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Undead Origins

Voadam

Legend
5e Menagerie: Oceans of Blood
5e
Toothwraith: Toothwraiths are apex predators that refused to release their grip on life. Originally massive sharks (or more rarely great crocodiles or dragon turtles), a toothwraith has willed itself into existence, and it is equipped with a malign intelligence it might not have possessed in life.
Lacedon, Aquatic Ghoul: Creatures reduced to 0 hit point maximum by a toothwraith’s draining bite or as a result of being swallowed rise as lacedons (aquatic ghouls) at the next high tide.
Toothwraiths attack in a frenzy, attempting to swallow as many creatures as possible. The withered corpses of its victims fall through its “belly,” and they eventually reanimate as the starving dead.
 

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Voadam

Legend
5E Mini-Dungeon #140: Arachne Errant
5e
Vampire Spawn: ?
Zombie: ?
Argentum, Vampire: In the bosom of the great mountains rests the long-forgotten tomb of Argentum, drow heroine of yore, interred here by surface elves with all honors during a time when the races were not yet fully divided. Her surface elf lover refused to lose her and, through the purposeful acquisition of vampirism combined with ancient necrotheurgy, transferred his undead essence into what was left of her being, merging so they could remain together forevermore in undeath.
Undead Servitor: ?
 

Voadam

Legend
5E Mini-Dungeon #144: Wreck of the Windfall
5e
Specter: Caught in a sudden storm not far from port, the merchant ship Windfall went down with all hands. As if to make matters worse, stowed below deck were the last remnants of the necromancer Vorphanos. The fear and anger of the dying sailors mixed with the power of these accursed relics, causing their spirits to stay tethered to the ship as incorporeal undead, even though their bodies were taken by the sea.
Once brought to his senses, the captain realizes that the relic below deck is the cause of their undeath and asks the characters to destroy it.
Wraith: Caught in a sudden storm not far from port, the merchant ship Windfall went down with all hands. As if to make matters worse, stowed below deck were the last remnants of the necromancer Vorphanos. The fear and anger of the dying sailors mixed with the power of these accursed relics, causing their spirits to stay tethered to the ship as incorporeal undead, even though their bodies were taken by the sea.
Once brought to his senses, the captain realizes that the relic below deck is the cause of their undeath and asks the characters to destroy it.
Incorporeal Undead: Caught in a sudden storm not far from port, the merchant ship Windfall went down with all hands. As if to make matters worse, stowed below deck were the last remnants of the necromancer Vorphanos. The fear and anger of the dying sailors mixed with the power of these accursed relics, causing their spirits to stay tethered to the ship as incorporeal undead, even though their bodies were taken by the sea.
Undead: ?
Undead Officer: ?
Undead Sailor: ?
 


Voadam

Legend
5e Nightmares Before Christmas
5e
Heimchen, Large Cricket-Like Ghost: Heimchen are the spirits of children killed by Perchta and transformed into large, cricket-like ghosts.
Mari Lwyd, Horse-Headed Skeleton: ?
Pere Foettard, Animated Corpse: Pere is the animated corpse of a butcher who murdered children on Christmas. He captured three wealthy boys with the intent to rob them and ended up slitting their throats. When officials began to investigate what happened, Pere panicked and chopped the children up, turning them into sausage to cover up any evidence of his crimes. He was eventually discovered and his body was burned in effigy.
The extent of Pere Fouettard’s crimes were such that even good deities took notice. Now he is forced to roam towns on the first week of Christmas, punishing wicked children with a whip.

Zombie: The mari lwyd uses its luring song to convince residents to let it in. Those who do are bitten to death and reanimated as zombies who join the mari lwyd on its nightly roaming, which continues until dawn.
A humanoid slain by [a Mari Lwyd's bite] attack rises 24 hours later as a zombie under the mari lwyd's control, unless the humanoid is restored to life or its body is destroyed.
 
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Voadam

Legend
5e NPCs: Goblins! Goblins! Goblins!
5e
Crawling Claw: Fargrakle can create crawling claws by expending a spell slot. To do so, Fargrakle must have the required humanoid hands and must spend one uninterrupted minute focusing his will and desire upon them. At the end of this period of focus, a number of hands equal to double the level of the spell slot expended animate as crawling claws under Fargrakle’s control.
 

Voadam

Legend
5th Edition Adventures Giant's Rapture
5e
Feliul Stone: Feliul stones are magical stones that have been possessed by the spirit of a fallen dwarf, gnome, giant or goblin (far more commonly a dwarf). Usually the victim has died some horrible death, through torture or the like. Some feliul stones are possessed of the spirits of those that have died before some great task was completed. Whatever the case, the spirit lingers in the living world and takes up residence in the stone about it. These spirits live within the rock and stone, trying to fulfill their spent lives’ lingering needs. After many years they are able to shape the very rock within which they reside. They shape it to resemble all manner of things from boulders to statues.
Banshee: ?
 

Voadam

Legend
5th Edition -- C2 Shades of Mist
5e
Mist Banshee: The river is, as the locals attest, haunted. For to the north, just below the river’s headwater, in the lands known as the Shelves of the Mist, the elves once gathered in great numbers. They built refuges from the Winter Dark in the many hidden valleys and dell But a long war, the Seven Years War, with orcs from the east, left many homeless and or dead. Amongst these was their beloved Princess. She lies buried upon the banks of the river amidst a field of winter lilies. From there, her spirit rose and traveled the full course of the meandering river to the Beaches of Lawn. A thick fog often covers the Fields of Winter Lilies, for here the dead gather (the spirits of the fallen elves) both of the great wars and those who lived in more modern times. The scars of the Winter Dark still haunt the elves of Aihrde and their fallen cannot come back to life. When they die, their spirits perish with them or wander as lost souls throughout the world.
Zombie Snake: Nodjmet has animated a dead snake and placed it by the entrance to the cave.
Allip: ?
Will-o'-Wisp: ?
Banshee: ?
Ghost: ?
Skeleton: ?
Shadow: ?
Wraith: ?
Wight: ?
 

Voadam

Legend
5th Edition -- C3 Upon the Powder River
5e
Athul, Allip: The creature is an allip, the undead spirit of the wizard Athul who killed himself by throwing himself into the river after his traveling companion Crel was slain by the Luvandgaurn. The current swept his body into the foundation of the bridge where it remains, crumbled, torn, and wrapped in his magical cloak. Athul’s unburied and unmourned spirit clings to the world of men.
 

Voadam

Legend
5th Edition -- C4 Harvest of Oaths
5e
Will-o'-Wisp: ?
Wight: But more than this, the green hag Merovina loved to lure people to her home, lull them into senselessness with charms or poultices, and devour their souls. She buried their lifeless bodies in the mossy ground around her house, calling on them when and if she desired, for amusement or protection.
Allip: ?
Banshee: ?
Ghost: ?
Skeleton: ?
Shadow: ?
Wraith: ?
 

Voadam

Legend
5th Edition -- C5 Falls the Divide
5e
Shadow: The priest has survived, if in a form that he did not desire. He has assumed the form of a shadow of his own hate and he lingers in the room, lusting for revenge.
Monstrous Skeleton: The rangers piled 68 bodies here. The soldiers were not given a proper burial, and the power of the temple has cursed these fallen men; if disturbed they begin to rise as a monstrous skeleton comprised of a great mound of interconnected, mismatched bones.
 

Voadam

Legend
5th Edition -- C6 Ends Meet
5e
Ghost of Willep Olthorp: Olthorp died mad and in pain with few to cast blessings upon him. When it came time to judge him his broken spirit could not find its way to the Arc of Time and Heth did not judge him one way or the other. Trapped in the material world, his spirit lingers, haunting the mill.
Besnik, Vampire Spawn: ?
Vampire: ?
Meta, Vampire: In time, Meta wasted away until there was nothing left but the mean exhaustion of grief. Thus, it was that a vampire found her. Slaying her guardians, he took her in his arms and drained the goodness, leaving only a shell of evil and spite, rage and guilt. Meta met her end and fled into the wilds, passing from the story.
Geoffrey, Vampire Lesser: In time, Meta wasted away until there was nothing left but the mean exhaustion of grief. Thus, it was that a vampire found her. Slaying her guardians, he took her in his arms and drained the goodness, leaving only a shell of evil and spite, rage and guilt. Meta met her end and fled into the wilds, passing from the story.
Soon after, Geoffrey learned of Meta’s fate, and his vengeance knew no bounds. He hunted the vampire as he hunted the fey, finding its minions and slaying them until at last he unearthed its tomb. They fought, and Geoffrey slew the beast but not before he became infected with the creature’s very disease.
So it was that little Petal’s parents became vampires and came to haunt the land far and wide. One, mad with loss, the other, mad with hate.
Anselina, Vampire Spawn: ?
Skeleton: This room was originally set aside for the lord and lady’s fallen retainers. Their bones were laid here on several biers; there are 12 of them in all. Upon his command, Geoffrey can raise them all from the dead.
Wight: ?
Mummy: ?
 

Voadam

Legend
5th Edition: Druid's Lament
5e
Evil Oculus of Ice and Fire: ?
Skeletal Warrior: In this room is a skeletal warrior created centuries ago by the priests that lived here. The clerics have long since died, yet the warrior still remains. Its soul was trapped in the crown found in room 3.
Shade: ?
Shadow: ?
Viahla, Spectre: ?
Shelkerow: ?
 

Voadam

Legend
5th Edition Horror
5e
Begrudged Soul: Though little is known about begrudged souls, many rumors abound of their origin. Some say they are ghosts of powerful and influential people that refused to fade into obscurity. Others say that they form from a coagulation of lesser ghosts when the stars are right.
Boneseeker: ?
Corpse Reaver: Wizards and warlocks are often trucking with forces beyond their power, and the corpse reaver is one such unfortunate byproduct. Crafted by debased cabal of necromancers, the first corpse reaver was an attempt at creating a loyal undead champion; a tireless servitor that could serve as a stalwart tomb guardian, a relentless hunter, or even provide the muscle necessary to guard frail spellcasters. The cabal succeeded in crafting an impressive creature capable of great feats of savagery. The failure came in the creature’s ability to follow directions. A glimmer of chaos remained within the “mind” of the first corpse reaver, and it quietly waited and plotted, eventually murdering every member of the cabal under the auspice of a misunderstood order. Eventually, the undead champion received a dark inspiration, and began to seek out other necromancers, tempting them with the dark secrets of the construction of other corpse reavers, each time adding to its dark army of potent undead warriors.
Lesser Lich: This pitiable creature was unfortunate enough to find only half of the necessary rituals and instructions for becoming a lich.
Barrow Skeleton: A barrow skeleton is created through a special ritual meant to create a tomb guardian, and is more capable than most servile undead.
Burning Skeleton: Created from the bones of murder victims, burning skeletons are consumed by an unending blue flame that reflects their hopeless rage.
Burning Minotaur Skeleton: ?
Plagued Skeleton: These disgusting skeletons are either created supernaturally through the mass deaths by cause of plague, or purposefully by a necromancer that wishes to spread disease.
Bone Muck disease.
Plagued Warhorse Skeleton's Hooves attack.
Plagued Warhorse Skeleton: ?
Zombie Marshall: The zombie marshall manifests from especially strong sentient creatures. Though much of their personality is lost in the transformation, their strength of will creates in them a leader for the otherwise uncoordinated zombie hordes.
While the zombie marshall can be created by necromancers from the corpses of heroes and scions of the world, they can also manifest spontaneously when such scions suffer an unholy end at the hands of dark forces.
Zombie Beacon magic item.
Doombringer Undying: The doombringer is either a nihilist that would see the world undone, or a tyrant bent on using death and terror to rule as much as they can grasp. Whether through promises to dark powers, or some personal ability, the doombringer can tap into thanatotic powers that help them to see their plans to vile fruition.
The doombringer is effectively undead through their connection to the forces of entropy.
Graveborn: In fact, that they are generated from the remains of all the other races, they retain some glimpses and memories of a warm-blooded life.
Wretched: Some undead are created by chance; dark energies conspire with fate to wrest unfortunate souls into a dreary unlife. Yet some undead are crafted by mortal hands. These unfortunates are usually imperfect beasts, sewn together and given the spark of life by either focused magics or strange science. The result of these unholy efforts are known as wretched.
Risen Dead: ?
Walking Dead: ?
Shambling Undead: Deathly Form spell.
Walking Corpse: Risen Sickness disease.
Haunt: A haunt is a ghostly resonance that can affect a creature that triggers it. Such haunts are very likely to occur in places of death and psychic distress, such as torture chambers, mass graveyards, and battlefields.
Haunt Spectral Knife: A young couple once attempted to travel to a neighboring town to consult a sage regarding the bride’s sudden illness. The highwaymen sought to take the money that the couple had for the sage’s fee. The highwaymen killed the couple and took the money, and were never brought to justice. The husband’s survival knife drew the blood of one of the thugs, and still haunts the site.
Haunt Chilling Darkness: A house servant was once brought to this room and brutally murdered for attempting to steal wine.
Haunt The Painting: ?
Restless Undead: Some war zones can create restless undead in mass numbers, while charnel houses may create a portal into a realm of death and dread.

Undead: Some undead are created by chance; dark energies conspire with fate to wrest unfortunate souls into a dreary unlife. Yet some undead are crafted by mortal hands.
Ghost:
Ghoul: ?
Ghast: ?
Lich: ?
Shadow: Shadowed Typhus disease.
Vampire: ?
Vampire Lord: ?
Vampire Spawn: ?
Wight: ?
Zombie: Zombie Beacon magic item.
Zombie Powder magic item.
Corpse Oak's Wandering Body power.

Deathly Form
3rd-level transmutation
Classes: Cleric, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: self
Components: V, S, M (cured bone)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 hour
You transform yourself into a shambling undead.
When this spell is cast, your type changes to undead, and you no longer have to eat, sleep, or breathe. Any exhaustion levels you have gained are removed but resume once this spell has lapsed. Additionally, you are immune to poison damage and the poisoned condition.
At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a slot of 4th level or higher, you can augment your new form with new abilities. If you use a 4th level slot, you become immune to the frightened condition. If you use a 5th level slot, you also become immune to the charmed condition and gain resistance to necrotic damage. If you use a 6th level slot, you also gain resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical attacks. If you use a 7th level slot or higher, you no longer have to concentrate on the spell, and it lasts up to an hour or until dispelled. All benefits are cumulative as you cast the spell at higher levels.

Zombie Beacon
Wondrous item, legendary (requires attunement)
This strange monolith is small enough to be moved by cart and horse. Those who come across it feel a strange draw to own the monolith. If someone claims the monolith, they can attune to it by keeping it near them for 3 days. On the sunset of the third day, all dead creatures within 100 miles rise as zombies and begin to move towards the monolith.
Curse. If attuned for more than 1 day, you must make a DC 20 Constitution saving throw at the end of that day, and each month thereafter. On a failure, you become a zombie marshall, and the beacon is destroyed. The beacon cannot be unattuned or separated from you unless you are subject to a remove curse. The beacon can be destroyed otherwise by impaling a zombie marshall against it and reciting a holy scripture.

Zombie Powder
Wondrous item, uncommon
When spread on a corpse that has been dead for no more than 24 hours, it becomes a docile zombie servant under your control. The zombie exists for a ten-day. If the Zombie comes into contact with fresh human blood at any point, it goes berserk in the same manner as a flesh golem.

Bone Muck. A creature that takes damage from a plague skeleton’s weapon attack must make a DC 12 Constitution saving throw. On a failure, the creatures becomes diseased, and gains the poisoned condition. Every 24 hours that elapse, the infected creature must make a DC 12 Constitution saving throw, ending the disease on a success. On a failure, its maximum hit point total is reduced by 5. If the creature’s hit point maximum reaches 0, it dies. Creatures slain in this way have a 5% chance of rising at the next sunset as another plagued skeleton, and automatically become a plagued skeleton if targeted with the animate dead spell. The reduction to the target’s hit point maximum lasts until the disease is cured.

Risen Sickness
Among all disease, few are as feared as risen sickness.
Fabled to have toppled empires, this sickness creates undead with staggering efficiency, and at the least ensures a culture of fear and paranoia. Even the rumor of risen sickness is enough to rally mobs to stamp it out, and kings have been known to wipe out entire communities as a safety measure, whether it was merited or not.
What is not certain is how the disease starts, but when it does, corpses begin to rise and hunger for flesh. This disease often spreads to long-dead corpses who have no resistance to the disease whatsoever, and swell the ranks of the risen.
Walking corpses are considered zombies, replacing their slam attack with a bite attack that imparts the infection (+3 to hit, 5 ft reach, one target, 1d4+1 piercing damage). These corpses infect their victims with a disease that kills and raises even more walking corpses. An individual exposed to a bite must make a DC 17 Constitution saving throw. Failure means the victim is infected. After every hour of infection, the infected creature loses 2d6 hit points from their maximum. If this maximum reaches zero, the infected creature dies and rises as a zombie within 1 minute of death.
There is no simple cure for this disease outside of magic, though there are special herbs that can remove the infection before death. An infected victim that is cured is also restored to their normal hit point maximum. There are rumors of random individuals that are naturally immune to the disease,

Shadowed Typhus
This magical illness infects a victim’s shadow, causing the victim to slowly become a dark shade. This diseases may be contracted if an infected creature stands in your shadow, or by lurking in the same shadow as an infected creature. Creatures of the outsider and aberration type are immune to the effects of the disease, but may still carry and transmit the disease to others.
Symptoms develop the sunset after contraction. At that time, the victim begins feeling weak, and their shadow appears darker than usual. The victim begins to fear any light and feels pain and anguish if exposed to sunlight (this exposure does not cause any physical harm). The creature must make a DC 15 Constitution check to willingly step into any bright light.
If allowed to linger in the shadows, the disease worsens, and the infected creature begins to look as though they are in the shadows even when in the light. After three days without exposure to any bright light, the creature begins a transformation into shadow that takes place from sunset to dawn after the third day of prolonged darkness. The infected creature becomes a shadow that is able to create other shadows through disease rather than by its strength drain ability (which otherwise remains unchanged).
The only cure for this disease is prolonged exposure to sunlight (1 uninterrupted hour), radiant damage (equal to half of maximum hit points), or a lesser restoration. Spells and abilities that remove curses or diseases will also end this disease.

Hooves. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d6+4) bludgeoning damage, and the target must make a DC 12 Constitution saving throw. On a failure, the creatures becomes diseased, and gains the poisoned condition. Every 24 hours that elapse, the infected creature must make a DC 12 Constitution saving throw, ending the disease on a success. On a failure, its maximum hit point total is reduced by 5. If the creature’s hit point maximum reaches 0, it dies. Creatures slain in this way have a 5% chance of rising at the next sunset as another plagued skeleton, and automatically become a plagued skeleton if targeted with the animate dead spell. The reduction to the target’s hit point maximum lasts until the disease is cured.

Wandering Body. Though the corpse oak is stationary, it can release its corpses, as many as 3 per turn as a bonus action. Each corpse uses the statistics of a zombie.
 

Voadam

Legend
5th Edition -- Players Guide to Aihrde
5e
Death Knight: ?
Lich: ?
Undead: Their burial customs vary, but they generally prefer to burn their dead, leaving no trace of what came after. This custom arose during the Winter Dark, when it was best to consign the corpse to the flame, for to bury them left the body to be plundered, raised as an undead, or eaten by the enemy.
King Innocent III, Prince Innocent III: ?
Incorporeal Undead: ?
Ghost: ?
 

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