot so affect anyone else.
True Sight: Redemptive Spirits enjoy constant True Seeing, as the spell.
Spell-Like Abilities: A Redemptive Spirit can us any of the following abilities as often as they like, but no more than one per round: Clairaudience, Clairvoyance, Divination, Light, Persistent Image, Major Creation, Mirage Arcane, Phase Door. Three time a night they can use Greater Shadow Conjuration. Once per night they can use Time Stop. The Redemptive Spirit can also grant another the ability to Endure Elements, Phase Door, or to Fly at great speed (240′). Once per night they can grant a Limited Wish, but only if the the request is completely unselfish. All powers have an effective caster level of 12.
Special XP Award: Characters who actually Atone for their misdeeds and become Good after encountering a Redemptive Spirit receive the Spirit’s XP value as an experience point reward, just as if they had otherwise defeated it.
CK’s note: Players who have lost Good, or once Good, PCs could have their characters return as Redemptive Spirits for a special session aimed at restoring the Good Alignment, or Paladin status, of another player’s current character.
The once gallant Knight has fallen from grace, and lost his status as a Paladin. After yet another night of drunken carousing, he is awoken by the ghosts of his former adventuring companions. The Knight is reminded of all the people he once helped, and then shown the horrors that await everyone unless he reclaims his holy mission and destroys the evil force now awakening in a forgotten vault.