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June 14, 2006, 8:22 am

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Cheka Man

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Necromancy: The Three Paths of Undeath


Necromancy: By some it is considered as nefarious black arts and by others a vault of opportunities, the very key to the secrets of life. A substantial part of the necromancer’s practice is devoted to undeath; a state in which one is neither alive nor dead. Unbeknownst to the general populace there are three ways in which undeath can provoked, and the curse of unlife bestowed upon the recipient.

The third part of this text, “the seeds of evil” might be considered offensive. Please do not read any further if you are under age or easily offended. The mentioned undead will be detailed at a later stage. The initial idea for this came from Steven Erikson’s Malazan Series (Memories of Ice)

Necromancy: By some it is considered as nefarious black arts and by others a vault of opportunities, the very key to the secrets of life. A substantial part of the necromancer’s practice is devoted to undeath; a state in which one is neither alive nor dead. Unbeknownst to the general populace there are three ways in which undeath can provoked, and the curse of unlife bestowed upon the recipient. 
The magically bound and / or enchanted undead
The use of magic is by far the most usual manner in which undeath is bestowed upon a recipient. Ritual magic is needed to create the undead and for these hour and day long ceremonies, tools, song, dance, drawing of runes, surgery, gestures, chanting, and manual labour may be required. The most powerful bindings and enchantments may even require the proper stellar constellations, certain holy days, objects or locations, or even the sacrifice (or binding) of one or more human souls. The specifics change, but the essentials remain the same: The creation of the undead is a tiresome task indeed. Zombies and skeletons may also be created through non-ritualistic magic, but the duration of these undead is counted by the minutes and certainly not by the decades. Such undead is the necromancer’s last resort and are somewhat unstable, prone to regaining memory of their former life (in the case of zombies) and with that comprehension comes an intense dislike of the necromancer.

The summoning and binding of a deceased spirit is a frightening experience to say the least, especially if the deceased is unwilling. Pulling a spirit from the afterlife is difficult, but possible, yet the first spirits to respond to a general summoning is usually those who, for whatever reason, have yet to depart. When summoning a deceased spirit the necromancer may experience anything from mild amusement to curiosity to infernal anger from the spirit, and in the last case he better be prepared for what comes. Many an apprentice necromancer has perished in this manner as they performed a ceremony their master had forbidden. Contrary to popular belief most necromancers aren’t heartless murderers, although the term pragmatic grave robbers would fit in most cases, and power hungry apprentices is something all adepts expect. There are several kinds of summoned spirits: Guardian Wraiths, Spectral Warriors, Screamer Sentinels, Blood Mists, and Hungering Spirits are but samples of what a necromancer might call forth.

The haunting undead
Sometimes the dead return of their own volition. Some great tragedy, crime or shame has occurred and the dead cannot find peace, so they return as haunts, unable to rest until a wrong has been righted, in one way or the other. The sages argue why they return and some claim that emotional distress at the time of death denies the spirit peace enough to depart. The sages recite stories about faithful husbands who are killed by their wives’ lovers, parents who are murdered by their children for the sake of inheritance, and so forth.

Other sages theorize that the neglect of duty might trigger a haunting, and among these scholars the story of a Paladin who forsook his vow of chastity when he fell in love with a particularly beautiful temple dancer is often told. According to this legend he was damned to return as a Rune Wraith and judge those who failed in their duties . 

A third theory focus on ancestral sin and divine curses, and according to this theory entire family lines have been damned and return as haunts after their death, minor nuisances which make life difficult for those nearby. There are a few legends mentioning this, but no respectable sage has yet to support this theory. The haunting undead include: Ghosts, Haunts, Rune Wraiths, Revenants and ghouls.

The seeds of evil
The seeds of evil are a special category of undead, as they are newborn souls captured within a rotting host. There are two different kinds: Those created through a pregnancy and those created as a sorcerer ejaculate into a deceased recipient. The seeds of evil is named thus as the sorcerer evilly utilize nature and creation to imbue a dead body with life. When semen and egg cells are utilized in such a manner the created undead is imbued with a soul, a newborn soul which adapts to it rotting host. There is a ritual involved and some magic for sure, so some sages theorize that there are in reality two paths of undeath, but since the semen and egg cells make the creation of these undead so much more potent and easier, it is counted as a path in itself.

Before and after the male necromancer send forth his semen into a newly deceased female host with intact reproduction organs*, he must carefully perform a ritual for the unborn soul to take root within her body. The exact details of this procedure are unknown, but after a few days of this the cadaver will seemingly resurrect; but it will contain half a soul: the male, animalistic part which is imparted by the male. The resulting undead are known by many names but most often the catch all term seeds of evil is used to refer to these abominations.

The female necromancer would utilize the semen of a slain male to impregnate herself with a seed of evil. This involves a nine month long pregnancy and a likelihood of her death upon the birth of the abomination. This has made this particular approach rather unpopular. These seeds are exceedingly powerful and a rumour exist about a certain coven who has discovered a way to make slave girls pregnant instead of the witches themselves. Understandably these slave girls suffer horribly as the cold, dead children claw at the inside of her belly before they finally claw their way to freedom as the hour of birth arrive.

*It is easier to create an undead by using a female, but a male necromancer could feasibly use another male too, though there are few documented reports of this.

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Comments ( 8 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Cheka Man
November 3, 2005, 22:05
Thank you for taking the time and trouble to write this AG.
Voted EchoMirage
June 14, 2006, 16:58
The third way is certainly original :)
The post contains a heap of info, yet, needs to be expanded upon.
As many devious GMs use numerous vile undead in their games, they surely can use a compendium of evil.
Ancient Gamer
June 14, 2006, 17:02
That is why it is a scroll. I am going to grab aspect by aspect and expand upon it... Or rather, I was going to, but I retired from the site.
Voted Murometz
June 14, 2006, 19:12
Yep. seeds of evil is quite a read. Right up my alley!

Well-written. It explains everything in a concise but imaginative style. And being jaded, I was surprised to learn a few new things about necromancy ;)

Kudos! Do go on someday!
December 3, 2006, 12:26
Required reading for all aspiring necromancers!
Voted Strolen
September 30, 2012, 14:13
Necromancers, they are everywhere lately!
September 30, 2012, 15:59
Yes. Yes we are.
Voted valadaar
May 11, 2013, 23:09
Yuck :)

Definately evil. Well done!



Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

       By: tinypoisonousfish

Bag on a Stick

Very simple gag but a great one, since it can be used multiple times over, even in the same adventure. Great for tribal natives gone restless and humanoids, but anyone can have set this up. Just what the header says, a simple bag over a stick stuck in the ground or floor.

As GM you can place the bag on a stick anywhere, in a floor crack the heroes have passed before, outdoors in a clearing or path, or at the edge of the PCs' encampment the following morning, what have you. Place anything on the stick - a coiled yellow viper angered by the bag removal, mini crossbow w/poison, transdermal hallucinatory drug dusted on the bag, yellow mold colony, an NPC ally's head, a weapon, scroll tube or satchel, what have you.

The idea is to build tension and/or stall for time/distract the party. Provided it's used properly, you'll be amazed at how paranoid players will get from this simple gag.

Ideas  ( Items ) | December 31, 2009 | View | UpVote 6xp

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