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Ghost PCs

by Iacopo Trotta

Sometimes people die while they are cursed or leaving a quest not complete or being a prey to an unfulfilled thirst of revenge or whit the desire to protect their beloved ones. In these conditions the soul of the dead refuses to leave the body and a ghost is so formed. It is an undead which exists to reach a goal, the only thing which could give it the eternal peace it struggles for. This kind of character can be used as a PC if its background corresponds to one of those seen before and to distinguish it from the usual undead monsters it would be better to restrain its alignment.

Ability scores: it starts as a corpse but it retains the scores it had in life, so its ability scores range from 3 to 18 (considering a human corpse: if it was a demihuman or a humanoid you must consider the compulsory limitations of these creatures).

Prime Requisite: the same as in life: if it was a magic user then In, if it was a thief then Dx etc. If it is not known what the corpse was in life or it was a common human, then its prime requisite its St.

Independently of what it was in life, the ghost has the following class skills.

Alignment: L or N, only NPC can be C. In any case their particular condition of suffering takes them to behave at least slightly in a evil way. For a PC this can be done with good role-playing and maybe the DM can require a will power check (mean between In and Ws) when the PC wants to resist its anger against the living or incoming madness due to its suffering.

Weapons and Armours: no limits. Armours are used in corporeal form only. It has the same encumbrance limits as living character.

Hit Dice: it has the same hit points and saving throws of a fighter of the same level, but uses the same to hit table as a monster of the same HD.

Special Skills

Fear: seeing a walking corpse causes fear in living beings. Until the ghost reaches level 5 it will only scare the most timid NPCs (non fighting types as peasants etc. or minor NPCs not used to the physical and psychical rigours of adventuring life). From the 5th to the 9th level, everyone who sees it (except friends, allies and subordinates) must make a saving throw against spells or flee in panic (as for the clerical spell of the 1st level). Every 5 levels after the 5th there is a -1 penalty on the saving throw: so you get a -1 at 10th level, -2 at 15th level and so on.

Possession: this power is like the magic jar spell and can be used by the ghost once a day every 5 levels (so it can't use possession until it has reached the 5th level). It is to be noted that a L or N ghost will use this power only in dire circumstances because of the pain it inflicts on the living; moreover finding itself in a living being may let the ghost wishing to live its life again in this new body (may require a will power check to leave, at DM discretion) if the possession power is used too frequently by the PC.

Incorporeal Form: from 4th level onwards the ghost can take (whit its poor remains) incorporeal form like a wraith. In this form it has AC 3 modified by Dx and magical bonuses, it is immune to normal weapons (not counting those made of silver) and it can fly at 240'(80'). Its attack in this form is a chilling touch which causes 1-8 points of damage.

Ethereal Form: from 10th level onwards it may enter and leave the ethereal plane at will, without losing its normal vision in the prime material plane. In this form it cannot attack or be attacked by enemies on the prime plane except by spell which affect evil (like protection from evil, dispel evil and so on). It can cross walls that are on the prime and flies as in incorporeal form. To other beings in the ethereal it counts as being material of course.

Undead Control: it can be a liege (or pawn) as for the rules in the old Master set or in the Rules Cyclopaedia. L or N ghosts will use this power in self defence rather than build up an army of suffering beings.

Immunities: it has the standard undead immunities, but also their limits. It is to be observed that a ghost does not see in the way we do, but rather it feels its surroundings, so it is immune to illusions (and maybe it can feel invisible characters as well).

Undead Turning: at 1st level it can be turned like a skeleton and goes up one step in the turning table for each level gained. In any case it can do a saving throw against spells to negate the effects of the turning attempt.

Other Features: it may learn magic with the same progression table as a wicca-wokan or as a shaman (see GAZ 10 or the various Creature Crucibles), but of kind only. It has not restrictions on the spell it can learn. We may note that it is difficult for a non-evil deity to concede spells to an abomination as the ghost: it will do so only if there are valid motivations behind it or the cult of the deity. If the ghost is able to complete its mission (lift its curse, avenging etc.) its soul could finally find rest and the corpse can be resurrected with the right spells: in so doing it became the equivalent class with the same XP it had as a ghost.

Experience Table