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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Unbinding the Undead

An excerpt (rough draft) from the first chapter of Our Undying Neighbors. May have to rewrite and tweak a bit.

Animated corpses and skeletons created by spells are a special case. They are not true undead – souls trapped between the land of the living and the realm of the dead. They are mindless automatons. However, occasionally a spell fails because of a curse on the corpse/skeleton, the location of the casting, or on the necromancer doing the casting. In any of those conditions, the GM secretly rolls 1d6 on a 5+, the creation becomes accidentally undead.

Accidental undead act mindless when first created and are bound by the first set of orders given. They will obey these orders until either:
  • Someone attempts to change these orders, or
  • They encounter something from their past life, such as a long-lost love.
When either condition occurs, accidental undead will disobey their master if their current hit points are greater than the master’s Level + 2d6. Don’t add the master’s level if the master dies. Use the current master’s level, not necessarily the original master’s level.

The creation is still technically bound to obey; this is just a lapse in obedience. The master can command the undead again, triggering a second roll, but two successful challenges in a row, or any successful challenge after the master’s death, means the undead breaks free permanently.

Animated dead, whether mindless or accidentally undead, count as followers. Exceeding any limit on the number of followers has no effect on mindless animated dead, which will continue to execute the last order given. Accidental undead, on the other hand, will automatically break free when the master tries to acquire another follower beyond the limit.

While their master is still around to command them, accidental undead do not grow in strength. After their master dies, however, they can grow in power, which means that eventually they will break their bonds.

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