D30 Day 15: Halfway there! Now to figure out what my favorite undead is…

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Well, 15 days ago I wouldn’t have guessed I would have made it this far with this thing, especially since I didn’t  even find out about it until a few days late. Now I think I may be able to actually get through this thing. Now, on to the topic…

I’m a big fan of the lowly undead, so if I wanted to make a short and simple post I could easily say that the skeleton is my favorite undead. They have certainly got the most use in my adventures and I am probably not in the minority there. Who doesn’t love throwing a pack of skeletons at a party? It’s pretty much the quintessential undead monster, perfect for almost any occasion. With zombies being a close second.

But when I started to think about it, not in terms of what the most popular undead was, but which one I liked the most, then I would have to say that I like the old school revenant. This isn’t just a mindless monster that you toss at the party, this is a creature that you build an adventure around. Specifically a good murder mystery. The revenant is a vengeful spirit that comes back to seek justice for it’s wrongful demise. In this way it is an almost sympathetic monster, albeit one that tries to strangle people to death with its cold, lifeless hands.

A great way to use this monster is with multiple murderers. Since a revenant comes back to kill the person who killed it, you can set up a very interesting scenario if there is a band of co-conspirators responsible for the revenant’s death. What if four or five people pushed an innocent person down a well, to cover up some vile misdeed they have perpetrated, for instance. Now you have an adventure where people are being murdered one by one by a monster, people who are trying to keep from being murdered while still covering up the awful thing they did. This can make for a very exciting adventure, if one or more of the remaining conspirators approach the PCs for protection.  Should the PCs uncover the real reason behind these murders, they may find themselves the targets of those they were trying to protect.

The point is that this isn’t just a monster, it’s also a wonderful plot device. It’s not the type of monster the PCs are likely to encounter more than once, but they will probably remember that time they solved the grisly mystery surrounding the murder of the viscounts daughter (and it turned out that the viscount who hired them had a hand in her death), more than they remember that time there were a bunch of skeletons in that one crypt.

(Note: I really liked being able to link to “related content” in these posts, but for some reason related content for me to link to is no longer showing up automatically. I’m going to try to figure out what happened there, and hopefully I will be able to link to related content again soon)

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2 thoughts on “D30 Day 15: Halfway there! Now to figure out what my favorite undead is…

  1. There was a short story in Dragon Magazine that involved a revanant. I remember liking it and the accompanying artwork. That story put this creature on the map for me, but I don’t remember the particulars anymore. I should look it up.

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