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 Post subject: Undead in 1070 - have things changed since 1024?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2017 10:23 pm 
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Location: Temple of the Pantheon, First City
Odd background question: what are the different nations' and churchs' current views on the undead - IE where on the spectrum from 'Attack-On-Sight' to 'Just another crazy thing in this world' do the people stand? Do they differentiate between the intelligent undead Blessed by Neroth and the unintelligent undead raised by a necromancer?
I know what the answers would have been based on the Codex Arcanis (Especially for Milandir - in the beginning they were of the 'kill on sight' mindset), but I imagine that the results of the d20 campaign changed it a lot. Just of the top of my head, events that would have changed things include: A possible undead Milandisian Saint (Faith, Hope, and Honor - year 2), the efforts of Lich Arch-Prelate Shaitan val'Mordane (whom at the Convocation of the Divine gifted Calcestus with an undead army which later participated in a crusade... and also just by nature of being an undead Arch-Prelate of the Mother Church likely turned some heads), King Osric officially recognized the rights of undead knights when he restored the title of Knight Protector of Ashvan to an undead Milandisian knight on the caveat that oaths of fealty be renewed every five years and no position could be held for more than five consecutive years (this was the King Osrics's Court Larp at one of the summer cons, but I forget which year), and of course there were a number of undead PCs whom became folk heroes across Onara as Champions of Light. Also, not part of the d20 campaign per se, but apparently Osric played nice with Hegrish val'Mordane at least enough to gain right of passage for crusading Milandisians to reach the Hinterlands without causing a war with Canceri. That bit alone would have been impossible prior to the results of the d20 campaign I would think.
I'm sure I'm forgetting other things, and there are probably things in the Legends campaign that I don't know about since I haven't gotten to play any of that yet.
So given all that, I know that things could be a lot different since I last saw the World of Shattered Empires, but I also know that people - especially superstitious people with generations of bad memories - are slow to change. Hence my original question: how do the different nations and churches look at undead in 1075?

EDIT: I just remember as well, at the Battle of Nishanpur and the LARP that followed Arch Prelate Shaitan val'Mordane was present and pushing heavily for the reintegration of Cancerese Nerothians. IIRC there were concessions made and a goodly number of undead and undead-creating Nerothian former members of the Dark Triumvirate joined the Mother Church's Temple of Neroth. Memory is really fuzzy on that LARP though since its been such a long time.

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 Post subject: Re: Undead in 1070 - have things changed since 1024?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 2:03 am 
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Hi Heidi,

My (personal) opinion is that your analysis is a little sanguine. My best guess is that in the Blessed Lands, Coryani & Milandir openly being undead risks persecution or violence. Its not an accident that the val'Mordane family often wears those white ceramic masks...its helps "grandfather" move around and interact with normal humans. Generally I think an undead PC is likely to face the most hostility from the uneducated masses (monster!) and has the best chance of some kind of acceptance from the cosmopolitan, bohemian & well traveled. This also intersects with how likely you are to be interpreted as a spy (Tralia?) or the cause of local problems (the module starts with three kids who disappeared after going into the cemetery...). It might also intersect with how alien and monstrous your PC looks.

My thoughts by region/religion:

Abessios: Can you pass for a native undead? There are lots of undead in crypts. But also a lot of the Coryani overlords were val'Mordane. The Nerothian Temple/MC attempted to shoehorn many Myrantian deities into aspects of Neroth. This is still a source of hostility. Abessios is probably okay for undead but potentially a terrible place to be a follower of Neroth. A reverse from most places.

Almeric: Lots of war. Lots of death. Peasants would probably burn you as a monster. But if a local Prince likes you (or at least thinks you are useful), then maybe the red carpet would be rolled out for you. Don't get killed in the cross fire.

Altheria: Not a lot of hard facts to speculate from. Apparently not a lot of free willed undead there. Still the Altherians are more educated than most of the world and generally I think that's a potential plus for you. They'll also take anybody in the Shinning Patrol ... and respect the Veterans who come out of it. So an undead veteran probably can carve out a place of respect in Altheria. Also the scholars and leaders there are at least somewhat more likely to ask questions and/or grab examination tools upon learning what you are, than torches and pitchforks.

The Blessed Lands: The First City is tolerant of ALL faiths, and practices the freedom of conscience so long as no one is violating civic laws or disrupting the peace. So there are a lot of worse places to be as an undead especially if you actively worship Neroth. Some people will come to think of you as "normal." Still I think the general populace probably treats an undead creature as a monster in most cases. Wear a hooded cloak while outdoors. In there wilds of the Blessed Lands the people who scratch out a living there see all kinds of strange (dangerous!!!) crap come out of wastelands and are more likely to run away or shoot on sight.

Canceri: Favored of Neroth? Yes mi'Lord.

Coryan: If you are rich and well connected enough then anything goes. If you are are poor enough even keeping your sandals without being knifed is an issue. A (former?) patrician undead that causes few waves probably has only a few social restrictions placed on it. An undead who makes waves, without shelter from a powerful family or the Temple of Neroth might be hunted down by the Deathbringers. While the Mother Church (through the Temple of Neroth) certainly respects the Gift of Neroth, its hard to see how the current Matriarch would be a big fan of the undead.

The Hinterlands: Censure is a cosmopolitan city full of rival factions. I'm pretty sure an adventuring undead somehow find a place there. A hooded cloak or a ceramic mask would help. In the wilds I don't think the Yhing Hir would take well to the undead. At best you are creepy and weird like the Ehtzarta, at worst you cross one or more taboos. Speaking of the ehtzarta, they might make common cause with you...Censure is nominally under the influence of the Milandesian Orthodox Church. Not a plus for you.

Milandir: Milandir is getting more conservative under the new Milandesian Orthodox Church. Not more progressive. You are right that the current Knight Protector of Ashvan is undead. But the module Dry Rain suggests that his popularity is far from universal. Though apparently accepted by Ashvan, I personally don't think he gets invited to a lot of parties. Neroth is also now now relegated to the status of a minor deity...so don't expect a lot of help or respect from local temples. Still I think you suffer from suspicion and strong distaste more than outright hostility among the movers and shakers. It probably gets worse amongst the rural peasantry and a lot worse if you show up speaking Cancereese.

Hope that helps!

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. . . 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: Undead in 1070 - have things changed since 1024?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 2:50 am 
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A few additional replies to events from the past campaign:

The attempted reconciliation between the Mother Church and the Dark Triumverate has almost certainly collapsed. Felician wanted it to fight off his vision of the destruction of the Coryani Empire. Calcestus wanted it to tip the balance of power in his favor to win the civil war. At the start of the last campaign Hegrish had been "assassinated" and there were internal and external threats to Canceri, so an alliance with Coryan could have given them security.

But that's all gone now. Felician & Calcestus are gone. And Hegrish is back and presumably secure. In the aftermath of the 6th Crusade the threat of invasion to Canceri is really low. And Matriarch Elandre is a hard liner when it comes to living a virtuous life honoring the goods. Its hard to see how that could ever be squared with the principles of the Dark Triumvirate: that the world is wicked and one must wallow in evil so the soul may finally sicken of the material world and go to join the Paradise of the Gods. I suspect she and Arch-prelate Shaitan val'Mordane have an "interesting" relationship. Especially since she isn't aging and he can't just out-wait her policies.

Milandir broke away from the Mother Church and former the Milandesian Orthodox Church under Primarch Sabinius (formerly the Arch-prelate aka the Fat Coryani). The MOC now insists that Neroth, Nier & Sarish are "minor deities" compared to the other 9 and should only be supplicated to the extent necessary of averting their malevent influence. Sabinius died in the Crusade Arc in the A:RPG campaign. It remains to be seen how much of his agenda remains under the "new Pope" of the Milandesian church.

Milandesian influence (and its church's) is on the rise. The Eastmarch of Milandir touches on the Hinterlands. (no need to go through Canceri) And no surprise, the influence is rising fastest in the there. Mil Takara is now a Milandesian town/city ruled by val'Ossans. Viceroy Felix val'Ossan is on the ruling council of Censure. Also Milandir is pushing into the Blessed Lands. A Bishop (Faustus) has also been sent to represent the MOC in the First City.

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Eric Gorman

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: Undead in 1070 - have things changed since 1024?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 3:35 am 
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val Holryn wrote:
Sabinius died in the Crusade Arc in the A:RPG campaign. It remains to be seen how much of his agenda remains under the "new Pope" of the Milandesian church.


Played that one on the weekend. 5 Coryani at the table; we all laughed our heads off (esp after sitting though his 3 hour sermon at the start of the day.) When his cause of death was announced.

Well worth the Infamy.

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 Post subject: Re: Undead in 1070 - have things changed since 1024?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:56 am 
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Did you honestly think that things would get BETTER? In ARCANIS! :P ;)

The vast majority of people on Onara are antagonistic against undead, though not uniformly so across the world.

In Canceri, they are viewed as honoured ancestors who have been blessed by the ultimate gift of Neroth.

In Milandir, most people would view you as a Cancerese abomination aiming to eat their children and may possibly start riots. Even in more populous centres you'll see a lot of pushback because in the minds of many undead = Canceri = evil.

In Coryan, there hasn't been much stated but I've never seen a Coryani intelligent undead wandering about. However, the Mother Church tends to be reasonably tolerant to most practices (despite the Inquisition, the MCoC usually aims to absorb rather than destroy) which to me suggest that any Undead in the Empire keep to themselves. As Eric suggested, they would probably cover up when out in public, but otherwise would keep to their crypts.

In the 'wild lands' of the Hinterlands and Blessed Lands, you'll probably get a less-than-warm view of undead as necromancy is generally tied to 'evil shamans'. Hell, you might be viewed as an unintelligent monster as the shaman spells in ARG raise things like zombies rather than liches.

In the other 'civilized' nations of Onara, you'll probably get a position between Coryan and Milandir. There are not a lot of Nerothians in Altheria, the Hinterlands, and the League of Princes so you'll probably get more intolerance there. There used to be way more Nerothians (under the guise of Mahamemnon (sp?)) in Abessios, so there you'd probably get a more positive view. The Black Talons would probably view you as the Milandisians, the Ashen Hides as Canceri, and the Ghost Scales as 'wild lands'.

The elorii, likely, would view you as the ultimate affront to Belisarda, and would probably want to destroy you on sight.

I should also point out that for roleplaying, undead have the slight problem that when they are created, their soul is DESTROYED. Like an elorii consuming their soul to power a Kurenthe', the soul is the catalyst which allows for the creation of an undead who retains their intelligence. However, while they are intelligent, they are no longer human. They immediately lose their emotions, and become creatures of pure intellect. They will continue to 'act' human for an undefined period of time as they still remember how to BE human, and what emotions feel like, but after a while after not having their humanity, they will become detached, callous, and even cruel. This is one reason why undead in Arcanis tend to be evil, as they are seeking pursuits of the intellect without care for the feelings of their victims. As a counter to this, you get groups like the Bardic Order of the Blackchanters, who's music is so beautiful (if haunting) that it can bring forth even forgotten memories of what it is like to feel in the undead.

If you'd like an example of how an undead detaches, a good 'shorthand' would be Dr. Manhattan in "Watchmen". He is desperately trying to remain human even though he no longer is one. He separates from his loved ones, focuses on his intellectual pursuits, and feels increasingly isolated. He has only been in that form for a couple of decades, however, so he still retains some level of his humanity, but as seen in his relationships those ties are fading.

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 Post subject: Re: Undead in 1070 - have things changed since 1024?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 1:44 pm 

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So Judging from Cody and Eric's write up. I can only conclude that an Undead Gnome Ehtzara who does not bath is living up to stereotype? :-P I'm thinking the ability to cast Disguise Self at will is a mandatory Invocation.

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 Post subject: Re: Undead in 1070 - have things changed since 1024?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 1:45 pm 

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Oh did I mention he's a lacky for the Silence?

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Acturis Vocious
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 Post subject: Re: Undead in 1070 - have things changed since 1024?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 1:45 pm 
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Frankly, I'm relieved that we meddlesome, altruistic PCs didn't get our way and nothing has changed since 1025 (and thank you for the detailed write-ups, everyone! Great for jogging the memory since I don't have my old books anymore). Also very pleased to hear how all those plot-threads turned out. I wish I hadn't missed the Crusade story-arc though - AFAICT its been retired, so even if I learned ARG I wouldn't be able to play it :(

In all honesty, I think it would have taken the fun out of being undead if they'd become more accepted and people weren't wigged out by them.

As you probably guessed, my d20 character is going to be brought back with a Chosen of Neroth cert (she was already undead in the d20 system though thanks to bad things happening in Nishanpur). She had been a landed Moratavian Knight (certed land, gentry feat, and everything) - so I actually had fun writing a short story blowing up her retirement plans - basically when Almeric goes to pot, a bunch of nobles whom know her secret (it was a secret, for sure - and probably still is since Almeric nobility has enough 'turnover' that those guys are likely not even around anymore) get together and burn her lands to the ground, kill her vassals, and salt her fields because "Monster!" and because she no longer had a patron or oath of fealty protecting her. They thought they'd destroyed her, but instead they just weakened her and put her out of commission for a decade+ (explains why I missed the first several years of the campaign, and also why she is 5th or lower level instead of 21st level where she retired at). Glad to know that that bit of backstory is good to go :) I'd have actually been sad if the Ashvan guy had turned things around.

Also, thanks for the info on the emotions bit - I remember it from back in the d20 game, but I'm sure it will be useful info for all the other people with the undead PC certs when they invariably click on this thread.

I also appreciate the cloak+hood recommendations - I had to give a think on it to be sure, since she won't have her hat of disguise anymore. Fortunately, she is a cleric of Hurrian. Although I get the impression that half-masks are a dated tradition and have fallen out of favor, she'll wear a two tone metal Hurrianic full-mask and will explain to those whom ask "One half is covered to honor the Scarred God of the Storm, and the other is covered out of shame at the state of Almeric and his progeny." People should see her white-ish hair and any stiffness in movement, and minds will most likely go to 'elderly val'Tensen cleric' rather than 'Monster! Kill it with Fire!'

The elderly angle would also cover her when she invariably references events from 50+ years ago from a first-hand perspective.

I'm now considering making the mask my KS add-on mundane useful item... not sure what skill to use though. Religion, Persuasion, and Deception all make sense to some degree.

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Ser Heidi val'Tensen, AKA Ser Adelheidis Sigrid val'Tensen of Moratavia


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 Post subject: Re: Undead in 1070 - have things changed since 1024?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:59 pm 
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LOL.

PCs have made lots of impacts on the unfolding of the campaign's history. Elebac isn't a lich. Tultipet got ravaged by a dragon. The Warlord of the Black Talons became the King's Champion. Psionic Black Talons! "Altheremas!" (and the subsequent war between Altherian and Seremas) Sabanius was assassinated (shhh...OOC that's one of the last things Osric and others secretly engineered). And Post "Night of 1000 Screams", Altheria is collaborating again with Seremas, but this time it's in the drivers seat to provide that city with extra naval security. Our finger prints are all over the timeline of Arcanis.

But to my knowledge our PCs haven't launched a social change in a major country. The uneducated still blame "sorcerers" for the Time of Terror. All ancient grievances continue to be prosecuted by NPCs no matter how dumb or irrelevant they seem to me in a modern context. You wouldn't believe how long the undead of the Legion of the Black Sun can carry a grudge ... or as an Arcaniac maybe you could.

And undead are still predominantly seen as monsters. Which to be fair ... mostly they are.

Still I think it's important also to understand that while fear and loathing are the predominant responses, there are exceptions too. And Judges also have a job to make it possible for undead PCs to take part in modules (even if most NPCs react poorly when they understand what an NPC is). We don't want every NPC reacting with lethal force even in Milandir. I've played two adventures with an undead PC. That added a certain extra dimension that I enjoyed. The player mostly keeps his PCs status secret through magic.

Probably that's a wise choice.

I think your background sounds interesting. And I like the idea of a mask as your useful item. I would go deceit but diplomacy is also a good choice.

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Eric Gorman

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: Undead in 1070 - have things changed since 1024?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:05 am 
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Eric Hughes wrote:
Oh did I mention he's a lacky for the Silence?

Yes, Eric. Once or twice. ...mumblemuble atgreatlength mumblemumble.... :P Thanks the Gods Tukufu is in the A:RPG. It's almost like Oozey got kicked over to a parallel universe. He's surely someone else's problem now. ;)

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Eric Gorman

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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