Monday, November 7, 2016

Gamer ADD: Monster Manual II Part 3

Notes on the Undead

Interestingly, there are not many undead creatures in the MMII:

  • Animal Skeleton
  • Demi-Lich
  • Juju Zombie
  • Monster Zombie

This list does allow for a cleric’s Turn Undead to be relevant from the get-go.

The most interesting facet of this list, however, is that all of the entries are derivatives. Animal Skeletons imply the existence of human skeleton undead and monster skeleton undead. Demi-Lich implies the existence of Liches. Juju and Monster zombies imply the existence of “normal” zombies.

The undead picture of an MMII world, however, looks a lot more like a supernatural version of the current zombie fad (e.g. The Walking Dead) than the undead worlds suggested in literature, such as Bram Stroker’s vampire or J.R.R. Tolkien’s wights.

The hierarchy of undead might look something like this:

  • Animal Skeletons (the most basic undead creation).
  • Human Skeleton
  • Zombie
  • Monster Skeleton
  • Juju Zombie
  • Monster Zombie
  • Demi-Lich (when a necromancer fails to complete the transformation into a Lich)
  • Lich

Thus, the undead are exclusively the result of necromancy. Curses, diseases, the restless dead, etc. are not extant. This creates a very clear picture of what the undead are and where they come from. In other words, placing an undead into an adventure automatically leads to another: if there are skeletons around, there must also be a necromancer around. Without the necromancer, the skeletons would not exist.

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