D&D 5E Help with Playing as a ghost


First Post
Our group is running a campaign that started as a "Through the Portal" in which my character, a teifling dragon-blood sorcerer, died in an area where there were a lot of undead and and the DM allowed me to return and continue the campaign as a ghost. The 5th edition of the monster manual was vague on if I get to keep some version of my gear like my arcane focus after death.
Our DM has said that if I wish to continue with the campaign party as a ghost, I can, though I will be facing eventual 'corruption' the longer I remain thus. I will say that campaigning as a ghost has led me to be the parties ultimate scout, but currently I'm finding the limitation of not having an arcane focus or reagents for higher level spell casting a bit restricting.
I have current plans to try multi-classing as a death domain cleric or some sort necromancy variant.
Any advice or help would be appreciated.

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Your situation fascinates me. I went down the spell lists and pulled out all the sorcerer spells that have no material components to see what you have to work with.

Sorcerer spells w/o material components:

Cantrips: Acid Splash, Blade Ward, Chill Touch, Fire Bolt, Mage Hand, Poison Spray, Prestidigitation, Ray of Frost, Shocking Grasp, True Strike

L1: Burning Hands, Charm Person, Detect Magic, Disguise Self, Expeditious Retreat, Fog Cloud, Magic Missile, Ray of Sickness, Shield, Thunderwave

L2: Alter Self, Blindness/Deafness, Blur, Crown of Madness, Knock, Mirror Image, Misty Step, Scorching Ray

L3: Blink, Counterspell, Daylight, Dispel Magic, Protection from Energy

L4: Blight, Dimension Door,Dominate Beast, Greater Invisibility

L5: Animate Objects, Cloudkill, Dominate Person, Seeming, Telekinesis

L6: Arcane Gate, Eyebite

L7: Etherealness, Finger of Death, Fire Storm, Prismatic Spray, Teleport

L8: Dominate Monster, Incendiary Cloud, Power Word Stun

L9: Power Word Kill
Cleric spells w/o Material Components not found on the Sorcerer spell lists:

Cantrips: Guidance, Sacred Flame, Spare the Dying, Thaumaturgy

L1: Command, Cure Wounds, Detect Evil and Good, Detect Poison and Disease, Guiding Bolt, Healing Word, Inflict Wounds, Purify Food and Drink

L2: Calm Emotions, Lesser Restoration, Prayer of Healing, Protection from Poison, Silence, Spiritual Weapon, Zone of Truth

L3: Beacon of Hope, Bestow Curse, Create Food and Water, Mass Healing Word, Meld into Stone, Remove Curse

L4: Death Ward, Guardian of Faith

L5: Contagion, Geas

L6: Harm, Heal, Planar Ally, Word of Recall

L7: Conjure Celestials, Divine Word


L9: Mass Heal

These give some additional options if you decide to multi-class to cleric, although it's still lacking high level spells.
I'm thinking of a couple of options:

1) With your DM's assistance, come up with a new metamagic feature enabling your PC to bond with an arcane focus. That bond would transcend the material/ethereal divide, kind of an inverse spiritual weapon, just a focus instead.

2) BMcFarland home-brewed a Ghost Pact Warlock (link: Read more: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?410773-Ghost-Pact-Warlock#ixzz3Pnuc683C ). You might want to look that over with your DM, and see if that could be reworked to fit your PC.

I hope this helps you come up with a solution to the problem.


First Post
Thanks for the help. This is actually my first ever D&D campaign, so it has been an interesting learning experience, and as my DM told me, the opportunity to role or play as a ghost rarely comes up so I really want to keep running with it.

I would also look to some of the monsters that are incorporeal and ethereal and see what capabilities they have to see what your ghost might be able to do.

To me, ghosts are often attached to power objects, and powerful object often have spirits lined to them (think of intelligent items, i.e. those with personalities) so having an arcane focus of some sort would not be a stretch for me. Maybe it might even be a quest for the party, to find some legendary gem or something that you could "inhabit" and would work as your focus as well.

Also look at the magic jar spell from previous editions, that might give some ideas and limitations on being bound to an item.

A while back I played in a high-magic 5e Planescape game. My character concept was to play an "idea," a "thought" made real. After thumbing through the 3.5 MM and looking at the Ghost template, the DM and I wound up agreeing that I could homebrew a ghost-like character. I ended up calling the character an Effigy. Maybe a little bit of the effigy I created could be stripped and re-purposed to suit your needs? The Infusion special ability (see below) was fun.

Effigy Bard 3
Medium-size Undead (Augmented Humanoid) (Incorporeal)
Chaotic Neutral

Hit Dice 3d8 + 3
hp 18
Initiative +1
Passive Perception 16
Speed Fly 40' (perfect)
AC 13 (+1 Dex, +2 deflection bonus granted by Charisma modifier)

DEX 13
CON 12
INT 10
WIS 14
CHA 15

[sblock=Picayune's Story]I tink I might be's dead. Mebbe. I ain't sure. I 'spect I am. Dead, dat is. I's walk through walls. Like Voo Doo Maimie lookin' for cornbread from da hot black lip of da skillet. Jess walk clean through 'em, like dey's not there. And, lordy, da things I see. Da things I hear. Folks lets drop wondrous bits when you's a ghost.

But I gots no voice, my power broken, gone. I's wanting a' talk story. But deys no words. I open lip, no air comes. My lungs be ash. Like my limbs. Like my heart.

I'n still play Old Bess, though. She faithful. She wit' me. Even after da fire, she still in my arms. She all I carry dese days, Old Bess. Her slide, so long an' firm. Her brass, a lover's caress. Her voice, low. Proud. An, lordy, is Bess loud! You don' wanna pick no fight wit' Old Bess, she whoop you ass 'cross Metarie an' back. She tell all my tales, Old Bess. She talk an' sing wheres I cain't no more.

I ain't no philosopher. Jess a liar. A cheat. A story yous tell a babe. "Hush, chil', jess you lay still. You lay still, an' ma-maw gonna bring you King cake in da mornin'." Yeah. Right. Shi-it. Ain't no King cake here. Ain't no nuttin' here. Jess da void. I ain't e'en sure I's here. What's I be needin' real bad is peeps. Someone who be like, dat Pic-a-yune, he REAL. He da REAL DEAL.

An' so I's huntin'. Huntin' peeps. Huntin' a way home ta Nawlins. And da Jazz. Always huntin' Jazz. She be truth, an' I's huntin' her to da bone, pick her truth clean, til nuttin' but white bleached bone shine like a beacon in da night sky.[/sblock]

[sblock=Effigy Racial Traits]
Ability Score Increase: None

Age: You have the age you had when you became an effigy. While an effigy, you do not age.

Alignment: Effigies have an innate tendency toward chaos, and many wind up evil. Chaotic or not, an independent nature means that alignment can run the gamut.

Size: An effigy takes the same size it had in its mortal life.

Speed: Fly (perfect) 40 feet.

Sunlight Sensitivity: You have disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks when you, the target of your attack, or whatever you are trying to perceive is in direct sunlight. Your movement is halved as if difficult terrain when you are in direct sunlight.

Darkvision: Thanks to your incorporeal nature, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.

Languages: You can speak, read, and write Common and Primordial.

Undead: You are immune to poison damage, exhaustion, and the paralyzed, petrified, and poisoned conditions. You don’t need air, food, drink, or sleep. Healing magic has no effect on you (but you can still benefit from temporary hit points and resting). You are susceptible to turning.

Incorporeal: You have resistance to any non-magical, physical damage; this never includes force, psychic, or radiant damage. You are also immune to the grappled, prone, and restrained conditions. You cannot taste, touch, or smell, and you automatically fail Perception checks based on these senses. You can only pick up or lift a tenth of what a creature of your size and Strength normally could, and your ability to carry objects is limited to what you can hold in your hands. You cannot wear armor or clothing.

Phasing: You can move through other creatures and objects as if they were difficult terrain. If you end your turn inside a solid object, you take 1d10 force damage.

Corrupting Thoughts: You know the spell vicious mockery. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for it. Your ability with this cantrip is restrained to that of a 1st-level spellcaster, and when used as a racial trait, never increases in power. You may cast vicious mockery as a racial ability a number of times per day equal to your Charisma modifier. These limitations do not apply to vicious mockery if taken as a class-based spell, however.

One living creature that the effigy can see within 5 feet of it must succeed on a Charisma saving throw or be possessed by the effigy. The effigy can use Infusion a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier. You must complete a long rest before you can do so again.

The effigy then disappears, and the target is incapacitated and loses control of its body. The effigy now controls the body but doesn't deprive the target of awareness. The effigy can't be targeted by any attack, spell, or other effect, except ones that turn undead, and it retains its alignment, Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma, and immunity to being charmed or frightened. It otherwise uses the possessed target's statistics, but doesn't gain access to the target's knowledge, class features, or proficiencies.

The possession lasts until the body drops to 0 hit points, the effigy ends it as a bonus action, or the effigy is forced out by an effect like the dispel evil and good spell. When the possession ends, the effigy reappears in an unoccupied space within 5 feet of the body. The target is immune to this effigy’s Infusion for 24 hours after succeeding on the saving throw or after the possession ends.​

[sblock=Bard Class Features]
Proficiency Bonus +2
Armor: Light armor. May not wear armor while incorporeal.
Tools: Trombone, Voice, Trumpet
Saving Throws: Dexterity, Charisma
Languages: Common, Primordial

Skill Proficiencies: Perception*, Performance*, Persuasion, Insight, Deception, Stealth, Intimidation, Sleight of Hand

Weapons: Simple weapons, hand crossbow, longsword, rapier, shortsword. Limited to carrying items weighing 12 pounds or less while incorporeal.

Features: Spellcasting, Bardic Inspiration (d6), Jack of All Trades, Song of Rest (d6), Bard College, *Expertise

Cantrips Known: Minor Illusion, Message; Vicious Mockery (racial spell, 2/day)
Spells Known: Dissonant Whispers, Faerie Fire, Healing Word, Tasha's Hideous Laughter; Detect Thoughts, Phantasmal Force.

Spell Slots:
(4) 1st-level spells
(2) 2nd-level spells

Background: Blackmailer (custom)
Skill Proficiencies: Intimidation, Sleight of Hand
Tool Proficiencies: Disguise kit, Language (Abysmal)
Equipment: --
Feature: Discovery. Picayune ghosted along the empty hallway, enjoying the lightness of being, and bobbing up to the ceiling to tag the occasional light fixture as he trailed down the manse toward the library. It was the sounds that drew his attention. The sounds of conversation discretely whispered. The sounds made by secrets yet unearthed but aching for ears. Sounds that too easily were overheard by a master storyteller blessed with incorporeality. Being body-less was a bitch, generally, but it made eavesdropping convenient, and Picayune was a natural voyeur. He waifed through the walls separating him from the tantalizing whispers and saw, to his surprise, ___________ . Picayune isn't above using what he saw as a bit of blackmail, if it means he can find his way home to his beloved Nawlins.​

Personality Trait: I am depressed, which makes me reckless. I wish I could die...oh, wait.
Ideal: I am a free spirit--no one tells me what to do.
Bond: I will do anything to get home to New Orleans. Literally, anything. I am desperate.
Flaw: My thinking is overly simplistic; I believe everything boils down to the lowest common denominators--lust and greed.

Trombone, 4#

Skills: P=Proficiency; E=Expertise
+2 Acrobatics
+3 Animal Handling
+1 Arcana
+0 Athletics
+4 Deception (P)
+1 History
+4 Insight (P)
+4 Intimidation (P)
+1 Investigation
+3 Medicine
+1 Nature
+6 Perception (PE)
+6 Performance (PE)
+4 Persuasion (P)
+1 Religion
+3 Sleight of Hand (P)
+3 Stealth (P)
+1 Survival

Bardic Inspiration:
You can inspire other through stirring words or music. To do so, you use a bonus action on your turn to choose one creature other than yourself within 60 feet of you who can hear you. That creature gains one Bardic Inspiration die, a d6.

Once within the next 10 minutes, the creature can roll the die and add the number rolled to one ability check, attack roll, or saving throw it makes. The creature can wait until after it rolls the d20 before deciding to use the Bardic Inspiration die, but must decide before the DM says whether the roll succeeds or fails. Once the Bardic Inspiration die is rolled, it is lost. A creature can have only one Bardic Inspiration die at a time. You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier. You regain any expended uses when you finish a long rest.​

Jack of All Trades: You add half your proficiency bonus, rounded down, to any ability check you make that doesn't already include you proficiency bonus.

Song of Rest: You can use soothing music or oration to help revitalize your wounded allies during a short rest. If you or any friendly creatures who can hear your performance regain hit points at the end of the short rest, each of those creatures regains an extra 1d6 hit points.

Bard College: College of Jazz.
Jazz musicians know something about most things, collecting bits of stories and music from sources as diverse as the Heritage and Blues Festival to the jazz funeral. Whether whispering folk ballads to newborn infants or elaborate oratories that preface a jazz funeral march down Dumaine Street, these bards use gifts of music and voice to hold audiences spellbound. When the applause dies down, the audience members find themselves questioning everything they held to be true, from their faith in God to the sanctity of marriage.

The loyalty of a jazz musician lies in the pursuit of music, not in fealty to goodness or in following the tenets of society. A patron of the arts who sponsors a jazz musician knows that music is its own end, its own truth, and revels in the harmony of ethos and pathos that is Jazz.

The college’s members gather in speakeasies, juke joints, and often on street corners to share their lore with one another. Jazz musicians give freely of their craft; sharing a riff, a beat, a story, a smile with anyone who shows interest. Their job is not to expose corruption as with bards of the College of Lore, but—by the playing of music or the gift of oratory—to show that the world is but a shadow of Beauty, Truth, Sadness, and Justice.​

Bonus Proficiencies: When you join the College of Jazz at 3rd level, you gain proficiency with three skills of your choice.

Additional Magical Secrets: At 6th level, you learn two spells of your choice from any class. A spell you choose must be of a level you can cast, as shown on the Bard table, or a cantrip. The chosen spells count as bard spells for you but don’t count against the number of bard spells you know.

Peerless Skill: Starting at 14th level, when you make an ability check, you can expend one use of Bardic Inspiration. Roll a Bardic Inspiration die and add the number rolled to your ability check. You can choose to do so after you roll the die for the ability check, but before the DM tells you whether you succeed or fail.

Expertise: Choose two of your skill proficiencies. Your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make that uses either of the chose proficiencies.[/sblock][/section][/sblock]


First Post
Well, my DM actually turned my character into a poltergeist that is now possessing/haunting the holy symbol of Myrkul that has a crystal embedded in the back that serves as an arcane focus, so I'm now literally possessing my holy symbol and focus. It has created a rather hilarious fact that combined with the spell sniper feat, she is now effectively, at least as long as the group is outside, she's turned into a tiny death ray satellite that tends to fly off and kill all the little critters in the area. (She's just straight up chaotic alignment.)


First Post
Oh, it is. The DM now describes my actions to the others typically starting with "You see a flying symbol of Death...." Suffice to say, there was some rather hilarious interactions between my character and our cleric, who's a werewolf, typically him shouting after me to stop killing all the fluffy critters, or the DM telling him that he now longer senses any other life in the area after I killed all the critters in the forest. That, and I am some how the one that breaks up the fights inbetween the party member by telekinetically picking them up, shaking them, then dropping them.

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