Ghostwalk and the ecology of Ghosts

"And if I die I'll see you in Manifest before I go."
The Book-House: Find the Ghostwalk book.

Moderator: Big Mac

Post Reply
User avatar
Havard
Dragon Turtle
Posts: 20183
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 7:32 pm
Gender: male
Location: Norway
Contact:

Ghostwalk and the ecology of Ghosts

Post by Havard » Sun Oct 06, 2019 11:01 pm

What are the best resources to D&D Ghosts? Does Ghostwalk add any important lore to Ghosts that can be brought into other settings?

-Havard

Aliases: Håvard Frosta, Havard Blackmoor, Blackmoorian, Dragon Turtle etc
Where to find me on the Web
The Comeback Inn - My Blackmoor Forum
The Blackmoor Blog
THRESHOLD Magazine - The Mystara Fanzine
My Articles at the Vaults of Pandius
Moderator of the Mystara, Blackmoor and Thunder Rift forums.
My moderator voice is
GREEN.

User avatar
Seethyr
Couatl
Posts: 1401
Joined: Thu Jun 10, 2010 1:07 am
Gender: male
Location: The City of Gold

Re: Ghostwalk and the ecology of Ghosts

Post by Seethyr » Mon Oct 07, 2019 2:13 am

Havard wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 11:01 pm
What are the best resources to D&D Ghosts? Does Ghostwalk add any important lore to Ghosts that can be brought into other settings?

-Havard
I really get the feeling that ghosts of Ghostwalk and ghosts of every other setting are very different things. Firstly, I’ve never even heard the concept of ectoplasm being mentioned anywhere outside of Ghostwalk. I think the world where Ghostwalk is set just has a wholly unique understanding of death and i death that doesn’t apply much to other worlds. Of course you could set Manifest somewhere else, but I get the feeling that even then the ghosting would be a local phenomena.
Follow the Maztica (Aztez/Maya) and Anchorome (Indigenous North America) Campaigns on DMsGuild!

The Maztica Campaign
The Anchorome Campaign

User avatar
Big Mac
Giant Space Hamster
Posts: 25239
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Gender: male
Location: London UK
Contact:

Re: Ghostwalk and the ecology of Ghosts

Post by Big Mac » Mon Oct 07, 2019 12:31 pm

Seethyr wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 2:13 am
Havard wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 11:01 pm
What are the best resources to D&D Ghosts? Does Ghostwalk add any important lore to Ghosts that can be brought into other settings?
I really get the feeling that ghosts of Ghostwalk and ghosts of every other setting are very different things.
They are different things.

A ghost in a regular D&D setting is an undead, while a ghost in Ghostwalk is just dead (not undead).

In a regular D&D campaign, most dead people go straight to the afterlife and ghosts form when something disrupts that natural process. In Ghostwalk, all humanoids turn into ghosts when they die. Moving onto the afterlife (which is called the True Afterlife in Ghostwalk) is something that ghosts do after they finish any business they have on the living world...or if they succumb to the Calling (a force that drags them over to the True Afterlife).

What is called a "ghost" in other D&D worlds does exist in the Ghostwalk campaign setting, but it is very rare (because a soul that has a desire to come back and get revenge can do that by arriving in Manifest, getting brought back to life and going off to do whatever it needs to). But they do exist. They are called "undead haunts".

So you could look at how undead haunts work in Ghostwalk, and compare that to other D&D campaign settings...

...or you could compare undead haunts with ghosts (in Ghostwalk) to see if some Ghostwalk ghost abilities (and items) could be used by ghosts (of the "undead haunt" type) elsewhere.

Either way, there is still a discussion to be had (albeit a slightly more complex one).
Seethyr wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 2:13 am
Firstly, I’ve never even heard the concept of ectoplasm being mentioned anywhere outside of Ghostwalk.
It does exist, but I've only seen it in the psionics rules and they use a different Transitive Plane to Ghostwalk, as the source of ectoplasm. But the principle is similar. You could make ectoplasm into something that can be created by ghosts (and undead haunts/non-Ghostwalk ghosts) from any Transitive Plane.

I've got a topic called What is ectoplasm and where can it be found? that has a discussion of how it works.
Seethyr wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 2:13 am
I think the world where Ghostwalk is set just has a wholly unique understanding of death and i death that doesn’t apply much to other worlds.
I personally think that Ghostwalk works best as a standalone world, with other unusual abilities scaled back so that PCs have enough spare Feat slots to spend on Ghostwalk Feats, but it was sold as something that could be added to any other campaign world.

Page 134 has a small section telling you that you can alter the cosmology of another world to get Ghostwalk to fit there. So you have to be prepared to do that. There is also a sidebar that shows how to connect Ghostwalk to Forgotten Realms and Greyhawk. So they have canon ways for Ghostwalk to be added.

There are a few topics around the forums (with redirects in this one) that discuss how to add Ghostwalk to specific settings. I think that each campaign setting needs it's own bespoke solution to this.

(For Spelljammer, I would create "Mannifestspace" around the Ghostwalk world, rather than add Ghostwalk to something else. So I'm more keen to expand Ghostwalk than adapt it.)
Seethyr wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 2:13 am
Of course you could set Manifest somewhere else, but I get the feeling that even then the ghosting would be a local phenomena.
The thing with Manifest is that it is a Manifest Zone (and I am using an Eberron term there - it works the same).

An area around The Grand Portal (the portal that leads to the True Afterlife) causes all ghosts to manifest. What that means is that ghosts in Manifest (and the immediate area) become solid. Because they are solid they can do anything a living person can do.

So, yes, you could put a similar zone in any other campaign setting. If you put Manifest in Eberron, you wouldn't even need to explain what it was in great detal, as Eberron players already know about the various things that happen in other Manifest Zones.

The other effect of Manifest is that people can be resurrected without the draining costs, that happen elsewhere. So if your PC dies and goes to Manifest, it will cost less to be brought back to life. (This means that people will carry the dead bodies of their friends to Manifest and go looking to see if their friend is still there.)

That aspect of Manifest would mean that both the PCs and any NPCs they kill in an adventure could come back. (There are assassins that "get rid of people" by killing them, then killing their ghost and then making sure the body gets sent through the Gate of Souls, so that there is nothing to use to bring them back.)

The other aspect of Manifest that may be useful in another campaign setting is that sometimes people want to pass onto the True Afterlife, but hang around in Manifest to get some unfinished business done.

This means that PCs could actually be hired by someone who has been murdered and ask the kill or capture the people who murdered them. Or a dead person might ask the PCs to find their body and take some sort of special item to someone they want to have it.

You also have the ability to pass impossible information to the PCs. If everyone in a village is murdered nobody can tell the PCs who did it in a normal campaign. In Ghostwalk there can be plenty of first-hand witnesses to every murder.
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
Please join The Piazza's Facebook group, The Piazza's Facebook page and follow The Piazza's Twitter feed so that you can stay in touch.
Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project - Spelljammer Wiki - The Spelljammer Image Group.
Moderator of the Spelljammer forum (and administrator). My moderator voice is green.

User avatar
Big Mac
Giant Space Hamster
Posts: 25239
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Gender: male
Location: London UK
Contact:

Re: Ghostwalk and the ecology of Ghosts

Post by Big Mac » Mon Oct 07, 2019 12:42 pm

Havard wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 11:01 pm
What are the best resources to D&D Ghosts? Does Ghostwalk add any important lore to Ghosts that can be brought into other settings?
As I already said to Seethyr, what is called a ghost in other D&D campaign settings, is called an undead haunt in Ghostwalk. So they are not the same sort of ghost.

But, from an ecology point of view, you have monsters like Ectoplasmic Vermin and Ghosteaters that tie into Ghostwalk's ghosts. I think you could have these creatures eat undead haunts (i.e. non-Ghostwalk ghosts).

And if you look at the different "Paths" that Ghost Feats take (Corrupter, Dominator, Haunt, etc) they are somewhat similar to the way that psionics has several branches.

One way to use Ghostwalk ghosts alongside regular D&D ghosts (undead haunts) would be to say that the ghosts of psionic characters become different types of ghosts.

There are two Ghost Character Classes: Eidolon and Eidoloncer. The Eidolon focuses on the Ghost Feats, while the Eidoloncer is a generic ghost spellcaster class.

So I think that you could ignore the name "ghost" and treat Eidolons as "psionic ghosts" and Eidoloncer as "spellcasting ghosts".

If you did that, then you could look at the Feats and other abilities and build the Eidolon and Eidoloncer for earlier D&D rules, if you wanted to.

If you want to make it a playable thing, then you need to create two new "ghost classes" and have the abilities stack with what PCs already have.

If players come back to life, they can convert those ghost levels to normal levels. If they try to keep levelling as a ghost (instead of being restored to life) they will eventually become so powerful as a ghost that the Calling will get them.
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
Please join The Piazza's Facebook group, The Piazza's Facebook page and follow The Piazza's Twitter feed so that you can stay in touch.
Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project - Spelljammer Wiki - The Spelljammer Image Group.
Moderator of the Spelljammer forum (and administrator). My moderator voice is green.

Post Reply

Return to “Ghostwalk”