ghost composed of many souls?

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Hi All

I'm looking for a monster to serve as the final boss of my campaign and am after either links to a published source or your own ideas of what powers this thing might have.  My game is 3.5 but I'm as keen on flavour ideas as mechanical ones, so things needn't be edition specific.

Basically I want the monster to be some kind of ghost like creature composed on the souls of many different people.  It usually acts like one individual but has some ability to fragment individual spirits off temporarily.  The closest thing I've found in published sources is the Caller in Darkness in Expanded Psionics Handbook, but that creature doesn't seem all that interesting.

The general gyst is that the creature is formed of people killed by a certain magical sword since it was forged hundreds of years ago.  The PCs have been in posession of this sword for most of the campaign and killed a lot of people with it, so it gives me a chance to rehash some of the most memorable villains from throughout the game (the sword has a tweaked version of the power of the oathbow - DMG p227- and only people killed with oaths sworn against them have formed the ghost, but this is naturally the most significant enemies the PCs have encountered) as well as certain key charecters from the history of the world that died before the campaign began.

The sword was the imperial sword of the most powerful nation in the world and by the time the campaign began society had crumbled leaving that nation the last bastion of civilisation. Thus the sword became symbollic of not just that nation, but civilisartion as a whole.  In the course of the campaign the PC who wielded the sword became the emporer of that nation (it was a pretty crappy nation at that point) and over time the have reversed the crumbling of civilisation, making him effectively emporer of all humanoids.  This has prompted those slain by the sword to awakene to take their vengence on society as a whole.  The ghost is evil and angry, but not mindless, and fragments of it have been possessing and manipulating people towards it's own ends for some time.

Other than being able to possess people I'm not sure what this thing can do, so any ideas are most welcome.  I imagine fragments of it can act like individual ghosts but not sure what the composite being as a whole should be able to do. 

Ideas for mechanics and flavour eagerly awaited  

The simplest solution would be to mimic fusion.

The 7th-level body outside body spell (from Complete Arcane) can produce duplicates with one-quarter hit points that last for 1 minute.  It's normally only available on the wu jen spell list, though you can always mix in prestige classes once you've got the base.

But you might be better off just giving your special ghost an appropriate custom ability that you design to do exactly what you want.

The kraken stirs. And ten billion sushi dinners cry out for vengeance. - Good Omens

Co-Author of the Dreamfane, Euralden Eye, Fulminating Crab, Gajuisan Crawler, Gruesome LurkerIronglass Rose, Sheengrass Swarm, Spryjack, Usunag, and Warp Drifter, and author of the Magmal Horror from Force of Nature.

My most popular campaign item; for all your adventuring convenience.
Zauber's Mutable Rod: This rod has a number of useful functions that make it easier to live in the wilderness. It is made of polished wood, with five studlike buttons on one end. Each button produces a different effect when pressed. Unless otherwise noted, the rod’s functions have no limit on the number of times they can be employed. When button 1 is pressed, one end of the rod produces a small flame, equivalent to a candle. When button 2 is pressed, the rod unfolds into a two-person tent, complete with bedrolls and warm blankets. When button 3 is pressed, the rod becomes a one-handed hammer, suitable for pounding pitons into a wall. When button 4 is pressed, the rod becomes a sturdy iron spade. When button 5 is pressed, the rod becomes a wooden bucket able to hold 2 gallons of liquid. Once per day, it can be commanded to fill with fresh water. If the rod is seriously damaged or broken in any of its alternate forms (button 2, 3, 4, or 5), it reverts to its basic rod form and cannot be activated for 24 hours. Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Rod, minor creation; Price 375 gp; Weight 2 lb.
I believe there's one in Frostburn.
"Today's headlines and history's judgment are rarely the same. If you are too attentive to the former, you will most certainly not do the hard work of securing the latter." -Condoleezza Rice "My fellow Americans... I've just signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. Bombing begins in five minutes." - Ronald Reagan This user has been banned from you by the letters "O-R-C" and the numbers "2, 3, 4, and 6"
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56788208 wrote:
I do, however, have one last lesson on this subject. That last one? The only build in this post that can one-shot average opponents[by dealing twice as much damage as they have HP? I would argue that it is not optimized. Why isn't it optimized? Because it's overkill. Overkill is NOT optimizing. This means that there are portions of this build dedicated to damage which can safely be removed and thrown elsewhere. For example, you probably don't need both Leap Attack AND Headlong Rush at the same time. You could pick up Extra Rage feats for stamina, feats to support AoO effects, feats that work towards potential prestige classes, and so on. However, you could also shift our ability scores around somewhat. I mean, if you're getting results like that with 16 starting Strength, maybe you can lower it to 14, and free up four points to spend somewhere else - perhaps back into Charisma, giving you some oomph for Intimidating Rage or Imperious Command if you want. You can continue to tune this until it deals "enough" damage - and that "enough" does not need to be "100%". It could easily be, say, 80% (leaving the rest to the team), if your DM is the sort who would ban one-hit killers.
Tempest_Stormwind on Character Optimization
So when do you think Bachmann will be saying she met a mother the previous night that had a son who got a blood transfusion using a gay guy's blood, and now the son is retardedly gay?
When she meets CJ's mom?
Resident Pithed-Off Dragon Poon Slayer of the House of Trolls
Why not make the monster a humanoid?  Binder seems to sort of mimic this kinda well.  You may need to develop your own whatever the hell they're calleds, though.
Resident Prophet of the OTTer.

Section Six Soldier

Front Door of the House of Trolls

[b]If you're terribly afraid of your character dying, it may be best if you roleplayed something other than an adventurer.[/b]

I don't understand how nobody has mentioned the Devourer yet. True Freddy Kruger shite. Tweaked out to encompass serious bbeg's, it would be advance-able to epic.
please turn up your speakers

WE ARE LEGION!
A Devourer base was my first thought when I started reading this, but they actually consume the souls they absorb in order to power their abilities. What Welkin is looking for is much more than that.

The Fusion idea definitely has merit but considering this thing has been building up souls for untold centuries, if it worked just like that Power (as in add each victim's powers and hit points to the final product), then the big boss would be ridiculous.

What kind of CR are you looking for your composite ghost to be anyway?
Thanks for all the input so far folks.  I did look at the fusion idea, but the problem Ahruhn identified was a biggy.  I imagine I'm going to have to defineately homebrew something, but would still love any creative suggestions from forumites.

 I'm looking for something with a CR in the low to mid 20s (figuring the campaign will end at level 20 as I don't really like epic level stuff, lvl 15 currently) so maybe if it has 1hd per soul that could work.  That way if any of the individual ghosts that bud off from it get killed there is a downside.

On a related topic, anyone know of or any any cool homebrew ideas for variant ghost abilities?  I've used ghosts a couple of times in the campaign and all the abilities in the MM are getting a little stale for the party I think.
Ask for help in the New Monster Request thread; BlackFragon's pretty creative.
"Today's headlines and history's judgment are rarely the same. If you are too attentive to the former, you will most certainly not do the hard work of securing the latter." -Condoleezza Rice "My fellow Americans... I've just signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. Bombing begins in five minutes." - Ronald Reagan This user has been banned from you by the letters "O-R-C" and the numbers "2, 3, 4, and 6"
User Quotes
56788208 wrote:
I do, however, have one last lesson on this subject. That last one? The only build in this post that can one-shot average opponents[by dealing twice as much damage as they have HP? I would argue that it is not optimized. Why isn't it optimized? Because it's overkill. Overkill is NOT optimizing. This means that there are portions of this build dedicated to damage which can safely be removed and thrown elsewhere. For example, you probably don't need both Leap Attack AND Headlong Rush at the same time. You could pick up Extra Rage feats for stamina, feats to support AoO effects, feats that work towards potential prestige classes, and so on. However, you could also shift our ability scores around somewhat. I mean, if you're getting results like that with 16 starting Strength, maybe you can lower it to 14, and free up four points to spend somewhere else - perhaps back into Charisma, giving you some oomph for Intimidating Rage or Imperious Command if you want. You can continue to tune this until it deals "enough" damage - and that "enough" does not need to be "100%". It could easily be, say, 80% (leaving the rest to the team), if your DM is the sort who would ban one-hit killers.
Tempest_Stormwind on Character Optimization
So when do you think Bachmann will be saying she met a mother the previous night that had a son who got a blood transfusion using a gay guy's blood, and now the son is retardedly gay?
When she meets CJ's mom?
Resident Pithed-Off Dragon Poon Slayer of the House of Trolls
Giving the creature the equivalent of negative levels for its destroyed ghost might be easier to manage than losing actual HD.

As for variant ghost abilities, Frostburn has a couple of extra ones, as does Libris Mortis, and there are probably some others scattered about the books.  Homebrew ideas would depend on what you want the ghosts to do that they can't already manage.  You could try an ability like the haunting presences (also from Libris Mortis) that could allow ghosts to inhabit and animate objects.

The kraken stirs. And ten billion sushi dinners cry out for vengeance. - Good Omens

Co-Author of the Dreamfane, Euralden Eye, Fulminating Crab, Gajuisan Crawler, Gruesome LurkerIronglass Rose, Sheengrass Swarm, Spryjack, Usunag, and Warp Drifter, and author of the Magmal Horror from Force of Nature.

My most popular campaign item; for all your adventuring convenience.
Zauber's Mutable Rod: This rod has a number of useful functions that make it easier to live in the wilderness. It is made of polished wood, with five studlike buttons on one end. Each button produces a different effect when pressed. Unless otherwise noted, the rod’s functions have no limit on the number of times they can be employed. When button 1 is pressed, one end of the rod produces a small flame, equivalent to a candle. When button 2 is pressed, the rod unfolds into a two-person tent, complete with bedrolls and warm blankets. When button 3 is pressed, the rod becomes a one-handed hammer, suitable for pounding pitons into a wall. When button 4 is pressed, the rod becomes a sturdy iron spade. When button 5 is pressed, the rod becomes a wooden bucket able to hold 2 gallons of liquid. Once per day, it can be commanded to fill with fresh water. If the rod is seriously damaged or broken in any of its alternate forms (button 2, 3, 4, or 5), it reverts to its basic rod form and cannot be activated for 24 hours. Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Rod, minor creation; Price 375 gp; Weight 2 lb.
I'm thinking more along the lines of 1 hp per soul. Having accululated souls for so long that would still be a ton of HD.

Give it Fast Healing 10: As it takes damage souls escape from the main body, but some can't quite get away fast enough and sucked back in. This ability only works to recover souls lost within the last 2 rounds.

Also, as a Supernatural ability, allow it to self heal by calling back the souls that have managed to not get drawn back in with its Fast Healing ability. Maybe call it Reclamation of the Damned, and have it function like an Inflict Critical Wounds.

Allow it to release full body undead duplicates of absorbed victims with their full hit points, but doing to diminishes the main body because it's total hit points go down a like amount. Additional souls are required to fuel the replicant, so they would function similarly to the main creature with Fast Healing 2, and the main creature can recall it to its body as a Swift Action.

The Composite, at full hit points would be a Gargantuan creature, but diminishes as it loses souls, becoming Tiny sized in its last few HD. (for instance, if it starts out at 36HD, at 28HD it becomes Huge, at 20HD it's Large, at 14HD Medium, 8HD is Small, and 4HD Tiny.

I would make up a chart for it. As it loses HD, it also loses ability scores, Feats, etc. This would be difficult to do at the gaming table so I'd have all that worked out ahead of time.

Also, I'd also say that the creature always knows the location of the sword that feeds it, so, as long as your PCs still have it, they can never surprise it. Furthermore, the sword itself cannot damage it at all since any hit points it damages it for just gets channeled right back in. I'd even say that whoever is wielding the weapon in the composite's presence can be subject to a Dominate Monster effect as a Free Action.

Reducing the composite ghost does not destroy it so long as the sword is still intact. It can continue to use its Fast Healing ability and Reclamation of the Damned to recover lost souls (hps). The sword must be destroyed in order to fully destroy the composite.



Edit:
Another thing that might be cool, instead of or maybe in addition to the Fast Healing, is to have all its lost souls (hit points) orbit the main body in a 20' reach. If sufficient souls are orbiting (say 30), it creates a fog cloud effect (that cannot be dispersed) for any corporeal creature caught within. The composite can see normally within this cloud. Souls (incorporeal creatures) can be hit for 1 damage to destroy them forever and therefore prevent the main creature from reclaiming them. Every 1d4+1 rounds the composite can use Reclamation of the Damned to recall all surviving souls to its main body.
This variant might actually be more interesting because in the end the PCs could reduce the composite to 0hp, and, having destroyed all the loose souls, think they've won. But, if the sword is still intact the composite would just remain stagnant at 0hp until the sword starts killing again and replenishing its supply of souls.
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