Nimozaran's Library

Kendred's communications to Nimozaran in regards to the work of Necromantic Cultists to create Immortui. The Undead…

Kendred's Theory: A Believer's Perspective
After conferring with his colleagues and doing intense research on known history and the cult's manuscripts and rituals, the High Priest of Ioun has some thoughts and opinions regarding the undead and the afterlife. Much of his knowledge is from the dark materials of the Necromantic cult. After piecing things together in a way that seems most true to him, Kendred shares his perspective with the party.

Kendred believes that after the death of the body, a soul lingers in the world for a few days or even longer, and during that time the body can apparently be returned to life with a unique and powerful ritual. The soul of a hero is particularly likely to remain, determined even after the death of the body to hold on just a little longer. Other souls immediately depart, slipping away to their respective gods.

A favored few souls are called by their gods after death to serve in the god’s dominion. Some (the exalted) are selected because of the great deeds they accomplished in life in support of that god’s ideals, whereas others (the damned) might be selected for punishment, because they
were subjected to a curse, or because these individuals sold their souls when they were still living mortals.

Undead are Soulless.
Sentient living creatures have a body and a soul, the latter of which is the consciousness that exists in and departs from the body when it perishes. A body’s “life force” that drives a creature’s muscles and emotions is called the animus. The animus provides vitality and mobility for a creature, and like the soul, it fades from the body after death. Unlike the soul, it fades from the body as the body rots.

If “revived” in the proper fashion, the animus can rouse the body in the absence of a soul. In some cases, the animus can even exist apart from the body as a cruel memory of life. Such impetus can come from necromantic magic, a corrupting supernatural influence at the place of death or interment, or a locale’s connection to the dark beyond. Strong desires, beliefs, or emotions on the part of the deceased can also tap into the magic of the world to give the animus power.

Undead, even those that seem intelligent, are this sort of creature — driven to inhuman behavior by lack of governance of a soul and a hunger for life that can’t be sated. Nearly mindless undead have been infused with just enough impetus to give the remains mobility but little else. More decisive undead have a stronger animus that might even have access to the memories of the deceased, but such monstrosities have few or none of the sympathies the animus' source had in life. An undead creature may have a body and a feral awareness granted by the animus, but no soul.

Sites where evil artifacts are stored can act as strong catalysts in the creation of undead. Undead so created are mindless animate corpses. Though some believe that some kind of fell power energizes animate creatures, it is more accurate to say that the animus or spirit resident in a walking corpse provides an undead creature with the requisite motive force for movement, and perhaps enough additional force to talk and even reason, and—most important—enough animation to prey on other creatures. Dark deeds conducted by others serve as a trigger for unlife, especially if such deeds accrue over months or years in one particular location. Such an area, more than any other, is worthy of the term “tainted by evil,” though the religious-minded sometimes call such areas unsanctified ground.

Some obsessed knowledge-seekers have pursued the spark of life too far, and thereby discovered the dark fruits of undeath. They seek death’s secrets because of their fear of death, thinking that if they can come to understand mortality, their fear will be extinguished and their survival assured. They may wish to tread this road to its conclusion and embrace death completely, becoming not so much immortal as simply enduring. Kendred believes they will find to their sorrow that to forsake all the pleasures of life while continuing to exist is a fate worse than the absolution of true death.

Most sentient creatures have a body, and most also possess a soul. The true nature and origin of the soul is subject to much debate, but most people can agree that, at the very least, the soul is synonymous with a creature’s consciousness, and upon the death of a creature, it departs.

Every creature’s soul is unique to it but apart from it, capable of granting the creature sentience (as opposed to the natural workings of the creature’s fleshy organs). Souls are immortal; they exist prior to birth and beyond the death of a creature’s body. When a creature’s seat of consciousness departs, that creature dies, sooner or later.

Without its soul, a body immediately begins to die, despite the animus that pumps blood and preserves physical memory. The animus is also a connection between the body and the soul that allows a creature’s physical and spiritual aspects to act in concert.

Undead lack the soul that departed upon their body’s initial death. These undead are driven to inhuman, bestial behavior because they lack the moral compass that served them in life; now all that remains is a decaying body and an animus driven by needs unfiltered by conscience. Many of these undead have an insatiable hunger for living creatures.