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    Default Reducing the LA of the ghost

    Now, since reading Irregular webcomic I got this idea to roll up a ghost character, but immediately hit an obstacle. I didn't want this thing to be too powerful, so I thought "maybe just corrupting touch" or something like that, but no. The ghost is LA +5 no matter what abilities you choose or which class you are. I mean, with an LA like that of course you will play a caster and choose 3 abilities like Draining Touch, Horrific appearance and Malevolence.
    So I thought, why not change this? This is what I came up with without too much thinking and some rummaging through Savage Species and the core books. I also made some major edits to the first version based on forumite feedback.


    Ghost

    Ghosts are the spectral remnants of intelligent beings who, for one reason or another, cannot rest easily in their graves.

    A ghost greatly resembles its corporeal form in life, but in some cases the spiritual form is somewhat altered.

    Creating A Ghost

    "Ghost" is an acquired template that can be added to any aberration, animal, dragon, giant, humanoid, magical beast, monstrous humanoid, or plant. The creature (referred to hereafter as the base creature) must have a Charisma score of at least 6.

    A ghost uses all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here.


    Size and Type

    The creature’s type changes to undead. Do not recalculate the creature’s base attack bonus, saves, or skill points. It gains the incorporeal subtype. Size is unchanged.


    Hit Dice

    All current and future Hit Dice become d12s. Reroll hit points or give the ghost 6,5 hp per HD, rounding down.
    When a character rise as a ghost, it loses two character levels and adds two undead HD in their place. Therefore, a character must be at least 3rd level to rise as a ghost.
    Each undead HD gives BAB as a wizard, good will saves and 4 skill points.


    Speed

    Ghosts have a fly speed equal to their base land speed on the ethereal plane, unless the base creature has a higher fly speed. The ghost has perfect manoeuvrability.
    A manifested ghost is partially acted on by the material plane. When a ghost is manifested it hovers close to the ground, gliding along unconcerned with the hard earth or difficult terrain. While the ghost remains within 1 foot of a flat surface of any solid or liquid, it moves at its normal speed (it can even “run” at four times its normal speed). However, at distances higher than 1 foot above any surface, a ghosts speed diminishes to 10 feet.
    If a ghost possess a fly speed, it uses this speed (with perfect manoeuvrability) whenever it is more than one feet from a solid or liquid surface.


    Armor Class

    Natural armor is the same as the base creature’s but applies only to ethereal encounters. When the ghost manifests (see below), its natural armor bonus is +0, but it gains a deflection bonus equal to its Charisma modifier or +1, whichever is higher.
    If the ghost uses armor and/or a shield it works normally against ethereal opponents. It does not confer an armor or shield bonus against attacks from a corporeal source when the ghost is manifested unless the armor has the ghost touch quality. See 'Ghostly equipment' below.


    Attack

    A ghost retains all the attacks of the base creature, although those relying on physical contact do not affect creatures that are not ethereal. See 'Ghostly equipment' below.


    Full Attack

    A ghost retains all the attacks of the base creature, although those relying on physical contact do not affect creatures that are not ethereal. See 'Ghostly equipment' below.


    Damage

    Against ethereal creatures, a ghost uses the base creature’s damage values. Against nonethereal creatures, the ghost usually cannot deal physical damage at all but can use its special attacks, if any, when it manifests (see below). Also, see 'Ghostly equipment' below.


    Special Attacks

    A ghost retains all the special attacks of the base creature, although those relying on physical contact do not affect nonethereal creatures. The ghost also gains a manifestation ability plus one to three other special attacks as described below. The save DC against a special attack is equal to 10 + ½ ghost’s HD + ghost’s Cha modifier unless otherwise noted.
    For characters with spellcasting ability each undead HD increases caster level by 1, but does not provide other bonuses related to spellcasting, including extra spell slots and spells known. The same is true for manifesters and similar special ability users.

    The number in parentheses after the ability is the number of character levels you must exchange for undead HD should you choose it. This means multiple strong abilities are only available to higher level characters. If the HD requirement for an ability would later decrease, the character may replace the lost undead HD with appropriate class levels.
    If you would later gain enough class levels to qualify for a more powerful ability, you may exchange class levels for undead HD to gain that ability as part of the level-up process.
    Ex: A ghost wizard 8 with 3 undead HD (character level 11) has corrupting touch and telekinesis as abilities. When the ghost gains another wizard level (Wizard 9/Ghost 3, character level 12) it would be of a sufficient level to cast Telekinesis from its wizard levels. The HD requirement for the Telekinesis ability has therefore been reduced to 0 (even though the wizard may not have Telekinesis in his spellbook, or as a spell known if he is a sorcerer). The ghost chooses to exchange the now redundant undead HD for another wizard level, becoming a Wizard 10/Ghost 2.
    Ex 2: A Rouge 2/Ghost 2 with Corrupting touch gains another Rouge level and wants Draining touch. Instead of becoming a Rouge 3/Ghost 2, he exchanges a Rouge level for an undead HD, becoming Rouge 1/Ghost 4. He now has the abilities Corrupting Touch and Draining Touch.

    Corrupting Gaze (+1)
    Corrupting Touch (+0)
    Draining Touch (+2)
    Frightful Moan (+1)
    Ghostly Trickery (+0)
    Horrific Appearance (+2)
    Malevolence (+1) (+0 if ghost would be able to cast Magic Jar from class levels)
    Telekinesis (+1) (+0 if ghost would be able to cast Telekinesis from class levels or HD>=14)
    Tomb Horror (+0)

    Corrupting Gaze (Su)

    A 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 on a Fortitude save or take 1d10 points of damage and 1 point of Charisma damage for every 4 character levels the ghost possesses as the victims face melts.

    Corrupting Touch (Su)

    A ghost that hits a living target with its incorporeal touch attack deals 1d6 points of damage. Against ethereal opponents, it adds its Strength modifier to attack and damage rolls. Against nonethereal opponents, it adds its Dexterity modifier to attack rolls only.

    Draining Touch (Su)

    A ghost that hits a living target with its incorporeal touch attack drains 1d4 points from any one ability score it selects. On each such successful attack, the ghost heals 5 points of damage to itself. Against ethereal opponents, it adds its Strength modifier to attack rolls only. Against nonethereal opponents, it adds its Dexterity modifier to attack rolls only.

    Frightful Moan (Su)

    A ghost can emit a frightful moan as a standard action. All living creatures within a 30-foot spread must succeed on 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 24 hours.

    Ghostly Trickery (Sp)

    A ghost with this ability may cast the spell Prestigitation at will.

    Horrific Appearance (Su)

    Any living creature within 60 feet that views a ghost 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, a ghost can attempt to merge its body with a creature on the Material Plane. This ability is similar to a magic jar spell (caster level 10th or the ghost’s Hit Dice, whichever is higher), except that it does not require a receptacle. To use this ability, the ghost must be manifested and it must try to move into the target’s space; moving into the target’s space to use the malevolence ability does not provoke attacks of opportunity. The target can resist the attack with a successful Will save (DC 15 + 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.
    Alternatively, the ghost may choose to not take control of the target body after successfully using this ability, but merely go along for the ride as a passenger. As a passenger the ghost shares its hosts senses, seeing, hearing, feeling etc the world as the host does. A passenger ghost is difficult to detect by magical means, as the ghost is considered to be under a Nondetection spell with a caster level equal to the ghosts character level for as long as it acts as a passenger. The host is usually aware of the possession (they were there, after all) and can seek help in removing it. Unwilling hosts are therefore often possessed in their sleep.
    A passenger ghost can at any time attempt to take control of its host, requiring the host to make another saving throw against DC 17 (the ghost is already in there, you know). If the host succeeds on its saving throw, the ghost is forcibly expelled into the ethereal plane and cannot attempt to possess that host again for 24 hours. If the host fails its save the ghost takes control as normal.
    A ghost must have at least 6 character levels to select this ability.

    Manifestation (Su)

    Every ghost has this ability. A ghost dwells on the Ethereal Plane and, as an ethereal creature, it cannot affect or be affected by anything in the material world. When a ghost manifests, it partly enters the Material Plane and becomes visible but incorporeal on the Material Plane. A manifested ghost can be harmed only by other incorporeal creatures, magic weapons, or spells, with a 50% chance to ignore any damage from a corporeal source. A manifested ghost can pass through solid objects at will, and its own attacks pass through armor. A manifested ghost always moves silently. A manifested ghost can strike with its touch attack or with a ghost touch weapon (see Ghostly Equipment, below). A manifested ghost remains partially on the Ethereal Plane, where is it not incorporeal. A manifested ghost can be attacked by opponents on either the Material Plane or the Ethereal Plane. The ghost’s incorporeality helps protect it from foes on the Material Plane, but not from foes on the Ethereal Plane.

    When a spellcasting ghost is not manifested and 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 nonethereal targets.

    A ghost has two home planes, the Material Plane and the Ethereal Plane. It is not considered extraplanar when on either of these planes.

    If a ghost travels to any plane not coterminous with the ethereal plane, it will for all intents and purposes be treated as if it was on the ethereal plane. This means, among other things, that the ghost is corporeal and loses the ability to manifest when on such a plane.

    Telekinesis (Su)

    A ghost can use telekinesis as a standard action (caster level 9th or equal to the ghost’s HD, whichever is higher). When a ghost uses this power, it must wait 1d4+1 rounds before using it again. A ghost with 8 HD or less may only use the ‘Sustained force’ option when using this ability.

    Tomb Horror (Sp)

    A ghost can cast the spell Major Image at will, but only if it is within 150 feet of its remains. If the ghost is further away, this ability is useable 3 times / day.
    A ghost must have at least 5 character levels to select this ability.


    Special Qualities

    A ghost has all the special qualities of the base creature as well as those described below.

    Rejuvenation (Su)

    In most cases, it’s difficult to destroy a ghost through simple combat: The "destroyed" spirit will often restore itself in a few days. Even the most powerful spells are usually only temporary solutions. A ghost that would otherwise be destroyed returns to its old haunts with a successful level check (1d20 + ghost’s HD) against DC 20, rising from its burial site 2d4 days later. A failed check traps the ghost within its burial site until a spell utilizing negative energy have been cast on its remains, after which it may try again*. 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.
    A player character ghost should specify the conditions of their existence, subject to DMs approval. After these conditions are fulfilled, the ghost may no longer rejuvenate. In an open-ended campaign conditions may include burning the ghosts physical remains, destroying a specific item the ghost is connected to in some way or consecrating their burial site. In a campaign with a definite end in view, conditions may include fulfilling a blood oath, killing the BBEG or some other event coinciding with the end of the campaign.
    In an open-ended campaign, the endangerment of a ghost players remains or burial site can provide interesting plot hooks.
    *Spells allowing a ghost to attempt rejuvenation includes, but are not limited to: any inflict spell, animate dead, create undead, create greater undead, chill touch, enervation and harm.


    Turn Resistance (Ex)

    A ghost has +2 turn resistance.


    Abilities

    Same as the base creature, except that the ghost has no Constitution score, and its Charisma score increases by +4.


    Skills

    Ghosts have a +8 racial bonus on Hide checks and +4 racial bonus to Listen, Search, and Spot checks. Otherwise same as the base creature.


    Environment

    Any, often as base creature.


    Organization

    Solitary, gang (2-4), or mob (7-12).


    Challenge Rating

    Same as the base creature +2-5 depending on abilities chosen.


    Treasure

    None.


    Alignment

    Any.


    Level Adjustment

    None, the base creature pays with undead HD.


    Ghostly Equipment

    When a ghost forms, it receives Ethereal Copies (EC) of all its equipment and carried items. The equipment works normally on the Ethereal Plane but passes harmlessly through material objects or creatures (but see Mementos, below). A weapon of +1 or better magical enhancement, however, can harm material creatures when the ghost manifests, but any such attack has a 50% chance to fail unless the weapon is a ghost touch weapon (just as magic weapons can fail to 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. Needless to say, removing an item without permission in this fashion tends to anger the ghost.
    A ghost may acquire new EC items by having Material items placed with its remains, and may get rid of unnecessary EC items by having their Material counterparts removed from its remains. A new Material item must rest with the ghosts physical remains for 24 hours before an Ethereal Copy appears on the ghosts person. EC items have their normal weight when on the ethereal plane, and the ghosts encumbrance limits are still in effect. Savvy ghosts will therefore limit the amount of Material items present in its grave.
    Also, single-use Material items (like potions and scrolls) and items with limited charges (like wands and staffs) will reflect changes in their Ethereal Copies and vice versa. Therefore if a ghost uses an EC potion of Inflict Light Wounds to heal itself, the original Material bottle will lose its magic properties. If the ghost uses up charges in an EC wand the Material wand among the ghosts remains will decay slightly, losing charges at an equal rate.

    Memento
    A ghost may designate up to five EC items in its possession as Mementos. These items represent the ghosts most priced possessions and are given special abilities as the ghost gain power. However, the Material counterpart of a Memento does not gain any special qualities over and above what it already possesses. Designating a new EC item as a memento requires it to be present on the ghosts person and 8 hours of continuous concentration.
    At 4 HD and below, natural and manufactured weapon Mementos are considered magical for purposes of overcoming damage reduction and striking corporeal foes.
    At 5 HD, natural and manufactured weapon Mementos receive the Ghost Touch special quality. Armor Mementos receive the Glamered special quality.
    At 10 HD, Armor Mementos receive the Ghost Touch special quality.

    If a ghost had natural weapons in life, it may choose to designate its natural weapons as Mementos. For this purpose, a pair of primary natural weapons (two claws, for example) is considered one item, as is a pair of secondary natural weapons (two hoofs, for example). Creatures with more than two primary (or secondary) natural weapons may designate each pair as a separate item.1
    A creature with the ability to temporarily obtain natural weapons (from supernatural or spell-like) may designate these as Mementos even though they are not permanently present on the ghosts person.2
    1Ex: A Thri-kreen (four claws and a bite) may treat its four claws as two items and its bite as one item for the purpose of choosing mementos, totalling three items.
    2Ex: The aforementioned psychic warrior may, for example, chose the claws he gains by manifesting his Claws of the Beast power as a Memento, bestowing the appropriate special qualities on the pair of claws each time the power is manifested.
    Last edited by Norr; 2009-06-21 at 10:13 AM. Reason: Total overhaul
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Reducing the LA of the ghost

    Overall, nice changes. An idea: Add an ability that lets your naural attacks affect material critters. (Idea from BoVD, Shadow Demon)
    Last edited by GreatWyrmGold; 2009-06-01 at 07:57 PM.
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    Default Re: Reducing the LA of the ghost

    Look at the ghostwalk supplement.
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    Default Re: Reducing the LA of the ghost

    Who was that aimed at?
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    Default Re: Reducing the LA of the ghost

    I would assume it was aimed at the OP. But to elaborate, the Ghostwalk supplement has an LA +0 Ghost template. It's worth looking into, but I'm all for coming up with your own homebrew if it doesn't meet your tastes.
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    Default Re: Reducing the LA of the ghost

    Unfortunately I have access to neither Ghostwalk or BovD. I might pick up Ghostwalk though, the thought just haven't crossed my mind before.

    As for natural attacks affecting corporeal creatures a' la shadow demons, I'm not sure. There is the problem of natural weapons being unable to have ghost touch, so there's a disadvantage.

    The most obvious solution I see is to allow multiple corrupting touches as a full round action with attack and damage corresponding to the creatures natural attacks.
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    Default Re: Reducing the LA of the ghost

    When a character rise as a ghost, it loses one character level and another 1000 xp (like becoming a necropolitan, this to lower the base LA by 1).
    What if a character starts with this template? Do they just not lose this or do they still pay the penalty?

    If the ghost-to-be has levels in a primary spellcasting class (access to 9th level spells), the ghosts LA increases by +1 (total +3)
    If the ghost-to-be has levels in a primary spellcasting class(access to 9th level spells) (or equivalent) that has Charisma as their primary casting score, the ghosts LA increases by another +1 (total +4).
    Pretty sure there's something seriously wrong with this.

    You see, even though Ghost is stronger for a caster than a non-caster, casters are outright stronger than non-castrers, so that's basically the status quo.

    Additionally, you must remember the first optimization commandmant is "Though shall not lose caster level." Any caster that takes Ghost is literally self-nerfing.... and you're essentially saying "Self- Nerfing?! They can't do that! Let's make it harder for them to self nerf!" Yeah.... adding 1 LA for casters is a bad, bad idea.

    Then we come to the Sorcerer hate, once again you're punishing them for self-nerfing. Sorceres are 1-level behind wizards in casting porgression, and you're suggesting that taking a weak race that gives +4 charisma is unbalancing for them? Even with my first proposed change, Sorcerer's are taking a +2 LA race putting them a full 3 levels behind thier Int based comrades and you're saying that needs to be 4 levels because they're incopreal, flying and have slightly higher save DCS? Honestly, neither of those effects is particularly game breaking and both can be semi-replicated or replicated fully with spells.

    Both these adjustments should be removed IMO.

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    Default Re: Reducing the LA of the ghost

    1) If you start as a ghost you pay no penalty. It is assumed you payed it when becoming a ghost in the first place. Starting as a ghost will leave you with an ECL of at least three though.

    2) I can't argue with that. It would be better to improve noncaster ghosts than gimp caster ghosts. I'll make a quick correction there and then take a closer look at how to rectify this.
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    Default Re: Reducing the LA of the ghost

    I'm just throwing ideas around here, but what does people think about:

    Altering corrupting touch so that you can channel it through natural and manufactured wapons? This would allow noncaster ghosts to join combat without having to pay for ghost-touch weapons. It would also allow monster races to use their natural weapons on material foes as well as ethereal foes.

    Instead of adding LA, the ghost template could add undead HD. This would help with hp and saves, something high-LA (and low-level-low-LA) characters have problems with.

    Allow LA OR undead HD to increase caster level, but not spell levels and spells known. This would allow casters to not fall behind on damage, but still pay a price for some of the (optional) juicier abilities the ghost offers.

    Instead of losing X levels + XP when rising as a ghost, you lose a number of levels equal to the undead HD you gain when becoming a ghost. This means the basic ghost is available at level 3 and the more advanced ghost abilities being available to higher-level characters. This variant would of course come with the option to trade in character levels for undead HD if a ghost later wishes to choose extra special abilities. It also means you won't suddenly jump ahead of the party when you (un)die.

    Any thoughts?
    Last edited by Norr; 2009-06-14 at 09:07 AM.
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    Default Re: Reducing the LA of the ghost

    That's essentially the approach Ghostwalk takes, making essentially a Ghost class whose features are basically gaining basic ghost abilities and then you can customize your abilities w/ bonus Ghost feats, which are modeled after the optional ghost powers. Ghostwalk has 2 versions of the class, one basic version and one that additionally enhances your original class' spell progression. when you died and came back as a ghost, you could also trade a certain amount of levels in to gain ghost class levels to gain new ghost feats, which are only still available as long as you're dead. Not all that useful if you're raised again but, since you only used bonus feats for the features, you're not overly screwed, anyways.
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    Default Re: Reducing the LA of the ghost

    The necropolitan mechanic is a very confusing one.

    In this case, a modified 2nd level ghost would be an ECL 5 character before special abilities.

    Don't forget that a 1st level necropolitan is an ECL 2 character (they never "pay" fo LA as they pay a level but their ECL remains the same)
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    Default Re: Reducing the LA of the ghost

    That's essentially the approach Ghostwalk takes, making essentially a Ghost class whose features are basically gaining basic ghost abilities and then you can customize your abilities w/ bonus Ghost feats, which are modeled after the optional ghost powers. Ghostwalk has 2 versions of the class, one basic version and one that additionally enhances your original class' spell progression. when you died and came back as a ghost, you could also trade a certain amount of levels in to gain ghost class levels to gain new ghost feats, which are only still available as long as you're dead. Not all that useful if you're raised again but, since you only used bonus feats for the features, you're not overly screwed, anyways.
    Darnit, If I keep going like this maybe just picking up the ghostwalk template is a simpler way of doing things. But what the heck, if it's a doomed project it won't hurt to keep fiddling with it anyway.


    Quote Originally Posted by Realms of Chaos View Post
    The necropolitan mechanic is a very confusing one.

    In this case, a modified 2nd level ghost would be an ECL 5 character before special abilities.

    Don't forget that a 1st level necropolitan is an ECL 2 character (they never "pay" fo LA as they pay a level but their ECL remains the same)
    The point of paying a level instead of gaining a level adjustment is that when you are one level lower than the rest of the party you gain extra xp, thereby eventually catching up to your party members level-wise.
    This is because as a 2nd level necropolitan your ECL is 2. The necropolitan has no LA and therefore is not ECL 3 at that level.

    However, this is kind of a moot point since I'm getting rid of the 'necropolitan mechanic' in favor of undead HD with perks.
    Last edited by Norr; 2009-06-16 at 08:43 AM.
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    Default Re: Reducing the LA of the ghost

    Made a total overhaul of the template during the weekend. Any feedback offered is appreciated.
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