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 Post subject: Questions on Nerothians and The Death Lord's Kiss
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2019 4:04 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2015 4:42 pm
Posts: 25
Location: The Big Fort, Indiana
Greetings (my apologies if this gets posted twice somehow, power just flickered as I hit submit, and the wifi went down)-

In my home campaign, the party is going to Canceri (Ventaka) to rescue a nobleman's nephew from a Nerothian "Cult". The cult is actually a business charging people for the chance to receive the Death Lord's Kiss and become "living" Undead. The business is actually a front for the owner (Undead Nerothian Cleric) to experiment on the living (torture, heal, repeat) and try to determine the exact moment of undeath; and to possibly harvest the energy. The party won't be able to overpower the Cleric (he is maxed out and they are only 6th level), but a deal will be made if the party can retrieve an item of interest from the flooded dungeons below.

My questions:
Is there an official ruling on how a PC or NPC can receive the Death Lord's Kiss?
Is there a rite that is needed by the Nerothian priests to create "living" undead?
Is there a rite besides just casting "Create Undead" for mindless undead?
Anything else you can think of to help this flesh out/flavors?

Many thanks.

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 Post subject: Re: Questions on Nerothians and The Death Lord's Kiss
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2019 7:59 pm 
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Location: Central Alberta
A couple points about Arcanis metaphysics:

A lot of powerful magical effects in the world of Arcanis require powerful energy sources, and in Arcanis few things are more powerful than a soul. The elorii are able to consume their souls to power the Kurenthe', and among humans (and their kin), they use souls to create intelligent undead.

You see most undead that you see walking around Arcanis are mere puppets of the necromancer controlled via magic. Others are corpses that have been possessed by creatures such as spirits. However, for intelligent undead you need far more powerful magic to maintain the intellect as being something other than just a meat sack. For most people, this is not something that just normally happens, but among the most powerful of the val'Mordane, being the blessed of Neroth, they have more of an . . . affinity for this.

The actual ritual for non-val'Mordane or other Nerothians use to create an undead, it is not clearly stated in canon. However, it is a ritual of some sort unless granted through Neroth's will (spontaneously). This is probably a very resource-intensive ritual, and among Nerothians the creation of a corporeal undead is the ultimate act of piety. It is not (except in very rare circumstances) given out lightly as there are none more blessed before Neroth than a Corporeal undead in the eyes of many (mostly Cancerese) Nerothians.

Taking all of this into account, the motivation of experimenting and capturing the energy of undeath doesn't quite fit into Nerothian religion, even among the Cancerese. That said, among people in Arcanis there is some fear about the 'stealing of souls' and there are rituals cast over the dead to help them move on beyond this mortal world (and to keep them from becoming ghosts). This, however, is more of a Beltinian point since She is the Lady of the Soul. It is also for this reason that the Beltinians consider intelligent undead to be such an abomination because it requires the destruction of their God's most precious item to make the undead.

A possible angle to take with this would be less trying to see the moment of undeath, but in causing undeath, perhaps he is trying to see Neroth Himself? The Gods have been absent from Arcanis for centuries, and there is no real communication between the Gods and their chosen. Maybe through the creation of undead, he hopes to pierce the veil and see where no mortal eyes can see?

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 Post subject: Re: Questions on Nerothians and The Death Lord's Kiss
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:41 pm 
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a la "Flatliners" :?:

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099582/

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 Post subject: Re: Questions on Nerothians and The Death Lord's Kiss
PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:44 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:06 am
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Location: Portland OR
Hey Dustin!

I am not sure what you mean exactly by the Kiss of Neroth. If you just mean it as "undead but not mindless" then there are lots of ways to get there. (Perhaps just "misadventure" with a vampire) ... Like the 6th level spell create undead. But that doesn't seem to be what you are saying as I read your post. I am going to take "Kiss of Neroth" to mean an undead that retains its full intellect and doesn't need to feed on anything to survive (unlike a ghoul or a vampire).

In answer to your questions:
(1) At present the only official ways an N(PC) gets the "Kiss of Neroth" is that they become a high level Cleric/HC and receive it as a class feature near the pinnacle of their career. A val'Mordane can also receive this "Blessing" from reaching BR: 5. Also (certainly not open to players) theoretically a high level sorcerer can also go the route of lichdom. Those are the only official routes I know of. A wight is a MUCH less powerful (stunted) version of this, and can be created with an 8th level spell slot and Create Undead.

(2) Again, not entirely sure what you mean by "living undead." I am pretty sure that the answer is no. The "Gift" in its pure form is the product of faith, divine favor, and/or a lifetime of service. Do you want this to be a ritual in your home campaign? It's your home campaign ... (but see my response to 4)

(3) The 3rd level spell Animate Dead creates mindless undead (as do a few other things like Finger of Death). These are not true undead in the minds of Nerothians. The 6th level Spell Create Undead does create intelligent undead. Ghouls to start with, but more powerful forms including wights and mummies as you use higher spell slots. How Nerothians feel about these "lesser" forms of intelligent undead varies. In Canceri I believe these lesser forms of undead are recognized as part of the undead family & and seen as useful lieutenants by their "betters." But I also think that these kinds of undead are perceived to be inferior to the "true blessing" given to the most pure of Neroth's followers. (OTOH the Deathbringers pretty much hate them all up and down the line ... and shoot on sight).

(4) Like Cody I am not sure that "metaphysics of Arcanis" really supports the idea that a Ventaka Necromancer can just turn "anyone" into the sort of free willed undead that come out of the long religious road of clerics and HCs. That doesn't mean that there aren't lots of Necromancers doing horrible & blasphemous things "for science." (Or indulging in false advertising to collect the gullible.) Off the top of my head some possible other goals of necromantic research might be: (a) creating lieutenants with unique/different powers or abilities. (b) producing a more powerful version of "traditional" undead, (c) finding a more time/resource efficient way to produce undead lieutenants. (d) experimentation to understand how lichdom works, (e) experiments to understand how memory works and why some elements of memory seem to be attached to the intellect and others to the soul. (f) experiments into undead vulnerabilities to eliminate a rival. (g) experimentation to use the blood or life of the captive to augment the power of the undead cleric.

Good luck with your adventure! "Show them the evil!"

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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: Questions on Nerothians and The Death Lord's Kiss
PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2019 7:06 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:37 pm
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Location: Michigan
As those who know the world better than I have already stated, the creation of intelligent undead is usually powered by the consumption of the individual's soul to animate the body and retain the intellect. But the loss of their soul in the process does cause long term problems for undead, as they have a tendency to become more separated from the world over time and become more lethargic.

I have long wondered with soul stealing being possible (or maybe just the pilfering of a dwarven soul shard or two), wouldn't it make sense to learn if you can burn someone else's soul to power your gaining of Neroth's blessing? You would have the blessing, and your soul! It seems like something an enterprising young Nerothian heretic (because messing with the blessing would certainly be heresy) could experiment with. Too bad the real experts on this kind of thing are Beltinians, and they would send you to the cauldron for recycling before you could finish the question...

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 Post subject: Re: Questions on Nerothians and The Death Lord's Kiss
PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2019 7:26 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2015 4:42 pm
Posts: 25
Location: The Big Fort, Indiana
I really like this angle. It will give a the PCs more of a pause and add a nice flavor to it. Permission to use?

Nierite wrote:

A possible angle to take with this would be less trying to see the moment of undeath, but in causing undeath, perhaps he is trying to see Neroth Himself? The Gods have been absent from Arcanis for centuries, and there is no real communication between the Gods and their chosen. Maybe through the creation of undead, he hopes to pierce the veil and see where no mortal eyes can see?

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A.Dustin Reid


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 Post subject: Re: Questions on Nerothians and The Death Lord's Kiss
PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2019 7:34 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2015 4:42 pm
Posts: 25
Location: The Big Fort, Indiana
Hellllooooooooooooooooo!

The Death Lord's Kiss eludes to becoming an intelligent undead, and it is found in the 5e Campaign Setting book on page 394 under the Worship of Neroth section.

I like E. I think that will go nicely with the Cleric trying to "see Neroth". Permission to use?

"Show them the evil"? Last time that happened I almost landed Gnomie is a jail and was almost ejected from the game. I will keep the evil tucked away nicely for now! :lol:

val Holryn wrote:
I am not sure what you mean exactly by the Kiss of Neroth….

(e) experiments to understand how memory works and why some elements of memory seem to be attached to the intellect and others to the soul.

Good luck with your adventure! "Show them the evil!"

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A.Dustin Reid


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 Post subject: Re: Questions on Nerothians and The Death Lord's Kiss
PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2019 7:57 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2015 4:42 pm
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Location: The Big Fort, Indiana
I like this, and with the additions from trying to see Neroth and undeath memory...

So, here's how I see it. We have an Undead Nerothian Cleric who is pilfering gullibles to fund his experiments of trying to see Neroth and locating the exact moment when death becomes undeath and what memories are retained. AND steal another's soul. It's got layers of complexity!

Permission to use?

toodeep wrote:

I have long wondered with soul stealing being possible (or maybe just the pilfering of a dwarven soul shard or two), wouldn't it make sense to learn if you can burn someone else's soul to power your gaining of Neroth's blessing? You would have the blessing, and your soul! It seems like something an enterprising young Nerothian heretic (because messing with the blessing would certainly be heresy) could experiment with. Too bad the real experts on this kind of thing are Beltinians, and they would send you to the cauldron for recycling before you could finish the question...

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A.Dustin Reid


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 Post subject: Re: Questions on Nerothians and The Death Lord's Kiss
PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2019 7:59 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2015 4:42 pm
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Location: The Big Fort, Indiana
OK, last thought for the day... Do other creatures have "souls", that can eventually be turned into intelligent undead? Do the GAR? ETC.

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 Post subject: Re: Questions on Nerothians and The Death Lord's Kiss
PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:03 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:37 pm
Posts: 807
Location: Michigan
l woudln't have posted it if I wasn't interested in seeing it used! Would love an in campaign answer to it sometime too!

As for other creatures having souls, I think the solid answer is, "who knows!?!" but the most likely answer is yes. Obviously the Ssethric creatures all have souls, as well as all human-kin and dwarves. Generally, as long as you aren't an arcanely created bioweapon (i.e. Elorii) intelligent living creatures appear to have souls. Intelligent is the key thing, as you can't sacrifice thousands of squirrels for ultimate power. Same with getting arcane energy from their blood, so there seems to be a connection between the two (though I would suspect there is arcane energy in Elorii blood as well)

Gnomie wrote:
I like this, and with the additions from trying to see Neroth and undeath memory...

So, here's how I see it. We have an Undead Nerothian Cleric who is pilfering gullibles to fund his experiments of trying to see Neroth and locating the exact moment when death becomes undeath and what memories are retained. AND steal another's soul. It's got layers of complexity!

Permission to use?

toodeep wrote:

I have long wondered with soul stealing being possible (or maybe just the pilfering of a dwarven soul shard or two), wouldn't it make sense to learn if you can burn someone else's soul to power your gaining of Neroth's blessing? You would have the blessing, and your soul! It seems like something an enterprising young Nerothian heretic (because messing with the blessing would certainly be heresy) could experiment with. Too bad the real experts on this kind of thing are Beltinians, and they would send you to the cauldron for recycling before you could finish the question...

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