The Undead are abhorrent creations made from the darkest of magic: necromancy. They defy the logic of the realm, unnaturally forced from the afterlife and into what shouldn't be. Most undead within two categories: greater or lesser. Greater undead are raised with sentience using the soul, while lesser undead are mindless corpses following instinct and commands from their creator.
Every undead, however, are classed into subtypes, rough groups that generalize and help define universal characteristics. These types exist to allow for assumptions about an undead and its properties, as well as its potential strengths and weaknesses. An undead can have more than one subtype, and all of them possess the base ‘undead’ subtype that defines how their strengths and weaknesses function.
The Undead Subtype includes the following information:
- Undead do not drink, breathe, or eat. They do not age and are not alive.
- An undead are slain by destroying the binding magic. Common methods include unweaving or decimating the undead to nothingness.
- Undead cannot be affected through the mind; only the soul may be manipulated magically.
- Undead are vulnerable to all anti-profane materials. (Gold, Silver, etc.)
- All monsters are incredibly weak to holy traits and divine spells.
- An undead has perfect sight regardless of surrounding light. In addition, they maintain at least the barest vestiges of their other senses. Their senses cannot be used against them; an ear-piercing scream holds no distraction and a blinding flash does not affect undead.
- The Spark is both key to the creation and control of undead. It is through manipulation of the Spark that undead are bound to life. Necromancers utilize the Spark as reins to hold their creations in check.
Skeletal creations possess intricate properties, however:
- A skeletal undead is any creature that bares no skin, muscle, or flesh. They are composed of entirely (or almost entirely of) bone.
- Skeletal creatures are near-immune to piercing and slashing weaponry. While possible, the reality is practically ineffective.
- Skeletal undead are incredibly vulnerable to blunt weapons, such as maces and hammers. These weapons can easily dismantle them with enough strikes
- Their fingers can function as claws; skeletal beasts are also the only subtype to wield weaponry such as bows or blades.
Finally, incorporeal undead are those not inherently bound to our world, and include the following:
- These undead are spectral, near-invisible, and intangible. This subtype includes all ghosts, specters, and other astral beings that have one foot in this world and the other in the next.
- Incorporeal undead are not solid and cannot interact with the earth. They can move through solid terrain by slowly phasing through it; however, the denser the terrain, the slower the attempt. They can hover in a similar fashion, although true flight is impractical due to such lethargic levitation.
- The touch of an incorporeal creature is anathemic to all beings. Living foes they touch rot as their flesh quickly dies—this effect manifests as necrosis. A swipe from an incorporeal creature’s hand manifests as rancid claw marks.
- Incorporeal creatures can interact with and be interacted with magical items, for better or worse.
- Certain materials are anathemic to the incorporeal. Necrite is the bane of ethereal undead, and unlike most undead, are not affected by gold and silver. In addition, heavily magically resistant metals disrupt them.
- These creatures are unnaturally silent and do not make any noise.
- A ghoul is a corpse wrung from death and reduced to the most base possible instinct: hunger. It cares for nothing but filling the hole where its stomach once was. These foul creatures are distinguished from zombies by the pale and rancid yellow that adorns their skin and where their abdomen is emptied. To create these undead, a necromancer must remove the stomach of the target and otherwise leave them whole.
- Ghouls have an endless hunger that forces them to ravage anything living in sight, even in the face of death.
- Ghouls have a vicious bite capable of ripping limbs and destroying flesh.
- When a ghoul devours a corpse it has killed, it will solely eat the stomach, which results in the creation of another ghoul.
- These monsters are corpses animated and made for mindlessness and obedience. Their skin is often discolored a pale and pallid hue and tinged with bouts of rot. The amount of decay present on their flesh is an indication of how long they were dead before reanimation. For creation, there is no special technique; undead created with improper form are made as zombies instead of their intended creation.
- Zombies are rather generic when addressing undead and thus do not have special properties.
- A zombie’s cesspool of a body is a common place to find all kinds of disease; as a byproduct, they spread the ailments to those they attack.
- Crackling swarms of deceased insects and massive balls of still-moving rats tied at their tails are the marks of a swarm of undead. These abominable horrors are the product of both magical plagues and the creations of a necromancer. They are always comprised of small creatures and bear a twisted and a powerful unified hive intelligence. Undead swarms are created by piling the corpses of the creatures for reanimation and treating them as one entity.
- Undead swarms are immune to any spell that targets a single creature.
- They can occupy the same space around a creature.
- They contain the traits of any creature they are made from.
- Wights are hulking monstrosities built for smashing anything within their paths. The bodies of these creatures are bloated where strength is needed, making other portions lacking in flesh. To create a Wight, a necromancer replaces all flesh within a corpse with raw muscle, barring the bones. If upon reanimation their horror cannot support itself, a necromancer will often fuse more bones to its skeletal structure.
- These creatures, while not built sturdily, have more strength in undeath. They are one tier stronger then what they were living.
- Wights move slowly and leave large marks where they step.
- This creature can maneuver its mass to perform a powerful charge. It gains speed as it rushes forwards, not unlike a charging bull. This mechanic is capable of covering vast distances incredibly quickly; however, it can only move in a straight line. Any attempts to turn require the creature to slow. It moves with enough force to trample and kill a man wearing full plate and break through weaker walls on impact.
- These twisted terrors are reanimated corpses imbued with unnatural dexterity and flexibility. Their joints move and bend in ways they shouldn't if not for the magic holding them together; their flesh is entirely devoid of skin. They creep the walls and ceilings of wherever they lurk, latching onto high surfaces like a spider. Bound geists are often adorned with leather bags crafted to hide their rancid and skinless visages. A geist is created by reanimating a corpse that has been flayed of all skin; every joint in the corpse’s body must be methodically broken to the point of unusability before it can be revived.
- Geists movedas if they are contortionists, able to flex their joints in seemingly impossible ways.
- They can choose to secrete a sticky ichor from their appendages, allowing them to stick to mostly flat surfaces. This assists in moving to strategic points.
- Their ability to pounce rivals the deadliest predators; while landing upon their target, their flexible arms wrap around a foe, creating a deadly grip that is near-impossible to escape.
- A geist’s hand is made to have two thumbs--one on the bottom and the other on the top. This allows for very intricate maneuvers.
- These stalwart eternal soldiers are raised from the corpses of knights and officers who died dishonorable deaths, whether it be through cowardice or execution. In undeath they rise again, brought back without their head and forever damned to servitude. Black smog spews forth from the stump of their rancid and rotting necks that pollutes the air and poisons the lungs of all who near their malign forms. The creation of a Dullahan requires the corpse of a knight, officer, or similar authority figure that died a dishonorable death. In order to raise it back to life as one of these twisted fiends, its head must be removed and reanimated while its corpse lay shackled, but in line of sight. For the first hour after its resurrection, the corpse will stop at nothing to try and acquire its head and goes to any length to kill its master and seize its head. After this time has passed, the creature finally loses its ability to resist.
- All Dullahan are bound to the necromancer who raised them by their removed head. As long as a necromancer possesses a Dullahan’s head, their control is absolute; if their undead somehow manages to acquire their missing head, however, they become impossible to command. They can speak through their separated head and perceive through it regardless of location.
- These creatures cannot talk through the smog that lurks where their head should be. Instead, they can only communicate through their body via sign language.
- A thick and rancid smog spews forth from the remnants of their neck. This foul smog kills flesh on contact and leaves behind permanent pain in the wounds it causes until the Dullahan who caused them is slain. A Dullahan can anoint weapons in this smog to temporarily imbue them with its properties for an hour. Their weapons can be forcibly cleansed with flame, as can the smog.
- A Dullahan may conjure spectral and only incorporeal steeds out of their smog. These steeds leave smoke in their wake and always obey their creator. They, much like the smog they come from, are vulnerable to flame.
- These twisted horrors manage to retain some of the authority they held in life even in death. By imbuing a lesser undead or a corpse with its smog, a Dullahan may raise or bring a walking corpse under its control for weeks at a time. For this reason, necromancers often create dullahan for the express purpose of undead management.
- A gravemind is a rancid and rotting creature that drifts through the air, held afloat by the pestilent and foul gases produced by the rot within its ballooning flesh. These abominations vaguely resemble the brains of humanoid creatures. Plates of bone made of fractured skulls cling to their ridged and buoyant pale, white flesh. From their base hangs countless strands of flesh, reminiscent of brain stems that trail downwards like the tendrils of a jellyfish. In the center of this monstrosity lies perhaps its most horrifying feature: a fresh eyeball, ballooned to twice its size that gives a quick and incisive gaze. It is capable of casting magic at a master's level to defend itself. A gravemind is created through reanimation of the head of a humanoid creature. It must be cleanly severed from its body and stripped of all skin and hair, leaving nothing but its eyes and muscle. The majority of it must be intact for a successful reanimation. A DM is required to roleplay any player-created graveminds.
- Graveminds are a beacon of control for a necromancer. These creatures typically intended to relay a necromancer’s will to more undead.
- The strands of flesh hanging from the gravemind are long and slow, containing a small mouth at the end of them. Around these mouths are sharp points; these in combination excel at sucking blood from their enemies and constricting their victims to immobility.
- A gravemind's primary objective is maintaining obedience of the undead gifted to it. While able to control all undead, its talent comes in by having anything that affects the gravemind via spell also affecting all undead under its control (and all the undead under those undead’s control until it reaches the end of the chain).
- Graveminds float above the ground passively, and are able to only support their own weight.
- Undead under control of the gravemind cannot be stolen by magic, and neither can the gravemind itself.
- These walking and clacking horrors are nothing more than reanimated skeletons. They mindlessly seek to destroy all encountered life unless given a higher purpose at a necromancer’s hands. A necromancer reanimates one of these undead by forcing their magic upon a skeleton stripped of flesh.
- A skeleton has no flesh to pierce, and thus are almost entirely unharmed when struck with piercing weaponry.
- It is difficult to slice bone, especially bones held together by necromantic magic. Slashing weapons do as little as piercing weapons.
- Any mace or similar bludgeoning tool can quickly shatter these shambling horrors.
- The fingertips of a skeleton are often rough and abrasive, spectacular at ripping and tearing flesh. They act much like claws.
- Terrorwings are small and nimble, soaring through the skies like an eagle with its prey. They are made of bone and spare rotten flesh, allowing for quick flight to descend towards its prey. They take the general shape of a bird; however, the bones may be assorted in almost any way. So long as the creation can lift itself from the ground, it will fly. To create a terrorwing, bones and minimal flesh should be arranged in a rough shape of an eagle or similar bird. During animation, the necromancer must force the bones together until it can lift itself from the ground.
- A terrorwing is weak by itself; however, in numbers, they're a force to be reckoned with.
- These small undead identify a target and dive, relying on blunt force and talons to incapacitate or kill their victims.
- The undead can fly and dive from any height.
- Terrorwings are roughly the same size as a male eagle.
- A Bone Collective is a clattering monstrosity of unnaturally pristine bones arranged in a roughly humanoid shape. These towering creatures stand around eight feet in height and are often over four feet wide. They only barely resemble a human creature; their skulls are comprised of countless chattering skulls from the skeletons they’ve absorbed and their hands are made of countless interlocking hands. These monstrous figures can take on any shape that they can possibly rearrange their countless skeletons into. Bone Collectives are ever-hungry, constantly acquiring more skeletons to add to their grisly forms. A Bone Collective is made by rearranging at least five skeletons into one massive outline of a humanoid figure. While the result doesn’t have to be a perfect replica, it does need to be roughly correct.
- A bone collector is obsessed with gathering bones of the fallen and including them within its mass. Due to that fact, breaking it bit by bit is nigh impossible because it replaces its figure with more bones from the inside unless completely burned.
- The bone collector is known for being nimble and fast.
- These creatures are able to quickly change the size of its appendages by moving the positions of the bones that form its body.
- Capable of bringing down targets from range, a deadeye is a greater undead that hunts targets with ranged weaponry. Its precision is deadly; however, far distances risk failing accuracy due to poor eyesight. Most deadeyes are found on a necromancer's flank and are more than capable of spotting movement in the distance. Deadeyes are typically lightly clothed—if at all—meaning they are more easily seen among the ranks of a mage's army. To create a deadeye, the skull of a skeleton must be plastered with six eyes from any race; their joints must be broken and re-tied with string. Afterwards, the necromancer may raise a deadeye.
- Deadeyes wield ranged weaponry such as crossbows, bows, or other launched arms.
- While standard combat rules apply for wielding ranged weaponry, but any shot will give the undead a +2 on their hit roll.
- These undead cannot pinpoint targets at range; however, movement is detected easily, making deadeyes perfect watchmen for ambushes.
- Deadeyes can raise lesser undead, much like a dullahan, to serve as servants with the same mechanics. However, no shots are guaranteed and the undead shoot as amateur archers.
- At the cost of sight and accuracy, deadeyes are severely weak in defense. They will nearly never win a defensive fight (unless loosing weaponry) and are a purely offensive troop.
- Their unnaturally white appearance sticks out in any necromancer's entourage.
- Risen from forsaken mages, Mana Slaves are greater undead that wield the power of the arcane as opposed to the brute strength of their brethren. Mana Slaves take the appearance of the body they're animated from, no matter the state of the being. Mana Slaves require sparks and therefore souls, meaning only a skilled necromancer can raise these purposeful undead. No matter the experience of the animated mage, Mana Slaves can only take two disciplines of profane nature. To create a Mana Slave, the soul of a fallen mage should be planted in a vessel and the wounds sealed with liquid mana. Afterwards, the slave will rise, seeking tools to attune to. A DM is required to roleplay any player-created Mana Slaves.
- They wield catalysts similar to any other mage; however, the undead can only reach Adept progression.
- Any spell cast by a Mana Slave is profane, but they do not take traditional void decay; their master will instead.
- Should the Mana Slave's spark be sundered or disabled, they will die and the body will not rise again.
- Mana Slaves can absorb spells or spell effects within a 5 meter radius; however, with a cost of 5 mana, this ability should be used with care.
- A shade is the shadow of a once-living creature. These black and rancid apparitions only vaguely resemble their humanoid forms and bear no true sentience. Their appendages and visages are often distorted and unnaturally clawed. They exist only to feed upon the energy of magic and the living. Drawn to life like a moth to a flame, these horrors stop at nothing to consume and drain every drop of vitality from their victims. A shade is created by grinding the bones of the victim into dust and reanimating it.
- Shades inherit nothing more than the attributes of general incorporeal creatures.
- The soul is the heart of everything living; unfortunately, some are doomed to eternal suffering as these painful souls force their agony on their victims. They take the form of blackened wisps, lazily floating about an assigned station or near their master. Despite the underwhelming nature of a tormented soul, however, they possess intricate abilities. Raising a tormented soul requires a necromancer to split a target's soul in two, raising one half and allowing the other to die.
- A tormented soul drains the life of those they attack. If a tormented soul kills a target (immediately or with longevity), it turns into an apparition.
- Tormented souls can target their foe's soul, wracking pain through it and landing necrotic wounds on the victim's body.
- There are few creatures of the night more terrifying than a banshee. These spectral horrors stalk the night, hiding their ugly and distorted spirits beneath a guise of hauntingly alluring flesh. It is not uncommon for a weaker soul to fall prey to a banshee’s glamour and be found mere hours later, devoid of life. A banshee is created by binding a soul into the ground-up dust of its bones. During the process of its reanimation, it must be forced to witness something once dear in life be burned away. If nothing is burned or the burning is interrupted, the soul quickly escapes, leaving nothing but a lesser shade behind.
- Banshees carry an inherent clock to their corporeal forms. Banshees are required to feed upon souls once every 2 OOC weeks to maintain their corporeal form. If this timer runs out, banshees are forced to become the monstrosities they truly are and must forcefully feed to regain such an ability again. This timer does not stack upon consuming another soul within the duration and is merely refreshed.
- Banshees are terrifying creatures with the capacity to lure and trick their victims into giving up their life force. A Banshee must be kissing a willing target in order to suck their soul out of their body, otherwise if they wish to do so forcefully they must hold onto their throat and choke them to absorb the soul through the palm of their hand. If a being wishes to resist a banshees abduction of their soul, they must succeed on a 14 or higher in a flat 1d20 in the case of realizing their soul was being removed upon being kissed. Otherwise they must have the Banshee forced away from touching them.
- Banshees are known for their deafening scream that interrupts casting within 25 meters. It cancels any spell currently being cast or channeled and cannot be used again until the banshee has recovered over 5 rounds. This effect may be negated with proper ear protection.
- Banshees have the innate ability to corporealize themselves into an alluring seductresses of their race when they were alive. When in this corporeal form, they seem completely healthy and able besides a lacking pulse. Turning corporeal is much more difficult than returning to their incorporeal state, but mechanically the same. A banshee must wait to recover 3 rounds before attempting to transform. This transformation can be interrupted as if they were spellcasting.
- When a banshee attempts to pull victims from their senses, their goal is to consume the target's soul. They do this with a prolonged willing kiss for 3 emotes and pulling the soul out of the person by the mouth with no pain during the process. If the person pulls away at any point, the effect does not take place and there is no painful feeling during this process. After a banshee has stolen away someone’s essence they tend to watch as it is pulled to the afterlife. This effect leaves a soul as drained (see soul lore); however, this does not prevent their victims from being revived. The excess energy that this produces is absorbed by a Banshee and leaves their corporeal duration refreshed.
- An apparition is a pale shade that stalks the darkest corners of the land, hopping from one haunt to the next. These horrors have little substance of their own, so they often find or steal a form for themselves to occupy to hide their ghastly visages from the world they unnaturally dwell within. These ghosts can only ever be truly seen in pitch darkness when only the vaguest remnants of their translucent outline is visible. An apparition is brought into being similar to other ghosts. First, a cecromancer must grind their bones into nothing but dust. From there, however, the process deviates. As part of the reanimation process, the necromancer must seal the forming apparition within a tiny barrier of salt. These barriers can only be removed as the apparition finally comes into being.
- Apparitions are incorporeal creatures that can possess objects and haunt individuals.
- Non-sentient things are possible to control with no limit of how long the undead may inhabit it; however, it has limitations, such as if the mass is equivalent to a suit of armor, items may merely hover above the ground. While this ability allows apparitions to interact with the material world, it is also their weakness.
- While possessing something, an apparition’s image may be damaged. If broken, the apparition will die.
- An apparition must take an entire turn to leave something that it's possessing.
- Apparitions have their existence extended indefinitely while possessing something.
A Higher Purpose
Rituals are a common way of empowering undead, most often greater, in order to serve a higher purpose or accomplish tasks previously thought impossible. Frequently referred to as complex undead, these horrors will always trump their brethren in combative and intellectual prowess. No matter the type, creating a complex undead is daunting; due to the strain placed on a necromancer's soul, only one can be raised at a time.
Creating an NPC complex undead requires a magic application, whereas a player complex undead will need a non-standard character application.
|Geography • Races • Flora • Fauna • Stones • Metals • Cloth • Foreign Continents|
|The World of Aethius • The Multiverse of Aethier|