ZOMBIES! – Variants of the Dead (Reanimated)

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The living dead.  What brings about such perversions of life?  Rituals derived from dark sorceries imbue a dreadful force into corpses, creating a puppet bound in necromantic power.  These zombies are crafted by the spells and rituals of adept necromancers, aiming to create a slave or build an army.  Plagues created by the most vile of creatures corrupt and sicken victims, eventually overwhelming them and turning them into walking diseases of their own right.  These are often accidents, potentially prevented by proper preparation rather than giving into hysterical campaigns.  Even alien horrors have their means of parasitically bonding to a host, creating their own version of zombie.  Some of these victims aren’t just alive, they have some level of consciousness.  However, not all origins are evil.  Some were created as punishment at the hands of powerful spiritual priests.  However, the zombie created by necromancy is by far the most common sight.

No matter their sources, the terror of the zombie is a known one.  Shuffling corpses, either confused by their existence or enraged by it, find themselves at odds with the living.  Some of these abominations are at the whims of a mad master.  Others are distorted by outside forces, left to rampage against all in their wake.  And even worse, the zombie will never give up.  While it is devoid of emotion or any ideology, the zombie is relentless until it’s impossible for it to continue.  Some will fight until literally falling apart.  Converted into killing machines, these mockeries of life are a blight to all who are haunted by their presence.

Author’s Note: I’m back.  Pardon these disappearances.  Things have been a little rough, I’ll spare the details.  In addition, I haven’t been happy with a lot of things, hobbies included.  That’s made it a little harder to work on these posts.  Admittedly, one of things keeping me going is created content for settings that WotC has forgotten.  The people deserve to learn at least a little about these cool places!  Anyway, here’s my updated take on some variant zombies!  Ooooh, spooky!  Also, to the one of my friends who wanted me to tack on a tacky coronavirus reference on this?  You’re welcome.

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It Came From Another World – More Planar Creatures

There are a lot more strange planar creatures where that came from.  In fact, we’ve only just scratched the surface.  From technomagical bioweapons to distant watchers to strange experiments, the planes offers many mysteries.

Author’s Note: Last week had all Planescape stuff…. and this one has a couple that, well, aren’t.  I dunno what prompted me to convert an obscure Pathfinder monster from Reign of Winter adventure path, but it’s in there too.  Likewise, I added a jokey monster my sister came up with.  Enjoy!

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Weird Western Monsters from various sources

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Our dusty little library ain’t much, but it’s a miracle that we can bring literature to this equally dusty frontier settlement.  All I care about is getting the know-how to these folk.  An informed folk is a healthy folk.  As it is, they keep their bodies active, nothing wrong with stimulating the mind too!  While you’re here, check out some of these accounts from travelers.  We’ve been collecting them here.  Tons of stuff on some of the fearsome critters to wander these parts…  Some even come from parts unknown!  You’re a traveler, this sort of stuff will keep you in the loop.  – Anna Von Hindervoltdheim, Gnomish librarian of Wispy Cliffs.

One need not travel far to see familiar faces out west.  Sure, they’re a bit different in many ways, but something’s kinda uncanny.  Creatures, like people, have a habit of traveling too.  One could say their ancestors might have found their way much like we did.  Lots of science folk wanna document these differences to put forth some big claim.  I dunno what it is yet, but it’s probably as odd as dinosaurs flocking to some hole inside of the world.  But hey, at least these folks don’t think the world is flat or something.  Everyone knows it’s really a cube!

Author’s Note: A lot of existing monsters, as well as creations of my own, can easily be fit into this quasi-setting/idea I’ve been playing around with.  So, let’s dive into it!  If you have any other ideas, let me know!  Also, yes I know, this isn’t really a full post from me… just a list of ideas that use existing stuff…  I promise I’ll have some original stuff ASAP!  Consider this an interlude of sorts!

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Forgotten Souls: A Tomb of Annihilation + Dark Souls mashup

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The so-called Death Curse seemed like a contradiction at first… we were robbed of our ability to die! Oh, how wrong we were! – A tattered letter from Camp Righteous

A dark shroud has enveloped fair Toril, it is not of this world. A powerful force of raw necrotic energy has made its way into this world. What was once a mere Lich is slowly becoming something more, in part from his Death Curse. Worse yet, a powerful artifact is making the effects of this hex far greater and far more widespread too. But, for what purpose? Perhaps to empower him or possibly provide an endless font to create feats of magic locked away from even the gods! Adventurers are needed, as always. Many have fallen to the madness of the curse, becoming little more than empty husks who attack anything with a semblance of life force left. Go forth and bring life back to this world and don’t you dare go hollow on me!

The world of Abeir-Toril is fairing poorly against a strange incursion by a powerful entity known as “Acererak”. Stories travel around other prime material planes. These stories tell of foul magic, undeath and annihilation. Not long after the monster’s arrival, people found themselves somehow alive when they should have been dead. At first, people rejoiced! But soon, they caught on. Their hearts had stopped, their complexion faded, they began to look more like walking corpses. Many lost their mind, aimlessly attacking those who still show some signs of life. Some fear that this Acererak is not alone, aided by a far more malevolent force.

Author’s Note: Sure, the new adventure is coming soon or whatever. That said, here’s an idea I’ve been bouncing around for a while! What if, instead of merely wasting away from the Death Curse, victims would lose themselves to a slowly spreading and corrupting undeath. Then it hit me, this is Dark Souls! So, I mashed the two together in a sense. Below are a retooling of my Curse of Undeath as well as how to mesh it with Tomb of Annihilation. View the original here. Also, find more content for Chult here.

One final thing. This article contains major spoilers for much of the module. Do not read on if you plan on playing this module!

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July 2017 RPG Blog Carnival – Mutant Monsters

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They shouldn’t have existed, mistakes of nature and mistakes of humanity!  These abominations were the accidents as a result of careless experiments and deadly warfare.  And the result?  Worse than we could have ever feared.  Confused, angry, resentful, hateful!  These things seek to destroy both their creators and the world around them.  Much like the forces that spawned them, destruction is usually their goal.  But, these creatures are no villains, but the consequences of arrogance, apathy, discrimination and violence.

Author’s Note: As a continuation of my theme, here’s a plethora of horrible mutants and mad experiments.  While much of it is revisiting old monsters, there’s a good amount of new goodies to toss into your wastelands, super secret labs and other such locations.
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Modern Myths and Local Legends – Contemporary Horrors

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Hello.

Stories of monsters changes through the ages, adapt to different societies and views.  Some tales and creatures alike die out, while new ones are born.  These can be from new developing trends or even tragedies.  Wherever they’re spawned from, their dastardly ways will terrorize much like their predecessors before them.

In a world closer to our own, when the stories truly connect to us on some level, we truly begin to think about it… and when we dwell on the thought, then we get scared.  This is the true effect of horror.  Now please, look behind you so we can be properly acquainted…

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Curse of Undeath – A Dark Souls-inspired mechanic

EDIT April 2018:

Check out my updated take on this alongside some neat ways to change up Tomb of Annihilation (again) here!

“Yooou who reeeekindle the Flaaaame, embraaaaccceee deeaatttthhhh!”

Sometimes, the sweet embrace of death is all but impossible for countless damned souls.  They are forced to continue to walk a dark path.  For them, they seek to regain an essence of life and restore their shattered minds, lest they be lost to an abyss of emptiness and madness.  Such a curse can be from a variety of sources; an exploitation of a life source at a deific level, exposure to/using evil magics for too long, a hex brought upon by a powerful caster or even a destructive force bent on draining life from all reality.

The Curse of Undeath is a vile magical power that breaks the soul and leaves the body as little more than a husk.  These drained husks share little with their once living counterparts.  They are merely corpses controlled and warped by dread energy.  Any remnants of mind left in these creatures are stretched to madness and driven to violence.  While many of them retain enough knowledge to fight as though could in life, it is impossible for them to engage in rational dialogue let alone interact peacefully.

Author’s Note:  Dark Souls III is out and I love it!  With that, here’s an optional rule for handling a curse similar to the Undead of the Dark Souls universe.  If you don’t want to literally be running Dark Souls, it shouldn’t be too hard to reflavor this into a different dread curse of sorts.  If you’ve ever played Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, Anthony’s chapter certainly comes to mind.  One last disclaimer, these are mostly random ideas in my head, in an attempt to make a Dark Souls inspired mechanic.  As such, it’s more than likely that this idea is a bit clunky.  It will probably receive a revision in the future, if reader interest is there.

An Affliction of Body, Mind and Soul

As the last of life’s flames extinguish, you become less and less human.  For every time you die, a piece of you is lost when you’re brought back.  Only through restoring your humanity can you truly become whole.  Even before the curse has truly taken hold of you, its dark power has tainted you indefinitely.  You may currently look like one of the living, but heinous power seeks to transform you into one of many mindless and angry dead.

The source of the curse can be from one of several horrible events.  Perhaps the Gods attempted to prolong the life of themselves and their followers by draining life essence from the planes.  Perhaps an entire area was desecrated by overuse of necromancy.  No matter the cause, the results will turn apocalyptic in the long run as people without souls begin to wither into deranged husks.  Even before before truly becoming one of the Undead, the cursed already suffer greatly.  Upon being afflicted by the Curse of Undeath, you automatically fail death saving throws when brought to 0 HP.  You must still roll a Death save.  Upon failure, you receive two failed saves instead.  Getting a natural 1 causes three failed saves instead of two.

Image Source: Revenant – oevrlord

Based off of Dark Souls, which belongs to From Software.  Made by Doctor Necrotic, for Doctor Necrotic Media.