Nightmare: Ponyta, Goth Edition

What’s this? One page? One monster? Only four paragraphs of lore? I didn’t think that was allowed anymore!

Lore: Plucked From Heaven

Often referred to as a ‘demon horse’ or a ‘hell horse’, the nightmare is the go-to steed for evil beings, most commonly demons, devils, death knights, liches, night hags, and a few others. When summoned from the Lower Planes, one must present it an offering of flesh to earn its loyalty.

Nightmares are not born. They are created from a terrible dark ritual, requiring the sacrifice of the wings of a pegasus. Once complete, the noble beast will resemble only the dark designs it was created for.

While limited, this lore isn’t bad by any means. You can still use it to create some pretty interesting sessions. Maybe the party needs to rescue a pegasus before the ritual to turn it into a nightmare can take place. Or you could run an evil campaign in which the players need to summon one. You don’t have many options, but the few that are there are pretty cool!

Design: My Little Pony

That show took place in hell, right? I dunno, I never watched it.

He looks dangerous, but he’s a big ol’ baby if you give him sugar cubes.

You can probably guess how this one is going to fair. It’s a fiery horse. Shocking, I know. Truly, this is one of the most interesting and unique designs we have discussed yet.

Sarcasm aside, this is really underwhelming. Sure, the face looks pretty horrifying and cool. But the rest is just a horse on fire. Not a whole lot to talk about there.

Given how dark the lore behind these guys is, the designers could’ve gotten away with more. Maybe draw in the stumps of its severed wings, or give it a more prideful, commanding stance to give it some presence. There are some opportunities there that have gone missed.

Ultimately, it’s just kinda boring. Next.

Stats: The Getaway Driver

As you might expect from a designated mount, the nightmare isn’t a particularly strong monster. Its HP isn’t terrible, but its AC is low enough that it’s still relatively easy to kill (unless you’re a pyromancer, in which case this thing is invincible). On top of that, it only has one move that does any damage, and while it isn’t terrible, it’s still perfectly manageable.

As a support monster, however, this is one of the best you can choose. Not just because it casts light from its fiery body. But because of two abilities: Confer Fire Resistance and Ethereal Stride. The first allows it to give fire resistance to those riding it. The other allows it to take up to three willing creatures into the Ethereal Plane, essentially giving it a free escape option.

That alone gives this monster a unique position. On its own, this is just another slugfest. But when it plays support to another monster, it becomes an interesting challenge to address. Maybe the party has to continue chasing it and its rider as they hop between Planes to escape them? It still isn’t an amazing fight, but it’s better than it could have been.


This is a pretty mid-tier monster. Its lore is decent. Its stats make it a more interesting support creature. But the design is flat and boring. Even at its strongest, this monster is just okay.

With all that in mind, let’s put the Nightmare on the Best of the Bestiary!

  1. Beholder
  2. Death Tyrant
  3. Mind Flayer
  4. Dragon Turtle
  5. Mummy/Mummy Lord
  6. Nagas (all three of ’em)
  7. Green Dragons
  8. Red Dragons
  9. Blue Dragons
  10. Black Dragons
  11. White Dragons
  12. Silver Dragons
  13. Couatl
  14. Behir
  15. Aboleth
  16. Sea Hag
  17. Lamia
  18. Bronze Dragons
  19. Brass Dragons
  20. Copper Dragons
  21. Gold Dragons
  22. Chuul
  23. Kuo-Toa
  24. Gibbering Mouther
  25. Kraken
  26. Intellect Devourer
  27. Chimera
  28. Death Knight
  29. Fomorian
  30. Bone Devil
  31. Dracolich
  32. Faerie Dragon
  33. Lich
  34. Magmin
  35. Kobold
  36. Kenku
  37. Hobgoblins
  38. Night Hag
  39. Green Hag
  40. Ankheg
  41. Hook Horror
  42. Storm Giant
  43. Hill Giant
  44. Empyrean
  45. Efreeti
  46. Grimlock
  47. Minotaur
  48. Dao
  49. Cloud Giant
  50. Manticore
  51. Drow (all four of ’em)
  52. Shadow Demon
  53. Modrons (all five of ’em)
  54. Marilith
  55. Drider
  56. Aarackockra
  57. Azer
  58. Demilich
  59. Spectator
  60. Hydra
  61. Marid
  62. Harpy
  63. Werejackal
  64. Half-Dragon
  65. Cambion
  66. Fire Giant
  67. Animated Armor
  68. Banshee
  69. Basilisk
  70. Yochlol
  71. Bulette
  72. Cloaker
  73. Darkmantle
  74. Doppelganger
  75. Ghoul and Ghast
  76. Ettin
  77. Medusa
  78. Pit Fiend
  79. Erinyes
  80. Chain Devil
  81. Bearded Devil
  82. Barbed Devil
  83. Spined Devil
  84. Ice Devil
  85. Mimic
  86. Djinni
  87. Merrow
  88. Nalfeshnee
  89. Glabrezu
  90. Chasme
  91. Grell
  92. Barlgura
  93. Horned Devil
  94. Balor
  95. Shadow Dragon
  96. Myconids (all four of ’em)
  97. Werebear
  98. Lizardfolk
  99. Vrock
  100. Dretch
  101. Gnolls (all three)
  102. Goristro
  103. Hezrou
  104. Manes
  105. Frost Giant
  106. Weretiger
  107. Werewolf
  108. Duergar
  109. Quasit
  110. Dryad
  111. Flumph
  112. Goblin
  113. Nightmare <—————
  114. Wereboar
  115. Wererat
  116. Githyanki
  117. Planetar
  118. Imp
  119. Clay Golem
  120. Flameskull
  121. Displacer Beast
  122. Carrion Crawler
  123. Githzerai
  124. Grick
  125. Invisible Stalker
  126. Rug of Smothering
  127. Bugbear Chief
  128. Bugbear
  129. Flesh Golem
  130. Vine Blight
  131. Twig Blight
  132. Needle Blight
  133. Mephits (all six of ’em)
  134. Bullywug
  135. Hellhound
  136. Ettercap
  137. Gas Spore
  138. Cockatrice
  139. Lemure
  140. Homonculus
  141. Merfolk
  142. Solar
  143. Deva
  144. Gorgon
  145. Hippogriff
  146. Griffon
  147. Cyclops
  148. Centaur
  149. Ghost
  150. Fire Elemental
  151. Water Elemental
  152. Air Elemental
  153. Stone Giant
  154. Deep Gnome
  155. Dinosaurs (All six of them)
  156. Iron Golem
  157. Stone Golem
  158. Earth Elemental
  159. Galeb Duhr
  160. Helmed Horror
  161. Flying Sword
  162. Crawling Claw
  163. Violet Fungus
  164. Shrieker
  165. Gargoyle

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