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General Putting the Dead to Rest?

Samloyal23

Adventurer
There is a common trope in movies about helping a ghost or other undead creature to move on and "go into the light", so it never harms the living again. I never seem to see this in games. In RPGs the answer to an undead problem is always combat related. Have you ever helped an undead creature find closure and move on to its afterlife? Are there any published adventures with this idea as a plot point?
 

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tommybahama

Adventurer
Our group had that in Descent into Avernus but it might have been a homebrew encounter. Then there is one in Curse of Strahd.
 




Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I don't know about published adventures, but it's happened on a fairly regular basis in my campaigns. Ghosts "live" in Nifleheim (the Shadowfell) which is where all spirits go before going on to their final destination. Frequently the best way to solve a ghost problem is to resolve whatever is holding them back from moving on.

If a soul stays in Nifleheim too long the soul's memory and connection to life begin to "evaporate" eventually becoming irredeemable specters.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I'm in a party now that has encountered three banshees, two of which could be reasoned with to get their business finished and put to rest, and one... who could not.
 

TaranTheWanderer

Adventurer
Revnants are undead that come back because of something in their past. You can put them 'to rest' if you resolve their issue.

A regular ghost as a story hook can serve this purpose as well.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Just for reference the MM specifically calls out this issue.

Unfinished Business. A ghost yearns to complete some unresolved task from its life. It might seek to avenge its own death, fulfill an oath, or relay a message to a loved one. A ghost might not realize that it has died and continue the everyday routine of its life. Others are driven by wickedness or spite, as with a ghost that refuses to rest until every member of a certain family or organization is dead.​
The surest way to rid an area of a ghost is to resolve its unfinished business. A ghost can be destroyed more easily by invoking a weakness tied to its former life. The ghost of a person tortured to death might be killed again by the implements of that torture. The ghost of a gardener might become more vulnerable when exposed to a potent floral fragrance.​
 


Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
warm milk, a sweet lullaby generally does it. In Season 9 my players hired a ghost to work the cash register in their bar.
You weren't the only one. Seemed like the simplest solution to the problem.
 

payn

Explorer
Revnants are undead that come back because of something in their past. You can put them 'to rest' if you resolve their issue.

A regular ghost as a story hook can serve this purpose as well.
Revnants usually stalk their killer. I had a fun experience once with my gaming group. They corned this rival group and told them to surrender all their gear or die. Wasnt much of a choice and the group chose to fight. I had the leader come back as a revenant. The PCs tried to argue they didnt "murder" the leader the killing was justified...

I usually have ghosts connected to the place and/or people of their haunting. They can be reasonable and all want to resolve their issue for their final rest. I let skeletons and zombies be the lumbering dumb undead types. Their is no reasoning with them.

To answer the OP, Pathfinder adventure path Carrion Crown has an entire adventure based on a haunted prison. There are a few good ghost and a few psychopath ghosts that makes it super fun. Also, haunts which are like undead traps. It's a blast!
 

I've played in a haunted mansion adventure with 3 ghosts. The first two were perfectly content to be ghosts, although they didn't know why they became ghosts. The third was an evil spirit who attacked every intelligent living creature it came across. That one was actually a small child who couldn't accept being a ghost, lashing out at everything it could. It turned out that there was a curse on the family because of a deal with a devil, and they could only be put to rest by completing the deal. As ghosts they couldn't, so the party needed to do it for them. Killing the ghosts did nothing, as they'd return in 7 days if destroyed (very unhappy, as that time was spent in Hell).
 

MarkB

Legend
I seem to recall there being a sidequest of this nature in the Blingdenstone section of Out of the Abyss. I'm not certain, though - it may have just been something I added spontaneously in my campaign.
 


Li Shenron

Legend
There is a common trope in movies about helping a ghost or other undead creature to move on and "go into the light", so it never harms the living again. I never seem to see this in games. In RPGs the answer to an undead problem is always combat related. Have you ever helped an undead creature find closure and move on to its afterlife? Are there any published adventures with this idea as a plot point?
The first paragraph of the Ghost description in the Monster Manual is exactly about its unfinished business, but I don't think there are special rules saying ghosts can't simply be destroyed by combat.

I have seen ghosts that could not be "killed permanently" but you have to figure out how to make them pass on. This is always entirely up to the DM, and it usually makes for a good adventure by itself. Many other times I've seen ghosts simply treated as normal monsters.
 

Mythological Figures & Maleficent Monsters

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