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3 Villains for your Halloween-themed one shots or sidemissions

Thumbnail Art by David Harrington

Halloween is almost here! Time to get that one-shot or side mission for your campaign ready. I’ve got some great magic items created last week and now all we need are some people to wield them. We need them to be spooky enough to be considered Halloween monsters, and some little backstory and adventure hooks can work as well.

My intention with this article is that you can come out from it with great ideas on how to use these villains and get your players some cool magic items.

Jarl Ulvestad – The skeletal giant

Backstory: Jarl Ulvestad was the leader of the Frozen Mountain, a frost giant clan. When a warrior of the Raven Queen was ordered to kill a frost giant to show its prowess, this chosen one challenged the leader of the Frozen Mountain clan. Jarl Ulvestad agreed for his pride was in play. The Raven’s Queen annihilated Jarl Ulvestad, forcing the Frozen Mountain clan to find a new leader.

Years passed and Jarl Ulvestad’s soul would not pass on, not without retaking his pride. Such a relentless spirit caught the attention of the Raven Queen, who decided to give him a second chance as a warrior of hers. However, she forced him to take a skeletal form. His form was used as a mock to his defeat, forcing him to keep going in his quest. Since then, Ulvestad’s ire has made him create a new clan of different creatures and monsters. Ulvestad will not rest until he finds a worthy opponent to battle and defeat, all while claiming new souls for the Raven Queen. If many have to fall in order to find that worthy opponent then so be it.

The Raven Queen granted him Bleeding Venom, a longsword worthy of his name to prove himself. Bleeding Venom took the form of a sword made out of a giant spine, with rib pieces coming out from its sides. Being a magical weapon, it takes its size according to the wielder, meaning that it looks good on a giant’s skeleton hand, and will look as well on the hands of the hero who loots it.

Adventure hooks:

  • Jarl Ulvestad has told a small village through a messenger that he is going to wreck the village in five days. The village has until then to find worthy enough warriors to protect it if they don’t want their homeland to be completely destroyed. The adventurers are called to take part in this raid that is to happen soon.
  • Jarl Ulvestad managed to have the Raven Queen transform all members of his clan into undead soldiers on his side. He now walks the lands killing anything in its way. The king calls the adventurers to put an end to this creature.
  • The legend of Bleeding Venom and its wielder reaches the PCs in a tavern. Ulvestad is waiting in a cave atop one of the highest mountains for a foe able to “make him sweat”. If challenged to a combat directly, his clan will pass the message to him so the party can fight against the skeletal giant.

Stat Block

Use the frozen giant stat block with the following modifications:

  • Is considered Undead
  • Has immunity to poison and necrotic damage, as well as cold damage
  • New trait:
    • When the giant attacks a creature with this weapon and rolls a 20 on the attack roll, that target must succeed on a DC13 Constitution Saving Throw or fall unconscious for 1 minute.
  • Replace greataxe for Bleeding Venom:
    • Bleeding Venom. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 20 ft., one target. Hit: 22 (3d10 + 6) slashing damage + 9 (2d8) poison damage.

Duke Cosco – The revenant knight

Backstory: Duke Cosco was a former duke made knight that fought in the name of his king. He had great political power in the kingdom and moved many strings. When a merchant’s guild secretly led by a rakshasa follower of Mammon, archduke from the nine hells pulled the strings to have Duke Cosco fall in an unplayable debt, his life as a knight was ruined. Duke Cosco swore vengeance on all those who destroyed his life. That’s when Dispater, another lord from the nine hells came to him with an offer: Dispater would give Cosco everything he needed to kill the one who caused his suffering, but all souls freed by his weapons would be condemned into hell. Of course, Cosco blinded by revenge agreed.

Duke Cosco became an undead vessel to eternally serve Dispater, and be given the weapon of a fallen pirate that had a pact with Dispater as well. This weapon is a pike named Spearfish’s Fang. As if his life didn’t have much suffering already, Spearfish’s Fang contains the soul of a vampire pirate making it a sentient weapon. Duke Cosco’s mind became corrupted by it and vengeance took a seat by the side of his new goal: sucking the blood out of his enemies to fully power his weapon.

Adventure hooks:

  • A paladin from a temple has noticed the presence of a fiendish undead within the city and looks for adventurers to find it and put an end to it.
  • While looking for clues on the rakshasa leader of the merchants’ guild, Duke Cosco starts showing up intending to kill the characters.
  • Duke Cosco took hold of the castle that belonged to the king he once served. The king is taken hostage, but not for long, as Cosco doesn’t know how long he can resist sucking the king’s blood. Duke Cosco filled the castle from fiends from Dispater, and upon seeing the PCs asks the players to help him find the rakshasa if they don’t want to see the king dead.

Stat Block

Use the gladiator stat block with the following modifications:

  • Is considered Undead
  • Gains Damage Resistance to Necrotic; Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing from Nonmagical Attacks
  • Targets’ souls killed by Duke Cosco go straight to hell. They cannot be revived without anything short of a wish spell.
  • Gains Bite attack:
    • Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 8 (2d8 + 4) necrotic damage. The target’s hit point maximum is reduced by an amount equal to the necrotic damage taken, and Duke Cosco regains hit points equal to that amount
  • Replace Spear with Spearfish’s Fang:
    • Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 10 ft. and range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (1d10 + 7) piercing damage. On attacks, you may expend 7 (2d6) magical damage to deal an additional 11 (2d10) forcing the target to succeed on a DC 14 Wisdom saving throw or be frightened for 1 minute. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.

Karrekoz – The lizardfolk druid werewolf

Backstory: Karrekoz was a lizardfolk with her own grove in the depths of the Twisted Forest. This place was once devout of life from an evil spore druid. Karrekoz went into it with the intention of making it a living forest again where animals could come inhabit it. A group of spores in the place twisted her mind in her sleep, making her goal of cleansing the forest a necessity. When humans came to chop down some trees of the dead forest to build a dam Karrekoz came out of it and obliterated them. The forest was to regrow and come back to life, and each and every tree was going to be saved.

Karrekoz’s goal is a noble one, but her mind is twisted enough to conflict morally with the player characters. Residing in the forest, one of the spores infected her with lycanthropy as well, causing Karrekoz to leave the forest on full moons. Her powerful magic helped her forge an arcane focus with the skull of the druid who lived in the forest before, which acts as the Laments’ Wail item.

Adventure hooks:

  • People from the nearby city ask the player characters to get rid of the druid that isn’t allowing them to build the dam, as well as the werewolf that periodically comes from the forest (the werewolf and the druid are actually one and the same)
  • Totems built out of bones have started to appear near the entrance to the Twisted Forest. Folk has started to worry and those who went in to investigate never came back. The adventurers are asked to investigate.
  • The twisted Forest is starting to grow, with new dead trees appearing on the outskirts of it making it bigger. Karrekoz is intending to surround the near towns with the forest, taking back the territories that once were giant groves. Governors are pleading adventurers for help, as they know of no way to stop this “unnatural event”

Stat block

Use the druid stat block with the following modifications:

  • Karrekoz can hold its breath for 15 minutes.
  • Gains the chill touch and inflict wounds spells
  • Gains Bite attack:
    • Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) piercing damage. If the target is a humanoid, it must succeed on a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or be cursed with werewolf lycanthropy.
  • New Trait:
    • 1/day summon two treants from trees in a 30ft radius as an action for 1 hour. The treants follow the caster’s commands and look like a deceased version of the animated tree. They have half the number of hit dice: 72 (6d12 + 30).
  • Replace Quarterstaff with Laments’ Wail:
    • Laments’ Wail may transform itself into a Quarterstaff by casting shillelagh
    • DC for spells increases to DC13, and +6 to hit as well as +2 to damage from spells.



If you liked this

Have you finished your Halloween one’shot and are already preparing a Christmas one? Take a look at the magic items I created for your Christmas adventures by CLICKING HERE