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Ghost Mage

A wizard who died with a major project left undone might become a ghost mage, constantly seeking to finish its task in undeath.

Recall Knowledge - Spirit (Occultism): DC 27
Recall Knowledge - Undead (Religion): DC 27

Ghost MageCreature 10

CEMediumGhostIncorporealSpiritUndead
Source Bestiary pg. 167
Perception +17; darkvision
Languages Common, Draconic
Skills Arcana +22, Intimidation +22, Stealth +21
Str -5, Dex +3, Con +0, Int +6, Wis +3, Cha +6
Site Bound
AC 27, Fort +16, Ref +19, Will +22
HP 135 (negative healing, rejuvenation); Immunities death effects, disease, paralyzed, poison, precision, unconscious; Resistances all damage 10 (except force, ghost touch, or positive; double resistance vs. non-magical)
Rejuvenation (divine, necromancy) Completing the ghost mage’s project allows it to move on to the afterlife.
Speed fly 25 feet
Melee Single ActionSingle Action ghostly hand +21 (agile, finesse, magical), Damage 2d8+12 negativeArcane Innate Spells DC 29, attack +23; 5th cone of cold, hallucination; 4th phantasmal killer, suggestion; 3rd blindness, dispel magic, nondetection; 2nd telekinetic maneuver (x2); 1st ray of enfeeblement (x2); Cantrips (5th) detect magic, ghost sound, mage hand, prestidigitation
Frightful Moan Single ActionSingle Action (auditory, divine, emotion, enchantment, fear, mental) DC 29Telekinetic Assault Two ActionsTwo Actions (divine, evocation) DC 29

All Monsters in "Ghost"

NameLevel
Ghost Commoner4
Ghost Mage10

Ghost

Source Bestiary pg. 166
When some mortals die through tragic circumstances or without closure, they can linger on in the world. These anguished souls haunt a locale significant to them in life, constantly trying to right their perceived wrong or wrongdoings.

Creating a Ghost

While it’s best to create custom ghosts to fill an adventure’s specific needs, you can also use the following guidelines to turn existing living creatures into ghosts.
First, increase the creature’s level by 2 and change its statistics as follows.
  • Increase AC, saves, Perception, DCs, and skill modifiers by 2. Increase the most appropriate melee attack modifier by 4 to become ghostly hand (described below), and other attack modifiers by 2.
  • A ghost has a Strength modifier of –5 and a Constitution modifier of +0.
  • Do not modify the ghost’s Hit Points due to its new level.

Ghost Abilities

A ghost gains the incorporeal, spirit, and undead traits. Many become evil. If the base creature has any abilities or traits that come from it being a living, corporeal creature, it loses them. You might also need to adjust some abilities that conflict with the theme of a ghost. All ghosts gain the following abilities. Darkvision
Site Bound A typical ghost can stray only a short distance from where it was killed or the place it haunts. A typical limit is 120 feet. Some ghosts are instead bound to a room, building, item, or creature that was special to it rather than a location.
Negative Healing
Rejuvenation (divine, necromancy) When a ghost is destroyed, it re-forms after 2d4 days within the location it’s bound to, fully healed. A ghost can be permanently destroyed only if someone determines the reason for its existence and sets right whatever prevents the spirit from resting.
Immunities death effects, disease, paralyzed, poison, precision, unconscious
Resistances all damage 5 (except force, ghost touch, or positive; double resistance to non-magical). This resistance increases to 10 at 9th level and 15 at 16th level.
Fly Speed equal to its Speed
Ghostly Hand All ghosts have a ghostly hand unarmed attack that deals negative damage. It typically has the agile, finesse, and magical traits. Some ghosts wield ghostly memories of weapons they held in life, but the effect is the same.

Special Abilities

Select one or two of the following abilities, or potentially three if the ghost is 9th level or higher. These abilities should relate to the ghost’s death or its history. You can also create new abilities or adapt those from monsters or classes to fit the theme. For DCs, use 2 + the DC of the ghost’s level.
Corrupting Gaze Two ActionsTwo Actions The ghost stares at a creature it can see within 30 feet. The target takes 1d6 negative damage + 1d6 per 2 levels with a basic Will save. A creature that fails its save is also stupefied 1 for 1 minute.
Draining Touch Two ActionsTwo Actions With a touch, the ghost attempts to drain a living creature's life force. It makes a ghostly hand Strike but deals no damage on a hit. Instead, the target becomes drained 1 for 1 day, and the ghost regains HP equal to half its own level.
Frightful Moan Two ActionsTwo Actions (auditory, divine, emotion, enchantment, fear, mental) The ghost laments its fate, forcing each living creature within 30 feet to attempt a Will save. On a failure, a creature becomes frightened 2 (or frightened 3 on a critical failure). On a success, a creature is temporarily immune to this ghost’s frightful moan for 1minute.
Inhabit Object Single ActionSingle Action The ghost possesses an object of size Large or smaller within 20 feet, making it an animated object. This animated object’s level can be no higher than the ghost’s level – 2. If the target object is being held by a creature, the bearer can attempt a Will save to prevent the possession. This possession ends when the object is destroyed or the ghost leaves it. At this point, the ghost reappears in the object’s square and can’t Inhabit an Object again for 1d4 rounds.
Malevolent Possession Two ActionsTwo Actions The ghost attempts to possess an adjacent corporeal creature. This has the same e ect as the possession spell, except since the ghost doesn’t have a physical body, it is unaffected by that restriction of the spell.
Telekinetic Assault Two ActionsTwo Actions (divine, evocation) The ghost cries out in pain and anguish as small objects and debris fly about in a 30-foot emanation. Creatures in this area take 1d6 bludgeoning damage + 1d6 per 2 levels, subject to a basic Reflex save.

Sidebar - Advice and Rules Building Ghosts

Note that the ghost mage is built from the ground up, rather than by applying the ghost rules to a once-living creature, so its numbers don’t exactly match the values listed above. This is usually the better way to go if you have the time, as it allows you to hand-craft a ghost for the situation.

Sidebar - Advice and Rules Custom Ghosts

Ghosts work best in adventures when used sparingly. As they are remnants of a past life and retain their intelligence, ghosts can convey long-lost information or serve as a way to inform the PCs of crucial story elements. In this way, a ghost in an adventure can provide a clue or even a complete history of a site or event. Unlike most other undead, ghosts can retain the alignment they had in life, but regardless they should remain tragic and frightening figures in play.