Nightmares are apparitions created by the Pyramids using the power of the Darkness, manifesting as past figures and enemies to exploit the worst fears of Guardians and other beings. First appearing following the discovery of the Pyramid on Luna, the Nightmares include phantoms of some of The Guardian's deadliest foes, including Crota, Fikrul and Ghaul.
Nightmares are drawn from the psyche of Guardians and other beings, appearing as fallen foes or allies associated with painful or traumatic memories. They resemble their living counterparts flawlessly and share all of their abilities, but are shrouded in a miasma of red-black Darkness that extrudes tendrils radiating away from the Nightmare at its core. Eris explains that the purpose of the Nightmares as a tool to manipulate and exploit the Guardians at their weakest; enough to turn to the Pyramids and their promises of power.
Though found across the Solar System, the Nightmares can be encountered primarily near and in the Scarlet Keep citadel. Beyond the Moon, they roost in Lost Sectors taking the forms of its previous enemy tenants.
Before the events of the Shadowkeep campaign, the Hive of the Hidden Swarm had experimented with various ways to harness the phantasmal essence of the Luna Pyramid and created a means to immunize themselves from its trauma-influenced abilities. Under the command of the Daughters of Crota, they even attempted to recreate Oryx, the Taken King as a Nightmare or even as a true version of himself; a necessary violation of the Sword Logic, since the Taken King was never succeeded by his killers. Unable to conjure Nightmares themselves, however, the Swarm opted instead to make use of the Nightmares conjured by Eris and the Guardians
Initially thought to be limited to targeting traumas related to Guardians, a week after containment efforts began, a Nightmare of significance was sighted in the Anchor of Light, intriguingly titled after Mithrax, the Forsaken as a fear. It is stated that the creation of Nightmares can reach across the Galaxy.
Nightmares are Minor, Elite, Major, and Ultra enemies that debuted in Shadowkeep and are primarily encountered in Lost Sectors and during endgame activities like Nightmare Hunts and Altars of Sorrow on the Moon. They 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 Nightmares, especially the ones found in Nightmare Hunts, have an additional mechanic that renders them intangible in a reddish-black miasma form after they spawn 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 quests (which can drop from bosses during Nightmare Hunts). Even certain armor mods equipped to Dreambane armor are effective in both warding and boosting damage against Nightmare enemies.
List of Appearances