Psychic residue can congeal into an environment feature called a Spiritfont, which includes phenomenon such as a psychic impression, haunting, or poltergeist. The residue can be created by intense emotion felt over long periods of time, or the activities of certain spirit creatures. A spiritfont can also be created when one plane of existence connects with another or even from a curse.
A spiritfont located on one of the Inner Planes is always connected to the Ethereal Plane. A spiritfont located on an Outer Place is a strictly localized phenomenon. A spiritfont connected to the Ethereal Plane affects that plane as well as the other plane it occupies.
In very rare cases, a spiritfont can be created by a creature.
Intensity acts as an ability score used by a spiritfont to determine its game statistics. A spiritfont also has a proficiency bonus, which is determined by the DM based on the challenge the spiritfont should represent.
A spiritfont’s intensity ranges from 1 to 30 and has an ability modifier like an ability score ranging from −5 to +10. Older spiritfonts often have greater intensities, as do spiritfonts created from extreme amounts of psychic residue and emotion.
A spiritfont uses power attacks and has a power save DC. It uses its Intensity score to determine its saving throws and ability check modifiers. If a spiritfont must make a skill check, it is considered proficient. A spiritfont has no hit points and takes no damage, and it is also immune to all conditions.
Power Attack Modifier. Intensity modifier + proficiency bonus.
Power Save DC. 8 + Intensity modifier + proficiency bonus.
Saving Throws. Intensity modifier + proficiency bonus.
Ability Checks. Intensity modifier + proficiency bonus.
Range and Size
A spiritfont is small, centered at some point in space or on an object, but it presence affects the surrounding area. When a spiritfont is dormant, its presence typically recedes to a small area, often a 5-foot cube, while a hostile spiritfont might increase its presence significantly (see Dormancy and Hostility below). A spiritfont’s base range of influence tends to be restricted by its environment or limited by its intensity. Commonly this area doesn’t exceed a sphere with a radius equal to 30 + five times its Intensity modifier feet, but it can occupy other dimensions.
Many spiritfonts attached to a location take on a shape matching that location, whether it is a specific grove, a single room, or even an entire building. It is possible for the presence of more than one spiritfont to overlap, especially with complex hauntings. Each spiritfont maintains its own Intensity and acts independently.
Detecting a Spiritfont
A spiritfont is invisible except on the Ethereal Plane, where is appears as a ghostly glow that may include ectoplasmic features such as strands or bulbous bits. Certain forms of detection will also reveal the presence of a spiritfont.
Aurasight can detect a spiritfont as a soft glow which reveals its general strength, state, and disposition. A creature which can see into the Ethereal Plane can also see a spiritfont, but gains no additional details beyond its range and likely center.
Magical detection is less reliable. The detect magic spell can identify a general sense of magical energy within an active spiritfont, but fails to reveal any specific detail. It can’t sense a dormant spiritfont at all. The detect psionics spell reveals the presence of a dormant or active spiritfont, but can’t identify specifics. It can reveal the center of an active spiritfont.
An active spiritfont can also be sensed by creatures, often noted by uncomfortable feelings like being watched or the air thinning or growing cold. These feelings often cause beasts to act oddly, such as a dog barking at empty space or a cat bolting in terror with no discernible cause.
A spiritfont, especially a haunting, often have other telltale signs that it is present, such as uncast shadows and flickering lights.
Dormancy and Hostility
A spiritfont will be encountered in one of three states: Dormant, Active, Hostile.
A dormant spiritfont is benign, but the area it occupies will feel wrong to most creatures. Being within a dormant spiritfont often triggers sensations of paranoia or dread.
While discomforting, this phenomenon has no effect on a creature except for a beast with an Intelligence score no higher than 3. Such a beast must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw against the spiritfont’s power save DC or react in a frightened way, and becomes unsettled until it leaves the spiritfont’s range for at least 1 minute. Even on a successful save, the beast will seek to retreat from the spiritfont’s range. Certain monstrosities may also be similarly affected as determined by the DM.
A spiritfont’s range is typically reduced while dormant, often condensing to a 5-foot cube or shrinking to half its normal size or somewhere in between.
A dormant spiritfont will have one or more triggers which awakens it, turning it into an active spiritfont. Typical triggers include the time of the day, on an anniversary, the presence of a creature, or the proximity of an object, but anything could serve as a possible trigger.
An active spiritfont is seldom benign, and can be malignant. Being within an active spiritfont is very uncomfortable, and it is impossible to benefit from a long rest within its range.
While active, the spiritfont uses its normal range. When a creature starts its turn within range, or enters the range of a spiritfont the first time during its turn, it must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or become unsettled for as long as it remains within the spiritfont’s range and for 1 minute after escaping it. Even if a creature succeeds on this save, it must repeat the save after 1 hour if it reenters or remains within the spiritfont’s range. A celestial, fiend, or undead is immune to this effect.
Once awakened, a spiritfont stays active until a trigger is met that returns it to dormant state or it is made dormant by a spell or similar ability. An active spiritfont can also become hostile in the same ways it awakened. A spiritfont will always become hostile when an attempt is made to change its state or suppress or control it.
An active spiritfont has more activity that a dormant one and it’s very common to witness supernatural phenomena such as shadows, phantom sounds, and other unexplainable oddities. While these phenomena are often harmless, the spiritfont may trigger its more threatening abilities given certain triggers.
A hostile spiritfont will actively seek to harm living creatures within its range, leveraging the full range of actions it can take.
When a spiritfont becomes hostile, its range often increases, even when bound to a specific location. Generally this increase doesn’t exceed increasing its range by more than half, but there are exceptions, especially with extremely virulent spiritfonts.
A hostile spiritfont acts like an active one, causing creatures to become unsettled. It will also deliberately target creatures with its actions, and it may attempt to prevent their escape.
While a spiritfont isn’t a creature, it still takes turns. Functionally, a spiritfont takes an action when lair actions occur: on initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties). When a creature controls a spiritfont, it uses the spiritfont’s actions as a normal lair action, and if it normally has a lair action, it must choose between its standard lair actions and its controlled spiritfont ones each round.
A particularly powerful spiritfont can make legendary actions as a creature could. The DM decides how many legendary actions a spiritfont can make, and it can choose from any of its normal actions. If a creature gains control of one of these spiritfonts, it can only make use of these legendary actions if it already has them, and each spiritfont action costs 1 legendary action.
The types of actions a spiritfont can take are determined by its type. See Psychic Impressions, Hauntings, and Poltergeists below.
Whenever a spiritfont makes an attack roll, it uses its power attack modifier, and whenever a creature must make a saving throw against a spiritfont’s abilities, its power save DC is used.
Combating a Spiritfont
A spiritfont isn’t a creature or even an object in the normal sense: it is raw psychic energy. As such it has no hit points and can’t be killed by conventional means.
Certain class features, spells, and powers allow a creature to harm a spiritfont by rendering it dormant or suppressing it. A dormant spiritfont can also be suppressed by other means, including certain spells or rituals.
Banishment. This spell can target a spiritfont and suppresses one which fails its saving throw for the duration, unless it is on one of the Outer Planes. The caster must target the center of the spiritfont.
Dispel Evil and Good. The dismissal function of the spell can target a spiritfont and renders it dormant for 1 day per level of the caster unless it succeeds an Intensity saving throw against the caster’s spell save DC.
Divine Word. This spell can target at a spiritfont, and will suppress it for 1 day per level of the caster unless it succeeds an Intensity saving throw against the caster’s spell save DC.
Hallow. When cast in a way that it fully covers the range of a dormant spiritfont, this spell will suppress the spiritfont for the duration.
Holy Water. Holy water can be use the same way as sanctified salt to attack a manifested creature or object, dealing 2d6 radiant damage on a hit.
Magic Circle. This spell prevents a spiritfont from attacking a target within the circle, and if cast over a dormant spiritfont, will suppress it for the duration.
Protection from Evil. A target warded by this spell is protected from a spiritfont. It has advantage on saving throws against it, and the spiritfont has disadvantage on attack rolls against the warded creature.
Psychic Static. If this power targets a spiritfont or covers the area of one, the spiritfont must succeed on an Intensity saving throw or be suppressed for the maintenance.
Remove Curse. When cast on a spiritfont attached to an object or an unwilling creature, the spiritfont must succeed on an Intensity saving throw against the caster’s spell save DC or be rendered dormant for a number of days equal to the level of the caster.
Salt Barrier. A spiritfont can’t take an action through a barrier of salt which is at least 1 inch thick, but can still cause creatures behind one to become unsettled. If the barrier is breached by even a hair’s width, it offers no protection. It takes an action to trace a 5-foot diameter circle of salt.
Sanctified Salt. A handful of sanctified salt can be used as weapon against an object or creature manifested by a spiritfont. Make a ranged attack. On a hit, you deal 4d6 radiant damage to the object or creature and prevent the spiritfont from taking an action with it for 1 round. If a haunting sign is hit, it is suppressed for 1 minute. If an object animated by a poltergeist is hit, the spiritfont drops the object.
Special Rituals. Certain arcane and esoteric rituals can be used to placate a spiritfont and render it dormant for a time. The nature of the ritual and the duration of its efficacy are determined by the DM.
Spirit Ward. This power functions like a protection from evil and good spell when it targets one creature or empowers an object. When it targets an area it acts like magic circle. If used to ward a structure, each dormant spiritfont within the area is suppressed in the same way as the hallow spell.
Wish. A properly worded wish spell can suppress a spiritfont for up to one month without requiring a saving throw.
It is possible to permanently destroy a spiritfont.
One way is to deprive it of energy for a prolonged time, often centuries, by suppressing it. A suppressed spiritfont can’t feed on the psychic energies or emotions it needs to continue existing. The hallow spell is a favored method to achieve this result, but combinations of spells and powers can achieve a similar result given sufficient dedication.
The other way falls into the province of deities and other extremely powerful entities; completely destroying the psychic energy that comprises a spiritfont will eradicate it. Doing this will leave a scar on the plane of existence the spiritfont occupies, creating a psychically dead zone that suppresses emotion and prevents life from growing in the spiritfont’s previous location. Revitalizing the area requires such effort that spiritfonts are usually left alone rather than destroyed.
Special Types of Spiritfonts
Normally, a spiritfont is an isolated event, but exceptions exist when a spiritfont imprints upon a target, including another spiritfont.
A spiritwell results when multiple spiritfonts emerge in close proximity. The spiritwell takes control of each spiritfont within its range. Its range covers the area of each connected spiritfont’s range.
A spiritwell has certain strengths over a normal spiritfont. It and each connected spiritfont have a +4 bonus on Intensity saving throws. It can take an action using any connected spiritfont, even if that spiritfont has already taken an action this turn. A spiritwell will always have legendary actions, and can freely use its own actions or those of a connected spiritfont with them.
Whenever a connected spiritfont becomes active, each spiritfont controlled by the same spiritwell also becomes active. Likewise, when one connected spiritfont become hostile, each spiritfont controlled by the same spiritwell also becomes hostile. It is impossible to render a connected spiritfont dormant for more than one round, as the controlling spiritwell will return it to its prior state automatically. In order to render a spiritwell dormant, each connected spiritfont must be rendered dormant at the same time.
Suppressing a spiritwell is also difficult, because it can’t be targeted by a spell or power unless each connected spiritfont is also suppressed.
Hellsmouth. A special kind of spiritwell is the hellsmouth. Often created from one of the Lower Planes or the Shadowfel seeping into or leaving a trace within another plane, a hellsmouth is a malevolent spiritfont. It possesses a level of hatred for the living found in the vilest of undead, and acts in an almost intelligent manner.
When a hellsmouth is active, it spreads ruin within a wide area, using all manner of spiritfonts to cause calamity. As a spiritwell, a hellsmouth controls multiple spiritfonts, with many controlling dozens of connected spiritfonts. For this reason, a hellsmouth is often appeased by torturous and murderous rituals to send the spiritwell back to a dormant state for a time, repeating the ritual when it begins to stir. Abandoning these rituals can plunge the region into a catastrophic state.
A hellsmouth can create spiritfonts and spirit undead, such as ghosts, specters, and wraiths, by converting the misery it wreaks and the souls slain within its range. When a hellsmouth becomes hostile, the spirits bound to it emerge from its center to torment and slaughter the living.
Some spiritfonts and most spiritwells can bind spirit undead to it, taking control of the spirit’s will. Such an undead creature is bound to the spiritfont. If it is slain, the spiritfont will return it to unlife the next time it is active after at least 24 hours have passed.
A bound spirit is usually confined to the range of the spiritfont, and will hide away while the spiritfont is dormant. Once the spiritfont is active, the creature will roam around the area or lie in wait. If the spiritfont becomes hostile, the bound spirit will seek out the spiritfont’s targets.
In exceptional cases, a spiritfont can send a bound spirit beyond its range, creating an invincible spirit that can pursue its victims without end.
If a spiritfont is suppressed, each bound spirit is freed and can be dispatched normally. If the creature leaves the spiritfont’s range, the undead is freed of its control. If the undead creature is within the spiritfont’s range when it becomes active, it is again bound to the spiritfont.
Only undead created within the range of a spiritfont can be bound to it.
Normally a spiritfont exists at a point in space, as an unmoving environmental hazard. However, some spiritfonts become attached to a specific object such as a bench, wagon, or doll. These objects are called altered objects. When attached to an object, a spiritfont can be moved to a new location.
An altered object radiates magic and psionic energy, and to the unfamiliar can seem to be a magical item, and in some cases a spiritfont could be attached to a magical or psionic item.
An altered object is cursed, and taking ownership of one, binds the curse to the claimant. Getting rid of an altered object can prove difficult. The most common way is to convince another creature to accept it as a gift, but some altered objects will refuse to take a new owner while its current owner still lives. A remove curse spell or similar effect can liberate an owner for a period of one hour in order to make the exchange.
Altered objects can’t be destroyed, either by being indestructible or by completely restoring itself within 24 hours after being damaged.
The spiritfont attached to an altered object otherwise acts like a normal spiritfont. It will cycle through dormant and active states and can become hostile. Being mobile, makes altered objects more dangerous.
Attached to Creatures
Like an object, a spiritfont might be attached to a creature. Usually the target of this binding is a victim of abuse or neglect. It operates like a normal spiritfont with one exception: it will never harm the creature it is attached to, and may even protect it.
In some cases, a creature can create a spiritfont. A created spiritfont is bound to the creature and controlled by it. A creature can use the actions of a controlled spiritfont as a lair action. A created spiritfont uses one of its creator’s ability scores as its Intensity, and shares its creator’s proficiency bonus.
Certain powerful spirits, mainly celestials, fiends, and certain undead can also attempt to seize control of a spiritfont. The spiritfont must succeed on an Intensity saving throw against its usurper’s spell or power save DC or become controlled by the creature. The duration a creature can control a spiritfont this way is described in the creature’s stat block or determined by the spell or power. If the attempt to seize control of a spiritfont fails, it immediately becomes active and hostile and will retaliate against its attacker.