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PostSubject: Ghostwalk   Sun Oct 19, 2008 3:04 am

Welcome to the City of Manifest! Built on ancient ruins that guard the entrance to the land of the dead, this mystical place has some unique qualities, first and foremost among them being that the city is full of ghosts --- spirits that have traveled to the land of the dead's border but are not yet ready to leave behind their former lives. In most parts of the world, ghosts are incorporeal and unable to affect the people and things around them, and many are carried along in the currents of the ethereal plane until they pass through the Veil of Souls that leads to the land of the dead, unless they can stop themselves and exit the plane before crossing through to the True Afterlife. But the ghosts in our city are continually manifested, whether they want to be or not (hence the city's name). It's a place where the living can meet, interact with, and touch the dead. In Manifest, a ghost can pick up an object just as though he or she were a living person with a body. Likewise, a ghost can be felled by a sword or spell just as a living person would be. Ghosts have ectoplasmic forms that serve as their bodies, although they do not need to eat or breathe. However, ghosts feel strange urges to eat food they enjoyed while living, visit people or places they knew in life, or to engage in the same recreational activities they did when living. Each ghost has one of these "ghost traits" which help anchor them to the world so that they don't get carried into the Land of the Dead unwillingly. As the senses of ghosts are dull, these needs are usually enhanced (louder music, spicier foods, or other more intense activities than would be comfortable for the living). Normally ghosts manifest wearing whatever it was they wore when they died, though they can wear normal and magical clothing in Manifest, and outside of the Manifest Ward can wear Ghost Touch clothing that has been specially treated and enchanted for ethereal wear. After a week of wearing any other clothing, however, their "death clothes" fade and are replaced by whatever they are currently wearing. A ghost's appearance, however, typically mimics their means of death long after they've grown used to be being ghostly, and can range from those who died without obvious wounds (old age, weak heart, grief, choking on food, drowning, or some sort of instant death spell) to the disturbing (strangulation, death by weapons, localized magical attacks such as energy bolts, as well as those whose bodies were destroyed instantaneously... falling into lava or disintegrating, for instance), repulsive (attacks by large creatures or weapons, decapitation, massive damage, dangerous stomach acids, or area-attack spells like fireball, and these sorts of ghosts usually scare children and cause a disturbance in public, and so are expected to cover up or be surreptitious if they can), and gruesome (the stuff of nightmares: tortured to death, mummy rot, imploded, brain removed by mind flayers, etc), though the latter sometimes result in the City Watch coming to lead the ghost out of the public eye, poor sods. Anyway, for all of the ghosts, life isn't unreachable, as they can save up and donate at one of the temples to be resurrected, resulting in some people who keep cycling through lives and deaths. Oh, and another thing: Ghosts aren't Undead... those things are foul abominations. Ghosts are just a natural side effect of Death. Undead and necromancers are illegal in this city, as they are always plotting to take it over or abuse the power of the Veil of Souls. In fact, most of the living monsters out there either avoid Manifest like the plague or plot to destroy it. But back to ghosts...
If they are hurt badly enough, ghosts in Manifest become too weak to remain, and pass through the Veil of Souls to the True Death. Also, no two Ghosts are the same, and they each have different powers from one of seven paths.

The Path of the Corrupter
: This path is the study of the relationship between a ghost body's ectoplasm and the bodies of other living things or ghosts. It allows a ghost to harm the bodies or ghost bodies of others with a touch. The symptoms of this path are a constant pale blue, black, or gray aura around the hands of the ghost and temporary alterations to objects contacted by the hands. For example, a corrupter ghost tends to leave condensation-outlined handprints on objects she touches.
Feats: Agony touch, corrupting touch, enervating touch, freezing touch, nauseating touch, rend ghost, shriveling touch.

The path of the Dominator: This path is the study of the powers of the mind and how a ghost body can mesh with a foreign physical body, usually for the purpose of controlling the target. The symptoms of this path are a dark-colored aura around the ghost's head and a hollow echo when the ghost speaks.
Feats: Possess Corpse, Ghost Ride, Animal ride, monster possession, multiple possession, extended possession, subtle possession, dream invasion.

The Path of the Haunt: This path is the study of manipulating a ghost's ectoplasm and aura to change the ghost's appearance or scare others at a distance. The symptoms of this path are black eyes, or eye sockets that appear empty and shadowed.
Feats: Control visage, fade, frightful moan, frightful presence, haunting appearance, haunting voice, horrific appearance, solid visage, animal form, monster form, fluid form, spirit form.

The Path of the Poltergeist: This path is the study of space and weight for the purpose of moving objects at a distance. The symptoms of this path are visible swirls of dust around the ghost and even minor shaking of larger unattended objects (no larger than a dagger) within arm's reach of the ghost.
Feats: Ghost hand, Deflection, Poltergeist rage, Poltergeist hands, Ghost shield, Energy sap.

The Path of the Shaper: This path is the study of creating and manipulating ectoplasm for various purposes. The symptoms of this path are frequent manifestations of residual ectoplasm on objects that quickly fade to nothingness. Ectoplasmic objects handled by a Shaper ghost sometimes experience a temporary color or texture change.
Feats: Ectoplasm, Ghost Healing, Witchlight, Sculpt Ghost Body, Shape Ectoplasm, Temper Ectoplasm.

The Path of the Traveler: This path is the study of altering a ghost body to allow for various kinds of movement. The symptoms of this path are temporary insubstantial images that echo the ghost's faster motions, whether a quick punch or a sudden stop from a run.
Feats: Ethereal sidestep, Full manifestation, Ghost flight, Ghost glide, Incorporeal form

The Path of the Spectre: This path is the study of the energy fields generated by the aura and ectoplasm of a ghost, and the ways they interact with other energy fields. The symptoms of this path are ghostly heat shimmers, shining eyes, colorful flames, balls of light, or the smell of ozone.
Feats: Ghostfire, Spirit Storm, Shock, Ghostly Charge, Orb form, Sparks, Ghost Wind, Ghost fog.

Gods: There are a number of Gods, who each have different guidelines and dogmas and stakes in Manifest. They are listed in terms of their raw relative power, though not necessarily their popularity or influence on the city.
Greater: Eanius: Growth, Life, Animals, Air. Symbol: Eye on a Bird's wing. Dogma: The Breath in your lungs and the life-spark of every natural creature are the gifts of Eanius to the world. Respect those gifts and keep them in good repair. The only times a natural creature should be destroyed are to feed another, to protect another, or when the creature is beyond all hope of health. Take no more than you need, and in hunting take only the weak so that the strong may live and beget stronger offspring.
Galaedros: Nature, Wood, Earth. Symbol: A tree with sad human eyes. Dogma: Wood endures. Wood is patient. Learn from wood and study its strength. Plants provide the basic necessities of life - food, clothing and shelter - and a wise person can survive anywhere with the proper knowledge of plants. Avoid the trappings of civilization, for something unknowable gnaws at the heart of civilized folk, making them forget where they came from and harm others for the sake of greed or merely harm itself. The green world soothes the wounds of civilization even as it bears the brunt of its wrath.

Intermediate: Chaniud: Laws, order, structure. Symbol: Three horizontal lines below an open circle. Dogma: The world operates according to laws, and the people of the world have it in their best interest to establish and follow a code of laws so as to be in harmony with the lawful nature of the universe. Laws are created to benefit the group. Study the laws so you may make rational and informed decisions. When you must punish a lawbreaker, be swift and precise, but do not become overzealous, for not even agents of the law are above the law.
Nessek: Fire, sorcerers, magic, destruction. Symbol: A crown of flame. Dogma: Fire is the energy of life. Before the people of the world tamed beasts and built cities, they loved fire for its warmth and feared it for its bite --- and that love and fear endures to this day. Fire is a tool, above laws and moral concerns; it is the actions of the user that determine the good or evil of it. Seek to understand fire and emulate its neutrality. Know when fire should be used to comfort and heal and understand when it must be used as a brand against your enemies. Magic, like fire, is a fundamental force not subject to moral classification.
Tephaneron: Battle, success, athletes, warriors, luck. Symbol: A battleaxe with four triangles on the blade. Dogma: Hone your body like you would the blade of a weapon, for your body is the greatest tool you will ever own. Avoid distractions that do not benefit your body, for those paths lead to weakness and sloth. Constantly strive to better yourself and accomplish difficult or even impossible things, for legends never speak of those who were content to remain quiet. Trust in yourself and your own power and you will succeed at your wildest dreams. Do not be fooled by the promises of the weak, for they have no mettle and will fail you as soon as you come to depend on them.
Uhanam: Skill, planning, magic. Symbol: A woodcarving knife on a scroll. Dogma: Knowledge is the key to any victory. Skill is an aspect of knowledge, and often skill is required to act upon acquired knowledge. Magic is the ultimate combination of knowledge and skill, and a master mage can use magic to anticipate future needs. Planning is the gift of knowledge combined with an understanding of the minimal amount of power needed to accomplish a task. Far too often, a foolish general has lost a war by using too much force too early and having none left to finish another task. Conserve your power, but be generous with your knowledge, uplifting the uneducated and banishing ignorance.

Lesser: Aluvan: Death, guarding and protecting souls, ghosts. Symbol: Horizontal gold hand on a white circle. Dogma: Watch over ghosts and the dead as you would your own children, for they are the children of Aluvan. Do not fear death, for Aluvan's hand will shelter you in your journey. Guard the way for ghosts to pass into the True Afterlife; neither hinder their journey nor accelerate it, but leave the Eternal Path clear for their travels. Fight the worshipers of the Demon Prince and his creations without mercy or quarter.
Dracanish: Death, endings, finality. Symbol: Profile of a bronze-skinned man on a black circle. Dogma: The proper end of a person's life is to have his soul rejoined with his body in the True Afterlife, where Dracanish consumes them and keeps them safe forever. The lessons in finality that death teaches us can apply to life as well --- learn to complete things you start, and find closure in their end. It is better to see one thing through to its end than start a dozen things that are never finished. In this way, necromancy is the bane of the world, for it is a beginning without a natural end.
Durann: Truth, Righteousness, Honor. Symbol: Shining horizontal hammer. Dogma: Strive to hold to the truth and use your honor as your shield. If your honor is infallible and your heart is true, you will prevail against all adversity. The hammer of Durann seals oaths, shatters bonds, and crushes lies --- for light shines forth to inspire all to greatness, glory, and good. Be calm and uncompromising in the face of great injustice, for the righteous hand will strike down evil in all its forms.
Orcus: Necromancy, Torture, Pain, Undeath (worship illegal in Manifest). Symbol: A mace with a skull as the head. Dogma: Promise your soul to Orcus, for through him you will live forever. Eat of his tainted flesh and drink of his fiendish blood, and you will know eternal unlife. The worshipers of Orcus will sweep over the world in a tide of death, leaving those who resist reduced to slaves for our amusement. Even the gods will fall and taste bone and ashes in their mouths, for Orcus is the weight that hangs heavy on every soul, providing grist for the mill of misery and pain. Foes are unworthy of mercy; instead, give them torture under the pretense of honorable surrender.
Phaant: Bad luck, inevitability, oppression. Symbol: Three overlapping diamonds. Dogma: You are doomed. This fact is not because of anything you have done, but simply because you exist. Everything and everyone in your life will eventually fail or betray you, because that is the nature of things. Firmly command your subordinates, but expect that they will fail you when you need them the most. Plan contingencies for their failure. Only by personal attention can you expect to see anything to completion, and only through worship of and sacrifices to Phaant may you stave off the inevitable bad luck that touches all things. Abandon hope, for it is the crutch of the weak mind that seeks a nonexistent chance of success.
Soggelos: Creativity, water. Symbol: A blue octopus. Dogma: If Eanius is the source of life, water is what conveys that life. Creatures give birth or live in water, are nourished by mother's milk, and depend upon fresh water for survival. Respect water as you would your parents. Water is everchanging, both in color and in temperament, and life owes its countless forms to the influence of water. Just as water shapes life in new and creative ways, you must let the waters of your mind shape your life and art. A life that is stagnant and unchanging is dull and unhealthy, like a fetid pool, while the most dynamic lives echo the splendor and vigor of the turbulent ocean.
Wyst: Travelers, roads. Symbol: a compass rose with a bootprint in the center. Dogma: Life is a grand journey and an opportunity to see all the fantastic things in the world. A person should be free to wander, following the roads others have created or creating her own. Thank old paths for their security, and start new paths for the challenge. Seek out the world, for it is too busy moving to see out you. Lean on Wyst's spear when you are weary, and wield it when you are threatened. Know that her watchful eye will find your path when you are unable to see it for yourself.

(Demigod/Cult) Khostren: Plague, Stench, Vermin. Symbol: A black fly. Dogma: With sickness and the bites of Khostren's children, even the mightiest are brought low. Disease turns kings into madmen, warriors into invalids, merchants into paupers, and peasants into corpses. The scuttling hordes bring disease, fear and hunger, leaving death, desperation, and famine in their wake. Embrace Khostren and his children, let them taste you so that you will be spared. Enjoy the fruits of his work, for bile, pus, and scabs are the meat and drink of ravenous plague and venomous vermin.
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PostSubject: Re: Ghostwalk   Mon Oct 27, 2008 4:45 am

Races:
Dwarves: The Deathwarden Dwarves consider their guardianship of the secret passage under the city and down to the Veil of Souls to be a sacred duty, and are willing to lead any ghost who considers it his or her time down there. In the meantime, they are tough fighters, brave defenders, and spiritual clerics.
Elves: Elves are different from most of the other races of the world, and their ghosts do not enter the underground Land of the Dead. Their spirits are too vibrant and ethereal to be contained in mere stone. Surrounding the city of Manifest is a vast forest known as the Spirit Wood. Each tree of that forest holds many spirits of long dead elves and half-elves, reunited with the natural world in life once again. Elves are a very spiritual, artistic, and intellectual people, who make faithful clerics, powerful wizards and sorcerers, amazing bards, and mighty druids, as well as some of the most talented fighters, rangers, and rogues. There are a number of subraces of elves, including the elegant Sun Elves, reclusive Wood Elves, the feral Wild Elves, the amphibous Sea Elves, the black-skinned subterranean Dark Elves, and the Moon Elves with their otherworldly appearance and gossamer vestigial gliding wings.
Halflings: Diminutive, easygoing creatures who seek out adventure while appearing to be small children their whole adult lives. They are fantastic rogues, bards, and rangers. Their culture tends to respect both home life and adventure, widely splitting the population between those struck by wanderlust and a desire for adventure, and those who prefer to stay at home, start families, and build communities.
Gnomes: A race of little people whose magic tends towards the natural and the illusory, they are inventive, clever, and master designers, proving to be excellent scholars, craftsmen, and wizards specializing in particular schools of magic.
Half-Elves: The children of elves and humans, half-elves retain the flexibility of their human parent and the grace of their elven one, while never feeling quite comfortable with either culture.
Half-Orcs: The children of orcs and humans, they are stronger and tougher than most of the other races, and their skin is a pale green, while their teeth protrude like tusks. They make excellent barbarians, fighters, and occasionally rogues.
Human: The most common, least focused race.

Classes:
Barbarians - Rare in Manifest, but frequently visit from the mountain and plains areas to seek out their ancestors among the Ghosts. They are stronger than most of the other classes, able to survive punishing environmental dangers, and go into a berserk rage to increase their strength, they are also illiterate. Ghost barbarians tend to react to the transition badly initially, but when they get used to being ghosts, have few problems.
Bards - Entertainers whose music, tricks, and other skills draw from larcenous and magical abilities, including a talent for affecting the emotions of whomever hears their music. Ghostly bards often play melancholic songs and tell long-forgotten stories.
Clerics - Most Clerics in and around Dracanish serve either Aluvan or Dracanish, though the Elves have a few shrines in the Spirit Wood to Galaedros (and occasionally Soggelos and Eanius) and the Dwarves reveal Durann. They possess great spiritual powers to banish or control the Undead, and they can work miracles by calling on the powers of their god. Ghost clerics tend to be torn, wanting to move on to their place in the Next World, but finding so much that needs to be done in the world of the living.
Druids - A great number of druids serve to protect the Spirit Wood, and they use their connection to nature itself to draw on supernatural powers, including animal shapeshifting and companions, weather and earth and plant spells, and similar effects. Ghost druids rarely enter the city, as the Spirit Wood is more comfortable for them.
Fighters - Masters of armed combat in a variety of weapons, they do not take the transition to ghosts well.
Monks - Mainly brothers and sisters of the nearby Monastery of Kreel, these people are masters of the martial arts and the force of Ki, which they use to try to level the playing field against ghosts, who lack the necessary weaknesses of the body they like to exploit. Ghost monks, on the other hand, are remarkably deadly, using both supernatural power and years of training.
Paladins - Knights blessed with a measure of holy and virtuous power, they are able to banish (or "turn") undead with the raw power of their faith, heal injuries done to themselves and others, and ride into battle on mighty (and sometimes supernatural) steeds. However, once the differences between Ghosts and the Undead are revealed to them, they tend to be staunch defenders of Manifest, and their devotion can last beyond the grave.
Rangers - Common in the Spirit Wood, they can stalk the dangerous beasts that have made the forest their home, move stealthily, lay traps, and possess a few spells tied to the natural world (if Paladins are warriors with a few cleric powers, rangers are warriors with a few druid powers). Like druids, ghost rangers find the Spirit Wood more comfortable than the city.
Rogues - Common in Manifest, and most are members of the Golden, the local thieves' guild. Nonguild thieves are dealt with... swiftly. Being a ghost is very helpful in the rogue profession, as they lack fingerprints, footprints, and personal odors. They also possess ghostly powers and most magical traps are designed to release only on living victims... though some mages are starting to take that into account.
Sorcerers - Those people to whom magic comes naturally, able to use certain spells as "powers," perhaps due to ancient heritage for dragon, demon, elemental or fey blood. They do not need to study, but master their powers through force of will. Ghost sorcerers are fearsome, because their spells complement and enhance their ghostly powers.
Wizards - Students and scholars of magic, many join the Piran Sedestadel, a mage's guild devoted to studying ghosts and magic that affects them. Unlike Sorcerers, Wizards carry spellbooks and study them every day, committing spells to memory temporarily (they fade from the mind when used), but able to choose which spells they study from those available to them(as opposed to only being able to use a few spells they developed naturally). Ghost wizards might be even more dangerous than ghost sorcerers, for they might have been around for centuries, mastering spells and arcane secrets that could shake reality.
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PostSubject: Re: Ghostwalk   Sat Nov 08, 2008 3:47 am

NAME: Sir Gynand (JAI-nand) Damastus
RACE: Human Ghost
CLASS: Paladin/Sorcerer/Ghost
APPEARANCE: Gynand appears as the ghost of a powerfully-built man in shining chainmail, without a helmet, and he frequently bears his sword or shield. His shoulder-length hair was dark in life, but is now ghostly glowing white, and his entire coloration looks like the reversed colors of a photograph.
BACKGROUND: Gynand was born the first son in a noble family in a distant kingdom where the "City of Ghosts" was only a story told to scare schoolchildren, and where frighteningly strong traditions dictated the lives of each member of society with little vertical movement in the ranks. The ancestors of the Damastus family grew powerful during a series of crusades in foreign climes, and Gynand was to become a knight, his younger brothers were to join the clergy and go to court, respectively, and his sister studied magery. Gynand didn't mind joining the Knighthood, for he had been raised on fantastic stories of adventure and wonder, and this shaped the man he grew into, and this spirit of adventure made him more than a mere knight, and empowered him with the divine might of a Paladin, secretly worshiping Wyst as his patron instead of the more accepted Chaniud.
Unfortunately, that wasn't the only power Gynand showed. Back during the Crusades, his ancestor fought against an Afrit from the plane of Fire. The Afrit had a beautiful daughter who seduced Sir Damastus while in human guise, and bore him his first son, who was like a demon on the battlefield. Extraplanar magic, however, was passed down in the bloodline, occasionally manifesting as sorcery every dozen generations or so, and Gynand happened to be one of those "lucky" few. His family was ashamed by their dutiful son manifesting the cursed heritage... but they didn't realize that their other children were the ones who had actually turned evil, becoming a necromancer, priest of Phaant, and court assassin, all determined to summon the Afrit Lord, Marrash Al-Sindos Makat, back to the world. Gynand, alone and without the support of his knightly order, armed with his sword, steed, shield and what few spells he could perform, was able to defeat them and close the portal to the plane of fire... but at the cost of his own life. He hurtled through the ethereal plane and emerged in Manifest, his ghostly form now empowered by the Path of the Traveler, leaving a trail of smoky tendrils behind him as he moves. He has found his new life as a ghost to be a refreshing change from the responsibilities and limitations he had in life, though he is unsure whether to focus on his divine, sorcerous, or ghostly powers.
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