The frightener is a desert dwelling monster. It is nearly invincible, especially when controlled by a mage. Even witchers prefer to avoid fighting this beast if they can. Fortunately, this overgrown insect is sensitive to loud noises which deafen it and render it defenceless.
The first frightener was created by the mage Dagobert Sulla. After creating the beast, he is said to have exclaimed "What have I done?" and promptly destroyed it.
| I looked for the words "Witcher urgently needed". And then there would be a sacred site, a dungeon, necropolis or ruins, forest ravine or grotto hidden in the mountains, full of bones and stinking carcasses. Some creatures which lived to kill, out of hunger, for pleasure, or invoked by some sick will. A manticore, wyvern, fogler, aeschna, ilyocoris, chimera, leshy, vampire, ghoul, graveir, were-wolf, giant scorpion, striga, black annis, kikimora, vypper... so many I have killed.
— page 116, The Last Wish (UK edition)
| "What are you talking about? What civilisation? I crossed the Buina a week ago and heard all sorts of stories as I rode through the country. Apparently there are water sprites here, myriapodans, chimerea, flying drakes, every possible filth. You should be up to your ears in work."
"Stories, well, I have heard them too. Half of them are either made up or exaggerated. No Dandilion. The world is changing. Something's coming to an end."
— page 159, The Last Wish (UK edition)
- "The first mage to create a frightener was the infamous renegade Dagobert Sulla, a diligent student of the Zerrikanian masters of alchemy and the supervisor of the Trial of the Grasses carried out at Kaer Morhen. Upon beholding the abomination he had created, Sulla is said to have cried: 'What have I done?' He destroyed the monster; his notes, however, survived."
- According to a conversation between Eskel and Lambert in the Prologue, Vesemir once fought a frightener.
- The Frightener is a character class in The Witcher: Versus.
Developer CD Projekt's characterization of the frightener taken from the monsterbook, which was enclosed with the Collectors Edition of the computer game The Witcher for Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic:
Sapkowski never described the frightener in detail, but does mention its name. And what a name it is! A monster called "frightbringer" certainly should not disappoint players.
The prototype of the creature was the praying mantis, a voracious insect famous for its cannibalism. The creature depicted in the black-and-white sketch was modeled after this arthropod. The colored sketch presents an array of colors — a common feature of dangerous and venomous creatures. Like the original insect, the frightener has a pair of highly developed forelegs — formidable weapons when it attacks the witchers of Kaer Morhen.
Based on that first sketch, we created a model that we used briefly in the game. Yet, as the game evolved, the concept of the frightener changed as well. We needed a more massive, armored creature covered with earth-toned textures matching the grey walls of Kaer Morhen, where the frightener spreads destruction. In the second sketch the monster's torso resembles that of a beetle. The beast has also acquired wings that were not there earlier in spite of its mantis origins. Animations involving the wings appear in cut scenes and during combat with the creature. Also drawn from the beetle are its thick, armored legs and the "fangs" that encircle its head. The mantis-like forelegs and head survived as they merged smoothly with the other changes. Lastly, the frigthener was given a new, final texture in shades of green. In this form it is ready to attack Kaer Morhen... and to die from the witcher's blades.
| "Visenna leafed through page by page, paying him no heed.
'Interesting', she said after a moment. 'Eleven years ago, when you were banished from the Circle, certain pages disappeared from the Forbidden Books. It is fortunate they have been discovered — and annotated in the meantime. Well, I am amazed you dared to use Alzur's Double Cross. I doubt you have forgotten how Alzur ended. They say some of his creations still roam the world, including his last: the viy that maimed Alzur himself, destroyed half of Maribor, and fled into the forests of Riverdell.' "