The gallows ghost is a foul and hateful spirit, which desires nothing more than to torture its victims as it was tortured in the moments before its death. Criminals who have the grave misfortune of surviving the initial drop in the hangman's noose often hang there for nearly a minute, before slowly suffocating to death. Bitter and angry, these souls often return as gallows ghosts, using ethereal magic to strangle and punish their executioners. Often, this simple vengeance isn't enough to placate the ghosts, and they linger near the gallows that killed them and lash out at victims nearby.
Before you, you see what appears to be a skull and spinal chord, suspended in the air. A cloud of thin mist swirls around the bones, revealing the hint of a gaunt, emaciated frame. The spectre seems to want something from you, and reaches an ethereal hand toward your unguarded chest.
Creating a Gallows Ghost
"Gallows Ghost" is an acquired/inherited template that can be added to any living humanoid that died from hanging. A gallows ghost uses the base creature's stats and abilities except as noted here.
CR: Same as base creature +2
AL: The creature's alignment changes to Evil, but retains its normal alignment on the lawful/chaotic axis (although most gallows ghosts are criminals and as such are chaotic)
Type: The creature's type changes to undead. Do not recalculate the creature's base attack bonus, saves, or skill points. It gains the incorporeal subtype.
Senses: The creature gains Darkvision 60'
Armor Class: A gallows ghost gains a deflection bonus equal to its Charisma modifier. It loses the base creature's natural armor bonus, as well as all armor and shield bonuses not from force effects or ghost touch items.
Hit Dice: Change all of the creature's racial Hit Dice to d8s. All Hit Dice derived from class levels remain unchanged. Gallows ghosts use their Charisma modifiers to determine bonus hit points (instead of Constitution).
Defensive Abilities: A gallows ghost retains all of the defensive abilities of the base creature except those that rely on a corporeal form to function. Gallows ghosts gain the incorporeal ability, all of the immunities granted by its undead traits, spell resistance equal to (8+CR), and the rejuvenation ability below.
Speed: Gallows ghosts lose their previous speed and instead gain a fly speed of 30' (perfect).
Attacks: The gallows ghost loses all of the base creature's attacks but may use ghost touch weapons if it could wield weapons in life.
Special Attacks: A gallows ghost retains all the special attacks of the base creature, but any relying on physical contact or breath do not function. In addition, the gallows ghost gains the following special attacks and abilities. Unless otherwise noted, the save DC for these abilities is (10 + 1/2 gallows ghost's HD + gallows ghost's charisma modifier).
Hangman's Noose (Su)
As a standard action, the gallows ghost can manifest a spectral rope above the head of a single victim within 30 feet with a successful ranged touch attack. The gallows ghost may have a number of simultaneous nooses equal to his charisma modifier (minimum 1).
This ability functions as the limp lash spell (caster level 10 or gallows ghost's Hit Dice, whichever is larger), except that the victim is also denied the ability to speak while hanging.
While a victim is hanging in this way, the gallows ghost may make touch attacks against them as though he is were in an adjacent square. The victim can spend a full-round action to make an escape artist check (DC 10 + 1/2 gallows ghost's HD + gallows ghost's charisma modifier) to escape the noose, but the spectral rope is otherwise invulnerable until the gallows ghost is defeated.
Last Breath (Su)
The gallows ghost reaches into the victim's lungs, stealing the air it craved in the moments before its death. The gallows ghost must spend a standard action and succeed on a melee touch attack to hit. This attack deals 3d6 nonlethal damage and staggers the victim for 1d4 rounds. A successful fortitude save halves this damage and reduces the stagger duration to 1 full round. If the victim is already staggered as a result of this ability, and they fail their save against it, they are reduced to -1 hp and begin dying.
In most cases, it's difficult to destroy a gallows ghost through simple combat: the “destroyed” spirit restores itself in 1d4 days. Although a few other methods are known, a gallows ghost can be permanently destroyed if the rope or gallows it was killed on are destroyed.
Suffocating Shroud (Su)
Once per day, the gallows ghost can steal the air from the nearby vicinity, damaging and fatiguing creatures nearby. This functions as the spell call the void and lasts for a number of rounds equal to the gallows ghost's charisma modifier (minimum 1 round). Activating this aura is a swift action, and opponents make saves as per the spell.
Special Qualities: Mute (a gallows ghost cannot make any sound other that a raspy, choking wheeze); Fear aura (30 ft., DC 10 + 1/2 gallows ghost HD + gallows ghost charisma modifier); Lynchable (treat any rope used to loop, snare, encircle, or hang the gallows ghost as if it had the ghost touch property)
Ability Scores: Cha +4; as an incorporeal undead creature, a gallows ghost has no Strength or Constitution score.
Skills: Escape artist, Fly, Intimidate, Perception, and Stealth are always class skills for a gallows ghost. A gallows ghost gains a +4 racial bonus on intimidate and stealth checks. Otherwise, the skills are the same as the base creature.
Feats: Same as the base creature.
Sample CreatureSpoilerCR 2 Human Thug (Rog 1/War 3)
Galindor, The Gallows Ghost
Galindor appears as a reddish brown skull, floating in the air with a broken spinal chord hanging from the neck. In the right light, you can almost see a translucent frame around him as he croaks and gasps for air.
Galindor CR 5
CE Medium Undead (incorporeal)
Init +2; Senses Darkvision 60'; Perception +1
AC 14, Touch 14, flatfooted 12; ( +2 dex, +2 deflection)
hp 29 (4 HD; 1d8+3d10+8)
Fort +5, Ref +5, Will +2
Defensive Abilities incorporeal, rejuvenation; Immune undead traits; SR 13
Speed Fly 30 ft. (perfect)
Melee +1 ghost-touch dagger +6 (1d4+3 / 19-20, x2)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks Sneak attack +1d6, Last Breath (touch, DC 14), Hangman's Noose (30', ranged touch)
Str --, Dex 15, Con --, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 14
Base Atk +3; CMB +5; CMD 17
Feats Catch off guard, Skill focus (intimidate), Weapon focus (dagger)
Skills Bluff +9, Fly +2 (perfect), Intimidate +7, Knowledge (local) +7, Sense motive +7, Stealth +9
SQ Trapfinding +1, Mute, Lynchable
Hangman's Noose (Su) 30' ranged touch attack. As the spell Limp Lash, but the noose is invulnerable and the victim cannot speak. While a victim is trapped by the lash, Galindor can make attacks against them as if they were in an adjacent square. The victim can spend a full round action to attempt a DC 14 escape artist check to break free. If Galindor is defeated, the noose vanishes. Galindor may have up to 2 nooses at one time.
Fear aura (Su) 30', DC 14
Suffocating shroud (Su) DC 14, 2 rounds, as the spell Call the Void. Swift action to activate.
Last Breath (Su) DC 14, touch attack, deals 3d6 nonlethal damage and victim is staggered for 1d4 rounds. Successful save reduces stagger to 1 round and damage by half. If an opponent fails their save against this attack while staggered by another use of this ability, they drop to -1 hp and begin dying.
Rejuvenation (Su) If defeated, Galindor will return intact after 1d4 days. Galindor will not return if the ropes used to hang prisoners are taken from the gate and burned.
Lynchable Treat any rope used to snare, bind, or hang Galindor as if it had the ghost touch property.
Environment Galindor haunts the road out of Innsmouth, where he was hanged from the wall.
Organization Galindor haunts the road by himself, without any allies
Treasure +1 ghost touch dagger, nothing else
Galindor is cruel and clever. He likes to take advantage of his flight and stealth by hiding high in the trees and attacking people travelling below. He often targets people in the back of the group first, hoping to silence them before the rest are alerted to danger. He usually opts for long-range tactics with his noose and last breath abilities, but will use his suffocating shroud if surrounded or pressed.