Ghost Sound – The Ultimate Utility

Ghost Sound is one of my favorite spells. It’s a great utility spell, that can be really powerful in many situations. It can be used in combat as well as in role playing.

Ghost Sound is a level 0 illusion spell available to bards, sorcerer and wizards. Gnome Magic allows gnomes to use Ghost Sound once per day as a spell like ability. It last 1 round per caster level and produces as much noise as 4 humans per caster level. The produced sound can be virtually anything.

The usage of Ghost Sound always depends on the situation. In combat it can be used to create a distraction, may allowing your allies to land attacks of opportunity or delaying actions of your enemies. Out of combat Ghost Sound can be used to support a lie or distract guards. I gathered some examples below.

In combat

This was one of the first times I successfully used Ghost Sound. My group fought a bunch of goblins in a cave. We were out numbered, the melee fighters were completely surrounded. As I had no higher spells left I used Ghost Sound to do something. Creating the sound of 16 charging Knights in the tunnel leading into the cavern, I were able to convince some goblins, that our back up troops arrived. Most of them tried to flee allowing the fighters to get the upper hand in the fight.

To use Ghost Sound in such a way, it is important to make it convincing. Firstly the source of the sound should not be directly visible to the target. Not even goblins will believe you, if you create the sound of an charging army on an empty plane. Secondly the produced sound should fit into the surrounding. If you are in a cave use the sound of giant insects, goblins and kobolds instead of bisons. The Bestiaries provide lists of monsters for every terrain type. At last choose sounds creating fear in your enemies. The descriptions of monsters often state their enemies or fears. You might can find something by knowledge rolls.

As a gnome you can use the metamagic feat Threatening Illusion to flank a foe. The targeted field is considered as threatening enemies. The feat raises the spell level by one but a threatening Ghost Sound is still a good choice for level one spells. The effect probably will only last one round, but your rogue will thank you.

In role playing

The real strength of Ghost Sound comes into play once combat is over. The spell can be used in almost any situation.

Causing distraction is probably the most common use of Ghost Sound. It begins at the towns gate by creating the sound of a brawl to distract the guards to avoid paying 2 silver coins per feet. When you reach the market distract a merchant with the sound of fighting chickens in his cages, to allow your rogue to acquire a splendid lunch. Whenever a NPC has to be distracted, Ghost Sound is a good first choice.

Ghost Sound can be used to support your statements or to alter the attitude of an NPC. If you want to convince a NPC that the group on the next table is plotting to kill him, we will be more likely to believe you if he hears constant mumbling. The guards might help you if the bandits scream about killing guards and taking their wives. General advise: let the target hear what he wants to hear in order to support your own needs.

Conclusion

As Ghost Sound is a level 0 spell it is tempting to use it all the time. However keep in mind that Ghost Sound is only as effective as your game masters allows it to be. At some point the GM will snap, if you repeat the same trick over and over again. My advise: only use Ghost Sound occasionally and describe it precisely. Also explain what effect you are looking for. You won’t always get the wanted effect, but putting more effort in the descriptions makes it more likely.

Pathfinder Character: Black Courtesan

I’ve played this character in the previous campaign(s) of our group and it got retired. The idea was to create a strong social character that also fulfills the role of a classical rogue (disabling traps and opening doors). She still has some use in combat, but is very squishy and should stay hidden or behind the tank at any time.

Vashta Nerada (name origin) is a female half-elven rogue. She used to work as a courtesan but found people tend to pay more for the possessions of her clients than the clients for her services. Being a trained courtesan she has no problem to seduce victims and infiltrate mansions and strongholds. Her social skills and profession allow her to penetrate strong security measures and obtain objects of desire while the owner is fast asleep.

Name: Vashta Nerada

Race: Half-Elf

Class: Rogue/10

Ability Scores

Raw: STR: 10 DEX: 18 CON: 10 INT: 14 WIS: 10 CHA: 18

Equipped: STR: 10 DEX: 22 CON: 10 INT: 14 WIS: 10 CHA: 20

(Point Buy 25: STR: 10 DEX: 16 CON: 10 INT: 14 WIS: 10 CHA: 16, +2 DEX Race Bonus, +2 CHA from level 4+8)

Combat

Hit Points: 10D8 

Initiative: 8

Reflex: 13 Fortitude: 3 Willpower: 3

Armor Class: 22 Touch: 16 Flat-footed: 16

CMB: 7 CMD: 23

Shortbow: Attacks: +16/+11 Damage: 1d6+2 Crit: 20/x3

Shortbow(30 feet): Attacks: +17/+12 Damage: 1d6+2 (+5d6 +5 bleed on Sneak Attack)  Crit: 20/x3

Dagger: Attacks: +14/+9 Damage: 1d4 (+5d6 +5 bleed on Sneak Attack)  Crit: 19-20/x2

Feats

(5 regular + 1 skill focus from race)

  • Point-Blank Shot – +1 attack and damage on targets within 30 feet
  • Precise Shot – No penalty for shooting into melee
  • Weapon Finesse – Use DEX instead of STR on attack rolls with light weapons
  • Weapon Focus(Short Bow) – +1 bonus on attack rolls with one weapon
  • Skill Focus(Perception) – +3 bonus on one skill (+6 at 10 ranks)
  • Skill Focus(Stealth) – +3 bonus on one skill (+6 at 10 ranks)

Rogue Talents

(4 Normal, 1 Advanced )

  • Bleeding Attack: A rogue with this ability can cause living opponents to bleed by hitting them with a sneak attack.
  • Fast Stealth: This ability allows a rogue to move at full speed using the Stealth skill without penalty.
  • Trap Spotter: Whenever a rogue with this talent comes within 10 feet of a trap, she receives an immediate Perception skill check to notice the trap.
  • Sniper’s Eye: A rogue with this talent can apply her sneak attack damage on ranged attacks targeting foes within 30 feet that benefit from concealment.
  • Stealthy Sniper: When a rogue with this talent uses the Stealth skill to snipe, she only suffers a –10 penalty on the Stealth check, instead of –20.

Traits

  • Charming: Blessed with good looks, you’ve come to depend on the fact that others find you attractive. You gain a +1 trait bonus when you use Bluff or Diplomacy on a character that is (or could be) sexually attracted to you, and a +1 trait bonus to the save DC of any language-dependent spell you cast on such characters or creatures.
  • Elven Reflexes: One of your parents was a member of a wild elven tribe, and you’ve inherited a portion of your elven parent’s quick reflexes. You gain a +2 trait bonus on Initiative checks.

Equipment

(62000 GP at level 10)

  • Darkwood Shortbow +2 (8350)
  • Dagger +1 (2302)
  • Mithral Chain Shirt +2 (5300)
  • Corset of the vishkanya (3000): As a free action, the wearer can compress herself to fit through tight spaces as though affected by a squeeze spell (Advanced Race Guide) for up to 10 rounds per day. While using the corset’s magic, she gains a +5 bonus on Escape Artist checks.
  • Cloak of Elvenkind (2500): +5 Stealth
  • Eyes of the Eagle (2500): +5 Perception
  • Vest of Escape (5200):  Hidden inside these are magic lockpicks that provide a +4 competence bonus on Disable Device checks. The vest also grants its wearer a +6 competence bonus on Escape Artist checks.
  • Belt of incredible dexterity +4 (16000): +4 Dexterity
  • Boots of the Winterland (2500): The wearer of these boots is able to travel across snow at her normal speed, leaving no tracks. (And more)
  • Hat of Disguise (1800): This apparently normal hat allows its wearer to alter her appearance as with a disguise self spell.
  • Headband of alluring charisma +2 (4000): +2 Charisma
  • Mind sentinel medallion (3500): The medallion grants a continuous +2 resistance bonus on saves versus mind-affecting spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities.
  • Sleeves of many garments (200): The wearer of these sleeves can, when she slips them on, choose to transform her current garments into any other nonmagical set of clothing.
  • Apprentice’s cheating gloves (2200): The wearer of these gloves can employ mage hand and prestidigitation at will.
  • 2648 GP for other equipment and toys.

Skills

(ranks only, 11 ranks per level)

SkillRankTotal
Acrobatics1019
Stealth1030
Diplomacy1018
Disable Device1022
Disguise1018
Sleight of Hand1019
Sense Motive1013
Perception1024
Bluff10
18
Knowledge (local)510
Linguistics38
Climb47
Intimidate311
Escape Artist211
Swim14
Perform (Dance)19
Knowledge (dungeoneering)16

Situational Bonus:

  • +10 Disguise when using Hat of Disguise
  • +5 to find and disable traps (Trapfinding)
  • +3 Reflex/AC vs traps (Trap Sense)
  • +2 Resistance bonus versus mind-affecting spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities
  • +1 Bluff/Diplomacy versus characters that are (or could be) sexually attracted to you (Charming)