[Ghostwalk] Manifestspace?

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Angel Tarragon
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[Ghostwalk] Manifestspace?

Post by Angel Tarragon » Sun Apr 03, 2016 11:54 pm

What if we took Ghostwalk, severed the city of Manifest from the world and put it on a comet that is on an elliptical orbit around a solar system inside a crystal sphere? Make the city like Carrigmoor from Beyond Countless Worlds (enclosed in a dome), the manifest zone all world inside the trajectory and up to and including the comet itself.

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Re: [Ghostwalk] Manifestspace?

Post by Big Mac » Mon Apr 04, 2016 12:28 pm

I already wrote about this, in Havard's Ghostwalk and other settings topic, so I will copy over my reply to this topic:
Big Mac wrote:
Havard wrote:What settings are best suited to place Ghostwalk's city of Manifest, and where would it be most problematic or require alot of adaptation work?
Ghostwalk is advertised as a sourcebook, and like Sturm said, page 134 gives advice for "Using Ghostwalk in Other D&D Worlds" (which really only explains how to use it with Forgotten Realms or Greyhawk).

I think the problem with those few paragraphs of advice is that you need to reboot the Ghostwalk gods, and make a zone of influence in Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk or another world, where the local cosmology is subverted (in order to introduce the thing where the souls of people do not vanish when they die).

Of course, once you start doing the sort of thing that Ripvanwormer was talking about with the Lendore Island, you make certain plot hooks in the Ghostwalk sourcebook problematic (because they conflict with your attempts to make Ghostwalk fit into the host setting). I think it can work, but that you would need to build yourself a homebrew guide for the specific campaign setting you want to merge Ghostwalk into. You would eventually end up with something that uses Ghostwalk, but which has to exclude (decanonise) certain parts of Ghostwalk (and maybe certain parts of the host setting) in order to make the two concepts work together.

TBeholder had a good alternative idea, when he suggested that you could use ideas peacemeal. That would certainly work. But I would personally find that less satisfying that being able to pick up Ghostwalk, along with a fan-made "Ghostwalk Conversion to Greyhawk" (or whatever) PDF and be able to run through the adventures in the Ghostwalk book in a way that was fairly similar to what was intended.

I think the easiest way to use Ghostwalk is as a standalone planet, where there is no conflicting cosmology to compete with what is going in in Manifest and where there is no conflicting pantheon that means that the Ghostwalk gods need to be tossed out.

But, in the interest of answering your discussion (instead of just saying: "Do not do this" and wagging the "badwrongfun finger of disaproval" ;) ) I would suggest that the best way to use Ghostwalk with another campaign setting would be to build a Spelljammer crystal sphere around a planet that has Manifest and the surrounding lands on it. :twisted:

A Ghostwalk crystal sphere ("Manifestspace" perhaps :geek: ) could use the lands from the Ghostwalk sourcebook, as a groundling area, but extend the themes out to the crystal sphere wall.

PCs (and NPCs) killed within the crystal sphere would simply convert into ghosts (Ghostwalk ghosts - not traditional D&D ghosts) instead of moving onto the afterlife. This would be a puzzle for the spacefarers to solve and landing on the planet and visiting the city of Manifest would be a cheap way to bring PCs or NPCs back to life.

With the same rules applying to the rivals of PCs, that could mean that the PCs kill a bunch of pirates that attack them, only for the same pirates to return months later, after getting their bodies back.

The main problem with a Manifestspace adaption of Ghostwalk to the Spelljammer universe is that anyone who dies and becomes a ghost does not have the power to manifest, unless they are within Manifest. So you end up with a bunch of dead PCs, NPCs and humanoid monsters that can't really do much (unless they can level up as a ghost - and they can't level up if they can't earn XP).

Having other places within the "Manifestspace" crystal sphere that cause ghosts to manifest could help with this. There are three gigantic balls outside of Manifest, that cause ghosts to manifest. So the thing that makes ghosts appear (and to be unable to become incorporal without special abilities to do that) is not limited to the city or the Gate of Souls.

Perhaps there could be one Manifest-like location on every celestial body (including any fireworlds :twisted: ). Perhaps dead spacefarers would drift to the closest celestial body and then would manifest if they got to a Manifest-clone zone.

Perhaps smaller asteroids could be small enough to be totally contained within a Manifest-clone zone effect, meaning that there would be "Rock of Bral" like cities in space that were full of ghosts who wanted to hire spacefarers to go out and locate their bodies.

In a Manifest crystal sphere, it would be important to bring out the other themes of Ghostwalk.

The yuan-ti could be a major spacefaring faction, and could use snake-like spellamming ships. If they took over asteroids that were covered in Manifest-clone zones, but then hunted down and destroyed all the ghosts there, they could then execute individual spacefaring ghosts that drifted down to the surface of those asteroids. This could give you a scenario where the PCs need to sneak onto an asteroid, while polymorphed into yuan-ti, so that they could rescue a dead spacefarer who was hiding in ghost form and desperate to get off the asteroid and back into the void.

Of course, if you have (Ghostwalk) ghosts on asteroids in a (Ghostwalk) crystal sphere, they could probably just jump onto the gravity plane, swim outwards, and then drift off into wildspace.

The Cult of Orcus would be relatively easy to locate to a Spelljammer crystal sphere for Ghostwalk. They are already sailors. You could simply build a peaceful spelljamming port city (for example, one based on Dragon Rock in Realmspace) that gets taken over by cultists who murder everyone and raise them as undead. And there could be plenty of ships crewed by undead flying around "Manifest".

You could even have ghosts manifesting everywhere in wildspace, so that the entire crystal sphere became somewhere that dead PCs could explore. However, that might take away from the theme of the city of Manifest being "important".

Perhaps a way to get around this could be to create other places in Manifestspace where ghosts can manifest, but keep the Gate of Souls below the city of Manifest on the Ghostwalk planet and require PCs and NPCs to go there to get brought back to life.

If that was done then most of the important themes of Ghostwalk could spread out to fill an entire crystal sphere, but Ghostwalk itself, would lie at the heart of that sphere without being messed up too much.

And if you wanted to find a way to involve ghost PCs in Spelljammer action, then one of the easiest ways to do that would be to make spelljamming helms create a zone of manifestation while they were active. :twisted:

This would mean that NPCs or even enemy NPCs who got killed in combat, would get up and carry on doing stuff...and might not initially realise they were dead (until they looked down and saw their body).

When their ship landed somewhere, they would loose their ability to manifest, so you would have ghosts who could work as ship's crew, but not do so much if they were not onboard a ship. That could have interesting implications for spacefaring commerce. You could also have ghost helmsmen*! :cool:

* = Ghost helmsmen would be doing the graveyard shift. :P

If you go with the one-manifest-zone-per-celestial-body logic, then it would actually be in the interest of ghost spacefarers to travel to small asteroids, where all or most of the surface would allow them to manifest. And to only visit spelljamming ports on larger celestial bodies that were known to have manifest zones at the ports.

Another approach to the "Ghostwalk expanded to crystal sphere" thing, would be to create some sort of random table for manifest zones, where some manifest zones were as strong as the city of Manifest, and other zones were weaker (or maybe even stronger). Suppose, for example, that a ghost could manifest in a weak manifest zone, but only if they were concentrating on being manifested. Ghosts might automatically go incorporeal, if they fell asleep.

Ioun stones, that cause ghosts to manifest, might also be useful, in an expanded setting.
On top of my previous thoughts (of an entire crystal sphere being problematic, if ghosts can only manifest in a single city, I have recently thought that the setting might also be a bit boring for ghost PCs who are unable to manifest on spelljamming ships.

So it might be worth having a crystal sphere where the act of powering up a helm causes ghosts within the air envelope to manifest. That could be fun, as ghost PCs might not use air, and could be used to pack out the ship with crew, but if the helmsman got Spelljammer Shock, and the helm went down, the ghost crewmen could all go incorporeal and could be unable to defend their ship. The idea probably needs a bit more work, as I just had it.
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Re: [Ghostwalk] Manifestspace?

Post by Angel Tarragon » Mon Apr 04, 2016 9:08 pm

But what do you think about my idea about increasing the manifest zone?

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Re: [Ghostwalk] Manifestspace?

Post by Big Mac » Sun Apr 10, 2016 9:33 pm

Angel Tarragon wrote:But what do you think about my idea about increasing the manifest zone?
So essentially you would have ghosts fully manifesting on every world within the comet?

It's certainly a way to go, but there was a reason why the designers of Ghostwalk decided to make a city-sized manifest zone that forced ghosts to be solid. That's why I said what I said over in the other topic.

I was also thinking of building a sphere around the existing Ghostwalk campaign setting, rather than to rip the city out of the setting and change it into an asteroid. But if you create an entire new sphere, with a Manifest-comet, that could work too.

I think that spreading the effect of Manifest could make the city (and the Veil of Souls) a bit less "critical", not that that is a bad thing.

And I'm guessing that "the ghostwalk" would need to change into something like "the ghostvoyage" as people would need to load bodies up onto spelljamming ships and chase your comet around the sphere.
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Re: [Ghostwalk] Manifestspace?

Post by willpell » Thu Jul 21, 2016 11:52 pm

Confining the rules of the Manifest Ward to any finite region of a larger cosmos, whether it's just a nation-sized region or an entire Crystal Sphere, seems strange to me. It makes the Afterlife a localized phenomenon, where the result of your death varies depending on exactly where you were standing (or floating or whatever) at the moment you died, and that feels fundamentally wrong to me somehow...unless the phenomenon is artificial, the result of someone tampering with cosmic forces. (This is why the Whiteleaf version of Ghostwalk is explicitly a recent phenomenon; it ties into several other "core-divergent" 3E supplements, which are really cool but which fundamentally change what D&D is about, by making them all the result of a sort of trauma or mutation in the fabric of reality.)

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Re: [Ghostwalk] Manifestspace?

Post by Big Mac » Fri Jul 22, 2016 2:23 pm

willpell wrote:Confining the rules of the Manifest Ward to any finite region of a larger cosmos, whether it's just a nation-sized region or an entire Crystal Sphere, seems strange to me. It makes the Afterlife a localized phenomenon, where the result of your death varies depending on exactly where you were standing (or floating or whatever) at the moment you died, and that feels fundamentally wrong to me somehow...unless the phenomenon is artificial, the result of someone tampering with cosmic forces. (This is why the Whiteleaf version of Ghostwalk is explicitly a recent phenomenon; it ties into several other "core-divergent" 3E supplements, which are really cool but which fundamentally change what D&D is about, by making them all the result of a sort of trauma or mutation in the fabric of reality.)
Existing Spelljammer canon already implies that things like the afterlife and the deities are confined by crystal spheres. Remember that the AD&D Adventures in Space boxed set is designed to fit around Dragonlance, Greyhawk and Forgotten Realms without invalidating any of them. The crystal spheres form a reality barrier in that respect.

But, if you want to change how Spelljammer works in your game, you are very welcome to.
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Re: [Ghostwalk] Manifestspace?

Post by willpell » Fri Jul 22, 2016 10:00 pm

Big Mac wrote:
willpell wrote:Confining the rules of the Manifest Ward to any finite region of a larger cosmos, whether it's just a nation-sized region or an entire Crystal Sphere, seems strange to me.
Existing Spelljammer canon already implies that things like the afterlife and the deities are confined by crystal spheres.
Yes, and I consider that strange; this is all I'm saying.

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Re: [Ghostwalk] Manifestspace?

Post by Big Mac » Sat Jul 23, 2016 1:28 am

willpell wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
willpell wrote:Confining the rules of the Manifest Ward to any finite region of a larger cosmos, whether it's just a nation-sized region or an entire Crystal Sphere, seems strange to me.
Existing Spelljammer canon already implies that things like the afterlife and the deities are confined by crystal spheres.
Yes, and I consider that strange; this is all I'm saying.
Sure. If you don't like that sort of stuff, then maybe a muli-setting concept, like Spelljammer, is not the best setting for you to play in...at least not in the form it is presented in the box.

I've seen a lot of people reboot bits of Spelljammer, but Jeff Grubb isn't a chump. All of those funky rules he created where there for a reason. The crystal spheres acting as "reality barriers" that stop the "laws of nature" of Dragonlance, Greyhawk and the Forgotten Realms mixing solve a lot of problems. If you get rid of that rule, you might need to do something else instead. But that's really beyond the scope of a discussion about Manifestspace.

I suppose that, if you really liked the Ghostwalk concepts and wanted to run a rebooted "Ghostwalk enhanced Spelljammer game" you could apply rules from Ghostwalk to every single crystal sphere. I personally think that would take away from the "unique selling point" of a Manifestspace crystal sphere, but if you want to go down that route, good luck working out the details.
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