What is ectoplasm and where can it be found?

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What is ectoplasm and where can it be found?

Postby Big Mac » Tue Dec 20, 2016 3:28 pm

I recently met a Ghostwalk fan called Mark who was interested in mixing Ghostwalk and psionics, did a quick search of the Psionic rules in the SRD and noticed a lot of mentions of ectoplasm in the Psionics rules.

I know, from page 13 of Ghostwalk that ectoplasm vanishes after 10 minutes (unless it is preserved) so I'm wondering what ectoplasm is and where it comes from.

According to the SRD page for the Psion class, the Metacreativity discipline includes "powers that draw ectoplasm or matter from the Astral Plane, creating semisolid and solid items such as armor, weapons, or animated constructs to do battle at the shaper’s command".

The Genesis spell (from the Divine rules added onto the SRD) also mentions "astral ectoplasm", but I can't find it in the core rules part of the SRD.

I also can't find it in Manual of the Planes.

Has anyone seen a book that says anything about ectoplasm on the astral plane? Given that ghosts can eat ectoplasm to heal faster, I'm wondering how easy it would be to locate ectoplasm there.

The other thing that is odd (specifically about the Ghostwalk campaign setting) is that ghosts appear on the Ethereal Plane - not the Astral Plane. And page 41 says that "In the Ghostwalk campaign, ghost touch armors are much more common and easier to create." It also says that a "character wishing to create ghost touch armor may use the etherealness spell or the ghost touch armor spell as a prerequisit".

So I am wondering if ectoplasm is found on both the Astral Plane and the Ethereal Plane in the Ghostwalk Campaign Setting. :?

Has anyone got any thoughts about this?
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Re: What is ectoplasm and where can it be found?

Postby ripvanwormer » Tue Dec 20, 2016 6:11 pm

In the D&D Companion Set, ectoplasm was defined as the solid substance of the Ethereal Plane. A Guide to the Ethereal Plane calls this protomatter instead. "Concentrated ethereal mist." In the Companion Set, ectoplasm is also what ethereal conduits (wormholes) are made of, and the haunt (a kind of undead) has the ability to create a net of ectoplasm. "When first encountered, a haunt will normally start oozing Ectoplasm. This appears as wispy tendrils, slowly forming a net." This sounds very much like how ectoplasm works in Ghostwalk. A poltergeist is "a cluster of ectoplasmic tentacles." There's also a creature called a plasm, which looks like a skeleton made up of a combination of ectoplasm and elemental material (earth, air, water, or fire).

In Ghostwalk, ectoplasm is what ghosts are made of. It's a "slippery or sticky pale-colored goo" that, when shaped into a ghost body, has the same consistency as living flesh. Ghost blood is also made of ectoplasm. "Its color may be pale gray, light blue, light green, or pale yellow. Ectoplasm is ghost touch material and is either sticky or slippery at its creator’s discretion." The book also describes it as "a gooey manifestation of base supernatural spiritual energy." This isn't exactly the same thing as ethereal protomatter, and I don't think a ghost could simply eat the raw protomatter of the ethereal plane. Mostly the ectoplasm which is edible to them is going to be in the form of the flesh and blood of other ghosts, or the spiritual slime they ooze.

In the Expanded Psionics Handbook, ectoplasm is defined as "a portion of the astral medium drawn directly into the Material Plane." This seems to be identical to the "astral haze" described in the 3rd edition Manual of the Planes, page 47. "Certain spells (or spell-like abilities, or other powers such as psionics) may be able to twist and morph the astral haze, similar to the way the substance of shadow is manipulated by shadow spells such as shadow conjuration." This is how psionic powers use ectoplasm in the Expanded Psionics Handbook. Page 49 notes that the silver cords of astral travelers disappear into the astral haze after a few feet. Page 83 describes "bits of tattered astral haze" in the edge zones of the Positive Energy Plane. A Guide to the Astral Plane states that "everything there is a construct of the mind, composed only of mental energy." Ectoplasm, then, must be a manifestation of this mental energy, which explains why psionic abilities manipulate it. A Guide to the Astral Plane also mentions that "strange astral energies, invisible to a normal basher's sight and beyond the comprehension of many who can see them, flow through the void—occasionally making their presence known through some strange effect." This is also likely what the Expanded Psionics Handbook calls ectoplasm in the form that it naturally exists on the Astral.

What a ghost would find in the Astral Plane isn't going to be ectoplasm in the form they're used to. It's not going to be "pale-colored goo" unless it's shaped into that form through psionics. In the Astral Plane, what psionicists call ectoplasm is in its natural form simply a haze, like a thin mist that obscures distant objects. I don't think ghosts could eat that. Regardless of where the "base supernatural energy" that makes up ectoplasm ultimately come from (it may permeate the entire multiverse), I think it has to be shaped by ghosts before other ghosts can consume it.
Last edited by ripvanwormer on Tue Dec 20, 2016 10:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: What is ectoplasm and where can it be found?

Postby Tim Baker » Tue Dec 20, 2016 10:10 pm

Excellent post, ripvanwormer. I need to bookmark this for future reference.
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Re: What is ectoplasm and where can it be found?

Postby JamesMishler » Wed Dec 21, 2016 12:26 am

Ectoplasm is a major factor in all ghostly encounters in my book, Ghosts: The Incorporeal Undead.

Written for use with Labyrinth Lord, it is compatible with BX and BECMI, and readily adaptable to other editions.

It has 10 different ghosts and details 75 ghostly abilities, and has a whole section that combines those abilities with ectoplasm, together with ectoplasm-based magic items... it's fully slimed!

And it is 50% off through the end of the year...

Essentially, when a ghost leaves behind ectoplasm, that ectoplasm can be used in various ways to gain the use of one or more of the ghostly abilities that were used by that ghost. But there are great dangers... physical and spiritual... to using ectoplasm...

I can't say as to how compatible the system is with the materials in Ghostwalk, as I have never used or even read Ghostwalk...
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Re: What is ectoplasm and where can it be found?

Postby willpell » Wed Dec 21, 2016 2:30 am

Pretty sure the use of the same word in the two contexts is just coincidence. I wouldn't treat the material that an Ectoplasmic Skin or an Astral Construct is made up of as being the same as the "blood" in a ghost's ethereal body.
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Re: What is ectoplasm and where can it be found?

Postby Angelika Tatsu » Wed Dec 21, 2016 5:57 am

Yeah, it might be a good idea to differentiate with "proto" and "ecto".
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Re: What is ectoplasm and where can it be found?

Postby Big Mac » Thu Dec 22, 2016 12:31 am

ripvanwormer wrote:In the D&D Companion Set, ectoplasm was defined as the solid substance of the Ethereal Plane. A Guide to the Ethereal Plane calls this protomatter instead. "Concentrated ethereal mist." In the Companion Set, ectoplasm is also what ethereal conduits (wormholes) are made of, and the haunt (a kind of undead) has the ability to create a net of ectoplasm. "When first encountered, a haunt will normally start oozing Ectoplasm. This appears as wispy tendrils, slowly forming a net." This sounds very much like how ectoplasm works in Ghostwalk. A poltergeist is "a cluster of ectoplasmic tentacles." There's also a creature called a plasm, which looks like a skeleton made up of a combination of ectoplasm and elemental material (earth, air, water, or fire).


Wow. So ectoplasm has existed as far back as the BECMI Companion Rules? :o That's impressive.

It's interesting that Frank Mentzer put ectoplasm in the Ethereal Plane and the psionics rules seem to have moved it to the Astral Plane. But then I guess that these things are all real-world elements that could be put into various places in the D&D world.

Ethereal conduits sound like they might be fairly similar to Ghostwalk's "Ethereal Current" (the current that pulls ghosts toward Manifest and the Veil of Souls). I can imagine the Veil of Souls being a "drain" with ectoplasm flooding through the hole and into the Soulwaters. If the current is made of ectoplasm it would help back up the idea of a dead soul being able to gather together enough ectoplasm to create a ghost body in the ten minutes following the death of their physical body. (That ectoplasm must come from somewhere.)

I'm interested in Planescape, as the PS designers created links to Spelljammer, but I didn't buy it at the time. A Guide to the Ethereal Plane is excessively expensive at the moment, but I might be able to pick up a Print on Demand version of it within the next year or two. :D

I think the description of "concentrated ethereal mists" is pretty vague, but that sounds intentional. It also sounds similar to the phlogiston, from Spelljammer (although I know they are not the same, as phlogistion can not be taken into a crystal sphere).

Mind you, if loose ectoplasm in Ghostwalk vanishes within ten minutes, that would seem to suggest that similar forces push it out of Manifest's Material Plane. And it is interesting that it takes 10 minutes for ectoplasm to vanish and 10 minutes for a ghost (which consists of ectoplasm) to appear. That could just be a coincidence, but I wonder if Sean K Reynolds or Monte Cook intended the two things to be connected.

ripvanwormer wrote:In Ghostwalk, ectoplasm is what ghosts are made of. It's a "slippery or sticky pale-colored goo" that, when shaped into a ghost body, has the same consistency as living flesh. Ghost blood is also made of ectoplasm. "Its color may be pale gray, light blue, light green, or pale yellow. Ectoplasm is ghost touch material and is either sticky or slippery at its creator’s discretion." The book also describes it as "a gooey manifestation of base supernatural spiritual energy." This isn't exactly the same thing as ethereal protomatter, and I don't think a ghost could simply eat the raw protomatter of the ethereal plane. Mostly the ectoplasm which is edible to them is going to be in the form of the flesh and blood of other ghosts, or the spiritual slime they ooze.


It does look that way from the book. But it would imply that evil ghosts would hire groups of thugs to murder other ghosts, so that they could harvest the ghost bodies and eat (or sell) the ectoplasm.

I wonder if protomatter is only protomatter on the Ethereal Plane and the process of pulling it over to the Material Plane could be something that converts it into ectoplasm (with ectoplasm normally vanishing back to the Ethereal Plane ten minutes later and turning back into protomatter). :?

What I'm actually looking for, rather than just having ghosts pop over to the Ethereal Plane or the Astral Plane and munch away, I was looking for some sort of logical process where PCs or NPCs could go and harvest the ectoplasm needed to allow ghosts to heal at double the normal healing rate.

I suppose that one way to harvest ectoplasm (without resorting to cannibalism) could be to have a group of PCs journey into the Ethereal Plane and have them hang out next to the Ethereal Current and drag a random creature or monster out of the current. If they pulled out a person on their way to Manifest they could let them go, but if they pulled out the ghost of a creature, the GM could roll a random encounter and the PCs could try to kill the creature and get the ecoplasm out of it into containers that stop it vanishing.

ripvanwormer wrote:In the Expanded Psionics Handbook, ectoplasm is defined as "a portion of the astral medium drawn directly into the Material Plane." This seems to be identical to the "astral haze" described in the 3rd edition Manual of the Planes, page 47. "Certain spells (or spell-like abilities, or other powers such as psionics) may be able to twist and morph the astral haze, similar to the way the substance of shadow is manipulated by shadow spells such as shadow conjuration." This is how psionic powers use ectoplasm in the Expanded Psionics Handbook. Page 49 notes that the silver cords of astral travelers disappear into the astral haze after a few feet. Page 83 describes "bits of tattered astral haze" in the edge zones of the Positive Energy Plane. A Guide to the Astral Plane states that "everything there is a construct of the mind, composed only of mental energy." Ectoplasm, then, must be a manifestation of this mental energy, which explains why psionic abilities manipulate it. A Guide to the Astral Plane also mentions that "strange astral energies, invisible to a normal basher's sight and beyond the comprehension of many who can see them, flow through the void—occasionally making their presence known through some strange effect." This is also likely what the Expanded Psionics Handbook calls ectoplasm in the form that it naturally exists on the Astral.


If the Astral Haze and the protomatter of the Ethereal Plane can both be tapped into, to make Ghost Touch Armor, that could explain why it is lot cheaper to produce in the Ghostwalk Campaign Setting.

Using spells and/or psionics to pull ectoplasm out of the astral haze would seem like a good way for planewalking characters in the Ghostwalk campaign setting to "farm" ectoplasm. I don't know how long it might take to farm enough material (one pound is required per day by a ghost trying to heal at double the rate), but I think it needs to be a difficult enough task that Manifest is not flooded with ectoplasm salesmen.

I'll have to look out for A Guide to the Astral Plane going live on Print on Demand, as that is also pretty expensive.

I have the (3.0) Psioncs Handbook, but not the (3.5) Expanded Psionics Handbook (which is now fairly expensive :roll: ), so I might have to consider buying the second book.

I wonder if anything in PHBR5 Complete Psionics Handbook mentions ectoplasm. I think I've got that up in the loft. I'll have to go looking for it. :)

ripvanwormer wrote:What a ghost would find in the Astral Plane isn't going to be ectoplasm in the form they're used to. It's not going to be "pale-colored goo" unless it's shaped into that form through psionics. In the Astral Plane, what psionicists call ectoplasm is in its natural form simply a haze, like a thin mist that obscures distant objects. I don't think ghosts could eat that. Regardless of where the "base supernatural energy" that makes up ectoplasm ultimately come from (it may permeate the entire multiverse), I think it has to be shaped by ghosts before other ghosts can consume it.


Does it need to be shaped by ghosts? Or could anyone with the right psionic power...or a psionic device (or magic device) suck in the haze and convert it into ectoplasm?
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Re: What is ectoplasm and where can it be found?

Postby Big Mac » Thu Dec 22, 2016 12:48 am

JamesMishler wrote:Ectoplasm is a major factor in all ghostly encounters in my book, Ghosts: The Incorporeal Undead.

Written for use with Labyrinth Lord, it is compatible with BX and BECMI, and readily adaptable to other editions.

It has 10 different ghosts and details 75 ghostly abilities, and has a whole section that combines those abilities with ectoplasm, together with ectoplasm-based magic items... it's fully slimed!

And it is 50% off through the end of the year...

Essentially, when a ghost leaves behind ectoplasm, that ectoplasm can be used in various ways to gain the use of one or more of the ghostly abilities that were used by that ghost. But there are great dangers... physical and spiritual... to using ectoplasm...


Thanks for popping over and pointing that out James. That could be pretty useful (if not to me, then to others). :D

JamesMishler wrote:I can't say as to how compatible the system is with the materials in Ghostwalk, as I have never used or even read Ghostwalk...


One of the main "unique selling points" of Ghostwalk, is that players can carry on playing if their PCs get killed, because their PCs turn into ghosts ten minutes after getting killed.

The ghosts in Ghostwalk are different in Ghostwalk, in that they are not undead, they are something else. (Later D&D products came up with the term deathless. I suppose they could be described as being deathless, rather than undead.)

One of the things that ghost PCs can do with ectoplasm is consume it to increase the rate that they heal at. I'm not sure that ectoplasm provides Ghostwalk ghosts with other abilities, but perhaps some of the abilities that are in your book might fit in with the ghost feats and other abilities in the Ghostwalk book. :)
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Re: What is ectoplasm and where can it be found?

Postby Big Mac » Thu Dec 22, 2016 1:01 am

willpell wrote:Pretty sure the use of the same word in the two contexts is just coincidence. I wouldn't treat the material that an Ectoplasmic Skin or an Astral Construct is made up of as being the same as the "blood" in a ghost's ethereal body.


...and...

Angelika Tatsu wrote:Yeah, it might be a good idea to differentiate with "proto" and "ecto".


That's on way to go. Change one of the names and pretend they are two different things (or three different things if you count Astral ectoplasm, Ethereal ectoplasm and Ghostwalk ectoplasm).
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Re: What is ectoplasm and where can it be found?

Postby ripvanwormer » Tue Jan 03, 2017 12:45 pm

Angelika Tatsu wrote:Yeah, it might be a good idea to differentiate with "proto" and "ecto".


I'd call the stuff used in psionics "psychoplasm," since protoplasm has a defined, if archaic, meaning in real life biology.
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Re: What is ectoplasm and where can it be found?

Postby ripvanwormer » Tue Jan 03, 2017 1:18 pm

Big Mac wrote:Ethereal conduits sound like they might be fairly similar to Ghostwalk's "Ethereal Current" (the current that pulls ghosts toward Manifest and the Veil of Souls).


Not very. An ethereal conduit is a tube that connects the Prime Material Plane with the elemental planes. They channel elemental material back and forth, for example connecting the heart of a volcano with the Plane of Fire.

I think the description of "concentrated ethereal mists" is pretty vague, but that sounds intentional.


A Guide to the Ethereal Plane is actually very detailed regarding how protomatter works, what it looks like, how it's produced, and what you can do with it. There are three different kinds, none of them very much like Ghostwalk's ectoplasm. The only real similarity is in phase spider webs, which are spun from protomatter and sticky like ectoplasm.

It also sounds similar to the phlogiston, from Spelljammer


It's nothing like phlogiston. Protomatter is a solid.

It does look that way from the book. But it would imply that evil ghosts would hire groups of thugs to murder other ghosts, so that they could harvest the ghost bodies and eat (or sell) the ectoplasm.


That seems impractical, if ectoplasm only keeps for ten minutes. They'd have to keep them prisoner until they were ready to eat.

Big Mac wrote:Does it need to be shaped by ghosts?


I think that was the authors' intention. Making it more common will affect play balance.
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Re: What is ectoplasm and where can it be found?

Postby Big Mac » Sat Apr 01, 2017 3:20 pm

ripvanwormer wrote:
Angelika Tatsu wrote:Yeah, it might be a good idea to differentiate with "proto" and "ecto".


I'd call the stuff used in psionics "psychoplasm," since protoplasm has a defined, if archaic, meaning in real life biology.


That's a great suggestion, if someone wants to use psionics with Ghostwalk, but keep the two things separate.

But I'm quite liking the way that some of six paths of ghost powers line up well with the six disciplines of psionic powers, so I might not go with your excellent suggestion. (Or I might to add a spin onto your suggestion that allows pychoplasm to somehow be converted into ectoplasm. :? )
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Re: What is ectoplasm and where can it be found?

Postby Big Mac » Sat Apr 08, 2017 12:13 am

ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Ethereal conduits sound like they might be fairly similar to Ghostwalk's "Ethereal Current" (the current that pulls ghosts toward Manifest and the Veil of Souls).


Not very. An ethereal conduit is a tube that connects the Prime Material Plane with the elemental planes. They channel elemental material back and forth, for example connecting the heart of a volcano with the Plane of Fire.


I'm thinking that the Veil of Souls would be like a volcano, with the True Afterlife being the other end of an ethereal conduit.

ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I think the description of "concentrated ethereal mists" is pretty vague, but that sounds intentional.


A Guide to the Ethereal Plane is actually very detailed regarding how protomatter works, what it looks like, how it's produced, and what you can do with it. There are three different kinds, none of them very much like Ghostwalk's ectoplasm. The only real similarity is in phase spider webs, which are spun from protomatter and sticky like ectoplasm.


Hmm. I wonder if people (or ghosts) in ghostwalk, could keep phase spiders and farm their webs for ectoplasm. :idea:

The "three different kinds" thing, kind of reminds me of how Spiderman's web shooters could make webs, ropes and glue. :)

ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:It also sounds similar to the phlogiston, from Spelljammer


It's nothing like phlogiston. Protomatter is a solid.


Fair enough. Thanks for the clarification.

ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:It does look that way from the book. But it would imply that evil ghosts would hire groups of thugs to murder other ghosts, so that they could harvest the ghost bodies and eat (or sell) the ectoplasm.


That seems impractical, if ectoplasm only keeps for ten minutes. They'd have to keep them prisoner until they were ready to eat.


That's a great adventure hook. Ghost slaves who are kidnapped, and kept alive long enough to become food for evil ghosts. :twisted:

ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Does it need to be shaped by ghosts?


I think that was the authors' intention. Making it more common will affect play balance.


Maybe you are right. I guess there would also need to be something (perhaps a Feat) for drawing forth ectoplasm, so that it can then be shaped.

What do you think of the way things work in The Soulwaters, where dead people can simply will food into existence.
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Re: What is ectoplasm and where can it be found?

Postby ripvanwormer » Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:47 am

Big Mac wrote:
ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Ethereal conduits sound like they might be fairly similar to Ghostwalk's "Ethereal Current" (the current that pulls ghosts toward Manifest and the Veil of Souls).


Not very. An ethereal conduit is a tube that connects the Prime Material Plane with the elemental planes. They channel elemental material back and forth, for example connecting the heart of a volcano with the Plane of Fire.


I'm thinking that the Veil of Souls would be like a volcano, with the True Afterlife being the other end of an ethereal conduit.


Because it connects to the afterlife, I think it's more like an astral conduit, which is what souls normally travel through on their way to the Outer Planes. I suppose it depends on where you think the True Afterlife is exactly, but it seems to function like an outer plane.

The current itself is just... a current. It channels souls from one part of the plane to another, while conduits/vortices (BECMI calls them ethereal conduits or wormholes while AD&D/Planescape calls them vortices) channel things between planes. A Guide to the Ethereal Plane mentions currents and tides in the Deep Ethereal, sometimes caused by ether gaps and vortex fronts.

One possibility is that the Veil of Souls is actually a kind of ether gap, a black hole-like phenomenon identical to what the 3e Manual of the Planes calls a planar rip (page 221).

Classic Play: Book of the Planes from Mongoose Publishing includes a location called the Eye in its version of the Ethereal Plane, a whirlpool with a shining white portal in the center designed to clean up errant ghosts and usher them into the Afterworld.

Big Mac wrote:The "three different kinds" thing, kind of reminds me of how Spiderman's web shooters could make webs, ropes and glue. :)


Ethereal protomatter is described as a generally bluish-white substance that forms whenever ethereal mists compact. Clapping your hands on the Ethereal Plane is enough to do it, but it evaporates again almost instantly. It can also be produced naturally by ethereal currents and other phenomena.

The three kinds are ephemeral protomatter, quintessential protomatter, and stable protomatter. Ephemeral protomatter is the kind you can make with your hands. It has a texture similar to fluffy snow, although it's not wet or cold. Quintessential protomatter has a density similar to heavy cork. Quintessential protomatter can form spontaneously from ephemeral protomatter and it usually lasts a few hours or days before reverting to ephemeral protomatter and evaporating. In the meantime it can be used to make sculptures, weapons, or tools. Very rarely, instead of reverting back to ephemeral protomatter, quintessential protomatter will transform into stable protomatter (a spell can also do this). Stable protomatter lasts indefinitely, and some believe that if enough of it collects together it will transform into a demiplane (a group of dwarves is testing this theory out right now; arguably this is the ultimate source of every plane in the multiverse, since demiplanes can evolve into full planes). Stable protomatter is as solid as metal, although it reverts to quintessential protomatter if brought to another plane. Stable protomatter can't be shaped in that form, so if you want to make things out of it you have to make them out of quintessential protomatter and then transform the quintessential protomatter into stable protomatter.

Big Mac wrote:What do you think of the way things work in The Soulwaters, where dead people can simply will food into existence.


Since the authors established that the inhabitants of the True Afterlife need to eat, they had to decide where food came from. It was either introduce agriculture (which is a whole can of worms—where are the farms? What plants and animals are available?) or else do something like they did and allow them to make food with the power of their thoughts. It seems fine to me, considering that eating isn't a major part of the game and you're unlikely to run a campaign in the True Afterlife anyway.

The major issue with eating ectoplasm is that it doubles a ghost's healing rate, so there's a game mechanical advantage that you don't get with ordinary food. It makes sense, then, to keep it somewhat rare.

Big Mac wrote:Maybe you are right. I guess there would also need to be something (perhaps a Feat) for drawing forth ectoplasm, so that it can then be shaped.


The game mechanical benefits to eating ectoplasm are equivalent to being cared for by someone with the Heal skill, so it might make sense to make this a skill like Heal. You might even get the same bonus with the Self-Sufficient feat.

Maybe it's literally the same skill as Heal, and this is just the ghost version of it. That way characters can use the Heal skill to create ectoplasm when they're in ghost form and use it for mortal first aid when they're alive.
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Re: What is ectoplasm and where can it be found?

Postby Big Mac » Mon May 01, 2017 2:55 pm

ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Ethereal conduits sound like they might be fairly similar to Ghostwalk's "Ethereal Current" (the current that pulls ghosts toward Manifest and the Veil of Souls).


Not very. An ethereal conduit is a tube that connects the Prime Material Plane with the elemental planes. They channel elemental material back and forth, for example connecting the heart of a volcano with the Plane of Fire.


I'm thinking that the Veil of Souls would be like a volcano, with the True Afterlife being the other end of an ethereal conduit.


Because it connects to the afterlife, I think it's more like an astral conduit, which is what souls normally travel through on their way to the Outer Planes. I suppose it depends on where you think the True Afterlife is exactly, but it seems to function like an outer plane.


I would treat the True Afterlife as an Outer Plane. In fact, for Ghostwalk canon, it would appear to be the only Outer Plane that exists. :?

If it is not the only Outer Plane, I would guess that it would sit in between the Prime Material Plane and other Outer Planes (intercepting the souls of the dead).

ripvanwormer wrote:The current itself is just... a current. It channels souls from one part of the plane to another, while conduits/vortices (BECMI calls them ethereal conduits or wormholes while AD&D/Planescape calls them vortices) channel things between planes. A Guide to the Ethereal Plane mentions currents and tides in the Deep Ethereal, sometimes caused by ether gaps and vortex fronts.

One possibility is that the Veil of Souls is actually a kind of ether gap, a black hole-like phenomenon identical to what the 3e Manual of the Planes calls a planar rip (page 221).

Classic Play: Book of the Planes from Mongoose Publishing includes a location called the Eye in its version of the Ethereal Plane, a whirlpool with a shining white portal in the center designed to clean up errant ghosts and usher them into the Afterworld.


That sounds logical.

I'm not sure that Planewalking is a thing in the Ghostwalk setting, so I don't think that people on the Outer Planes (if any exist) could travel to the Material Plane. Having said that, some spells summon creature from the Outer Planes and I'm not sure I've seen anything about changes to that.

Anyhoo, perhaps the Eye could work as inspiration for an alternative location to Manifest found elsewhere on the same world (or on another celestial body within Manifestspace :twisted: ).

ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:The "three different kinds" thing, kind of reminds me of how Spiderman's web shooters could make webs, ropes and glue. :)


Ethereal protomatter is described as a generally bluish-white substance that forms whenever ethereal mists compact. Clapping your hands on the Ethereal Plane is enough to do it, but it evaporates again almost instantly. It can also be produced naturally by ethereal currents and other phenomena.

The three kinds are ephemeral protomatter, quintessential protomatter, and stable protomatter. Ephemeral protomatter is the kind you can make with your hands. It has a texture similar to fluffy snow, although it's not wet or cold. Quintessential protomatter has a density similar to heavy cork. Quintessential protomatter can form spontaneously from ephemeral protomatter and it usually lasts a few hours or days before reverting to ephemeral protomatter and evaporating. In the meantime it can be used to make sculptures, weapons, or tools. Very rarely, instead of reverting back to ephemeral protomatter, quintessential protomatter will transform into stable protomatter (a spell can also do this). Stable protomatter lasts indefinitely, and some believe that if enough of it collects together it will transform into a demiplane (a group of dwarves is testing this theory out right now; arguably this is the ultimate source of every plane in the multiverse, since demiplanes can evolve into full planes). Stable protomatter is as solid as metal, although it reverts to quintessential protomatter if brought to another plane. Stable protomatter can't be shaped in that form, so if you want to make things out of it you have to make them out of quintessential protomatter and then transform the quintessential protomatter into stable protomatter.


Thanks.

That sounds like a good overview of a way to handle ectoplasm.

ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:What do you think of the way things work in The Soulwaters, where dead people can simply will food into existence.


Since the authors established that the inhabitants of the True Afterlife need to eat, they had to decide where food came from. It was either introduce agriculture (which is a whole can of worms—where are the farms? What plants and animals are available?) or else do something like they did and allow them to make food with the power of their thoughts. It seems fine to me, considering that eating isn't a major part of the game and you're unlikely to run a campaign in the True Afterlife anyway.

The major issue with eating ectoplasm is that it doubles a ghost's healing rate, so there's a game mechanical advantage that you don't get with ordinary food. It makes sense, then, to keep it somewhat rare.


Oh sure. I'm not seeking to make it too common. I was really just looking for a logic to apply when a bunch of PCs say that they want to go out and find some.

One interesting thing is that anything that is not humanoid gets drawn to Manifest by the ethereal current. Presumably that means that either the souls of all other creatures...or ghostly versions of them...are constantly rushing through the Ethereal Plane on their route towards the Veil of Souls. Presumably, someone could create a gigantic ghost touch fishing net to catch something in. :P

If the Ghost Companion spell can "cheat the system" and allow a willing animal, beast or magical beast to die and turn into a ghost, perhaps there could be a higher level variant spell that causes non-willing animals, beasts or magical beasts to die and turn into ghost creatures. A hypothetical process that turned farm animals into ghost farm animals would allow farmers to create "ghost meat" that a ghost could eat to absorb the ectoplasm. (I'm not sure that the ethics of doing that would be much different from the ethics of slaying animals when they are alive and eating their meat. But I imagine that it would be an expensive and awkward process, given that it would depend on magic and given that ghost animals that were killed would vanish fairly quickly.)

ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Maybe you are right. I guess there would also need to be something (perhaps a Feat) for drawing forth ectoplasm, so that it can then be shaped.


The game mechanical benefits to eating ectoplasm are equivalent to being cared for by someone with the Heal skill, so it might make sense to make this a skill like Heal. You might even get the same bonus with the Self-Sufficient feat.

Maybe it's literally the same skill as Heal, and this is just the ghost version of it. That way characters can use the Heal skill to create ectoplasm when they're in ghost form and use it for mortal first aid when they're alive.


I do like the idea of reusing the Heal skill for this. There are too many ghost abilities that are fairly useless to a living PC. I think it would be good to have some that are duel purpose.
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