Undead



Send comments and/or criticism to Simon E. Phipp
Created On 20 April 2000
Last Updated On 20 April 2000
Copyright (c) Simon E. Phipp 2000

One of the staple monsters of a fantasy game is the Undead, and RuneQuest is no different. However, Undead in Glorantha have more depth than in many other worlds as the Gloranthan Undead are created in many ways and have many different motivations. Here, I will try to sketch out the ways that Gloranthan Undead are created and the motivations of various types of undead in Glorantha. This may well give a little more depth to the use of Undead in Gloranthan settings and make them a little more interesting.

Undead are those creatures that have died and now walk the world, either physically or as spirits. In RuneQuest 3 terms, most undead have no POW but only have Magic Points, although Ghosts have POW and are undead and many Mostali constructs have no POW and only Magic Points but are not undead. Gloranthan Undead include, but are not limited to, Vampires, Wraiths, Mummies, Zombies, Skeletons, Ghouls, Ghosts and Lamias.

Vampires

The princes of the Undead, Gloranthan Vampires are almost all created through the Vivamort cult and are almost all rulers of that cult. Those created by Sorcerers outside the Vivamort cult are normally solitary types and rarely last long.

Vivamorti Vampires are chaotic but do not necessarily behave as most Chaots. They are concerned with achieving and maintaining power and also with the destruction of Vivamort's enemies, i.e. anything that is alive.

The Vampires of the Lunar Vampire Legion behave as elite soldiers, a noble-elite amongst the Lunar army and superior to the rest of the Empire. Although many were created by Vivamorti, some were created by Lunar sorcerers and have never paid homage to Vivamort.

The Carmanian Vampires of the Wounded God are immortal noblemen, Lords of their feudal subjects. They know that their normal training in the noble arts are merely a precursor to their life as Incarnations of the Wounded God. Even those who follow the Carmanian Wargod Humakt know that when their time comes, they will join the ranks of the Wounded God as the feared Vampire Humakti.

The Vampires of the Upland Marsh serve Delecti and help keep his wretched kingdom in place, defending it against the enemies that surround it.

When Vampires are members of the Vivamort cult, they are normally arrogant, self-opinionated, self-indulgent rulers of their subjects. Where they are alone, they range from insanely jealous lovers to wandering killers or exotic magicians.

Mummies

These can be created in many ways by many cults and so can have different motivations.

Mummies can be created by the cults of Vivamort, Zorak Zoran and Viskar, the Dry Wind of Pent, amongst others, and also by some Shamans and Sorcerers. Mummies retain the magic they had when alive, although they cannot cast Spirit Magic as they have no POW, and they cannot sacrifice for new Divine Magic for the same reason. They are also self-willed and in control of their own actions, so this makes them dangerous adversaries. Mummies are the Captains of the Undead and lead other undead into battle.

Zorak Zoran Mummies are often Death Lords who have decided to stay around after Death and fight Chaos and the enemies of Zorak Zoran in the world. They often guard tombs or temples but can be found leading expeditions into dangerous areas or using their special talents to fight cult enemies. Quite often, Zorak Zoran Mummies are created through the last Divine Intervention of a Death Lord or initiate, but they can be created through HeroQuest.

Vivamort Mummies are the raised bodies of those cult members deemed not valuable enough to become Vampires but too valuable to leave dead. They normally guard Vivamort Temples and often act as bodyguards to Vampires when they sleep.

The Mummies of Viskar, the Dry Wind, are under the control of the priests that have created them and act as warriors and slaves.

Mummies created by shamans or sorcerers often act as guardians of tombs or sacred sites or as bodyguards.

Mummies are not intrinsically chaotic, nor are they necessarily evil, but where they are created by a chaotic cult they are usually chaotic and when controlled by a cult considered to be evil then they are evil.

Zombies

The foot soldiers of the Undead, Zombies are animated corpses. Some Zombies have a certain degree of self-will, others simply follow pre-programmed instructions. All Zombies are stupid and clumsy, although strong and difficult to stop. Zombies can be created by many cults, shamans and sorcerers, including the cults of Vivamort, Zorak Zoran, Gark the Calm and Robber.

Vivamorti Zombies are normally created from the corpses of enemies or raiders, raised from the dead to serve those they tried to destroy, or from the corpses of those cult members who have failed to progress in the cult. They are the guardians of temples and are considered expendable by their masters. Vivamorti Zombies are pre-programmed to act in certain ways and find it difficult to break that programming.

Zorak Zoran Zombies are also made from the corpses of enemies and guard temples and tombs, although some are made from faithful members who wish their corpses to continue to assist the cult after their death. These Zombies also act in a pre-programmed way and are often easy to evade by trickery.

Zombies from the Gark the Calm cult sit in eternal meditation on the state of the cosmos, contemplating the mysteries of the Universe in large groups within Gark's shrines. If attacked, they will fight back, sometimes quite skilfully, but afterwards will settle down to their meditations. Sometimes, Gark's Zombies will chant or sing, especially on his Holy Days, and it is said that their song causes madness amongst those who listen.

Zombies of the Robber Cult are created from the bodies of drowned sailors who were lost when their ships sank. They often sail Death Ships but can also be found carried by waves or riding on sea creatures. They are generally commanded by priests of the Robber cult or by the Ocean Nymphs of the sea. Normally, Robber's Zombies are used to attack ships at sea or coastal settlements, often in the service of the Closing.

The Pale Ladies can often create Zombies, these nymphs of still pools often lure young, handsome men to the poolside and pull them in, drowning them and raising the corpses as Zombie guardians, lovers or helpers.

The Kralorelans use Zombies to row their Galleys. Many of these Zombies are created from the corpses of executed criminals, but some are oarsmen who have elected to continue to serve after death. They are very well-disciplined and will row to the bat of a drum all day and night. However, they will not fight or stir, even if their ship is sinking.

Shamans can raise Zombies using spirit magic, their zombies can act on their own volition but are normally under the shaman's control.

Sorcerers create Zombies to assist them in their deeds, often using them as familiars.

Skeletons

These are the animated bones of the dead and are quick and skilful but are weak and easy to disable. Skeletons are normally completely pre-programmed and are used to guard tombs and temples. Skeletons are made by the cults of Vivamort, Zorak Zoran, Dagorma and by shamans and a few sorcerers. There is also a HeroQuest to allow skeletons to be created from the teeth of True Dragons. Skeletons generally do not differ between cults, being generally warriors.

Ghouls

These are the true Living Dead as they are both dead and alive, true living corpses. They survive be eating the flesh of the recently dead, have venomous bites and demoralising howls. Ghouls can be created in several ways - a Ghoul Spirit may be bound into a fresh corpse, which is how most shamans raise ghouls ; a freshly-slain corpse may be raised through arcane sorcery, this is how Vivamorti raise Ghouls; freshly-slain corpses may be raised through the use of Divine magic, this is how the Ghoul King of Sartar of Sartar and his worshippers raise ghouls. Most Ghouls are under the command of other undead or by their masters, the command being enchanted as part of their creation ritual.

Vivamorti Ghouls live in great colonies of stinking filth and attack in howling hordes.

Those who follow the Ghoul King of Sartar wander the wilds of Dragon Pass alone, preying on travellers or those living alone in the wilderness.

Wraiths

These are the souls of those who were slain in terrible ways. Some come back as wraiths without the use of magic, others are created using divine spells or spirit magic. Zorak Zoran and Ikadz both create Wraiths. Wraiths almost always guard the spots where they were killed and try to destroy their enemies, normally the enemies of those who created them, but quite often wraiths believe that everyone is their enemy.

Zorak Zoran's Wraiths are guardians of temples and tombs and attack those who would raid the tomb and desecrate the temples.

Ikadz' Wraiths normally line the corridors of the Ikadz' Temples and extol the virtues of the Ikadz cult, only sometimes using their powers to cause the cleansing pain their cult is renowned for.

Lamias

These are half-human, half-serpent undead, can drain blood and energy like vampires and can enslave men to their will to be love slaves or guardians. Lamias are created through HeroQuest, Divine Intervention, exotic Divine Magic or other unusual means. Lamias are normally solitary lovers, attracting handsome young men to their lairs and building up a group of lovers and guardians. Some have dreams of conquest, other simply want to survive, others still want to kill those who approach. Most Lamias are Chaotic, although by no means all.

Ghosts

These are the souls of the dead who roam the world or have not gone to an afterlife. Most have been summoned and bound into a certain place or object, although some could be free-travelling. Many cults bind Ghosts, including Vivamort, Zorak Zoran and Humakt.

Humakti Ghosts are not undead, but are the souls of worshippers who have decided to stay and guard temples after death.

Zorak Zorani Ghosts are the spirits of sacrifices and guard the temples and tombs.

Vivamorti Ghosts are also the sprits of slain enemies and also guard temples.

Most Ghosts have very specific instructions and cannot leave certain places or objects. They normally attack to possess bodies with the intention of killing the body, or of killing the companions of the one possessed. However, some ghosts bound to an object will attack to possess and to carry the object away with them. Some Ghosts can also cast their own magic and this can make them formidable opponents.

[End]