Monsters; Sid'arca

author: Scott
date: 2003-03-26, 2003-09-03 (revised by Scott)
status: finished


Medium-Size Aberration (Incorporeal)
Hit Dice: 6d8 (27)
Initiative: +10 (+6 Dex, +4 Improved Initiative)
Speed: fly 50 ft. (perfect, with no change in speed for flying up or down)
AC: 16 (+6 Dex)
Attacks: None
Damage: None
Face/Reach: 5 ft. by 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Spirit link, improved major image, inspire negative emotion, ability score loss
Special Qualities: Incorporeal, natural invisibility
Saves: Fort +2, Ref +8, Will +7
Str -, Dex 22, Con 10, Int 12, Wis 15, Cha 16
Skills: Bluff +13, Concentration +10, Diplomacy +13, Intimidate +13, Knowledge (Any) +6, Sense Motive +11
Feats: Improved Initiative, Spell Focus (Illusion)
Climate/Terrain: Any
Organization: Solitary
Challenge Rating: 6
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral evil
Advancement: None


Disembodied beings of evil intelligence with powerful illusion magic at their command, the Sid'arca are thought to have been unleashed upon Scarn sometime around the Divine War, their existence only gradually revealed by the tragedies that inevitably follow in their wake. Some sages hypothesize that they were one of Mesos' belated experiments. Others think they were only accidentally created or released from another plane of existence by the rifts and divine magic that the apocalyptic event known as the Divine War spread throughout time and space.

One thing is for certain, though: the Sid'arca are adept at toying with their victims, literally feeding off of their fear, despair, and whatever other dark emotions they can inspire through their powers of manipulation and sheer, cruel cunning. Able to mimic their victims’memories almost flawlessly with their illusion magic (complete with distinct sounds, voices, smells, and minor thermal effects) after joining with their spirits, only those with great wisdom, willpower, or sharp, skeptical minds are likely to stand much of a chance against these insidious beings.

At best they kill quickly, though less frequently (why waste food?), by disguising danger with illusion and luring their victims to it. Perhaps creating the illusion of a floor over a deep pit, for example. Malicious to the core, they are also fond of framing their more resistant victims with a crime and letting others do their work for them. At their worst they can torment their victims for years, perhaps driving them to kill themselves or others, thus sowing more grief among their survivors, especially loved ones, who might prove a new source of nourishment.

Often victims are haunted by what appears to be a loved one's ghost, a ghost that only becomes more twisted and manipulative with each passing day. This loved one is usually already dead, though not always, as Sid'arca are drawn to the intense feelings of grief caused (either through their hand or other unfortunate circumstances, which they are all too happy to take advantage of) by such an event. However, Sid’arca are infinitely, if darkly, creative and constantly find new angles of approach on their torments.

Sid'arca will continue feeding on a victim for as long as they can, sometimes growing attached to a particular, "juicier" prey. On the other hand, if a victim continually resists their manipulations, they will seek sustenance elsewhere, fleeing as soon as they are detected. All too often, though, friends and family are forced to watch as their loved ones spiral deeper and deeper into grief and madness.  Misdiagnoses are common (especially given the difficulty of their detection), as their victims often appear to have every reason to be overcome by grief.

Dark emotions are the sole means of sustenance for the Sid'arca, and they spend most of their time cultivating it. This has earned them the title of “soul leech”among the sages of Lokil.  Sid'arca have a particular fondness for humans, but generally intelligent and highly emotional prey are desired.


Sid'arca are incorporeal beings who can only physically hurt others by making them hurt themselves.

To the initiated, one of the greatest giveaways that a Sid'arca is at work is a sudden and unexplainable "tingling" sensation that spreads throughout their victims’bodies as the Sid'arca makes full spiritual contact (see Spirit Link), allowing it to share in their victims’memories. The sensation is relatively brief, however, vanishing after one round, and leaves a victim to recover from the dizzying aftereffects (-1 Dexterity for one round), all of which is often mistaken for a fainting spell. Though victims are usually unaware that these sensations are a prelude to an onslaught of haunting illusions, the Sid'arca commonly wait 24 hours after making contact to ease a victim's potentially aroused suspicions. Also, the Sid'arca always wait until their victims are alone before making contact or using any of their other abilities, and they can only initiate a Spirit Link when a victim is relaxed but still awake. Finally, a Sid'arca can only retain the memories of one victim at a time, though otherwise indefinitely.

Note: As a special case, all rolls for or against the abilities that follow should be made by the DM in secret and ahead of time lest a character be prematurely alerted that something is amiss. Without such secrecy, much of the roleplaying potential of this creature will be lost.

Spirit Link (Ex): This ability works as a +10 melee touch attack, ignoring standard armor and even magical armor unless it has a force descriptor (such as mage armor), because of the incorporeal mode of delivery, though it causes no harm in and of itself and can succeed automatically against a victim who fails a Spot check (see below) at the DM's discretion. A Spot check should be made when the Sid'arca is within 30 feet of a victim (DC 30, see Incorporeal and Natural Invisibility). Even so, victims receive a wisdom check (DC 15) to notice something is amiss. Should they succeed, an opposed wisdom check is made to determine if they resist the link.  Should they fail, the link proceeds normally, but they are left feeling that the sensations they experienced (see Combat) had an unnatural cause.  Characters who prevail, however, realize that they have resisted an unseen and hostile force. The link lasts one round. After successfully making contact, a Sid'arca effectively absorbs, but not erases, a victim's memories.  Essentially, a victim's memories become their own. They can then haunt their victims with illusions that play upon their emotions much more strongly (increasing the DC to disbelieve, see Improved Major Image).

Improved Major Image (Sp): Once per day a Sid'arca can create an illusion that is an improved version of the 3rd level arcane spell major image, with all the effects granted a 6th level caster. Unlike the spell major image, the ability includes distinct sounds and voices. Victims receive an initial Will save to disbelieve Sid'arca illusions regardless of the extent to which they interact with them. Will saves against their illusions, if cast without the aid of a Spirit Link, have a DC of 18 (+3 spell level, +3 charisma modifier, +2 spell focus feat). Since Sid'arca gain intimate knowledge of a victim following a successful Spirit Link and can incorporate shared memories to make their illusions more convincing, illusions so empowered receive a +3 Spirit Link bonus to their DC. This bonus is lost (i.e., transferred) as soon as they link with a new victim. Any Sid'arca illusion that might prove physically harmful to a character must allow another saving throw with a DC of 15 as soon as the danger (minus the illusion) would normally become apparent. A successful save or incontrovertible proof reveals that an illusion is false and reduces it to a translucent outline.

Inspire Negative Emotion (Sp): While a successful Improved Major Image is still active, a Sid'arca can attempt to negatively influence the emotions of a victim through its illusions (up to 3 times per day) as the 4th level arcane spell emotion cast by a 6th level caster. This ability only applies to victims it has successfully linked with (see Spirit Link). This is a mind-affecting ability, and as such it can be blocked by spells such as protection from evil and mind blank. A failed attempt to influence does not alert a character to the attempt, it merely fails. The DC of a Will save to resist the effects of each attempt is 17 (+4 spell level, +3 charisma modifier). The emotions that apply are despair and fear, as well as any other crippling emotions, like guilt, shame, and remorse, but not emotions that might empower, like hate or anger. All Sid’arca inspired emotions have the same effect as the emotion despair as described in the spell emotion.  All emotions and their effects last only until the next emotion takes over (thus never stacking) or the illusion inspiring them ends. Like wisdom score changes (see Ability Score Loss), a DM should base the emotional changes being wrought upon a character on the illusions he or she is experiencing and express them through their in-game descriptions of such. What follows is a brief example of play:

Rolls: DM secretly rolls the PC's will save to disbelieve the Sid'arca's illusion, applying a Spirit Link bonus to the DC. The save fails, and the DM rolls again to determine if the PC reacts in fear. He does.

DM: "The air behind you grows suddenly cold, and you spin around to find your dead brother standing there dressed in his leather armor, which is just as torn and bloody as you remember it.  He stares you down with eyes so familiar they still your racing heart. Logic tells you this can't be him, that you heaped stones onto his body with your trembling hands amid a blasted and wind swept wasteland half a continent away. But there he stands, undeniable, looking just as you found him after the battle, the left side of his head caved in by the giant's club. You shrink away from him in dread as he advances toward you and feel your heart race again."

Rolls: DM rolls again for guilt and despair after some regular play where the PC talks briefly at his brother. The PC fails both times.

DM: "'I want my body returned home, brother,' he says in a voice tight with anger, a voice you thought you'd never hear again in any form. You recall all too clearly how he wanted to be laid to rest on the family farm should he ever fall in battle.  You try to think of some way to explain how the trip would have taken too long with only one horse and how decayed his flesh would have been before you could reach the nearest town, but the words die on your tongue when you spot the light cast by the candle on the table behind him passing through his shoulder.  'I feel so cold brother,' he says, blood trickling down the side of his face as he clutches himself with fading arms. 'Why did you leave me behind?' Fear twists in your stomach, adding knots of guilt, then remorse. . ."

Ability Score Loss (Su): Following 2 successful Inspire Negative Emotion attempts, both of which must occur within the same illusion, a victim suffers the loss of one wisdom point. The effect remains until restored by magical means, the Sid'arca responsible is slain, or Inspire Negative Emotion is not successfully used on the victim for 3 full days. After either of the latter two occur, wisdom returns at a rate of 1 point per day. A character with 0 wisdom falls into a deep, nightmare ridden sleep and must be restored to at least one point of wisdom by magical means before awaking and recovering any wisdom on their own. A DM should keep track of all wisdom points lost or regained by PCs, applying negative modifiers to rolls in secret. Instead of relaying changes in number form, lowered wisdom scores and the resulting effects should be described through in-game descriptions.

Incorporeal: Such creatures can only be harmed by other incorporeal creatures, +1 or better magic weapons, and spells, spell-like abilities, extraordinary abilities, or supernatural abilities. Even when hit by spells or magic weapons, they have a 50% chance to ignore any damage from a corporeal source (except for force effects, such as magic missile, or attacks made with a ghost touch weapon). Incorporeal creatures and their touch attacks can pass through solid objects, including armor and natural armor, at will, but not force effects (such as mage armor). Deflection bonuses apply against them, however. Incorporeal creatures move silently and cannot be heard with Listen checks if they don't wish it.

Natural Invisibility (Ex): In its natural state, a Sid'arca is an amorphous body that doesn't physically interact with the material world. It can't be seen with normal vision, blindsight, darkvision, low-light vision, or even infravision. As this is an inherent ability, it is not affected by an invisibility purge spell. The spells see invisibility and true seeing reveal what looks like a mostly translucent, gaseous body that churns maddeningly, altering its appearance at will. Even once revealed by these spells, a Sid'arca acts as if under the affects of a blur spell. Add +10 to the normal DC of a Spot check against an invisible creature for a DC of 30 when attempting to detect Sid'arca due to their incorporeal nature, even when they are moving within 30 feet of a character.

Skills: Sid’arca receive a +4 racial bonus to Bluff, Concentration, Diplomacy, Intimidate checks, and Sense Motive Checks due to their constant attempts to manipulate others and skill at operating and maintaining illusions.