Monday, July 21, 2014


Phantom can be taken to mean several things.

It could be talking about The Phantom, a mask wearing comic strip superhero that got his start in the 1930s. He’s the first superhero to wear a skin tight spandex costume, and the first to wear a mask where his pupils didn’t appear. Both of those have become a standard in the comic industry.

It could be talking about Erik, the primary antagonist of the 1909 French horror novel The Phantom of the Opera.

And, I’m sure there are plenty of other things I could point too… Hell, just Google the word Phantom and see how many responses it comes up with. I did just that, and it came up with 55,700,000 results in some .44 seconds. The first three things that I saw marked was a movie named Phantom, a car by Rolls-Royce, and the Phantom Fireworks Company. After that came the Wikipedia page Phantom which is more or less a disambiguation page that gives brief description of the word and then lists the number of different things it refers too. It’s a rather extensive list.

Anyway, in the context I would look at it in, a phantom is a type of ghost, which is a type of incorporeal undead which can be used effectively in both fiction and table-top gaming. I was looking for a specific link to a creature simply titled phantom to one of the SRD (System Reference Document) websites, but the search sort of came up empty. I got a Phantom Steed, a Phantom Fungus, a Phantom Trap, but no creature simply titled Phantom, and it would be my guess that the rules for a ghost and a specter would be the same exact rules you’d come across for a phantom. In fact, for a table-top game, or a work of fiction (any genre of fiction), the best use of the term phantom would probably be to describe a corporeal foe who is very stealthy and moves about like a ghost or specter would.

I can actually sort of see a villain like that. I’d leave him undead, because that would just go well with the name (and hearken back to The Phantom of the Opera where Erik had a face that looked like a decomposing corpse), and I’d give him two magical items: a cloak of greater invisibility, because how else would someone calling themselves the phantom want to get around, and a ring of incorporiality (yes, I just made that word up) which makes it possible for this corporeal creature to move about in the exact same fashion a ghost would. Using the ring he would be able to shift from the physical plane to the ethereal plane and pass through solid objects as though he were a, for lack of a better term, ghost. Give him a pair of boots that supply a bonus to his move silently check and he’d be damn impossible to find if you weren’t using magic to look for him…


I might have just figured out the proper antagonist for the adventure my Dungeon Crawlers are travelling through right now…


This is a public forum.

You saw nothing!!!

Absolutely nothing!!!

It was just a phantom, a figment of your imagination, now go back to bed…

I know that’s where I’m going.


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