City/ Ruin
22 Votes


Hits: 13644
Comments: 26
Ideas: 0
Rating: 4.4545
Condition: Normal
ID: 2706


June 4, 2007, 12:15 pm

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manfred (2x)
Michael Jotne Slayer

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Urn Beast


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.

Full Description
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.

Additional Information
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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Comments ( 26 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Murometz
May 31, 2006, 22:09
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!
Voted Appaloosa
May 31, 2006, 23:07
Awsome It shows a huge amount of effort went into this one. Keep it up.
Voted Iain
June 1, 2006, 4:23
Only voted
Voted Scrasamax
June 1, 2006, 8:10
Funeral customs, human fear, placating vengeful spirits, this is simply one of the best subs that you have done, Cheka. Kudos.
Voted MoonHunter
June 1, 2006, 12:15
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?
Voted manfred
June 2, 2006, 4:04
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.

Excellent work.
Voted Dragon Lord
June 2, 2006, 9:57
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
Voted Mourngrymn
June 2, 2006, 15:10
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.
Voted Michael Jotne Slayer
June 3, 2006, 11:12
Ah, it's when I see posts like this I really like the HoH system. Great work cheka!
Voted Pariah
June 3, 2006, 21:50
I remember us talking about this 4 months ago. I like how you presented it.
June 9, 2006, 16:36
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.
Voted Ancient Gamer
June 10, 2006, 6:57
An alright idea.
July 7, 2006, 19:57
An early Birthday BUMP!
Voted Roack
July 8, 2006, 10:33
Only voted
Voted Demagogue
August 25, 2006, 12:36
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
Voted Wulfhere
September 26, 2006, 23:01
I can see several ways that these could be useful to build a scenario around.
Voted valadaar
September 27, 2006, 11:18
A great little beastie :)
Voted CaptainPenguin
February 18, 2007, 15:12
Only voted
Voted dark_dragon
September 22, 2007, 8:31
excellent idea, well executed.
Voted Ouroboros
November 12, 2007, 21:06
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!

Michael Jotne Slayer
November 13, 2007, 20:28
Remember this post for it's name. An HoH to bump it a little.
Voted DrTurtlesse
May 15, 2009, 21:03
Only voted
Voted Redgre
January 8, 2010, 21:58
Extremely interesting idea... it seeds other ideas of how other spirits might return if they faced their worst fear in death. I love it.
Voted Silveressa
July 20, 2011, 0:30

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.

Voted axlerowes
December 12, 2012, 7:11
I enjoyed that idea. How much of their self (memories and such) do imagine is left in the burn/urn beast.
Cheka Man
May 26, 2016, 21:15
A surprising amount, although the pain of cremation has driven it slightly crazy.

Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

Great Magic and Ruination

       By: rickster

With a huge number of sacrificial victims, another realm long ago secretly bound a Prince of the land spirits, Iorstonn by name, thus ensuring the fertility, and improving the magical defences, of their realm. But binding that Prince to one spot has disrupted the weather and magical patterns (ley lines?) over half the continent. Things have become bad enough that a coalition has been formed to rectify the situation, once divinations have established the cause.

Your party is one of the teams assembled to do the rectification: find the binding object and steal it ("so that we can destroy it here in our realm, of course"...*) or destroy it over there. Presumably the Prince will be grateful to his rescuers and angry at the binders, but with a greater spirit like Iorstonn one can never be sure: such beings are "tricksy".

* Of course, the rulers of our realm might want to control Iorstonn for their own ends...

Ideas  ( Plots ) | February 26, 2014 | View | UpVote 3xp

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