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.
A Ghostwalk crystal sphere ("Manifestspace" perhaps
) 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
). 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.
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*!
* = Ghost helmsmen would be doing the graveyard shift.
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.