A phantom is left behind by particularly strong death traumas, often triggered by surprising or unexpected deaths. Phantoms in life were of at least moderate power (4th level or above), and died entirely by surprise. Some were tasked with a quest spell at the time of death. A death that generates a phantom may also turn the remains into a revenant.
Most phantoms simply exist at a location and repeat their sensory effect periodically, over and over again. A phantom may resemble a ghost, a haunt, or a groaning spirit, but they have no will, no malice, and no goal. They are more of a sensory experience than a thinking creature, and there is no strong emotion that helps them cling to unlife. Accomplishing the mission of a phantom or extracting vengeance on a murderer whose act created a phantom won't lay the spirit to rest.
A phantom cannot do actual harm to anything, though they appear to all the senses -- they make noise, can be felt, and even have smells. Creatures without minds, or those who do not experience a phantom, can simply act like it isn't there.
Those who do sense a phantom are affected by a supernatural fear (as the fear spell) if they fail a save vs. death magic at -2. Particularly vivid phantoms can also force onlookers who fail their save to make a system shock roll with a +10 bonus or die. A creature killed by this terror can be raised normally.
Because phantoms typically died unexpectedly and by surprise, their presence can be a clue to others in the area of unexpected dangers, especially mechanical traps or long-lived monsters. This may make the fear effect quite unwanted, as running recklessly in terror through a trapped, monster-infested area is not likely to make the situation more safe.
Driving Away a PhantomEdit
Because they lack goals and cannot be interacted with, a phantom often presents a persistant problem. Only a remove curse spell cast by a 12th-level priest will erase a phantom from the world.
A phantom may also be created when an evil creature from another plane is sent back to their home-world (35% chance) as a sort of evil echo of their presence. These phantoms are explicitly wicked, and seek to misinform or endanger characters. Phantoms created in this way can be detected with detect evil, and a dispel evil spell will neutralize a phantom for a number of turns equal to the caster level.