People, Places & Things
Just Add Dice
It Came from the SlushPile
The Undead for Interlock
Copyright 2000 by Michael L Straus
Did I scare you?
I love Halloween, it is my favorite time of year. The sights and smells. Pumpkin pie, candy, kids in costumes, paper ghosts, the haunted house in the library and the ghost stories.
As we all know there are some truths to those old stories and Halloween was not always the nice holiday where you get lots of candy ...
This month I offer another look into the possibilities of the Interlock RPG system. The Undead.
As a GM, I love the Undead, why? Because they are fun and scary and you can use them almost anywhere. A bunch of Orcs in the area -- well how did they get there, what do they eat, what are they doing?
A bunch of Zombies in the area?
Let the screaming begin.
General Information on the Undead
Undead and ... Mirrors: It is a Myth that the Undead can not see their reflection, they can. They just don't like to as it will remind them of what they have become. Showing a Undead a mirror will disturb and even anger them.
Undead and ... Garlic: As the Undead have no sense of smell, they are not bothered by the presence of garlic. This Myth comes from the fact that garlic is good for your blood.
Undead and ... Sunlight: Sunlight is the bane of all Undead. Only Skeletons and Zombies are spared its deadly effect, to the rest it is death. Sunlight causes 1d10 damage per action that the Undead's flesh is exposed to its rays.
Undead and ... Fire: All Undead are vulnerable to fire, no matter how powerful they are. Unless they have some kind of magic protection against it, they will take damage.
Undead and ... Running water: Undead have no more problems crossing running water then you or I do. If there is a bridge or a boat then they can cross it, if not then they take the same risks as you would.
Undead and ... Holy water/Objects: Holy water/Objects are not in themselves protection against the Undead; rather it is the faith of the person holding the object that empowers it. If the man holding the Jewish Star (Cross, fig leaf or whatever) has no faith in his God then the object will have no power over the Undead. BUT if the Man is a man of faith and does truly believe in the power of his God then the object will be able to keep the Undead at bay and for those that are truly pious and faithful it may even cause damage to them.
Undead and ... Entering a place uninvited: Another myth. A vampire will often pretend it can not enter a place uninvited as part of the elaborate games it plays with its victims but the Undead have no more problems entering a building than you or I would.
Undead and ... the Dark: Undead can "See" in the dark, even if they don't have eyes. In addition all Undead can sense the presence of living beings within 1000" as well as strong sources of Chi (magic) energy and other Undead.
Undead and ... Tracks: Undead do not leave tracks, they could cross snow and would leave no footprints. The presence of the Undead though has such an effect on the environment that even though they leave no tracks a skillful hunter will still know they had passed by the destruction they cause.
Undead and ... the Innocent: Another myth. The Undead can harm the truly innocent and they can harm the unborn. Vampires take sadistic glee in feeding on children and unborn babies. BUT! the innocent and the unborn are often protected by forces even more powerful then the Undead, the power of goodness and God, and the more evil and suffering the Undead cause especially on the innocent the more likely that sooner or later the light will move against it.
Undead and ... the Light: Undead are not a natural part of the world, they are a foul mockery of existence and are the foes of all that are good and just. Even more so then Orcs and their kind. Elves and Dwarves will always hunt out the Undead whenever they can and the servants of the Light will war with them at all times. The Undead know this, they know they are foul, and should not be. They know that the more suffering they cause the more likely they will attract the attention of the Light. Powerful Undead like the Vampire will invest as much time in covering up their tracks as they do in spreading their evil, for the Undead know that were they to war against the Light, sooner or later they would lose. Sadly this knowledge does not stop them from spreading their misery on the world.
Undead and ... Black Wounds: With the exception of Skeletons, Zombies and Lesser Mummies, all Undead have the ability to inflict Black Wounds when they touch you. If the blow from a Undead bypasses a targets armor then the victim of the attack must make a check vs. his BOD/BTM. Should they fail this check they will take a Black Wound. At which point they will instantly lose one (1) point of EMPATHY. In addition, the character will lose one (1) additional point of EMPATHY per day until the wound is healed or they reach zero (0) EMPATHY. If this happens the character becomes a Wraith.
Undead and ... Aura of fear: Many Undead have the "Aura of Fear" power. This comes from the fact that the creatures are so foul that they emanate Fear as if it was a tangible force. All seeing the Undead must make a COOL check vs. the Aura of fear power. Should they fail the check, the fear will be so overpowering that they will run away from the Undead as fast as they can.
Undead and ... Holy Leaves: The crown of thorns worn by Jesus Christ at his crucifixion was made from Holy thorns. It is therefore believed that Holy Leaves and Thorns provide protection against the Undead and evil spirits because of this association. WRONG! The Holy plant has no effect on the Undead.
Undead and ... Wood: Wood is no more or less effective against the Undead then any other material. Driving a wooden stake through the heart of a vampire will not slay it, but rather place the vampire in a semi-catatonic state similar to a deep sleep. The Vampire will remain in this state until the stake is removed.
Undead and ... Silver: Silver is one of the true banes of the Undead; it is almost as dangerous to them as fire. Weapons made of silver do full damage to the Undead and even silver dust can cause them pain.
Undead and ... Holy Ground: This much is true; the Undead can not cross or enter Holy ground. Even vampires must obey this rule.
The first type of Undead are the animated corpses that are so popular with Necromancers.
Zombies are the animated corpses of the recently dead. The flesh still clings to them and they are painfully slow and stupid.
Skeletons on the other hand are the animated corpses of those that have been dead for a while, the flesh has decayed away leaving an animated Skeleton. Skeletons are deceivingly fast and agile.
Lesser mummies are mummified corpses that have not undergone the proper ritual to become full mummies. They are little more then well preserved zombies.
All three types of Minor Undead are stupid, responding to the letter of the orders given to them by their creator. When not being directed they tend to just mill about in the area.
BOD:4 MA:4 REF:3 SP:1 Damage:1d6+1 or by weapon type. Special. Immune to cold, arrows and bladed weapons do 1/2 damage. Can sense life, Chi energy and other Undead within 20"
It should be noted that unlike other Undead, Skeletons, Zombies and Lesser Mummies are not "Evil". They are animated constructs with no free will.
The next type of Undead are the Ghouls and Ghasts.
Ghouls are an evil, cannibalistic race of Undead spirits that roam graveyards and other areas where a lot of death and dead bodies can be found. Ghouls feed on the bodies of the dead and are themselves Undead. They hate the living and will hunt down and slay any living being that enters their hunting grounds. Ghouls appear as green-skinned humanoids with long stringy black hair and huge claws and fangs. They wear tatters of clothing on their thin bodies and their huge eyes glow with a pale evil light. They emit a high-pitched scream when hunting. A foul stench of death and rot is the telltale sign that a ghoul is nearby.
Ghasts are the more powerful female members of the species. Not only do they possess all the abilities of their male counterparts, but they can also create simple illusions and charm those who look in their eyes. A Ghast is very cunning and will often take up residence in a tomb or other sheltered place and Charm any passer by into thinking it is a prisoner or victim. Waiting for the "hero" to save it, it will then pounce once the victim is close. Its simple illusion powers help it with its traps.
BOD:5 MA:7 REF:6 SP:3 Damage:2d6. Special: Immune to cold. Tracking 6<. Can sense life, Chi and other Undead within 100". -1 to be hit due to stench. Black Wounds.
BOD:6 MA:6 REF:5 SP:4 Damage:2d6. Special: Immune to cold. Tracking 6<. Can sense Life, Chi energy and other Undead within 100". -1 to be hit due to stench. Black Wounds. Charm Gaze 7<. Illusion Rank 3
The third and most powerful type of Minor Undead is the Shadow or Shade.
A Shadow is an evil spirit without a body, a huge formless mass of darkness with tendrils and pseudopods like some kind of weird octopus. Shadows inhabit foul places such as ruins or abandoned graveyards and other places that are dark and quiet. If left on their own, they simply hunt their area feeding on the bodies of the dead and anything stupid enough to enter the area. They hate light and life and will hunt down any living being they sense. Shadows are huge and slow but they are deadly and foul.
BOD:7 MA:4 REF:7 SP:10 Damage:2d10. Special: tendrils allow it to attack multiple opponents at once. Immune to cold. Tracking 8< Can sense Life, Chi energy and other Undead within 200". Weapons do 1/2 damage unless blessed or silver. Black Wounds. Aura of fear 8<
The Major or Free-Willed Undead are those evil spirits that have retained some semblance of their intelligence and free will and are thus far more powerful and deadly than their Minor Undead Cousins.
A "Wraith" is the Undead spirit of any humanoid who has died from a Black Wound. Almost moments after death, the body will rise again, empowered by evil spirits. The "Wraith" will possess all the Stats, Skills and abilities that it had in life but with only a vague memory of who it was in the past as well as now being a creature of evil.
Wraiths tend to haunt the area where they died, seeking to slay any who enter. A wraith still possesses ALL the stats, skill and abilities it possessed in life, in addition it receives the following:
BOD:+1. COOL:-1. EMP:-3. MA:+2 REF:+1. +1 to hit +2 to damage. Additional natural armor SP:4. Immune to cold. Can sense Life, Chi energy and other Undead. Aura of fear 6<. Cause black wounds.
In ancient times it was the practice of many cultures to mummify their dead and bury them in grand tombs with their belongings. Great wealth was often buried this way and as it was considered a great sin for any one to attempt to take this wealth. A guard for the tomb was needed. Through an ancient, powerful and complex ritual the spirit of the dead was enchanted to remain in its mummified corpse as a guard for the tomb.
Over the centuries of imprisonment the Mummies would grow in power and would also grow to resent their unlife. Any living being that dared enter their tomb would be the victim of the mummy's wrath and some who were not content to keep their vengeful anger to their tombs have gained the strength to leave the tomb and wander the land seeking to slay all living things that remind them of their horrid Undead state.
BOD:7 MA:5 REF:5 Damage:1d10+2. +2 to hit. Armor SP:6. Immune to cold. Can sense life, Chi energy and other Undead. Normal weapons do 1/2 damage. Their touch will cause a black wound. Aura of fear 8<. Anyone looking in the mummies eye's must make a COOL check or be paralyzed with terror for 1d6 rounds. May summon 1d6 lesser mummies to serve them.40 points for Stats and Skills.Normal weapons do 1/2 damage
*Imotehp from the recent movie the "Mummy" was in fact a "Taken" and not a Mummy.
No member of the Undead is more ingrained in to our social mythology then the blood sucking Vampire, and I am sure each GM has his or her own idea of what a Vampire can do. Over the years Hollywood has turned the Vampire in to something that should be worshiped and empathized with, but that is not the Vampire we will present here. Rather I present the Vampire of Myth.
The Interlock© Fantasy vampire is a powerful, free willed creature of evil. Although they can appear as a beautiful humanoid of either sex they are in fact ugly, foul creatures who exist only to inflict pain and spread evil.
A vampire is created when an extremely willful individual dies an untimely death. This persons will and desire to remain alive is so powerful as to transcend death. His spirit will find itself empowered by the forces of shadow to be able to renter his body and continue on as the Undead. It is at this point that the Vampire is born.
Whatever they were in life, in unlife they are nothing but malevolent predators that take joy in the suffering of others.
A vampire can eat normal food but will gain no pleasure or sustenance from it; rather a vampire feeds on the fear and pain of its victims as much as it does their blood. In fact as the creature grows in power his need for blood will lessen and he will simply take his pleasure in feeding on his victims fear and suffering. Often a vampire will spend months tormenting his victim, his victim's friends and family and anyone the victim associates with simply to increase the victim's fear.
Vampires are at the top of the food chain. They are natural shape-changers able to assume the forum of either a male or female as well as assume the shape of a bat, wolf or foul-smelling mist.
The powers of a vampire are many and as the years pass their powers will grow, making them perhaps the most powerful servant evil has. Thankfully Vampires are VERY RARE. In JRR Tolkien's Middle Earth books there were only two. In Glen Cook's Black Company Books there was just one.
The Vampire will posses all the skills, stats and abilities it possessed in life in addition it will gain the following:
AKA: Lich, Fallen Lord, Cursed, Death Knight
The Taken are not in truth members of the Undead, but they are not truly alive either. They exist in a state of Quasi - Immortality, but they can be killed though that undertaking is very hard. Taken is general term for any powerful individual (usually a spell caster, though not always) who has been converted to the power of the dark side. Sometimes the target does this willingly, while other times they are transformed against their will. Thus the term "Taken".
How a "taken" is made is unknown, it is a secret known only to the most powerful servants of the dark and the dark itself. All that is known is who or whatever the taken was in life, after the transformation they are an extremely powerful (though usually somewhat insane) servant of evil. Chief amongst their power is there virtual immortality, it is almost impossible to kill the Taken.
Stories exist of Taken who were able to operate even after suffering huge amounts of damage. (The Limper was able to remain a threat after being decapitated and having much of his body burnt to a cinder. Soul Catcher was able to operate even after her head had been cut off (She kept it in a box for 15 years).)
Most of the Taken suffer some form of Insanity, no doubt a result of becoming a Taken. This does not make them any less of a threat, they are deadly combatants and also usually posses vast magical powers. Thankfully most taken hate each other as much as they hate everyone else and they rarely work together unless they have a temporary mutual goal.
There are rumors of Taken who have somehow gained the ability to turn from the dark and become, if not heroes at least free willed (the Lady).
Despite their great power, the Taken do have some limitations.
First off, most Taken can only specialize in One or Two areas of power. though in their chosen area of expertise they are masters. No Taken two Taken can know the same type of magic/Secrets and each taken jealously guards his/her power from the others (IE: Howler specialized in the creation of his flying carpets, no other taken knew how to make them).
Secondly, silver is especially harmful to the Taken, silver weapons do DOUBLE damage against a Taken.
Third, thankfully each generation of Taken is not as powerful as the one before it. While the first Taken were unto like Gods, in the following generations the power seemed to dwindle.
Lady was not as powerful as The Dominator, Whisper was not as powerful as Lady and Creeper seemed nothing more then a glorified bureaucrat.
Fourth, vary rarely will a Taken grow in power (Unlike vampires). Only Soul Catcher and Lady seemed to posses the imagination to gain new skills.
A Taken will posses all the powers, abilities and skills it possessed before it was transformed. In addition the transformation grants the Taken many new powers:
BOD:+2 REF:+1. MA:+3. COOL:+1 CRAFT:+3.EMP:-3. INT:+1. ATT:-1.CHI:+1d10
Natural Armor SP:6 +2 to hit +2 to damage -2 to be hit.+2 Ranks to ALL spells known (if any). +1 Rank to all skills, as well as Tough 7<. MOB 7< Sight 7< Brawling 7< Tracking 6< Bush Craft 6< Alchemy 5< Animal Empathy 5< First Aid 7< Stitching 4< The Dead 6< Visions 3<
Regeneration: Taken recover 2d6 points of damage a day. Decapitation does not kill the Taken as the spirit of the taken resides in its head and it can control its body like a automaton as long as the body remains within One (1) mile of the head. Only decapitation and then destruction of the head can Kill a taken. Illusions Rank 3<. Transformation rank 3 < Bolt rank 3<
The Taken are based on characters from Glenn Cooks Black Company books. The names are used without the permission of Mr. Cook.
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