Dullahan (3.5e Race)

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"I seen the dullahan myself, stopping on the brow of the hill between Bryansford and Moneyscalp late one evening, just as the sun was setting. It was completely headless but it held up its own head in its hand and I heard it call out a name. I put my hand across my ears in case the name was my own, so I couldn't hear what it said. When I looked again, it was gone. But shortly afterwards, there was a bad car accident on that very hill and a young man was killed. It had been his name that the dullahan was calling."

"A man was on his way home one night between Roundstone and Ballyconneely. It was just getting dark and, all of a sudden, he heard the sound of horse's hooves pounding along the road behind him. Looking around, he saw the dullahan on his charger, hurtling towards him at a fair speed. With a loud shout, he made to run but the thing came on after him, gaining on him all the time. In truth, it would have overtaken him and carried him away had he not dropped a gold-headed pin from the folds of his shirt on the road behind him. There was a roar in the air above him and, when he looked again, the dullahan was gone."


Unlike the banshee, the dullahan does not pursue specific families and its call is a summoning of the soul of a dying person rather than a death warning. There is no real defence against the dullahan because he is death's herald. However, an artifact made of gold may hold him at bay, for dullahans appear to have an irrational fear of this precious metal. Even a small amount of gold may suffice to drive them off, as the following account from County Galway relates:

Physical Description[edit]

Dullahans can actively choose to remove their heads at will. While the dullahan's head is removed he carries it with him, either on the pommel of his saddle or upraised in his hand. The eyes can glow with a bright phosphorescence of yellow and the creature may use it as a lantern to guide its way along the darkened lanes of the Irish countryside. Supposedly wherever the dullahan stops, a mortal dies.

The dullahan is possessed of supernatural sight. By holding his severed head aloft, he can see for vast distances across the countryside, even on the darkest night. Using this power, he can spy the house of a dying person, no matter where it lies. Those who watch from their windows to see him pass are rewarded for their pains by having a basin of blood thrown in their faces, or by being struck blind in one eye.

The dullahan is usually mounted on a black steed, which thunders through the night. He uses a human spine as a whip. The horse sends out sparks and flames from its nostrils as it charges forth. In some parts of the country, such as County Tyrone, the dullahan drives a black coach known as the coach-a-bower (from the Irish coiste bodhar, meaning 'deaf or silent coach'). This is drawn by six black horses, and travels so fast that the friction created by its movement often sets on fire the bushes along the sides of the road. All gates fly open to let rider and coach through, no matter how firmly they are locked, so no one is truly safe from the intentions of the dullahan.

A dullahan will stop its snorting horse before the door of a house and shout the name of the person about to die, drawing forth the soul at the call. He may also stop at the very spot where a person will die. On nights of Irish feast days, it is advisable to stay at home with the curtains drawn; particularly around the end of August or early September when the festival of Crom Dubh reputedly took place. If you have to be abroad at this time, be sure to keep some gold object close at hand.


Lawful Neutral, they serve as Death's harbinger and carry out its will.


The Highlands of Ireland.


The origins of the dullahan are not known for certain, but he is thought to be the embodiment of an ancient Celtic god, Crom Dubh, or Black Crom. Crom Dubh was worshipped by the prehistoric king, Tighermas, who ruled in Ireland about fifteen hundred years ago and who legitimised human sacrifice to heathen idols. Being a fertility god, Crom Dubh demanded human lives each year, the most favoured method of sacrifice being decapitation.

The worship of Crom continued in Ireland until the sixth century, when Christian missionaries arrived from Scotland. They denounced all such worship and under their influence, the old sacrificial religions of Ireland began to lose favour. Nonetheless, Crom Dubh was not to be denied his annual quota of souls, and took on a physical form which became known as the dullahan or far dorocha (meaning dark man), the tangible embodiment of death.


The dullahan has a limited power of speech. Its disembodied head is able to speak just once on each journey it undertakes, and otherwise has only the ability to call the name of the person whose death it heralds.

Racial Traits[edit]

  • +5 Strength, +3 Dexterity, +4 Constitution, +1 Wisdom, +6 Charisma
  • Humanoid, Fey.
  • Medium.
  • Dullahan base land speed is 30 feet: The dullahan is given access to a powerful extra-planar horse, and gains the ability to call his Steed from seemingly nowhere as a spell-like ability. 10HD The dullahan may call on a Nightmare as his steed. At 15HD he may then call forth a Hoary Steed and at 20HD he may call upon a Nightmare, Cauchemar as his steed. All these creatures are considered Lawful Neutral and answer only to the dullahan, allowing no one but the dullahan to ride them.
  • All dullahans have ride as a class skill.
  • Death Call: When a dullahan decides that an individual is to die, they call the name of that individual, (hereafter known as "The Marked"). They then receive a +4 bonus on all Attack and Damage rolls against that foe. This bonus lasts until the Marked is slain. The dullahan can then not use this ability for 1d4 hours
  • The dullahan may lift its head aloft and cast Deathwatch with an unlimited range as a spell-like ability. This ability sees through walls and any obstructions.
  • Deathwatch: Using the powers of necromancy, you can determine the condition of creatures near death within the spell's range. You instantly know whether each creature within the area is dead, fragile (alive and wounded, with 3 or fewer hit points left), fighting off death (alive with 4 or more hit points), healthy, undead, or neither alive nor dead (such as a construct). Deathwatch sees through any spell or ability that allows creatures to feign death.
  • The dullahan may as eternal judgement in deciding the fate of the Marked creatures soul.
  • The dullahan gain proficiency with scythe's, whips, and one weapon type of their choice.
  • The dullahan are able to cast knock at will.
  • Severed Head: A dullahan's head though not always removed, has darkvision 300ft, the body has blindsight 100ft, and can see from the heads perspective when separated from the body.
  • Special Qualities: Damage reduction 20/cold iron, spell resistance 20+ class levels, lowlight vision.
  • The eyes of the dullahan may glow as if under the light spell and may be used as a torch.
  • Automatic Languages: Common. Bonus Languages: Sylvan, Elven, Dullahan can learn any written language.
  • Dullahan can only speak once per hour, otherwise they can only say the name of the Marked that they are targeting next for death, they may write in whatever language they know at will.
  • Immortality: The dullahan being a scion of death is immune to it. The dullahan does not age, and is immune to death effects.
  • Fear of Gold: dullahan recoil from gold in all forms. These things don’t harm the Dullahan they merely keep it at bay. A recoiling dullahan must stay at least 20 feet away gold, and cannot touch or make melee attacks against the creature holding gold. Once the gold is out of sight or out of the way the dullahan is then unaffected.
  • Frightfulful Presence: When a creature sees a dullahan, that creature must make a will save (dc 10+cha mod + dullahan hit die) or become panicked for 1d4 rounds, when the rounds are up the creature must repeat the will save.
  • Favored Class: Any fighting class.
  • LA +7

Vital Statistics[edit]

Table: Random Starting Ages
Adulthood Simple Moderate Complex
80 years +1d8 +2d8 +2d10
Table: Dullahan Aging Effects
Middle Age1 Old2 Venerable3 Maximum Age
350 years 450 years 600 years +6d20 years
  1. At middle age, −1 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
  2. At old age, −2 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
  3. At venerable age, −3 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
Table: Dullahan Random Height and Weight
Gender Base Height Height Modifier Base Weight Weight Modifier
Male 5' 6" +2d6 130 lb. × (2d6) lb.
Female 5' 0" +2d6 105 lb. × (2d6) lb.

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