Nightmare (Dungeons & Dragons)

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Type Outsider
Image image

In the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, the nightmare is an outsider that comes from the Gray Waste of Hades.

Publication history[edit]

The nightmare was introduced to the D&D game in the first edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition (1977-1988)[edit]

The nightmare appears in the first edition Monster Manual (1977),[1] where it is described as a "demon horse" or "hell horse" from the lower planes, ridden primarily by powerful demons and devils, night hags, vampires, and liches.

Dungeons & Dragons (1977-1999)[edit]

This edition of the D&D game included its own version of the nightmare, in Creature Catalogue (1986),[2] and the Creature Catalog (1993).[3]

The lesser nightmare appeared in the Escape From Thunder Rift module included with the Dungeon Master Screen (1993).

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1989-1999)[edit]

The nightmare appears first in the Monstrous Compendium Outer Planes Appendix (1991),[4] and is reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993).[5]

The nightmare was further detailed in the first Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix (1994).[6]

Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 edition (2000-2002)[edit]

The nightmare appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2000).[7]

Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition (2003-2007)[edit]

The nightmare appears in the revised Monster Manual for this edition (2003), including the cauchemar, a larger and more powerful sort.

The lesser nightmare appears in the Planar Handbook (2004).[8]

Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition (2008-2014)[edit]

The nightmare appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2008).[9]

Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition[edit]

The nightmare appears in the Monster Manual (2014).


A nightmare resembles a powerful jet black horse, though flames wreathe its hooves and trail from its nostrils. Its eyes are akin to glowing embers and it has a ragged mane and tail like tattered pennants.

A nightmare is always neutral evil. It is able to travel to other planes, and can bring its rider therewith. Nightmares sometimes serve powerful evil creatures (such as baatezu, tanar'ri and liches) as mounts, as they can understand commands from them. They commune amongst themselves via empathy.

Lesser and greater (called cauchemars) versions of the nightmare are known to exist.


  1. ^ Gygax, Gary. Monster Manual (TSR, 1977)
  2. ^ Morris, Graeme, Phil Gallagher and Jim Bambra. Creature Catalogue (TSR, 1986)
  3. ^ Nephew, John. Creature Catalog (TSR, 1993)
  4. ^ LaFountain, J. Paul. Monstrous Compendium Outer Planes Appendix. (TSR, 1991)
  5. ^ Stewart, Doug, ed. Monstrous Manual (TSR, 1993)
  6. ^ Varney, Allen, ed. Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix (TSR, 1994)
  7. ^ Cook, Monte, Jonathan Tweet, and Skip Williams. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2000)
  8. ^ Cordell, Bruce, and Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel. Planar Handbook (Wizards of the Coast, 2004)
  9. ^ Mearls, Mike, Stephen Schubert, and James Wyatt. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2008)