Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Restless Undead

Edward Henry Corbould

Restless Undead are incorporeal entities that once lived natural lives. Though their bodies have perished, their spirits linger on, unable or unwilling to leave the world of the living. They vary in their ability to manifest physically, and to affect the world around them. They include ghosts, poltergeists, wights, and wraiths. These spirits are typically tied to a specific landmark or geographical area. They may sometimes be summoned from beyond the grave against their will.

Francis Danby

Ghosts are the most common of these spirits. Their physical manifestations are the weakest, yet they can exude a strong emotional presence. These apparitions often appear in sites where tumultuous events have occurred, and may try to communicate to the living through subtle clues. There may be strong feelings of sadness or joy, unusual fragrances, or the occasional object left out of place. They can appear in dreams, and in rare situations communicate through psychic mediums. They tend to appear near to the place they died.

Gustave Moreau

Poltergeists have discovered how to physically interact with our world, and are capable of manipulating objects. Often they are harmless, and simply resent their homes being altered by newcomers. Sometimes they display ritualistic or obsessive habit that they exhibited in life. On occasion they can be quite dangerous, or even deadly. They are most often associated with a specific dwelling where they spent the most meaningful period of their lives.

Howard Pyle

Wights are tomb spirits. They tend to appear in cultures where it is custom to bury the dead with valuable possessions they held in life. They refuse to part with the material goods which they covet, and can be quite capable of manifesting physically and defending their domain. They may also be able to affect the mind of those who enter their tombs. They are seldom seen far from their burial place.

Harry Clarke

Wraiths are truly terrifying creatures capable of wandering the countryside. They are ethereal and can pass through the smallest crack, yet capable of physical manifestation. They are often shrouded, cloaked, or hooded, forming the shape of the living, yet being empty within their garb, save for their glowing eyes. They cling to power they once knew in life. Ancient stories of terrifying wraiths, mounted and armed, capable of speech, are told in fireside tales.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Cursed Undead

The cursed undead are corporeal beings. Common to all is the presence of their life force beyond the grave. These cursed beings include vampires, ghouls, revenants, mummies, and litches. Often, such creatures have done great evil during their lives, and are doomed to existence in a state that is neither life nor death. On rare occasions, tormented souls willingly choose such a fate. Disposing of the cursed undead requires destroying the object which contains their life force.

Antoine Wiertz

Vampires feast on the blood of the living. They can not bear the light of day, and must return to the earth of their homeland by dawn. They can be killed by destroying their heart.

Peter Paul Rubens

Ghouls are horrific beings which consume the decaying corpses of the dead. They haunt graveyards, battlefields, and sites of plague and famine. Their ravenous nature does not limit their appetite to the deceased, and will prey on the weak within their reach. Their heads must be severed to kill them.

Carlos Schwabe

Revenants are the decaying remains of individuals who are cursed through their own malice. Destined to walk the earth until their vengeance is appeased, they torment the living with accusations and threats. They prolong the torture of their victims as long as possible. Their life force is attached to an object which they held dearly in life.

Hubert Robert

Individuals can be cursed through ritual, their bodies prepared through mummification to withstand the ravages of time. A hellish imprisonment worse than death awaits these unfortunate souls, doomed to their fate for eons while all that remains of the world they knew crumbles around their tombs. Their life force is reputed to be contained in organs which were removed.

Viktor Vasnetsov

Litches are the desiccated bodies of individuals transformed by powerful arcane magic. Tales tell of powerful Necromancers, who chose to bind their spirits to their bodies even after death. Others tell of kings, betrayed by their Viziers and cursed to an abominable existence. Litches are powerful beings, and cling to the things they loved in life. Their life force is often contained in a gem or crystal.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Enchanted Undead

Enchanted Undead are bodies inhabited by summoned spirits. They include, but are not limited to, Zombies, Skeletons, Mandrakes, Homunculi, and Golems. Incorporeal spirits incapable of feeling are ever eager to walk the earth in physical form.

John Dixon

Zombies are formed by banishing the identity (called Ba by the Nomads across the Sea of Hope) from a living being, forming an empty vessel for a spirit to enter. This vessel still contains the spark of life.. the Ka, into which a lesser spirit may enter. In such a transformation, the person appears to die, and may even be buried. However, time is of the essence, as the sorcerer must soon recover the body, and finish the summoning of the possessing spirit. Zombies breathe, must eat and drink, and can be destroyed by natural means. Tales are told of Sorcerers who use such Zombies as servants and slaves.

It is said those with the knowledge may in some cases banish the possessing spirit, and return the Ba. In such cases, the victim is unlikely to remain un-scarred from the experience.

Bernhard Siegfried Albinus

The corpses of the dead may be re-animated by by summoning spirits as well. Even when bodies have decayed beyond structural integrity, enchantments fuse sinew and bone. These entities may be placed to guard over tombs or ancient ruins. Rare is the sorcerer bold enough to be seen in the company of such aberrations.


The Mandrake is a plant particularly suited to the possession of spirits. With the proper incantations, a miniature "man" can be cultivated via the Mandrake root, and imparted with consciousness.


More ambitious is the creation of a Homunculus. Requiring 40 weeks of tedious care, this body can be grown by an Alchemist of exceeding skill. This small "man" is then ready to be inhabited by a summoned spirit.


Most ambitious of all is the creation of a Golem. Through the use of clay, wood, stone, or other materials, a statue is created. The statue is brought to "life" through the summoning of a powerful spirit. This Golem may be employed to guard ancient sites, cities, and strongholds. Woe to the summoner who fails to control one of these mighty beings.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Thieves of Calabria

In all ages, in all places, theft is present. However, there are times and places where thievery is raised to an art form. Such a place is Calbaria, 1300 years after The Shattering.

Hieronymus Bosch

The cities of Calabria are home to sly pickpockets, ever on the lookout for unsuspecting residents and newcomers.
Many a traveller has left Pitkin with a lighter purse, without ever having spent a single coin.

Artist Unknown

Body snatching is all to common, as necromancy and other dark deeds require the corpses of the freshly dead.

Sidney Sime

The gallows are an ever tempting source for bodies among thieves.
Remains of murderers are particularly potent components for fetishes and potions.

Caspar David Friedrich

Ancient burial sites are tempting lures.  Such places lace fireside tales of forgotten treasure.

Sidney Sime

Yet when those tales turn to untold wealth that would make the greatest merchants of Calabria envious, it is the lairs of dark creatures that hold the attention of thieves, and lure them to their doom.

N.C. Wyeth

No matter how many fail to return, or have the gruesome nature of their deaths retold in hushed voices, ever are there venturesome souls, eager to try their luck and skill against the odds.