What can phantoms do when not manifested?

Rules Questions

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I know this doesn't fall entirely under PFS ruling, so feel free to flag this for the Rules forum, but I would like to see this clarified for PFS in specific so I don't have to ask every GM for their opinion on each individual skill and situation (essentially, I would like to see a PFS houserule on how this functions until errata or a general FAQ is provided).

For those less in the loop: spiritualist phantoms can either manifest in ectoplasmic or incorporeal form, or remain within their spiritualist's subconscious. It is unclear and nebulous at best what they can do while not manifested, other than use some class abilities.

The reason I bring this up is the Exciter archetype from Horror Adventures. Said archetype loses the ability to manifest their phantom at all - it is permanently confined to their subconscious. This got me to analyzing what, if anything at all, the phantom can do to help the spiritualist.

It is unclear what a phantom even does while it's not manifested. Is it conscious? Can it communicate with its spiritualist? Presumably it does not have senses and cannot communicate with or observe the world around the spiritualist even if it is conscious. If it is conscious, it should be able to use its link ability to communicate with its spiritualist.

All of the below would be assumed to be communicated to the spiritualist only, and all of the descriptions of assistance below would be to the spiritualist only as well.

Clearly out:
- Any sort of physical action on the phantom's part (Climb, Acrobatics, Stealth, so on)
- Perception and Sense Motive (the phantom doesn't physically exist (?) so it doesn't have senses and can't observe anything)

If not out, at least mostly useless:
- UMD and Spellcraft (I can't recall seeing a situation where the former could be aided at; the phantom can't cast Detect Magic and therefore would rarely be of use in the latter)

Requires GM fiat:
- Assisting on Diplomacy, Intimidate, and Bluff rolls (the spiritualist could mentally repeat everything that has been discussed or, in the case of Intimidate, tell the phantom what is going on; the phantom would dictate what is said in response and how, or just give points and counterpoints)
- Assisting on Disable Device rolls that do not need to be done in a hurry (the phantom could offer assistance based on the spiritualist's description)
- Knowledge rolls to identify creatures in combat with a penalty and maybe an ingame time delay (similarly to how some GMs allow PCs to identify creatures based on physical descriptions or their names with a penalty)

Requires GM fiat but (hopefully) sounds reasonable:
- Knowledge rolls that are not for identifying creatures in combat, maybe with a penalty or ingame time delay (the spiritualist can explain to the phantom what they're trying to remember details on)
- Linguistics, Heal, and Appraise rolls that do not have to be done in a hurry, maybe with a penalty and with an ingame time delay (the spiritualist can explain to the phantom what they are observing and the phantom can deduce based on the description)

Naturally, all of this is pointless speculation if it is ruled that a non-manifested phantom is not conscious and can do nothing while not manifested, or that a phantom is conscious and can communicate with its spiritualist but regardless cannot roll skill checks of any kind.

Comments are welcome and indeed much desired. I presume most answers to this topic will be "GM fiat" and "expect table variation", but I'd love to see at least a basic clarification on whether skills can be rolled at all or not. (Okay, what I actually presume is that I've just somehow overlooked a portion of Occult Adventures where all of this is explained and someone will point it out to me within five minutes, causing me great shame.)

Sovereign Court

My impression that while you "have your phantom in mind", it's basically a passenger in your skull. It sees what you see and hears what you hear, but it cannot interact with the outside world.

So it could make Knowledge checks to identify things you meet; but it can't normally aid Diplomacy since it can't interact with the NPC.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The Exiter seems to change the class so much, that it is hard to recognize, but that is not actually relevant here.

All you get from a phantom in your head is listed here

Shared Consciousness (Su) wrote:

At 1st level, while a phantom is confined in a spiritualist’s consciousness (but not while it’s fully manifested or banished to the Ethereal Plane), it grants the spiritualist the Skill Focus feat in two skills determined by the phantom’s emotional focus, unless the spiritualist already has Skill Focus in those skills. It also grants a +4 bonus on saving throws against all mind-affecting effects; at 12th level, this bonus increases to +8.

Lastly, once per day, when the spiritualist fails a saving throw against a mind-affecting effect, as an immediate action she can shunt that effect into the phantom’s section of her consciousness instead. When she does so, she is not affected by the mind-affecting effect, but for the normal duration of that effect, the spiritualist loses the bonuses on saving throws against mind-affecting effects and the Skill Focus effects granted by her phantom, and can’t use this ability to shunt a mind-affecting effect into the phantom’s consciousness or manifest her phantom in any way. When a mind-affecting effect is shunted into the phantom’s consciousness, spells such as dispel magic and break enchantment can be cast on the spiritualist to end the effect’s duration as if the spiritualist were affected by the mind-affecting effect.

Nothing else, as far as the rules are concerned, the phantom doesn't really have stats (ability scores, skill ranks etc.) unless properly manifested.

Phantom wrote:

A spiritualist begins play with the aid of a powerful and versatile spirit entity called a phantom. The phantom forms a link with the spiritualist, who forever after can either harbor the creature within her consciousness or manifest it as an ectoplasmic or incorporeal entity. A phantom has the same alignment as the spiritualist, and it can speak all the languages its master can. A spiritualist can harbor her phantom in her consciousness (see the shared consciousness class feature), manifest it partially (see the bonded manifestation class feature), or fully manifest it. A fully manifested phantom is treated as a summoned creature from the Ethereal Plane, except it is not sent back to the Ethereal Plane until it is reduced to a negative amount of hit points equal to or greater than its Constitution score.

A spiritualist can fully manifest her phantom through a ritual that takes 1 minute to perform. When the phantom is fully manifested, the spiritualist can change the form of the phantom’s manifestation (either from ectoplasmic to incorporeal or vice versa) as a full-round action that provokes attacks of opportunity. When the phantom manifests, its hit points are unchanged from the last time it manifested, unless the phantom was slain and returned to the Ethereal Plane; in this case, the phantom manifests with half its maximum number of hit points.

The phantom does not heal naturally, and can be healed only with magic or by being tended to with the Heal skill while fully manifested in ectoplasmic form. The phantom stays fully manifested until it is either returned to the spiritualist’s consciousness (a standard action) or banished to the Ethereal Plane. If the phantom is banished to the Ethereal Plane, it can’t return to the spiritualist’s consciousness or manifest again for 24 hours.

While fully manifested, a phantom can’t be returned to the Ethereal Plane by means of dispel magic, but spells such as dismissal and banishment work normally. Whenever the spiritualist is unconscious or asleep, the phantom immediately returns to the spiritualist’s consciousness. If the spiritualist dies, the phantom is returned to the Ethereal Plane, and can’t return to the spiritualist’s consciousness until 24 hours after the spiritualist is brought back to life.

A phantom can’t be dismissed or banished (by a spell or any other similar effect) while it resides in the spiritualist’s consciousness, as the phantom is protected from such effects by the power of the spiritualist’s psyche.

Fully manifested phantoms can wear armor magic items [see FAQ] and use items (though not wield weapons) appropriate to their forms. Any items worn, carried, or held by a phantom are dropped when the phantom returns to the spiritualist’s consciousness, and must be retrieved and donned anew if the phantom wishes to use them when it fully manifests in the future.

Phantoms are self-involved, even jealous, creatures that do not play well with other summoned companions.

A phantom refuses to manifest (either fully or as part of a bonded manifestation; see Bonded Manifestation) in the presence of an eidolon or shadow summoned by the phantom’s master. Furthermore, if a phantom is manifested when such a creature is summoned, it immediately retreats into its spiritualist’s consciousness, and will not manifest again until the eidolon or shadow is dismissed.

A fully manifested phantom’s abilities, feats, Hit Dice, saving throws, and skills are tied to the spiritualist’s class level and increase as the spiritualist gains levels. See the Phantoms section for more information.

Grand Lodge

You still have the Bonded Manifestation ability, which lets you bring forth a portion of your phantom as a shield [+4 AC] or ranged concealment, and later Ghost Touch tendril smacks.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

What about healing, continuing duration on spells/effects, etc?
Specifically, I'm looking at the new Involutionist Archetype, which gives the phantom Shaman hexes and Spirit Animal abilities.
Does a Phantom with Fast Healing 1 continue to heal in my skull?

Does Involutionist stack with Exciter? This would seem a limit situation, as in Wildblooded/Crossblooded sorcerer.
If it stacks, would the Spiritualist gain hexes when using bonded manifestation? Could she use hexes while in a rapture?
Whether it stacks or not, which phantom abilities for each emotional focus are available only when the phantom is fully manifested? (I would be interested in Kindness).
Would the higher-level emotional focus abilities be available in rapture as the lower-level ones when the Spiritualist increases in level? (I guess not, and this sucks because I would have loved a paladin-like psychic rager. I will have to use an Id Rager Bloodrager instead...)

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