It is the tortured and imperfect souls who most often cannot find a clear path to the afterlife. Weighted down by sins unforgiven, sins for whose forgiveness they never ask, sins they never regretted.
A Sinful Dead will be twisted by his greatest flaw after death, and if his indulgence in the cardinal sin was great enough, it will drive him to perpetuate it instead of delighting in his sleep eternal.
All Sinful Dead have one in common - if the one whom they wronged most forgives them, and a priest absolves them from sin, then they may rest… though, a few especially stubborn specimens might require the forgiveness of many, or a confrontation with the evils they caused as well.
The Proud Carcass
Once lords of man and heroes great, amongst praise and flattery their virtues fell, declined, decayed.
The higher one rises, the further one falls, and this is especially true of the Proud.
Much unlike many other undead, the Proud Carcass will walk in shining armor and clean garb, especially careful about a perfect attire, ad it will not admit to be dead - for great heroes can escape the clutches of death, the beauty of proud damsels also lasts forever… or not?
Even without revealing their true nature (which they deny) they can frighten the weak-willed with but a stare of their maddened eyes, for these are blazing yet cold at once, and utterly insane.
Their drive is to prove their greatness and shatter competition - so might a dead chivalier enter a joust and challenge to the death all who seek to steal his glory, while a demised beauty might attend a beauty contest, even though her once flawless neck is slit to the spine (which she’d conceal with a scarf). Of course, as people KNOW they are dead (and their unhealed wounds and pale complexion serve as a further proof of this) they get violent quickly - the beauty escaping, and then trying to murder the competition.
The Proud are terrible in combat, for they cannot admit defeat - again and again, they wil pul themselves together, so that they may face their adversary once more.
A way to lay them to rest is to either totally crush their pride, or stroke their ego - thus, a hero who has risen might sleep again with a (megalomanic) monument; or, he might crumble in shame if a squire of twelve winters manages to pierce their breastplate where their rotten heart lies.
The Envious Rot
In their eyes, everyone was undeserving, and who fared better was surely flawed in character, and vile beyond mortal reckoning.
Unable to share happiness, their malice turned against all who showed joy or success.
In death, this brought a curse terrible and just upon them: the Envious Rot is disfigured beyond imagination - emaciated and putrescent, with eyes large like plates, and huge hooked noses, as well as fan-like ears, as to percieve slights and injustice against their person better. An unsettling aura sends children crying, and beasts seek to flee in panic. Any craft they attempt will fail horribly, and any possessions they gather will get lost or crumble.
Their hatred against all who fare well is such that they will try to soil any success, ad crush joy wherever they find it - if a mother gives birth to an especialy beautiful child, they will try to strangle it at night, while when a talented musician delights his audience, the Evious Rot will creep from its hiding place and either destroy his instrument, or try to cripple his hands.
Each Rot has a specialty field it is extremely envious about.
Their final death can be brought about by helping their greatest adversary succeed despite their effort - something the Envious Rot will try to prevent at all costs.
The Wrathful Ravagers
The Wrathful have caused great suffering with their anger, slain innocent and ruined what was good. When the cause for the wrath of the dead one still persists, he might rise; likewise, if his wrath was fiery indeed, he might simply rise because someone stepped upon his grave too loudly.
The Wrathful appear as towering, menacing figures of black metal streaked with red, and where light falls upon them, their surface seems to be covered in blood; their eyes are buring furnaces of hatred, their metal-cast faces distorted masks of hatred.
Some are linked to certain locales, while more restless Ravagers will travel the land seeking the source of their wrath, such as a hated person, family, or even race. Blinded by their fury, they often fail to tell those they hate from innocents only similiar to them - o might an elf-hater start to murder elves first, half-elves later, elf-lovers soon thereafter and any tree-hugger after that, then anyone clad in green…
Vengeance and hatred drives them, and hard are they to send to rest. If the cause of their wrath was legitimate, such as a man being betrayed and murdered and then rising to avenge his death, he may be put to rest by righting the wrong.
If the wrath of the risen was irrational, the would-be exorcist is in for a challenge. Younger Ravagers will see their folly if a completely innocent member of the group they hate, or an immaculate object that would normally evoke their ire are presented: shamed, they might return to the grave. Older, and thus more insane Ravagers will focus their wrath solely upon this object or person, and pursue their demise with all their might.
A legend tells of a mercenary, Cander of Ostmark, who used a Ravager’s affinity for slaughter to lead him towards an enemy army his company faced, causing him to inflict terrible casualties.
For the most deranged of the Wrathful, though, only one course of action remains: if they are bound to a location, then it is to be sealed and avoided. Should he wander, then a tomb is to be build, and the undead beast wrestled into it; a mighty slab of stone carved with signs of peace and blessed most holy laid upon him, and the place sealed, so that no light nor sound can enter. With luck, when a fool stumbles into the place some hundred years later, the Ravager has slept so long that his fury faded. Yet the fires of wrath need but one fuel - the soul.
The Dead Hunger
Gluttons cause others to suffer - by devouring what could be shared in times of need, through wastefulness and reckless squandering of nature’s bounty, even by making others question divine justice… when a poor maid with four children to feed hears her masters discuss the virtues of various cakes, or sees them vomit so that they can feast on, surely, her faith in a higher order will suffer.
Too preoccupied with what else they could consume, the greatest gluttons fail to hear the call to move on when their life-spark dies; some even refuse, feeling that there is still much that they could consume.
But shades and spectes after their demise, the Gluttons lack a way to sate their hunger. Thus, they will assault the living, awaking the seed of sin, or nurturing it if it is present. Those with a pechant for overeating will feel hunger increased a thousandfold, and gorge themself, growing into barely recognizable mountains of lard. Barely able to move, they will heed the call of the Dead Hunger, and congregate, forming a vile mass which the spectre can possess, finally able to eat its fill - nothing is secure then, be it supplies, livestock, even people.
Ever hungry, and most often not bright, the Hunger can be fooled, either to devour something that will destroy its form, or lured by an illusion to try to consume, say, a huge iron statue, breaking its teeth and jaws, and finally dissolving in utter frustration.
One special case is known, where Reonhard of Visti has bound dozens of gluttonous spirits through his masterwork, a mural called "The Feast". Deep in the catacombs under opulet Visti has he painted, only to create an image more enticing than reality. Ever circling around it, scores of deceased gluttons shed ethereal saliva, seeking a way how to consume what their flawed senses see as the feast supreme.
Memories of Sloth
Not treasuring the gift that is life, the slothful spend their days in lethargy, expending the least effort to survive. Some can afford a life of idleness due to inherited funds, or high station, many more live in filth and squalor,drowning their senses and reason in cheap drink or drugs.
Death comes to them slowly, and the moment of passing is rarely worth mention, their life having been a gradual decline of activity towards the serenity of death.
Sometimes, a soul is so lethargic that is does not have the will or energy to pass on, haunting a place, or, rather, causing it to be haunted.
The area of the haunt will soon be forgotten, and take on a dreamy, hazy quality. The air barely moves, dust rests in silken dunes across the floor, covering mumified remnants of small animals and sometimes people.
Sleep comes readily and intrusively to the visitors of a Sloth’s haunt, as do prolonged dreams. Anger, restlessness and all drive fade as they explore the cursed locale, only still rooms and dust; all color seems stolen save pale biege and soft blues.
At the center of the haunt, where time seems to stand still, lies the spectre of the deceased, locked in stasis everlasting, translucent and observing the falling dust, or a play of light across a stained window, listening to a fountains sound…
Often, the dying and suffering seek out the cursed locale to die in sleep and free of pain; also, addicts come to witness longer visions, though sometimes, they just stay, until death claims them.
Once a haunt is detected, there are ways to end the curse. If the identity of the spectre is known, something that still held its interest during life may cause it to awaken, and pass on. Busy activity and loud celebrations may cause it to find a more serene hiding place. If the last thing the spectre pays attention to (such as the stained glass window) is removed, the spectre may go into a catatonic sleep, and, after years, dissolve.
Some mortals consider not love, nor learning, not truth nor faith to be of importance. All they wish for is wealth, which they fail to see as a means, but consider it an end, a goal to aspire to.
As fulfillment at the acquisition of more and more wealth arrives only briefly, only to make place for more greed once the latest acquisition has collected the first grains of dust, they strive for more. Ever more.
Death fails to claim some of them. One who has all his desire in the material world is little tempted by the beyond, and gold holds more sway over some than a god’s will.
Especially if a mammon,crazed fool died alone, in the sole company of his wealth, will he arise, twisted by his ever-growing need. A hundred eyes will grow on his skin, and wander off of fragile legs, to watch his hoard and search for more; he will take the arms of the living and sew them to his body to be able to take more, and conceal his dark frame under billowing robes to hide his depravity. His complexion, often pale before, will resemble ivory, and his shadowed eyes glint with gold. A dead businessman may continue trading for years or decades before he is revealed, growing more ruthless every day.
Seeking to own all, regardless of the needs of others, makes the Avaricious Dead a threat to the well-being of all in their vicinity.
Drawing power from his ill-gotten possessions, the Lethal Avarice will defend them furiously. And, indeed, if the hoard is gone, especially if given to the needy, such as the poor, ascetic monks, orphanages and schools, and NOT kept for one’s own use, the Lethal Avarice will burst to pieces in anger. Also, if presented with something it greatly desires that can not be bought nor siezed, it will suffer and devote every though to the one thing it cannot have.
Sacred is the union between two hearts and bodies, every move, word, emotion a desire to be one with the beloved soul. A dance of give and take, of sharing, through a harmonious union can be the restless human soul at ease.
Many indeed misunderstand the concept of love, though, considering it but a bonding of flesh, rather than an expression of affection. Taking partner after partner, they seek what none can provide until a change occurs within, in the heart. None can speak a word of solace to you if you cannot hear, no proclamation of love will reach your heart, regardless of how honest, unless it is open.
A Morbid Temptation arises from the ranks of those who mistake bodily sensation for love; flawed, they can find but a brief moment of warmth rather than unity and closeness. Seeking to fill the inner void, they harm their spirit and that of others through false promise of love, use and abuse, and (despite being in heat) coldness of word and deed.
An unrepentant lecher, especially if he died in throes of passion or was murdered by a lover, might arise, changed yet the same. Death fails to percieve the utter void that is their spirit, and does not take them to their final rest.
Noteworthy is the far greater frequency of Morbid Tempters amongst sexually repressive socities wit ha defunct relationship towards the expression of the physical aspect of love.
Shedding the skin as if it was but an ugly caterpillar’s coccoon, the monster emerges in flawless guise, certainly beautiful but somehow wrong - as if it was growing more generic every day, faceless despite full red lips, cold despite velvet milken skin. Two Morbid Tempters will appear somewhat similiar, as if cast from the same mold, their beauty abstracted, unpersonal.
Their dead bodies can feel little of the sensation that was their life before, so, the Morbid Tempters seek out company and live their sexuality vicariously through others, feasting on their pleasure and passion.
More than willing to aid in the matters of love, a Tempter will wish nothing in return, yet most often, the union he aided will remain shallow, hollow, meaningless, just a passing meeting of two stray stars.
Likewise, a Tempter may offer to enter someone, increasing their beauty and charisma, causing suitors to flock from far and wide, yet also, due to insatiable craving, esuring that their host will not stay true to anyone. In the end, while the host may be coveted and touched by many, none will stay; void of all human closeness, the overamorous host will be left alone, even by the Tempter who departs once his work of ruin is complete.
Deep relationships are anathema to the morbid Tempters, and they will seek to ruin them by courting one of the partners, setting up uncomfortable situations, or outright harassment.
Filled with emptiness, a Tempter can find rest if he manages to experience true love - should this be the case, his character will develop rapidly, warmth returning to his body, along with feeling and sensation, though final death is rarely further than a day behind this fortuitous event; faced with innocent people, it will begin to remember other aspects of life, and may be even noticed by Death after prolonged exposure.