|pictured: actual real-life selfie of me writing this self-indulgent post about some dead wizards my players stomped in prior campaigns|
(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
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.
- 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!
- 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)
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
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
Skeleton- 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.