Posts Tagged ‘Unliving’


Tuesday Magic Item – Shadowstealer

4 October, 2022

Dark cloak for a dark soulGollaon moved quickly aside, almost skipping away as the black-dressed mage swept by.

Voddick watched them go.  “What was that is aid of?” he asked once the wizard was out of earshot.

“Did you see?  No shadow,” said Gollaon.

“That is not good.”

“Not good at all.”


These cloaks, if there are indeed more than one, are of a dark cloth that often seems black but occasionally other dark colors can be seen within.  It never seems to wear or stain, always dark, always complete.

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Tuesday Magic Item – Ghost Sealing Shroud

15 September, 2020

Shroud for the dead“I hate executions,” said Gollaon.  “Even when deserved, they are unpleasant to watch.”

“Take it up with our charge’s mother, she seems to think it is good for youth to see the result of such justice,” replied Voddick.  “Though in general I agree with you.  While justice must be done, and be seen to be done, there is no reason to make such a spectacle out of it.”

“Some just take delight in the misfortune and suffering of others.”

“The only good thing I can say about the the whole thing is that they are serving beer.”

Ghost Sealing Shroud

These shrouds are made of lead beaten into a thin sheet and marked with wards and protective sigils along the edges, until it is placed over the head of an unresisting or completely bound human-like creature, then it binds to the creature until it is killed or it is forcibly removed.  Once the being is killed hardens like poured wax until pulled away and even then it remain stiff until the spirit inside is removed.  Originally designed for the noble purpose of catching the spirits on murders when they were executed to prevent them from becoming vengeful spirits some have turned them to a less enlightened purpose.

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Unliving and Unbound (A to Z)

24 April, 2020

Plague spiritThings that were living and now are not but are still animate, in the Sea of Stars, are referred to as the Unliving.  There are a surprising number of them in some places, as Necrourgists (such as those in the High Kingdom of Laccini) are found of using their death magic to provide these once-living shells with an animating spark of energy torn from dark places, if not properly controlled, these sparks come with touch of malevolent cunning, not true intelligence, but dangerous if not watched and managed.

Other effects can cause the dead to walk (and hunger): odd magic from the Sundering, the residue of dead gods, alchemical runoff and more.  A few few of the unliving predate the Sundering and a few of those have ways of creating more of their kind.  But they are careful how they use such, knowing that if they are too obvious the dragons will swoop in and destroy them all.

The Unbound are those spirits no longer ties to their body, thus unbound from them, yes unable to make the transition through the shadowed lands to judgement beyond.  Many are tormented, seeking revenge or to complete a task left undone, while a few are simply lost.  Setting them to rest may be simple or easy depending on the nature of the spirits, making work for exorcists and ghost hunters.

The Church of the Sun, like their patron, has a visceral hatred of the Unliving and a harsh pity for the Unbound, seeking to destroy or banish them whenever encountered.

Notes:  Renaming things to suit your world / setting in important, it makes it more yours see (also Hollows and Hellions).  Also, I find the term “undead” wearing at this point, overused.  Of course, the challenge is getting your players to adopt the new terms.

Further, such creatures should be felt as a perversion of the natural order, something unwelcome in the world.  I am coming around to the view that they should only be used when their unnatualness will play into and heighten that aspect of a campaign, not just as throwaway threats.

Image An allegory of malaria. Reproduction of an engraving after M. Sand. Maurice Sand. Wellcome Collection license CC BY.

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