This monster is partly inspired by the upcoming Halloween holiday, as well as by my appreciation of aberrations and dragons...



Usually CE Medium Aberration (Air)

Init +13; Senses Darkvision 60ft, Listen +24, Spot +24

Languages Common, Draconic, and Auran

AC 28 (+9 Dex, +9 deflection), touch 28, flat-footed 19

HP 82 (15d8+15)

Immune magic (see below)

Fort +6 Ref +14 Will +13

Speed Fly 60ft (perfect, 12sq)

Melee Shock +20 melee (4d6 electricity)

Space 5ft; Reach 5ft

Base Attack +11; Grapple +6

Atk Options Flyby Attack

Special Actions Cause Paranoia, Dominate Dragon

Abilities Str 1 Dex 29 Con 12 Int 19 Wis 18 Cha 14

SQ Draconic Affinity

Feats Alertness, Blind-Fight, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Ability Focus (Cause Paranoia), Flyby Attack, Weapon FinesseB

Skills Bluff +20, Diplomacy +16, Disguise +1 (+3 acting in character), Intimidate +16, Knowledge (nature) +6, Listen +24, Search +22, Spot +24, Survival +16 (+18 following tracks)

Advancement 16-30HD (Medium) and by  character class

Immunity to Magic (Ex) A drac-o-lantern is immune to most spells or spell-like abil-

ities that allow spell resistance, except magic missile and maze.

Natural Invisibility (Ex) A startled or frightened drac-o-lantern can extinguish its glow, effectively becoming invisible as the spell.

Cause Paranoia (Su) A drac-o-lantern can instill a single subject with a growing worry that its possessions are about to be stolen, which lasts until the drac-o-lantern dispels it. Each day that the subject is affected by the paranoia (starting with the day it is first affected), the subject takes a cumulative -2 damage to its Wisdom. As the subject’s Wisdom decreases, it becomes increasingly suspicious of all other beings and acts more and more to guard its possessions. A DC19 (10+1/2 HD+Cha modifier) Will

save negates this effect, and the subject creature receives a new saving throw each

day to shake off the paranoia. Dragons which own more than 15,000 gp of possessions do not receive any saving throws against this effect.

Dominate Dragon (Su) This functions as the spell dominate monster, except it works only against dragons which have had their Wisdom reduced to zero by the drac-o-lantern’s Cause Paranoia ability. In addition, the drac-o-lantern can “project” any of its special abilities through the dominated dragon (for example, a drac-o-lantern with barbarian class levels can cause the dominated dragon to rage). The subject dragon

is dominated for 1 day per point of the drac-o-lantern’s Intelligence bonus (minimum 1), after which this effect ends and the dragon regains its wisdom but retains no memories of the period in which it was dominated. This effect is also dispelled if the drac-o-lantern dies.

Draconic Affinity (Ex) A drac-o-lantern meets prerequisites for feats, templates, and

prestige classes as if it had either the dragon or aberration type and as if it had a breath weapon with a recharge time of 1d4 rounds.


You are confounded at the sight of a bronze dragon rampaging through the village, tearing through houses and devouring anyone who gets in the way. Then, high above, you spot a ball of light weaving through the air, seemingly mad with glee.

This creature, known in Draconic as the shishin virlym (mind thief), is a five-foot ball of naturally bouyant spongy material that sheds light as a torch. It is a larger, more dangerous, relative of the will-o-wisp, or jack-o-lantern, with special abilities to manipulate dragon-kind, which have earned it the adventurers’ nickname “drac-o-lantern.”

Although drac-o-lanterns have no vocal apparatus per se, they can, like the will-o-wisp, speak by vibrating their entire spongy bodies.

Combat Stragegies and Tactics

Drac-o-lanterns prefer to avoid becoming embroiled in combat by themselves, and they are intelligent enough to fight most opponents on their own terms.

Caught unprepared and alone, a drac-o-lantern will make extensive use of its natural invisibility and flyby attack to deliver its devastating shock touches. More likely, the drac-o-lantern will have advance warning, in which case it will arrange to lure its opponents into some region of limited maneuverability, such as difficult terrain, a narrow canyon, etc.

Of course, a drac-o-lantern absolutely prefers to fight its battles through a dominated dragon (the older and stronger, the better). The drac-o-lantern will never let its opponents close to melee range if at all possible and will keep the dominated dragon between itself and its opponents.

Sample Encounters

Drac-o-lanterns may be found alone in the wild as a chance meeting, but they are most often encountered in or near a dragon’s lair working their mischief on the lair’s inhabitant.

Individual (EL 10-12): While drac-o-lanterns can advance by any number of character levels (or to 30HD), most commonly they have only a few levels.

EL12: The party returns from a foray and finds that their gold dragon employer Aurovarilyx is acting quite strangely. Upon further investigation, the PCs discover that a drac-o-lantern (barbarian 3) has taken up residence in a cavern deep in Aurovarilyx’s home. The party can gain a powerful ally in their confrontation if they can convince the gold dragon that the danger is truly from a drac-o-lantern.

Drac-o-lantern and Dragon (EL10 up): Encountering a drac-o-lantern while it is dominating a dragon could become a much higher level encounter than the drac-o-lantern alone, since drac-o-lanterns can dominate dragons of any age category.

EL12: A juvenile red dragon has been tearing up the countryside for days. Strangely, it is not eating any of the people or even cattle it has displaced, taking care to drive them in terror to the hills. On contact, adventurers will find that the dragon has been dominated by a drac-o-lantern, which is deriving great pleasure from the panic of the humans and animals.

Ecology and Society


A Knowledge (Dungeoneering) check reveals

DC Result

20 This large will-o-wisp relative is a drac-o-lantern. Reveals aberration traits.

25 These are sadistic creatures that attack with a powerful electric shock and natural invisibility.

30 Drac-o-lanterns have a strange affinity for dragons and can dominate them completely.

35 Because of this affinity, even evil dragons will cooperate to destroy drac-o-lanterns.

A Knowledge (Arcana) check reveals

DC Result

30 There are some aberrations with a strange attraction to dragons, known as drac-o-lanterns.

35 Because drac-o-lanterns can dominate dragons, all dragons despise drac-o-lanterns.

40 Specific tales of drac-o-lanterns and dragons in the campaign world.

Like its smaller cousin, the will-o-wisp, the drac-o-lantern subsists on gases released by decaying material (and, in some cases, even large living creatures). However, the drac-o-lantern has much less stringent “dietary” requirements than the will-o-wisp, meaning that drac-o-lanterns can live in a greater range of environments than will-o-wisps. Beyond their favorite habitat, the temperate marsh, drac-o-lanterns are comfortable in warm climates, forests, and even some fertile plains. Fortunately for adventurers and dragons alike, drac-o-lanterns are a rare breed.

Also like will-o-wisps, drac-o-lanterns derive great enjoyment — some even say sustenance — from the negative emotions they can induce in other creatures. The paranoia they can create is especially satisfying to them, incredibly so when they can drive a dragon into a frenzy of greed and fear. Many drac-o-lanterns prefer to assault good-aligned dragons, as even the noblest gold and silver dragons have an instinctive desire to hoard treasure. The drac-o-lantern loves to watch the proud dragon break down into irrational suspicion, eventually becoming a victim of the Dominate Dragon ability. Particularly tricky drac-o-lanterns will arrange for the dragon to learn of “its” misdeeds a bit at a time, pushing the dragon further toward insanity. The shame, anger, and denial a gold dragon might feel at discovering it devoured an entire village could be considered a delicious delicacy by a discerning drac-o-lantern. In any case, though drac-o-lanterns delight in the fear, anger, and suspicion of all creatures, they are particularly drawn to the powerful emotions of dragons.

The origin of the drac-o-lantern is obscure, as is that of the will-o-wisp. It is even unclear whether the drac-o-lantern is a greater form of the will-o-wisp or the will-o-wisp is a degenerate form of the drac-o-lantern. Indeed, they are very similar, and drac-o-lanterns reproduce by budding, just as will-o-wisps do.

Alignment: Drac-o-lanterns are always evil and usually chaotic.

Advancement: Drac-o-lanterns may advance by hit dice as listed in the stat block or else by character class. Advancing by character class allows the drac-o-lantern to project numerous special abilities through a dominated dragon as well as gaining them for itself.

Treasure: Drac-o-lanterns keep no treasure in their homes, which are usually just large hollows in trees or small caverns. However, approximately 1/2 standard treasure can be found nearby in the remains of adventurers that have tried to drive them out. Of course, a drac-o-lantern in a dragon’s lair may have a larger amount of treasure, just due to the greater number of adventurers who might happen by.

Sample Drac-o-lantern


CE Medium Aberration (Air)

Init +14; Senses Darkvision 60ft, Listen +26, Spot +26

Languages Common, Draconic, and Auran

AC 29 (+10 Dex, +9 deflection), touch 29, flat-footed 19

HP 120 (15d8+3d12+36) (rolled)

Immune magic (see below)

Fort +10 Ref +16 Will +13

Speed Fly 60ft (perfect, 12sq)

Melee Shock +24 melee (4d6 electricity)

Space 5ft; Reach 5ft

Base Attack +14; Grapple +9

Atk Options  Flyby Attack

Special Actions Cause Paranoia, Dominate Dragon, Rage

Abilities Str 1 Dex 31 Con 14 Int 23 Wis 16 Cha 18

SQ Draconic Affinity, Fast Movement, Uncanny Dodge, Trap Sense +1

Feats Alertness, Blind-Fight, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Ability Focus (Cause

Paranoia), Flyby Attack, Enlarge Breath Weapon, Weapon FinesseB

Skills Bluff +23, Diplomacy +19, Disguise +13 (+15 acting in character), Intimidate +21, Knowledge (nature) +20, Listen +26, Search +25, Spot +26, Survival +18 (+20 following tracks)

Feats Enlarge Breath Weapon: Doubles the range of a line breath weapon or increases range of a cone breath weapon by 50%. (copyright 2001, Eric D. Harry, updated to 3.5e by the Netbook of Feats team.)

Immunity to Magic (Ex) See above

Natural Invisibility (Ex) See above

Cause Paranoia (Su) See above

Dominate Dragon (Su)  See above

Draconic Affinity (Ex) See above

Fast Movement As barbarian

Rage As barbarian, 1/day

Uncanny Dodge As barbarian

Trap Sense +1 As barbarian

This drac-o-lantern has quite an array of skills due to its increased intelligence and barbarian levels. It is incredibly cunning and will not engage in attacks unless it has managed to dominate a dragon. In that case, it makes full use of its barbarian abilities through the dragon as well as the enlarged breath weapon.

Drac-o-lanterns and Closed Content The Draconic Affinity ability of the drac-o-lantern is designed to take advantage of dragon feats and prestige classes. In particular, metabreath feats from Draconomicon by Wizards of the Coast would allow a drac-o-lantern to change the breath weapon of the dominated dragon a great deal.