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Following several discussions on the matter, I decided to rework some of the core concepts of Undeath. The basic definition of Undeath was far too vague and had many exceptions. One exception is the GLC Corpore Lux ability combined with their aura, which shuts off breathing and completely restructures the body's normal functions with emerald energy. The end result is the same as what happens with the RW, but one is considered undead while another is not. For the Kazarak, the distinction is much more clear as to why they are considered undead -- their bodies fall over dead, then rise back up lacking the ability to breathe, heal, regenerate endurance/spirit, and not needing the use of their head. I made a batch of zombies for a raiding party that were infected humans who were reduced to mindless, shambling creatures with no thoughts other than to feed upon the living, and another batch of rage driven, berzerk zombies modelled after the Infected from 28 Days Later. I considered neither of these to be undead, but every cleric and knight that came across them compained endlessly that zombie = undead, and turn undead wasn't working. With that, I did some delving into the concepts of Undeath, and how turn undead works. Here are some of my musings, and it is a work in progress, requiring further research and fine tuning.--Bladestorm 14:16, 4 March 2009 (EST)


Undeath is a state of being that exists as a diametrical opposite to what is normally considered ‘living'. All living things have a certain amount of energy, and must maintain this energy through biological processes (eating, photosynthesis, absorbing nutrients from the surroundings, metabolizing cosmic radiation), and use this energy for growth, movement, reproduction and various other processes. Failure to replenish this energy (starvation, dehydration, diminished supplies of energy due to old age, etc) can have negative consequences on the health of the living. Significant amounts of physical trauma can also disrupt the flow of energy through the living body. When all of this living energy has left a body, that body is rendered inert and neutral. This is a state referred to as death.

This life energy has a certain polarity. Undeath has similar energies, but those energies are of the opposite polarity. The term Undead is from the viewpoint of the living, since Undead energies are on the opposite side of death from where living energies are. These undead energies follow the same laws of physics that living energy follows. In many ways, the Unliving and the Living are very much alike.

Most Undead are the result of a massive influx of energy, and different energies can be used to achieve very similar results. Dark clerics can use unholy or entropic energies, and there has been limited success using electrical energy. Other, more esoteric forms of energy can also be used, as well as combinations of these energies, but few have had predictable effects. Some viruses are also capable of producing Undeath effects within recently deceased corpses. Some magi have also found success in binding demons and spirits of a negative energy plane to a corpse, causing it to rise once again in a dark semblance of its previous existence. In other instances, the Undead seek to reproduce on their own by contaminating a living entity with the same source that caused their own Undeath.

Undead Classes

The Undead can be classified by their amount of negative energies, and these classes usually equate to the amount of sentience involved with the undead being. These classes also affect their resistance to being ‘turned'.

Class 0 Class 0 Undead have only a marginal amount of negative energy within them, and only have the vaguest resemblance to the living. Recently animated undead, animated corpses, recently created zombies, new vampires, the incorporeal undead and immobile skeletal guards are examples of Class 0 undead.

Class I Class I Undead are the staple undead minions. Recently created undead who have sated their initial wave of hunger fall into this category. Animated corpses can be bolstered up to this level by suffusing them with more negative energies. This allows these undead to follow simple commands and perform simple movements. Due to this, combat is limited in most Class I undead (being roughly equivalent of an elderly man), with a few exceptions -- a number of zombie types are able to perform quite well in combat, if for no other reason than to feed their hunger even more and are lashing out in a blind rage.

Class II Class II Undead are capable of complex actions and rudimentary independent thought, or are fully functional as animal sentient levels. Individuals raised from a dead state begin to show aspects of their living personality, unless somehow this is subjugated by a skilled caster.

Class III Class III Undead are, for all intents and purposes, fully functional. They are able to exhibit personality and are capable of learning on their own. Some are even capable of casting magick spells and developing in depth strategies. At Class III, enough negative energy is imbued into the physical body that it is capable of producing an aura of this negative energy. This aura causes nauseating sickness in mortals as it slowly drains away their life energy.

Class IV Class IV Undead almost always exhibit some manner of aptitude for magick, or at least in channeling raw energies. Most voluntary Undead, those who willingly accept the cold embrace of death, begin at Class IV, and retain almost all of their previous personality and power. Depending on the power of the demon involved, demonically bound Undead are also generally Class IV. Most, if not all, radiate an aura of energy that drains away the life energies of those nearby.

Class V Class V Undead are very similar to Class IV, except that their auras drain life forces faster, and can have other detrimental effects, such as Str and Con reduction. Very few Class V Undead are found within the mortal planes. Class V Undead are typically on par with most Legendary Heroes, and examples include the ancient vampires, mummies, liches, and powerful Ring Wielders.

Class VI Class VI Undead are among the most powerful undead to be witnessed by mortal eyes, and few mortals have the faith necessary to turn such individuals. Fortunately for the living, the numbers of Class VI Undead are few, for their powers to drain life are immense. These Undead have been building power for centuries, often working behind the scenes with grand machinations, and employing minions to do their physical tasks. Examples of Class VI Undead include powerful Liches, Dracoliches, some vampires, and a few rare mortal Legendary Heroes who have fallen into the hands of Undeath.

Class VII Class VII Undead are undead deities or death gods and serve as power sources for lower beings. They are immune to Turn Undead attempts. Examples of Class VII Undead include Ahrikol and Thanatos

Turn Undead

Turning the undead is a feat that very few are capable of, and almost exclusively stems from faith or connection to a deity. The process of turning undead involves instilling a set amount of positive energy into the target, which acts to counter the negative energies. At low levels, they simply counter each other out and return the corpse to an inert state. At higher levels, the mixing of the energies becomes much more volatile, resulting in a severely violent reaction within the body of the target. The inverse is also possible. Small amounts of negative energies leech away at the health of the living, causing sensations of weakness and waves of nausea. Larger influxes of negative energies can have severely damaging effects on living tissues. Sufficiently large amounts of negative energies can completely override normal living energies, converting a living target directly into an undead state, as is the case with Reapers, Ring Wielders, and certain practitioners of the dark arts.

The actual process of turning undead works in levels roughly equivalent to the various classes of undead. A Turn Undead I attempt is capable of affecting a single Class I Undead. Turn Undead II has enough energy instilled into it to destroy a single Class II undead, or enough energy to destroy a Class I undead and enough energy left over to affect a second target in the vicinity. Turn Undead V can either affect a single Class V undead, or a Class IV and a Class I, or two Class II and a Class I, etc.

The use of Turn Undead causes a drain upon the caster's reservoir of positive energies. In the case of Clerics and Knights, this reservoir is their Holy Purity. As these beings are vessels of their deities, and vessels can run dry if not replenished. This is why clerics and knights spend so much time in prayer, communing with their deity, questing for their deity, or seeking the aid of a priest to help instill more holiness into their earthly form. For every level of Turn Undead, one point of Holy Purity is used to power the effect.

Holy Purity is a spiritual alteration, and this alteration varies according to the source of the power, the deity. This serves to affect the types of positive energies used when attacking the undead via Turn Undead. Clerics of Apollo tend to have a combination of Holy and Light, whereas clerics of Gaia tend to exhibit more extropy and holy, with a little bit of earth involved.

Class 0 Undead are immune to the effects of turning. Incorporeal undead have no physical substance to contain the negative energies, so there is very little interaction between the positive and negative energies. Recently animated corpses have only a negligible amount of negative energies, which is usually not enough to target effectively. Recently created undead, zombies and vampires are extremely low in negative energies, which accounts for their hunger for living flesh and life energy—these beings will have to feed in order to build up enough negative energies to be affected by turning.

Likewise, Class VII Undead and above are immune to turning due to the amount and quality of negative energies present in them, or because of the deitific quintessence bound within them. At this level, it is typically requires a direct conflict between the two opposing deities, which is beyond the means of mortal control.

Class I Undead receive resistance to turning effects based upon their will, which is in turn based upon their sentience. In most cases, this will lead to no resistance at all.

Due to the specific make-up of several specific types of Undead, they are unturnable from a religious aspect. Zombies converted to Undeath by disease, virus, or other chemical/biological process have many characteristics of the Undead, but no ties to negative or unholy energies. Ghosts and most spiritual entities are also immune since the majority of their existence is on a spiritual plane, with only minimum interaction with the material plane.

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