Unseen, intangible, and ephemeral, the Whispers are undead creatures born when a living being with a strong will to survive and a potent intellect passes on; the body fails, and the spirit moves on to the afterlife, but the will to survive persists in the remnants of the mind, giving it a pathetic kind of life as it strives to maintain itself against oblivion’s cold grasp.
The Whispers are reliant upon other living creatures, particularly sapient ones, for their continued existence. Without a living brain of their own to sustain them, these creatures steadily unravel, their energies fading and diminishing unless they infest another creature, infecting their minds with the echoing thoughts of the dead creature the Whisper was born from. As such, these creatures are found in cities and other places where the living congregate, as their own use of the host’s brain gradually damages it, leeching off vital energy until the unfortunate either lapses into a perpetual comatose state, or kills itself, driven mad by the voice it hears muttering and whispering within it.
Whispers are immaterial, being the remnant patterns of thought and sapience from a now-dead creature; they cannot last for long by themselves, requiring the mental activity of a living creature, however meager, to sustain themselves. They can technically survive on the minds of verminous creatures such as mice and particularly massive insects, but these are, to a Whisper, the equivalent of thin gruel, barely capable of letting them exist. More powerful minds are highly attractive, as they contain more energy to let the Whisper sustain itself against the cold grasp of oblivion.
Victims of Whisper possession are often unaware at first, with only a slight diminishing of their mental abilities for the first week or two as the creature acclimates itself to the mental structure and begins to draw on the available energy. After this point, the Whisper’s mental patterns begin to infiltrate and replace the victim’s own natural patterns as the undead feeds on them, resulting in both a noticable loss of ability and a ‘voice’ that seems to mutter and whisper within the victim’s head. In strong-willed individuals, this will continue until the victim is little more than an idiot who mutters and whispers along with the voice that has essentially consumed the body’s original inhabitant, until the body eventually expires of natural causes. Most victims die much sooner, however, driven to suicide by the voice that is slowly consuming their very thoughts.
Whispers can be destroyed most easily by isolating their current victim at least a mile from any lifeforms capable of hosting them. Priests of deities of the mind, knowledge, and similar effects can force them out of their current host, pinning them outside of a body for the time it takes for them to dissolve. Most difficult, if the host dies in a sufficiently traumatic fashion, destroying the neural structure too quickly for the Whisper to withdraw, the undead creature will be demolished with the host. As the creature can react at the speed of thought, however, even staving in a victim’s skull is seldom sufficient, and those attempting such ends often find themselves infested by the very creature they were trying to destroy.
-A powerful atheistic archmage has died recently; now the shreds of his potent mind are a Whisper, consuming the minds of his former apprentices. Can the Whisper be stopped before the current victim goes mad and goes into a mad frenzy of spellcasting at imagined foes?
-One Whisper has been around for a very, very long time; it was the unknown reason behind the building of the city’s asylum centuries ago. Now the town has shut down the asylum, and the last of the inmates, pathetic host of the ancient Whisper, is about to expire. Where will it go next?
-A Whisper has traveled from the far wilderness astride the minds of wild animals; now, as it approaches civilization, it encounters the minds of the characters - much stronger and more tempting than the animal it currently resides within…
-A Whisper of one of the PC’s former foes was born when they slew it; now the former foe has infected a character, a henchmen, or someone else who was close by at the time. Can they free the victim and destroy their foe a second time?