Player Guide: Ghosts & the dead PC

To help you interpret the setting and game mechanics.
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Kilaana
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Player Guide: Ghosts & the dead PC

Postby Kilaana » Mon Nov 16, 2015 4:16 pm

My PC is dead. What happens next?
It is possible that you find yourself playing a ghost at some point in the game. Our goal is to give you the tools to interpret the game's mechanics in-character for a suitable and enjoyable roleplay experience.

Ghostly considerations
When you experience the ghostly form, the first thing to remember is that you won't remember more than a dream of your out of body experience. Very likely, you won't remember much of who you are and what's important during the experience either.

Your mission is to be consistent in your roleplay and to use your best judgement to enhance the experience of other players. That will be no different to the way things were in life. Because others may not be able to see or hear you, feel free to make use of tells to interact.

In death, all the usual rules apply. You can't, for example, take immediate vengeance upon your PvP killer, nor should they attempt to kill you some more. You may play as an animal companion or familiar instead, but won't be able to travel far.

You are free to interpret your ghost however you like. Most ghosts are consumed by a single obsession and there are some archetypes you can draw from:

Familial Apparition - You seek to say goodbye to a love or family member, or want to see them do something important to you both. Sometimes you try to guide them to hidden riches.
Historical Apparition - Unaware you are dead, you haunt a familiar site as though you are alive, often disapproving of intruders.
Lost Apparition - Unsure of where you are or why, you try to find answers. You have a strong curiosity towards other consciousnesses.
Imprint - Barely reactive towards the living, you try to go through a pattern of activity over and again.
Fetch - Your spirit is looking for security. You briefly touch a twin or partner, conveying your distress or death. You might also try to lure others to your corpse, seeking burial.
Extracelestial - You seek out someone sensitive to your presence, to guide and protect. You are particularly keen to have them avoid your fatal mistake.
Poltergeist - Filled with frustration that the living don't seem to notice you, you try to force them to recognize your presence.
Revenant - Consumed by vengeance, you seek to kill or make others kill your nemesis (at least, if you didn't confuse them for someone else).
Penitent - Consumed by remorse, you seek to right one last wrong or make others do it for you.
Clinger - Fearful of the afterlife you seek to escape your final rest by hiding in the shadow of the living. Your lack of nerve tends to be unnerving.
Wraith - Full of anger or pain, you accept no logic or reason from the living, seeking only to be rid of them. Bloodily, if possible.
Disembodied One - Having lost your home you seek a new body and attempt to possess weak-minded victims.
Allip - Maddened by your experiences, you seek to madden the living as well. Through seductive whispers or terrifying cries you tempt them to join you in death.
Thought Spirit - You enter the thoughts of someone you had strong feelings to, most likely loyalty or hate, and stay there to offer comment on their life until cast out.

You can still gain DM xp while you play a ghost. To qualify, you are expected to recognize a spirit's limitations, to paint a scene for others and to act characterfully rather than out of a desire for swift resurrection.


The Ghost and the Body
A comatose or dead PC gains a ghost-like appearance and leaves a body on the ground. The body cannot be looted without permission, but it can be carried, revived or buried (outside dungeons and cities). If buried, survivors can change their mind and rob the grave, or chisel text into a permanent tombstone.

The ghost cannot pick up new items but can drop them (for instance, during looting of the body). The ghost cannot cast spells and is not the target of spells, but they can use some feats and be the victim of Area of Effect spells. The ghost cannot leave the area their body is in or gain XP from explorations, but can trigger traps or open doors nearby. The ghost can even engage in combat. But ghosts are weak and easily scattered by damage. Whenever that happens, it quickly reforms but each time that happens the ghost takes longer to re-adjust to an eventual life. This makes it harder to gain experience or shed ability loss.
Most importantly, ghosts are under the protection of a Greater Sanctuary effect. This means neither NPCs nor PCs outside the ghost's party can see or hear it (mechanically).

General considerations
It should be clear that a PC is only ever absolutely undeniably dead if they are the subject of permadeath due to an ability dropping below 3, when they roleplay being a ghost, when they are buried or when they are subjected to a Resurrection spell. In all other cases you may downplay the experience if you so choose: For permanent injury, this line lies at ability score loss. For regular injury, at 0 HP.

The presence of ghosts and of resurrection magics is one that puts some stress on the concept of a low magic setting. We hope to have as few of either as possible, but don't want to force you into extreme caution and cowardice for fear of untimely permadeath. Characters should be enjoyed and experience all the close calls they can stand.

Give a thought, when you create a new character, not only to how they entered the world but also to how they might leave it. The best death for a PC is one which has meaning. Being torn to shreds by wild dogs isn't very heroic, unless they were winged dogs commanded by a dark wizard to prevent you from delivering a vital message to a paladin. Similarly, falling in single combat with a goblin is more pitiful than heroic if you don't have an audience, or a group of helpless villagers to buy time for.

It falls to you as a player to look for and create circumstances where your character's final death, if it should happen you can't avoid it, is something you can accept and celebrate.
“How long is forever, Rabbit? ...Why, Alice, sometimes just one second.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

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