Monday, 7 April 2014

3DPBMCSHMtm: death & undeath

The three worlds of the 3DPBMCSHMtm have different attitudes to death and undeath.  Faith, otherworldly power and fell deeds help shape what rests and what rises again.

…to die in Altorr

Cremation is the norm.  Some druids or faiths (e.g. Fareus) prefer to elevate the dead upon trees or platforms.  Carrion birds will pick apart the body in short order.  Grave goods are shared among surviving kin.  Burial is the province of the wealthy or certain faiths (e.g. Saint-George, Mordiggian).  Barrow-mounds are typical for great warriors or kings. Steeped in death and evil, the buried attract anti-life energies which settle in their bones or the shadow of their remains.

Undeath in Altorr

Opportunities for necromancy are limited unless you're willing to obtain still-cooling cadavers for your research.  Altorran necromancers have a hint of maddened butcher about them, making them easier to spot socially.  Of the mindless undead, many owners keep close by.  This propietary attitude gives them an undeserved mystique.

Ghouls are usually interred in Mordiggian crypts with occasional forays into charnel pits.  Feral ghouls roam graveyards and urban areas, looking to feast.  Mordiggian ghouls foray via tunnels to crypts, libraries and stockyards.  During the Demonplague, entire villages were buried alive in mass graves to rise as feral ghouls. This mocked the rites of Mordiggian.  It also provided shock troops for the demons and their ghasts to control.  Ghasts are corrupted by Abyssal and anti-life energies as well as cannibalism.  These deadly foes of Mordiggian lead feral ghouls in attacks against the Great Ghoul's followers.  Followers of Mordiggian will prioritise the slaying of a ghast above most non-worship activities.

Wights, wraiths and spectres are the result of anti-life energies binding to hearts and souls tainted by evil. Evil warriors interred with nobles arise as barrow-wights.  More powerful undead occur with more death and destruction or more heinous murders inflicted in life.  Mohrgs are feared, all were once serial killers with at least ten kills.  Ghosts are infrequent yet the desperate often become

Vampires are made by demonic pact.  As such, vampire spawn are usually expendable shock troops and seldom win free of their powerful masters.  There are noteworthy exceptions of course.  Druids and bards take reports of vampirism very seriously.  If a master vampire is reported, demons are usually coming.
Liches are unknown in Altorr.  The Parliament of Roses will not suffer any lich and will mobilise to destroy them utterly.  'When the woods walk' is an Altorran proverb for when a situation is sufficiently dire.

…to die in Bellotra

Here, burial is the norm.  At least one city is supported by corpses too-tightly packed to be animated. Corpse-wagons pick through streets ruled by certain nobles, pressing dead flesh into their eternal servitude. Most commoners  die close to home, buying plots in familial or temple crypts.  Nobles take this further by constructing elaborate mausoleums for families and monuments to distant ancestors.  Grave goods are sometimes shared between kin, temples and guilds.  Wills arbitrated by lawful entities complicate this further.

Undeath in Bellotra

Mindless undead are uncommon but known.  Tarred zombies work capstans and winches at the canals while painted skeletons bear glutton mages in sedan chairs. The wheels of Bellotran industry turn by dead hands. Ghouls frequent Mordiggian crypts and libraries, the new-risen aren't great conversationalists but their elders are fascinating.  At least one sage consults ghouls regularly.

Shadows indicate the presence of shadow demons, shadowdancers and other tenebrous troublemakers who would remain obscure.  Forslas priests sent to disperse them leave consecrated shrines with daylight spells in their wake. The evil-hearted are exposed to extraplanar and antilife energies in Bellotra resulting in more undead.  Wraiths and spectres reveal great evil.  Yet ghosts cause the greatest unrest, each is a mystery. Bellotrans love mysteries, there is no shortage of ghost quellers selling services of varying merit.  .

Mummification either by tar pit or alchemical means preserves something of the family for future generations. Some direct mercantile families from their mausoleum.  Others protect their descendents more actively.
Vampirism is an occasional risk with at least one nest trapped by canals by cunning nobles.  Many Bellotran vampires skirt insanity through congress with demons and other entities.  Lichdom is a dark temptation for spell casters, enslaved genies or demons offer wishes.  It is whispered Darkcloak leaders know at least one rite for lichdom.

…to die in Carcetus

As the spirit is called home, morticians harvest the body for bone, sinew, tallow, vellum and spell component. The rest is mulched for fungus farms.  Goods are shared out among surviving kin or peers. Burial is exclusive to Mordiggian and Saint-George.  In spite (or because) of this attitude to the dead, life is cherished the more. Walls etched with names of the dead are common memorials in Carcetus tunnels where many travel.

Undeath in Carcetus

Mindless undead are slightly less prevalent but necromancy is a known quantity.  Tireless labour is valued in the depths.  Ghouls dwell in Mordiggian necropoli.  Extensive libraries, meditation chambers and feast-halls make them gruesome yet educational places to visit.  Ghasts prey on the necropoli, allying with aberrations.
Shadows are feared and hated.  Their insidious nature, loss of self and replacement of flesh with shadow-stuff makes them inimical enemies.  Priests and enchanted weapons are at a premium with priests of Foslas leading in the battle. Ghosts, phantoms and poltergeists are commonplace here.  Unlike Bellotra, anyone claiming to quell ghosts is capable.  The ghost queller is one part exorcist, one part rogue and one part detective.  They believe in research and sharing information.  Even so, ghost quellers often die prematurely.  .

Wights are depressingly prevalent in Carcetus, as killing is often required for survival and many have some skill in battle.  Wraiths are less prevalent than expected.  Spectres are rare, though the slaver races seem blessed with an abundance of them.  The drow are also known for their banshees.  Vampires in Carcetus are known for their endless hunger.  Where food is sparse, they are deadly. Nests of spawn are hunted and eradicated by the living out of fear of bloody annihilation.  Master vampires keep hidden and infiltrate smaller communities.  Here they feast relatively undisturbed.

Liches exist in Carcetus, deep below.  It's said the lost city of Sepuldam contains mausoleums in which liches dwell in fell seclusion.  Yet those who dare return accursed or bodak-haunted.  While it's said Darkcloaks know a rite for lichdom, most believe this stops them accumulating greater power.


  1. I love this breakdown. Very interested in how you develop this idea.

    1. Thanks! The plan (such as it is) is to focus on unique stuff in each setting separately and handle commonalities in posts like this one. There's already been some evolution from the original framework. Wonderful stuff this blank canvas... :)

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