The Forsaken all resemble corpses in varying stages of decay, from the freshly-dead who seem almost whole save for the grey hue of their skins to the battered, broken heaps of bone pitifully dragging themselves along, their bones slowly abrading away. All bear with them a palpable aura of despair, the manifest power of the gods who condemned them to remain upon the world until their very bones crumble to dust and oblivion takes their souls forever.
The Forsaken arise when a true atheist dies in a world of active gods; their rejection, even at the moment of death when even the most impious will grasp at the slender thread of hope that the divine offers, draws the wrath of the divine upon them, and their souls find themselves bound to their lifeless bodies. Their minds persist for a short time, fading as their brain starves, just long enough for them to realize that they’ve died, and yet not gone into the oblivion they expected. Panic, terror, and despair rapidly sweep over them, and soon all that is left of their mind is a dull awareness, not quite enough to even qualify as an animal, consumed by the despair that engulfed them in their final rational moments.
Soon - no more than a few weeks - the spirit, reduced to little more than a vague force permeating the body, learns to move the cooling flesh and lifeless bones, and senselessly drags itself up to look for a way to free itself from this despair. Often, the undead leaves a ruptured grave behind, having clawed itself free, and fears of graverobbers plague those left behind.
Generally harmless, the Forsaken only fight if attacked, and even then will stop and wander off if their attackers draw away and cease their assault. They wander without rest, ceaselessly searching for something they can no longer understand, consumed by a need to find an ending.
Perhaps, if the spirit within could be roused to true awareness and made to recognize the gods it could be freed, but few have cared enough to even try, simply diverting the pathetic creatures as they stumble and crawl on their ceaseless quest.
-A grave has been opened in the local graveyard, belonging to a notorious antireligious individual. Are there graverobbers, or does his corpse now wander as one of these sad creatures?
-A priest of the god of mercy is trying to free the Forsaken from their curse, and needs help tracking down the creatures and bringing them to awareness. The challenges of finding them, detaining them, and restoring their minds are troubling enough - but what of the priests of other gods? Do they find it an affront to have this priest of mercy seeking to thwart their gods’ curse? Perhaps a holy war might break out over this single priest’s quest - or perhaps a divine war, if the gods take note and are offended as well.
-A grieving widow seeks out the PCs, asking them to find the Forsaken who was her husband and destroy him, even if it means consigning him to oblivion, as she cannot bear to know that he wanders the world restlessly.
Pitiable creatures, wandering forever in search of that denied them, unable to rest even as they crumble away to little more than crawling wrecks of bones.