Monster Analysis: Ghosts

  • First seen in 21 Trial of the Take Part 4
  • Armor Class 11
  • Challenge Rating: 4 (MM), ~6
  • Darkvision 60 ft., Passive 11
  • Immune to cold, necrotic, and poison damage
  • Immune to basically all conditions
  • Resistant to acid, fire, lightning, thunder, and nonmagical physical weapon damage
  • Speed: Fly 40 ft.
  • Avg/Max HP: 45/80
  • Chased away by Kashaw’s Turn Undead

Okay, let’s get this out of the way right now: The ghosts were dungeon dressing. As we saw at the end of a very intense battle (that almost killed Keyleth, gah!), it ended fairly anti-climatically with them fleeing from Kash’s Turn Undead. It’s not surprising that Kash didn’t think to use it earlier since he was new to the system; the actions he did take were best given that he didn’t know what effect Turn Undead would have.

This battle can also serve as a reminder to DMs of all experience levels, especially those who are as experienced as Matt, that if a battle is intended merely to scare the players, if there is even a possibility that they might kill themselves, they will give it the old college try to do so. (I have a story of my own, but we’ll leave this blog to this campaign.)

The ghosts’ possession ability is their most brutal. The only means to eject them are to Dispel Good and Evil, Turn Undead, convince them to leave willingly (difficult in the middle of combat), or reduce the victim to 0 hp (as we saw with Keyleth, cringing the whole time). However, it can only affect each creature once. Once the ghost left Keyleth, she was safe from possession for the rest of the battle.

A non-possessive ghost can also deal necrotic damage as a melee attack, slip back and forth between the Ethereal and Material planes, and frighten Wis save-failing creatures. Creatures who succeed are immune for the next 24 hours. Creatures who fail this save with 8 or less also begin to age prematurely. These effects can only be removed by a greater restoration spell, which must be cast within 24 hours lest the damage be permanent.