Drawn from energies of the Ethereal Plane, ectoplasm is a vile substance resembling thick tangles of slimy linen or dripping goo. It shapes itself into the form of an undead creature, creating a host for a soul unfortunate enough to be confined within it. The existence of an ectoplasmic being is a cruel one, and few souls willingly choose this painful form of undeath.
An ectoplasmic creature is approximately the same size as the body it inhabited in life, though it weighs nearly twice as much, as the ropes of undead matter that compose its body are significantly heavier than most living flesh.
Even more so than most undead beings, creatures born of ectoplasm live hateful existences, filled with nothing but a lust for destruction and suffering. They have no bodily needs and require no sustenance; the only thing an ectoplasmic creature feeds upon is its own hatred of the living.
Once a spirit has passed to the afterlife, it seldom wishes to return at all, let alone in a disfigured ectoplasmic body. Spirits that aren’t powerful enough to come back as ghosts or spectres sometimes return as ectoplasmic monsters, particularly when there are no remains of the creature’s original body for its soul to inhabit in the form of a skeleton or zombie. Sometimes, ghosts and other strong undead purposefully draw upon ectoplasm from the ethereal realm, yearning for even more power in their ectoplasmic hosts.
Those who suffer this sorrowful fate, by misfortune or choice, are usually stuck in their ectoplasmic prisons until death grants them sweet release from this unlife. The transition from death to ectoplasmic undeath is a torturous ordeal, as is retaining the horrid form into which the creature is reborn. Often, this persistent agony drives these beings beyond mad, creating within an insatiable rage akin to that experienced by frustrated ghosts and other haunted souls.
An ectoplasmic creature’s burning desperation and embitterment often pushes it toward violence: most such beings fling themselves into battle willingly, killing to satiate their natural hunger for the suffering of others, while simultaneously hoping to be killed and thus freed of their own suffering own.
Whenever in contact with surfaces (including walls they pass through), ectoplasmic creatures leave a trail of a silvery substance that resembles a slug’s mucus—a trait almost exclusive to these undead. This slippery secretion dries within moments, so if its encountered, there is surely such a creature lurking nearby.
Ectoplasmic beings can inhabit any location, regardless of environment or climate. The horrors tend to prowl the areas in which they died, and rarely venture outside these areas, as though they were anchored there.
Though these entities rarely coordinate complicated actions with others of their kind, they seem to do so unintentionally at times. Their unnatural strength makes ectoplasmic creatures formidable combatants, which those not familiar with fighting ectoplasmic creatures would expect by looking at them. Fortunately for the wary, the sticky ectoplasm that trails behind these undead monsters is a clear indicator of their presence, and most experienced clerics can identify the substance at a glance.