TSR 9355 RR5 Van Richten's Guide to Ghosts

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    CreditsDesign: William W. ConnorsEditing: Dori the Barbarian Watryh o d u c t Coordination: Tim othy B. BrownCover Art: Robin WoodInterior Art: Robert Klasnich & Stephe n FabianTypesetting: Gaye OKeefeProduction: Sarah feggestad

    ADVANCED Downed by TSR, Inc. N S &DRAGONS and ADED are registered trademarksLOFT and the TSR logo are trademarks owned by TSR, Inc.nc. Al l Rights Reserved. Printed in the U.S.A.

    This material is protected under the copyright-laws of the United States of America. Any reproduction orunauthorized use of the material or artwork contained herein is prohibited without the express writtenpermission of TSR, Inc. Random Hause and its affiliate companies have worldwide distribution rights in thbook trade for English language products ofTSR, Inc. Distributed to the book and hobby trade in the UnitKingdom by TSR Ltd. Distributed to the toy and hobby trade by regional distributors.ISBN 1-56076-351-5

    TSR, nc. TSR Ltd.POB 756 120 Church EndLake Geneva Cherry HintonWI 53147 Cambridge CBl 3LBU.S.A. United Kingdom

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    Introduction ...................... 4Chapter 1 Types of Ghosts ............Magnitudes of Power .................. 8Physical Consistency .................11

    Physical Appearance ................. 13Origins of Ghosts ................... 16Anchors ........................... 22Conclusion ........................ 25Triggers ....... .............. 24.ipter 11: Ord y Powers .......... 6

    .nsubstantiali.. ..................... 26Invisibility ......................... 28Rejuvenation ....................... 28Immunity .......................... 29

    Magic Resistance .................. 29Biological Spells .................. 29Unique Immunities ................ 31

    Racial Abilities ..................... 31Class Abilities ...................... 31Creation of Undead .................. 31

    Chapter 111: ExtraorA%ry Powers ...... 2Accelerate Aging ................. 32Cause Despair ...................... 33CauseFear ........................ 34Cause Paralysis ..................... 34Cause Revulsion .................... 35Causewounds ...................... 36Charm Animals ..................... 36Charm Persons ..................... 37Command Undead .................. 37Create Illusions ..................... 37Dominate Victims ...................8Drain Abilities ...................... 39Drain Energy ....................... 40Drain Memories .................... 40Entrance Victims .................... 41Inhabit Bodies ...................... 42Inhabit Objects ..................... 42Keen ............................. 44Lure Victims ....................... 44Perform Telekinesis .................. 46Resist Magic ....................... 46Conclusion ........................ 47

    Chapter IV:Vulnerabilities............48Ordinary Vulnerabilities .............. 48

    Holy Water ....................... 48Turning Undead ................... 49Holy Symbols .................... 50

    Extraordinary Vulnerabilities ..........51Allergens ........................ 51Magical Spells .................... 52Personal Effects ................... 59

    Special Weapons .................... 60Forged Weapons .................. 60Enchanted Weapons ............... 60Specially Constructed Weapons ......61

    Chapter V:Speak with the Dead ........ 2Types of Mediums ................... 62Focus Mediums ................... 62Guide Mediums ................... 63Host Mediums .................... 63Regression Mediums ............... 64Sympathetic Mediums .............. 65Trance Mediums .................. 66False Mediums ................... 68Locating and Hiring a Medium ......... 70Through Recommendation .......... 71

    .By Reputation .................... 72Through Advertisement ............ 73

    Sources of a Medium's Power ..........74Studied Abilities .................. 74Incidental Abilities ................ 75

    Lifestyles of Mediums ................ 78Aloof ........................... 78Calculated ....................... 78Morbid .......................... 79Nomadic ........................ 79Reclusive ........................ 80Unworthy ........................ 80

    TheVistani ... .................... 81

    By Sensitivity .................... 73

    VI: Investigating a Haunting ....841 he Phantom Army .................. 84Picking Up the Scent ................. 87Stalking the Beast ................... 88

    DM's Appendix ...................92Making the Kill ..... . . . . . . . . . . 0

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    written records, the comings andgoings of spirits have been noted.Some are described as lights orrecognizable shapes in thedarkness. Others seem to be real,but ar e nothing more than imagesof light-as incorporeal as they ar eunliving. They come in all mannerof shapes and sizes. Theyundertake macabre missions andhave any number of motivatioh.Most are evil, some i ndi ffe ree anda few good and kind.them all. I shall share withIn this work, I shall exami

    may be enough t o keep youthen I pray even more that

    lave lived a lon&flfe.%jiot end soon. 1 am- all the storms I havthat the black shroud ofacross me. When it doea life that was long andrewards. I have done much gcertain. I shall face the grave

    Erasmus and then murdered my dear wifeIngrid, I vowed I should devote myself t o theutter annihilation of all his diabolical kind.what I have become a t the cost of losing myfamily. At that time, however, I was a muchyounger man. I meant only that I should battlethe dread vampire in all his shapes-that I

    The sorrow, of course, is that I have become

    should seek their every lair and see to it thatthese monsters were destroyed. I did notunderstand the scope of my quest then. Totrack down and destroy all the vampires in althe worlds that I now know of is an impossibltask-but I have never hesitated.No single man can do all that I have set forto do. It is my hope, however, that, by placingwhat I know in a series of books, I will aid thowho would follow me on my quest. If you havseen the eyes of death looking at you, if youhave heard a feral hiss in the darkness, if youhave known the terror that awaits, then youknow the importance of my work. I offer youmy heart, my prayers, and-mostimportantly-my knowledge.

    In the three decades that have passed sincethe death of my wife and child, I have traveledmuch. 1 have seen horror in all its shapes. Ihave faced monsters that could only haveissued forth from the deepest pits of evil. Inevery case I have been tempered by themeeting. Those I destroyed filled me with theenergy to continue in my holy work. Those thescaped my vengeance left me the wiser fo reach such encounter. (Never again, I vowed,would I be a s short-sighted in a future meetinThose that defeated me-and there have beenmany despite my undeserved reputation fo rinvincibility-have left me stronger fo r thewounds inflicted upon me.

    How many times have I been driven tode aths door by the creatures of darkness? Icannot say. But in every instance I wasdetermined to battle back from the injuries 1suffered and to have my revenge. I am apeaceful, merciful man, but such vengeance isweet indeed.

    The Thundering Carriageow did I, a devoted vampire hunter, comto be an enemy of the incorporeal undeaH s well? The inclusion was not a difficul

    one. It began on a cold autumn night inLamordia. I was close on the trail of a vile

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    I call the child vampire.The detailsmy encounter with that dark beast are

    elsewhere (see RRl,Darklords),so II happened upon a lonely country

    , the Thistle C Bonnet. The place was sothe darkness approaching so fast

    I bade my companions stop. We discussede matter briefly, and then decided to spendnight.

    The innkeeper, a cheerful fellow with theof Bellikok, s a w to our everyHe presented us with a great feast of a

    l, and never seemed at a loss for some cleveror anecdote to move theon along at a merry pace. In all, aAll that changed, however, as the gleaming

    rang ten. No soonere last chime died than a look of concerncross merry Bellikoks face. I feared thatgrown il l and moved to comfort him. I

    m a physician, I said. Is there anything I canfor you?For an instant he seemed taken aback by mycrossface and let out a short laugh. Would thatsir, he breathed.

    Seeing that my companions were a s curiouss 1 about the cause of his sudden change of

    I bade him continue. Dropping his headhat he looked only upon the floor and note innkeeper did as I

    ow and distant, like thunder looming on theI cocked my head and, a s he had said, I didof a coach in thethere seemed nothing unusual

    for the night, I offered himconsolation. Surely you have room forher guest?

    Do you hear th e sound of that carriage, sir?

    undaries which divide Life fromat best shadowy and vague.WQ hall say where one ends, andother begins?- dgar Allan Poe

    The Premature BurialTdes of Mystery and ImaginationI .

    As the sound drew nearer and nearer, hebecame more agitated. That conveyance bears,he hissed. No,

    rides forth from thess itself. I know not

    ut I know what comesmove to the windows.

    saw an eerie glowtoward us. It seemincredible speed andsuch as I have on1wreathed with St.Suddenly the horrific conveyance was uponus. It flashed past our window at a speed Iwould not have thought possible. I had only thebriefest of looks at the thing, but its impressionis forever set in my mind. The wagon was large,as bulky as any merchants coach Ive ever

    on ships at sea that ar e

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    seen. It w as drawn by a team of four greathorses from whom all flesh and tissues hadbeen removed. At every step of these skeletalsteeds lighting flashed when hoof struck earth.The ebon wood of the coach-carved andetched with evil runes and dark figures-wasilluminated clearly by a shower of azure sparksthat sprayed away from the wheels a s the coachrolled along the road.

    As shocking a s this macabre vehicle was, itsoccupants were even more memorable. T h C 1coachman was a gaunt and skeletal fellow, wellsuited to the team he drove. As he passed, I sawhim strike at his horses with a whip, the lash ofwhich was composed of pure lightning. When itsnapped above the beast, a great crash ofthunder roared out and the animalsseemedmoved to even greater speed.

    Through windows set in the cocould see the grim passengers afnightmarish wagon. Gaunt and th

    $

    still draped in flesh, they reached out at usthrough windows barred with bones. Their facwere pitiful, etched with agony and torment. the second that they were before me, I felt allthe suffering and anguish that radiated fromtheir tragic faces. These were the damned.

    Then, even before I saw it was upon us, heconveyance was gone-racing away down thehighway at a speed beyond my comprehensioI was about to speak, seeking t o voice myhorror, when the innkeep motioned for silenc

    Instantly the sky erupted in thunder. Hugesheets of lightning raced from horizon tohorizon, shedding a brilliant blue light acrossthe countryside. Rain fell upon us n a mightycascade, battering the windows with theferocity of a hurricane and turning the roadoutside into a morass of mud. The storm, mosavage than any I had ever felt before, lastedonly for a few minutes, and then it was gone.

    "My God," was all 1 could say.i

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    ..

    encounter one that did not have somevulnerability that could be exploited in combat.In this chapter, I detail the types ofvulnerabilities that one is likely touncover-and how to take advantage of them.

    Overviewn this book, I shall attempt t o put fortthat I have learned about the incorpoI ndead. I shall attempt to discuss thecreation, their habits, their physiology, atheir weaknesses. All of this information w

    hope, help others who have chosen t o battle t l pforces of darkness on every front. , -I have organized this information into thefollowing chapters:Chapter I: Types of Ghosts. In the first

    chapter of this book I will discuss a series ofbroad categorizations I have made regardingthe origins of ghosts. It is my belief that suchtools enable us to keep better track of thehorrors we must face in this world. By battlingthem with both the keen sword of ancientknowledge and the powerful arquebus ofmodern science, I believe we can triumph overthe incorporeal undead.

    Chapter 11: Ordinary Powers. Before on e canhope to prevail against the forces of darkness,one must have an understanding of theirnature. In this chapter, I detail the commonabilities of ghosts and provide some cautionarynotes on how on e might hope t o battle againstthis supernatural enemy.

    Chapter 111: Extraordinary Powers. While allghosts have some things in common, asdiscussed in the previous chapter, many areunique. Ghosts gifted with special powers canbe deadly and must be stalked with great care.In this chapter, I shall examine those powersthat make ghosts truly deadly adversaries.

    Chapter IW Vulnerabilities. It is a good thingfor us all that even the most powerful of ghostsis certain t o have its weaknesses. While someghosts a re among the most powerful of horrorsit has been my misfortune to meet, they are allhindered in some way by thei r past. In my yearsof battling these creatures, I have yet to

    Chapter W Speak with the Dead. One of themost valuable tools in the battle against ghostsis information. The old adage that knowtedge ispower was never more true than when dealingwith these ethereal horrors. In this chapter, Ishall discuss the spiritualists one is likely torequire, guidelines on locating them, and tipson how to spot those who would deceive ghost

    .hunters and make claims of powers they do nothave.

    Chapten VI: nvestigating a Haunting. In thischapter, I shall outline th e steps I advocatefollowing in the stalking and destruction ofghosts. I use my experience gained from a mostunusual mass hunting to illustrate techniques.It is my belief that failure to follow theseguidelines will inevitably result in death . .orworse.

    ~

    Editors Note:The reader will findinformatjon directly pertinent t o aRAV ENL OP campaign set aside intext throughaut this book. In additbn,.tkereof $his&de solely

    RAVENLOFT sampqign; &Q included are anumber of helpftd twkniques for writingghost-based adyentures.

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    hosts, spirits, apparit ions-callthem what you will. They come inmany, many varieties. I havedevoted a great deal of research tounderstanding them and thesupernatural laws that govern theircreation, existence, anddestruction. In this chapter, I shallshare with you what I have leabout t he origins, natures, aabilities of ghosts.

    If I were less stern aboutto know all that I can aboutundead-if I were lessmy need to uncover the M&abou tthe supernatural, I might long ago1have qiven up my west. It &en

    convinced I know all thathese incorporeal creaturesentedtome and I musk-

    numerous

    une-Before

    of time, but fromn. At the exact

    spirit is transformed intostrength is set and locked

    surrounded it. I call thislingering energy lcarmic resonance. Thus, thepassing of time does nothing to increase the

    power of a ghost.The instant of a ghosts creation is intense

    Just as the shock of birth is overwhelming tochild, so too is this sudden plunge into thefrigid, black waters of unlife. The intensity ofthis shock is based wholly upon the emotionand karmic energies of the transformation. Iother words, the stronger the emotional statthose present a t the ghosts creation, the mopowerful the spirit that arises.

    Thus, the level of power attained by a ghois not haphazardly made. Two ghosts, createin similar manners, will be of roughly similapower levels. True, their exact powers are likto be very different, but the actual danger thpose-their resistance to physical harm, theability to resist a holy persons attempts todrive them away, or the strength of their speattacks-will be analogous.

    I have chosen t o classify ghosts accordingsix categories: magnitude of power, physicalappearance, physical consistency, origin,anchor, and trigger. Please note that there a rsome ghosts who will have aspects that qualthem for all six categories, whereas others monly fit in a few categories. Note, too, that thdistinctions between some of the categoriesvery fine and may seem confusing to thelayman, but this classification serves a purpoand will be helpful to the devoted ghost hun

    The following text elucidates the terms I uand should prove helpful in any quest to rid world of ghostly fiends. At the end of thischapter is a simple outline delineating thecategories and subcategories by which ghosmay be classified.

    Magn*hduso f Powerle first category by which I classify gho

    .s based on their levels of power, whichcall magnitudes.All ghosts, regardless o

    whatever other categories they may fall intohave a magnitude and can be classified bysuch. (In my previous work, I did much thesame with vampires, which I classified

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    according to their age. A ghosts magnitude, inthis instance, is roughly similar to a vampiresage: The greater the magnitude, t he morepowerful the ghost; the older the vampire, themore powerful it is.)

    The edges of this category are blurred, but 1have done my best to describe the magnitudesin a way that will make them useful t o thosewho hunt creatures of the night.first MagnitudeThe least powerful of the incorporeal undead,these creatures a re created when there is justenough emotional energy available to empowerthe transformation. This is, fortunately, themost common type of spirit.

    Ghosts of the first magnitude a re created thesame way as are other ghosts, but they tend tohave less dramatic origins. In fact, I have oftenconsidered first-magnitude ghosts to be almostboring-their power is weak, their afterlifepassive, and their evil subdued.

    As an example of this type of spiritpresent the Loud Man of Lamordia-a spirit IWhen I was young, I traveled to a smallvillage along the coast. While there, I learned of

    a spirit who haunted a lake outside town. Itseems that those who fished in that lake wereoccasionally troubled by a ghostly fisherman-a ghost who talked to them about the fine spothe had found for bass, the sudden changes inrecent weather patterns, and other trivia. Hisconversations were so monotonous that it wassaid to be impossible to avoid falling asleep.

    Escaping the spirits babbling, it seems, waslikewise impossible, for the Loud Man wouldfollow the fishermen wherever theyby leaving the lake, and thus abandbringing home the evening meal, couescape this specter. Those who attdrive off the fellow found that theyeasily, but any fish they pulled fromfor the next few months would scould be eaten.

    *foundmost amusing.

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    T h e cold stone of the ancient tomb loomedbefore us. Lifting our lanterns high to light theway , we moved into the crypt. Thegoing wasslow, for even the brave dwarf, GeddarIronheart, was reluctant to intrude upon theresting dead of this ancient place. Bantu, as

    Kevlin5 boots, the clankingofmail, and the occasional crunch of aspider beneath Bantus shoes-seemews around us. I

    Ghosts of the second magnitude are morepowerful than their lesser kindred, but they stilla re usually little more than a nuisance. Inaddition, they are more aggressive and moreeasily angergd.dying person,must be in a state of someemotion. The emotion need not be overlyconsuming or Qf great duration, as is necessaryfor the more powerful spirits to form. Forexample, someone who dies during a spousalquarrel might h w e enough emotional energy toattain the second magnitude of unlife, as mightan artist who is working on a painting thatme an sa great deal to her. It is sometimes evenpossible for a man who knows he is going todie-by the hangmans noose, for example-to become a second-magnitude ghost.

    The good spirit of the paladin KatenShadowbom, who is said to haunt a little-visitedisland domain, is, I believe, an example ofsecond-magnitude spirit.

    In order for a ghost of this type to form, the

    Third MagniideIf a ghosts creation places it in the thirdmagnitude of power, it is a much moredangerous foe. Such ghosts are often outrighevil and malicious. Their powers are generallsuch that they can resist much conventionalharm, even from magical spells. Often they ccripple or kill opponents with ease.

    In order for a ghost of the third magnitude form, a person must die while in a highlyemotional state. Take, for example, a man whis forced to watch his beloved family be cruelslain by brigands and is himself then killed wstill in the grip of his overwhelming anguish.The karmic resonance of this tragedy might bstrong enough to create a third-magnitudeghost. Similarly, someone who is in the throepassion or who is truly horrified at the point odeath might attain this status.fourth Map*kudeAmong the most powerful of apparitions,ghosts of the fourth magnitude are created othrough scenes of death that involve greatemotional s tress or energy. Spirits of this typare generally warped by the power of theiremotions, becoming highly aggressive, evil,and cruel. They are almost impossible to drioff or destroy via conventional means,requiring special care on the part of those wwould eliminate them.surrounding a persons death powerful enouto create a ghost of this type. In my travels,have encountered only a half dozen or so ofthese evil and dangerous fiends. In each of tcases 1 came across, the ghost had once beeperson who had either 1)embraced death wgreat fervor or 2) elt himself so powerful thdeath could hold no sway over him.

    The first may be illustrated by the evilGeneral Athoul, one of the incorporeal leadeof Darkons dread Kargot. It is said that hisdevotion to Azalin was so great that even de

    Rare indeed are the circumstances

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    only meant a new manner for him to serve hisbeloved commander.infamous Martgrof the Moors,a man whosought death a s the ultimate st ep in hisdevotion to a dark and evil deity, only to findthat he had been cursed with an eternal uolife.note that the spirit, Lord WilfredGodefrey of ,~Mordentshire, falls into this category.

    The second is perhaps best illustrated by the

    As an aside, the reader might be interested to

    f'lfth Magnitude ., .AI .. ,-The thought alone of these crto make any s ane man tremble with fear.Fifth-magnitude ghosts are so pknow of not a single case in whidestroyed through conventionaWithout exception, ghosts o f twho have been destroyed wersome special means of elimination ,,

    The emotional intensity needed t , ~reate aghost of this power is so rare that it happensbut once in a very grthat whole centuries

    domain of Keening, isknow who falls into ththe dread Phantom Looprey upon those poolost someone beloveaware of its special wuery few of this magnitthe hero who see ks tospirit has certainly takthat the weakness is ne(Weaknesses are discussed iPhgsical Consistuncg

    he second category into which I classifyghosts is that of physical consistency. LikeT he preceding category, all ghosts may

    also be classified according to their consistency.

    When one thinks of ghosts, one oftenassumes that they are intangible things. Indeed,this is most often the case. However, those whoassume that it is a strict rule are settingthemselves up for a most horrible surprise.

    The subcategories below describe there oghosts. I must warn thein s o w % axague as the ghosts theyclassifications are broad and,

    no physical exisfence

    no man can secure a hold on them. Indeed,they ar e immune to all manner of physicalharm-swords and daggers do not bite them,and arrows and quarrels pass right throughthem. However, magical weapons of lesser orgreater enchantment seem able t o injure ghostsof this type, a s do occasional arms of uniquerrqnufacture such as a silver sword.through living beings. In most ci l l effect from such a n encountesense of coldness or apprehuncommon. In rare cases, hincorporeal essence may h

    Such manifestations can obvi t

    I my careful plans, I knew,ainst this fiend. I was aror, I turned and fle

    an a n hour later before

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    the effect of the ghosts passage was not moredreadful-for I have seen the corpses of thoseless fortunate than 1.

    Obviously, this is not a hard and fast rule.have encountered creatures that did, in fact,seem partially solid. It may be, however, thatthey were simply better able to manifest thisphysical force. Whatever the case, these fiendid not seem able to step through solid objelike truly incorporeal ghosts.

    The ethereal nature of this type of ghost isA specter (such a s the bizarre Strangling Man ofGun&&) might be seen whose body is largelyincorporeal, but Who has aspects that areseemingly solid. My experience has proven thatthe sotid areas are not, inmost cases, actuallyfirmer than the surrounding ethereal body.Rather, the ghost seems able to exert someconscious or unconscious willpower in analmost telekinetic manner. Thus, while a victimof the Strangling Man surely felt the forcefulhands of her attacker on her throat, this was amanifestation of a paranormal force and not.the actual grip of some solid hand. Were thehands truly substantial, however, the creaturewould not have been able to pass through wallsand doors, a s we know it did.

    such that magical weapons or those of specimanufacture are required to inflict any wounupon the creature. It may be that a blow to asolid area of the ghost would injure it, but suattacks are usually too precise for the averagcombatant to make in the chaos of melee.CorporualLike ghosts in the shape of inanimate objectcorporeal spirits are far less common than thintangible counterparts. Through mental wilsupernatural ability, these creatures have asolid and complete body. Often, the body

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    resembles exactly the one they had when alive.How then, one might ask, do I justify the

    claim that these are ghosts and not zombies orsome other form of undead? The answer issimple: I have seen such creatures myself.I attended the funeral of a lovely young '

    woman whose resting form was secure in thecoffin when a ghost, one who looked exact%*she had, confronted me. We battled fiercely butI held the apparition at bay. Throughout ourclash, it was clear to me that this nightidarishcreature was as solid and complete a-beirrifWlmyself, for my enchanted dagger bitflesh as cleanly as it would have cut y&creature, the "body" of the ghostthat of the girl in the coffin, for I cbroke down into an elemental mkt.transformation was such that it pof a vampire. But when a chilling%[email protected] the drifting vapors, breand scattering them freely, I wahad indeed faced something new.corporeal spirit, so thankfube rare. I can only assummental fortitude is requirmanifestation of the apparit

    In the end, when I triumphed over [email protected]""'

    I have since encountered but one other

    MutabluI would be remiss in my accounting if I did notdraw the reader's attention to a ype of ghost Ican only descr ibe a s "mutable." Spirits of thisnature seem able to shift from one form t oanother with ease. In many cases, this change isonly in the sta te of the apparition. For example,a ghost who has proven itself to be intangibleby walking through th e wall of a tomb mightthen become corporeal and lash out at thoseexploring its coffin.

    In many cases, the difference between thistype of spirit and its various cousins is verysubtle. It could well be, for example, that theaforementioned Strangling Man was able totransform from a semicorporeal state to anincornoreal state-making it a mutable spirit.

    Evidence in the case has led me t o concludeotherwise, but the point is worth noting.

    It has been my experience that ghosts whoseem to be of a corporeal nature are, in fact,mutable. They seem freely able to assume anincorporeal state a t will. The fact that there a reexceptions, however, merits the division ofthese creatures into separate and distinctcategories, as noted above.

    id, I ' ~ 1.1.3

    P h g s i c l Appuaranrehe third category by which I classify ghostsis that of physical appearance. Like theT preceding categories, magnitude of powerand physical consistency, all ghosts, too, maybe subjected to this classification. A ghost's

    physical appearance must fall into one of thefollowing subcategories: vaporous, spectral,humanoid, bestial, monstrous, object,preserved, corrupted, distorted, or beauteous.

    In my travels and attempts to battle the evilof the undead wherever it may stand, I haveencountered so many unusual ghosts that itseems impossible to think of them as variantsolva single theme. In most cases, a ghost willlook as it did in life or, more precisely, as it didat the time of its death. In some cases, however,the ghost's appearance is transformed-perhapsby becoming vaporous or spectral.

    I have found that the incorporeal undeadcome in a great variety of shapes and sizes.While the typical image of a "ghost" is that of atranslucent creature of more or less humanvisage, it is dangerous to expect this. Yet, for alltheir dissimilarities, I have found that ghostsshare a number of physical characteristics.Thus, 1 have been able to categorize mostapparitions in the ways I describe below.

    uaporousMany ghosts lack the power or desire toassume a recognizable physical shape. Theyoften appear as a misty cloud or swirling fog. Insome, features can be discerned while in othersthere is nothina so recognizable. Most often,

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    those who come into contact with this type ofghost describe it a s cold or damp.associated with their form. I recall one manwho told me the tragic tale of a vaporous formthat descended upon his family one evening intheir home. As the mists engulfed them, the airbecame infused with a foul essence that wasunfit t o breathe. Gasping and choking, the mandragged himself clear of his home before losingconsciousness. When he awoke, he found thatonly he had survived.

    Ghosts of this type may have special abilities

    SpuctralSome ghosts appear as a point of brilliance thatlooks not unlike a will 0 wisp or magical lightspell. These points can vary greatly in intensity,although I do not believe one can always ga6gethe power of the creature by the magnitude oflight it gives off. In some cases, the emotionalstate of such ghosts is reflected by the hue ofthe light.a telltale sound such as a whistling orhumming. I have heard tell of spectralphantoms that were accompanied by a mostsingular ringing said to be much like thetinkling of crystal bells.

    Ghosts of this type are often accompanied by

    Humanoidlieved by many to be theid spirits look much as

    re clearly of humanoidways fully defined. Suchle, might have a well-defined

    ms but have legs that trailStor ies are told in hushed tones by theinhabitants of Staunton Bluffs of a faceless

    horror that roams the streets on those nightswhen thunder rumbles across a cloudless sky. Itis said that this horror kills its victims andsteals their faces to ease the eternal agony itsuffers. I have seen the body of one of itsvictims, and the sight of the faceless corpse

    was-to say the least-ghastly. My best guesalthough I have never encountered the creatitself, is that this is a humanoid ghost who han ill-defined face. I can only assume that sofacet of its creation accounts for its unusualappearance and behavior.

    BustialWe have all heard stories of phantom houndthat roam fens and marshes in search of moprey. This example illustrates yet another tyof ghost-the bestial. I have heard stories ofghost sharks that prowl the Sea of Sorrows,wolf spirits that stalk the woods of Kartakassand other manners of beastly spirits.

    In some cases, bestial ghosts seem to havkinship with like creatures of mortal nature.The aforementioned wolves, for example, habeen reported leading a pack of true caninesWhether these animals followed the creaturetheir own volition or out of some magicaldominance I cannot say.

    MonstrousIt is not unreasonable to believe that there aghosts who stem not from humans ordemihumans, but from monsters. Indeed, I hrecorded in my journals a number of encounwith such creatures. Without exception, amonster who is transformed into an undeadspirit is even more horrible than it was in lifemany cases, they not only retain their pastpowers and abilities, they gain new onesbecause of their horrible metamorphosis.I have encountered was a gruesome medusa;had vowed to help a friend who found it lurkibeneath the mountains of Tepest. We had souout the creature, believing it was as mortal a sany of us. By the time we discovered ourmistake, half of our party was slain-eitherturned to stone by its deadly gaze (which it hretained from its mortal form) or drained of lby its chilling touch (which it had gained upobecoming a ghost).

    The most frightening creature of this type

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    Unprepared for a battle with such a fiendishs tha t followed during which weed to prepare ourselves for anotherlt on the ghost, it began t o venture out of

    air and strike at the innocents of thatgion. By the time we were able to dqst py t&

    nearly two dozen people had 6een -of them close friends. It wasavictory indeed.

    L

    s impossible as it may seem, I havethat are, as far as I c&d,viw~ -ly ghosts. To say the least, the$

    I believe that ghosts of this &ype;hai( 1 9 4individual is gor associated with a physica

    viduals death, he is a m hso strongly that the object i&dfi&~l~*131 * avuf sf!?1:In half of these cases. the ahost eMx?tdkbns

    c

    .Ove by one, we examined the casketsin the recessed burial chambers.exception, each and every one oft&m had been defied bg grave robbers.t$$vlin muttered a holy vow under his breath,for such sacrilege weighed heavily upon hisheart. As he liftedhis head from a silent prayerfor the dead, Geddar cried aloud.

    exit from the tomb.

    nd ethereal ere

    solved themselves into more familiarBantu cursed under his breath and then

    Yso hat itof the individual. N e information, we were able to overcome theenace and put this unsettled soul t o rest.e a difficult type to idobject itself appearsAs an example of the latter kind,.antom Axe of Gildabmn. Someof murders occurred in a

    I washe investigation. We

    d that the murders were being coat seemed to be a magically animat

    With the aid of a talented spiritualist,ver, we were able to unco

    withwarrior named Gildabarren.Gildabarren had been exiled from his

    ty a s a young man, and he hadit upon his death. His spirit

    e most common state of ann. Ghosts who are in a presewedstom their appearance at thecases where the ghosts living

    obtrusive means (poison, aI spell, and the like), the ghostsit did when alive. Violent deathe sword wound or similar

    isible. In extreme cases,result of an overwhelminghost may be horribl

    ad focused its energy on the axe, which was aneirloom of great importance to his family. Thearmic resonance surrounding his tragicrowning death was so strong that the axe itselfame, in effect, Gildabarrens spirit. With this corpse as

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    ghost will begin to look rotted and decayed,just a s the body does. Corrupted ghosts areoften so horrible to look upon that they inspirefear and revulsion in the strongest of men. Ihave seen many of these creatures in my travelsand can assure the reader that this effect doesnot lessen with time-there is somethingutterly macabre a ese unearthly, rotting

    distant land of Harfrom the body of a murituals surrounding his deatnot correctly completed. Th&ghost wasmistaken by many adventurersyor amummy-an error that coslives. Only through the effowas the true nature of the creatThe ghost was returned t o a restful death uponcompletion of the proper rituals andsacraments.

    riest when the

    OistortudSo me apparitions have their physicalappearance twisted and distorted in ways that-can hardly be described. These creatures arenightmarish reflections of what they were inlife. I have heard it said that they are aspects ofthe madness that must surely exist in thetortured mind of a ghost. Whatever the cause,they are horrible to look upon.

    Many examples come to mind, but I thinkthat none is perhaps more awful than thedreadful B a r nHound of Willisford.This foulcreature looked, from a distance, to be a greatmastiff o r hunting dog. When examined moreclosely, however, the hound was really a manwhose body was warped so that it resembledthat of a great canine. The transformationseemed to cause it pain, for it let out such criesof agony that they were mistaken by the localsfor the frightful howling that gave the creatureits name.

    I cannot account for the strange shape of tc rea ture4 merely recount its tale. Its originremains a mystery to me, as does i ts fate, fodont know if it still exists or if some braveadventurers have been able to dispatch it.BeautmusSome ghosts assume an appearance that isalmost angelic in its innocence and seemingpassivity. They take on the guise of the mostbeautiful of women, the most handsome ofmen, or the sweetest of children. In most casthe ghost can still be recognized by those wknew it in life. The creatures appearance,however, is more perfect than it could ever hbeen in the natural world. All of its lessadmirable qualities are softened or replacedways that make it endearing and alluring.

    I remember when I first encountered suchcreature and it opened its arms to me. It camin the form of a lovely girl who had raven haand the dark complexion of the tropics. In avoice so sweet that even now it sends shiverthrough my body to think of it, the fiend invme to embrace it. It whispered to me of itsdesire for me and its love for me. A part of mknew that it lied, but I could not resist. Had not been for the intervention of a close frienthe thing would have killed m e that night.

    Such ghosts are uniformly evil, using theiveil of illusion to lure victims close so that tmay lash out at them. In many cases, spiritsthis type are able to charm those who knewthem in life.

    Origin, of Ghostshe fourth category by which I classifyghosts is through their origins. AlthougT most ghosts will fit into one of the

    subcategories I discuss below, other meansorigination should not be discounted.I have, over the years, collected hundreds

    documents that detail (or profess to detail) torigins of numerous ghosts. In many cases,have been able to assemble a number of pap

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    accounts detailing the creation of a singleition. One might think that somany

    s could not help but provide a clearview of the events leading t o th'eof a ghost. Rather, the converseisIn those instances where two or more

    icle the details by which a specifitunting has occurred, I have founo

    ies, and assorted conjectures amatter as surely as th ed WW Q~g s of autumn hide the face of

    Still, putting aside the doubtfiable accounts, there does eclassify most ghosts [email protected] s. In some cases, this inv

    erson's physical death: 3r

    ds upon the events ofionally, events that ocplay a part.

    I have come-acrosseight methods ormotiv&ions through which ghosts seem too ~ W & b neath, dedication,ngeance, reincarnation,There are likelv to be

    which ghostsmayeem the most common.

    that is hostile to the living worl&amt&[email protected]!mor they slip helplessly into madness.Consider the case of the infamous LaughingMan who is said to haunt the Valachancountryside. I have no fewer than five accounts

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    of his death. While they alldiffer in details,the important points match.perfectly.

    The Laughing [email protected] often

    of this, the hunterwith several of hisbelief that there would be

    0hamight;lthe gmupand~se t l ldourn t oa n w i f h i i d s t o r i e saround th e campfire. [email protected] wasconsumed with laughter fdkwingtthe telling ofa joke by one of his companiotis,,gi @Up ofbandits attacked them. The hu&r was clain bya single arrow that struck the>ba&&his=head.

    Magical conversations with the spirit of t$eLaughing Man reveal he did not know,whathappened to him by the fire. H e wat.&ed themassacre, unable to affect anythingitwhy way,as hebandits swept down and killed hisfriends.Only in the end, it is said, when he turned and

    Pody lying at the edawful truth become clear tu him.. . .The apparitions beforeus seemed tocome fromall wa lk of ife. mere were

    common folk (transparent and vague but .no idea how long theythe vandals gave them

    oly symbol, a gleamingemed to gwe offa faintn and beseeched his god for

    restless spirits. Somehownough. This was theird for the dead-weover them here.called Bantu. Beginyourold them foras ong

    in my defense, opened thewe had recovered from the

    DedicationSome ghosts are drawn from beyond the graout of devotion to a task or interest. A learnscholar who has spent her life researchingancient tomes in an effort to decipher a lostlanguage might return to haunt her old libraif she died before completing her studies.

    Dedicated ghosts are almost always ancho(a term I discuss on page 22) to a specific plor item. This is similar to ghosts who arestewards, a s noted below.

    StuwardrhipAmong the most fascinating spirits are thoscall stewards or sentinels. These ghosts areseldom truly evil, and they seek only to protsomething that was important to them in lifalmost every case, these spirits are anchorea specific person, location, or object-althougI have heard reports of wandering spirits thaseek to guard over travelers in general or soother less clearly defined group. (See theclassification on page 22 for information abanchored spirits.)

    Stewards are quite adamant about their deto protect the thing to which they are anchorIn general, their power is greater than that ofother ghosts, for they are strongly dedicatedtheir task and seem to draw energy from thebond to the material world. I cannot help butpity the rogue who attempts to loot a familycrypt that is protected by a sentinel spirit, fowill bend every bit of i ts will against him andseek to destroy him utterly.who appear to guard an ancestral estate. Thtype of spirit is often at the root of manyhaunted house stories, for they can be quviolent when confronted with trespassers orother unwelcome (by them, that is)guests.type except by destruction of the thing that guards. In the case of a building or an objecthis is often possible with some effort-although the ghost will obviously lash out

    Among the most common stewards are th

    It is seldom possible to remove a spirit of

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    tempt to thwart this endeavor. Inless manifest focus, such as when a ghost isto watch over its descendants, this

    impossible to accomplish.

    e come to the conclusion that thisis distinct from the following one,for several reasons. Perhaps theof these is the fact that ghosts

    o death. Additionally, these ghostsr act upon imagined wrongs and, for the

    UongoaneePerhaps the most common type of ghost is thevengeful spirit. This is the unresting soul ofsomeone who suffered a great wrong in life.Unable to avenge himself in the mortal world,this apparition rises from the grave to harass ordestroy those who maltreated him in life.

    The desire for revenge burns strongly in succreatures-eventually turning their minds tcevil. It seems, in fact, that the desire forrevenge is so corrupting that even those whoseek an understandable vindication grow evil.

    of aif this means that those whonged them go unpunished. In short, this

    f ghost has a certain nobility as opposedose who seek only to wreak revenge.

    To make this distinction clear, consider theknown case of the Headless Gypsy. Herefor a crime he did not

    n he returned to them in an effortreconsideration, he was sentencedd promptly beheaded. That night,

    of sparkling, shimmering dust. Thiswas able to move freelyo take greatfor it was able to

    l objects to some extent.A s time passed, this ghost became more androublesome to the Vistani-valuable

    or break, horses and dogsso on. In an effort to stem this tide

    it could become dangerous, one of thewomen of the band used her propheticrs to contact the spirit. Under the Headlessguidance, she uncovered evidence that

    e of any wrongdoing. A s soonas done, the ghost vanished and was

    How sweet life would be if all such hauntingsso easily ended and all restless spiritsquickly stilled.

    It matters little, I believe, whether the wrongthat has caused such a spirit to rise from thedead is real or imagined. Indeed, in many casesthe most evil and powerful of these spiritsthrive on the belief that they have been slightedwhen no evidence of prejudicial treatmentexists.A perfect example of this type of ghost canbe found in the domain of Tepestseveral years ago, I ran into a mospirit whom I recounted in my jou..Reflectionof Evil.

    It seems that there was a young womannamed Keni who was prone to jealousywhenever her husband Drakob even spoke toanother woman. I have never found anyone whowould even begin to suggest she had cause forthis, for Drakob was as devoted and loving aspouse as any woman could want.that she was unable to stand the thought of hisbeing gone from their home for more than afew hours at a time. One day, while Drakob wasgoing about his business in the town of Viktal,a fire broke out in their home. Unable to escapethe sudden, horrible blaze, Keni died.

    As the months passed, Drakob mastered hisgrief. H e eventually wooed a young womannamed Zjen and, more than tw fter thedeath of Keni, he remarried.image of his first wife appeared in the mirror ona dressing table. The frantic newlyweds

    Her jealousy became so consuming, however,

    On Drakobs wedding night, the

    he one

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    they replaced it with was pro?the same apparition. Over anddiscarded or destroyed mirrorsdrive this phantom from their 11they were forced to flee from tevery reflective surface began toimage of the dead first wife.enough refuge for the first few weeks,%ut soonit was being haunted by the jealousKeni. When Drakob beseeched a prilocal church to drive the restless spits grave, matters grew worse. Theedraged the spirit and, if anything, magnifiedits-er. On the night after the attemptedbanishment, as Zjen looked down and saw therefl&ion of the dead girl in a bucket of water, a

    1hand ashed out at her. Although itseemedJuht38le to touch the flesh-and-bloodwoman, it left a horrible scar upon Zjens face.The wound was unsesponsive to medical care,and Zjen soon sickened and died.

    When last I spoke with the widower, Drakob

    The couples nevi house seemed a safe

    told me that he was still being haunted by thimage of Keni and that he dared not makeanother attempt t o drive it off for fear thatmatters would become even worse. I do notknow what has become of him, but I left hima state of mental exhaustion that was as closto death a s any living man can bear. My heargoes out to him, but he made me swear not tinterfere, and I could not refuse him.

    ReincarnationThis manner of apparition is extremely rare is absolutely distinct from the others describin this book. Although I have neverencountered such a creature, I have it on themost reliable of accounts that they do exist.A reincarnation, or descendant, spirit canoccur when an ancestor of exceptionalwillpower chooses t o return to lifebyusurping the body of a descendant. The victiof this assumption must be a direct relation,and t he importance of blood ties in this

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    capable of granting his wish for immortality, hemust offer some payment for the boon. Inmany cases, this favor will take the form of aservice, as material wealth means little tofiends of this power. Often, the task will donothing t o further the goals of the beast, butwill instead provide t he fiend with chaoticamusement.recount a story that causes me muchheartache-forwas a boy, I knenamed Eldrennchildhood friends, bhis parents moved telsewhere. Years later,At first, I did not rgaunt and pale, lookineaten since last 1had sdark and seemed towhen he spoke. Thethis shell of a man anknown could not have been greater. The factthat he was now a sparkl iw, transparent ghostseemed of only secondpry importance.

    We talked. As the hguwpassed, he told meof his life. H e explainad-that his family hadsettled not far from Q &f Oarkons largestcities and that he had.x n raised in anatmosphere of h a p p h m a n d prosperity. As hdentered his teen yeara&iss mind began towander and he leaked beyond his fatherstinsmithing business, ,him shallow ad i yx m p le t e, except for theability ta seesornethidg more than what wasthere. [email protected]@ $tarLhad heard of this yearningfrom otkc&btnrae called to the magicians

    In order t o illustrate this type of origin, I must

    e him. H e was

    H e explained that his senses had seemed to

    ,born with the blood ofveins, but t he mystical fire of

    Overthetourse of the next few years, hebegan to stiidy wizardry. His powers grew slowlyat first, but he found he had a natural affinityfor the working of magic. Eventually, hebecame quite powerful. In fact, he found hecould learn nothing more from his studies and

    se tl wt to contact the only man who seemedle mentor to him-the dreaded Azalinor friend seemed hesitant to say theslow in telling me of the he swore to the dark lord

    onths under the guidancfigure. All the while, he learne

    ore-not only about magic, buthimself. It was through my talI learned the horrible trutDarkons true nature.

    did not know, however, waeaching him powers he countain. In the end, those power

    onsuming his flesh agical power he hae. Tragically, death wan. The powerful oatm to the servitude of

    n beyond death itselwhen Eldrenn lookeow, and into the distanc

    turned3ankhaw hat he was entranced by thdistant spires of Azalins castle. He bade mfarewell, fo r his master was calling him, anbegan to floet slowly toward the castle. As moved, he faded from sight and was gone. was several h w r s before I was able to commyself ahdLforce my mind from the dreadfutale I had been told.

    d!,l

    i yrFifth category in which ghosts may be1 classified is whether they are anchoredMany spirits a re tied t o a specific persor place. Some are found haunting a singulitem. I call these anchored spirits, for just aships anchor keeps it in place during roughweather, so do the bonds that these ghostsfor certain things prevent them from ranginafar. In some ways this is a blessing. Findinspirit who is known to be anchored t o a spehouse, for example, is far easier than findinghost who roams the countryside seekingrevenge for its death.

    Anchored spirits can, however, be more

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    e than their wandering co un te rp at san anchored ghost is far mor end t o be extremely aggressi

    ing territorial andor object t o whichtscanbeanchoredbyoneo

    hor connects a spirfte cases, a ghosts relatdversarial, in ote occasions-

    ful servants death is,is transformed intwa

    IS hat of stewar

    unt the woman whothen transfer it

    be that this is the mosor at least the most w&g us has not heard tales dfwhBurlDlbv niwhere none dare travd attetrthWrMa~

    not heard of a house said WbeM d t o iieg spirits of the familywost cases, spirits who are ae stewards. T h y W m & h x vof the region inWMhytide.cts of violence again&tbkm.

    . . .Geddar brought his axe down in a long,gweeping arc. His blade passed through twoof the ghosts, causing them to cry out inpain.In retaliation, one o f the other spirits surgedforward and reached out its f i iers to brushacross the brow o f the dwarf. He seemedunaffectedat first, but then a look of horrorspread across his face such as 1had neverseen in a dwarven wamor. Geddar fell,clutching his chest, and 1knew in my heartthat we would never hear his booming laughagain.As 1placed the last of the amulets back inthe coffins,Kevlin began to pray,ag+,

    called upon his deity to return thrqto the peaceful sleep o f the dead.Too late for our beloved Gedh,,.wewatched as the phantasms began to fasight. Then the evil of this place vanished.

    ,

    .i I- r. Rudolph Van Richten

    Private journals

    region they defend will anger them; in otherwords, those seeking to pass through the areawill not be troubled so long as they showproper respect. In rare instances, the mere actof trespassing upon the soil protected by aspecific spirit is enough to earn its wrath-andpossibly the trespassers death.example, each and every tomb is said to bewatched over by the spirits of those who areinterred there. Grave robbers who disturb theirsleep, it is believed, will bring death anddestruction upon themselves for the crimesthey are committing against the dead.

    While I have never been able to prove this, Ihad occasion once to speak with an ancient ~warrior who, although he claimed t o be but ;seventeen years old, was on the verge of de&hfrom the frailty of many decades. H e as$% &,me that the rumors told of HarAkirsg&fspirits are true-and I must say I feit 1 6 0 x 8accept his testimony.

    In the distant and elusive land of HarAkir, for

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    Perhaps the rarest form of anchor is that of aspirits attachment t o a singutar item. I havepersonally never encountered duyh a spirit, butI have heard the tales and rbailthe &counts bysources whom 1 consiinclude these ghosts I

    In order for a spiritobject, that object must hsignificance for the personbest illustrates this, at leatragic yet fascinating taleInvidia.she wore constantly. I beli&l%&ch hadbeen given to her by herbirthday gift. But theaccident that very day,fixed upon the item as a ladchild.will requested that t he trinket Wburied withher. Her sister, however, had al&@scoveted thepretty brooch, and she rem0body just before the camohths that followed,and death by the spirit of t

    Things did not end tcameo changed handseach instance, it broEventually, a youngdiscerned the focus of theit that the Gray Lad

    harm was at lar. Once the coffin w

    This woman seemed tieif

    When the woman

    he sixth and final category I will discuss isthat of triggers. Generally, once a ghostT as been created it becomes a permanentinhabitant of the world. It will remain inexistence until its goals are accomplished, it islaid to rest by the actions of mortals, or it is

    Sometimes, however, a trigger is involvedthat links the ghost to appearing at a certainevent, time, or under certain conditions.Triggers can be thought of as temporal anchif one wishes, for that is essentially what theare.

    TimeGhosts who are triggered by the passing of tcan be troublesome to track down and destrfor one seldom knows where to begin lookinFor instance, if a ghost rises every 100yearsfrom a certain tomb, the origin of its curse isoon lost to memory. Furthermore, a ghosthunter might feel he has destroyed theapparition when, in reality, it has simply goninto hibernation for another century.A natural phenomenon may trigger theappearance of some ghosts of this type. Forexample, the night of the full moon might bforth the spirit of a slain constable who makhis lonely rounds just as he did on the nightdied. And the return of a blood-red comet tothe skies above a harbor town might herald appearance of a ghost ship.ActionSome ghosts are triggered when a certainaction is performed. In a sense, the guardianspirits of HarAkir might be regarded this wafor they are harmless unless their tombs areviolated. Disrespect of the dead is the mostcommon trigger for a ghost.

    Generally, the arrival of a n action-triggereghost is violent and immediate. Let us ake,example, the case of a steward ghost whoreturns to haunt anyone who defiles the homin which it lived. The descendants of the ghosell the house to a man who wishes to destroin order to make room for a larger structuresoon as the first of the demolition workersbegins to practice his art, he finds himselfconfronted by the misty, howling shape of thhouses steward. Hardly a typical days work

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    clic ghosts are an uncommon type of spirit.seem, for whatever reason, to be trappedof time. Their actions aredictated by this repetition because they

    in time a s unbreakable a s thespirit forced to witness one horrible

    her a s the years go by, is aof a cyclic ghost.ame set of stairs in a

    locktower every time the clockH is walk would begin just as thell sounded, and he would reach the top

    ep just a s the last one ended, only to fadey once he had completed his journey. This

    curiosity than anythingas long a s it was left alone. Those whoits climbing, either purposefully

    accidentally, met with a gruesome end: Thecaused flesh to run like

    On a much less dramatic scale, I once read of

    s the reader will surmise after reading theabove information, classifying ghosts canbe a time-consuming task. However, thehunter who has done the requisiteesearch will be equal to the challenge of

    eturning spirits t o their proper resting place.is understanding as much as

    ossible about the type of ghost, its origins,nd its manner.The following outline may help the reader

    lassify any ghosts he or she encounters.1. Magnitude of power

    FirstSecondThirdFourthFifthIncorporeal

    11. Physical consistency

    Her lips were red, her looks were free,Her locks were yellow asgold:Her skin was white as eprosy,The nightmare Life-in-Deathwas she,Who thicks mans blood with cold.- amuel Taylor Coleridge

    Rhyme of the Ancient Manner

    ISemicorporealCorporealMutableVaporousSpectralHumanoidBestialMonstrousObject

    * PreservedCorrupted .9 Distorted

    BeauteousSudden deathDedicationStewardshipJusticeVengeanceReincarnationCursesDarkpactsV. AnchorsRelationshipPlaceItemVI. TriggersTimeActionCyclic

    111. Physical appearance

    IV. Origins

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    reader. However, muchdifficult (if not impossibelieve. but I must beatruth. For many years 1pt:what I am about to revpresented to me bega

    something that, a t fconcern. InterviewsOver the years, I hav

    our land is notis it a world in toutsiders think, Ithis odd fact, but

    u s t o he point ato enchantment

    brings one back to *at point? The answer, ifone pauses to think about it, is fairly obvious:These other worlds are great spheres.

    The traveler to whom I spoke seemed to take it

    for granted that all worlds are spherical. Shefound my belief that our land is a flat surface amusing. I must say, however, that I have travefrom the coast of the Sea of Sorrows in Mordedue west until I came to the easternmost regioof the twisted Nightmare Lands-and I am cerour world is not a sphere.

    It seems our land is immediately surroundby a belt the sages call the border ethereal. Tborder is a transient thing that permeates ouland. It is, in fact, as much a sta te of being ais a place of existence. It functions as anintermediary between the land of Ravenloft the Ethereal plane.

    Ghosts (and other incorporeal beings) inRavenloft become nonsolid by entering theborder ethereal just as they would a normalworld. Curiously, however, they are unable ttake the step from the border ethereal into tEthereal plane itself. It seems that there issome mystical force at work that prevents thfrom moving beyond the border.define it clearly. We are all, I believe, prisoneof some greater force in Ravenloft. Whatmotivates or maintains this force, I cannot sBut enough discourse on the conjecturessages. The background the reader now hasshould provide a reference point for thefollowing ordinary powers of ghosts:insubstantiality, invisibility, rejuvenatfon,immunity, racial abilities, class abilities, andcreation of undead. Although all ghosts havthe first four ordinary powers, the remainingthree are dependent upon the individual gho

    I cannot account for this effect nor even

    Insubstantialitwghosts most well-known power is, withdoubt, that of its ethereal nature. BeingA nonsolid creature, the ghost is not

    restricted by physical barriers and can comeand go as it pleases. Its movement is limitedsome cases by an anchor or a magical bordecannot cross, but for the most part a ghostcannot be constrained physically.In its insubstantial form, a ghost is immun

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    .-

    dwarven axe or the purest elvenis ethereal. No,

    tive against a lesser ghost may have nogreater one, for the spirits

    ance to attack is directly based upon itsI must warn the reader, however, that I have

    om e spirits who seemed moreant to harm than I would have expected

    sts had some sort of additional protection,their true magnitude was cleverly concealed.The ghosts intangible state is, I believe,

    it exists primarily in the borderIf one w ere able to enter that

    I speculate that it would seem asd as you or I. It might even be possible t o

    he creature with nonmagical weaponso destroy it just as one would a mad dog.

    able and Semicorporeal Spiritsble spirits are able to become ethereal or

    le a t will. As soon a s these creaturesa corporeal state, they becometo physical weapons.

    I would be remiss in my charge to instructhunters, however, if I did notrn the reader that this is not always the case.

    than o ne occasion, I have heard of theof someone who found that hisblade was useless against a truly

    spirit. Similarly, those mutable orspirits-who seem able toome partly corporeal while retaining a

    y incorporeal state-do not becomele to mundane weapons.

    As I described earlier in Chapter I, theses do not actually become partially solid.her, they seem able t o focus their energies

    a way that they can affect their physicalof them.

    the young woman moved toward Alanik, 1raised my crossbow to warn her off The lightof the fmplace danced on thesilver quarrel; Ifelt confident in itspower.

    but the evidenmoved nearerplainly in theway the mothrough her body-s

    She reached out inAlanik in her [email protected] embrac

    As it bwieditself inin the siloerquarrel was shattered. Ihew thatno earthty weapon could protect us.. ..

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    ... . ... . . . . . . _ ..::.. i_ . i ,;d ..P.,___

    lnuisibilitgnother power of a typical ghost is its abilityto become invisible at will. CreaturesA moving about in the border ethereal are not

    readily visible to those on the Prime Materialplane or the demiplane of Ravenloft. Invisibilityseems to be a side effect, if you will, of theghosts ability to exist within the border ethereal.

    There are numerous ways to detect a ghostwho is not yet visible, although they are almostall magical. The most common meansemployed is the use of a detect inuisible orsimilar spell. I am also told that there are somepersons who are able to sense the presence ofethereal creatures by means of innate psionicabilities. And it is said that the Vistani canalways sense the presence of the incorporea!,although this may be an old wives tale.

    In most cases, a ghost must become visible(if not tangible) to attack those in Ravenloft.Only the most powerful and deadly of ghostsare able to attack without revealing theirpresence to their victims.

    Nonmagical means of detecting invisible andincorporeal creatures are generally of no use. Forexample, scattering a fine layer of dust or flouracross the floor of a room might well cause acorporeal being who is invisible to reveal itselfthrough the making of footprints. An incorporealcreature, however, would leave no such sign ofits passage. Similarly, attempts to discern thepresence or location of an incorporeal creatureby making sweeping passes with a weapon orother object will generally fail. An incorporealspirit can be detected in this manner only if theobject or weapon used to probe the area ismagical and its enchantment strong enough toactually strike the ghost.

    Rujuuunations strange a s it may seem, it is possible todrive off a ghost by physical combat.A Doing so, however, often requires a

    magical weapon or spellcasting abilities. Those

    without such tools stand little chance ofharming, let alone destroying, ghosts.

    Even if one has the physical ability to harman incorporeal spirit, however, the task is onlhalf-completed. Most ghosts are able to strikdown a mortal with but a fe w blows thanks totheir special powers. Conversely, it usuallyrequires a great effort on the part of manyindividuals to inflict enough harm to a ghostdrive it off or destroy it. I have heard tell ofapparitions who were beset by a team ofadventurers and managed to not only survivethe attack, but to utterly annihilate the party.

    This is partly due to a ghosts ability toregenerate itself, though ghosts do notregenerate in the way that vampires and certother creatures do. This is not to say that aghost who is badly injured in a skirmish todawill be whole and hardy on the morrow-quitethe reverse. Rather, there is an importantdifference in the ways in which a ghost is ablto heal itself of injury as opposed to the wayswhich other creatures recover from damage.

    To heal themselves, ghosts are able toemploy a process I call rejuvenation.Unlikeregeneration, which implies a healing ofwounds at a greatly accelerated rate,rejuvenation allows the ghost to absorb theessence of the Ethereal plane that surroundsthus restoring itself to full vigor.

    This process is taxing and demands the ghdo nothing for some time after the assumptioof ethereal matter, rendering it vulnerableshould it be forced to rejuvenate during acombat situation. As a rule, a first-magnitudghost can heal any injuries sustained at anytime, but it is then helpless to act for an houafterward. The duration of this resting timelessens with the power of the ghost until, at tfifth magnitude, a ghost need only rest for teminutes after rejuvenation.that I have, on rare occasions, encounteredghosts who seemed able to heal themselvesmore rapidly, perhaps by a process I can onlyliken to regeneration.

    A s a word of caution, I must advise the rea

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    I

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    BsUseless Against Ghostsction*

    Finger of deathHasteHold animalHold monsterHold personIrritationMagic jarOttos irresistible dancePolymorph any objectPolymorph othersPower word, blind

    Power word, killPower word, stunSinkSleepSlowVampiric touch

    Priest Spells Useless Against GhostsAnimal growthlshrink animal*Cause blindnessCause deafnessCause diseaseHold animalHold personRegeneratelwither.Restorationlenergy drain*Speak with monsters* These spells are the reversed versions oftheir more common counterparts.

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    n some cases, a spirits resistance to magic ison its origins. For example, I haveof the ghost of a young woman whoof snow swept away herchalet. This ghost was immune tofrom all spells that did not employ cold,or the like as a part of their magic.

    Normally, spirits who are immune to someof magic are more vulnerable to others. Ine example presented above, the apparition ofe alpine girl was more greatly affected by a

    h a s cone of cold than would normallyIn extreme cases, it might beoff or destroy the spirit

    e magic to which it is vulnerable is

    cial Abilitiesthough ghosts acquire new abilities from

    their undead status, a number of spiritsalso retain the natural abilities of their

    acial origin. The ghost of a dwarf, for example,ight retain its natural infravision as well as itsesistance to spells.

    do so that it is important to note this possibility.Racial abilities most likely retained seem to bethose intrinsic to an apparitions new life.

    Not all spirits retain these abilities, but enough

    lass Abilitieshe knowledge that a ghost possessed whenalive is seldom lost to it in theT ransformation to unlife. Thus, many of

    them retain the abilities of the profession theypursued in life. In the least of these cases, thismight include such common skills as cookingor carpentry, both of which have littleimportance to the incorporeal apparition. Farworse, however, are those spirits who retaintheir knowledge of formidable magic,innovative battle tactics, or even the mysteriouspowers of the psionic mind.

    . Seeing that my quarrel had not slowedthe phantom, Alanik Ray backed away, pulledhis leather satchel to him, and began torummage through it in search of somethingunbeknownst to me. The phantom beautyturned toward me, confident in the impotenceof our defenses. Its slende6 pale handsreached out for my throat, and I found myselfunable to look away from that angelic face.

    Suddenly, Alanik Ray shoved me roughlyaside. I slipped and fell. As I watched instunned silence, unable to move, the foulghost spread its arms and took my companioninstead in its deadly embrace.* To my surprise, the great detective seemedunharmed. Indeed, the ghost threw back itshead and let out a scream of agony-AlanikRay had impaled it on a shaft of gleamingcrystal.

    - rom The Life of Alanik Railas noted by Arthur Sedgwick, Physi

    Creation o f Undeadn approximately half of all ghostly cases, anapparition has the ability to cause those itkills to rise as some form of undead, not

    If the ghost also has the ability to commandnecessarily the form of another ghost.undead, then these newly created fiends fallinstantly and totally under its control. The typeof undead spawned by a given ghost differsgreatly from ghost to ghost, but the newundead almost always share something of theircreator, notably i ts powers and abilities.

    In general, a ghost is only able to employ thispower when it slays someone with its primaryspecial ability. Thus, a ghost capable ofdraining life energy might have this power inaddition to the drain life energy ability. If so ,those who died from this ghosts specialability-that is, who died from having their lifeenergy drained away-would rise again aslesser forms of undead.

    I

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    I

    &mmon to most spirits. In thischapter, I will discuss theparanormal powers I haveencountered only in specificghosts.

    Over the years, I have battled orresearched more ghosts than I carei o remember. Often, thesecreatures were unlike any others Ihave encountered. Thus, despitemy attempts to classify them, Imust confess that each and everyghost is unique. One mightencounter one hundred wolves inthe forest, and although each isdifferent from its brothers incoloration, size, and temperament,

    these differences are nothing when compare$with the radical differences I have found inghosts.On the pages that follow, I have recordedtwenty-one of the more extraordinary powersand abilities of the incorporeal dead. (They arearranged alphabetically.) 1 take heart in the ideathat any single ghost usually has no more thanone or two of these powers, but bear in mindthat there a re those who have more. On onetruly horrifying occasion, I was forced toconfront a spirit who had no fewer than siu of -these extraordinary powers. I barely escapedthat encounter. Four of my closest friends werenot so lucky.Actuluratu Asins

    ome ghosts are able to cause an unnaturalacceleration in the aging of their victims. Is &re een this process in action-watchedas someones hair turned from brown to gray tosilvbr. seen wrinkles stretch across a previouslytaut face, heard the cries of pain as arthritis

    spread through now-fragile bones-but I cannotexplain it.

    This is, I believe, similar to an ability drain,but this unnatural aging affects the victimsentire physiology rather than some specific

    aspect of it.destructive power by a simple touch. Thegeneral effect is a rapid acceleration ofbiological functions such that the victiminstantly ages many years.be deadly to those of us who are, well, we shsay lessyoung than others. I myself havebeen cursed by an aging attack on oneoccasion, and I believe I was fortunate that tblow dealt was not more severe and the effemore deadly.

    Other, more powerful ghosts are able toinduce this aging in those who merely lookupon them. This effect is fiendishly lethalbecause the ghost is protected by this powewhile at a distance, safe from many forms ofattack. A mitigating factor is that sometimethis power requires the potential victim tomake eye contact with the ghost. Discoverinthe difference between the two, of course, isfraught with difficulty. Thankfully, ghosts oftype are very rare!

    Some ghosts seem able to manifest this

    As one might imagine, accelerated aging

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    ome spirits are able to cause those nearthem to lose hope and to becomeconvinced that the cause for which theyis lost, whatever the truth of thens under the effect of this aura

    become lethargic and depressed.In some cases, people affected by this powernd prone to violentI have seen more than one party of

    in

    that affects all those within af the ghost mitigates this despair.ckly return to normal

    heartedness.

    In almost every case, this power functions as

    Abnik Ray raised his hand and called for usto stop. He turned slowly, looking around theinside of the crypt carefully. One by one, heturned his scrutiny on the members of ourparty. Every attempt at conversation wasinstantly met with a c y or quiet by thedetective. At last, he turned to face the y W gmortician, Bartonwood.We need explore this darl c matter nofurther,he announced Themurdererisamong us, is he not, Bartonwood?1 was shocked by A M s accusation. 1 hadknown the [email protected] Bartonwood for manyyears; he was no more capable of so brutal anact than I.Bartonwood collapsed. A thin stream of whitevapor poured from his open mouth, rising4pto take a misty human form. It was clear nowthat Ray had been correct, but what peril nowstood beforeus?. . .

    I turned to speak on his behalf, but

    I

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    A the power to inspire a

    Cause Paralgsisome ghosts are able to render their vicimmobile. Whether this is due to somesupernatural manipulation of the victim

    nervous system or the generation of an aurmagical terror, I cannot say.

    The paralysis induced by these creaturesgenerally of a temporary nature. Those affeby it will be unable to move even slightly fobrief period of time. When the paralysis woff, it generally does so quite quickly, althe muscles and nerves of the victim mi

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    or ache for a long time afterward.erally, the ghost must lash out and strikeorder to induce this effect. Some

    ons, however, are said to radiate an aurao look upon them t o

    for ites the victim vulnerable to any other formttack the spirit might employ.

    Revulsionome spirits, particularly those of corruptedappearance, are able to induce a feeling of

    isgust and revulsion in the living. Often,is so powerful a revulsion as to cause theim to become physically ill.encountered a spirit of this nature while

    board the Wailing Maid, a smallt ran from Martira Bay toWe were just out of port when

    fell. With the rising of the moon, thereof pain from below deck. Dashing toI found that one of the sailors had

    been crushed by the fall of a heavy crate in thehold. The crew was certain the cargo had beenwell secured and were at a loss to explain thetragedy, claiming it must have been anaccident. I , however, suspected it was not.night, another accident occurred. This time, afire broke out near several barrels of blackpowder in the cargo hold. Had I not been onhand to smother the blaze, the entire shipmight have been destroyed.

    A s I dampened the last flame, I found myselfin the company of a bowlyn, th e dread spirit ofthe seas. Upon seeing that I had thwarted itspldn t o destroy the ship, the creature swepttoward me with a cry. I raised an open vial ofholy water and splashed the contents upon theghost. To my surprise, this did not harm it.

    The creature swept past-no, through-me.As soon as its misty form came in contact withmy flesh, I staggered backward. A wave ofintense nausea swept through me. So intensewas this feeling that I fell to my knees. Whenthe crew heard the noise and found me, theyhad to carry me back to my cabin.I di re say that, had another accident notoccurred the next night while I was stillincapacitated, I might have been blamed for themishaps and been forced to face the captains

    My suspicions were confirmed when, the next

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    r to all attack rolls, savingand horror checks),s. Any healing spell,&my, will cancel

    regardless of the

    Causu moundse ghosts have the ability to wound a t asnifestation of the deadly energies thatseethe within them. In order to cause wounds,the ghost simply strikes at someone in thesa me way it would have in i t s past, when it was

    alive. If th e blow lands, a portion of the targetslife essence is dissipated by the ghost. In effect,the victim dies just a bit. I t seems t o matterlittle if the ghost is corporeal or incorporeal, forthis ability crosses t he line between the planesof existence.

    uch, for the power is a simple

    . . The misty apparition rose into the airand flew about, twisting and contorting as itwent. The entire room became deathly coldand an eerie wailing clawed at our hearts.Suddenly, I saw the earthen flooro f the tomtshift and bubble.

    Hands, much decayed and long dead, brolthrough the soil to grab at us.Even as moorto avoid this new menace, ghastly, animatedcorpses began to pull themselves free of thespii We were ou&urnbered three to one by t&

    as f from a great distance, I heardThese creatures are notthem no heed, for they, nd knowing him to beone is likely to fmd, I ben

    k b f gnoring these hideous&nds, they faded until I cou1o longer see tkm. . .

    The stronger the karmic resonance of aghost, the more powerful is i t s ability to wounIn the most powerful of ghosts, this attack cabe ethal.Those who are injured by a ghost employinthiiattack will find themselves singularlymarked by it. Without exception, th esupernatural power of the ghost leaves ablazing red welt upon i t s victim. In time, thecolor of the wound will fade, but a wicked scawill remain. I myself a m not without thesemarks of death upon me.

    Charm Animalse spirits are able to exert considerabl

    fluence over the beasts of the world. Tsture of this dark talent is such that molowly creatures are unable t o resist the ghostwill; they must obey i ts every command.

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    ...s pa -. -person spell, saves and can be used aof animals thattime by a ghostimes the Hit Dice

    In

    ever. so me aDoaritions mav have lower I

    OStSover

    me spirits have the ability to commandher undead creatures to do their bidding.

    s, it is possible for a ghost to surrounda legion of lesser horrors that will actits behalf. These lesser undead are slaves toommands them, and they are

    only upon the destruction

    ime IS sua

    Create Illusionspower to shape images out of nothing isangerous indeed. Just as some wizardsPe capable of making others see whatever

    they want, so, oo, can s ome spirits alter theperceptions of their victims and thus fill thesenses with lies.and intensity. At its weakest, it is the ability tomake simple sounds echo rom nowhere orlights flicker hauntingly in the night. At itsgreatest, however, it can drive victims t o th eedge of madness as he conviction grows inthem that nothing they see is real or

    The power of illusion ranges greatly in scope

    trustworthy.For the most part, gho have the

    power of illusion a re able toproduce effectsthat mimic the spells cast by wizards. There areimportant differences worth noting, however.For example, these spirits have no need t oinvoke the magical rituals magicians oftenmust use, and thus can cause the effects theydesire to spring instantly into being. As onemight expect, the more powerful the ghost, themore'convincing the illusion.It is important that the reader underxand thedifference between illusions. which a re createdby bending light or manifested by actualsound.and phantasm, which ar e unreal and QCUWonly in the mind of the victim. Fort~maldhave heard tell of only one ghost whoyato manifest the latter power, so h is entrydefines only the former.

    The number of senses (sight, sound, smeluch, taste)that an illusion can affect i srectly related to the power of the ghost.3r each magnitude that the ghost hastained, its illusion may appeal to one sensenses affected are determined by the DMhen defining the ghost and do not change.For example, a first-magnitude ghost

    light only be able to create illusionary

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    Dominate Uictimshis power is similar in nature to the ghd tl yability to inhabit bodies (see below). It is,T owever, less vile, for it does not mandate

    the destruction of the target. It is possible forthe victim of such an attack to be subdued andthe dominating spirit driven from his body.Use of the domination ability enables a spiritto assume complete control over the actions ofits host. In general, however, there is somespecial condition that must be met before aghost can dominate a person.empowered with the ability to slowly paralyze amortal. Gradually, the ghosts victim becomesless and less agile, his dexterity impaired. Afterseveral attacks, he is no longer able to move atall. With the victim utterly helpless from theinsidious nature of the ghosts paralysis, the

    For example, some ghosts may be

    nto the body and dominates it. Noter for a ghost to dominate a person,t be in a state of reduced

    tal ability. Only the mosts can seize control of a fullybody is attained wheneveris able to come into

    direct physical contact with a victim who is inthe required physical state. However, a numberof magical spells are able to drive a dominating

    .spirit from the body of its host. When this hapor when the ghost abandons control of the bofor whatever reason, the host is generally ablerecover fully from the trauma. Thus, in the exabove, over the course of time the victim wouprobably recover his ability to move.

    isunderstand Dominated individuaomove and act normally. It is, I havepossible to tell from a simple surface

    ation whether a person is under theof a spirit. The spirit does not, howeveries of the victim. Thcan often reveal the

    nexpected b u t pleasanation of Control: Thised control ov

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    Fortunately, some individuals are able toregain their-memories with the aidof magicaor psionic healersibut I now of no cqie pormundane for sopotent an attack. R is'saidthathe mind flayersof Bluetspurd n ewreaman's pastto himif they cange persuihed toto seek treatment from them.

    st horrible attackdcreature is its

    ghost must touch him;are unable to assumea

    and the minimumascribed in the

    ome spirits, though thankfully very few,are able to rob a manof his memories viatouch. People have lost their recollections .of the past few minutes, hours, or even days.I

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    t rance Uietimss ome spirits, especially those of a spectralnature, can cause those who look uponthem to become entranced. Persons in thisre helpless to defend themselves against

    cks by the ghost or its minions. This paralyticcination with the ghost retains its hold over

    There are s ome who claim that the trance issimply a hypnotic effect. As such, they insist, itis not truly magical. M y research indicates thisbelief t o be incorrect. 1 have found that the

    is able to entrance its victims by tappinginto their inner fascination with death. Allcreatures, whether they are aware of it, have amorbid interest in these matters, and the ghost,with its magical powers, is able to evoke thatappeal.

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    , he spell cannot work. I need notthey are obviously wsong on the

    employ this power instantly SIthat it isused upon. I am toldpainful way to die than having bnripped free df ones body in this faslearned this from a ghost who had diedbeen formed in just this way, and 1 a n n

    the ghost has been able to destroy theits prey, it enters the now vacant shellswooping toward

    ghost, it does drive it back into the open where

    difficult to quantify, butrehend. In essence, it ie ghosts to enter a physiit to become mobile. Thehaunts of Krynn are an

    IS ower, as is a living sc ar erthat may arise if a farmer returns to avenge

    ru4e. I have found that most spirits tit an d animate objects that were

    important or familiar to them in life. Becau

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    , v . . .. , .

    this, it is necessary to differentiate a spirit usingthis ability from a ghost who is anchored to anobject. Anchored spirits, as described in ChapterI I , are fixed and permanent, whereas those spiritswho use this power a re free to come and go a sthey please. Generally, a spirit is restricted to inhabiting only a single type of object. Forexample, if a ghost inhabits a suit of plate mailand that armor is then battered into scrap metal,the spirit may flee to another suit of armor.

    This power is most commonly encounteredin ghosts who inhabit humanoid-shaped objects(scarecrows, armor, or statues, for example) andcause them to come to life. Occasionally,however, a ghost may inhabit another type ofobject-often turning something mundane intoa deadly hazard. Examples that occur to meinclude haunted carriages or ships, houses orcastles, and miscellaneous pieces of art such asportraits or statuary.In almost every case of this type that I haveencountered, the shape of the inhabited objectslowly changes t o give it the semblance of anevil face. Most, however, will find this changetoo subtle to notice until the true nature of thehaunting is revealed to them. . . . was unconscious for several hours. Myfirst recollection was a sensation of great pain

    in my chest and a pounding headache. Iopened m y eyes slowly, fearing I might still bein that horrible tomb. To my surprise, thegrinning face ofAlanik Ray filled m y vis

    Excellent!he cried, taking my handYou are awake and all is well.

    You have defeated that vile creaword