Xia: Parchment Eating Phantom
Most ghosts encountered are the spirits of dead humans, whose descendants failed to show proper respect for them, or whose graves were desecrated. However, human ghosts are not the only sort.
It is also possible for ghosts to form from the destruction of animals, or even things. The Parchment Eating Phantom, foe example, is a ghost of lost knowledge, created when a repository of rare knowledge (such as a famed library) is spitefully and purposefully destroyed.
The phantom, when visible, has a vaguely humanoid form and could be mistaken from a distance to be an elderly scholar. The scholar will show some marks of how the knowledge was lost. As an example, if a library was destroyed by fire (which is most often the case) then the scholar would have burnt skin.
On closer approach the phantom is more clearly not human. In place of eyes it has gnashing sharp teeth in its eye sockets, and the ghostly gauze from which it is made is semi-transparent.
Parchment Eating Phantoms are feared because they seem driven to spiitefully destroy further repositories of knowledge, and thus multiply their kind.
- Physical 2
- Mental 3
- Social 1
- Hell 4 (equivalent to Heaven)
- Chaos 3 (equivalent to Fire)
- Storm 4 (equivalent to Wind)
- Lightning 3 (equivalent to Thunder)
- Mud 1 (equivalent to Earth)
- Blood 2 (equivalent to Water)
- Smoke 1 (equivalent to Mist)
- Bone 2 (equivalent to Mountain)
Demon Trigrams can be channelled in the same way normal "natural" trigrams can (i.e. Hell for Accuracy, Chaos for Power, etc.)
However, they provide none of the other benefits that the natural trigrams normally do. For example, having a high Blood Trigram doesn't give protection against Fire-based Trigrams in the same way that a high Water Trigram would. Also, significantly. Demon Trigrams don't provide Yang Chi or Yin Chi.
- Demon Chi 12
Demon Chi is spent to activate monster powers and to channel Demon Trigrams. It is not interchangeable with Yang Chi or Yin Chi.
- Physical Resilience 14
- Mental Resilience 16
- Social Resilience 12
A Parchment Eating Phantom is immune to physical effects of most sorts - weapons and fists just pass straight through them! To harm a ghost in physical combat requires a weapon blessed by Tao Alchemists using the Burn the Hungry Ghost spell.
A Xia with a ghost-banishing spell of some sort can engage in Mental Conflict to try to return the ghost to its grave, where it will sleep and become a restful ancestor again.
For Xia without recourse to such spells, Social Conflict is the best bet, persuading the ghost into leaving them alone. Being the ghosts of knowledge, ghosts don't really respond to human social cues though. They might agree to leave in exchange for offerings of burnt knowledge, but would be hard to frighten or plead with. A successful Social Conflict will persuade the ghost to leave, though it may return again another night.
A better option can be to engage in scholarly debate with the ghost, or to challenge it to a test of intellect, and thus draw it into a Mental Conflict. To engage the ghost's attention, the challenging Xia must recognise what sort of information the destroyed library contained, and then tell the ghost that it need not rage, as the information it contained exists still, in the mind of the Sage and others like him. He must then of course go on to demonstrate this knowledge to the ghost's satisfaction - hence the Mental Conflict!
Parchment Eating Phantoms, being the ghosts of libraries, aren't easy to defeat in this way, but should a sage do so, then the ghost will fade away with a smile on its face, as its own wretched existence is turned to bliss by the reminder of contact with truly great minds.
Kung Fu Secrets
A ghost can choose to be invisible or manifest at the start of each round, at no cost. If manifest, it can make physical attacks (though it remains immune to them). If invisible, it cannot make physical attacks, though it can still perceive its surroundings, and can still speak audibly. Striking physically at an invisible ghost is at -4 Accuracy. This penalty can reduce Accuracy to 0.
The spell No Mind allows the elementalist to see the ghost as if it were visible. The spell Reveal True Form will force an invisible ghost to become manifest, and prevent it from becoming invisible for the rest of the conflict. To use Reveal True Form the elementalist need only know that the ghost is present - exact location is not needed.
As an action, the phantom can spend 1 Yang Chi to demolish all written information in its vicinity. Each ghost will only ever target the media form of which it was originally made of. As most Phantoms are born of the destruction of the Middle Kingdom's parchment scroll libraries, this means they usually target parchment.
This effect manifests as hundreds of gnawing human mouths that tear at the scrolls, and rip them to shreds.
Note that if the phantom is invisible when he makes the attack, the gnashing teeth still appear, but the phantom does not.
- Good References
The phantom contains the essence of the library which it was! During any Mental Conflict debating knowledge within it self, the phantom can channel its Hell Trigrams at no chi cost.
Note that Parchment Eating Phantoms are so confident in their mastery of their own wisdom that they can rarely resist an offered challenge from a scholar or sage who wishes to spar with them in tests of knowledge and meta-analysis. This only applies to their own area of expertise of course! If a Phantom is challenged to a Mental Conflict where it is not able to use Good References, then it will simply refuse to engage.
The phantom can spend an action and X Demon Chi to regain X Mental Resilience. X cannot exceed its Storm trigram.
- Redemption's Reward
If the Phantom is beaten in mental conflict (as above), then it will fade away as its "soul" transcends to heaven. Heaven's reward for this act of redemption will be to return one scroll or book from the destroyed cache, which will manifest physically in front of the victorious scholar. This will often be the most valuable or rare item in the cache.
Asklepios 03:58, 13 January 2009 (PST)