He raised his sword to fight the foul undead thing in front of him, which was when it threw something only just glimpsed in the beam of his torch at him. When he blocked it with his sword, the resulting explosion both shattered his sword and took off his hand. As he turned to flee, screaming in pain, the Dumuzid he was facing stabbed him again and again until he fell dead to the sandy floor of the tomb.
In the distant times, before even iron had been smelted by humankind and when the dragons were young, one of the earliest of the human empires was that of King Enki of Urim. The main Goddess of his Empire was Inana, and her highest priestesses were the *en* priestesses at what was then the great temple of E-kic-nu-jal. Each of these at the age of seventeen was assigned a soldier from Enki's army to guard her, both from any who might seek to kill or kidnap her, and from the temptations of males. Should an en priestess be found to have lost her virginity, it was her soldier who was to pile the earth over her bound, but still very much alive, body.
If he died first, he would be given a decent burial, but if she died first, be it a violent death, a death by disease or just one of extreme old age, he would be at once captured and forced to become a Dumuzid, a representation of a God-King of old who was, according to the legends, handed over to the gala demons by Inana for not mourning her when she was briefly trapped in the underworld.
First, he would be dressed in regal robes, a copper crown placed upon his head, and then he would be held firmly down upon an altar to Inana and, after the proper prayers and incantations had been said, would have his heart cut out with a sharp flint knife. The heart would be filled with a number of spices and powders which, once the heart had been dried in the sun, would become explosive.
A specially sharpened bronze sword was placed in the body's right hand, the heart in the left hand, and it would be placed in the burial chamber and covered in salt and natron, which, along with the dry air, would preserve it in most cases.
After the funeral had taken place and the dead en priestess was buried with food, drink, and gold, jewels and fine clothes for use in the afterlife, the final prayer/spell was cast and the tomb sealed up. Should someone come near the tomb with the intention of robbing it and fall asleep within a few miles of it, the Dumuzid would haunt his dreams until he or she either gave up on the robbery or carried it out. In many cases the nightmares alone were enough to prevent tomb robberies before they happened.
Should the tomb be raided, then any light was enough to bring the embalmed body to it's feet, and it would advance to close quarters, slicing with the blade and at the right time, hurling the heart, which would explode when it hit anything. Should it hit a human body, it would blow a large hole in the area touched, enough to blow off a limb or blow open a chest, a head or a stomach. Should the heart miss it's target and only slightly wound the tomb-robber, then the spices both made even a small wound hugely painful until washed clean with water, and created a short term halucination of not one but ten advancing Dumuzids, enough normally to make the robber flee.
Lastly, the explosion would also, in the days when the tombs were young and guarded by human guards on the outside, alert the guards that the tomb was being robbed. The penalty for tomb robbers captured alive is to be made into Dumuzids, so their undead bodies can guard the tomb for eternity.
Much like Bandage Beasts they are almost unburnable by fire, but water will burn them like acid and cause rotting whenever it touches them, as it is the dryness that has kept them preserved for so long.It is unknown what an activated Dumuzid does, should it defeat the tomb robbers. It might be that it would think itself alive and leave the tomb to search for it's long-dead friends and family.
It cannot speak due to a dry throat,and should it drink, it's throat and mouth will rot away due to the water.
All things Lovecraftian in flavor. Star-spawned beasts and ancient, perverse cults. And tentacles. Lot's of tentacles.
When Star-Spawned maladies invade your realities, you'll need nary a nudge to find yourself knee-deep in Shoggoth sludge.
Oh yes, what an unpleasant romp you'll have through the festering flesh-swamp of Rr'lavinav. And when you begin to see the fog thin, a monstrous worm of pus, topped with a fin, will rot you skull from deep within.
That is why we play these horrible games, not for honor or glory, but to see whose named can be attached to the death most gory.
Welcome to the Lovecraftian Unspeakable Horrors Quest. Unspeakable horrors, indescribable phenomena, unpronounceable names... Extra experience for each Quest submission with first and second getting 150xp and 100xp respectively.
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wagn'nagl fhtagn
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? Responses (10)-10
I like this undead beasty. I like how one is created and why they are created. I like it's weakness, which is contrary to what most PCs would guess, and still makes sense. I'm a little concerned about how this tomb defender is sort of a 'one shot' guardian. Inana doesn't appear to have these creatures defend the tombs out of reverence for the dead but some other reason, perhaps a threat to less that dutiful bodyguards or perhaps she despises grave robbers but doesn't want to put more effort into destroying them. One question I have is this: Does the spirit of the soldier get turned over to gala demons, like this God-King mentioned, or are they in kind of a stasis or hibernation until their tomb is defiled? I take it you wanted a different direction than the traditional mummy, and I applaud your effort, however a little more detail would be most helpful.
The spirit is held in a timeless stasis until awakened.
Nice Undead. I like the sound of the ritual, and would love to hear more about the various incantations, the smell of the spices, etc.
I like the visual element of the Dumuzid throwing its own heart.
Nice visuals, I agree with DD about the heart throwing. I am a bit put off, what happens to a Dumazid that destroys its own heart? Is it still a viable guardian, or does it fall apart? (I am getting a Bee vibe, one sting and then they are dead)
I think it goes on without a heart.Heartless, litraly.
Nicely done. I really like the way you've added some Sumerian mythology to create a dramatic backdrop for this sub. I also enjoy the touch about the Dumazid infiltrating the dreams of a tomb robber. Out of curiosity, does it slay him in in his dreams?
The person normally awakes before being slain.
I somehow wish they'd be able to use the hole left after the heart is removed for something, biting, being a portal to a realm of death, or housing either some magic jar, holy text, a likeness of their charge, or a lesser critter... a skull?
Anyways, nice, concise, useful.
Another take on the soldiers guarding their lieges even in death. Good.