Attack: Incorporeal bad touching
Special Qualities: Incorporeal, energy drain
Organization: Solitary or ghost gang (2-4)
From the personal journal of Azalai Korias, Elven Wizard
17 Lharvion, 998:
I awoke to a crash and a scream as a pirate kicked down the door and was welcomed to our room by Zarn’s greataxe. Stumbling to my feet, I appraised the situation and it seemed our informant had scurried off to warn the pirates that we were looking for them, and the pirates, apparently, did not want to wait until morning for our confrontation.
A dozen of the scurvy dogs entered the room, armed with spiked clubs, short blades, and picks glistening with poison. A translucent, faintly luminous pirate materialized behind them, commanding the others to attack. "Kill them. Kill them all."
Zarn was lost in his bloodlust, hacking and cleaving everything around him. I cast a Scorching Ray at a pirate as Senna tripped one of our opponents and Kleija dropped another with a flurry of arrows. The spectre leaned down to the fallen man as if to tend his wounds, but instead reached into the dying man and tore his soul from his body. "Kill them," the captain repeated spitefully as his comrade formed into another spectre beside him. The new undead momentarily examined the glowing arrow wounds in his incorporeal body, then looked at Kleija with hate-filled eyes. "Yes, Captain Rawley."
Khovis invoked the holy power of Onatar, evoking curses from the Captain but failing to turn the newly formed spectre. Rawley fled through a wall and disappeared. I unleashed numerous Magic Missiles into the other spectre (force effects can strike incorporeal creatures without failure, making them the natural choice when fighting such undead), attracting its attention as the others finished off the remaining living pirates.
Bereft of any support and injured, the spectre chose to follow its captain’s example and flee. I’m sure we’ll encounter these two again when we attack the main pirate hideout.
Among the most powerful undead, yet still common enough for you to be likely to encounter it, the spectre is tougher and more dangerous than the typical wraith. It must be evaluated for its potent offensive ability and its dangerous (and annoying) ability to phase in and out of our plane. This will cause the creature to vanish occasionally, reappearing a few seconds later, often very close to you or one of your companions. Be alert, and keep moving when the creature phases out. It's the best way to make yourself less vulnerable to the creature phasing in behind you.
Once again, as was the case with other incorporeal foes, the apprentice's handy Magic Missile spell is your friend. Just about every other form of attack - missile, melee, and spell - involves a coin flip as to whether the attack will strike true or will be ignored as the creature twists between the ethereal plane and the one on which we live (unless you've been lucky to recover one of those relics of Xen'drik imbued with a ghost's touch, in which case, spectres and other incorporeal creatures shouldn't be much concern to you at all). Despite this powerful form of evasion, the best approach to dealing with the spectre is an all-out frontal assault. Spare no effort, save no energy as you reduce this creature to ectoplasmic tendrils and grave dust.
You must strike quickly, lest its most fearsome ability come into play: level-draining. These life-sucking spectres have the ability to channel your life essence out of your body. They feed upon your very soul, drawing nourishment from the living to the dead. The only time you should pause in your effort to destroy this creature is when your keen eyes detect that hideous negative energy has gathered about the spectre's hands. In that moment, run, block, tumble, or jump. Do whatever you can to not be touched by the spectre. The creature cannot harness the terrible energy forever, but should it strike you in that time, you will soon be among the living dead yourself, all of your energy draining away as you sit in one place for hours or days, staring lifelessly forward into oblivion as you engage in one rote task after another.