An ancient goddess who opposed the creation of Death itself, M'shesh's rebellion against the cycle of life and death led her to be demonized as the 'Mother of The Undead' and cast out from the living world. She cradles the souls of all her dead worshippers in her arms, keeping them safe for rebirth, and her living worshippers can exhale these waiting souls into corpses via the Breath of M'shesh. Her afterlife is essentially just hanging out with all the faithful in a big line for rebirth, and the line is the giant skeletal jungle gym of her immeasurably titanic body as she strides through the grey netherworld, swatting away demons and psychopomps like flies. She tries to convert sympathetic souls as they head to their respective afterlives, offering them second chances at rebirth if they agree to join her cause in favor of whatever afterlife they were aimed at.
M'shesh seeks to create a world without death, where living beings need not kill to eat, where no one dies of old age, a world without pain. A world without life. To make that world a reality, she must break this one. Most other worldviews see this as M'shesh trying to bring about a zombie apocalypse, whereas M'sheshans assert that once everyone is zombies, everyone can focus on being nice instead of killing each other for bread. M'shesh really despises apologists for death and pain. Maybe there's a good reason your setting cosmologically requires death and pain, but she either doesn't know or doesn't care.
M'shesh has no issue with her faithful killing those of faiths that actively oppose her goals (those who stand with death are welcome to it, after all, and excessive pacifism almost led to the extinction of her people once before) but apart from that, her worshippers are strongly discouraged from killing if at all possible, preferring conversion or mercy for subdued foes, and accepting unfavorable outcomes like being robbed if murder is the only possible alternative. She accepts the need for self-defense in the world of death or course, and carnivorous monsters are not deeply mourned. The more pious a worshipper is, the more hardcore vegan they become. Most carry a broom to sweep the ground before them as they walk so they don't trod on insects, and vows of chastity and castration are common so as to not bring any more souls into this world of suffering.
She cannot and will not grant any spells that deal damage, harm, or kill anything.
Extra Miracles of M'shesh
Y'know in addition to D&D cleric spells or whatever
Mend Undead- Any source of healing may be repurposed to heal undead by a faithful. This is the only way M'sheshan undead can heal themselves, save for slowly stiching themselves back together at the rate of 1HP per day (doubled if all day is spend stitching. It is a mirror to Cure Light Wounds, Serious Wounds, and Heal and there are undead healing variants of each spell.
Black Whirlwind- creates a tiny whirlwind by having M'sheshan souls move air as they swirl about. Strong enough to fling rats around, but will be careful not to fling any living being anywhere dangerous, or fling anything dangerous at anyone. It is composed of souls so it can take orders, but it can't talk and is fairly scrambled mentally speaking. Lasts 1 round per level, or [sum] actions.
Mask of the Heathen- Summons a black mist to block daylight. Prevents the sun from penalizing undead, and makes M'sheshan undead harder for enemy clerics to Turn. Lasts an hour per level or [sum] and has a radius of 10*level/sum yards. This was a spell developed to protect her faithful dead from the wrathful gaze of a sun god.
The Breath of M'shesh
Living clerics may also use the Breath of M'shesh on bodies that M'sheshian souls are willing to inhabit (so they must be in decent condition and humanoid, usually. Stuffing faithful souls into a dead mule tends to lower their morale significantly, or have only the nutters sign up for body occupation). This reanimates the corpse as an intelligent undead, the soul of a M'sheshian worshipper from days gone by piloting the corpse. If the corpse was already that of a M'shesh worshipper (cleric or otherwise)they get 'first dibs' on their own body, but otherwise there is a long waiting list of dead souls awaiting reincarnation so treat the risen dead as random NPCs who are generally amicable to the idea of helping out the one who raised them if they don't have their own plans.
Undead clerics/worshippers of M'shesh cannot use the Breath of M'shesh, and cannot benefit from typical living-oriented sources of healing. They tend to prefer sleeping during the day since it's easier to masquerade as one of the living at night, but have no night vision or many undead benefits. If they are killed again, it is assumed their body is really horribly torn to bits to finish them off, but no extra HP or damage resistances are granted. They do not decay if properly embalmed, and while slightly numb, can still feel normal sensation (except for pain and hunger) with their undead bodies.
When it comes to undead one must realize that M'shesh is far from the only creator of undead. Arcane magic animates corpses with dark energy and fragmented animal souls that leaves them mindless and hungry. Still other undead are 'natural' phenomena, forced to walk by curses and grudges. M'shesh is the mother of undeath, but she is by no means the master of all undead. It is immediately apparent to M'shesh worshippers when they are dealing with M'sheshian undead. "Foreign" undead are typically unreasonable and need to be destroyed before they hurt anyone, but if they convert to M'shesh they can be freed from their eternal hunger for life, but also freed from any undead powers they might have had.
Some Thoughts from play
M'shesh became the ascendant deity in the last BFRPG campaign I ran thanks to the efforts of a player who ended up as her prophet, and the goddess got suggested as a campaign feature for another campaign so I figured I'd repost the notes on the blog and just link here forever instead of reposting the info in multiple roll20 campaign forums. Anyway.
Having unlimited resurrections in new bodies was fun, but letting players be zombies lets them ignore a lot of typical obstacles- poison, water, and food being the biggest issues. A mixed party is less of a gamechanger than if the entire party is undead.
Option 1- Just go with it, have them walk across lakes and ignore rations and laugh at poison monsters. It's a power boost in terms of strategic options but won't break the campaign. Probably.
Option 2 (What I did in the first campaign)- The player doesn't need to breathe or eat or rest, but if they don't they start going mad and losing their humanity.
|In my original campaign she was the bitter survivor of centuries of religious oppression and genocide with about ten thousand dead worshippers for every living one|
But this cutesy anime Gravelord Nito is close enough