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Some background: the ghostly psionic character in question is a ghost due to in-campaign events which I shall skip over unless needed. Mechanically this is represented by a level of ghost racial class from the Savage Progressions web articles. Over the course of the campaign, the character has gained as additional 3 ghost levels, and took just one feat from Ghostwalk: Ectoplasm - but we are simply using the feat as is without the rest of the setting baggage. In case it matters, it is an Oerth / Greyhawk-based campaign.

The Ectoplasm feat allows the production of ectoplasm by the ghost from any part or parts of their body, in a few colors, and in sticky or slippery consistencies which give minor bonuses to certain actions. It is a ghost touch material.

The character has with them a Skin of Ectoplasmic Armor, and knows the Astral Construct and Wall of Ectoplasm powers.


Thus, how might the ghostly psionic character be able (or unable) to interact with the skin and the results of their powers when they are in a state of manifestion, and the skin, astral construct, and wall being located on the Prime Material?

Interact for this question means to hide inside, pass through/are blocked, manipulate, inhabit, or wear the skin/construct, etc.. Other examples of ectoplasm and interactions with ectoplasm that might be useful are welcome even though I did not list them in my question.


(The 3.5 tag is because most of the item/effects are 3.5, and the 3.0 tag is because Ghostwalk and Savage Progressions are 3.0.)

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The ectoplasm created by the Ectoplasm feat is special, in its color, sticky/slippery, and ghost touch properties. None of those things apply to any other ectoplasm.

The ectoplasms created by various psionic powers are each also special, often, having particular properties described by that power. The animation of the ectoplasm created by astral construct is a prime example; other ectoplasms don’t have that.

Since the ectoplasm created by psionic powers is different from that created by the feat, and doesn’t have ghost touch, there is no special interaction as a result of that feat. This question is the same regardless of whether or not the ghost has it.

As for what interactions a ghost has with those psionic powers, those are also not given any special rules. A ghost interacts with psionic ectoplasm the same way it interacts with any other magical/psionic material. And a ghost doesn’t really have special rules either: if it is not manifested, it is ethereal, and if it is, it is incorporeal (each from the perspective of the Material Plane). Thus, a ghost interacts with ectoplasm from psionic powers the same way any ethereal or incorporeal creature interacts with any magical/psionic material. (At 2nd level of the savage progression, a ghost can get access to telekinesis, which may interact with ectoplasm somewhat differently—but still as normal for telekinesis with magical/psionic objects.)

Ethereal and incorporeal are very similar in most regards, but one key difference is that magic spells, psionic powers, and magic or psionic weapons affect incorporeal creatures (though with a 50% chance of the incorporeal creature ignoring damage from these sources unless they are force or ghost touch effects). Ethereal creatures are not so affected (unless it’s transdimensional; see Transdimensional Spell or Transdimensional Power).

So the wall from wall of ectoplasm and the creature from astral construct are each the effect of a psionic power, and so affect an incorporeal creature like a manifested ghost, but not an ethereal one, like a ghost that isn’t manifested.

The skin of ectoplasmic armor armors a ghost as normal, which means it protects against other ethereal creatures, and protects against those material attacks that it is vulnerable to while manifested. It would ignore a material creature’s own skin of ectoplasmic armor, since unlike magic/psionic weapons, magic/psionic armor doesn’t have a rule allowing it to do anything to incorporeal targets.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Are you sure about that first line? Because Ghostwalk on Ectoplasm (13) seems to disagree. Or is that some of the question's "setting baggage" that's ignored? \$\endgroup\$ Aug 31, 2023 at 15:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ The Ectoplasm footnote on p13 indicates that ectoplasm is a type of ghost touch material, which could be an indication of "specialness" as KRyan is stating; after all the footnote only mentions incorporeal creatures throughout. On the other hand, it does say that ectoplasm can be in/corporeal as benefits the wielder. I had been ignoring that footnote, but if it is relevant to letting the player have fun, then I am willing to consider it as relevant if beneficial. \$\endgroup\$
    – nijineko
    Aug 31, 2023 at 15:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nijineko I think the sidebar may matter a lot, if for no other reason than "[c]ertain feats and spells [and, by extension, psionic powers] can create objects made of ectoplasm," therefore under such rules, for instance, astral constructs naturally have ghost touch properties (so they can beat up ghosts!) and so will anything mentioning that involves ectoplasm. If you have not been using that sidebar in your campaign, you should definitely include it as part of the question's omitted setting baggage. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 31, 2023 at 15:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Absolutely considered that to be part of the setting’s baggage. The sidebar probably applies to the Ectoplasm feat’s ectoplasm, but no further. When not playing in Ghostwalk per se, I feel comfortable saying it is not the primary source on things called ectoplasm from other supplements. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Aug 31, 2023 at 17:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ From a rule perspective I have to concur... I believe the idea that all ectoplasm is ghost touch would be tied to Manifest specifically. So unless it comes to a point of overriding the rule with fun or cool, then the intent seems clear. \$\endgroup\$
    – nijineko
    Sep 4, 2023 at 19:07

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