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Ossuary ritual

Summary

See Creating an Undead Character if you are interested in roleplaying as the undead


Undeath is a state of being in which the body and/or soul of a previously deceased creature have been rendered active in the material world. This can be the result of magic or be a natural occurence depending on the environment. The form of magic concerned with undeath is necromancy. It is not to be confused with death magic, which is aimed to kill. The term "unlife" is incorrect – it refers to a state that deviates from life, while an undead creature is in a state that deviates from death. The varying types of undead are defined by six properties - sentience, soul, decay, corporeality, occurence and conjureability.

At the recent dawn of the new era, the undead have formed a nation in Ariaheim, the Ecclesiarchy, and most of them are associated with it (see Obsidian for the largest undead city). Lesser undead are the non-sentient archetypes who are not capable of social function - they can be found throughout Nyxheim either as natural phenomena or as servants of independent necromancers.

Will-Binding

There is a difference between undead raised/turned by an independent necromancer/vampire and one who is a member of the Ecclesiarchy. Independent necromancy ensures by default that the raised creature is will-bound to the one who raised it - this is the original way the necromancy had worked in the Old World, and still does in some places. "Will-bound" can mean different things, depending on whether the creature is soul-endowed or not. A soulless minion has no free will in any case, and can be directly manipulated by the necromancer. A will-bound minion with a soul has its own throught process and can't be controlled like a robot; but must be given orders like any living subordinate, interpret them and then carry them out. Will-bound is not equivalent to "mind slave"; as mind enslavement another school of magic entirely and must be performed separately. However, will-bound creatures will feel a strong sympathy towards their necromancers and feel the general need to obey and protect them, acting in their master's best interest, while retaining their own selfhood and personality.

When a soul-endowed creature is raised by a faithful of the Ecclesiarchy, it is not will-bound to the one who raised it, but to Nagash - the head of the Church. It is thus possible to bind a vast amount of people to a single person, with necromancers acting as proxies who carry out the rituals. This grants the necrarch so much influence that he can form his own nation, which is by the way exactly what he did. Because there are so many people will-bound to him, Nagash himself does not engage in much direct supervision, leaving his followers with far more identity and freedom that any independently created ghoul or vampire could hope to have.

Infobox Guide

Sentient – a sentient creature is defined by its ability to communicate with and understand other sentients. Although most living things are wholly or at least semi-sentient, this feature is not to be taken for granted with the undead.

Soul – some forms of undead are created merely by animating physical substance. A soulless creature never has any free will or initiative, but can be infused with a computer-like intelligence by a skilled necromancer.

Decays – when something dies, its vital processes cease. And when that happens, an organism naturally decomposes. Being one of the staple conditions of death, this phenomenon often persists into undeath as well. Incorporeal creatures do not decay in the litaral sense, but they may fade over time.

Incorporeal – incorporeal undead are souls without bodies. Most still have some sort of visual projection, and some are capable of telepathy and sound emission, but they cannot physically interact with the material world, and they cannot be interacted with. The only way to combat an incorporeal creature involves highly specialised exorcism magic.

Occurs Naturally – if yes, this type of creature can come into being without any inteference by a necromancer. Under the right conditions, this can happen anywhere, but is most abundant in southern Ariaheim.

Conjureable – if yes, this type of creature can be raised, summoned /but not necessarily controlled) by a necromancer. Unlike daemons, undead servants are always completely loyal. Although they may have a free will and a personality, they are fundamentally unable to transgress against their masters. This does not necessarily limit them – conjured sentients are often given much freedom in the ecclesiarchal society.

Archetypes Of Undead

Ghoul
Ghouls
Ghouls represent the largest Ecclesiastic population group.

Sentient

Yes

Soul

Yes

Decays

Yes

Incorporeal

No

Occurs Naturally

No

Conjureable

Yes

Playable

Yes

Ghoul

  • A soul trapped in their decaying body or an artificial one
  • Ghouls retain emotions and cognitive abilities
  • Soul remains in the body until it is fully decayed

A ghoul is a soul inhabiting a dead body, usually (but not necessarily) their own. Ghouls are the lowest form of sentient undead and the staple citizenry of the ecclesiarchal metropoli. The process of creation includes performing a soul trap ritual on a dying person or creature, preventing their soul from leaving their body upon death. An alternative is catching a wandering soul and inserting it into an already dead or mechanical body. The result is that the subject can, in practice, continue "living" for another period of time until their body decays so much it can no longer be a vessel to their soul – their mind, emotions and memories remain largely intact, but their physical senses are dulled. Since necromancers seldom ask their subjects whether they want to be raised or not, ghouls vary greatly in disposition towards their new existence. Some go insane from observing their body slowly decompose; some are tormented by their futile lust for revenge on their masters; but most simply accept their second chance and move on. Because the rate of organic decay in Obsidian is much lower than anywhere else, ghouls can enjoy (or suffer) their undeath nearly indefinitely. Ghouls cannot be created by summoning souls from the Web of Dreaming, which is another level of necromancy altogether.





Spectre
Spectre
Spectres have complete freedom in their choise of visage and make good use of this ability.

Sentient

Yes

Soul

Yes

Decays

No

Incorporeal

Yes

Occurs Naturally

No

Conjureable

Yes

Playable

No

Language

Hexxarin



Spectre

  • A soul prevented from passing on by a pact with a necromancer
  • Capable spies due to shapeshifting and intangibility
  • Limited capability for magic
  • Fully sentient

A spectre is a spirit which was prevented to leave the mortal plane by a third party. To become one, a person must enter a pact with a necromancer before they die. Most people who become spectres are willing and have planned on it, but some are tricked into making the pact and are forced to remain in the material world until expelled. Spectres are the only known sentient form of incorporeal creatures, and hold rare powers. They are able to take on any visage they wish and speak with an audible voice of any amplitude, enabling them to impersonate virtually anything. This, together with their ability to become near invisible and pass through solid objects makes them perfect spies. However, they are still merely spirits and are intangible – they can fool mortal eyes and ears, but not their touch. In ecclesiarchal cities, many people with professions that do not require physical or interaction choose this form over ghoul because it is more practical, and most importantly, permanent. Spectres have the ability to use magic, but because they have no body, they cannot channel it properly. For this reason, they can only use simple spells. They are only susceptible to complex exorcism rituals, and contrary to popular belief, cannot possess living beings. Although they are free to choose any appearance they wish, their true form is a ghostly butterfly. It is important to note that spirits that are not bound to material objects such as Wandering Souls, Wraiths and Spectres have predators from the Dreaming called Reapers. The Reapers are white serpentine and draconic creatures that function as the sharks of the Dreaming by hunting down the spirits that have not passed away properly. They cannot be seen by the living, and they avoid the Undead because they confuse their senses. For that reason, the incorporeal undead are safe on cities like Obsidian but risk destruction if they go out of the undead civilizations.





Vampire
32113189
In the Ecclesiarchy, vampires form the middle strata, and often find themselves as company managers or military officers.

Sentient

Yes

Soul

Yes

Decays

No

Incorporeal

No

Occurs Naturally

No

Conjureable

No

Playable

Yes

Vampire

  • Vampire virus transforms organism into vampire upon death
  • Feed on fresh DNA via blood-sucking
  • Can grow stronger depending on the species they feed on
  • Fledglings are stronger if turned by a highly advanced Vampire
  • They exist in clans called Master Clans and the more common Fledgling Clan

Vampires are different from other undead in that their form of creation is strictly biological. They are considered the second most advanced type of undead. Vampirism is a virus invented in ancient times by the dark elven necromancers of Malekith in their pursuit of immortality. It is transferred via bodily fluids, and lies dormant within the subject until they die. At the moment of death, the virus becomes active and infects the victim, turning them into a vampire. The lifespan of the virus in dormant state is very low; it will dissolve if the contaminated person does not die within a week. Most cases of people turned vampire are through bites – the victim usually dies right there. The parasitic virus demands a constant flow of fresh DNA to survive and evolve, forcing the vampire to drink the blood of living beings. The virus uses the absorbed cells to repair its host and keep their body from decomposing, and salvages the DNA to evolve itself and its host. The development can take different turns depending on what race a vampire feeds on, and like all evolution, it spans over a very long time before any tangible effects start to show. If feeding on anything less genetically advanced than a human, the vampire may begin devolving instead. The modern biology is not advanced enough to understand all this, so vampires are simply known to "grow stronger over time" and "turn their victims into their own kind", which sums it all up quite nicely.

The power of a vampire is determined not as much by their own age as the age of their bloodline. If a highly evolved vampire creates a fledgling, the latter receives an already advanced genetic package right out of the box – the only major advantage their parent has over them is experience. Vampire families are divided in two major categories – master clans and fledgling clans. The vast majority of vampire families get to become just powerful enough for a vampire hunter congregation to notice them, at which point they are eradicated. Therefore, most existing clans are of the fledgling variety. Some families have eluded this barrier, and develop enough to be untouchable by their enemies – they are considered master clans; few in number but acknowledged worldwide for their power and influence. Vampires can use magic at the same conditions as when they were alive: older individuals seem more adept not as much because of innate ability, but more because they had the time to study and refine their arts.


Wight
Wight
Wights overshadow even the greatest of vampires in terms of magical, intellectual and social power.

Sentient

Yes

Soul

Yes

Decays

No

Incorporeal

No

Occurs Naturally

No

Conjureable

Yes

Playable

No

Language

Hexxarin

Wight

  • Very powerful spirits bound to physical objects
  • Have total freedom in their actions
  • Capable of using magic freely
  • A very uncommon variety of Undead

A wight is a soul summoned from the Web of Dreaming and bound to a physical object, that also serves as their body. Because it takes extraordinary power for a soul to remain intact in the Web, natural selection ensures that only the mightiest individuals can assume this form. Therefore, wights are considered to be the most elevated type of undead to currently exist. Creating a wight requires a large-scale ritual of complex runes and incantations, with numerous necromancers needed to complete everything properly. The ritual is called Animus Redimio and is considered a major event wherever it is conducted. Fittingly enough, most wights are the spirits of kings and heroes, and usually hold considerable influence in whatever society they are part of. Unlike most undead, wights hold no allegiance to their summoners and have complete freedom of action. Since they are uncontrollable, great care is taken to win the disposition of a spirit when, or before, it is conjured. Because the spirit needs a physical anchor, wights are only bound to objects that both allow movement and resemble a person – suits of armor are very popular for this purpose. Remains of a creature are a less common variant. Wights are known for their strong connection to the Web and the ability to use magic freely – the strain on their souls is far less than when they were mortal. This form of undeath is rare and can only be found within the Ecclesiarchy.





Lich
Lich ambiguous
'

Properties

Unknown



Lich

  • Legendary
  • Immortal
  • Mysterious

Liches are a legendary type of undead, believed to be completely immortal. Supposed to be both ageless and indestructible, they are the highest form of existence a mortal can achieve. The problem is – no one knows how. According to a central study of the Malkian Necromancer Church in the past world, and the Holy Grail of the current Ecclesiarchy, lichdom is a concept shrouded in mystery. Discovering the formula for creating a lich is the reason why necromancy exists in the first place, and while the goal is still distant, the revelation is sure to change the world as we know it...




Archetypes of Lesser Undead

Zombie

Zombie
Zombie
Zobmies vaguely retain the features of their former race.

Sentient

No

Soul

No

Decays

Yes

Incorporeal

No

Occurs Naturally

Yes

Conjureable

Yes

Playable

No

Language

N/A

  • Corpses animated by magic
  • Simple minded beings
  • Shunned by society
  • Often used in place of living slaves

A zombie is a dead body animated by magic. Zombies are one of the most simple and lowly forms of existence in Nyxheim. They display no amount of conscience or individuality, and are only able to perform direct commands. Because they are very easy to create and last for as long as they don't fall apart, they were the main manual labor force used by the Church, until they became "obsolete" with ghoul workers who could operate machines effectively. However, zombies are still better than living slaves in almost every way imaginable – they never complain, they never tire and they never make mistakes; on top of the fact that they do not need to be supplied with food, clothes and medicine. What they lack in initiative they more than make up for in durability. Zombies are by far the most abundant type of roaming undead and are found virtually in any place with latent magical residue. Wandering zombies are not inherently violent and will not attack unprovoked, but are not accepted in many civilised communities and are repelled on sight. In Ecclesiastic cities, zombies have almost completely disappeared, and are considered an attribute of independent necromancers.

Golems are technically also zombies. The difference is in what's being animated. Something that was formerly alive and raised is called a zombie. If an inanimate object is set into motion, it is a golem. There are many ways of golem creation, but the most primitive is to raise a construct of stone or metal as you would a dead body. Because these "artificial zombies" are very labor-intensive to build, they are rare compared to organic zombies, which are very functional by default and don't require any engineering skill on the necromancer's part.



Wandering Soul
Wandering soul
Wandering souls appear as shades of their former selves.

Sentient

No

Soul

Yes

Decays

Yes

Incorporeal

Yes

Occurs Naturally

Yes

Conjureable

No

Playable

No

Language

Various

Wandering Soul

  • Spiritual remnant of a deceased.
  • Can appear as former self, a wisp or the natural Dreaming form of a Butterfly
  • Docile species
  • Fades into the web over time

A wandering soul is a spirit which was unable to leave the mortal plane upon the body's death. Most wandering souls can be seen as faint projections of their former bodies, and are usually called ghosts. Some have forgotten the way they looked in life, and appear as small, swirling nodes of light; these are called wisps. They can also assume the form that souls normally have in the Dreaming; a butterfly. Wandering souls cannot perceive or communicate with living beings, but are able to see other incorporeal creatures. Outside of Ariaheim, wandering souls are few and far between, thus forcing each of them to wander a world which appears completely uninhabited – a truly lonely existence. They are very peaceful and will not fight back even when attacked. Wandering souls fade very slowly, usually taking over 1000 years for one to pass into the Web. The age of a wandering soul can be approximately determined by their opacity – older ones appear more transparent. Ghosts have no purpose and shift around aimlessly until completely faded or exorcised.







Wraith
Wraith
Wraiths grow twisted and distorted over time.

Sentient

No

Soul

Yes

Decays

No

Incorporeal

Yes

Occurs Naturally

Yes

Conjureable

No

Playable

No

Language

Various

Wraith

  • A Wandering Soul that remains due to emotional ties to the living plane
  • Granted solidity by rage
  • Hostile and blinded by rage when in solid form
  • Can be formed through dangerous spellweaving or the untimely death of a mortal
  • Do not fade naturally as Wandering Souls do

A wraith is a spirit which was unwilling to leave the mortal plane upon the body's death. Unlike wandering souls which lose their way on accident, wraiths are bound to the material world by regrets, unfinished business, unexacted revenge or simply disbelief in their death – most are products of spellweaving gone wrong. Wraiths often spawn from the souls of those met with an untimely demise – victims of murder, fatal accidents or disease. As opposed to wandering souls, wraiths are driven by a specific purpose; usually some sort of important task they could not complete in life. They are not inherently evil and have nothing against anyone, but since they are incorporeal and cannot directly interact with the world, they are unable to accomplish their goals. Eventually, they become frustrated at their inability. Ironically, their rage imbues them with solid form that could be used to complete their tasks, but by that point they are already too maddened to care and can only take out their frustration on whoever happens to be nearby. Wraiths do not fade over time, but are always exorcised quickly because of the acute threat they pose to those around them. In the unlikely case that one does manage to accomplish whatever it wanted to do, a wraith will find peace and disperse. Wraiths spawned by the overuse of magic have no objective, and are doomed to remain until expelled.

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Sealnyx1a zps316cbe5b
Royal Seal 16:13, August 1, 2013 (UTC)