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D&D General have we had a player race of undead?

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shades something about a shadow fell and nothing, think it was on a more scummy website nothing past that.
Oh, your talking about the "Shade." That was not what I was talking about. Here is the shade, and it is technically not an undead:


The Vryloka was undead (and living):

The Revenant was also specifically undead (and living?):


It's mechanical, the same reason they where reluctant to add construct PCs. The common healing spells don't work on creatures with the undead type, putting them at a significant disadvantage.

Eventually WotC did the autognome as constructs, with a rather clumsy cludge to fix the healing. You could do the same for undead PCs.
That seems like a pretty weak reason to not include them. It would take one sentence of flavour text to explain why healing spells work on playable undead. "Although undead, [species] retain the ability to benefit from healing magics, which cannot enervate them like a living creature but still manage to knit their flesh back together." It seems like WotC just don't really want them for some reason.


Dusty Dragon
Personally I think the prime "candidate" for a PC would be an "old skeleton". Unlike zombies, skeletons have some levels of intelligence and problem solving. Perhaps after being "alive" for a long time serving some master, they gain sentience/independence?


I'm not sure how a life form could be undead from birth to death - isn't that contradictory?
Some undead are just straight death spirits and not the remains of people. For many of this type there is no indication they are born, just that they are.

The deck of many things skull card in the DMG summons an Avatar of Death which is undead.


In 3.0 Fantasy Flight put out a book called Mythic Races which had the Eleti, undead intelligent skeletons who were made from putting energy into skeletal corpses but the intelligence in the new skeleton was a unique individual unconnected to the old dead person.

"Unlike skeletons, eleti have independent minds and can learn and adapt."

"An eletum is an animate skeleton formed from the remains of a humanoid creature. An eletum gathers the necessary magical energy into one of its own bones over the course of a year. It then places the empowered bone within a skeletal corpse that becomes its “child.” This process is somewhat uncomfortable for the parent but not really painful."

So the new eleti creature is undead from the moment of its "birth" using an old skeletal corpse.


You're asking what is out there - but is the better question "What do you want to be out there?"

What flavor of undead do you want to see? Ghoul, zombie, skeleton, wight, ghost, or something else? What type of culture do you want them to have - one where they live in colonies, or ones where they're isolated? Ones where they're well known and accepted, well known and hated, or unknown? If you know what you want, building one is pretty easy.


I do not mean in the sense of a prestage class or something nor that is an undead of another sapient population.

a life form that is undead from birth to death that is effectively an undead species?

as that seems sufficiently out there and fantasy for it to be worth a shot?
A large number of undead are people turned undead. A lich is generally the same person they were as a wizard.

Others seem to be turned into a wholly new undead creature when they are turned with no connection to the person they were before besides using their body or the previous person being a necessary predicate to spawning the new separate undead creature.

Ghouls are sometimes conceived of as wholly new creatures (the mental and physical stats change after all), sometimes as a ghoul version of the previous person with continuing personality and memories, just ghoul stuff now. You can go either way narratively for a lot of undead.

So if they are a wholly new creature, the new creature is undead from "birth" to death.

You can really go either way with something like Kobold Press's Darakhul Ghouls 5e PC and monster race and their Empire of Ghouls society.


5e Freelancer
@Mind of tempest, if you're open to homebrew options, I have created two "playable undead" races for 5e that I've elaborated on in other threads. They're the Vezyi and Fehntüm (zombie/wight/ghoul-people and specter/phantom people). They were created by Vecna, who uses them as "farms" for undead bodies and souls to use in his war against the Raven Queen and Shadar-Kai.

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