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How To Build: Spiritual Being

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So I looked at the Ghost in the 6eB, and I've seen a few other builds that show different ideas on how to build spiritual beings. So my question to you is this: How do you build a spiritual being? This is something that exists more in the ethereal plane than physical one (though may affect the physical at times with Affects Physical World). Do they receive physical stats? Do they buy them down? How do you build them?

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That’s actually a super complicated question, and the answer is “it depends.”


Generally, I don’t, unless the character is intended to actively interact with the players. If we’re talking about a McGuffin style NPC, I just say so, and bang, he exists in the aether. However, if we’re talking about a ghost/poltergeist/etc., then there’s two questions I need to answer:


* How does the “spiritual plane,” or planes, operate in this setting? Assuming a pretty average concept, then,

* Desolid, APW, when APW is active, then, vulnerable to whatever


I know that’s exceptionally high level, but I’m trying to answer the question as you posed it and as clearly as I can, so for me, it’s almost always about once they can affect physical world, they can be affected but so much of this really hinges on what the setting says about aethereal forms.

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Agreed with Thia about deciding how the ethereal plane and similar function within the setting, and on the easiest and most straightforward way being Desolid with APW on whatever physical stats, Telekinesis, etc.  


Some other ways: 

  • Build the character with physical stats and so on, and have him live on the ethereal plane, with Transdimensional on his Telekinesis and Clairsentience or normal senses.  
  • Build it as an AI, treating the ethereal plane as the place where he "lives".  The AI could have Telekinesis to affect the real world.  
  • Probably the most out there, is to bring back the Spirits rules from 4e Almanac/Horror Hero.  


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Agreed that if the spirit is just an NPC that the players talk to, there is no real need to stat it out. 


But if the spirit can affect the physical world, you will need to carefully consider how that works, and how the PCs can affect the spirit.  If you go the Desolid route, by definition you must have some way to affect the desolid character other than using the Advantage Affects Desolid.  That is pretty straight-forward.


But if your spirit is using Transdimensional powers to affect the material world, there are very few characters that will be able to touch the spirit unless it has some Complication that makes it vulnerable to attacks while it is interacting with the material world somehow.

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Lots of good advice on "how".  It depends on how you want spirits to work in-game.


My question is "why?".  What is the purpose of the spirit?  A confidante?  An adversary?


If it is an adversary, it is most important that it be one that engages and challenges the players, not frustrates and annoys them.


In a fantasy game, they might well be desolid or transdimensional, requiring PC's to learn magic which allows them to retaliate transdimensionally, or engage it while ethereal themselves. 

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Two other things.


It can *easily* be cheaper to buy Selective Desolid in the long run, if the spirit can actually do something in our world, particularly if it makes sense to apply Always On.  It doesn't make much sense for something like a minor poltergeist, but with, say, 20 STR Telekinesis even...APW is hugely expensive as it's also skyrocketing the END cost.


Selective Desolid is APG but it's also incorporated into HD.


Second...again this is APG, but it's not in HD.  Desolid is a huge, indivisible cost, and APG offers a "diffuse body" option which is pretty much a Density Decrease in essence.  The rules are similar, but you don't get the massive, near-complete damage immunity at the lower levels.  That also means there's no need to for APW/Selective Desolid.

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