There are some people in the world who’s strong religious beliefs or fear of fire in life, have caused them to abhore cremation for themselves after death. Normally when they die they are buried by their grieving family, but in a few cases they end up on a funeral pyre. It may be because they have died in a country where burial is illegal,unheard of, or very expensive due to a shortage of land, or because someone wants to get back at them.
If the person had a fear of cremation that was strong enough, the spirit is so angry that it cannot pass on into the next world and possesses it’s ashes and burnt bones. Such a spirit will rise a night after the pyre and look for revenge on those who burnt it’s body, typicly by setting their houses on fire by night and watching them burn alive.
If the spirit finds itself trapped in an urn when it rises, it’s anger will be incandesent and should it ever escape it will attack the first person it sees.
The Urn Beasts are so called because of their terrible tempers. Should it’s Urn be smashed, an Urn Beast will rise in what looks like an ashy humanoid shape with claws of burnt bone.It cannot hold this shape for long, and swiftly falls into a cloud of dust and bone,shaped very much like a Willow the Wisp. The claws can do minor damage by scratching, and a touch from the spirit can cause burns, which can get infected, not to mention setting cloth on fire, but their most dangerous attack is to try and attack the mouth.
Should any part of the ashes get into a living person’s mouth, that person, unless his or her spirit is very strong, will be possessed by the Beast. There are only three ways to extract it-first, by killing the host body.
Secondly, by powerful magic-of the level that most well-rounded PC’s do not have. Thirdly, by providing a dead human body that has not yet rotted. The Beast will transfer itself to the dead body, which should be buried and a prayer said. The Beast will then transfer itself to the afterlife peacefully, leaving the body to rot away.
If a person is possessed for more then three days, then the Beast can only be removed by the death of it’s host, as it will have consumed the soul of the possessed one utterly. People possessed by the Beast do not go crazy and slaughter people-indeed they only normally fight to defend themselves, as the Beast considers itself human again. It will have no dislike for the PC’s but will want to live it’s life that it lived before death and will have no intrest in any adventures.
Cremating a body or even burning someone alive will only create an Urn Beast if said person truely did have a horror of their body ending up as ashes after death. It may be that one or more of these is used as a booby trap in a tomb of some great noble. There are people who confuse these spirits with the far more deadly Aspergoi, which can burn a person alive just by getting close to them.
It is also possible for the ill informed to mistake an Aspergoi for an Urn Beast…with painful and fatal results.
Plot Hooks-An old graveyard has been dug up by the Royal Recoverers and the bones burnt.Since then there have been a spart of arson attacks and the PCs must find out why.