HARP Bestiary Preview Excerpt: The Ghost

Copyright Nicholas HM Caldwell and Aurigas Aldebaron LLC © 2015

Edited by Peter Mork for The Guild Companion

". Adventurers may be hired as ghost hunters - laying the ghost by assisting it in its task(s) is the most effective way of laying a Ghost to rest."


Ghosts are incorporeal beings. These insubstantial spirits can choose to manifest as vague blurred forms; alternatively they may choose to appear as they were when they were alive at any age or at the point of death. Those who have died by beheading may opt to haunt the living as a headless wraith, possibly carrying the head under one arm. With the exception of headless ghosts, it can be extremely difficult to distinguish between the living and these undead as their lifelike forms are perfect mimicries, they can telekinetically move objects, and can control their lifedraining ability. Some Ghosts can and do speak.


Ghosts exist because of unfinished business in their lives, which ties them to this world. This binding often constrains them to a specific location where they spend their undead existence trying to complete their remaining task(s) or reliving some pivotal element of their mortal life. Ghosts can be so immersed in their unlife that they are oblivious to the presence of the living unless the living choose to interrupt the ghosts. Completing their unfinished task(s) may be beyond the capabilities of most Ghosts, but they will seldom ask for mortal assistance.

Ghosts are most commonly active at night. They are not harmed by sunlight, but most seem to shun it.

Abilities and Combat

The process of becoming a Ghost adds new abilities, replaces some existing powers, and eliminates old capabilities. This is represented by applying the Ghost Overlay to an existing creature or being.

Ghost Overlay


  • Racial stat modifiers are unchanged
  • Base Endurance is unchanged, Base PP is unchanged
  • Racial RR modifiers become Stamina 0, Will 15, Magic 15

New Talents:

  • Enhanced Senses;
  • Ghost Forms: a Ghost can appear as itself at any age up to and including death. It can also appear as a blurred outline in which form it gains a +10 bonus to DB and Stalk/Hide skill.
  • Ghost Hands: a Ghost can telekinetically move and manipulate small objects as if they were using their hands or equivalent appendages. The weight limit is one pound per level and the Ghost must use the appropriate skill to resolve any maneuver or attack.
  • Immunity to Bleeding;
  • Immunity to Stuns;
  • Incorporeal;
  • Life Drain;
  • Limited Regeneration (Major, holy)
  • Undead Fear (by Undead class);
  • Undead Vision

Forfeit Talents:

  • Dense Musculature;
  • Tough Hide (any)


  • Shackle: A Ghost is shackled by its nature to a focus which is a place, being or thing associated with the unfinished business of its mortal life; it must remain within 100' per level of this focus. Completing this unfinished business will cause the Ghost to move on to its appointed afterlife; otherwise as long as the shackle focus exists a Ghost cannot be permanently killed (see Background below for additional detail)

Additional Information

Ghosts are categorised into Class by level - Class III -1st to 10th, Class IV- 11th to 20th, Class V - 21st and up.

Ghosts can simply choose to manifest in the vicinity of the living and drain away their lifeforce gradually. Less subtle Ghosts may choose to use their telekinetic powers to wield small weapons. Those Ghosts who were spell casters when alive can still use any spells they know. Ghosts are only at risk of harm from magic, magical weapons and Turn Undead (or equivalent) effects. Unless there is a risk to their shackle focus or their task, most Ghosts will remove themselves as far as possible from such danger (moving inside walls, the ground, etc.) and wait out such threats. Ghosts have the patience of eternity; the living do not and will leave eventually.


Ghosts are "naturally" occurring Undead, representing the spirits of those who have significant unfinished business at their time of death. These incomplete task(s) are so important to the Ghost that it refuses to cross over into the afterlife. A Ghost will become shackled by some element related to these task(s) such as a place, a thing (such as an item) or a being. The Ghost must remain in the vicinity of the shackle focus. If the Ghost completes its tasks (with or without assistance), then it will dissipate. If the Ghost is "slain" by means other than Turn Undead (or equivalent) magic, then the spirit will reform as a Ghost in d10 weeks (as long as the shackle focus remains) and as a Spectre in d10 weeks (if the shackle focus is destroyed). If "slain" by Turn Undead and shackle focus remains, then the Ghost will return as a Spectre in d10 months. Only slaying by Turn Undead (or equivalent) and destroying the focus will truly end the Ghost.

Adventure Notes

Ghosts may be encountered anywhere from abandoned homesteads in the loneliness of the wilderness through occupied castles and bustling inns in the heart of the city. Resident ghosts may be innocuous if undisturbed, leading to rooms left empty to give the unquiet spirit its own space and stories of the local ghost gaining currency. Less friendly ghosts who haunt locations may drive the living out, causing the place to be abandoned. Adventurers may be hired as ghost hunters - laying the ghost by assisting it in its task(s) is the most effective way of laying a Ghost to rest. Determining what the Ghost wants can be difficult and helping still harder as the tasks may not be attainable (though the Ghost has not realised this). In some cases, what the Ghost wants may be undesirable for the living and the only way of eliminating the spirit is to slay it. As described above, some methods of attack will provide only temporary respite, whilst others will create a Spectre as the living may not wish to destroy a location or item or kill someone who is unfortunate enough to be the shackle focus.

New Undead Talents

Incorporeal: an incorporeal creature has no physical body and so can move through or reside within solid objects. It cannot be touched, let alone harmed, by non-magical items. Likewise an incorporeal creature cannot manipulate non-magical matter unless it has an appropriate additional ability. Magic and magical items will affect an incorporeal creature and incorporeal creatures can make use of magic and magical items;

Life Drain: an Undead can drain the life force from any or all beings within a certain radius. The Undead can choose which, if any, targets to drain. The severity of the drain varies by Undead Class (1 point of Constitution stat per Class) and area also varies by Class (Class I: 20'R, Class II: 40'R, Class III: 60'R, Class IV: 80'R, Class V: 100'R, Class VI: 120'R). Each round, the drain is resolved as an open-ended d100 roll adding a special bonus of 10 per Undead class and any Control Drain skill the Undead possesses and the result looked up on the RR column of the Maneuver Table to give the RR target. The victim(s) make a Stamina RR or lose the indicated Constitution stat points. The Undead can convert drained Constitution points into concussion hits on a one-for-one basis (and so heal itself of injuries including those not healable via any Regeneration talent) but may not normally exceed its normal maximum concussion hits by this process. Life Drain is a free action for Undead. The Control Drain skill is a Concentration category skill which may be developed by Undead.