Ghosts are the spectral remnants of intelligent beings who, for one reason or another, cannot rest easily in their graves.
Some ghosts go about their business with little or no interest in the living. Others, however, are malevolent spirits who loathe all life and seek to destroy it whenever possible. Although ghosts can often be driven off or destroyed, they return again and again until they deal with the reason for their existence.
A ghost greatly resembles its corporeal shape in life, but in some cases, the spiritual form is somewhat altered. Some ghosts look angelic and sweet, while others are twisted and horrible things, showing clearly the agony of the undead. There is often - but not always - a correlation between a ghost's appearance and its alignment. Assumptions are dangerous.
A ghost's behavior usually matches its life. The spirit of a covetous person, for example, might continue to hoard wealth even though it has no use for such treasures. Similarly, a ghost is generally tied to the place where it died, if the aforementioned miser had died in a robbery, the ghost might remain in the counting house, tormenting the new owner and all who do business there. This is not a hard and fast rule, though: Many ghosts wander freely.
Creating A Ghost
"Ghost" is a template that can be added to any aberration, animal, dragon, giant, humanoid, magical beast, monstrous humanoid, or shapechanger. The creature (referred to hereafter as the "base creature") must have a Charisma score of at least 8. The creature's type changes to "undead." It otherwise uses all the base creature's statistics and special abilities except as noted here.
Hit Dice: Increase to d12.
Speed: Ghosts have a fly speed of 30 feet, unless the base creature has a higher fly speed, with perfect maneuverability.
AC: Natural armor is the same as the base creature but applies only to ethereal encounters. When the ghost manifests (see below) its natural armor value is +0, but it gains a deflection bonus equal to its Charisma modifier or +1, whichever is higher.
Attacks: The ghost retains all the attacks of the base creature, although those relying on physical contact do not affect non-ethereal creatures.
Damage: Against ethereal creatures, a ghost uses the base creature's damage ratings. Against non-ethereal creatures, the ghost usually cannot deal physical damage at all but can use its special attacks, if any, when it manifests (see below).
Special Attacks: The ghost retains all the special attacks of the base creature, although those relying on physical contact do not affect non-ethereal creatures. The ghost also gains a manifestation ability plus 1d3 other special attacks described below Saves have a DC of 10 + 1/2 ghost's HD + ghost's Charisma modifier unless noted otherwise.
Manifestation (Su): All ghosts have this ability As ethereal creatures, they cannot affect or be affected by anything in the material world. When they manifest, ghosts become visible but remain incorporeal. However, a manifested ghost can strike with its touch attack or a ghost touch weapon. A manifested ghost remains on the Ethereal Plane but can be attacked by opponents on both the Material and Ethereal planes. When a spellcasting ghost is on the Ethereal Plane, its spells cannot affect targets on the Material Plane, but they work normally against ethereal targets. When a spellcasting ghost manifests, its spells continue to affect ethereal targets and can affect targets on the Material Plane normally unless the spells rely on touch. A manifested ghost's touch spells don't work on material targets.
Corrupting Touch (Su): A ghost that hits a living target with its incorporeal attack deals 1d4 points of damage. Against ethereal opponents, it adds its Strength modifier to attack and damage rolls. Against material opponents, it adds its Dexterity modifier to attack rolls only.
Frightful Moan (Su): The ghost can moan as a standard action. All living creatures within a 30-foot spread must succeed at a Will save or become panicked for 2d4 rounds. This is a sonic, necromantic, mind-affecting fear effect. A creature that successfully saves against the moan cannot be affected by the same ghost's moan for one day.
Horrific Appearance (Su): Any living creature within 60 feet that views the ghost must succeed at a Fortitude save or immediately suffer 1d4 points of permanent Strength, 1d4 points of permanent Dexterity, and 1d4 points of permanent Constitution drain. A creature that successfully saves against this effect cannot be affected by the same ghost's horrific appearance for one day.
Corrupting Gaze (Su): The ghost can blast living beings with a glance, at a range of up to 30 feet. Creatures that meet the ghost's gaze must succeed at a Fortitude save or suffer 2d10 points of damage and 1d4 points of permanent Charisma drain.
Malevolence (Su): Once per round, an ethereal ghost can merge its body with a creature on the Material Plane. This ability is similar to magic jar as cast by a 10th-level sorcerer (or the ghost's character level, whichever is higher), except that it does not require a receptacle. If the attack succeeds, the ghost's body vanishes into the opponent's body The target can resist the attack with a successful Will save (DC 15 + ghost's Charisma modifier). A creature that successfully saves is immune to that ghost's malevolence for one day.
Telekinesis (Su): The ghost can use telekinesis once per round as a free action, as cast by a sorcerer whose level equals the ghost's HD or 12, whichever is higher.
Special Qualities: A ghost has all the special qualities of the base creature and those listed below, and gains the undead type and incorporeal subtype.
Rejuvenation (Su): In most cases, it's difficult to destroy a ghost through simple combat: The "destroyed" spirit will often restore itself in 2d4 days. Even the most powerful spells are often only temporary solutions. A ghost that would otherwise be destroyed returns to its old haunts with a successful level check (1d20 + ghost's level or HD) against DC 16. As a rule, the only way to get rid of a ghost for sure is to determine the reason for its existence and set right whatever prevents it from resting in peace. The exact means varies with each spirit and may require a good deal of research.
Turn Resistance (Ex): A ghost has +4 turn resistance.
Saves: Same as the base creature
Abilities: Same as the base creature, except that the ghost has no Constitution score, and its Charisma score increases by +4.
Skills: Ghosts receive a +8 racial bonus to Hide, Listen, Search, and Spot checks. Otherwise same as the base creature.
Feats: Same as the base creature
Climate/Terrain: Any land and underground.
Organization: Solitary, gang (2-4), or mob (7-12)
Challenge Rating: Same as the base creature +2
Advancement: Same as the base creature
When a ghost forms, all its equipment and carried items usually become ethereal along with it. In addition, the ghost retains 2d4 items that it particularly valued in life (provided they are not in another creature's possession). The equipment works normally on the Ethereal Plane but passes harmlessly through material objects or creatures. A weapon of +1 or better enchantment, however, can harm material creatures when the ghost manifests, and enchanted weapons can harm the ghost.
The original material items remain behind, just as the ghost's physical remains do. If another creature seizes the original, the ethereal copy fades away. This invariably angers the ghost, who stops at nothing to return the item to its original resting place.
Certain ghosts in the Forgotten Realms setting have unusual powers not mentioned above. Additional ghostly powers are described below.
Special Attacks: if a special attack allows a saving throw, the DC is 10 + 1/2 the ghost's Hit Dice + its Charisma modifier.
Chill Ray (Su): Up to twelve times per day, the ghost can attack with a ray of cold light. The ray affects a single creature within 90 feet; the ghost must make a ranged touch attack for the ray. The ray deals 2d6 points of temporary Constitution damage. In addition, the target must make a Will save or be affected as if by a slow spell for 1 round per each of the ghost's Hit Dice.
Deathsong (Su): Once per day, the ghost can sing a hollow dirge for 1 to 4 rounds (at the ghost's discretion). The song causes all living beings within 90 feet to become panicked unless they make a successful Will save. Panicked creatures have a -2 morale penalty on saving throws, flee at top speed for 10 rounds, and have a 50% chance to drop what they're holding. The song also creates a 10-foot-radius field that cancels all enchantment effects for the duration of the song plus 6 rounds afterward. Any physical attack made by the ghost while singing a deathsong deals triple normal damage.
Energy Drain(Su) : Some ghosts drain life energy, just like other undead such as vampires or wraiths. With a successful touch attack, the ghost bestows one or two negative levels (depending on the individual ghost).
Hit Point Drain (Su): The ghost's touch drains the hit points of its victim at a rate of 1d8 per strike. The loss of these hit points is permanent for the target of the ghost's vengeance (its killer or killers), while all others regain lost hit points as normal.
Withering (Su): The ghost's touch acts as a rod of withering, dealing 1d4 points of temporary Strength damage and 1d4 points of temporary Constitution damage with a successful touch attack. If the ghost scores a critical hit, the damage is actually permanent ability drain instead. A Fortitude save negates the effect.
Special Qualities: Some ghosts in the Realms have additional qualities beyond those common to undead and incorporeal creatures and the additional qualities listed above. These might include one or more of the following:
Spell Resistance (Ex): Certain ghosts have spell resistance equal to 12 their Hit Dice.
Resistance or Immunity (Ex): Ghosts are sometimes immune or resistant to one or more forms of energy, including acid, cold, fire, and electricity.
Magical Radiance (Su): The ghost can at will cause all magic items within 60 feet to glow with a cold, white radiance. The items illuminate a 5-foot radius and glow for 2d4x10 minutes.
Common Ghosts Of The Realms
These undead beholders are the objects of terror and awe, particularly among certain primitive tribes who worship them as deities. Their ghostly abilities include a corrupting touch bite attack and immunity to cold and electricity attacks. Some of their dreaded eyes retain their normal abilities: the central eye's antimagic cone, and the two eyestalk powers of fear and slow. Their other eight eyestalks have the powers described below. As with the beholder, each eyes effect resembles a spell cast by a 13th-level sorcerer but follows the rules for a ray (see Aiming a Spell. All rays have a range of 150 feet. Save DCs, where applicable, are 20 (assuming a ghost with 11 Hit Dice and 19 Charisma).
Chill Ray (Su): As described above.
Withering (Su): As described above.
Hold Monster (Sp): The target must succeed at a Will save (DC 20) or be affected as though by the spell.
Enervation (Sp): The target must succeed at a Fortitude save DC 20) or be affected as though by the spell.
Animate Dead (Sp): This works just like the spell, except that the doomsphere uses the ray rather than a physical touch.
Boneshatter (Ex): This attack breaks the bones or shell of a creature, dealing damage and reducing speed by half. The target must attempt a Fortitude save (DC 20): Success means he takes 2d6 damage; failure means he takes 3d6 damage on the first round and an additional 1d8 points of damage on the next round, as the broken bones deal their own internal damage. Incorporeal, gaseous, or invertebrate (including plants, oozes, elementals, worms, and mollusks without shells, such as squid or octopus) creatures are not affected.
Flesh Sear (Ex): The target's flesh is magically seared away from the bone, dealing damage as a Melf's acid arrow spell (2d4 points of damage per round for 5 rounds).
Unholy Blight (Sp): The target is affected as though by the spell. Good characters take 5d8 points of damage and are sickened for 1d4 rounds; neutral characters take half damage and are not sickened. A successful Fortitude save (DC 20) reduces the damage by half and negates the sickening effect.
Created when an ancient dragon is slain and its hoard looted, ghost dragons can only be laid to rest by returning its lost treasure (or the equivalent value) to the creature's lair. Ghost dragons have the special attacks of horrific appearance, energy drain (two negative levels), and withering. In addition, the ghost dragon has a special breath weapon: a cone-shaped cloud of gray mist that ages creatures caught in its area by d% years. The ghost dragon can use this attack three times before it must desist for 12 rounds to renew its energies. The size of the cone depends on the size of the dragon; see the Ancient Red Dragon for details.
These ghosts are the spirits of Master Harpers who died while engaged in Harper service that is left unfinished. They possess the deathsong special attack and the special qualities of spell resistance, magical radiance, and immunity to cold and electricity.
These undead, sometimes called "unsleeping guardians," are created by a powerful (8th-level) necromantic spell to serve as guardians. They possess the chill ray special attack and the special qualities of spell resistance, immunity to cold, and magical radiance.
These ghosts are the essences of Zhentarim wizards who met with a horrible death at the hands of their enemies or treacherous comrades. They remain on this plane seeking vengeance, and their worst attacks are reserved for those they hold responsible for their deaths. They possess the special attacks of hit point drain and malevolence.
Ghosts are the spectral remains of intelligent beings killed in the frostfell, particularly those slain by supernatural phenomena such as blood snow, lightning pillars, or the terrible storm known as the Howl of the North. Frostfell ghosts are much like ghosts elsewhere (see Ghost, page 116 of the Monster Manual), but they often possess unusual abilities not commonly encountered in ghosts elsewhere.
A frostfell ghost usually resembles a frozen version of the form it possessed in life, its body covered in frost, snow, and chunks of ice. Limbs may appear to be broken, the skin covered in bruises, blood oozing from the nostrils - whatever conditions existed at the time of the creature's death.
A frostfell ghost cannot leave the site of its demise, refusing to travel onward into the afterlife. Some remain in the material world to prevent others from suffering the doom that overtook them, appearing to warn travelers of the perils ahead. However, most frostfell ghosts are driven to take from the living the warmth and life that they lack, while others, riven into madness by the transition to undeath, spitefully seek to lure travelers into the same death that befell them.
Creating A Frostfell Ghost
Above describes many common powers of ghosts, including corrupting touch, manifestation, and corrupting gaze. Some ghosts created in the frostfell possess unusual powers not often found elsewhere. Additional ghostly powers are described below.
Special Attacks: If a special attack allows a saving throw, the DC is 10 + 1/2 the ghost's Hit Dice + its Cha modifier.
Chill Ray (Su): A frostfell ghost can attack with a ray of cold light. The ray has a range of 90 feet. The ghost must make a ranged touch attack to hit with the ray. On a successful hit, the chill ray deals 1d8 points of Constitution damage. In addition, the target must make a Will save or be affected as if by a slow spell for 5 rounds.
A ghost that uses its chill ray power must wait 1d4 rounds before it can use the power again.
Coldfire Radiance (Su): A frostfell ghost can manifest an aura of coldfire in a 10-foot radius. The aura lasts until the beginning of the ghost's next turn. Any creature within this area takes 2d6 points of frostburn damage, plus an additional 1d6 points of frostburn damage on the following round. In addition, creatures exposed to coldfire may contract coldfire ruin (see Disease).
Coldfire Ruin: Supernatural disease-aura, Fortitude DC 20, incubation period 1 day; damage 1d8 Con.
Frigid Touch (Su): A frostfell ghost that hits with its frigid touch attack deals 2d6 points of frostburn damage. Against ethereal opponents, the frigid touch deals no damage. Against non-ethereal opponents, the ghost adds its Dexterity modifier instead of its Strength modifier to attack rolls.
Special Qualities: frostfell ghosts often have one or both of the following special qualities.
Immunity to Cold (Ex): Some frostfell ghosts are immune to cold damage.
Spell Resistance (Ex): Some frostfell ghosts have spell resistance equal to 13 + Hit Dice. Increase the ghost's Challenge Rating by 1 if you assign it this power
Sample Ghost: Frostfell Ghost (3rd Level Sorcerer).
Savage Progressions - Ghost Template Classes
By Sean K Reynolds
Ghosts are the spectral remains of dead creatures that stubbornly refuse to leave the world of the living. Though many adventurers are stubborn, they are no more likely to return as ghosts than normal people are -- perhaps because adventurers often have access to raise dead and therefore expect to be brought back to life eventually. Nevertheless, an occasional adventurer does force herself into an undead state through sheer willpower when the life force leaves her body. Like all ghosts, such an adventurer must have a strong reason for persisting in an undead form. Thus, a player wishing to play a ghost character should consult with the DM to develop a suitable reason for the ghost's existence and determine appropriate circumstances under which she can rest in peace.
"Ghost" is an acquired template usually gained upon an intelligent creature's death. Such a creature can advance in the ghost template class and develop her powers slowly if desired.
The Ghost Template Class
|1st||+1||Ethereal, fly, ghostly equipment, ghost skills +2, manifestation, undeath|
|2nd||+1||Cha +2, lesser ghost powers, turn resistance +2|
|3rd||+2||Ghost skills +4, rejuvenation|
|4th||+2||Cha +2, greater ghost powers, ghost skills +6, turn resistance +4|
|5th||+2||Ghost skills +8|
Ghost Template Class Features
All of the following are class features of the ghost template class.
Ethereal (Ex): A ghost is an ethereal creature. On the Ethereal Plane, she is solid and uses the same natural armor bonus on the Ethereal Plane as she did when she was alive. Furthermore, she can interact normally with other creatures on that plane, and her attacks and spells function normally against them.
Like all ethereal creatures, a ghost is invisible to and cannot interact with creatures on the Material Plane, nor can material creatures harm her (but see manifestation, below). If somehow bodily transported to the Material Plane (with a plane shift or gate spell, for example) she can physically interact with other material creatures because she is solid, but she cannot manifest or return to the Ethereal Plane without magic.
A ghost is native to both the Ethereal and the Material Planes, so she is not considered extraplanar when on either of those planes.
Fly (Ex): On the Ethereal Plane, a ghost has a fly speed of 30 feet, with perfect maneuverability, though she can also move at same rate she did while alive. A manifested ghost flies as an incorporeal creature with a speed of 30 feet (again with perfect maneuverability).
Ghostly Equipment (Ex): A ghost normally appears with ethereal copies of the equipment and other items she carried when she died. This equipment works normally on the Ethereal Plane, but like all ethereal items, it passes harmlessly through material objects or creatures. A ghost with a ethereal magic weapon can manifest and attack with it, though her attacks are subject to a 50% incorporeal miss chance unless the weapon has the ghost touch property. This phenomenon works much like a creature on the Material Plane trying to attack an incorporeal creature with a magical weapon. These ethereal copies of the original items fade away if separated from the ghost or if the ghost is laid to rest.
The original material items that the ghost carried in life remain behind, just as her physical remains do. If another creature seizes one of the originals, the ethereal copy fades away. This loss invariably angers the ghost, who stops at nothing to return the item to its original resting place. A canny ghost character arranges to have her original possessions hidden in a place where they will not be disturbed, so that she can use her ethereal equipment indefinitely.
Ghost Skills: At 1st level, a ghost gains a +2 racial bonus on Hide, Listen, Search, and Spot checks. This bonus increases to +4 at 3rd level, to +6 at 4th level, and to +8 at 5th level.
Manifestation (Su): A ghost on the Ethereal Plane can partially enter the Material Plane at will. Doing so which makes her visible to creatures on the Material Plane, though she remains incorporeal with respect to them. However, she also remains partially on the Ethereal Plane, where she is not incorporeal. Opponents on either the Material Plane or the Ethereal Plane can attack a manifested ghost. The ghost's incorporeality helps to protect her from foes on the Material Plane because of the 50% incorporeal miss chance that applies to attacks from such creatures, but she has no such protection from foes on the Ethereal Plane.
A manifested ghost can attack with a ghost power (see below) that requires a touch attack or with a ghost touch weapon (see ghostly equipment, below). Spells cast by a manifested ghost affect both ethereal and material targets normally, except for those that rely on touch, which work only on ethereal targets.
Undeath: A ghost is the undead spirit of a slain person. Thus, at 1st level, her type changes to "undead (augmented humanoid)," and she gains all the normal benefits and drawbacks that go with that type. She no longer has a Constitution score, so she loses any Constitution bonus or penalty to hit points, saving throws, and skill checks, though she uses her Charisma score for Concentration checks. She also becomes immune to many attacks (including critical hits and sneak attacks), but she is subject to turn or rebuke undead attempts and is immediately destroyed if brought to 0 or fewer hit points (but see Rejuvenation, below). All of her Hit Dice (current and future) increase to d12s. (Rather than rerolling all her Hit Dice, just add 4 hp for every d4 she previously had, 3 hp for every d6, 2 hp for every d8, and 1 hp for every d10).
Familiars and animal companions have the normal reaction to the character's death. If such a companion encounters her as a ghost, it feels uncomfortable around her and refuses to continue its former association with her.
Ability Score Changes: The indicated ability score increases or decreases by the amount noted. These changes are cumulative.
Lesser Ghost Power (Su): At 2nd level, a ghost gains one of the following ghost powers. Unless otherwise stated, the DC is 10 + 1/2 ghost's HD + ghost's Cha modifier.
Corrupting Touch (Su): If a ghost with this ability hits a living target with her incorporeal touch attack, she deals 1d6 points of damage. Against an ethereal opponent, she adds her Strength modifier to her attack and damage rolls when using this attack. Against a material opponent, she adds her Dexterity modifier to her attack rolls only.
Frightful Moan (Su): A ghost with this ability can emit a frightful moan as a standard action. Each living creature within a 30-foot spread must succeed on a Will save or become panicked for 2d4 rounds. This ability is a sonic, necromantic, mind-affecting, fear effect. A creature that successfully saves against the moan cannot be affected by the same ghost's moan for 24 hours.
Telekinesis (Su): A ghost with this ability can use telekinesis as a standard action (caster level 12th or equal to the ghost's HD, whichever is higher). Each time she uses this power, she must wait 1d4 rounds before doing so again.
Turn Resistance (Ex): At 2nd level, a ghost gains +2 turn resistance. When she reaches 4th level, her turn resistance increases to +4.
Rejuvenation (Su): At 3rd level, a ghost becomes stubbornly attached to its new existence, so it is difficult to get rid of her permanently. Destruction in combat simply allows her a DC 16 level check. Success means that she reforms in 2d4 days with all of the ethereal equipment she had when she was "destroyed." As a rule, the only way to get rid of a ghost permanently is to determine the reason for her existence and set right whatever prevents her from resting in peace. As mentioned in the opening paragraph, the player and DM should discuss what keeps the ghost from staying dead and what circumstances would allow her to rest in peace before the character enters play.
Greater Ghost Power (Su): At 4th level, the ghost can choose one ghost power from the following list or two from the Lesser Ghost Powers list.
Corrupting Gaze (Su): A ghost with this power can blast living beings with a glance at a range of up to 30 feet. Any creature that meet the ghost's gaze must succeed on a Fortitude save or take 2d10 points of damage and 1d4 points of Charisma damage.
Draining Touch (Su): If a ghost with this ability hits a living target with her incorporeal touch attack, she deals 1d4 points of ability drain to any one ability score she selects. With each such successful attack, she heals 5 points of damage to herself. Against an ethereal opponent, she adds her Strength modifier to her attack and damage rolls when using this attack. Against a material opponent, she adds her Dexterity modifier to her attack rolls only.
Horrific Appearance (Su): Any living creature within 60 feet that views a ghost with this ability must succeed on a Fortitude save or immediately take 1d4 points of Strength damage, 1d4 points of Dexterity damage, and 1d4 points of Constitution damage. A creature that successfully saves against this effect cannot be affected by the same ghost's horrific appearance for 24 hours.
Malevolence (Su): Once per round, an ethereal ghost who has this power can merge her body with that of a creature on the Material Plane. This effect is similar to that of a magic jar spell (caster level 10th or the ghost's Hit Dice, whichever is higher), except that no receptacle is required. To use this ability, the ghost must be manifested, and she must try to move into the target's space, but doing so does not provoke attacks of opportunity. The target can resist the attack with a successful Will save (DC 15 + the ghost's Cha modifier). A creature that successfully saves is immune to that same ghost's malevolence for 24 hours, and the ghost cannot enter the target's space. If the save fails, the ghost vanishes into the target's body.
New Ghost Abilities, Dungeon #130
Corporeal Manifestation (Su): The ghost can manifest a corporeal form on the Material Plane. While using this manifestation, the ghost exists as a corporeal being on both the Ethereal Plane and the Material Plane simultaneously and can be affected and affect objects and creatures in both planes normally. While using this ability, the ghost retains its Strength score but loses its deflection bonus to AC and its fly speed and it may not pass through any object that exists in either plane.
Water Elemental Manifestation (Su): A ghost may not have this special attack unless it also has corporeal manifestation (see above). While using the corporeal manifestation special attack, a ghost with this special attack may transform into a Large water elemental as a free action at will. This effect functions as the shape change spell (CL 17th) except that the ghost may only assume the form of a Large water elemental, may revert to its corporeal form as a free action, and retains its rejuvenation special quality. This transformation applies to the ghost's form on both the Ethereal and Material planes.
Laughter of Madness (Su): The ghost can laugh as a standard action, affecting all living creatures in a 20-foot-radius spread. Affected creatures must make a Will save or take 2d6 points of Intelligence damage and 2d6 points of Wisdom damage. The save DC is Charisma-based. This is a sonic mind-affecting effect usable once every 1d4 rounds.