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ID: 2160


January 12, 2007, 8:31 am

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The Crying Ones


What can be more maddening than the eternal sobbing of a child whom no one can comfort?

Full Description
Perhaps one of the most heartbreaking, yet subtly dangerous types of ghosts are the Crying Ones.  These are the restless spirits of children who died from neglect (starvation, lack of medical care, exposure, etc).  Unable to lie quietly in their graves, they rise every night, ceaselessly crying for comfort no one can give them.  
Though they are seldom seen, the tiny wraiths are a pitiful sight to behold.  They appear as pale, sickly, emaciated children dressed in pathetic rags.  They generally take no notice of their surroundings, but are usually observed as being huddled in a corner.  They are always sobbing.
These spirits are named for the noise of endless crying heard in their presence.  Generally, it is a low, wordless sobbing, although some have said that there are words to be heard, if one listens close enough.  (Generally things to the effect of “Please give me some food,” or “I’m so cold.”)  Though the Crying Ones are not malicious spirits, and, in fact, don’t even seem to register the presence of the living, they present a very real danger.  Listening to their crying for very long can plunge even the happiest of people into a deep depression that can lead to suicide or madness if left unattended to.  Not even the most heartless of people are immune to this.  The Crying Ones either don’t know or don’t care about the effect they have on people.  Mothers who love (or did love) their children fall into the depression much faster than others, and those who hate children much slower.  Other children are not immune, and may have nightmares caused by the presence of a Crying One.
Crying Ones generally haunt the place they died in, although there have been cases of them appearing in locations of great misery.  They are more likely to appear in places where there either are children or have been children in the past.  Orphanages (especially badly run ones) are particularly susceptible to being haunted by Crying Ones. 
The only known ways to lay these ghosts to rest are to either keep the child’s grave supplied with a large quantity of grave goods, particularly food, or for a “Matron spirit” to take care of them.  (Matron spirits are women who have devoted their lives to taking care of children, and devote their afterlives to taking care of the spirits of children.  They are understandably rare.)
Additional Information
Crying Ones are created through actual neglect from their parents or guardians.  A child who starved to death because his mother could not find enough food to keep him alive during a particularly bad winter would not arise as one, but a child who starved because no one bothered to feed him might.  No one is really sure about what causes a Crying One to rise; not all children who die from neglect become Crying Ones.  It is thought that the welfare of the one responsible for the child’s death has something to do with it.
Though they do not directly cause it, a place haunted by Crying Ones tends to accumulate ghosts of other types: the unhappy spirits of those who fell victim to the depression and madness caused by the endless crying.

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Comments ( 17 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted manfred
January 13, 2006, 5:19
So these are the children that could be saved by their caretakers, but were not. Discomforting, but this is definitely a "restless spirit".

An additional requirement to the burial may be weeping and expressing sorrow for the child - something the parents probably didn't.

I also like the reference to the Matron spirit, which nicely goes with a view of the spirit world I found appealing recently.

Great work!
Voted MoonHunter
January 13, 2006, 12:16
Nicely done across the board. The ectomorph has excellent causality and motivation. A nice element to add as most people would not think to add such a minor terror to their stories/ games.
Voted Cheka Man
January 13, 2006, 13:00
A spirit with a geniune reason to rise.Cities might have laws about child protection to stop loads of these spirits being a menace.
Voted Scrasamax
January 14, 2006, 10:05
It is beautiful in it's suffering, exquisite in it's design, and a shining example of how cold and cruel a fantasy world can be.
Voted Pariah
January 17, 2006, 21:29
Good job, you're my hero.
Voted Murometz
February 17, 2006, 0:14
Voted Arminas
February 27, 2006, 21:32
The poor lil chitlins...
Voted punkcasher
March 15, 2009, 23:27

January 31, 2011, 23:08
I dig this, it is clearly written, cool and excellent side line or subplot ploy to help set moods. I hope to use it someday.
Voted axlerowes
January 31, 2011, 23:08
and a vote
Voted Dossta
December 31, 2012, 16:03
Love it. You took one very evocative image and turned it into a fully-realized, playable resource. Will definitely use these if I ever run a game with the appropriate tone.
Voted valadaar
March 13, 2015, 10:06
So evocative. Terrible that there are so many opportunities for these to arise.
Voted Dozus
March 13, 2015, 10:54
Ugh, this gives me chills. Good job.
March 13, 2015, 11:18
Are you following me? :)
March 13, 2015, 11:32
I like to see what people are reading. :D

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Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

       By: ephemeralstability


Having left the hush of the upper halls, and crossed the depths of the Braeth (an underground river, which is not all that deep because bear in mind we're talking about gnomes here), you would find yourself in Wattling Street, the main road through Udnalor. It's actually a long, well-worn passageway which opens out eventually into the City Centre. The gnome-buildings branch off Wattling Street as small burrows or caverns with boulder-blocked doorways for privacy. You can find armourers and smiths (though their armour tends to be on the small side for humans to buy) and many other types of trader.

There are many streets, ginnels and cooies which run off Wattling Street, the most famous probably being Smell Street, the domain of the infamous gnomish alchemists, the eponymous smell being very distinctive: the stench of cooking fungus, the aroma of subterranean spices, the pungent reek of rotting carcasses (used in some of the more notorious experiments). An encounter with an alchemist can really be spiced up (excuse the pun) if you have a well-stocked herb cupboard, and actually make up the potions, elixirs and draughts as they are ordered by characters.

Ideas  ( Locations ) | May 4, 2002 | View | UpVote 0xp

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