Mage Eaters superficially resemble corpses, save for the fact that they are ambulatory, intelligent, and can speak. They can very easily pass themselves off as a fleshy form of undead, smell included.
Feral Mage Eaters are hunched and emaciated shells of their former self. These mage eaters have been starved of magical energy, or have regenerated too frequently and this has caused degradation,or they have simply been dormant for an excessive amount of time, and are in need of being destroyed so they can attempt to regenerate. A failed attempt to prevent a mage eater from regenerating can cause a partial reformation, leaving the mage eater permanently damaged.
Withered Mage Eaters appear more desiccated than a normal corpse, being almost mummy like. This gives them a greater toughness and resistance to damage.
Gangrenous Mage Eaters have a jaundiced appearance, a more pungent and cloying stink, and are stronger and more aggressive than the average mage eater.
Charred Mage Eaters have the appearance of a burnt corpse, and are typically created when a mage eater is slain and then the corpse burned incorrectly to prevent it from regenerating. The result is a formidably tougher and stronger mage eater.
Luminous Ones are the most dangerous variety of mage eater as they are bloated with magical power. They can use this power to boost their strength, endurance, heal their wounds and heal the wounds of other mage eaters in their vicinity. To become a luminous one, a normally robust mage eater has to consume a mage who hasnt depleted their spell power, or they have to be left in an area high in magic essence.
Origin and History
The Mage Eaters originated from infernal magics, turning infernalists into corpse like immortal creatures. These creatures retained their minds, and intelligence, and become the servants of the damned. These beings are effectively immortal, and being slain or destroyed is only a temporary inconvenience. After their apparent demise, the mage eater will reanimate after healing the worst of their injuries. If physically destroyed, the creature will reincorporate elsewhere and resume its activities, though the level of destruction will influence how long it takes them to reincorporate themselves. Some mage eaters are centuries old, or even thousands of years old, and they have fractured minds and deeply twisted and morbid psyches.
The mage eater can be permanently destroyed, but it requires the mage eater to be physically subdued, then they have to be given last rites and blessed by the cleric of a lawful good deity. Then, the body of the mage eater has to be given proper funeral rites, thus destroying the magic bonds that keep them immortal and bound to the infernal realms.
The mage eater can be created by magical means, though the spell is considered lawful evil, and leaves a stain on the aura of the mages who are cruel enough to bind another into magical and immortal servitude.
Mage Eaters can generally be encountered in one of three general methods; ruins, dark magi, or terrible accident.
Some older ruins, especially those of a magical nature can very easily house mage eaters in various levels of activity and dormancy. More often that not, these mage eaters are squatters who have been attracted to the elevated magic level in the area. These areas are also where mage eaters are more commonly prone to reincorporating. The Guild of Adventurers-Upon-Return typically keeps tabs on some of the better known ruins to keep the numbers of mage eaters down. The appearance of a luminous one can be enough to spark a Mark hunt by the guild. The more dangerous encounter in ruins involve mage eaters who have been in location from when the ruin was part of a city or was active. These remnant mage eaters can be dangerously intelligent, some retain spellcasting ability, and can have access to magical tools and weapons.
Dark magi such as necromancers, and dark sorcerers have the power an inclination to turn unwilling victims into mage eaters, and force them into magical submission. These darkling creatures then serve as scouts, assassins, and spies for the magi in question. Death is irrelevant, as they will be reincorporated back in their point of creation. These created mage eaters are far less loyal, so they can be tempted or even break free of their magical servitude, and wander free.
The final source of mage eaters is through terrible magical calamity. The unleashing of powerful uncontrolled magic can spontaneously turn normal sentient beings into tortured immortal horrors. These victims of magical backblast are often reduced to mindless beasts that cannot be permanently destroyed and they keep coming back to the place of their contamination.
The Mage Eaters started as a riff on lemures, the immortal footsoldiers of Devil kind. They had a cool look, melty faced skeleton demon things, but were over and over laid out for being weak, cowardly, useless. The idea stalled until I found a new inspiration in the ghouls of Fallout. They are both nigh immortal, horrific to look at, and tied to an outside energy source, magic and radiation respectively. Functionally the Mage eaters are ghouls in the Fallout sense. They retain the reanimating nature of the lemures, and infernal aspects.
In Saerith the Mage Eaters are a rogue variable. They exist, in some number, and are remnants of fallen kingdoms and magedoms, and the weapons of monstrous magic users. The Queendom of Praxingdrell has the power to create mage eaters, but their ethos finds creating things that hunt and eat mages as deeply offensive. They also hunt them as vigorously as the Adventurers guild does.
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