How does Ectoplasm work?

"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: 18399
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 7:32 pm
Gender: male
Location: Norway
Contact:

How does Ectoplasm work?

Post by Havard » Mon Aug 27, 2018 5:51 pm

Quote taken from this thread:
Big Mac wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 4:19 pm
both the Ghostwalk hardback and the Magic of Incarnum hardback include a new mystery substance that a GM is intended to base a campaign around.

In the case of Ghostwalk, that substance is "ectoplasm". Ghosts can eat it and it can be shaped. In the case of Magic of Incarnum, the substance is incarnum. They don't work the same way but both things have monsters and PCs that use those substances to a greater or lesser degree. And one of the people who replied on Twitter urged Christopher Perkins to roll both ideas into one 5e book.
Can you tell more about how Ectoplasm works in the Ghostwalk setting? I assume ectoplasm exists in most settings with ghosts, but I am curious to hear how it specifically is used in Ghostwalk.

-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
My Articles at the Vaults of Pandius
Moderator of the Mystara, Blackmoor and Thunder Rift forums.
My moderator voice is
GREEN.

ripvanwormer
Black Dragon
Posts: 3280
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:14 pm
Gender: male

Re: How does Ectoplasm work?

Post by ripvanwormer » Mon Aug 27, 2018 6:38 pm

Here's an earlier thread: viewtopic.php?f=102&t=17040

User avatar
willpell
Black Dragon
Posts: 3113
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:10 pm
Gender: male

Re: How does Ectoplasm work?

Post by willpell » Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:15 pm

I would absolutely not treat Ectoplasm and Incarnum as the same substance, as you'd end up with ghosts eating all your Soulmelds and making the Incarnum-user sad. They might be *related* substances, with a common origin, like charcoal and diamonds both being forms of carbon, but incarnum should be inaccessible to most if not all ghost powers that manipulate ectoplasm, as there are too many unintended interactions there. However, introducing new stuff into your campaign that works on *both* ectoplasm and incarnum might be interesting. If you have one Totemist and one Eidolon in the party, a Ghost Touch armor suit that allows a ghost wearer to spend his HP to add Essentia to a friendly incarnum-user, or something of that nature, would be a great mcGuffin for the game.

User avatar
Big Mac
Giant Space Hamster
Posts: 23427
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Gender: male
Location: London UK
Contact:

Re: How does Ectoplasm work?

Post by Big Mac » Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:46 pm

willpell wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:15 pm
I would absolutely not treat Ectoplasm and Incarnum as the same substance, as you'd end up with ghosts eating all your Soulmelds and making the Incarnum-user sad.
I would have thought that having someone chop the arm off of a ghost, and then eating the ectoplasm it was made from, would make the ghost sad. ;)
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
Please join The Piazza's Facebook group, The Piazza's Facebook page and The Piazza's Google + community 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. My moderator voice is green.

User avatar
Big Mac
Giant Space Hamster
Posts: 23427
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Gender: male
Location: London UK
Contact:

Re: How does Ectoplasm work?

Post by Big Mac » Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:29 pm

Havard wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 5:51 pm
Can you tell more about how Ectoplasm works in the Ghostwalk setting? I assume ectoplasm exists in most settings with ghosts, but I am curious to hear how it specifically is used in Ghostwalk.
Ectoplasm in Ghostwalk seems to be a different thing to the ectoplasm in the SRD. See my other topic: What is ectoplasm and where can it be found?

So rather than talk about other settings, I'll talk about what the Ghostwalk hardback says about how ectoplasm works. This is covered by a sidebar on page 13:
Ectoplasm sidebar wrote:Rather than blood, meat, and bone, a ghost's body is made of ectoplasm, a supernatural substance that, in its natural state, is a slippery or sticky pale-coloured goo. When shaped into a ghost body, it has the constistancy and texture of normal (albeit incorporeal) flesh. An ectoplasmic creature leaks liquid ectoplasm if it is cut, in the same manner as a living creature bleeds actual blood.
So there is your main rule about how it works. A PC (or NPC) dies. Their body drops to the floor dead. their spirit appears on the Ethereal Plane nearby. It somehow gains a ghost body at this time (but only has one hit point). The ghost can either cross over to the Material Plane or allow the Ethereal Current to drag it towards Manifest and the Gate of Souls (that leads to the True Afterlife).

I'm not sure if ectoplasm has the same weight per volume as a living person, but if I had to guess, I'd guess that a 200 lb person turns into a 200 lb ghost (based on the fact that I've not noticed anything that says otherwise).

And ghosts can bleed, the same as living people.

But what seems to be different is that every part of a ghost's body is made from ectoplasm. So, while a living person would have blood, flesh, organs and bones that are made from different material, a ghost is 100 percent create from ectoplasm at the time they die.

Perhaps a ghost creates it's bones out of more concentrated ectoplasm and it's blood out of less concentrated ectoplasm.
Ectoplasm sidebar wrote:Ectoplasm is a type of ghost touch material. it can be picked up and moved by incorporeal creatures at any time. Essentially ectoplasm counts as either corporeal or incorporeal at any given time, whichever is more beneficial to the wielder
So ectoplasm is a ghost touch material that manifested ghosts and incorporeal ghosts can always touch...and ghosts are made from ectoplasm. That means that ghost PCs and NPCs can always touch...or attack each other, they can grapple each other, they can push or pull each other.

There are creatures that eat ghosts. So it would be worth looking up their stats to see if they are either made of ectoplasm or if they have the ability to use ghost touch items, as this would let you know if the monster operates on the same terms as ghosts...or better or worse ones.
Ectoplasm sidebar wrote:Ectoplasm is harmless in it's natural state (often called raw ectoplasm) and can even be eaten safely by ghosts or living creatures. Ghost or other ectoplasmic beings that eat a 1-pound meal of raw ectoplasm once per day heal at double the normal rate, as if under the care of a person with the Heal skill (this effect does not stack with the effects of the Heal skill).
I'm not sure why a living creature would eat ectoplasm, but perhaps it acts as a food substitute.

Ghosts and ectoplasmic creatures obviously get a boost from eating each other. So if you had battles with living and ghost PCs against living and ghost monsters and NPCs, the ghost PCs would be able to gain extra healing as they rest, if they ate their enemies!

Having said that, I'm not sure if the ectoplasm is still "raw ectoplasm" once it is part of a ghost's body. :?
Ectoplasm sidebar wrote:Ectoplasm that is not part of a creature's body (including "blood" that has been separated from a wounded ectoplasmic creature) decays into nothingness after 10 minutes. Certain spells (such as gentle repose), magi items, feats and an alchemical substance called ectoplasmic stabilizer can preserve ectoplasm beyond this time limit.
So while you can kill a monster or NPC and a body is left behind, any ghost or ectoplasmic monster you kill will vanish fairly quickly.

That also means you won't discover bodies of ghosts and ectoplasmic monsters unless you literally stumble onto the scene of a fight immediately after it has happened.

(That's going to have some sort of impact on a GMs storytelling ability, as they can leave regular bodies lying around to show that a murder has taken place but a murder of a ghost would leave almost no evidence.)
Ectoplasm sidebar wrote:The ectoplasm from a creature has a recognizable smell to creatures that have acute senses (such as bloodhounds and other creatures with a scent ability). Of course the 10-minute time limit before ectoplasm decays makes traking a creature by scent difficult.
So a PC who gets a dog would have an advantage in the Ghostwalk campaign setting, but the dog could only ever track things that had been in the area 10 minutes earlier or less.

If it is possible to hunt creatures and convert them back into raw ectoplasm, a dog would be able to help with that.
Ectoplasm sidebar wrote:Certain feats and spells can create objects made of ectoplasm. Because ectoplasm has ghost touch properties, a weapon made of ectoplasm can be wielded by an incorporeal creature and works normally against an incorporeal creature (as with the ghost touch weapon property). Likewise, a suit of ectoplasmic armour can be worn by an incorporeal creature and counts towards the Armor Class or a creature being attacked by an incorporeal creature. Shaped ectoplasm has the consistency of whatever it is supposed to resemble (for example, ectoplasmic armor feels smooth and dry and is neither sticky nor slippery).
So if you didn't want your ghost PC to go walking around without the tools of the trade that they use to have when they were alive, they would need to buy, make, steal or be given ectoplasmic versions (or magical items with the ghost touch property).

Magic items that have the ghost touch property are actually solid things, so a ghost that became incorporeal might be able to walk through a wall, but it wouldn't be able to pull physical objects through with it.

What seems to be missing from the system, is how people get hold of raw ectoplasm in order to eat it or make things out of it (which is what the focus of my other topic is).

One other thing you might not be aware of is that spells that affect ghosts or creatures made from ectoplasm are called "ectomancy".
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
Please join The Piazza's Facebook group, The Piazza's Facebook page and The Piazza's Google + community 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. My moderator voice is green.

User avatar
willpell
Black Dragon
Posts: 3113
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:10 pm
Gender: male

Re: How does Ectoplasm work?

Post by willpell » Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:46 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:46 pm
willpell wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:15 pm
I would absolutely not treat Ectoplasm and Incarnum as the same substance, as you'd end up with ghosts eating all your Soulmelds and making the Incarnum-user sad.
I would have thought that having someone chop the arm off of a ghost, and then eating the ectoplasm it was made from, would make the ghost sad. ;)
Well ghosts being sad is kind of a default...being cannibalized postmortem isn't quite the same vibe as having some of your class features messed with. We don't really hate the dragon too much for trying to eat us alive, but we despise the Rust Monster for destroying our gear, or the Wight for giving us negative levels that make us lose our highest-level spells.

Post Reply

Return to “Ghostwalk”