When it comes to necromancy I always saw it as a limited type of villain. They either want to conquer everything, kill everything in a certain radius or location of their stronghold, or wipe out a factor of resistance to gain access to something more powerful. In all of these examples I saw the use of a hidden army that is still controlled by them, difficult to ferret out at a simple glance (a skeleton or zombie are pretty easy to noticed even from a distance), and just as terrifying as a necromancer would want them to be. You cut one down but the wounds do not not kill them and they do not bleed as someone living would. But yes, necromancers are a usual turnkey villain that normally always want the same thing. Go to Comment
I hadn't really thought of that. I had originally assumed that the magic of the mantle, seeing as it is giving them a form of life essence to make them seem alive and whole again, would prevent them from rotting. I saw a horde of them having been made and sitting idle and motionless inside a dungeon or forgotten necromancers home, ready to be used by some upstart who stumbled across them. The idiot with a gun concept. A large and deadly problem, but at the command of an incompetent villain.
However, that being said, you are more than welcome to alter it and give them a shelf life however you see fit. Perhaps after a month or maybe even just a few weeks the bodies begin to rot and smell. A slight noticeable effect that tips some guards or the players off that something isn't quite right. Go to Comment
The 'Uncanny edge' is the term used for the 'off' feeling you get when you spot something which closely mimics life, but isn't quite there - you get it a lot in robotics lately, apparently. That is likely how it would feel spotting an undead wearing this mantle.
If it were me, id have the party learn of the mantle's power, but not the makeup. Then have them go hunting to Kormack's lair (as a dungeon) and at the end of it, have them hear the cried of children like the blacksmith did, and burst in on him creating one of these! Only then is the true horror revealed, and the motivation for killing Kormack enhanced.
gruesome and kinda neat!
Also, it amuses me how the Shivenhusk blatantly introduces itself :p Go to Comment
Answered the first two questions. Honestly something I had completely ignored and over looked.
The definition of undead by each individual is different. For instance, I look on "zombies" as you put them as just an animated corpse. The same as a walking "skeleton". Both are animated in the same way for the same purpose. The "zombie" is fresher, more human looking, and due to its limited degeneration and decay is more formidable. Stronger, quicker, and a more feared form of undead than a simple "skeleton" who I see as a cheap form of undead minion and front line shock troops. Easy to raise and once fallen, easy to fix and replace.
A "vampire", as you put it, I personally do not see as being undead. At least not in the same sense as animated undead, i.e. skeletons, zombies, etc. They have no soul true, but willingly gave up their spirit and possible eternal damnation for power and eternal life. If they an survive that is. An agreement between the Gods (Demon, Old One, whatever your choice) grants them their powers at the cost of the soul. In my chosen use of vampires, every one of them is a fallen priest from a church of light willingly giving their soul to a darker purpose. By doing so they are granted what most would classify as vampiric abilities and powers. But to me they are not undead. Good question however. Go to Comment
I could see all of the plots and more thrown together in a single event. Pcs find out about the concealed undead armband try to warn a larger pulled city with little to no success. Then get caught attacking them a day or two later in the open streets and must defend against the city guard until their intentions are proven to be just. Then the culmination with them sitting atop the battlements awaiting the attack while half the group searches for any hidden concealed undead waiting to blow a wall or a gate open. Go to Comment
I like your description of the Uncanny Edge. That's how I foresee it. As for meeting Kormack like that, I had plans for more of his plans befalling the party before they meet him, in person that is. Perhaps during one such event or assault on a city they will see him from afar but never can quite get close to him.
It will culminate into a much grander plot but only after Shivenhusk can gather enough resources to fully be a physical issue and a full assault on his aunts power will be under way and at that point He will not need Kormack to further his plans. Go to Comment
I would make this item a central part of a campaign arc. It would be a very effective way to set the darkness of the tone and really motivate heroic PCs to action, especially if they can track down the creator of these mantles. Go to Comment
Being the sadistic bastard that I am, I'd rather drag it out with a slow reveal. Let the PCs face a few of these undead before they learn how the mantle is created. Once it sinks in to them just how many infants have been sacrificed, and how oblivious they have been to the whole thing, they should be nice and motivated. Especially if they come across the discarded remains when trying to track down the culprit. Even better when they know that the longer they take, the more infants that will be sacrificed. Go to Comment
It fuses with their skin. So it can't be removed once an undead dons it? I would say that sounds more like a ritual than an item. And where did the witch get all those infants without arousing outrage? Maybe she was a midwife and told the mothers their babies were stillborn or something, after covertly killing them as they came out.
It gives the appearance of cognitive function, but what if you have a zombie don it, will it still go around moaning and what not? Will it protect a vampire from daylight? Go to Comment
Fixed and fixed... the anadem is a crown also detailed as garland or a wreath worn around the "crown" of the head... So it is a band worn on the head. And the voice of said narrator may be seen in the future for another item/NPC etc. Go to Comment
Well, I think this is a really detailed description of a crown/ring/staff/*item*/etc of undead control. The voice of the misery-stricken narrator certainly adds to the pervasively gruesome atmosphere.
The most interesting part is the ambiguous 'soul-binding' between the undead and the sacrificed child. This 'unknown and untested' link is fascinating because it can potentially be used to "interfere" with the control by the main-crown wearer.
Imagine an undead almost completely controlled by a necromancer, yet at the same time, invaded by the thoughts and intelligence(?) of a child.
In this sentence, you need to add, "to believe" after "leads me"...
<i>The fact that he has given me these items and they are far from perfect
leads me that these crowns will be for a dark and nefarious purpose
hence the need for them to be vile</i> Go to Comment
What if some crazy wizard created an artifact that empowered rodents that touched it with one random supernatural power? Preferly right out of the pages of your favorite four-color. (But only one power!) This item does not convey any sort of intelligence boost.