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The Lingering Soul - Class/Post-Death Option
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The Lingering Soul - Class/Post-Death Option

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The Lingering Soul

An Optional Class or Death Alternative for 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons.

Mortality. All who draw breath fear the icy grip of death, the promised end. It is the primal fear that drives much of history, and the promise of a restful afterlife brings weight to the influence of any temple.

Your afterlife, unfortunately, is not so restful. You’ve been cut down, left to die, and your spirit now remains, unable to pass on when so filled with fear, with anger, with questions. Binding to whatever symbol will anchor you to the world of the living, you feel the hunger for answers rival your need for vengeance as you learn to control this ethereal existence thrust upon you.

With the aid of still-living allies, you continue the pursuit of your goals using your spectral gifts to frighten, manipulate, and control those who would stand in your way. Leaping from body to body, wrestling control from your foes as you send them to a worser fate than yours, you continue to fight for another chance at life... or embrace your ghostly talents to do what living mortals cannot, ever fighting the cold and hungry urges that encompass the curse of undeath.

This is a complicated class the DM can offer as a choice upon character creation, or offered by the DM when a player character death is surrounded by enough violence or mystery to cause the soul to cling to the mortal world. It can allow the continued play of a beloved character when resurrection is unavailable, or as a reward for a party seeking to restore the narrative lost when a central figure has fallen. Players should not be able to select to become a Lingering Soul upon death; it should be offered with good reason, and it should be an option granted sparingly.

v1.1 Update

  • Fixed a number of spelling and usage mistakes!
  • Tied Secondary Saving Throws to your Phantom Calling choice for balance.
  • Clarified that Spirit Binding is indefinite once bound, only changing when the bound creature or object is destroyed.
  • Added clarification on some rules regarding Consume Enchantment.
  • Added clarification on when Pervade the Fallen ends and destroys the corpse.
  • Replaced lvl 19 Spectral Transformation with the standard Ability Score Improvement and added it as a Spirit Guardian lvl 15 ability.
  • Altered "Ravage Soul" for balance purposes (closer to as intended).
  • Adjusted damage on the Wraith's Scything Claw.
  • Lessened the Spirit Guardian's Savior Spirit aura to balance with having a new lvl 15 Ability.
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Reviews (4)
Discussions (31)
Customer avatar
Jerry B January 20, 2018 1:15 am UTC
Anyone have a Fantasy Grounds parse of this? I may need to use it soon and wanted to get this as a .mod too.
Customer avatar
Ted B January 18, 2018 3:21 pm UTC
In my Exandria campaign, my DM controlled Cleric of the Blood Domain (Vesh deity) died to a bunch of Drow. Bringing him back as a Lingering Soul for the party to find his body. Looking forward to playing this out and developing the Cleric into the villain he will eventually become. LOVING this option.

Question just for clarification. When using the Spirit Guardian heal ability, the host gets ONLY the modifier and NOT the roll+ modifier unless the host is the target, correct?
Customer avatar
A K J January 11, 2018 2:06 am UTC
Question: Can a lingering soul speak to other players?
Customer avatar
Matthew M January 11, 2018 2:57 am UTC
It can indeed!
Customer avatar
A K J January 11, 2018 3:13 am UTC
Thanks for the quick response! Super excited for tomorrow night!
Customer avatar
Bryce W January 09, 2018 6:17 am UTC
The wording for possession is causing some confusion for me. It says as an action I can make the person I am possessing attack, dodge, or move. Does this happen on my turn or do I make it happen on their turn and my turn is spent queuing these actions?
Customer avatar
Matthew M January 09, 2018 7:50 pm UTC
You can only take your Action on your turn, so you can only force your host to take those actions on your turn.
Customer avatar
hayden M December 28, 2017 4:41 pm UTC
Wanted to say what a cool Class this is.

At first, the power gamer in me thought I had found a sweet exploit in using the level 15 spirit guardian ability. Using Guardian transformation, to make possessed enemies bury themselves a dash action deep into the ground or mountain side, then ending the possession and making them lose the ability to move through objects. Which would logically end in their instant death, unless they had earth glide or the like. Unfortunately, you can only end the possession at the start of your next turn. Which means that using normal rules the enemy could use their action on their next turn to dash back out of the ground. (assuming they weren't entirely disorientated by the whole experience).

So not as exploitable as I thought. That was until I remembered my group started using a variation on the Mike Mearls variant initiative system. Which means potentially a pc using this class could have another turn before the enemy gets theirs, and end the possession...See more
Customer avatar
Nicholas W December 23, 2017 11:43 pm UTC
How does multiclassing work?
Customer avatar
Matthew M December 24, 2017 9:03 pm UTC
There is no multiclassing with this class, as the features of other classes require a living, physical body. ;)
Customer avatar
Chris F December 11, 2017 5:43 am UTC
Thank you so much Matt. This is the exact kind of thing I need for the campaign I'm currently running. Thx again and have a wonderful holiday - E
Customer avatar
Curtis R December 03, 2017 12:45 am UTC
Hey Matt got a quick question for you. If a Rogue or Druid died and became a Lingering Soul, would they lose their knowledge of Thieve's Can't or Druidic?
Customer avatar
Matthew M December 03, 2017 2:47 am UTC
DM's discretion, but I would probably allow that knowledge to remain.
Customer avatar
Trent H November 28, 2017 11:14 am UTC
I was brainstorming an idea for a reoccurring antagonist to be used in my next campaign centered around the idea of a murder who becomes a ghost and shows up randomly to XXX off my players, possessing them or their enemies mid battle to throw a wrench in the fight. I was just going to use the ghost stats in the MM but was worried about maintaining balanced encounters throughout the campaign.

You just solved my problem in the most beautiful way. I can't wait to introduce my players to Mordecai, the Lingering Soul Wraith.

Thanks Matt!
Customer avatar
Josh C November 27, 2017 10:58 pm UTC
I'm enjoying the concept of The Lingering Soul and am hoping (but not hoping - character death and all...) that a chance to use it will present itself or maybe even using it with an important NPC.

Anyways, one minor correction - on the first page it reads: "Leaping from body to body, wrestling control from your foes..." it should be "wresting control", no 'l'. You can see it being used here:
Customer avatar
Jakob P November 23, 2017 10:34 pm UTC
Awesome work and I'm a big fan of Critical role and all your work matthew. This one is awesome as well.

Something i find it curious is that Ghostly form mentions nothing about fly speed but Guardian transformation does. Would this be a ghost/poltergheist/wraith/spirit that walks around or flyes around. Since it can move through objects I would assume it flyes around. Could you clarify this for me

If you decide to give it a fly speed like normal Monster manual ghosts, consider giving it a flyspeed with (hover) which is partly the reason why ghosts are immune to prone.
Customer avatar
Matthew M November 25, 2017 1:07 am UTC
The class gains flight at level 10 after learning easier means of shifting through the physical world (mainly for game balance at earlier levels).
Customer avatar
Ethan F November 18, 2017 9:40 am UTC
Hey M&M, love ya work, big fan.

I've already played this class in one session and I'm loving what it's bringing to the story so far, and I'm enjoying my character 'Discovering' what he can do in his new ghostly form.
Quick question the the intended effect in 'Ghostly form', the bullet point stating "You cannot physically carry any object or wear equipment.". Now, I understand this may be more up to the DM than any proper ruling, but I'm curious to know your intent/ruling.
Does this imply that the Lingering soul can still interact with the world around them in a number of ways, eg: Making an unarmed attack, opening a door, pushing, grappling or disarming an opponent, pulling a lever or pressing a switch, or rolling a heavy rock out of the way?

I'm very eager to hear your thoughts, and to know if you purposefully left this ambiguous to allow for DMs to tailor the experience to the individual game.

Thanks for your time and amazing material,
Ethan...See more
Customer avatar
Jordan G November 17, 2017 8:07 am UTC
How would you rule consuming a wand of spells? As normal for all other consumable enchantments, the player gains the ability to cast spells based on charges and they regain charges as normal?
Customer avatar
Matthew M November 20, 2017 6:08 pm UTC
Precisely! It acts as if you had the object itself, only you are unable to give it to another individual.
Customer avatar
James O November 17, 2017 3:47 am UTC
If your race already gives dark-vision how does the wraiths dark-vision interact with that?

Also, how does this class interact with the lizardfolks natural armor?
Customer avatar
Jeremy G November 16, 2017 8:08 pm UTC
"wrestling control from your foes as you send them to a worser fate than yours" would read better as "wrestling control from your foes as you send them to a fate worse than yours."

Worser isn't a word, much like betterer. Worse already implies what 'worser' would. If the need to illuminate how much worse it is remains, words like worse work with 'more' and it's synonyms.

For some words we just ad 'er' to the end to signify the difference. Tall vs taller for instance is one example of this case, where if we were to say Tall vs more tall we would be incorrect.

I hope this helps my fellow English speakers with descriptors! :)
Customer avatar
Benjamin F November 16, 2017 5:09 pm UTC
Any suggestions on healing a lingering soul, apart from using hit dice during a rest, or the Wraith's Scything Claw?
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This title was added to our catalog on November 14, 2017.