|Alternative name(s)||The Living Dead|
|Type(s)||Otherworldly humanoid, beast|
|Skin color||Paler shades of original skin color|
|Hair color||Paler shades of original hair color|
|Distinctions||Once-living creatures, have various subtypes|
Undead is a broad term for once-living beings who live on as spirits in the Land of the Dead or the Void, or who have returned to the Land of the Living as either incorporeal entities like ghosts or as material beings like zombies who channel the power of Death. Since the spread of the Plague of Undeath at the end of the Third Age, physical undead appeared in rapidly rising numbers in Remon; their existence remains undocumented in the Fourth Age due to the Catastrophe severing the continents.
The exact history of the undead is lost to the mists of time. What is theorized, however, is that some time before the beginning of the First Age various shamans, who experienced spiritual journeys by devouring hallucinogenics such as Magic Mushrooms, managed to communicate with the recently departed. This experience made them aware of the existence of the Land of the Dead, a "life" beyond death where souls would go to after leaving their earthly bodies behind.
As these communications became more widespread as more shamans learned of the other realm's existence, it eventually led to the rise of necromancers. They were people who, by harnessing a dark power they had come in contact with during their spiritual journeys, managed to use magical means to bring the dead back to life--or return spirits back to the Land of the Living from the Land of the Dead--in what became known as the Rite of the Revenant. Knowledge of such was kept secret although rumours of dark rituals did eventually spread outside the brotherhood of necromancers.
The beings who arose during these rituals were neither living nor dead but something inbetween--beings who would be known as undead. Depending on how successful the necromancer was, they either raised zombies, who were mindless shells of once living people to do menial tasks, or revenants, who were souls who had been successfully returned to their original bodies although such beings didn't usually survive for long due to the difficulties of maintaining the spell.
Necromancers came into conflict with shamans as they had opposing ideals: shamans wanted to keep things in balance and occasionally seek advice from the dead whereas the necromancers wanted to subvert the so-called Laws of Balance between Life and Death and defy the power of Death by reanimating the dead.
The schism between shamans and necromancers grew worse over time, so much so that they went their separate ways, refusing to communicate with one another. However, the disagreements also led to the rise of a new group which took teachings from both shamans and necromancers to create a new belief system, and these ambitious people became known as black shamans. Unlike their brethren, the black shamans chose to reach deeper into the dark power which they had discovered and in return became corrupted by the mysterious whispers from beyond who promised them dominion over life and death.
Several of the followers of these dark arts eventually refined the Rite of the Revenant and actually performed it on themselves, ripping their very souls from their bodies while making a pact with Death to become liches, powerful undead sorcerers who could theoretically live eternally unlike revenants as long as their phylactery, a physical item where they stored the core of their soul, wasn't destroyed. As the power of Death proved fatal to bodies over time, however, they came to realize that they would have to find other, healthy bodies to keep practicing their magic. Thus they learned the art of body-hopping, moving from one crumbling host body to the next while expelling the body's original soul in the process. One of the most successful and notorious liches to achieve this was Drishnek.
As rumours spread of the activities of black shamans, they as well as necromancers and shamans gained a bad reputation among superstitious people. Black shamans remained few in number, however, and preferred to practice their dark rites away from prying eyes, while necromancers continued raising the dead in their experiments and shamans kept talking with the spirits of the departed. As the barriers between the two worlds weakened as a result of this abuse of magic, ghosts of the dead began appearing in the world, partly drawn to shamans who attempted to talk to them and partly forced into "existence" by necromancers who attempted to control them.
As a result of all these magical experiments, the Land of the Living ended up having several different undead such as zombies, revenants, ghosts, skeletons and liches in places of dark magic. However, the existence of such beings remained shrouded, and few commoners if any knew of the existence of something so unnatural in their world.
At some point in time the Old Masters of Necromancy realized that the dark power they had harnessed had a price, and that the black shamans were abusing that power, which could lead to the destruction of the Lands of the Living and the Dead. What happened afterwards remains unclear, but sometime in the First Age the numbers of shamans, necromancers and black shamans had been greatly reduced, and the tomes written by the Old Masters were lost in obscurity...although some were saved by the Andain who collected knowledge from past centuries.
In the Second Age, some undead were around, most notably Drishnek, although their role stayed minimal in the conflicts that followed. Kagetsu Aurelac de Maar Sul considered performing the Rite of the Revenant to return Liosliath de Mont Hault back to life during the Arawn Losstarot War but never managed to do so because he perished in the Explosion.
By the Third Age, necromancy had become a nearly lost and almost shunned art, with few mages practicing or learning it due to the risks of dabbling with such potentially corruptive power. Shamans still existed albeit in clans, content to merely communicate with the spirits every now and then as they always had.
However, with the return of Drishnek things began to change, and by the Cataclysm he had begun the attempt to usher the Land of the Living into Death's embrace. This attempt succeeded when a death cult called the Totenkopfs, led by the enigmatic and sinister Master, succeeded in mutating the Blood Fever into the Plague of Undeath which would slay any being it came in contact with and raise the slain as undead.
The outbreak of the Plague of Undeath took place during the Third Battle of Remonton, and since then these new, mass-risen undead known as the Wretched have begun spreading rapidly through the ravaged nation of Remon. As the rise of the Wretched has only happened recently, their area of influence has been limited to Remon's central and northern settlements for the time being.
The spread of the Plague of Undeath supposedly halted after the Catastrophe whose unleashed magic seemingly ended the Blood Fever for good. It is unknown if undead still roam in what was formerly Remon in the new world that rose from the ashes of the old world as no one has tried to travel to the Plaguelands across the sea in the years following the Catastrophe.
The looks of undead differ based on what type of undead they are. Zombies are generally masses of flesh in different stages of rotting, skeletons are bodies without flesh which are reanimated, ghosts look like they were when alive except they're now incorporeal, revenants look like paler versions of their formerly living selves, and the appearance of liches varies, being more and more rotten and skeletal the longer they stay in one host body.
Often the hair and skin of undead changes into paler or more grey variants of their living selves' looks. Undead raised by the Plague of Undeath have glowing red eyes, whereas the other variants of undead such as liches generally have blue glow coming from their eyesockets.
Personality and Traits
Varies between undead. They can range from mindless drones driven by a necromancer's orders or by the instinctive hunger of flesh such as zombies to calm, collected individuals such as liches whose personalities can be from anything from ruthless to scheming.
Powers and Abilities
- "In recalling Leon from the dead, a rift had opened up in the barrier between the world of the living and that of the dead. A small rift, but a rift nonetheless. Because Leon had had aid, he had been able to return to the world with his memories, in a copy--surely a copy--of his own body. But others in the land of the dead had no such assistance. The only way that such a person could return to life would be to claim a living host--in essence, to steal a soul. No good and well-meaning person could possibly take such a course of action. The heroes of the past would not be returning to life through that rift. The villains however...Hurriedly, he sifted through the book, trying to find any information on what would happen if an inimical being were helped through the rift, as Leon himself had been helped. If such a person were to return to the world, they would have the power to command the armies of the night. Creatures of horror that had been called forth from Hell during ancient wars between Gods, and since forgotten and dismissed as myth by the descendents of the living. Daemons, ogres, trolls, the undead...The armies of the night, though unintelligent in their own right, would be a devastating force if commanded by intelligent foes."
- —Leon Alcibiates about inimical beings returning to life
Varies between undead. Lesser undead tend to flock to their stronger brethren such as liches and special undead such as Deathwatchers who can then command them to do their bidding. Certain undead, such as those raised by the Plague of Undeath, can convert the victim they have bitten into another undead, whereas liches can cast several black magic spells to raise minions and harm their enemies.
According to the Book of Kagetsu, an evil person returning to life as a lich or revenant would potentially be able to command armies of undead and other monstrosities to do his or her bidding. Whether the current Deatwatchers' power is comparable to such inimical beings remains unknown.
Undead minions of a necromancer generally stay loyal to the master who has summoned them, having no free will unless otherwise specified.
Most undead raised by the Plague of Undeath appear to attack anything living in sight in search of flesh to sate their never-ending hunger.
Types of Undead
Also known as shades, spirits and wraiths. They are spirits of the dead who have crossed over to the Land of the Living for various reasons which can be an unfinished task, pure and powerful emotions such as love or hate, or they have been summoned there by a mage. Because they are incorporeal, they can only be hurt by spells and enchanted weapons.
A lich is an undead spellcaster. They differ from other undead in that they can summon themselves back from the dead. They are, in essence, body snatchers. When one body gets too old--and aging can be accelerated by some of the dark magics a lich would use--they just find another young person, drain the host's soul, and take over the host's body. Although it is possible for a lich to take over the body of someone of the opposite sex, it would be more difficult, and they would be extremely uncomfortable until they found a host of the same sex as they were during life. Even if a lich changes bodies while the old one is still good, the old body dies. They differ from revenants in that they can no longer obtain their original body and have to make do with host bodies.
Liches can also be created with the Rite of the Revenant, a difficult spell used to summon revenants. Destroying a lich is a difficult task because they can simply possess another body when their host body is destroyed. The only way to truly banish a lich is to find their phylactery, the object in which they've stored a part of their soul, and destroy it.
There also exists a more powerful variant of lich called a dragolich which is created when a dragon sheds its skin and emerges as a skeletal creature fueled by fel flames of undeath. However, due to dragons' aversion to unholy magic dragoliches are extremely rare, and great care must be taken if one attempts to summon such a being into the world.
- See: Katla
Created by imbuing a dragon with the power of Death in a dark rite, a dragolich is a step beyond liches made from lesser races. Only one attempt at creating such a being has reportedly succeeded in the Land of the Living when the lich Drishnek turned the dead Dragon Matriarch Katla into a dragolich at the Roost at the end of the Third Age. The rite requires many magical artifacts such as the Gospel of Death as well as a complex ritual, so replicating it and succeeding in it without being slain by other dragons is nigh impossible even for the greatest of necromancers.
An older, more powerful variant of a lich, a demilich no longer needs its spirit to be continually tied to a body. After mastering magic and attaining enough power, a lich fuses with its phylactery whose essence is transferred into two gems, often referred to as the Twins, which are embedded in the skull's eye sockets to act as the demilich's eyes. Once the power of the lich is focused in one part of its body, the rest of its skeleton crumbles away, and what tends to remain is just a skull with soulgem eyes full of arcane magic and with the ability of levitate.
A demilich is extraordinarily resistant to most forms of magic, including holy spells which normal liches are weak against. However, its more intimate ties to arcane magic also make the demilich somewhat restricted in what it can accomplish, especially if its soul transfer ceremony has been messed with.
There are stories that the legendary sorcerer Chakal En Ra managed to become a demilich before disappearing from history, but these tales remain unconfirmed by present-day scholars. Most of the information of the possibility of demiliches comes from obscure necromantic tomes, but just like liches are rare, demiliches are practically nonexistant, or at least have not been encountered by anyone to write down a proper description of them.
A revenant is created when a spirit is summoned back to its original body after its original death. They differ from liches in that they haven't summoned themselves back from the dead and they differ from zombies in that they, albeit not having to breathe to stay alive, still need to eat to keep the magical energy in their body going and retain their past intelligence. The only known existing revenants are Jemuel and Leon Alcibiates until the latter gained a fully mortal, living body after the Cataclysm.
Revenants are created with the Rite of the Revenant although it's often used in the creation of liches as well in case the original body is no longer available.
- For a specific shadow minion, see The Shadow.
Shadows are mysterious, ethereal beings with magical attributes who can traverse two- and three-dimensional planes effortlessly. Some scholars believe they are manifestations of the dead like ghosts are, while others think they're unique creatures not tied to the Land of the Dead and the existing races at all. Shadows have been spotted in Dar'Cenrath and the underground ruins of Maar Sul City in the Third Age. Little of them is known due to their elusive yet dangerous nature.
A skeleton is created by a necromancer or a black mage re-animating a corpse which is devoid of flesh. Unlike zombies, they don't feel hunger but they're as obedient to their master as zombies are.
A zombie is created by either a necromancer re-animating a corpse or a spirit ending up stuck in a dead body due to effects of the Plague of Undeath. They retain their flesh unlike a skeleton. They are almost mindless, but can be given simple commands by their summoner. They are the most populous undead in the Land of the Living since the outbreak of the Plague of Undeath and can infect living people with a bite.
Some zombies created by the Plague of Undeath retain their intelligence although they still feel hunger and often negative emotions. These special undead, known as Deathwatchers, possessed magical power in life and use it in undeath to attract lesser undead and use them as their minions. Unlike liches, Deathwatchers haven't willfully summoned themselves back to life and can be destroyed more easily than liches.
|Humanoid:||Andain · Bouda · Demon · Dryad · Dwarf · Elf · Faerfolc · Gargoyle · Giant · Goblin · Harpy · Human · Itica · Lefein · Merrow · Nymph · Ogre · Orc · Pixie · Sand gnome · Siren · Sirithai · Troll|
|Beast:||Basilisk · Bunny · Carpie · Chimaera · Dire wolf · Dragon · Giant mountain llama · Giant scorpion · Giant spider · Giant squid · Gryphon · Hydra · Kitsune · Monkey · Murderous mountain goat · Pegasus · Phoenix · Roc · Sea serpent · Tree hamster · Unicorn · Windshii · Wyvern|
|Immortal:||Elemental · God · Primordial (Dweller · Starspawn)|
|Magical:||Familiar · Muse · Wisp|
|Plant:||Treant · Vineborn|
|Otherworldly:||Undead · Void horror|