Undead

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Undead
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Afflictions
Affected Races All (Except Yanar)
Contraction Resurrection
Origins Bintaar

The stuff of nightmares for some, figments of folklore for others and the steadfast guardians of ancient faith to even fewer, the most prominent of Bintaar's influences in Binral are the Undead, the results of the Shades of the deceased who return to the world of the living through one means or another. Undead take a variety of different forms, whether it be as a walking corpse or an incorporeal phantom, but they share a common trait in being Shades and not proper souls anymore: this means that they are mere conglomerations of memories of who they once were and not truly the person anymore, resulting in altered personalities, behaviors and wants. Undead have existed as long as anyone alive can remember and even longer than that, having had incarnations as varied as the living peoples they used to be: the adage goes that so long as there have been corpses in Aloria, Undead have persisted.

History

It is impossible to discern when the Undead first emerged in Aloria proper, but their first recorded appearance is marked in the myths and legends of the Dewamenet Empire as servants of the necromantic mystic Imeshret the Night-Gazer. It is even theorized that what few necromancers emerged among the Altalar of the Allorn Empire learned the practice of Undead creation from the Asha peoples they oppressed and nearly obliterated. For these few Altalar, they saw Undead as a way to preserve bodies and legacies and even serve their gods, albeit with a more singular or devoted purpose: that of protecting and enforcing the will of Ammu-Loa. At his Grand Temple, those seeking a dignified death could be granted it and be embalmed, as was Altalar tradition. His Undead attendants guarded the Temple, and their nature was widely lauded by some Altalar zealots for centuries, even as the Allorn Empire declined. Fringe cults like the Children of Kruphos even employed them as soldiers and venerated undeath as a sort of hallowed status, being closer to their great God of the Beyond. At the same time, the Undead still held something of a positive significance for the Asha Race, but the destruction of their empire, along with their centuries of enslavement, largely reduced this to mere legend and myth told by the slaves of their past lives. However, it seems that with the Cataclysm, the Wildering and all the changes since then, the Undead have earned a somewhat darker reputation. The Grand Temple fell into disrepair, and the Undead populace that still lingered there grew aggressive and unwieldy without the control of their masters. As for wider Aloria, the Undead had an abysmal reputation among most of the Human Races, mainly for religious reasons. A majority of Ailor faiths saw the resurrection of the dead as unnatural and an abomination against the will of the universe and their gods, Human souls returned to or entered a new plane after leaving Aloria, and it was torture and unjust to drag them back and force them to remain. Unionism specifically developed practices to prevent Undeadism, such as removing significant organs, burning bodies, and decapitating someone after death. There are some exceptions seen in cults like Therin’s Tongues and even the Thyemic Sect of Unionism, with both being accepting of and even composed of Undead people. The same proved true in many other faiths that emerged as the decades wore on after the Cataclysm, but the real anti-Undead fervor broke out only several decades ago.

The leading cause for these feelings was continued problems with the Undead on Etosil, which were actively concerning the Regalian Empire's military officials. But then came an event that changed the course of Alorian history, the Undead Scare. Emperor Justinian II, the last Ivrae Emperor of Regalia, had three sons: Therin the youngest, Juvi, the middle, and the elder Augustus. In 279 AC, Therin attacked Juvin and slew him in his bed-chamber, after which he proceeded to confront Augustus to do the same and claim the throne for himself. While Augustus overpowered his brother and had him formally hanged, Therin rose from the family catacombs in the night as an Undead and sought his revenge. He crept back into Augustus' bedroom and murdered him in his sleep. The guards arrived too late and were horrified to see the corpse of Therin gnawing on Augustus’s throat. This single Undead attack distinguished the future of the Ivrae family. Justinian II had no male heirs left, and his brother had only sired daughters. The throne passed to House Kade 23 years later, where it has remained to this day. Opinions against the Undead increased after that evening, and they have long been slain on sight across the Empire as a result. This situation has continued into today, though ironically, Etosians and the Undead are at somewhat of a more positive position than any point prior in the past thanks to the Undead’s attacks against the Bone Horrors during the Bone Horror Crisis several years ago, thus saving most of Etosil. As of the present day, the Emperor has allowed some Undead to peacefully exist so long as they adhere and practice as good Unionists, though the rest are still treated with the same abhorrence.

Becoming Undead

Undead are created one of three ways: they can return from Bintaar through sheer willpower, rise from the grave as a result of some ambient Ordial presence near their resting place (like a particularly powerful artifact) or be resurrected by the hand of an experienced necromancer. All who ‘naturally’ or ‘accidentally’ are resurrected as Undead do so as Ghüls, the catch-all term for ‘basic’ Undead, and Wights can only be created purposefully by necromancers. If a deceased person’s Shade is particularly restless or angry, they can wander through Bintaar with the desire to return to the world of the living until they fade or find a door out and back to Binral, where if their corpse still exists in some state they will re-inhabit it and if it does not they will manifest as a sort of apparition. The presence of Ordial Essence can cause the same phenomenon, dredging up dead Shades from Bintaar and forcing them back into their bodies nearby, or even causing things like suits of armor or other suitable vessels within proximity to become inhabited by Shades. Necromancers resurrecting Undead are much more purposeful, able to pick and choose what sort of vessel the Shade will inhabit. Undead can be prevented from being resurrected via the rituals and abilities of people like the Isldar or others with similar powers, and such practices are utilized by the Regalian Empire and its Violet Order to keep executed criminals from returning from beyond the grave. OOC Note Previously-played characters who die cannot be revived as Undead without explicit Lore Staff permission and the use of an Artifact or Special Permission that allows for the creation of Player Character Undead. Previously-played characters cannot also be retconned into being Undead without explicit Lore Staff Approval.

Mentality

Undead mentality is as varied as their forms and origins, ranging from ghouls who act like nothing more than ravenous animals to completely intelligent and sapient beings, almost entirely indistinguishable from the living. What determines this is the state of the Shade upon being resurrected: older Shades who have spent a long time wandering Bintaar and have lost most of their memories and identity will create much more bestial and mindless Undead. Additionally, it is not uncommon for Undead who linger for extended decades post-resurrection to lose their memories over time and degenerate into animalistic states. Generally, though, Undead will cling to what memories remain of their lives, even if they are hazy, and typically do not change much from how they were. It is impossible to ignore the fact that the Shade itself is just an echo of the person they were in their life, however, and this affects the potential personality of the Undead: sometimes lacking empathy or the true intent of their feelings and memories.

Undead resurrected for a particular purpose by necromancers or maybe by the influence of an Artifact at times feel innate attachments and drives to remain dedicated to and fulfill these purposes, leading to degrees of unnatural zealotry for some causes. The Undead guardians of the Sefakhem’s Vault of the Dead voluntarily allow themselves to be sealed within impenetrable layers of the great tombs for what is most likely an eternity, for example, and those resurrected to defend the Grand Temple of Ammu-Loa still do so to this day, despite its derelict state.

Types

Undead are primarily divided into two broad categories: Ghüls and Wights. Ghüls, simply put, are all Undead who are not Wights. Wights, on the other hand, are Undead who uniquely possess powers thanks to the Ordial Essence within them. These powers are typically akin to those of an Ordial Mage’s but are never quite as strong or flexible in their use. Beyond this, Undead can be further classified based on the type of form they take in Aloria: these being Corpse Undead, Hollow Undead and Phantom Undead.

Corpse Type Undead

A Shade inhabiting a dead cadaver in any state of decay ranging from entirely skeletal to freshly-dead. The cadaver can be of any Race except Yanar and can have a varying amount of traits inherent to its state of decay that conflict with the original Race’s restrictions like their eyes being darkened, milky or even missing and their skin appearing mottled or pale in comparison. Additionally, they can bear impossible amounts of permanent decay and injury and other oddities thanks to their undead state like missing body parts, lethal burns, objects remaining embedded in them, plants growing throughout their body or even stitching to indicate their corpse shell was cobbled together by hand. They can sometimes bear some Ordial Magic aesthetics like green tattoos and gaping wounds. They have a Physical Stat Limit of 20. Corpse Type Undead have the following Abilities:

Ability Name Ability Type Ability Range Ability Description
Dead Shell 1 Constant Passive Self Grants the user Dead Shell 1

Undead Mend 1 Trigger Passive Self Grants the user Undead Mend 1

Rotting Bite 1 Trigger Passive Direct Touch Grants the user Rotting Bite 1

Magic Sight 3 Toggle Passive Self Grants the user Magic Sight 3

Hollow Type Undead

A Shade inhabiting a vessel composed of inorganic or manufactured materials like a suit of armor or a person-sized doll. These vessels can be as uniform and complete as a matching, clean set of armor or as patchwork and cobbled together as pieces of carved wood, animal bone and twine in the shape of a person. A Hollow Undead can be made of fundamentally anything except the cadaver(s) of people, but the inherent defensive effectiveness of its body will never be any stronger than the metal of armor. They can sometimes bear some Ordial Magic aesthetics like glowing green eyes, light or essence coming out from gaps in their bodies and ritual Deathspeech or symbolic markings. They have a Physical Stat Limit of 30. Hollow Type Undead have the following abilities:

Ability Name Ability Type Ability Range Ability Description
Dead Shell 2 Constant Passive Self Grants the user Dead Shell 2

Undead Mend 2 Trigger Passive Self Grants the user Undead Mend 2

Super Self 4 Constant Passive Self Grants the user Super Self 4

Magic Sight 3 Toggle Passive Self Grants the user Magic Sight 3

Phantom Type Undead

A Shade bearing an ethereal, phantasmal form. They can be within any range of ghostly appearances: a shadow with form, a spectral representation of how they appeared in life, a cloaked figure or even a terrifying sort of banshee. They are often suffused with Ordial Magic aesthetics like green auras or even their whole ethereal form being composed of green light. They have a Physical Stat Limit of 0. Phantom Type Undead have the following abilities:

Ability Name Ability Type Ability Range Ability Description
Dead Shell 3 Constant Passive Self Grants the user Dead Shell 3

Haunting 1 Control Power Direct Touch Grants the user Haunting 1

Arcane Mastery 1 Magic Spell Emote Distance Grants the user Arcane Mastery 1

Darkness 4 Magic Spell 10 Blocks Grants the user Darkness 4

Magic Sight 3 Toggle Passive Self Grants the user Magic Sight 3

Trivia

  • A rumor for nearly two decades after it happened was that the Emperor couldn’t bear to kill his last remaining son, despite his Undead status. Instead, he kept him chained and secured away in the deepest reaches of the Imperial Palace.
  • With the rise in publicity of Unionist Cults and sects that support the existence of Undead, so too has the paranoia of those who hate them risen, leading the most radical of conspiracy theorists to believe that the Regalian Empire may be fielding armies of the Undead or that important officials could be possessed by ghosts.
  • There exists a world-traveling theatrical troupe of Undead called the Dead Fellows who often visit metropolitan areas across Aloria to perform unnatural, macabre feats of circus-like theatrics with the capabilities presented by their resurrected bodies.

Accreditation
Writers Finlaggan, HydraLana
Processors HydraLana, OkaDoka, WaterDruppel, birdsfoot_violet
Last Editor OkaDoka on 09/27/2021.

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