Erik's Undead part 1

From: Erik Sieurin (
Date: Thu 16 Jan 1997 - 21:29:07 EET

> >I have a heretical view of undead and ghosts, quite different from
> that of the rulesbook; is anyone interested?
> - - I am.
> Yours, Thomas.

OK, here goes. This first part is a bit rulesy. It also does
something distasteful to many Gloranthofiles: it tries to put things
into a neat scheme. It is a rather broad scheme, however.
This is not wholly original; it is inspired by X other fantasy and
horror games and their view of spooks. Peoplw who spot the references
should feel proud of their skill in gaming trivia.

One model of a human being is that Man is composed of Spirit, Body
and Soul. A normal, alive and healthy human have all of these.
Generally, the mental traits on the character sheet are reflections of
the Spirit and the Soul; the physical traits are reflections of the
Body and the Spirit; in both cases this is in order of importance.
Undead lacks one or more of these parts, and to be able to act they have "false"
replacements for those lacking.

Undead can be divided into the following groups:
1, Animates
2, Psychovores
3, Restless Dead
4, Apparitions
5, Pseudoundead

Animates are Bodies without true Souls or Spirits, who are given such
through necromantic magic.
Animates have no CON, for they are not truly alive. Their HP depends
on their SIZ, and is treated as AP. They have only location HP.
Animates have no true POW, only a MP. They have no will of their own
and obey their creators/masters every command.
Animates have almost normal INT; they are unable
to take any initiative of their own, due to their lack of POW, but
they may reason. This reasoning is more like that of a computer
program than that of a human being, ie pure logic, and usually
completely unable to understand things it isn't programmed to do.
When such things happen, an animate is likely to act as if Befuddled.
Animates are immune to emotion-affecting spells and magics, but NOT
to intellect- or sense-affecting magics, like Befuddle or Blindness.
They are affected by the Humakti spell Turn Undead.

Examples of Animates, with in-game notes by the Humakti hero Richard
the Crippler:

"Well, they are basically skeletons which walk and move like a man.
Or rather, a troll, for they are created by the Zorak Zorani, the
troll monster worshippers. They take a corpse of one of their own
worshippers, remove the flesh from the bones by licking - its true! -
and connect the bones together with strong darkbronze threads.
 Eardrums made from thin darkbronze sheets is placed within the skull
to replace the old eardrums, and thus the bone warrior can use
ear-sight, just like living trolls. The bones are covered with Darktongue
inscriptions, who supposedly tell about all the brave deeds done by
the warrior when he was alive. They are faster than normal trolls and
 almost as strong. They do not care whether they lose an arm or a leg,
 they just continue to fight, and the chopped-off limb will claw
along on its own.

They do not feel rage, but neither do they feel fear. The spirit of
the Darkman isn't there any longer. The Trolls boast that the spirit
fights together with Zorak Zoran in troll heaven, while the body
continues to fight here, and that they thus have fooled the stupid
human death-god. Thus, they claim, they get a much higher "body
count" than us Humakti, who only continue to fight in heaven after
death. Such is their foolishness."

"These things are created by the thing I have swore to truly kill,
Delecti the Necromancer. He also has sorcerer servants copying his
skills, and creating such things for themselves. What he does is that
he takes the fleshy parts of dead beings - most often large monsters
like giants, dinosaurs or giant sea things - and stitches them
together in ways not seen in nature. Most famous is the killer whale
(actually the best parts of several whales)which has the gigantic tentacles
 of a kraken sewn onto it.

This sorcerous stitchwork must appearently be done carefully.
Muscles, limbs and bones are carefully matched together. Thus, you
will never see, for instance, a lion with the head of a mouse, but a
lion with the head of a horse is quite possible. The flesh of these
things is treated with various foul liquids brewed in large vats at
the Delectti's various base camps in the marsh. The liquid inhibits
decay, and many of these things thus look alive, until you come up

Depite the things being undead monsters, which will do nothing unless
ordered by Delecti or his unholy servants, they are not really
stupid. Appearentlt Delecti considers them important enough to give
them some false soul which gives them a limited ability to reason.
They cannot understand anything they have never encountered before,
however. When fighting one of these creatures, a giant with the head
of a saurian creature able to breath clouds of acid vapor, an ally of
mine attacked the being with a swarm of giant sylphs. It was probably
taught by its masters to attack the thing which had recently caused
it most damage, for it was completely baffled by the sylfish attacks.
It was thrown down into the swamp several times, clumsily stood up
and looked around to find its unseen attacker, ignoring our less
damaging but still successfull attacks. Finally it dawned on the
creature that it was air itself which was wrestling it, on which it
froze and did not move, allowing me to slice its foul head off.
My friend, a powerful Duck shaman, supposed that the abomination
was unable to decide what to do; since air was everywhere, it did not
 know what to attack. Doing something completely unexpected is thus a
good way to defeat these monsters, or at least survive so that you
can return with those who are more worthy warriors than yourself."

"I do not know if these things where unique or whether there are
more of them, but they are something of the most weird stuff I've
ever encountered.

It happened during a visit to the Snakepipe Hollow, in northern
Dragon Pass. We quite coincidentally stumbled onto the lair of a
vampire. Not an extremely powerful one, mind you, but out of the
ordinary: he was a Mostali! In his lair we found evidence that he had
sought the path of undeath after apostasing from what the Stone Men
have instead of faith. Since their appearently isn't that much
difference between Vivamort and Mostal, he had thrived.

Anyway, in his lair we also found many dangerous things. Some of the
strangest were the locks on his doors, chests and cupboards. They were
simple knobs that ought to be turned, but mounted within the gaping
maws of skulls of various beats, most with sharp teeth and clad with
metal scales. They had a tongue made of fine copper plate.
To turn the knob of, say, a chest, you had to put your hand
into the mouth of the skull. That mouth was closed shut, and if you
touched it it opened up a little and asked: "What is the password?".
The fiendish thing was that it would open REGARDLESS of what you
said, but if it was not the correct word, it would close shut when
you tried to turn the knob. It bit off the hand of one of my fellow
warriors, who almost bled to death. We then proceeded to crush the
skull, but it was tough, and as soon as it met with violence, it
started to shout "Intruders at 4b6!", and every other skullock took
up the hue and cry, which brought down the REAL horrors on us.

Well, he had other things of the same kind: machines or mechanisms
driven by animated metal-clad bones, like a wheelbarrow with legs
which walked by itself, a bellows onto which was wired the ribcage of
a giant beast, and so forth. I've never seen anything like it, and I
hop that it was a once-in-an-era occurence, the joining of Dwarven
craftsmagic and Vivamortian necromancy."

To be continued...

Erik Sieurin


End of Glorantha Digest V4 #88

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