Force effects, ghost-touch weapons, and incorporeal movement


Rules Questions


Suppose we have Gary the Ghost. He, like most ghosts, most of the time, is incorporeal, so he can move through walls and such.

Suppose a friendly caster sets up Gary the Ghost with some Mage Armor. This force armor is decidedly not insubstantial, and can indeed ward off all sorts of physical attacks. Does this armor, which can rebuff arrows and blades, suddenly let walls and the ground to pass unobstructed?

RAW, there's nothing to say it should get in the way, but common sense, and the intent of spells like Force Anchor would suggest that force effects manifesting in physical forms should anchor incorporeal subjects within a fluid medium (i.e. air or water).

Secondly, do attacks made with ghost touch weapons wielded by incorporeal foes resolve as touch attacks, and if not, do ghost touch weapons similarly anchor their wielders? They are called out as effectively being both corporeal and incorporeal. Ghost touch armor lacks that bit of language and specifically says that its wearers can still move through solid objects.


Quote:
Secondly, do attacks made with ghost touch weapons wielded by incorporeal foes resolve as touch attacks, and if not, do ghost touch weapons similarly anchor their wielders? They are called out as effectively being both corporeal and incorporeal. Ghost touch armor lacks that bit of language and specifically says that its wearers can still move through solid objects.

A ghost touch item is assumed to be whichever is beneficial to its wielder/wearer at the time. It is incorporeal for an incorporeal creature as it moves through things, it is corporeal when the ghost wants to hit a corporeal creature with it.

An attack with the weapon is a regular attack, it is not a touch attack like the ghost's normal Corrupting Touch attack, which is incorporeal touch attack.

As for Force effects, if it were 3.5, I'd have a better answer, but it isn't and I couldn't find anything specific to incorporeal and force effects (the ethereal jaunt spell was about as close as possible, but that's ethereal, not incorporeal.)

I would probably rule that the spells would prevent passing through things like walls, just like a person with a force effect on would just bump into an ethereal gelatinous cube if they tried to enter the space it co-existed on. Neither of them could do anything really, the person couldn't see the cube and the cube can't manifest to attack the target (could engulf the area I suppose.) If it were a player they'd probabbly be really confused without a see invisibility to see the cube. Probably think it was a magic barrier.


There is a notion in the ghost entry that mentions, that a ghost who could wield weapons in life can use ghost touch weapons in death. Since everyone can wield a weapon, I suppose they wanted to restrict the weapon type to what the character had proficiency for in life.

You are on your own with the armor. That is a tricky can of worms and my personal ruling would be that you cannot put it on a ghost (on the grounds that you cannot touch an incorporeal) to avoid the inherent problem.
The safe solution (gamewise) would be that it works (if you can somehow touch the incorporeal) and the ghost can still pass through walls.


I think that allowing a casting of mage armor to cancel out the incorporeal creature's ability to pass into solid objects is too powerful. If I can just cast Mage Armor on a ghost to "lock" it in a room, then I've used a first level spell to defeat a powerful ability.

This especially becomes an issue when a necromancer PC or a shadowdancer with a shadow companion wants to buff his incorporeal pal. I do not think that allowing mage armor to work "normally" on a shadow companion breaks the game, considering how few buffs you can give your pal.


Cayzle wrote:

I think that allowing a casting of mage armor to cancel out the incorporeal creature's ability to pass into solid objects is too powerful. If I can just cast Mage Armor on a ghost to "lock" it in a room, then I've used a first level spell to defeat a powerful ability.

This especially becomes an issue when a necromancer PC or a shadowdancer with a shadow companion wants to buff his incorporeal pal. I do not think that allowing mage armor to work "normally" on a shadow companion breaks the game, considering how few buffs you can give your pal.

Mage Armor can't be used offensively though. It's a harmless spell. If you don't want it, it fizzles, full stop.


The spell working this way also works against ghost with caster levels, which is not the intent. Another example would be an ethereal or incorporeal PC. Also there is no rule saying that a force affect works this way. It is not even hinted at.


Jamesui wrote:
Cayzle wrote:

I think that allowing a casting of mage armor to cancel out the incorporeal creature's ability to pass into solid objects is too powerful. If I can just cast Mage Armor on a ghost to "lock" it in a room, then I've used a first level spell to defeat a powerful ability.

This especially becomes an issue when a necromancer PC or a shadowdancer with a shadow companion wants to buff his incorporeal pal. I do not think that allowing mage armor to work "normally" on a shadow companion breaks the game, considering how few buffs you can give your pal.

Mage Armor can't be used offensively though. It's a harmless spell. If you don't want it, it fizzles, full stop.
That's not at all what a harmless spell is. Here's the definition:
Harmless Spell wrote:
The spell is usually beneficial, not harmful, but a targeted creature can attempt a saving throw if it desires.

If they don't want it, they need to make a Will save.


Jamesui wrote:

Suppose we have Gary the Ghost. He, like most ghosts, most of the time, is incorporeal, so he can move through walls and such.

Suppose a friendly caster sets up Gary the Ghost with some Mage Armor. This force armor is decidedly not insubstantial, and can indeed ward off all sorts of physical attacks. Does this armor, which can rebuff arrows and blades, suddenly let walls and the ground to pass unobstructed?

RAW, there's nothing to say it should get in the way, but common sense, and the intent of spells like Force Anchor would suggest that force effects manifesting in physical forms should anchor incorporeal subjects within a fluid medium (i.e. air or water).

Secondly, do attacks made with ghost touch weapons wielded by incorporeal foes resolve as touch attacks, and if not, do ghost touch weapons similarly anchor their wielders? They are called out as effectively being both corporeal and incorporeal. Ghost touch armor lacks that bit of language and specifically says that its wearers can still move through solid objects.

I really see no rule to support the idea that mage armor on a ghost or other insubstantial creature would cause that to occur.

I also caution anyone from using "common sense" as your basis for making house rules or making rulings when the rules are unclear. You're much better off looking at game balance and fun.

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