Several arson attacks, and two deaths later, as the Mayor retreated from the ashy figure before him and his curtains went up in flame, he decided that burning the Bishop had been a very bad idea.
There are some people in the world who's strong religious beliefs or fear of fire in life, have caused them to abhore cremation for themselves after death. Normally when they die they are buried by their grieving family, but in a few cases they end up on a funeral pyre. It may be because they have died in a country where burial is illegal,unheard of, or very expensive due to a shortage of land, or because someone wants to get back at them.
If the person had a fear of cremation that was strong enough, the spirit is so angry that it cannot pass on into the next world and possesses it's ashes and burnt bones. Such a spirit will rise a night after the pyre and look for revenge on those who burnt it's body, typicly by setting their houses on fire by night and watching them burn alive.
If the spirit finds itself trapped in an urn when it rises, it's anger will be incandesent and should it ever escape it will attack the first person it sees.
The Urn Beasts are so called because of their terrible tempers. Should it's Urn be smashed, an Urn Beast will rise in what looks like an ashy humanoid shape with claws of burnt bone.It cannot hold this shape for long, and swiftly falls into a cloud of dust and bone,shaped very much like a Willow the Wisp. The claws can do minor damage by scratching, and a touch from the spirit can cause burns, which can get infected, not to mention setting cloth on fire, but their most dangerous attack is to try and attack the mouth.
Should any part of the ashes get into a living person's mouth, that person, unless his or her spirit is very strong, will be possessed by the Beast. There are only three ways to extract it-first, by killing the host body.
Secondly, by powerful magic-of the level that most well-rounded PC's do not have. Thirdly, by providing a dead human body that has not yet rotted. The Beast will transfer itself to the dead body, which should be buried and a prayer said. The Beast will then transfer itself to the afterlife peacefully, leaving the body to rot away.
If a person is possessed for more then three days, then the Beast can only be removed by the death of it's host, as it will have consumed the soul of the possessed one utterly. People possessed by the Beast do not go crazy and slaughter people-indeed they only normally fight to defend themselves, as the Beast considers itself human again. It will have no dislike for the PC's but will want to live it's life that it lived before death and will have no intrest in any adventures.
Cremating a body or even burning someone alive will only create an Urn Beast if said person truely did have a horror of their body ending up as ashes after death. It may be that one or more of these is used as a booby trap in a tomb of some great noble. There are people who confuse these spirits with the far more deadly Aspergoi, which can burn a person alive just by getting close to them.
It is also possible for the ill informed to mistake an Aspergoi for an Urn Beast...with painful and fatal results.
Plot Hooks-An old graveyard has been dug up by the Royal Recoverers and the bones burnt.Since then there have been a spart of arson attacks and the PCs must find out why.
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? Responses (26)
I Love them Cheka! Found myself reading it slowly to savor it. The Urn Beasts can instantaneously be plopped into any game world with absolute ease!
I'm picturing Ashkeep, the House of Urns, Crematorium of the Pyromancers of Adremetum, filled with thousands upon thousands of cinerary urns! How many Urn Beasts possibly dwell within?
Of course I love that you threw in an Aspegoi reference! You spelled it with an 'r', but you know what, I like your spelling better! I think I'll go change Aspegoi to Aspergoi :D
In closing...I know I can throw a few questions and suggestion out there (Hark! soon Moon will come), but all in all I love the sub! Good Work!
Awsome It shows a huge amount of effort went into this one. Keep it up.
Funeral customs, human fear, placating vengeful spirits, this is simply one of the best subs that you have done, Cheka. Kudos.
Well presented and a great idea.
If such critters exist, there is probably a more expensive urn available with mystic runes to contain such spirits. Of course, break the urn and you still have the problem.
Early on, ashes are spread to the wind without an urn. These swirling demons might be called another name (same critter, different name). Ash Ghost or somesuch.
Another common disposition was to mix the ash with holy ground, interned in a plot usually in the back of a church where they grow special flowers used for specific ceremonies there (like baptisms). Such an issue migh placate the abused fire fearing spirit. However, if the ground is desecrated, how many of them might rise?
This is how ghosts should arise, or at least some of them. The creatures have a great fantasy feel to them, I would expect one to come into being from time to time. This submission is enough reason to add burning as a funeral custom to a game world.
The old RuneQuester in my is much impressed
This is how spirits should be formed by great loss, or pain, or fear
I like the possession thing and the suggested methods for removing the spirit particularly having it possess a corpse which can then be buried very atmospheric
Me like a lot 4½ / 5
I am doubly impressed Cheka. I see your subs improving time and time again. This is a great idea and with a little twist here and there I could throw this into my world rather simply. Keep it up.
Ah, it's when I see posts like this I really like the HoH system. Great work cheka!
I remember us talking about this 4 months ago. I like how you presented it.
A Bump and a Plot Hook:
A) Somebody has started to act strangely... as he was posessed by a Urn Beast. The implications are logical - how do you cure a person of posession once the ghost is firmly inside and cannot be exorcised by common means?
B) Perhaps you had a friend, or an enemy, that was cremated (or burned). But if he or she is dead, why there are more and more hints of him being alive? Beware: a re-born will try to get at least a part of his former life back. This can get creepy.
An alright idea.
An early Birthday BUMP!
He he, I can just imagine fighting that thing, struggling to whack it while it swirls and burns around you. Its a good idea to give an anti-possession method that's available to the PC's
I can see several ways that these could be useful to build a scenario around.
A great little beastie :)
excellent idea, well executed.
Me like..would have written something like this myself, if you hadnt got to it first...Probably not as good, though...:-)
Good job, as usual!
Remember this post for it's name. An HoH to bump it a little.
Extremely interesting idea... it seeds other ideas of how other spirits might return if they faced their worst fear in death. I love it.
I remember seeing this way back in the day, thought for sure I commented on it.
It's hard to top what others have said, except to add that this is one of the more unique enemies I've seen for populating crypts and other treasure troves PCs enjoy looting at every opportunity.
The links to the others subs is an especially nice touch, and helps with further populating the catacombs with points of interest.
I enjoyed that idea. How much of their self (memories and such) do imagine is left in the burn/urn beast.
A surprising amount, although the pain of cremation has driven it slightly crazy.