The Greendeath appear as skeletons twined with creeping vines and colorful blossoms, a contrast of colors and strange creaking marking their every movement; all of them have their skulls broken. Strange 'muscles' of greenery flex as they move, and taught vines serve to bind their bones together. The result is a creature with something far beyond the shambling of other rotting undead; the vitality of the woods flows in their unnatural forms, and they move with the graceful deadliness of a forest predator.
They have little need of weapons, having sharpened the bones of their hands and feet shortly after arising, as well as having thorny plants twined about their bones. Even a glancing blow from one of these undead will leave poisonous lacerations, and a direct strike often leaves the victim strangling on the blood from his own torn-out throat.
The Greendeath only arise in those woods which are being swiftly felled by woodsmen, far faster than the wood can replenish itself. Inevitably, fights break out, and a woodsman by himself, too angry to be near his fellows, will often have his life ended by a deadwood branch dropping on his head, the forest's spirit sensing his wrath.
All too rapidly, the plants of the shrinking wood invade the corpse, consuming the soft tissues to fuel their growth and nurturing the anger resonating within the corpse, building it to a fever pitch as they bind the bones together with creeping tendrils, replacing ligaments and muscles with the dense strength of the woods.
Soon, all that remains are the bones, the plants that twine about them, and the anger; anger enough, between the woodsman and the forest, to drag the strange assembly to unnatural life. Driven by hate, they set off to slay those who kindled that anger, becoming a loathsome and unnatural protector of the natural world as it does so.
-Woodsmen have begun disappearing in the nearby forest; unknown to the locals, who fear rabid animals or perhaps an angry tribe of forest-dwellers, a Greendeath stalks the wood, slaughtering any who would bring iron to threaten the woods.
-A druid has begun deliberately creating greendeaths, using magic and herbal taints to drive tempers to the boiling point before staving the skulls of those who head off by themselves. Soon, the druid intends to release the hatred of the undead on the nearby town that has been logging in the forest far beyond their needs.
-What to do when a friend goes missing in the forest after a fight with his father? Go looking, of course! Unfortunately, by the time the party finds their friend, the poor soul is only recognizable by the pendant around his skeletal neck...
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? Responses (17)-17
As I mentioned before, I have a thing for these type of critters. Another nifty creature for the compendium!
I enjoy toying with ideas for the undead, really. From the pathetic to the horrific to the flat-out strange...
A *new* form of Undead. Very good.
Thank you. It was an idea-on-the-fly.
I do like these ones. It is a logical "naturally" arising undead. The Unspeakable Army of the Green, so to speak.
Pretty much, yes. I get just as tired of the Shambling Trees of Death as I do of the Moaning Zombie/Dusty Skeleton.
The visual I get in my head of these guys is phenomenal: white bone wrapped in green and brown, colorful flowers bursting from eye sockets and in between ribs. Big thumbs up.
That's pretty much the way they look in my mental image. They're the sort of thing that you're not sure if you want a bottle of holy water or a bottle of weed killer to deal with.
Terribly fun. I could really blow some minds with something like this.
Considering some of what you come up with, I consider that high praise.
This very well might get used in an upcoming session. I find this to be a very original form of undead, which will certainly blow minds and freak people out (because that's how it works). People tend to get scared of something they find to be unnatural, but that loses its edge after you see so many zombies, vampires, and general undead. Something like this is fresh, original, and definitely NOT the kind of 'natural' that the players are expecting! Good job, and keep up the posting! These are gems!
Yes - the fear of the undead tends to be blunted when you have roughly ten thousand zombie movies, at least as many vampire movies, and several thousand more depicting other kinds of unliving horrors, to say nothing of books, games, and so on. You might get edgy if they threaten your character's life, but they're not that terrifying because you've seen all their variations, and in most systems the players have their stats memorized.
This thing, you're not sure if you need a druid to command it or a priest to exorcise it, once you realize what it is that's springing out of the darkness, slicing things open, and then fading back amid the greenery as quickly as a hunting cat.
Purge the beast with Holy Promethium. It is the only way.
"Rule #505 of the CDAG: Regardless of popular belief, fire does not solve everything. Just most things."
Maybe I should give you a Burning Undead Thing.
Pretty nifty green zombie. I approve.
Thank you. Like a lot of my subs that end up liked, this was one of my late-night flashes of inspiration.
Not a fan of zombies normally but this creature is refreshing and I can see the logic behind why they arise. Good work overall.