N is for Nightmare

For those of you who only read my gaming posts, I’ve been doing the A to Z April Blogging Challenge in my personal blog.  Today my post is a bit more gaming focused, so I decided to post here and then repost it over to my personal blog.

The nightmare has existed in Dungeons and Dragons since the 1st Edition AD&D Monster Manual published in 1977. While I’ve never been a huge fan of running demons, and devils in my D&D games, the nightmare come from the lower planes where these creatures dwell, though they can also serve as mounts for powerful evil beings.

I like the imagery associated with the nightmare.  Even without pictures, or miniatures, describing this black horse racing across an open plain trailing fire from its hooves and mane, perhaps even leaving a trail of small fires in its wake.

I’ve probably most frequently used the nightmare as a mount for evil NPCs, especially Anti-paladins, I also like the idea of them appearing riderless, as kind of a messenger, or warning sign. The sight of a nightmare riding along the horizon during the night could serve as an omen that powerful evil forces are working in an area. Your villain could also slip a messenger bag over the nightmare’s back and send it to deliver a note, or other small item to the players.

While preparing to write this article, I found a unicorn miniature painted as a nightmare. Not sure if this type of creature has ever appeared in print, but the idea of a villain defiling a unicorn in such a way could make for a great adventure hook.

Hope you can find a way to add a nightmare to your players’ nightmares!

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