Dread Sand Species in Cairne | World Anvil

Dread Sand

"Misery loves company, but the dead demand it."

Deep within the Wastes, the horrors that transpired there still linger like a repugnant malaise. A veritable immortal's ability for cruelty is limitless, and the Elves of Gaul Do Shah raised the bar when the madness took them, finding new and horrific ways to implement their creativity upon the poor souls unfortunate enough to be caught in the rapid decay of their lands and minds. As A result of these times and the multitude of dead it left in its wake, the very ground of the Wastes has become tainted with the psychic memory of the suffering that occurred there. Not unlike a drowning victim will pull a rescuer under the waves with them, there are places within the Wastes where the dead still yearn for release and will drag the unwary under the sand in a vain attempt to escape the tortured state death has left them in.

Basic Information


On the surface, Dread Sand looks just like any other part of the terrain of the Wastes, just sand and detritus. This mundane appearance belies what lies just below the surface, which is usually a shallow mass grave. A closer inspection will reveal a large number of decayed hands laying on or just below the surface, usually covered by a thin layer of dust and sand.

Biological Traits

Dread Sand takes up anywhere from a 30' area to the huge examples which can cover up to and over 100' area. Every victim that falls to the creature only serves to add to its size and danger. They function as an unintelligent creature despite the individual spirits retaining their cognitive function, they are lost within the base elements of the nature of the Dread Sand.   Spiritualist Interactions The exception to the rule, a Spiritualist of any level will be overcome with an overwhelming sense of dread within a 30' distance of Dread Sand as they emanate an aura of the pain and fear that they are sensitive to. The level of the Spiritualist will dictate how much information they can learn from this sensation, but most of them will have a reaction not unlike a horrific migraine in this area, giving them a -1 penalty on all combat and skill rolls.

Ecology and Habitats

Dread Sand is only found in the deeper parts of the Wastes.

Additional Information

Social Structure

Spiritual Siphonophorae Dread Sand is an undead entity made up of many individual creatures that function as a whole. The individual spirits trapped there are still independent and aware, but have lost themselves within the overwhelming hate and anger that connects them all together. They move and attack in perfect unison, but it is theoretically possible to break this unity by somehow making the spirits remember themselves. The dead that make up the core of a Dread Sand pit, regardless of what they were in life, have been directly affected by the taint of the Void and how it has affected the lands of the Wastes. The psychic resonance of all their suffering has congealed into a mass of hate and lust for revenge. This phenomenon has led to the mass of spiritual energy radiating a strong aura of evil, though it is undirected.

Average Intelligence

Dread Sand retains the individual base intelligence of every spirit that makes up the mass of its form, however they are in a constant state of torment and confusion.

Civilization and Culture

Major Language Groups and Dialects

Languages None (Individual spirits retain languages known in life)
  • Ambush. Characters that do not detect the Dread Sand suffer a disadvantage to avoid being grabbed by the pit's hands as the creatures spring into action. The Dread Sand will usually take a round to allow a potential victim to get as close to the center as possible before attempting to grab the feet.
  • Perfect Camouflage. Physically, Dread Sand looks just like the rest of the environment it inhabits. The surface is covered with sand and debris, hiding its true nature . Passive perception rolls are made at disadvantage. An active search that is successful but does not trigger an attack will find a shallow grave. Touching any of the hands on the surface initiates an attack of opportunity.
Scientific Name
Effectively immortal
Geographic Distribution

Cover image: Dread Sand by Midjourney


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