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Super undead creator maintainer thingy

Caedrus

Explorer
I got the following email from a friend of mine, and I am asking the collective brain here at ENWorld for some help.

"Ok. So here's the deal. I have a section in a dungeon that I am
creating where I want a friggin' butt-load of orc undead that are
either just huddled around this obelisk (or something) or sprawled
out motionless all over the floors of a couple/few rooms. They have
been there for a long, long time. They do not do anything, and may
never do anything, as the characters wander around them unless the
party does one stupid thing (to be determined)and then all hell
breaks loose.

I also want them to be led by an undead uber-orc or possibly undead
zombie/ghoul ogre (carrying his decapitated head possibly) and also
other big mean monster things (also to be determined).

That's the scenario. I was wondering in all your reading if you have
ever come across a module with a artifact or seen an artifact in ANY
book that could be some sort reference of a monument or obelisk or
something to corrupt creatures into undead monsters and maybe
sustain them for centuries."


Anyone have any ideas I can pass along for something such as this?
 

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Wandering Star

First Post
Sounds like an awesome idea.

I myself have never read of anything remotely like that that i can recall off the top of my head, but it would be really easy to design such an obelisk as some sort of wondrous item. It could be some sort of capstone that acts as a plug blocking off a vortex to the negative energy plane that has become saturated in foul necromantic energy.

For a trigger, maybe the walls to the exterior of the chamber are glass; the characters can see the chamber as they pass it. The door into the area is locked with several mechanisms, including strong magical wards. Perhaps ancient Ur Flan or Netherese runes forbid entrance into the room. But the obelisk is intriguing - it pulses with some strange inner shadow that seems to at once grow and shrink. It seems to beckon to your soul, drawing you in... Simply entering the room is enough to stir the undead into a hungry wakefulness whiich will not end until the foul creatures have sated the life force of anything that enters the room.
 

Caedrus

Explorer
That sounds kind of interesting. I was doing some thinking, and thought he could just use the Eldritch Machine idea from Eberron. Just make it do whatever he wants and not worry about the game effects.
 

shilsen

First Post
Caedrus said:
That sounds kind of interesting. I was doing some thinking, and thought he could just use the Eldritch Machine idea from Eberron. Just make it do whatever he wants and not worry about the game effects.
An Eldritch Machine is the first thing I thought of when I read your post. An especially nasty version is the "Emerald Reanimator" (ECS, pg. 273) which instantly raises any creature which dies within 2 miles as a zombie. Your friend can just limit the range on the thing as it suits him, but having it stretch across the complex would make things very interesting (and not in a good way :]) for the PCs, as anything they killed would instantly rise as a zombie, and where any of them dying would mean an especially bad result.
 

Thurbane

First Post
In earlier versions of D&D, there was some kind of magic cauldron (based on Celtic myth?) that turned any corpse put inside it into an undead...
 

jdrakeh

Adventurer
The Ultimax Deathstone from (old) editions of the Palladium RPG (prior to its renaming as Palladium Fantasy) fits the bill perfectly.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
In earlier versions of D&D, there was some kind of magic cauldron (based on Celtic myth?) that turned any corpse put inside it into an undead...

Inspired by The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander, whom I believe had been inspired by Celtic legend.

Also, check out post #112 in this thread:http://www.enworld.org/forums/showthread.php?p=3625531#post3625531

In it, I describe the Battle Standard of Orcus (demon lord of the Undead)- it animates the dead around it if blood gets dripped on it somehow.

In your case, there would be an attack on the party by something else that results in blood hitting the Standard.
 

Caedrus

Explorer
Shilsen, that is very, very evil. Especially if it raises anyone who dies in the complex. I like it.

Jdrakeh, do you happen to remember what Palladium book that Ultimax Deathstone is in? I have access to some of those. I may try to look that up.
 

jdrakeh

Adventurer
Caedrus said:
Jdrakeh, do you happen to remember what Palladium book that Ultimax Deathstone is in? I have access to some of those. I may try to look that up.

Yes -- it's in the original core rulebook for the Palladium RPG (the one with the black and red cover). Just to clarify, this same RPG was later renamed "Palladium Fantasy" and the starter adventure (along with the Deathstone) were dropped. What I can recall of the Deathstone off the top of my head follows:

It's a big, sickly blue, gem in which reside three demons or devils (the gem serves as their prison). Being the nexus of unholy energy that it is, the gem does three things:

1. Radiates a sickly blue light.
2. Causes an iridescent purple moss to glow in its immediate environs.
3. Bestows X undead hit points on any deceased creature within Y distance of it.

The last one is, of course, the quality that you're after. Just make Y a number of miles rather than yards (or create a ritual or something that amplifies the stone's default effect radius), apply a zombie template to every dead thing within that radius, and add the caveat that he who wields the stone controls the dead things.

That said, you can always use the taint rules from Heroes of Horror to add an extra wrinkle -- the longer that a person possesses the stone, the less sane they get until, eventually, the stone controls them (i.e., the demons can use the former wielder like a puppet in an attempt to escape their prison).

[Edit: I've long said that the Ultimax Deathstone, goofy name aside, was one of the truly brilliant bits about the original Palldium RPG and that dumping it for all later revisions was a mistake.]
 
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Wycen

Explorer
The suggestions above are already good, but this reminds me of 2 things.

The undead from the City of Moil. Moilian zombies, who come to life when they sense life energy, but are otherwise immoble. So maybe the obelisk is what makes them Moilian zombies.

Have you heard of the Dread Codex? Published by Adamant and written by Bret Boyd, it's a collection of undead and one of them is an orc warlord. I just have to find my copy and remember the details. I'm not sure if it appeared somewhere previously under a different name by another company. The OGL list is extensive.

Ok, having found my pdf file, they are called Death Lord Orcs, basically orc commanders raised by their gods for excellent service. They are CR 11.
 

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