Dungeons & Dragons Online

You’ll never see them, even when its too late – History of the Invisible Stalker

Read the post and see…? the Invisible Stalker across the editions on Dump Stat

The Invisible Stalker is a criminally underused creature. Summoned from another plane, these creatures will complete a job you give them, but that doesn’t mean you should expect them to be happy about it. Wizards have been summoning these creatures since the early days of Dungeons & Dragons, and we can only imagine the intense hatred they feel for those abusive arcane power-yielding jerks. Revenge is sweet, however, and if they get the chance, they will pervert your words to gain their freedom. The job will always get done, but not exactly how you were planning.

Let’s try and take a look at the Invisible Stalker, though it’s going to be difficult since they're invisible.

 

OD&D – Invisible Stalker

No. Appearing:

Armor Class: 3

Move: 12

Hit Dice: 8

% in Lair: Nil

No. of Attacks: 1

Damage/Attack: 1-6

Treasure: Nil

The Invisible Stalker is first mentioned in the White Box Book 1: Men & Magic (1974) but isn’t presented as an actual monster until Book 2: Monsters & Treasure (1974). The creature first appears as one of the most powerful magic-user spells, the 6th-level spell invisible stalker. This spell allows the caster to summon an ‘extra-dimensional’ being who is, we can only infer from the name of the spell, invisible… and a stalker. When you cast this spell, you summon the creature and give it a mission to accomplish. It will then carry out this mission until it is destroyed or the mission is finished, at which point it will then return to its home dimension.

Looking at the monster’s lore, they are from a ‘non-dimension’ and are faultless trackers, capable of tracking down anyone or anything. This sounds great if you’re looking to enact revenge on someone or really bad if you’re the one being hunted. Now, you might think you could abuse this spell by trying to give the Invisible Stalker an impossible task or, at least, a very long task, like protecting you for a year from all harm. That’s one way to make your summoned creature hate your guts as they hate being away from their non-dimension… extra-dimension… place. We aren’t really sure the difference between an extra-dimension and a non-dimension, but we feel like that’s kind of an important detail to get right, especially if you are an Invisible Stalker who wants to get back home.

The longer the task an Invisible Stalker is tasked with, the worse off it is going to be for the summoner unless they are incredibly clear with their commands. If you tell an Invisible Stalker to protect your treasure from thieves, then they will pervert the spirit of your commands while obeying it to the letter. They’ll take your wealth and whisk it off to their home where they will then take good care of it, thus protecting it from other creatures since it's on a completely different dimension, one that might not even exist.

This extends to many other tasks, and the longer something takes to accomplish, the more likely it is that the Invisible Stalker is going to screw around with your commands until you regret the day you ever summoned it. Invisible Stalkers hold a grudge and hate being away from their homes, so make sure your tasks are quick and you thank them for all their hard work.

 

Basic D&D – Invisible Stalker

Armor Class: 3

Hit Dice: 8*

Move: 120’ (40’)

Attacks: 1

Damage: 4-16

No. Appearing: 1 (1)

Save As: Fighter: 8

Morale: 12

Treasure Type: Nil

Alignment: Neutral

The not-so-visible Invisible Stalker appears in the Moldvay/Cook Expert Set (1981) and the BECMI Expert Rules (1983). They once again appear alongside the 6th-level magic-user spell invisible stalker that gives some control over them by a summoner. They are from another plane of existence, which is probably better than being from a non-dimensional space, and are just as testy about spending too much time away from home as they were before. We get it, the longer we are away from our couch, the grumpier we get too.

Interestingly enough, the Invisible Stalker can be dispelled before it has accomplished its goal by a cleric casting dispel evil on them, even though they are neutral aligned. This expulsion causes them to go back to their native plane, the same happens if they are killed outside their native plane. To us, that just seems like a great option if we are constantly being harassed to go and kill someone or retrieve an item, just walk into death so you can get back home sooner. Beats having to listen to Wendrick the Wise go on and on about their master plans and powerful spellcasting abilities.

Of course, if you do decide to summon an Invisible Stalker, make sure to keep the mission at hand rather short. They’ll pervert the spirit of your mission, causing it to go poorly for you and you’ll only have yourself to blame for not properly wording your commands. The poor Invisible Stalker is just trying to do its best and only has your best interests at heart, especially if you are planning to keep it on your plane for a long time away from its invisible family.

The last mention of the Invisible Stalker comes in the BECMI Companion Rules Set (1984), which reveals that the term Invisible Stalker is a term that humans came up with for the race. Invisible Stalkers actually refer to themselves as the Sshai people and they reside on the Elemental Plane of Air. The Sshai act kind of like doppelgangers on their home plane, though they rarely do so with evil intents as they prefer negotiations to violence. They are often hired by djinn and other Plane of Air natives to act as spies or mercenaries, and some have even been known to cast a few spells. We have to wonder if a few of the Sshai spellcasters have been working on a summon magic-user spell to get some revenge on those pompous jerks.

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AD&D – Invisible Stalker

Frequency: Very rare

No. Appearing: 1

Armor Class: 3

Move: 12”

Hit Dice: 8

% in Lair: Nil

Treasure Type: Nil

No. of Attacks: 1

Damage/Attack: 4-16

Special Attacks: Surprise on 1-5

Special Defenses: Invisibilty

Magic Resistance: 30%

Intelligence: High

Alignment: Neutral

Size: L (8’ tall)

Psionic Ability: Nil

The Invisible Stalker can be found in the Monster Manual (1977) and also in the 6th-level magic-user spell invisible stalker in the Player’s Handbook (1978). This edition reaffirms that these poor creatures are from the Plane of Air and that they just want to be left alone in their home plane. You can also bump into them in the Astral or Ethereal Plane, though you’ll be able to see them so you won’t actually bump into them. When they exist on those planes, or if someone has cast see invisibility, then they can see the dim outline of something. It’s not specified what shape these creatures have, so maybe it's like a cloud or it is humanoid-shaped.

The Invisible Stalker isn’t totally screwed over if they are summoned by a spellcaster. Sure, they have to complete whatever task the conjuror gives them, and maybe die to complete the task, but they aren’t killed if they die outside their home plane. If they are killed, then they simply reform on the Plane of Air and are free of all responsibilities. They can only truly be killed if you head on over to the Plane of Air and kill them there, which might be a bit difficult since they’re invisible.

Of course, the Invisible Stalker isn’t exactly thrilled when they are summoned to complete some silly task like fetching the salt from the kitchen counter, but so long as it is a short task, they’ll do the task and then quickly go home without too many bad thoughts. Except to whatever magic-user decided it was a good idea to create a spell that summoned them, we bet they’d love to rip that spellcaster’s skin off.

If you happen to give them a task that takes longer than a week, you should be prepared for a rather annoyed servant. As the hate begins building up in them, they start twisting your words and begin finding different ways to ruin your carefully laid out plan. For every day, the Invisible Stalker needs to complete its task, the chances of it trying to mess up your mission and gain its freedom increases by 1%. Our advice is to make sure the job takes less than 100 days, or just summon a bunch of Invisible Stalkers, maybe companionship will make them more likely to stick to your plan. Maybe you can even summon a whole family of Invisible Stalkers as a type of work-vacation!

 

2e – Invisible Stalker

Climate/Terrain: Any

Frequency: Very rare

Organization: Solitary

Activity Cycle: Any

Diet: Special

Intelligence: High (13-14)

Treasure: Nil

Alignment: Neutral

No. Appearing: 1

Armor Class: 3

Movement: 12, Fl 12 (A)

Hit Dice: 8

THAC0: 13

No. of Attacks: 1

Damage/Attack: 4-16 (4d4)

Special Attacks: Surprise

Special Defenses: Invisibility

Magic Resistance: 30%

Size: L (8’ tall)

Morale: Elite (13-14)

XP Value: 3,000

The Invisible Stalker first appears in the Monstrous Compendium Vol. 1 (1989), later reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993), and we begin to flesh out, not literally, of course, the creature’s abilities and ecology. They don’t use weapons or strike you with fists but use the wind and air itself to deliver damaging blows, so just imagine what it’s like to get pummeled by a bunch of mini-tornadoes. In addition to being beings of pure air, they are also wholly invisible, so now imagine those mini-tornadoes are also invisible as they tear through your allies.

Of course, you could always convince your wizard to prepare see invisibility though, they may not even realize what they are looking at is an Invisible Stalker as the true form of these creatures is completely unknown. While on the Material, Astral, or Ethereal Plane, they only appear as shimmering air mass like that from hot air passing in front of cold air. Not the most helpful of descriptions that a wizard could yell out to their allies.

The Invisible Stalker still resides on the Plane of Air and very little, if anything, is known of their life there. They are still invisible in that plane, like most of the inhabitants, so their society might involve them bumping into each other a bunch and a lot of mumbled apologies to each other. Speaking of apologies, Invisible Stalkers have their own language, which is said to sound like that of a wind storm with booming thunder and gale-force winds. Luckily for you, you don’t have to speak air and storms as they all understand the common language, they just can’t speak it.

If you do happen to want to speak to an Invisible Stalker, like if you cast the 6th-level invisible stalker spell found in the Player’s Handbook (1989), remember to mind your words and manners as you are summoning them against their will. We feel fairly confident that Invisible Stalkers probably think that any job they are tasked with is stupid and asinine, so be careful. They’ll do the job you give them, trying to accomplish it until it’s done, they are dispelled, or they die trying, and are then reformed on the Plane of Air. If this job takes too long though, they have their own life they’d like to be living and will begin twisting your task, perverting the spirit of the one-sided agreement until you grow to regret your decisions, if you live long enough.

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Invisible Stalkers have resentment, and some an outright hatred, to humanoids, as they are the trouble makers who keep pulling them away from their Invisible Stalker families. If they happen to spot some humanoids traveling through the Plane of Air, they are more than happy to let out some of this pent-up aggression out and kill them. Then again, maybe you’ve been nice to them and somehow made friends with an Invisible Stalker, in this case, word gets around their communities and you are far less likely to get torn to shreds by howling winds and angry storms.

In the Monstrous Compendium – Mystara Appendix (1994), the Sshai return and is the name of the Invisible Stalker race, though only for those who reside in Mystara. Though, not even the other inhabitants of this world refer to them by this name, still calling them Invisible Stalkers. It goes to show you that giving yourself a nickname never works, and you’ll find yourself talking in the third person trying to make it stick. The last worthwhile mention of the Invisible Stalker appears in the Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix III (1998). On the Plane of Air, the Invisible Stalkers finally find some peace, living in the floating castles of the djinn. They aren’t hunters or trackers, instead, they serve as great sages and lore keepers.

 

3e/3.5e – Invisible Stalker

Large Elemental (Air, Extraplanar)

Hit Dice: 8d8+16 (52 hp)

Initiative: +8

Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares), fly 30 ft. (perfect)

Armor Class: 17 (–1 size, +4 Dex, +4 natural), touch 13, flat-footed 13

Base Attack/Grapple: +6/+14

Attack: Slam +10 melee (2d6+4)

Full Attack: 2 slams +10 melee (2d6+4)

Space/Reach: 10 ft./10 ft.

Special Attacks:

**Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., elemental traits, natural invisibility, improved tracking

Saves: Fort +4, Ref +10, Will +4

Abilities: Str 18, Dex 19, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 15, Cha 11

Skills: Listen +13, Move Silently +15, Search +13, Spot +13, Survival +2 (+4 following tracks)

Feats: Combat Reflexes, Improved Initiative, Weapon Focus (slam)

Climate/Terrain: Elemental Plane of Air

Organization: Solitary

Challenge Rating: 7

Treasure: None

Alignment: Usually neutral

Advancement: 9–12 HD (Large); 13–24 HD (Huge)

Level Adjustment:

We find the Invisible Stalker in the Monster Manual (2000 / 2003) and any interesting advancements that were made in the previous edition stall out. The creature gets a brief two paragraphs of rehashed information adapted to this edition and even loses a 6th-level spell specifically for summoning it and is now lumped in with the generic summoning spell summon monster VII in the Player’s Handbook (2003). Though, this does have the benefit, for the summoner and not the Invisible Stalker, that they can now be summoned by druids since they can cast summon nature’s ally VII. Again, this is only nice for summoners, not the Invisible Stalker who just wants to be left alone.

The Invisible Stalker is an amorphous creature and simply casting see invisibility only reveals a vague outline of a cloud as it begins ripping the flesh from your bones. If you cast true seeing, you’d be able to see a bit more detail and witness a roiling cloud of vapors ripping the flesh from your bones. If you are hoping to plead your case to the Invisible Stalker, luckily they understand common, though they can’t speak it, only able to speak Auran. You’ll just have to wait and see what they do next after you try to talk them down from killing you.

And if you are hoping to hide from an Invisible Stalker hellbent on tracking you down and killing you, well, bad news. They are really good at tracking down creatures, as it’s kind of in their name, and are some of the best trackers you can summon and then piss of with a task for them to accomplish when all they want to do is relax at home.

 

4e – Invisible Stalker

Large elemental humanoid (air)

Level 15 Summoned Creature

HP your bloodied value. Healing Surges none, but you can expend a healing surge for the invisible stalker if an effect allows it to spend one.

Speed 6, fly 6 (hover)

Keen Sense Aura 5 You gain a +5 power bonus to Perception checks while in the aura

Natural Invisibility The invisible stalker is invisible to creatures more than 1 square away from it

Standard Action (at-will) Requirement: The invisible stalker must not be grabbing a creature. Attack: Melee 2 (one creature); your level + 5 vs. AC. Hit: 2d10 + your Intelligence modifier damage, and the target is grabbed (escape DC 24). Until the grab ends, the target takes ongoing 5 damage and grants combat advantage.

Minor Action (at-will 1/round) Effect: The invisible stalker either walks, shifts, runs, stands up, squeezes, crawls, or flies/

Opportunity Attack (at-will) Trigger: An adjacent enemy misses the invisible stalker with an attack. Effect: The invisible stalker can shift 1 square.

We don’t want to bash on the 4th edition since so many other people already do, but we can’t help but feel insulted for the Invisible Stalker who is relegated to the Heroes of the Elemental Chaos (2012), never appearing in one of the three Monster Manuals! Then again, maybe the Invisible Stalker is actually excited that they haven’t been dragged away from their home in the Elemental Chaos, able to finally enjoy a bit of peace and quiet without having to do some wizard’s bidding simply because they are too lazy to do it. If that’s the case, then we are sorry to say that the Invisible Stalker is stuck with just being a summoned creature using the 15th level Daily Wizard Attack power called summon invisible stalker. At least the Invisible Stalker is only forced to stick around so long as a battle is ongoing, which makes it really hard for it to pervert any contracts it might have to sign.

The Invisible Stalker is a unique creature in that it is a summon and so doesn’t have any actions of its own. Instead, you have to spend your own actions to mentally command it to move, attack, or any of the other abilities it has listed in the stat block. Commanding the creature results in you sharing knowledge, but you have no access to its senses, so you can’t gaze through its eyes or hear through it. If you do summon an Invisible Stalker, it takes a portion of your own power, getting stronger as you get stronger. This does have the drawback that if it is reduced to 0 hit points, you lose one of your Healing Surges which is a representation of your ability to carry on in an adventuring day. You can avoid that outcome, especially if the Invisible Stalker is in danger of dying, by dismissing them earlier in the fight, we assume they get to go back home until you drag them back without first consulting them.

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Sadly, that is the extent of the Invisible Stalker. They no longer roam the Plane of Air, especially since it’s been absorbed into the Elemental Chaos, and there is no mention of it wandering the Astral Sea. They serve only one purpose in life, which is to hunt down and kill your enemies.

 

5e – Invisible Stalker

Medium elemental, neutral

Armor Class 14

Hit Points 104 (16d8 + 32)

Speed 50 ft., fly 50 ft. (hover)

STR 16(+3) DEX 19(+4) CON 14(+2) INT 10(+0) WIS 15(+2) CHA 11(+0)

Skills Perception +8, Stealth +10

Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks

Damage Immunities poison

Condition Immunities exhaustion, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained, unconscious

Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 18

Languages Auran, understands Common but doesn't speak it

Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)

Invisibility. The stalker is invisible.

Faultless Tracker. The stalker is given a quarry by its summoner. The stalker knows the direction and distance to its quarry as long as the two of them are on the same plane of existence. The stalker also knows the location of its summoner.

Multiattack. The stalker makes two slam attacks

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (2d6+3) bludgeoning damage.

The Invisible Stalker makes a triumphant return to the Monster Manual (2014), though triumphant might be the wrong word. In fact, we can’t even see it so we aren’t sure if it looks triumphant or just incredibly upset.

The Invisible Stalker starts its life as a lowly air elemental before a summoner uses some magic and transforms it into an Invisible Stalker, shaping it from a normal elemental into a specific form. Once summoned, the Invisible Stalker has one purpose. Hunt down the creature or object that the jerk that summoned it wants, and then maybe kill it or bring the object back to the summoner.

If you summon an Invisible Stalker, it will follow you around until you give it a quarry to find, though it doesn’t specify how long they are willing to wait for your orders. It could be that there are forgetful wizards who have summoned dozens of them, and because they can’t see them, forgot to issue their tasks and just keep summoning more of them to do its bidding, but always forgetting to issue a task. It’s rough being an Invisible Stalker.

These tasks often involve tracking someone or something down, and once it accomplishes its task, it then still has work to do. The Invisible Stalker is no longer released from captivity after a successful murder, but now must serve until the wizard dies, the magic binding it to the summoner dissipates, or something else happens, like the Invisible Stalker dying. Once it finishes one task, it must then return to the summoner, get another task, and continue fulfilling task after task.

This just goes to make the Invisible Stalker angrier and angrier. As you can well imagine, it’s not a fan of the person that summons it and is quite resentful of any job you give it. Long-term assignments make it angry, and while there’s no 1% anger increase per day, you don’t want to give it a year-long task. It will seek different ways to twist a job's intent unless it is worded carefully, but even then that might now save you. They have nothing but time to twist your words against you.

The Invisible Stalker has long been a monster relegated to the sidelines with little thought made about them. There have been a few bright spots where they have been given interesting lore, but that is quickly taken away from them. Despite it all, the Invisible Stalker still just wants to be left alone and live out its life, and those who try to control them are in for disaster when they task it with a job longer than a few minutes.


Past Deep Dives

Creatures: Aboleth / Beholder / Chimera / Couatl / Displacer Beast / Djinni / Dragon Turtle / Dryad / Flumph / Frost Giant / Gelatinous Cube / Ghoul / Giff / Gith / Gnoll / Grell / Hobgoblin / Kobold / Kraken / Kuo-Toa / Lich / Lizardfolk / Medusa / Mimic / Mind Flayer / Nothic / Owlbear / Rakshasa / Rust Monster / Sahuagin / Scarecrow / Shadar-Kai / Umber Hulk / Vampire / Werewolf / Xorn
Class: Barbarian Class / Cleric Class / Wizard Class
Spells: Fireball Spell / Lost Spells / Named Spells / Quest Spells / Wish Spell
Other: The History of Bigby / The History of the Blood War / The History of the Raven Queen / The History of Vecna

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