Ghost Traits (Ghostwalk Campaign only)
Although ghosts do not need to breathe, eat, or do most other things that living beings do, every ghost has an unusual attachment to one aspect of its former life. Ghosts feel strange urges to eat food they enjoyed when living, to visit people or places they knew in life, or to engage in the same recreational activities they did when living. These urges are not magically induced and are not a curse or a disease that can be removed with magic (although a calm emotions spell suppresses the urge for the duration), but simply an extension and exaggeration of part of the ghost's actual life. These urges, called ghost traits by the people of Manifest, usually take the following forms.
- Auditory: The ghost has an unusual attachment to a particular kind of sound or noise. A ghost might need to hear the pounding surf, a particular musical instrument played at great volume, or people arguing. Some evil ghosts have acquired a need to hear people screaming, so they kidnap and torture victims to meet this need. Other ghosts have a taste for magically created sounds and hire illusionists or use magic items to create these exotic sounds.
- Hunger: The ghost fixates on food and needs to eat a significant meal that it can actually taste on a regular basis. Because ghost senses are dulled, this is usually strong and spicy fare and the same kind of food the person enjoyed when alive. For example, a ghost who was fond of steaks in life might feel the need to eat a steak laden with peppers and garlic and marinated in a strong wine. In some cases, the craving is for exotic foods, such as displacer beast meat, shambler leaves, or the fruit from spirit trees.
- Flesh: The ghost has cravings for sensations of the flesh. Different ghosts meet this need in different ways: - massage, sex, or self-mutilation are common the methods - but they always seek intense sensations to overcome their dim senses.
- Home: The ghost has an attachment to a particular building or place and must spend at least 8 continuous hours at that place to feel normal. The ghost may haunt the site (if it has appropriate ghost powers), guard it repair it, or perform any other obvious activity (the trait is about being recognized as part of that place, in addition to merely being there). The chosen site is normally one associated with the death of the person, or some place to which she had a strong attachment in life. People killed far from Manifest rarely acquire this ghost trait, or, if they do, they never make it to the city.
- Ocular: The ghost is obsessed with certain sights or images of certain creatures, places, or things. A ghost needs to observe the chosen sight for at least 1 hour without serious distractions (such as participating in combat, magical research, or anything that requires concentration) to satisfy this habit. If the sight is a person, the ghost may be thought to be a malevolent haunt or stalker. People, buildings, landmarks, or a kind of monster are all appropriate targets, as are dramatic visual events such as a popular play, a burning building, or an earnest lethal combat. Sometimes a surrogate obsession (such as a person that resembles the target or an illusion of a burning building instead of an actual fire) is satisfactory for the purpose of meeting this need.
- Personal: This trait is similar to the ocular trait with respect to a person as the target, except the interest goes beyond simply watching the target. The ghost collects objects the person has touched or owned, lingers near his home or workplace when he isn't around, dresses in a similar manner as the target, and so on. Rarely does the ghost seek to communicate with or harm the target, and sometimes a ghost has been known to come to the aid of the target if trouble occurs.
- Scent: The ghost becomes particularly attached to a particular scent. The ghost surrounds herself with that scent, places scented objects in her home, and prefers to visit places that have that scent. Since a ghost's senses are muted, this means that non-ghosts in the vicinity are nearly overwhelmed by the strength of the scent. Typical odors favored by ghosts are flowers, tea, mint, cinnamon, meat, and fruit.
- Thirst: Similar to the hunger trait, except that the emphasis is on beverages rather than meals. To satiate this need, the ghost must drink at least 1 gallon of a drink it can actually taste. With a ghost's dulled senses, this is usually a hot, intoxicating, or spiced drink, and some ghosts have developed an odd taste for conventional poisons (which are harmless to ghosts).
A ghost who does not indulge its trait at least once a week takes a -1 penalty on attack rolls, saves, and skill and ability checks. Upon indulging the trait, this penalty goes away and does not return until the ghost has gone without for another full week. A trait does not keep a ghost from being subject to the Calling, and in fact, if the ghost avoids indulging his need for more than 1 month, he must make a Wisdom check every day (DC 15 + number of weeks spent avoiding the need + ghost's number of levels in the eidolon class) or immediately succumb to the Calling.
A person who shifts between being a living person and a ghost (as some adventurers do) usually, but not always, ends up with the same trait he had the last time he was a ghost. When a ghost's trait changes, it is usually because the manner of death was closely associated with the ghost's previous trait. For example, a former ghost who had the oral trait or hunger trait that is killed by being swallowed whole by a monster probably would have a different trait upon becoming a ghost, and a former ghost who had the ocular trait might return as a ghost with a different trait after being killed by a medusa.
A ghost's trait should be chosen by the Dungeon Master to reflect something in the creature's life or nature. Rarely is a ghost's trait something repulsive to it or against its moral character. For example, a good cleric is not likely to gain a scent trait for rotting meat, and a teetotaler paladin is not likely to gain a thirst trait for strong wine.