Spawn of Death – Creatures born and reborn from the dead

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You are a creature created from the impossible, either unnatural life given back to a body or from a birth most foul.  In either case, the death infused are considered abominations by many.  In some cases, they were created from revival rituals and necromatic magic gone awry.  In other cases, merely the results of trying to achieve immortality… with horrific results.  Arcane experiments in general are the source of the half-undead, either to crossbreed horrors or to create a new form of unlife entirely.

While the Death-Spawn are tainted by different forms of negative energies and dark power, they tend to share similar aspects in traits.  They convey a sense of lifelessness or at least an uncanny sense of life.  They typically lack the warmth of a living body, feeling clammy and/or cold to the touch.  Some are lucky enough to have bodies perfectly intact, looking indistinguishable from other average humanoids.  The unlucky look akin to shambling corpses and disheveled zombies.

Author’s Note: I wanted to take a crack at races again.  So, here’s a new race of undead-touched creatures inspired by a handful of resources: The Raven Queen, The Crow, Pathfinder’s Dhampir, the Half-Undead from Dragon Magazine and so on and so forth.  Just a heads up, this is a rough draft and none of these have been tested yet.  I am likely to revisit this at a later time though.

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Monstrous Variants – More Zombies!

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“Captain, there’s far too many!”  “I think I am well aware of that!” 

Zombies, disposable minions of the undead.  Alone, these near mindless shambling corpses pose little threat.  But woe to those who get too close to a horde of them, for they risk being torn apart by a walking mob of death.  Zombies come in many stocks, destroying all that they encounter.  In some instances, a single living dead can spell disaster for anything it comes into direct contact with.  Such zombies are loaded with corruptive pathogens that create more walking dead when their victims fall.  Others are brought back through a mixture of divine rites and deadly neurotoxins, forced to work off the sins they committed in their past lives.  Others are the foul manifestations of negative energies, twisted and corrupted for likely malicious purpose.

No matter the origin, the zombie is a creature synonymous with absolute horror.  Its shambling remains exist to cause destruction and misery.  Only by slaying them can you hope to put their miserable souls to rest.  Sometimes that is not enough; consecration, utter annihilation, reburying the remains and burning everything are typical ways to rid the undead plague.  Sometimes, pushing the problem elsewhere is the only action that can be taken.

Author’s Notes:  Zombies, for when you run out of ideas and need a horror monster on the spot!  But in all seriousness, I love zombies in all sorts of games, even though they are typically the result of a creative dry spell.  That said, building zombies is always fun, so I wanted to make some monstrous variants as examples of you can make legions of living dead at the disposal of necromantic masters.  Also, be on the look out for the finale of my Gothic & Gaslamp theme!

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The Walking Disease: An Abhorent Mobile Plague for D&D 5th Edition

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… Eeeewww

“Writhing vermin, fungaloid spores, infected and mutated flesh.  Such a creature, its combination should be impossible!  Such a bonding of disgusting things, it makes no sense.  What mad arcanist would perform blasphemous rituals to create a redundant and putrid nightmare like this?  Why, I’ll inform you and shed the bliss of ignorance.  From the dark art of necromancy arose the magics of pathomancy, a school of magic devoted to diseases, infections and other maladies to afflict one’s health.  While one could debate the good in necromancy, pathomancy is almost certainly evil.  Its sole purpose is spreading illness wherever it goes.  Perhaps it is the ultimate in biological terror and weaponry.  And from these dark arts, evil creatures are spawned.  One such being is the Viral Undead, a zombified horror that is brought back to life through plagues rather than raw negative energy.  However, such creatures are the only beginning of such vile rituals.  There are far worse…  I speak of ghoulish things that control the bodies of the dead; plagues, fungi, vermin… seemingly corrupted by darkness and made into a weaponized hivemind.  There is only one title for an anathema to all that is holy, Walking Disease!” – Rambles of a mad archivist on the Walking Disease.

The Walking Disease is among one of the foulest necromantic beings ever created.  This thing is an incubator of some of the most foul and dangerous illnesses and parasites known to many, and some to few.  Disgusting environment, combined with magically enhanced organic tissue lends itself to the perfect breeding ground for a device of mobile biological warfare.  While it is certain this is a work of dark magic, such monsters thrive in environments like fetid swampland, damp and dirty dungeons, sewage tunnels and other environments hampered by humid moisture and/or rampant decay.  Some consider densely populated areas with little regard for hygiene as well as space to be perfect breeding grounds for the walking disease as well.  Sometimes, when eldritch arts go awry in the right conditions, the walking disease is made entirely by accident, usually from someone who passed on in such a disgusting environment.  The reason for such beings is unknown beyond forbidden magical power.  Some say that the specialized necromancers seek to perfect plague magic as a weapon against their enemies.  Others say cults devoted to gods of Death and Disease want to appease their dread masters any way possible.  Perhaps they were simply an experiment that went horribly wrong.

This sad thing is bloated and warped beyond any recognition of its original self.  Discernible anatomy is replaced by pus spewing boils, sickly sores, asymmetrically placed tumors, stretched necrotic lesions, chitinous-like plates, assorted fungal growths replacing some features entirely, chains of undead insects wriggling and swarming about, among other grotesque features.  Worse yet, almost every victim suffers these deformities and mutations in different revolting and shocking ways.  Despite its staggered appearance, the walking disease boasts supernatural strength and is surprisingly agile, making it a surprising and truly terrifying foe.

On top of this, it’s seemingly more observant and aware than other undead.  When not posing as a body being fed on by the wretched wastes around it, it might hide in a wretched hive of filth and grime.  While it feels no physical pain, its existence is prolonged by endless mental anguish and hatred.  Only a complete fool would be willing to actively engage such a monster.  And those who do often suffer a slow and agonizing death… only to rise up as another shambling colony of plague and despair.

Author’s Note: Considering I only posted one monster, I wanted to craft a second one for you all!  This one is a conversion of a conversion.  In other words, I updated one of my very first blog posts to Fifth Edition.  The original post was a quick and easy conversion of the “Walking Disease” from a somewhat obscure D20 accessory book called “Into the Black.”  For those who haven’t heard of it, the book is a great resource for subterranean and dungeon adventures.  I’ve used it a small handful of times, myself.  Also, the idea came to me while thinking about tons of horror and sci-fi monsters: The Flood from Halo, the Infected from The Last of Us, Spawn of Nurgle from Warhammer/40k, etc.  While this is a translation of the original monster, those creatures played their part in making this too.  Also, there’s nothing that gives me the creeps like medical horror.  We all fear illness and disease, so a perfect creature of horror is a literal incarnation of it.  The end result is a horrifically deadly creature that can slay its victim in mere moments, if not careful.

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