The town of Shocan has some rather strange inhabitants. They're all undead. Well, sort of... ~Flashback a few centuries: A great necromancer(perhaps a Cancer Mage, if you like the Book of Vile Darkness) created an unholy disease. It infects the body of a corpse, ripping the soul back to the body and reanimating it in some undead form, anything from a zombie or skeleton to a wight or shadow. The disease causes no ill effect(directly), it simply places the person's soul back into their dead body, giving them back their total mental faculties, morals, ethics, beliefs, etc... without bringing their body back from the dead. ~Move back to present: A town of these infected corpses has sprung up, hidden within a swamp or forest or such, something to keep them away from living people, who would kill them out of principle. The party stumbles across them and, assuming they don't just slaughter the town outright, they discover that the town has something evil living within its church and they need the PC's to cleanse their place of worship. This provokes an interesting bit of roleplay... do the PC's help the undead, or do they kill them as unholy monstrosities...?
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? Responses (9)-10
A good plot useful in a variety of backgrounds and even genre.
The Evil in the Church could be the liche like soul of the original mage (who is buried in the church or perhaps was cursed by the town cleric), the insane priest who came back as a zombie (who is now some crazed evil demigod), a gateway to Ravenloft or similar world (undead world even), or all the Evil energy that the undead townsfolk are not using (it is 'pooling' so to speak and is now intelligent after the centuries). What ever it is, it should not be something that players can just throw damage at it and it will go away. No, this thing needs to be taken down through puzzle solving or roleplaying. That fits in with the entire scenario
The Evil should be tied to the townfolk. As they begin to destroy it, the townfolk should be effected adversely. As they die of course, they should be resurrected as normal evil zombies.
I love this plot. :)5/5
Hmmm - an interesting moral dilemma - could use a little more background though - by no means brilliant but not at all bad - 3/5
There indeed needs to be some reason why the Undead don't just attack whatever is causing them problems. After all, they're a town of Undead, some of which can be quite powerful. Perhaps the church is shielded by an old protection circle. Also, this needs to be scripted so that the pc's don't just come in with swords swinging and guns blazing. If the pc's just wander into a town filled with Undead, few--if any--will stop to ask the zombies if the pc's can help them...
Is there some connection to the mysterious evil and the Undead's state? That is, if it's vanquished, do they just drop and rot away, or is it a completely separate problem?
If it is possible to rescue the town, is that something they would desire? That is, if solving the problem means that the Undead become just plain dead, the townsfolk may not want that. After all, isn't that the same as if the pc's just went on a killing rampage? One other possible complication is that some of the Undead hate their plight, and would welcome any painless end, but some may prefer their new status, and a few might even want greater power...
You may wish to read a little closer, as a number of your comments were answered above.
'A great necromancer(perhaps a Cancer Mage, if you like the Book of Vile Darkness) created an unholy disease. It infects the body of a corpse, ripping the soul back to the body and reanimating it in some undead form, anything from a zombie or skeleton to a wight or shadow. The disease causes no ill effect(directly), it simply places the person's soul back into their dead body, giving them back their total mental faculties, morals, ethics, beliefs, etc... without bringing their body back from the dead.'
That is why the undead are alive, it has nothing to do with the evil in the church. Your other main point, 'the PC's going in, guns blazing' it exactly the point of the plot. Its supposed to teach them to look and listen instead of shoot first and ask questions later.
I great idea! This is something I will use in the near future in my campaign. I simply love these little 'everything is not black and white' dillemas. But it's still just the basis of a plot, If you were to expand upon this and give it a nice set-up it could recive much higher scores.
But the basic of it is good enough for any GM that wishes to flesh it out himself.
As it is now I will give it a,... 2.5. But it could easily 4 and even more with a better execution.
P.S Posts like this show us what a simple but sturdy idea can start. Hope to see it fleshed out someday Alec.
Already voted on this (back in 2005)
Kinslayer asked - "Is there some connection to the mysterious evil and the Undead's state? That is, if it's vanquished, do they just drop and rot away, or is it a completely separate problem?"
Had a thought on that:
What if the "evil in the church" is some artifact or enchentment left behind by the necromancer, or maybe his grave, or even perhaps his undead spirit.
Doesn't matter really, the important point is that it is this that is keeping the towns' inhabitants in their sorry state.
The townsfolk (mostly) want this destroyed/cleansed/whatever in order to be released from their curse, thus permitting them to move on to their final rest / appointed afterlife / whatever. However, they cannot do this themselves since the church is protected by powerful magics to prevent the undead from entering (this is why the necromancer choose the church to place his enchantment).
Note that this is not the same as simply killing the undead townsfolk since that would utterly destroy their spirits, denying them their final rest. The townsflok know this and will therefore defend themselves with all the skills and powers at their disposal if the PCs simply attack them.