Sunday, May 12, 2019

The Color Dungeon

this dungeon is inspired by The Astral Prison of Urash Mhyr, one of the greatest gimmick dungeons of the 2014 one page dungeon contest. I'll probably drop this place as a random dungeon fill so if you're my players you may wanna skip this post. Or you could read it and excuse your metagame knowledge as 'prophetic dreams'
I couldn't condense it enough for the 2019 OPDC so I expanded it to my satisfaction instead. I think it will be best for characters with some experience and problem-solving tools under their belts.

The Color Dungeon has two trees growing outside- one with red fruit, and one with blue fruit. Eat the appropriate fruit and you become insubstantial to and utterly unaffected by the opposite color, and you and your equipment are stained that color for the rest of the day. If you eat both, you become purple and are unaffected by Red and Blue objects. Having normal coloration allows all things to affect you.
Normal- Interacts with everything as normal.
Red- Interacts with Red and typical objects normally. Intangible to Purple and Blue.
Blue- Interacts with Blue objects and normal objects as usual. Intangible to Red and Purple.
Purple- Interacts normally with typically-colored objects and Purple objects. Intangible to Red and Blue objects.

A massive gate of red stone seals the entrance. Beyond it, a massive door of blue stone also blocks off the entrance hall. A lever behind each gate will open it slowly, then reset as the gate slides back down.

To the left and right are corridors with pits, covered by red or blue tiles.Gigantic blue tentacles occasionally wave through the red floor, and will make blind attempts to grab people. Red people are insubstantial to the tentacles, naturally. The Blue floor also has purple hanging loops that people can swing across on if they are purple, one at a time. The floor between this pits (where the players are presumably standing to weigh their options) is actually an elevator platform that shakes, then slowly begins to descend into a flooded trench where the Kraken lurks, which both pits lead into. The overgrown octopus(actually a polymorphed dog) has figured out how the colors here work and can change color between Red and Blue (with one round of unwitting purple while it changes) and occasionally switches which floor it reaches up through, hoping to snag people. The beast can also swim through a long, dark, and labrynthine flooded cavern to reach the frozen cavern. The elevator can be raised back out of the pit via operation of an underwater wheel-lever in the flooded kraken-pit where it lowers

Over the blue tiles is a hallway that doubles back on itself and passes three locked prison cells, access to which is barred with colored iron bars that one can reach through but not squeeze through.
The blue cell contains a vampire named Crim and his coffin. He is not actually trapped, but IS pretty bored and hungry, and will make no secret of this. He will follow around the players and demand probably nonlethal tributes of blood (1d8 damage) from any non-blue characters if he sees them. (He will make additional reaction rolls to individuals on merit of how tasty their blood is) This will suck the red right out of them, decolorizing reds and turning purples blue(though apart from this blood-draining trick he is still unable to interact with purple objects unless turned purple himself). If threatened, he will retreat to his cell then sulkily stalk people to eat them, but if his demands are met he will aid the party in half-assed fashion. He and the purple wizard are not on speaking terms due to quarreling over a lover, and they will pretend the other doesn't exist to the point of ludicrousness.

The Red cell contains a blue chest full of treasure and has no key to its iron-bar door, but the cell could be unbarred from the inside by someone able to interact with the bar.

The purple cell contains a wizard, Drawjim, who claims he built the dungeon but was betrayed by his apprentice and imprisoned. Naturally he wishes to be freed, and promises the players any reward they name if they will free him. His cell is locked and doubly trapped with runes that trigger on anyone crossing the barrier for a 5d6 fireball and a 5d6 Ice Storm, and he says to safely extricate him the key must be retrieved from the neck of the guardian dragon, and the wands of unblue and unred must be tapped against his cell to undo the magics.

Past the red tiles is a room with 3 other exits blocked by flames that obscure all beyond them. Once there is no weight on the Red tiles,  flames appear to block the entrance as well.
There is a riddle written on the floor that can be read from the perspective of those entering the room-

"It is wrong to cut off a mans left leg, and wrong to cut off his left arm, but if you do both, he is all right. Two wrongs therefore make a right, and of course three lefts also make a right. Barred by flames, there are two right paths, and two wrong paths for moving forward. Visitor, calculate the number of lefts contained in the rights and wrongs to know which flames are left harmless, then leap through boldly!"

The dead end flames conceal long drops to the Dragon's Lair, causing 3d6 fall damage and then, presumably, a lot more dragon-induced damage. The correct flames can be sprinted through for no damage at all, but cautiously creeping through or poking 10' poles into them will reveal them to be deadly to the tune of 2d8 damage per round and perfectly capable of melting metal and incinerating wood.

Red and Blue bars bar form walls that prevent complete access to this room. A giant dog sleeps in the center of the room. If roused, it will bark and alert the treacherous Apprentice in the Sorcerous Chambers, who will unleash his dog-hordes.

A mighty purple Inexorable Beast roams this area, tracking the players down by smell over and over, and 'respawning' a mere 1d6+4 dungeon turns after it is slain. There are a great many huge slabs of stone colorshifted to force intruders on circuitous routes, and purple slabs at each entrance to the Maze-Vaults to keep the beast from escaping.

There are also a great many rooms with treasure chests inside. Assume the chests are of the color they appear unless otherwise specified, and that they are locked. The keys are around the Guardian Dragon's neck.

1a- This chest is Purple and therefore hard to interact with. It is also behind 5' of solid stone in every direction. It contains the Immaculate Garnet, a gem of 5000 coin value and the ability to turn things Red or Blue based on which color they are, overall, closer to.
1b- The chest here contains 1000 coins worth of Red Gold, and a single coin smeared in lethal contact poison. The only clue is a single dead mouse within the chest. Even if the players are wearing gloves when it is collected, when counting treasure or paying a merchant later, the poison coin will surely be touched with bare fingers eventually.
1c-The bottom of the chest is actually thin red paper barely able to support the 1000 coins within. Any excess disturbing of the chest will cause the paper to tear and the coins to tumble down the chute beneath into the dark, flooded caverns of the Kraken.
1d- The Red Noose within this chest will strangle people till they're blue in the face, causing 2d6 damage per round of strangulation but allowing them to slip through with 1hp remaining once they've turned Blue. It is also somewhat hidden, having passed through the bottom of the blue chest it is in and lying in a coil on the ground beneath the bottom of the chest, making it invisible to the casual observer unless the chest is moved.
2a-The chest here contains 1000 coins worth of Blue Gold, and also a small 1HD gelatinous cube within which the coins are suspended. The clue is the dust that has accumulated, apparently in thin air, in a uniform, flat layer 1 inch above the coins(on the top layer of the cube).
2b-The chest here is and contains an Immovable Rod that is Purple and therefore immaterial to things of exclusively red and blue hues. The chest is bolted from the inside by said immovable rod and made of heavy stone weighing 800 pounds, requiring an hour of pickaxing to break open or some manner of cleverness in moving the chest straight up 1 foot before opening, so the rod no longer holds it shut.
2c-Sealed away behind a 2' brick wall on all sides is the chest containing the Blue Diamond, which turns people Blue if light shone through it falls upon them and is worth 5000coins.
2d- This chest contains a Scroll Of Unfortunate Teleportation which can teleport the party anywhere in the world, provided they don't actually want to go there. Touching the chest it is contained inside teleports whatever touched it to a random room in the maze-vaults.
3a- This chest is made of glass and full of Rust Gas that makes it appear orange and opaque. The gas causes all exposed metal objects to save or crumble to dust, and metal objects that do save to turn Red.
3b-This chest is full of red hearts which function as red fruits, but grosser. The vampire will eat them if given the opportunity.
3c-The chest here is a mimic half starved from its inability to eat anything red or blue.
3d - The Blue Bulwark- A towershield that blocks all frontal attacks directed at the wielder, provided they are not Red or Purple, of course (Any bloodstained weapon likely counts as red). A 4hd skeleton blocks the entrance to this room with this unbreakablish defense, and is wielding a cursed purple longspear that stabs the user in the kidneys whenever it misses to poke through the shield.
4a-The Red Crystal Sword- A Vorpal Sword encrusted with Red crystals that make the handle unwieldable (unless you are blue or Purple) and the blade worthless except for use as a magical club  (unless you are striking a blue or purple enemy in which case the crystals are no hindrance).
4b- The Ruby Exemplar- This 5000coin value gem turns things Red if light is shone through it onto the target. The chest is not red via color trickery, but by virtue of being red-hot from a contained and enraged Fire Elemental.
4c-This chest is full of Blue shrunken heads from hanged criminals that function as blue fruits but grosser
4d-This room is defended by crossbow bolts that shoot from holes in the walls, change color, then shoot across the room again every round, alternating blue and red. Within the chest is the Purple Bolt that forces Purple beings struck by it to save or die.


Huge bookshelves and piles of junk have been stacked to the ceiling in rectangular-ish stacks. A player may find any mundane(though damaged) item here with 1d6 rounds of searching, albeit in a random color of Red, Purple, Blue, or regular. Climbing the piles of junk is easy but confusing to do in a rush- roll under Intelligence instead of climbing or anything if attempting to climb the stacks in a crisis situation (such as being swarmed by dogs)

The Sorcerer's Apprentice is here, and wields the Wand of Unblue that he will use to turn Purple things Red and Blue things Normal as it suits him. (It also turns green things yellow.) He has gone mad with power and will kill anyone who defies him even slightly. He also wields a regular whip that he uses to try to trip people at range so the dogs can eat them. His only memorized spell is two casts of GreasePaint(as Grease), one Red and one Blue, which he will use to keep people prone or make them fall from the junk-piles if they are climbed.
If defeated he will cacklingly reveal the Wand of Unred has been taken by the kraken. He will, ideally, flee from combat to the Color Cavern before this happens where the two great guardian beasts will be unable to harm him so long as he is Purple.

The Mad Dogs- Two dozen dogs, 6 red, 6 blue, 6 purple, 6 normal. All are mad with hunger and confusion over constantly passing through each other and fight as 1hd monsters that attack randomly, unaware of their coloration, until someone is dragged down by their attacks, at which point they all try to maul downed individuals. They will prioritize eating over fighting.

The Cleaning Demon
- The polyamorous lover of both the vampire and wizard, the wizard turned the demon purple out of jealousy, causing the rift between himself and the vampire and alienating the demon, who aided the apprentice to get back at the wizard, but now regrets their actions and wishes to get things back to normal and also devour the uppity apprentice's soul. the apprentice Unred'd the thing and turned it blue for his own safety. The demon currently appears as a hulking blue ogre-maid and is responsible for keeping the place tidy and maintaining the junk-stacks. The apprentice(or anyone paying attention when the apprentice foolishly reveals the name) may command the demon for one round by invoking their true name '
Manushakaguyn'  but this will enrage the demon if the command is frivolous or against the demon's own desires. The demon is already furious with the apprentice, of course, and will be well-pleased if chromatically reunited with both the vampire and wizard. If only reunited with one of the two, will be annoyed as that's what started this whole mess, and the vampire or wizard will be pleased if able to interact with their lover, and incensed if denied once more.

A room of Red and Blue stalagmites, stalactites, and columns, with a lake of chilly water taking up the left side of the room that is spanned by the Blue Bridge. If entered by anyone but the Wizard the Kraken and Dragon are both alerted and will arrive in 1d6 rounds (roll separately) to slay intruders with grasping tentacles and burning breath, and to incidentally
guard the Purple Pedestal, upon which is engraved the following spells. The center of the room where the Pedestal sits can be reached both by dragon-breath and Kraken-tentacle, but they cannot reach tentacles/breathe fire more than a few dozen feet past their own 'side'
  • Redden-  Turns a target Red, or a blue target purple.
  • Bluify- Turns a target Blue, or a red target purple.
  • GreasePaint- As the spell Grease, but the grease is a color of your choice and dries into paint in a few minutes.
  • Polychromorph Other-Turns a target into another living form that you have seen before, provided both target and intended transformation are the same color.
  • Painted Gate- Summons a random demon of a color of your choice. If you know a demon's true name and color, you may summon them specifically.
  • Drawjim's Instant Dog- Grows a dog from a mammal corpse. Dog is of similar size to corpse.
  • Fireball- As Fireball, but Red
  • Ice Storm- As Ice Storm but Blue
  • Wall of Fire- As wall of fire, but Red
  • Animate Red- As Animate Dead, but only works on Red corpses
GUARDIAN DRAGON LAIRStats as an adult red dragon. It is of merely animal intelligence, being a Polymorphed dog, and too big to leave its lair, though with a long, sinuous neck and a long jet of fire, it is still a menace for any entering the Color Cavern (right side) It will, however, stick its head out to fry anyone trying to reach the color cavern or sorcerous chamber back entrance- the safe route to the color cavern is through the maze-vaults. Around its neck are the keys to the chests in the maze vaults. It is not as clever as the Kraken and does not understand what's going on with colors.

The lair itself is a series of descending concentric stone ledges with a lava pool at the bottom and a few streams of lava trickling down into the center. It is full of fumes, broiling hot, and an unpleasant place to be for anything but a dragon. Holes in the ceiling lead back to the Trapped Doors area.

KRAKEN LAIR- an underground lake frozen over partially by thick, floating ice-bits. The Wand of unred is at the bottom and it has turned the water here full-on Blue, meaning Red and Purple characters can traverse the place as though it were a hollow cavern filled with air instead of water, and the Kraken is limited to being Blue here lest it 'fall' through the blue water and splatter. The reason for the chill is due to excessive Ice Storm target practice.
It will swim up the channel to menace people with its tentacles, but for the most part cannot reach much past the left side of the Color Cavern.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Excerpts From A Second-Hand Necronomicon

pictured: actual real-life selfie of me writing this self-indulgent post about some dead wizards my players stomped in prior campaigns
The Necronomicon, by Abdul Alhrazed, Astronomer-Necromancer (early 3rd sun)
(Corrections Courtesy of  Sarkomand, The Sorcerer-King, The Omnipotent!) (4th Sun)
(test results of queens-consort neroikos) (late 3rd ranging to 4th)
(With advice for a modern audience by Magister Verdurus in the age of the 5th sun)
Rejoice, seekre of knowledge, for ye hold in your hands the lyfe's worke of Abdul Alhrazed(or more likelie, a copy of my great work). Belief me when I say I holde no ill wille towardes the race of menne nor womenne nor childrenne, butte sought only to understand lyfe and deathe, and wishe to spread this knowledge to all mortals, and even immortals such as the Alves(poor bastard was writing this before the intersolar war, ignore everything he says about Alves)

Though a broade subject, let it first be said that Necromancy is notte a art of deathe and darkness, but of LYFE and LYGHTE! The Soul is what we speake to, and grant new fleshe, so that the dead may once againne gaze uponne the sunlit realms. Ifn the ruling bodies of a land prove querulous and recalcitrante in accepting our blessinges, remembere that it is notte these foolishe kings and wytches, butte the elements and world, who are your true enemie. Air, Earth, and Water- all seek to expel our SOULS from our bodies, and reclaim our crude materiel bodies to their cold grasps. The ignorance of men may be rectified in time(dubious), butte the enmitie of the elementes is eternal and unrelenting, and to denie deathe, one must assert that LYFE and LIGHTE, the FYRE of the SOUL, is eternallie dominant over the elementes! (again, 3rd-sun scholar, he had never even heard of the purging flame of riikhus)

Before ye proceed, I would firstlie recommende seeking out the Haibane Yazata (he means a Vulch. Bird-person, endemic to Saresare) for though they are filthie and loathesome of aspect, they are mortal psychopomps entrusted with a deep empathie for the soul, and can teach ye muche of calling forth the spirits of the deceased, and perhaps most importantlie, of putting them back to rest. Do notte call up what ye can not putte down....  
Chapter One- Missing Parts
Ye have doubtless hearde of mightie menne and womenne fighting battles after taking fatal wounds, and the simple reasonne for this is that a bodie is merelie a vessel, the lantern holding the lyghte of the soul. A strong soul need not leave its bodie if it can endure painne and impairment. I examine the following issues with missing organs, butte advise ye, my student across time, to use bodies that died peacefullie(Ironic)(irrelevant) and to follow these instructional sketchings to inform ye barber-surgery and confirm all organs are present before proceeding.

  1.  The Brainne- This soft cushionne exists so our fierie souls might be comfortable and dreaming in our crude bodies of fartinge mudde. With no brainne, a bodie will be discomfited and confused, unable to differentiate between things within the world. Bodies with no brainnes are suitable onlie for mindless-seeming slaves to obey magickal commandes to the lettere, or as hosts for souls that ye fear would be too powerful to release into the world with a full bodie. (a truly powerful soul has no need for a body at all, but they may want one badly. my queen will have a proper one, soon enough...)The better the brainne, the better the feeling and control of the bodie, and so a certain lust for brainnes may manifeste in undead with withered or damaged brainnes, out of agonizinge desire to heal themselves, not maliciousness. Thinke well before e'er raising a Skeleton, and pay ye embalmers well!
  2. The Skull- a Skull is a beacon for appropriate souls to inhabit a bodie. Ye may find yourself infusing headless corpses with the confused souls of wyrmmes of the earth, squiddes of the sea, and snailes of the both, and other boneless blasphemies if ye are luckie, and if unluckie, ye may call forth the dead of the First and Forgotten Sun, the nameless nightmare dreamers of whom i wille not speak(in this text at least)(alluding to later work, Nameless Cults)
  3. The Heart, And The Bloode- The power of a bodie resides in the heart and the bloode, and dry bones lacking either will be of limited strength. Rotten bodies and those chopped and hewnwill likewise be of limited power, relying on strength of spirit. A bled bull inhabited by a standard spirit will be of little use as a plow animalle, while a childe's dry bones inhabited by a mightie warrior of ages past will have the strength of ten menne. (small bodies enable flight with a sufficiently strong soul. stitched giants tend to be unable to so much as twitch. souls spontaneously generate and incubate within bodies, however, allowing for artificially gestated souls to be matched to special projects.) (Vampirism of the first-order is a curse that affects the soul itself, second-degree vampirism is the disease spirit offspring of a first-order vampire attaching themselves to living hosts.)
  4. Liver- Thinke of the liver as a prism for the soul, amplifying desire in the basest senses. Love, hunger, fear... A bodie with no liver is a colde thinge, alienated from humanne desires, and driven onlie by ideologie and logick. (Not necessarily a bad thing for a minion) Alves do notte have livers so do not fret if ye cannot find one. (Wrong, Alves DO have withered vestigial lily livers, as do Elves. It's Snakemen who don't have them at all.)
  5. Stomach And Viscera- The lacke of guts allows for spirit-flight more easilie, butte the cold earth, even a sprinkling of sand, will oppress passage of a bodie without them, explaining the popularitie of subterranean graves even in lands where the skull-moon does notte go. Beware the so-called 'purifying saltes' that will strike the gutless bodies like an onager-stone (Feels more like slingstones, I'd say)
  6. Bladder- A parallel of the guts, butte for water. A bodie with no bladder may not resist the flow of water, making rain paralyzing and even streams impassable without a bridge. The ocean will devour bodies without bladders in a flash! (not so bad in darkness and deep, deep ocean. Unfortunately, there are aquatic grues. Sunken necropoli are rarely worth effort)
  7. Lungs- A parallel of the guts and bladder, butte for air. The wind itself will be a bodies' enemie, a thousand invisible daggers on everie breeze, and everie incense burner an impassable wall! (M'shesh breathes the Black Wind and is my personally recommended intermediary)(incense aside, wind is manageable assuming you wear clothes, but this was before the covenant of lightning. Day clouds=almost as bad as sunlight these ages. If your minions start falling apart for no reason, check the lungs)
Chapter Two- Species And Souls
  1. Humannes-It is important to knowe the culture of a soul, so to avoid offense and reach agreements...(Forget all this, see Appendix B, for 'Boozehound Brigands' whose souls will serve perfectly well in most situations, provided their liver is intact enough to get sozzled and you can understand some archaic Common)
  2. Dwarves- I have notte met many of the stubborne folk of stone, butte their own necromantic artes are based on ancestral bloodlines and ornate crypts where the dead remain vigilant, to one day defende the living in a time of ultimate peril. It speakes to their fortitude that their dead can cling to such wounded bodies for so longe... as suche, I would not seek to raise a Dworf for fear of the obstinate ideologie and prior obligations sure to rise up...(induced vampirism excellent at altering priorities. Bizarre inorganic dietary options emerge) (Sounds like Sarkomand accidentally recreated nascent Svarts, though in a mineral-deprived, feral state.)
  3. Alves- While one may raise the Bodie of an Alf with a different soul(initial experimentation with soulless, elf-homunculi resulted in the occasional spontaneous possession of the bodies by hyperbolically competent alves when the iron moon passed by. security risk, all elf-clones destroyed.), the Alf-soul will likelie alreadie be departed to a Lunar Mirror and rejoining the circle of lyfe in a new bodie. Alves are an enlightened people who do not mistake the container for the content, and are most tolerant of the so-called 'undeade' so longe as they are not gruesome and abhorrent to their sensitive ears (this is not true of Elves these days, and if it is true you're probably dealing with a post-collapse Alf who should be slain and their dark-stained soul sent back to the Iron Moon.)
  4. Haibane Yazata(vulch)-The spirits of the sacrede yazata are very strong, but they scavenge lowlie bodies on their own should they choose to return to lyfe, and compelling them to take a bodie they do not consider abandoned is follie. I found this out the harde way when my instructor, Nasir, took an Arrow to the Gut and slowlie perished despite my offers of assistance, and I hope that his lessons are expressed in this booke...(Ignoring this lengthy eulogy, know that the vulch can set to rest undead with their humming and singing, but not Skull-Moon undead. Also know that the Church of the Bell Exorcist is derived from their songs, and their instruments are both of great use to necromancers, and of terrible danger to the undead.)
  5. Ningen- A race of gentle and fishie giants of the sea, their spirits flow like water back to the sea upon deathe, and are most difficulte to call back from the depths, and the sea, being of salt and water and a great profusion of lyfe, is most inhospitable to the long-term condition of the bodie. As such I was unable to restore the fallen princesse of the Ningen despite my best efforts, and have notte heard from the sea-folk again since my unfortunate failure, and so my knowledge is most limited on this subject.
  6. Snakes- The great mother of serpents Yg, a friendlie(HA!) black-haired priestess of whom helped editte this booke into the commone tongue, of course discovered necromancie and many other wonders beside in those forgotton Ages, butte has kept their secrets within her libraries and amonge the snakepeoples and their ancient crypts that survived the Age of Dragonnes. Suffice it to say that you should notte meddle with the affairs of serpents, (HA!) butte Dragonnes are fair game in the eyes of Yg. Beware that dragon souls are most unreasonable, and their bodies are large and unwieldie for other Spirits to use, butte rewarding if a suitable match can be found.
  7. Beasts- When raising the spirits of beasts, carnivores for savagerie and domestic spirits for obedience are -(Stop reading his ramblings, use queen bee souls!) (Unless you're really into making your minions double as literal honeypots, when it comes to bugs, ant souls are the ideal mix of unthinking obedience and natural cooperation. Don't use Dogs unless you're Yuban, but cat-souls are good if you want a natural predator that you don't have to pay much attention to. Bird souls too, oddly enough.)
  8. Plants- It is relativelie easie to raise a plant into a state of preserved stasis, as seen in the eternal forests of the alves, butte nearlie impossible to restore one to any semblance of lyfe. They are too close to the cycle of elementes and the Sun for their souls to be of great use, and a humanne soul within a tree will have greate difficultie moving such heavy limbs. (Also, while they're great to pillage for stashed corpses, do not ever bring undead close to a grave-tree. Those things are near elementals in terms of their hatred for undead) 
  • Ghouls- Ghoul Fever is a fundamentally elemental process- life consuming life, as life is wont to do, but only ever consuming and assimilating, not reproducing. Ghouls maintain their organs by devouring the dead, and as such are not found in violation of the elemental covenant. I think, carefully managed, that Ghouls will be the perfect servants for the west fortress, and further proof of how far I have exceeded Abdul's understanding of the opposition of elements to the undead. Also works on Dogs- the Jackal God is displeased, but powerless to oppose me.
  • goblins, ogres, and other alfspawn- highly morphogenic bodies proved useful in biomancy, but nearly useless for necromancy, as their souls were suggestions at best, vestigial, embryonic things. I could have taken the time to name them, but compliance was low. all were terminated after security risks grew too high. alf biomancy and abdul's necromancy are increasingly useless in my true task of freeing my queen from this accursed tree and into one of these dozens of bodies that so resemble her
  • Blight Fungus(?)- A wonderfully horrid crossbreed between undead fungus, darkness, and disease spirits led to the creation of a virulent life-mimicking corruption that spread via air and contact, and reacted very positively to necromantic energies (and poorly to flame and salt). I suspect all fungus may be a First-Sun life-form, explaining how lightly death touches it. Souls in infected bodies quickly lost morale, sanity, and finally their grip on the mortal realm entirely as their host bodies decayed into festering masses. A side effect arising from second-stage decay of blight itself results in airborne ghul-fever and the subsequent consumption of the infected- an immune response from the elemental covenant, I expect, and a damper on its spread. Though the City of Bells seems unfit for further experimentation, I have met with xxxx-xx-xxxxx who in turn has communed with a being of outer darkness xxxx for further alteration of the stuff. The neighboring desert country and the disgruntled 'Circle of Aldha' therein seem very promising for further collaborative research. 
Chapter Three- On the Dead of the Skull Moon
I belief we whomst've'd necromanced are so reviled for the superficiale resemblence of our art to that of the dread Skull Moon, and its hideous beyeings thereof. While it is true that the soul of a locust within the bodie of a manne, afflicted with confusion, pain, and unnatural hunger, may be a disturbing sight, it is still a living soul within a natural bodie. Butte the 'souls,' such as they are, of the Skull Moon Dead are all extensions of a singular idiot will that seeks to devour all goode sunlit lyfe, and devour our're warm souls to adde to the the pallid glow of the stonie bones of that fell moon. The necromancer reshuffles the cards dealt by lyfe, butte the moon is unlyfe itself! The difference could notte be more clear...

skull-dead- Looking down on the dry city of annu nki, I sometimes am at a loss as to how to continue my work, and I merely note the dead and the dehydrated in hopes of inspiration and a superior catalogue to Aadul's meagre bestiary- the slaughter and progressive stages of undeath I witnessed from the slaughtered brigands who had the temerity to seek shelter at my gates...
day 1-crawling claws, flying heads, gutsnakes, crawlers, skinkites, muscle slugs, skulletons. weak, easily dispatched pieces of the whole. a grotesque necessity of making do with bits and pieces of entire bodies, an emphasis on stealth and assassination. under the light of skull, dismemberment is recruitment.
day 2-drowned, hangmen, butchers, bloatfloats, zoonbies. upper levels of cathedral sealed and warded against fliers with both strength and thumbs, wells sealed to prevent amphibious entrance. the dead are starting to show task-specialization.

day 3-tomb-bursters, plaguehosts, gravemoles, maggoteers. noise and stench absolutely grotesque. the stage is set to pillage the locked-away dead as well as the living now, and poison the land, barren though it be. i have no fear of conspiring disease spirits.
day 4-the winter moon is come, a brief conjunction, skull ascendant. unfrozen, rot oozes, redbogs. decay, frost, the dead raising the dead. i sent forth my own organ-takers and crypt wights, all lost despite cloud cover. The very soil and snow crawl with animated blood and unidentifiable flesh sloughs that extinguish burning oil due to sheer mass- thank my queen for the tree's desiccating roots that destroy these liquid threats.
day 5-devouring cages, coffin-crawlers, skin-flayers, swallowers, red pythons. amalgamation of yesterday's crude masses into singular forms, the accoutrements of crypts repurposed into war machines. my acids are distilled, and poured down the walls en masse. the moonspawn smoke and wither to nothing, but they have no self-preservation and press the accursed stone of the cathedral itself.
day 6- dust wraiths, hair-horrors, smoking ones. even my strongest countermeasures begin failing, as beings reduced to ash and dust simply refuse to stay dead in the glaring light of the will of skull. every gate warded with a hundred knives, and my failed dolls sent out as sacrificial lambs, though they join the horde themselves. even with their twisted forms, they still count as human for the reanimation process. 
day 7-the taker of skulls- gigantic amalgamate skeleton with a hundred skulls & arms 20 feet long with 5 hands on each end. I lured it into the crypts and the roots of the immortal tree that holds my queen prisoner showed the impromptu avatar that without the light of skull it was nothing but bones to be scattered and buried. the sun finally comes and the skull moon flees.

Chapter 4- The Jealous Elementes
The humanne bodie is composed of  a balance of air, water, and earth, with sunlyghte composing the animating lyghte of the soul. While a soul can impose masterie over these elementes, once deathe has occured, the elementes will seek to reclaim the bodie via the forces of decay, and in some cases, via brutishe calamitie of lyghtning, earthquake, tornado, volcano, flood, and so on. It is told to me that these elementals are somehow in service to the sun, and that the dead are in violation of some pact, butte how could this be, when the sun is merely a great lyght wrought of iron and magick and set in the sky by Alves and Dwarves, which is predated by far by the elementes?
That aside, the division of elementes into sunlit and dark, anthropomorphic or formless, is of greate interest to me and I would lyke to return to the subject(
he never does, but the academy library on heleologos has various excellent works on the subject of elementals both shadowed and sunlit)  in its own right beyond these simple charms, which should be performed for all bodies set to be raised.
The Warding of Sky-Obtain some pan-pipes, and perform the following piece(a reversed vulch-lullaby) to communicate to the air that the bodie is not dead. Convincing the animated bodie to breathe will aid greatlie in the longevetie of this ward. (speed of the piece should vary based on ambient wind speed.) (Any instrument using breath will do, including singing of sufficient quality) 

The Warding of Sea- Next, or perhaps during the warding of sky, the bodie should be washed thoroughly, and given to drink an elixir of wine, bloode(preferably of a live enemy), and spit(preferably of a live lover), to convince the elemente of water that the bodie is still alive and engaging in drinking, fighting, and loving.
The Warding of Stone-Upon the leg and toe-bones, certain runes should be scrimshawed, with minimal rending of the flesh to access the bones. The runes Stability and Balance aid greatlie in giving a bodie a proper walk, as opposed to an unsightlie shuffle, and a drum should be beaten as the bodie is gifted with a new soul, to beat the cadence of living movement that the bodie should learn as quicklie as possible, and convince the grim and listening earth that the footsteps uponne it are that of a living being, full of vigor and lyfe.

(such trifling wards are of no matter if one commands the elements as easily as the dead, of course)

Appendix A- Undead Categorizations- Naturally, the painless, faithful, and pacifistic undead of M'shesh are not listed here
Barely cognizant due to lacking a brain, but possessed of an indomitable will that refuses to abandon even such a terrible body.
Zombie- Not much better than a skeleton, but stronger, and able to move in dead silence. Angry cat spirits account for the stealth

Ghoul- All consuming hunger for flesh, a paralyzing touch, sane when well fed, bestial otherwise. Would be the perfect soldiers were it not for their distractible nature and corpse-obsession. Dogs extremely dangerous when infected. A grey area between the living and the dead.

White One(long since bastardized to wight)-Similar to a zombie, but death-pale, ice-cold, better preserved and so capable of rational thought. Their soul is too powerful to be driven out save by weapons that can strike the soul directly, and their touch is the touch of a soul trying to devour another soul. Such power! Such force of will! 
Shadows- Reflections, barely alive.Not sure if actually derived from living things or just stupid simulacra that convinced themselves they deserved to be real. (could this be an account of successfully reanimated goblin-kin?)
Wrath(long since bastardized to wraith)-An imprint of incredible ill-will. Not the soul of a person, but an impression of hate, not enough to live on its own, but enough to kill and try to claw its way into full life. I think my retainer Oza casts one of these as her shadow naturally, ha ha!
Ghosts, Spirits, Etc- This is the full soul, of course. As a full soul, it can take bodies for itself. What terrible geas binds the soul to the world even after the body and all else is long gone? That won't happen to me. For I will never die!
Mummy- Somehow related to whatever went wrong in that temple-town of M'shesh, these shambling brutes are helped along by a bound disease spirit aiding their strength. Really, not much more than a dirty, spice-scented zombie. Buried the lot of them under the sand-moon.
Vampires- The curses involved are too elaborate to expound upon in a charity appendix in someone elses book, but a proper viewpoint sees eternal life and a bamboozlement of vengeful elementals as a blessing, not a curse, no matter how M'shesh wails at the thought of her dead devouring the living. A vampire who is depressive and not exuberant is defective.

Appendix B-  Boozehound Brigands
Ruznur Zcun- Mountain bandit of a bygone age who graffiti'd his name in a cave wall. Limited familiarity with modern accoutrements and believes alcohol to be a magic spell. Do not mistake this ignorance for stupidity. My go-to big game hunter.

Admiral Torgrin- Much happier if promised a ship. Allowing him to call forth his own damned crew will inevitably result in a mutiny, but setting him in charge of any other crew results in faster mutinies. Understands dwarvish Boompowder, piracy/privateering, and naval strategy.

Scutty Pyotyr- Vint-Savoth bandit and ex-werewolf. Good at controlling dead with carnivore animal souls. Doesn't mind animal bodies. Will probably escape into the wilderness sooner or later, more effort than it's worth to keep around once he gets wanderlusty.

Tecs Vulsus- Mercian Riikhite- will do any task so long as you twist it into being a holy crusade against heretics and the second coming of the 4th sun. Treats cognitive dissonance with alcohol. Recommendation- Pretend to be a Mokkhus Cleric, ie, somber, lawful, insistent he not stay too long in the living world(and discover, for instance, that Riikhus is dead and Mokkhus has been 'missing' for 200 years)

Failures of Nalil- Moonland berserkers who were not chosen for demonic ascension by their damned and blasted Carnage Moon, and are waiting for a second chance, which you can falsely promise. By now all the names I knew are devoured by their moon, but if you find one name, you should be able to find many more from that one, and simply turn them loose to cause murder and mayhem.

Butler Jeeves- Alf-raised fellow of impeccable service, even when utterly soused. Knows a variety of dead folk who have no outstanding engagements and will serve in a domestic sense without much complaint, due to their servile upbringings and alcoholic inclinations.

As a parting note- always remember that though society spurns our art, you are never alone. We dead masters of bygone times are just a ritual away, and all too willing to return and share our wisdom with neophytes beginning their journeys.