And now, in a continuing service, an entry from the Encyclopedia Ardrisia
The phenomenon of the spirits of the living lingering on after death is not a new one. The earliest recorded sightings of ghosts go back to The 2nd Empire of Skarnoth in what is now western Tarokka. Many of these sightings were reported by people who were either sleep-deprived from looking for ghosts all night long, inebriated, or both. Often both.
The first confirmed modern-day ghost sighting was of King Nigel the First of Westhame, who died about 100 years ago and who still haunts the throne room of Westhame in Kilanio, offering his opinion and political insights to the current occupant of the throne. However, since Nigel the First was also known as Nigel the Overeager and Nigel the Bloodthirsty, his opinions are usually some variant of “hit it with an axe ’till it stops moving,” and are ignored by the living king.
Ghosts are believed to be the departed spirits of people who remained in the world of the living for several reasons. A few of the more common reasons include:
- They still have unfinished personal business to conclude;
- They are the victims of a violent death and seek vengeance and/or justice;
- They are afraid of finding out what is on the other side;
- They still have a few choice words to say to their extended family, often involving scathing epithets of some sort.
Ghosts often appear as they did in life. As ghosts age, their ephemeral bodies begin to lose cohesion, slowly reducing the ghost to a nearly insensate floating ball of blue-green light. They are semi-solid, allowing them to pass through solid objects or affect them at need. However, affecting the living world physically is quite difficult for them, as even lifting a copper coin up off the floor to show to their former girlfriend can tucker them out for a good half-hour.
Ghosts also have extremely sharp hearing, able to hear sounds miles away if they happen to be paying attention. This often comes into play when a living family member enlists the aid of a spirit medium to contact the deceased. However, except for the immediate area they happen to be haunting, ghosts can only travel as fast as they could in life, which means that most attempts to contact them apparently fail, with the ghost arriving anywhere from a day to a week after the seánce. The other effect of a ghost’s excellent hearing means that if they happen to be haunting a location that was already noisy in life (i.e. a blacksmith’s shop, nursery, bordello, etc.), that noise is amplified many times over to the ghost; kind of how dogs hate it when fireworks go off. It is thought that if the living could just keep the racket down, many ghosts would be a lot happier and less prone to scare the living bejeezus out of people.
There are a subset of ghosts called spectres, which are the spirits of evil people. Spectres have all of the traits of ghosts except for the excellent hearing, but also have a thirst for the souls of the living, draining a person’s vitality through physical contact until nothing is left. This probably goes without saying, but they are generally best avoided altogether.
The most active reported sites for ghost activity include the abandoned village of Briarwold in the Imperial Protectorate of Gahl-Nabar, the Ebon Range in Southern Tarokka, and the W’Shaa Monastery in the Duchy of A’Caw in Westhame.
The Encyclopedia Ardrisia , volume 11 (Focii of the W’Shaa to Greenfingers), Kilanio University Press, 48th edition.