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Psychologically torment Guardians

At war with:

The City

Average height:


Average weight:



Trauma-induced apparitions of past enemies and other figures
Black and red miasma manifestations with faint tendrils
Shimmering blurry outlines

Average lifespan:


Notable individuals:

Nightmare of Crota, Son of Oryx
Nightmare of Dominus Ghaul
Nightmare of Fikrul, the Fanatic
Nightmare of Omnigul, Will of Crota
Nightmare of Skolas, Kell of Kells
Nightmare of Taniks, the Scarred
Nightmare of Phogoth, the Untamed
Nightmare of Zydron, Gate Lord

Other Names:



"The Nightmares appear to be extracted from our very psyche—violent manifestations that wreak havoc, tormenting us with our past trauma. They tease us with a life we once knew, prying into our minds and attacking our most vulnerable points. This assault on our emotions is aimed to weaken us and our sense of purpose."
— Eris Morn.

Nightmares are apparitions of Darkness created by the Pyramids for psychological warfare; manifested as past figures and enemies to exploit the trauma and worst fears of Guardians and other beings. First appearing following the discovery of the Pyramid on Luna, the Nightmares include phantoms of some of Guardians' deadliest foes, including Crota, Fikrul and Ghaul.


Nightmare Veins circulating out of Crota's Nightmare

According to Hashladûn, Nightmares are described as the malleable creations of the Pyramid, as they are not alive but made of chaos, negation, and the raw things found existing in spaces between thought and fear.[1] Nightmares appear to be extracted from the psyche as violent manifestations that wreak havoc with grief and trauma.[2] Their phantasmal essences are also known to induce major psychosis among its victims; most notably the crew of the K1 project after they were exposed to an artifact from the Pyramid.[3]

Nightmares usually takes the form of a miasma of crimson reddish-black Darkness that extrudes shimmering tendrils radiating away at its core; often appearing as previous enemies of humanity in corporeal form or ghosts of former past allies; both which associated with painful or traumatic memories. Eris surmised that the true purpose of the Nightmares is a tool to manipulate and exploit Guardians at their weakest; for the explicit temptation towards the Pyramids and their promises of power.[4]

The Nightmares are found primarily near and in the Scarlet Keep citadel, which was built in close proximity towards the Pyramid. Beyond the Moon, Nightmares had propagated on other celestial bodies, roosting in Lost Sectors as its previous enemy tenants.[5]


Nightmares surrounding the Luna Pyramid

Nightmares are enemies that debut in Shadowkeep and are primarily encountered in Lost Sectors and during endgame activities like Nightmare Hunts and Altars of Sorrow on the Moon. They can vary in difficulty; such as Elite, Major, and Ultra, and drop phantasmal orbs upon death that grants players an "Unstable Essence" damage buff on all other Nightmare enemies for ten seconds. Nightmare bosses are often accompanied by two Major mob enemies that can respawn if destroyed, most often when boss health reaches halfway and if there are no current Nightmare enemies standing then.

Ultra-tier Greater Nightmares, especially the ones found in endgame activities, have an additional mechanic that renders them intangible with immunity to damage in an reddish-black ethereal form after they spawn additional Nightmare mobs; forcing players to clear them first to initiate the next damage phase.

Nightmares have an chance of dropping "Phantasmal Fragments" and even rarer "Phantasmal Cores" as a resource to craft weapons and Dreambane Armor at the Lectern of Enchantment, which are unlocked from Nightmare Essence weapon bounties (which can drop from bosses during Nightmare Hunts and randomly on the Moon). Even certain armor mods equipped to Dreambane armor are effective in both warding and boosting damage against Nightmare enemies.

Notable members[edit]

Greater Nightmares[edit]

Other Nightmares[edit]

Unique forces[edit]







  • In a few bounties when the Haunted Forest was created, it is implied that the Vex are capable of creating Nightmares of their very own known as Terrors. They are said to prey on our greatest fears[6] and Ikora even asked if they would create shades of ourselves.[7]
  • In an effort to create a puppet champion, the Daughters of Crota constantly resurrect the shattered Zulmak, Instrument of Torment by combining the phantasmal essence of the Nightmares with Zulmak's husk, creating the first hybrid of a Hive and a Nightmare.[8]
  • According to Toland, the Pyramid cannot conjure Nightmares from Hive minds. They require a human psyche: anguished, burdened, Lightbearing vessels. However, this seems to be contradicted by the existence of the Nightmare of Horkis, Fear of Mithrax, unless Horkis had previously encountered the Guardians before manifesting as a Nightmare.
  • Several Nightmares are effigies of individuals that are not deceased. For example, Toland exists beyond his physical form & Omar Agah's essence was transferred into an insect-like creature that now powers a weapon. This indicates the purely psychological intent of the Luna Pyramids conjuration of the Nightmares, and not, in fact, its ability to pull the spirits of the dead into being.
  • The creation of Nightmares might be connected to the powers of Deepsight.


List of appearances[edit]