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 Post subject: Re: Dwarven Heartstone Question
PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2020 11:36 am 

Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 5:48 pm
Posts: 144
val Holryn wrote:
vandom43 wrote:
This is all different from bloodline powers, which while clearly magic, are not part of the arcanum. Although we have the example of the Bloodwar as a time when vals tried to tinker with their abilities, almost entirely the bloodline powers are immutable. They neither need husbanding nor are they expandable through normal invention. Though of course we have two examples of bloodline powers changing as a result of things happening on the level of Valinor and Deities (the val'Tensen & Reluctant no More, and the val'Abebi & the Blast)..


Let's not forget that the Elementalist and Mendicant of the Aspect Traditions exist for the Elorii, so they have found how to utilize their Bloodrank as a source of their power for their Sorcery. So while Bloodline Powers are separate from the Five Major Arcanum, it can still interact with them. While the Val and Havili have not achieved an equal level of mastery and control over their Bloodline Powers, it can be assumed that similar traditions are possible.

Also,

toodeep wrote:
I have always been interested in seeing someone attempt to burn someone else's soul for a conversion to undead (instead of their own), thus creating an intelligent undead with a soul. Something that might be possible if a particularly creative necromancer got a hold of a soul shard or two.


I'm very happy that someone else had that idea. It would be a hoot to watch the clergy of Beltine freak out over it. Reminds me of a similar idea of a "forced Kurenthe", where an Elorii sacrifices the life essence of another creature to activate a Kurenthe, without needing to kill themselves.

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 Post subject: Re: Dwarven Heartstone Question
PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2020 5:33 am 
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Its very clear that the gods and/or Valinor can bestow the gift of undeath to a shell long after the soul is gone. See the Legion of the Black Sun. So its perfectly reasonable to assume that with sufficient power and knowledge one could become undead without destroying their soul. Maybe that's within the scale of what a mortal can achieve, or maybe not. Becoming a lich with a phylactery was possible in the 3rd edition days. That's almost the same thing to what you are talking about.

Would a bunch of dwarves souls stones be useful as a big bag of batteries? (I'm picturing Rocket from GotG pocketing them...) Yeah, probably. If you knew how to efficiently tap into them.

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AKA Ambassador Tukufu, man of letters, tomb raider and Master Sword Sage
. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


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 Post subject: Re: Dwarven Heartstone Question
PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2020 10:10 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:17 am
Posts: 206
val Holryn wrote:
Its very clear that the gods and/or Valinor can bestow the gift of undeath to a shell long after the soul is gone. See the Legion of the Black Sun. So its perfectly reasonable to assume that with sufficient power and knowledge one could become undead without destroying their soul.

It is documented in Arcanis that the soul is consumed in the creation of an undead and acts as the key component in the process. That would include every member of the Legion of the Black Sun. You could say they have been put into "stand by mode" when their Standard is not unfurled. Much like undead "sleeping" in their tombs until adventurers dare to enter.

toodeep wrote:
I have always been interested in seeing someone attempt to burn someone else's soul for a conversion to undead (instead of their own), thus creating an intelligent undead with a soul. Something that might be possible if a particularly creative necromancer got a hold of a soul shard or two.

This is an interesting theory I thought about before. I think though the soul would fight against it's use, much like when a cleric casts Raise Dead, the soul can refuse to return to the body in 3.5 rules. If it was possible, why would undead want a soul? As far as we can tell the soul serves no purpose, and high ranking intelligent undead have lived prosperous lives in Cancari, and Coryan without souls for hundreds of years.

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 Post subject: Re: Dwarven Heartstone Question
PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2020 1:03 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:46 pm
Posts: 1352
The Vault wrote:
val Holryn wrote:
Its very clear that the gods and/or Valinor can bestow the gift of undeath to a shell long after the soul is gone. See the Legion of the Black Sun. So its perfectly reasonable to assume that with sufficient power and knowledge one could become undead without destroying their soul.

It is documented in Arcanis that the soul is consumed in the creation of an undead and acts as the key component in the process. That would include every member of the Legion of the Black Sun. You could say they have been put into "stand by mode" when their Standard is not unfurled. Much like undead "sleeping" in their tombs until adventurers dare to enter.
<snip>
The Nerothian process of becoming undead certainly consumes the soul. The being moves from living to undeath and the soul is part of the fuel, so to speak. It is certainly not clear that the souls of the Legionnaires in the Legion of the Black Sun were consumed in the same manner. Specifically, those that were already long dead. Those souls were in the cauldron or perhaps (unlikely) in the paradise of the gods. It is by no means certain that whatever triggered the Legion to rise from the grave destroyed the souls in the process.

It is a VERY interesting question and something I may have to play with in my home campaign (PC or NPC discovers that their soul once inhabited one of the undead legionnaires that they are currently facing.)

With a sweep of his hat,

Paul


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 Post subject: Re: Dwarven Heartstone Question
PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2020 7:56 pm 
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The Rule that the soul is used to fuel the transformation into (corporeal) undeath is certainly the normal status quo in Arcanis. I do not dispute that. But I think there are exceptions.

The Legion of the Black Sun, to my knowledge, was filled with living Nierite members during the First Imperium and was organized by the val'Virdan family just after the Bloodwar. At some point they were defeated/killed and ceased to be a unit. I don't when that happened but, but the Ossarion War, the Collapse of the Theocracy and the fall of Manetas seem like plausible possiblities. A thousand years later their banner was rediscovered under as yet unrevealed circumstances. When then Emperor Quoran val'Dellenov refused to reinstate their banner and reconstitute the legion, many of them rose as undead, reclaimed their banner and marched north to their homeland in Canceri. Much of this is knowledge is based on the entry for their armor in Forged in Magic and the rest based on the special round adventure "Overdue" where Tukufu and other went to the Sea of Grass and briefly interacted with members of the Legion of the Black Sun. Tukufu found it hard to get info out of them. The one he talked to thought all "mouth breathers" are inferior to them. And that modern sates like Altheria are trivial things and perhaps degenerate when compared to the First imperium. While its not impossible that the undead had secretly been around for centuries and then reacted to an insult, as we currently know it looks like they rose 1000 years after their death long after their souls would have departed.

In addition to the Legion of the Black Sun there are a handful of PC certs that allow players to bring their old PCs back as undead characters. These characters, to my knowledge, didn't spontaneously arise at death but arose after being dead in response to the coming of the Destroyer. If someone has one of those certs and would like to illuminate this I would be interested in what the text says..

So i think certain powerful actors (Valinor or Gods) within the world of Arcanis can create intelligent corporeal undead without using the soul as a component of that process. I assume its their deific efforts and energies that are expended instead. Are there ways for mortals to do an end run around using their souls to become undead? At present we don't know of any.

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AKA Ambassador Tukufu, man of letters, tomb raider and Master Sword Sage
. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


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 Post subject: Re: Dwarven Heartstone Question
PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2020 10:01 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:17 am
Posts: 206
Love a good discussion.
That is very cool that you played a special module "Overdue". I would love to learn more about when that took place in game time. I've never heard of it before.

I agree there are unique situations of people turning into the undead, but they follow the rules as we are aware of them.

We all agree the standard method of being undead, is a caster of Arcane or Diving magic casts a spell on a recently deceased body (before the soul goes to the Cauldron), and the target's souls is consumed as fuel for the transformation to undeath. This process can be copied into items, like staves, wands, and 1 time use items, like what happened to Elandre val'Assante's father, and by Val Bloodlines.

I postulate that at the time of death the soul of a Legionnaire, sworn to the Standard of the Black Sun, is destroyed and their body is converted to undeath by the Standard itself. Also this did not happen to all souls, only those that died during and after it was converted to it's dark twisted form. Any legionnaire that died while the standard was white and pure, I would guess did not rise from the grave.
Therefore the creation of the undead legion is not divine intervention, and souls are not taken years after death from the Cauldron, but follows the rules of undeath we are aware of, and the Standard acts as the spell trigger item.

The Standard of the Black Sun also came into play during the BI Fire, Blood & Death during the 3.5 days. That is where my information came from.
According to The Theocracy of Canceri page 16.
Quote:
In recognition of this act of faith, Patriarch-Emperor Calcestus even sent a gift north to the Autocrat; the Standard of the Legion of the Black Sun. But the gift never arrived, as the Inquisition force escorting the Standard was ambushed by Dark Triumvirate forces just inside the city walls. The Standard was claimed and taken to Palic and Eremis.
At Sunset both sides were surprised when the Legion of the Black Sun itself arrived. the undead army marched its way up to the Corpse Gate of Nishanpur and Palic ordered the gate open. As he bore their standard, he expected the eternal forces to join the battle on his side. This was not the case. When the gate was opened, the legion marched against those that held their standard. Their only goal was to reclaim what was rightly theirs, The standard was hastily disassembled, and the legion fought back from the gates, barely.

I have to admit I misremembered the quote and got the wrong idea. I thought the Legion arose because the Standard was assembled and being used, and then they returned to rest after it was disassembled. I had no idea a Legion of undead wander the country side. It does show unless they have spies in the Grand Coryan, they have a magical connection to the Standard itself. As they were aware it moved from Coryan to Canceri, and took the opportunity to retrieve it for themselves.

I'd be hesitate to mention the Kickstarter cert Chosen of Neroth because the easy answer is it works because someone paid money and PCI said it works.
But there is another unique example in-game. I recall the tale where a dragon was converted to a dracolich after swallowing the Mercy of Neroth (who was wielding Neroth's own Scythe in battle). Does the dragon still have it's soul? Was the Valinor/divine item consumed as the fuel in place of the dragon's own soul? Could you cut open the dragon remove the Scythe/Valinor and the dragon would revert back, or die? I mean he would have a big hole in chest at the point.
This a clear example of something special going on. But at the same time it could also follow the rules we are aware of. Maybe the dragon's soul was still consumed as fuel for the transformation, and the Valinor/divine item was used as the spell trigger.

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 Post subject: Re: Dwarven Heartstone Question
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2020 3:21 am 
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The results of Overdue were written up in Tukufu's Letters somewhere near the back of the entries. It's from one of the special kickstarter tables. The very short version is that we got hired by (imo) shady characters who desired revenge on the Legion of the Black Sun and thought that they were exploring the vast grasslands for loot. Tukufu never bought into that but was curious enough to go look what they were up to. I wrote up almost everything the rest of the party would let me. The adventure took place in the same year that we had the BI set in the First City, and the arrival of Calemnon...so its a few (four?) years past.

Speaking of the Legion of the Black Sun ... onto souls and undead!
As many of us know, the magic item write ups in Forged in Magic are a guerrilla history course of Onara for the curious. This is the history section of the Lorica of the Black Sun (under cursed armors):
On page 23 in Forged in Magic 5E Henry wrote:
This lorica armor was once worn by the members of the Legion of the Black Sun during the age of the Imperium of Man. Not much is known of this legion other than the fact that they were dedicated to the gods Nier, the lord of flaming destruction and Neroth, whose domain was death. While a few scroll fragments speak of their heroism in certain military engagements, not much else is known and they eventually faded into obscurity.

Millennia later, in the year 769 I.C., a retired legionnaire discovered their lost legion standard and attempted to have the legion reconstituted as part of the legions of the Coryani Empire. Unfortunately, this occurred during the rebellion of the Canceri province, home to most the adherents to Nier and Neroth. In a fit of rage, the emperor refused to reinstate the legion and had the man who found the standard burnt alive. It is said that the gods were angered at this blatant disrespect and commanded the long dead legionnaires of the Black Sun to rise from their graves and take up arms once more; this time against the Coryani Empire.
That seems pretty clear to me that people believe these legionaries became undead long after their soul departed. Hence in at least some extra-ordinary circumstances you can become an intelligent undead w/o burning your own soul.

The story of Palic and the Legion was unknown to me, but fits pretty well with what I know of the Legion of the Black Sun. They are an obsessive bunch, though what it is they are obsessive over is still not something we know yet. They don't think that highly of the living or the current political situation, and mostly keep to themselves. I can tell you that they are based in Canceri and continue to have what a I would call a formal, if prickly, relationship with Hegrish the Dark Apostate. There is someone like an ambassador that serves as liaison between them. If the person who holds it isn't undead, then that job probably sucks. Henry said that the Legion came to the defense of Canceri when Milandir invaded after the Infants Sleep but haven't been part of any Cancerese invasions going the other way. Mostly they keep to themselves and occasionally make someone "disappear."

Last bit of trivia I have about them: many of them are psions.

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AKA Ambassador Tukufu, man of letters, tomb raider and Master Sword Sage
. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


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 Post subject: Re: Dwarven Heartstone Question
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2020 8:55 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:37 pm
Posts: 842
Location: Michigan
The Vault wrote:
This is an interesting theory I thought about before. I think though the soul would fight against it's use, much like when a cleric casts Raise Dead, the soul can refuse to return to the body in 3.5 rules. If it was possible, why would undead want a soul? As far as we can tell the soul serves no purpose, and high ranking intelligent undead have lived prosperous lives in Cancari, and Coryan without souls for hundreds of years.


Oh, I think this is almost certainly the case. I think to use a soul such you would certainly need to have its permission, which is why it has never happened and would be very difficult to have happen. But I could see someone particularly evil trying to torture some souls into being willing to do it just to end their suffering, or maybe someone sure they will have a very bad afterlife being willing to burn their soul instead of going to face eternal justice. I know the souls of at least some of the dwarves in Tultipet's vault of soul shardes were so burned by the dragon fire that it caused them to go insane with pain and actually start to wander around and attack people. It's possible a soul in such a state might welcome the oblivion of consumption rather than continue in its current state, and it might even be a kind act!

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 Post subject: Re: Dwarven Heartstone Question
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2020 9:52 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:17 am
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val Holryn wrote:
That seems pretty clear to me that people believe these legionaries became undead long after their soul departed. Hence in at least some extra-ordinary circumstances you can become an intelligent undead w/o burning your own soul.


I can see why one would come to that conclusion, and you may be right. But there are 2 points that don't add up with the "long dead" rising.
1)
Forged in Magic; Revised and Expanded page 137 wrote:
...however since that fateful day when Lothurus Metados val'Virdan rose upon his pier and left his execution to lead the Legion of the Black Sun, the standard has changed.

This matches your quote about what happened to the person who found the standard in 769 I.C. So are you saying that the troops are ancient and the General is from 769 I.C? That seems like an odd mix.
2) What happened to Lothurus's 1000 troops? I recall it being stated that for a Legion reconstituted a person would have to gather 1000 troops under the standard and then present the legion to the Emperor. As we know Lothurus did attempt to present the Legion and was burned for it. So what happened to his troops. I can't recall the source of that info. But I can search for it, through my records.

I believe that it is more likely, that Lothurus's Legion of the Black Sun, is made up of the troops from his time, 769 I.C. It makes more sense that the troops he gathered before presenting the legion would follow him, rather than people who died 1000 years before, and don't even know him. The "long dead" troops would have rather followed their own General from their own time. Either Lothurus's troops were killed along with him (the Emperor wouldn't have allowed 1000 Canceri troops to remain gathered and be a threat to him), or they died in the following years and as each troop died they rose into undeath after Lothurus' went back and continued to lead them.

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 Post subject: Re: Dwarven Heartstone Question
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2020 11:31 am 

Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:08 am
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The Vault wrote:
I believe that it is more likely, that Lothurus's Legion of the Black Sun, is made up of the troops from his time, 769 I.C. It makes more sense that the troops he gathered before presenting the legion would follow him, rather than people who died 1000 years before, and don't even know him. The "long dead" troops would have rather followed their own General from their own time. Either Lothurus's troops were killed along with him (the Emperor wouldn't have allowed 1000 Canceri troops to remain gathered and be a threat to him), or they died in the following years and as each troop died they rose into undeath after Lothurus' went back and continued to lead them.


OK - There's a bit to parse through here. As the Legion of the Black Sun is one of my favorites, I figured I'd chime in here.

The minimum number of trained and equipped soldiers necessary for a legion to be recognized as such is one thousand. This is a bare minimum and most legions then swell up to many times that number as its prestige grows and people swarm to join it.

The 1000 soldiers gathered by Lothurus were Coryani citizens, mostly Nierites and comprised of a smattering of val'Virdan, with the rest being human. When the emperor had his meltdown and ordered Lothurus burned alive, that still left 1000 armed soldiers just outside the gates of Grand Coryan. These soldiers were given a choice: either disband, be inducted into other legions (who were desperate for trained fighting men as the war against Khitan wasn't going well) and a bag of coin as a bonus, or join their general on the pyre.

One, in an act of defiance and devotion to Nier, threw himself on the pyre and burned along with his general. The other 999 legionnaires, possibly led by Player Characters, chose another path. They pledged their loyalty to the Empire, but chose to fight in the war as an unnamed and unrecognized legion. They never displayed a standard during their numerous engagements nor were their names ever recorded in the Roster of the Valorous. Yet their deeds are still told by legionnaires across campfires and from the lips of old veterans regaling their grandchildren with tales of heroism.

Now, as to how the original legionnaires from the time of the Imperium of Man rose from their moldering graves in some lost catacombs beneath Ulfila (and what they were doing there in the first place?) is unknown. Since a soul is needed as a catalyst to create intelligent undead and the souls of these legionnaires have presumably gone on to either the Cauldron or the Paradise of the Gods long ago, how did they rise to take up arms against the Empire? Was it the curse of the Gods for the disrespect shown to Them by the Mad Emperor as many say, or was something else at play?

I'll give you a hint - something else was at play. :-)

I've enjoyed reading your conjectures about this topic and it has gotten my creative juices flowing. Since I moved the Soft Point originally scheduled for ArcanisCon 2020 over to Gen Con, I have an adventure slot to fill. I think maybe it's time for the Legion of the Black Sun to make an appearance again.

No promises, but a germ of an idea is forming. We'll see what happens.

Please keep discussing.

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