Art by Kyle Bolton
The Headless Samurai
Attacks: Flaming katana (1d10+1d6 fire) or flaming yari/lance (1d10+1d6 fire). Two attacks per round.
The headless samurai is the vengeful spirit of a disgraced samurai forced to commit seppuku. The samurai's lord betrayed his loyal retainer, framing him for theft of a clan relic, and forcing the ritual suicide so that the lord might take the samurai's wife as a concubine. The samurai's body was not buried with the proper rituals and was thrown into a nameless grave. His head was taken as a trophy by a rival samurai. Soon after the vengeful spirit manifested on the nearby roads on a darlk fiery steed and began to kill any it encountered at night seeking its head and the lord who betrayed it in life. Those decapitated often accompanied the samurai on its midnight rides as flying heads trailing in his fiery horses wake. Locals and travellers avoided the cursed road and nearby forest. The lord grew old and died and the samurai's head was lost to legend over the years. Denied its revenge the headless samurai still haunts the area on many dark nights with its fiery steed and floating, biting heads.
The headless samurai is a physical ghost which manifests on certain nights immediatly after sundown near its hidden grave in the forest. It rides a nightmare which manifests nearby as well. The two begin to ride the roads near the forest and are joined by 1d6+6 flying undead heads of past victims. The samurai cannot abide the light of day and will fade into non-existence 1d6 rounds after sunrise, as do his companions. If dropped to 0 hit points it will fade away only to return on the next night it manifests.
The samurai is undead and has all of the normal traits. It can only be hit with silver, magic, or holy items/weapons. It is immune to fire. It can regenerate 3 hp/round until dropped to 0 hit points and fades away. It has darkvision at a range of 60'.
The samurai can attack twice per round with either its katana or yari, both aflame with the fires of Hell. On a natural roll of 20 the victim must make a Saving Throw or be beheaded in combat. Three times per night it can project hellfire from its weapons or hands in a 60' stream. It is a ranged touched attack (do not count armor on AC) and if the samurai hits it does 3d6 damage the first round, 2d6, the second, and 1d6 the third. The victim may Save for half damage. This is the only attack allowed in the rounds it is used.
Its primary strategy is to charge in with the nightmare and the flying heads to do as much damage as possbile with its yari. It will then dismount and fight the strongest looking foe as the nightmare and heads attack the foes allies. All slain will be decapitated and the heads taken.
Destroying the headless samurai:
The samurai can only be laid to rest by achieving the following conditions. They are a great opportunity to run an investigative game if the DM is so inclined.
- Find its lost head. It was stolen decades ago although it is known by some older clan retainers which rival samurai stole it from the grave.
- Place a name marker over the headless samurai's hidden grave and perform proper burial rituals.
- The oldest living male descendant of the lord who betrayed him must formally apologize to his spirit at the grave-site.
The headless samurai is accompanied by a Nightmare as its steed (use stats of system of choice, minus flight and ethereal abilities) and the flying heads of its victims.
Attacks: Bite (1d3) and swarm bonuses to hit.
Move: As fast as the nightmare.
The heads are the remains of past victims decapitated on the roads and in the forest. 1d6+6 will manifest nightly and fly along to join the samurai on its ride wailing and gibbering. They are pale shriveled things with dark eyes and blood stained teeth. They have all the normal undead qualities including vulnerability to holy items and being turned as zombies. If a head is dropped to 0 or less hit points it explodes into dust. It will reform on the next night it joins the samurai on the hunt.
When attacking a victim they swarm about biting for 1d3 hp damage and wailing in anguish. For each flying head on a single foe the heads get a plus one bonus to hit past the first head with a maximum bonus of +4 (for five plus heads.)