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Undead of Elegy Islandby Giampaolo Agosta, John Calvin and Francesco Defferrari from Threshold Magazine issue 13
Undead of Elegy Island
A Mini-Player Crucible for the Undead
by Giampaolo Agosta, John Calvin, and Francesco Defferrari
Atlas of Elegy
The island of Elegy has served for centuries as the graveyard of the Makai tribes. Thus, the island is dotted with necropolises, and has only a small population -- in the past, it was considered taboo by most Makai tribes, and later on the poor terrain, unsuited for the style of plantation farming favored by the Ierendi landowners, did not encourage settlement.
The surface of the island, however, hides much. The graveyards are home to a number of Ancient Dead, including a few less-than-ancient mummies, as the richer Makai of modern times have restored the old practice of burial on Elegy. Below the graveyards, passages in the rock lead to the Shadowdeep, where the ruins of the Taymoran age lie, populated by undead followers of Tanyt, the Taymoran age identity of the Immortal Nyx. Finally, a mirror of Elegy Island exists in Limbo, populated by the spirits of Makai buried on the island which have not transitioned to the Outer Planes.
Map of Elegy
Map key: see below the description of the locations included in the map. Numbers in white are elevations in feet. Civilized areas are listed first, normally inhabited by humans and under the control of Ierendi’s government. Borderlands areas are known to exist, but not fully explored, or simply the human inhabitants of the island fear, but do not know that they could be inhabited by undead. Wilderness areas are fully unknown to the human inhabitants of the island. Undersea locations are mostly unknown to the human inhabitants, even if rumors and legends may exist about them.
Elegy is a green, if rocky, island in the northwestern reaches of the Ierendi archipelago. The island features rocky cliffs swept by the winds and waves on its western coast, but the terrain becomes lower towards the east, so that the eastern coast is much more gentle. The middle part of the island comprises hills and valleys. The living population is concentrated on the eastern coast.
Elegy is mostly a pastoral, sleepy island. The White-faced Gibbon is the most typical animal found on the island. More common beasts include boars, sheep, giant lizards, and giant rats. Birds such as ravens and hawks are also common. The “Monstrous Atlas: Kingdom of Ierendi” by Sheldon Morris can be used to choose additional monsters, from the Open and Wooded terrain tables.
Nula, Village of the Living. The areas around the village of Nula on the eastern coast of Elegy are inhabited by living humans (and a few demihumans). Nula itself has a population of 600 individuals, mostly Makai. Smaller villages along the eastern coast house the remaining tribes of Elegy, numbering only slightly above 2,000 individuals, for a total of 2,800 inhabitants1. Few undead venture here, mostly those who can cast illusions to hide themselves. In an Elegy campaign, this is an area where undead PC can interact with the living.
Kaele and Paheo: The inhabitants of these two villages are mostly Makai fishermen.
Elai and Waloa: These are inns along the road to Mahipa tower. Small garrisons of the Guard are also located here.
Maulia, Halauea and Kona: Makai villages.
Kaniha and Moloa: Makai villages. Moloa has recently seen a population boost due to the tomb construction business, with specialized immigrant workers, including a few dwarves and wizards.
Ha’ali Cove, pirate hideout. This natural harbour on the eastern coast of Elegy has been claimed by the Ghoul crew of the Revenge, a pirate ship commanded by Donatello “The Black” Matrongle. The undead pirates are relative newcomers to Elegy, and are building a power base here, with the aim of conquering Ierendi and turning it into an undead empire.
Nyx’s Post Pile. This region on the southwestern coast is dotted with tombs, both ancient and new. These are the tombs of rich Makai, buried here in the last century. These people sometimes come back as Mummies, due to accurate mummification techniques, or as vengeful spirits, when their treasures are robbed. This area should serve as a contrast to the ancient graveyard, providing undead PCs who are different not because of class feature, but for their more modern mindset.
Ancient graveyards contain the tombs of Makai tribesmen from before the VI century. These people typically come back as Zombies, often animated by the undead spirit or mummy of an ancient chief or shaman. If a Zombie class is available, some of these Zombies may recover sentience with time, or possibly due to the influence of Nyx. The Unrepentant Dead is the undisputed lord of the ancient graveyard and its Zombie population.
Makai graveyards. This area is thick with Makai tombs. The most ancient dead can be found to the west, Make Nui and the newer ones to the east.
Mount Pakkokas. A amber dragon, Yolsu’um, lives here with many servants, possibly including harpies, goblins, elementals and flame salamanders, giants, rock trolls, constructs, undead, sphinxes and werecreatures. Many tales exist about the area, which is however unexplored. Yolsu’um, Lumnaar in Lizard Vale and Kaasthur the Sea dragon are rivals. Each is allied with one of the three immortals who wish to dominate Elegy's undead, Nyx, Hel and Thanatos. The DM may decide each dragon's specific affiliation.
Dragon Vale. The Mount Pakkokas dragon , Yolsu’um, controls this area, which is thick with giant lizards and snakes.
Gibbon Vale. Area where the famous Elegy white-faced gibbon is more common. Other native animals include giant rats, wild boars, giant lizards and all kinds of birds, snakes and insects. The persistent rumor about intelligent gibbons (or maybe white apes or rock baboons) may be true or not depending on the DM’s preference.
Mahipa tower and Kemea. A garrison controlled by the Ierendian government, with about 50 soldiers, an anchored ship in a very small port, and a little village of Makai fishermen nearby. Sphinxes are often spotted around these cliffs, but many believe their presence is just a legend or belongs to the past.
Menehune lake. This lake is the home of the Menehune, the name Makai use for fairies. The category could include sprites, pixies, leprechauns, brownies, gremlins, faenare, nixies, dryads or even satyrs at the DM’s discretion.
Dragon River Vale. There are a lot of stories about werecreatures living in these woods. Only a few Makai and Ierendian soldiers come here to gather wood.
Stonecarver cave. This cave is Jaime “Honey-Creeper” Ahua’s home. It connects with extensive underground tunnels, and includes access.
Unrepentant cave. This cave is inhabited by Unrepentant Dead. The entire area is overrun by the Unrepentant Dead’s servants, mostly animated dead like zombies and skeletons.
Cave Hills. This is a contested area between the Yolsu’um and Lumnaar, the Lizard Vale dragon. Rockmen, fungoids, undead and werecreatures are rumored to live in the area, or in the region beneath it.
Lizard Vale. Lumnaar, a dragon, lives in this swampy area, with undead and living lizardmen and troglodytes as servants. Hydras are also present among the local fauna, according to tavern’s tales. Rumors abound that Lumnaar is an undead dragon, a night dragon or a gemstone dragon, and that she was the mother of Attura, the great green dragon of Atruaghin lands. These rumors may be true or false depending on the DM’s preference.
The sea dragon. A great sea dragon, Kaasthur, has his lair here, and is a bitter rival of the two dragons on Elegy’s surface. Kaasthur is rumored to have zombies, ghouls and velyas in his service. The dragon fancies itself a rival of Thundar, but he is not as strong as the dragon of mount Thun, and keeps well out of Thundaria.
Palace of the Sea Giant. The sea giant Hríd is rumored to be a powerful wizard, or necromancer, allied with Yolsu’um, the dragon of Mount Pakkokas.
Kraken lair. The Kraken that nests here is a pawn under the control of Lumnaar, the dragon of Lizard Vale, who uses it to harass the servants of Kaasthur.
Tayvea. An ancient Taymoran ruin, rumored to be inhabited by a powerful circle of velyas.
Aneilia. A merrow town whose economy is mostly based on harvesting the local anemones. Some of them are in fact sold as food delicacy to tritons, knas, aquatic elves and other Undersea inhabitants, and others have toxic, mind altering or magical properties which are even more precious.
The sea anemones. A great extension of anemones cover all the sea floor south and east of Elegy island. A rare species, the black anemone, is also rumored to be sacred to Nyx, and its poison would be capable of conferring intelligent undeath (as velya) to anyone who is killed by it. Several merrow villages dot the sea floor near the anemone fields.
The Dark Mountains. This deep area is inhabited by a devilfish detachment, with other sea undead, who often try to harvest the anemones for their own purposes.
Temple of Malafor. A great temple to the merrow immortal is here, specialized in the study of the anemones and undeath. According to rumors, the merrow priests hope to develop their own strain of intelligent eternal life by studying ancient Taymoran tablets.
Mashwiil. Another important merrow community, although a bit less civilized than Aneilia. Its inhabitants are known for aiding and abetting surface-dwelling pirates.
Knaeel. A community controlled by kna, who are obviously interested in trading in anemones and ancient Taymoran secrets.
Mystara's Shadowdeep is that region of the planet's crust that lies somewhere beneath the surface of the planet, yet above the layer of molten World Shield ore that separates the Outer World from the Hollow World. The caverns of the Shadow Elves are perhaps the widest known example of this region, but countless other cavern systems dot the interior of Mystara's crust, many of which interconnect through tunnels and underground rivers and streams.
White outline is the coast of Elegy island above.
Depths are given in feet below sea level for every major cavern
Jaime Honey-Creeper Ahua and his undead servants maintain a hideout in a Stonecarver cave deep under Elegy, but over the Shadowdeep proper.
The vast cavern domain is a wonder to behold, with nearly every inch of stone having been tirelessly worked by his undead minions over the centuries. Stalactites shaped to look like massive trees appear to brace the cavern’s ceiling, their trunks and roots extending down into the floor. Murals depicting the natural world have been carved into every wall, and fungi from the mundane to the giant are grown and nurtured by Jaime’s minions.
In the center of the cavern lies another massive statue; a vast stone tree with branches outstretched. Within its base is carved a temple to Djaea, its inner sanctum holding Jaime’s phylactery, the ancient skull of the dragon Ehrssus2.
Jaime has various minions that he can call upon to do his bidding, both alive and undead, and some in between, the pride of which are three giant ant colonies that inhabit his cavern, one in the north, and two to the south and west. Over the centuries the ants have developed an immunity to the spores of yellow musk creepers and formed a symbiotic relationship with the dangerous plants. Each of the three ant colonies feed and tend their own yellow musk creeper garden. While the spores do not infect living ants, they will animate the husks of dead ants, creating additional workers and warriors that help defend the hives… and Jaime’s cavern.
Other undead can be found in the ruins as well as well, including skeletons and zombies in all stages of decay. These remain mostly dormant, covered in slime and various fungal growth until called upon to act by their master. More powerful creatures can also be found wandering in this domain, including fungoids, dusanu, and even one sacrol (the embodiment of all the lizardmen slain by the Nithian plague of BC 500). Of these the sacrol is the most dangerous, and Jaime is careful to keep it under control in his lair lest it wreak havoc upon the living of the surface.
A small village of myconids tends to Djaea’s temple in the middle of the cavern. They help tend and nurture the fungi growing in the cave, and sometimes set forth into the dark to deal and trade with other denizens of the Shadowdeep. Their leader is a burgeoning druid, and an acolyte under Jaime’s tutelage.
The Taymoran Catacombs of Kynah
These catacombs are deep underground, and were originally accessed through entrances now collapsed under the sea. The Undecayed are the most common inhabitants of this area, although Ancient Dead and spirits sometimes also appear.
The Qliphonim are the Undecayed inhabitants of Kynah, a set of caverns in the Shadowdeep under the island of Elegy. It is worth noting that Elegy was never part of Taymora. Rather, there was a Taymoran colony in what at the time was Azcan territory, called Akinaz. Akinaz was a mining colony of Sarroch, a major Taymoran city in the Western Borderlands region. Mining, as well as agriculture, was mostly handled by Azcan subjects, whereas the Taymoran colonists dealt with the smelting and refining operations, as well as security. When the Taymoran cataclysm hit, the earth was shaken, and the entire area was flooded. Akinaz sunk under the earth, but Nyx preserved part of it, letting it slide into the Shadowdeep. The inhabitants died, but she brought back her faithful as the Undecayed.
They named the region Kynah, which means "Elegy" in their Taymoran language, and started rebuilding Akinaz and expanding their control. Across almost three millennia, they have gathered power, magic, and knowledge, but have been constantly limited by their inability to produce more of their kind. The Qliphonim clerics and mages are able to animate pottery statues (equivalent to Crystal Living Statues in powers), which they use extensively as soldiers, miners, and in other menial jobs, freeing the relatively few Undecayed for more important activities. A few of the most powerful clerics are also able to create golems, but these creations are costly, and therefore reserved for use as guardians and special troops.
Other Shadowdeep Locations
Makai mummies: Here dwell mostly the Ancient dead, preserved bodies of Makai chiefs.
Unrepentant cavern: This is the main hideout of the Unrepentant dead, heavily guarded by his minions and pawns.
Dragon palace: The underground palace of Yolsu’um, near a lake of lava deep under the surface.
Lizardkin pyramid: Undead lizardmen dwell here around an ancient pyramid, maybe Oltec or Taymoran in origin. They are controlled by Lumnaar.
The Lost Caverns: The eastern area of Elegy’s Shadowdeep is unexplored even by most undead. It is supposed to be inhabited only by unintelligent monsters which dwell in ancient Taymoran and older ruins. Some inhabitants of the Shadowdeep believe ancient brutemen and small dinosaurs inhabit these caverns.
Nocturnal Sea: A mysterious underground lake or sea where all manner of water creatures are rumored to live.
'Ala'ia, Limbo's Elegy
Limbo is shown mostly in grey and purple colors due to its ethereal nature, see full description below.
Limbo is a region of the Ethereal that closely mirrors Mystara. The souls of recent dead remain there until collected by servants of their Immortal patrons. Souls of people who did not follow the teachings of any Immortal in life are not collected, and must find their own way to the Outer Plane matching their alignment. Some remain in Limbo for a long time, forming small societies for mutual protection against the predations of the Minions of Chaos, servants of the Entropic Immortals who hunt down these souls to carry them to the Pyts.
While Nyx is an Immortal of the Sphere of Entropy, she is mainly interested in unlife and new forms of it. She took notice of these small communities of souls in Limbo, and decided to make an experiment in unlife -- she planted an artifact, the A'u ke 'Ala'ia (Monolith of Elegy, in the Makai language), on the coast of Elegy. In Mystara, the monolith is merely a geographical feature, Nyx's Post. In Limbo, it appears as a giant monolith covered in carvings. It radiates a form of magical energy that has two effects. First, it confuses the senses of Minions of Chaos and similar beings, who are not able to detect souls at more than 10' while on 'Ala'ia (Elegy goes by its original Makai name in Limbo). Second, it permeates the soil of Limbo, allowing it to grow a plant, sa'au, which can be consumed by Limbo's souls to strengthen themselves -- a soul on a regular sa'au diet slowly regenerates hit points (1/month). Due to the sense-confusing effects of the A'u ke 'Ala'ia, souls are not collected as it normally happens in the rest of Limbo. Thus, after Nyx planted the monolith, a large community of souls developed on 'Ala'ia. These souls explored the island, and soon started to build canoes to explore Limbo's seas. They therefore discovered that, out of 'Ala'ia, the Archons came to collect them. The soul population of 'Ala'ia quickly dropped after the discovery -- most of the Makai worshipped the Immortals, and were glad to leave Limbo. A few remained behind, either because they did not trust the Immortals, or because they remained to guide future souls. In time, those who remained for a longer time discovered they could develop new abilities, and became the Uncorporeal (Huaka'i in the Makai language).
The Huaka'i have slowly increased in numbers as more dead were entombed on Elegy, and a number of errant souls from the southern reaches of Brun joined them in time. 'Ala'ia now has roughly 3,000 inhabitants, 70% of whom are Makai who do not follow the teachings of the Immortals (or have good reason to avoid meeting their servants). The remaining are equally divided between foreign souls, and souls of Makai chiefs and warriors who feel responsible for directing the souls of other Makai towards the afterlife.
Other Locations in Limbo
Taymorans and Stonecarvers: A few agents of the Taymorans of Kynah and the followers of Jaime maintain a presence in Limbo, hidden from the Makai and the other inhabitants.
Makai towers and Makai forts: These guard posts are here mainly to prevent the Unrepentant Dead from threatening the Monolith or the Sa'au fields.
The Unrepentant Dead’s territory: The original haunt of the Unrepentant Dead. Although he and his followers nowadays limit themselves to the material world, the Uncorporeals of 'Ala'ia avoid these areas for security reasons.
Mele, Himeni, Kanakau and the Sa’au fields: These small villages are the main centres for the harvesting of Sa’au as the plant fields are mostly located in this region.
Spirit woods: This area of Limbo is supposedly controlled by the Menehune (fairies) of Elegy’s surface.
Pirates: A group of Uncorporeal pirates lives here. If Donatello “The Black” Matrongle is able to contact them, he would be interested in obtaining their fealty.
Lizardmen: A group of Uncorporeal lizardmen dwell here, supposedly controlled by the dragon of Lizard Vale on Elegy’s surface.
The Night dragon mountains: This area is controlled by Yolsu’um, the dragon of Mount Pakkokas, or by a mysterious Night dragon.
The Shadow dragon hills: This area is avoided because it is inhabited by an Uncorporeal dragon, whose allegiance is unknown. Some suspect it may be allied with the Unrepentant dead.
The White Island: While it is quite far from Elegy itself, White Island is the lair of the Ether weirds, a race of outer planar beings who moved there when their native plane was destroyed, and Orisis recruited them to guard the island. The weirds are very dangerous for the undead, as they can drain their life energy. For now, the Huaka'i have not been able to or interested in leaving Elegy, while the Ether weirds do not leave the White Island which they are sworn to protect, except at the behest of Orisis. Should they meet, conflict is extremely likely to occur.
This section presents Classic D&D rules for Undead as player creatures, in the style of the “Player Crucible” series.
Among the Undead of Elegy Island, four categories are prevalent: the Undecayed, a special kind of corporeal undead similar to intelligent zombies; the Uncorporeal, which include all manner of ghosts and spirits; the Ancient Dead, corporeal undead commonly known as mummies; and the Ghouls, corpse-devourers who have recently arrived on the island. Other undead, such as Night Dragons, Death Knights, Liches, and Vampires, may also appear, but they are limited to few individuals, and therefore are not covered by these rules.
[Sidebar: Using Ghostwalk with Elegy Island]
Ghostwalk is a 3rd Edition campaign setting designed by Monte Cook and Sean K. Reynolds, that deals with continuing campaign play even after a character’s “death”. As such, it can be an asset for those wishing to run an undead heavy campaign, and can provide character options for playing with, or against, the undead. Following we will outline some of the key components of the Ghostwalk campaign setting and how they might be adapted to work in Mystara, on Elegy Island.
One of the intended goals of the Ghostwalk campaign setting is to allow Players to continue playing their Characters, even after their characters have died. These characters are referred to as Ghosts in the Ghostwalk setting (not to be confused with the undead monster of the same name). In this sense, Ghosts are analogous to The Uncorporeal presented in this article.
City of Manifest
In Ghostwalk, the City of Manifest is built around a special region in the setting that allows spirits to maintain a corporeal existence even without their living bodies. On Elegy Island this region would be centered around Nyx’s artifact, the Monolith of Elegy, with its properties spanning across Elegy Island both in Limbo and on the Prime Plane.
The True Afterlife
In Ghostwalk, the souls of the departed pass through Manifest’s gate and enter the True Afterlife (and are henceforth removed from play). In the Mystara campaign setting, it is possible for the souls of the departed to continue adventuring once they have reached Limbo. In this sense, Limbo cannot be considered an analog for Ghostwalk’s the True Afterlife, however once outside the Monolith of Elegy’s sphere of influence, souls can be carried away by Archons to the Outer Planes. Should a dead character experience this, consider them to have passed to the True Afterlife and remove them from play.
Why use Ghostwalk with Elegy?
In addition to the setting rules and ghost character progression rules presented in Ghostwalk, the campaign setting also offers a plethora of information on special abilities for ghosts, new monsters that could be incorporated into a ghostly setting, and numerous treasures and magical items that can be used both by ghosts, and by living characters confronting them. In a setting that includes incorporeal characters often possessing powerful abilities, it is important that the campaign setting offer rules and options for balanced play.
The Undecayed3 are similar to Zombies, except that they retain the same level of intelligence they had in life, and their physical decay stops when they are reanimated. Undecayed PCs start out as NM Zombies (except for their attributes, which are the same as in life), with a negative XP limit (-2000 XP) to overcome. After that, they can take any class accessible to a human (often the same they had in life), although they suffer from a -20% XP penalty.
As Zombies, they have the standard undead immunities to sleep, charm and level drain. Healing spells act as reversed on them.
They can use any type of equipment available to normal humans and demihumans.
While Undecayed maintain the same Charisma score as in life, they suffer from a -3 reaction penalty from the living, due to their generally unhealthy appearance.
The Uncorporeal are undead spirits. As the name says, they are generally incorporeal, since they reside in Limbo. They can travel to and from the Ethereal, assuming material form. Moreover, powerful Uncorporeal gain powers that allow them to possess dead bodies or even the living, drain energy, or perform other supernatural abilities. In Limbo, they appear as normal people, with Armor Class 9 and normal damage (by weapon). They can use weapons, armor and other Ethereal equipment while in Limbo, but not in the Prime Material.
Table: Uncorporeal Character Class
undead immunity, incorporeal, materialize (2 rounds, can enter the Ethereal only 1/day)
materialize (1 round)
Special Ability, immunity to normal weapons (hit by silver weapons)
Silver weapons do 1/2 damage
Enter the Ethereal 2/day
+1 weapons to hit
Enter the Ethereal 3/day
2 (1 at 12 & -1/4 lvls)
+2 weapons to hit at level 13, +1 Special Ability/4 levels
Summon: summon 1d4 other Uncorporeals with 1/4 HD.
Charm: gaze attack, imposes a -1 ST penalty every 4 levels of the Uncorporeal.
Animate Plant: as the Odic power.
Spell-like ability (allows to cast one of the following spells as a Cleric of same level): Animate Dead, Finger of Death, Cause Disease. All spell-like abilities are usable 1/day, and at will after level 16.
Poisonous Presence: poison all food, water, potions, and kills small plants and insects.
Age: as the Haunt power; before level 10, ages by 1d4x5 years/
Magic Resistance: 5%/lvl, not effective against spells that target Evil.
Possession: allows possession of dead bodies before level 9, as Ghost or Odic power afterwards.
Wail: as Lesser Banshee wail before level 9, as Banshee wail afterwards.
Paralyzing Gaze: as the Haunt power; before level 10, paralyzes for 1d4 rounds.
Drain Energy: touch attack drains 1 level; the power can be taken twice to drain 2 levels.
Ectoplasmic Net: as the Haunt power; requires materialize instantly (achieved at level 10) as a prerequisite.
Poltergeist: the spirit is invisible even when it materializes
Pristine appearance: the spirit's material form is pristine (can pass for a living being and does not suffer from reaction penalties from the mortals)
Makai ancestor spirit form: the spirit’s material form is that of a totem animal, such as an owl or shark. This form does not suffer from reaction penalties from the living.
The Ancient Dead
The Ancient Dead are preserved bodies of (usually) Makai chiefs, shamans and warriors, and more recently rich Makai landowners and merchants. The dead spirit never leaves the preserved body, thus the Mummies are fully corporeal, and cannot enter Limbo. They can use most equipment, including armor and weapons.
Table: Ancient Dead Character Class
half damage from normal weapons, full damage from fire and magic weapons, undead immunities
gain fear power
half damage from fire, 1/4 damage from normal weapons
half damage from fire, spells and magic weapons, immune to normal weapons, fear & disease
-1 ST vs fear ability
-2 ST vs fear ability
1 Salient Ability/4 lvls, -1 ST vs fear ability/4lvls
Salient Abilities (based on AD&D Van Richten's guide):
Charm Person: works as Control Undead, but on people and monsters, subject to ST vs Spell.
Undead Liege: the Mummy controls undead as a spellcasting undead, or with a +3 level bonus if it is already a spellcasting undead.
Curse: as the reversed Remove Curse spell, 1/day up to level 6, 2/day up to level 9, 3/day up to level 15, at will thereafter.
Elemental Command: the Mummy acquires powers similar to the Glantrian Secret Craft of Earth Elementalism. The salient ability can be taken multiple times, each providing access to a new Circle.
Magic Resistance: 5% per level.
Retained Class Abilities: the Mummy can cast spells as full Cleric instead of Shaman, use Fighter special abilities after level 9, or use MS, HS, RL, F/RT as Thief of equal level, depending on its class in life. They can learn Weapon Masteries as per their original class, although they use the Cleric/Thief/Magic User progression.
Summon Animals: the Mummy has the same summoning powers as a standard Vampire.
Weightless: the Mummy acquires the Climb Walls skill as a Thief of same level, and increases its Move rating by +30'/round; at level 9, it gains Levitate at will; at level 18, it can Fly at will.
Greater Rot: the Disease attack imposes a -1 penalty to ST per each 5 levels of the Mummy (minimum -2).
Illusion: cast Phantasmal Force at will.
Mummies cannot retain wizardly magic even if they had them in life. They can learn to cast clerical spells even if they had not the ability in life (and if they had, they can take the Retained Class Abilities salient ability to cast spells as a full Cleric instead of as a Shaman).
The Ghoul Player Creature represents not only normal Ghouls, but also Elder Ghouls, Agarats, Wyrds, Ghasts and others of their ilk. In Elegy, Ghouls exists primarily as part of the crew of the Revenge, Donatello "the Black" Matrongle's war galley. Ghouls can use all types of equipment, although they generally eschew weapons, since their unarmed attacks are more powerful.
Player Creature Ghoul, contrary to the standard monsters, have retained at least a basic level of Intelligence, although they still generally do not remember much about their former lives (although those with the "Retained Class Abilities" special ability may remember more).
Table: Ghoul Character Class
paralysis 1d4 turns (ST at +2), undead immunities
paralysis 2d4 turns
cold iron or magic weapons to hit
+1 weapons to hit
paralysis affects elves (1d4 turns and ST at +2)
+2 weapons to hit
812000 XP (+300000/lvl)
1 Special Ability at lvl 13 and every 5 levels thereafter
Elder Ghoul Light: -2 penalty to enemy attack and damage in 25', ST vs Spells to avoid.
Agarat Scream: energy drain 1/turn, lasts 1d4 turns, ST vs Spell; can be taken twice to drain 2 levels.
Carrion Stench: -4 penalty to enemy attacks, ST vs poison.
Ghoul Lord: the paralyzing attack of the Ghoul now affects Elves; bite damage increases to next die size.
Wyrd (prerequisite: Elf in life): ranged attack as a Wyrd, damage 1d6/1d6 up to level 4, 1d8/1d8 up to level 7, 1d10/1d10 afterwards.
Sustenance: the Ghoul can regenerate HP by eating rotten humanoid meat (1 hp per level per day).
Spell-like abilities: allows to cast one spell as a Cleric of same level, chosen among Fear, Cause Disease, Speak with Dead, and Animate Dead (1/day, 2/day from level 8, at will from level 16).
Fast Movement: Movement +30' round; at level 9, gain burrowing movement at 1/2 speed.
Lacedon: Swimming movement equals land movement.
Retained Class Abilities: the Ghoul can cast spells as full Cleric or Magic User instead of Shaman or Wicca (but still need to gain additional experience as a Creature Shaman or Wicca), use Fighter special abilities after level 9, or use MS, HS, RL, F/RT as Thief of equal level, depending on its character class in life. They can learn Weapon Masteries as per their original class, although they use the Cleric/Thief/Magic User progression.
Who’s Who Among the Dead
Jaime “Honey-Creeper” Ahua
Druidic Lich, Last of the Stonecarvers
Druid Lich 36, TN
Str 13, Int 14, Wis 18, Dex 12, Con 11, Cha 17
AC 0 (requires magical weapons to hit), HD 9d6+27, HP 58
Attacks: 1d10 + paralysis (unarmed) or by spell
Skills (15): Language (Stonecarver, Taymoran, Nithian, Makai, Ierendian, Thyatian), Ancient History (14), Nature Lore (14), Thanatology (14), Religion (18), Leadership (17), Military Tactics (14), Survival (Forest) (14), Magic Theory (14), Knowledge of Elegy (14), Ceremony (Djaea) (18)
Weapon Masteries (10): Staff (Master), Net (Skilled), Warhammer (Skilled), Sling (Basic), Club (Basic)
Special Abilities: Jaime has all the standard Lich powers and immunities. He also carries several powerful magic items, including a Staff of the Druids, Amulet of Protection from Crystal Balls and ESP, and Wand of Polymorphing.
Unique Abilities: differently from other druids and from common liches, Jaime can access all druid spells and all wizard spells of the school of necromancy.
The last descendant of the Stonecarver kings, Jaime was the high priest/druid of a secret sect of Djaea worshipers during his people’s occupation by Taymora. When that nation finally started to crumble due to infighting and civil war, Jaime seized the opportunity and threw off the yoke of his oppressors.
Unfortunately it was at just this moment, that the last remnants of ancient Mogreth, led by the dragon Ehrssus, descended upon the last refuge of the Stonecarvers, decimating them. Jaime destroyed Ehrssus, but was mortally wounded during the battle. With his dying breath, Jaime cursed the dragon and all of her followers to a slow and painful demise. The remaining lizardmen succumbed to a mysterious desiccating disease and were completely wiped out over the course of the following decades.
Jaime’s spirit persisted, and his undying body reformed from the earth itself. For a time he journeyed among the Nithian explorers of the era in search of his people, but never found them. On the islands of Ierendi however, he did rediscover his legacy. Lizardmen who had lived in relative peace with their neighbors for centuries were dying a slow and painful death, withering away until their bodies were little more than desiccated husks. Appalled at what he had wrought, Jaime settled among the islanders and set about the task of undoing the curse he unleashed centuries before.
Though ultimately unable to alter the lizardmen’s fate, Jaime has nonetheless remained in the area, determined to return balance to the region that his own rage and carelessness have decimated.
The Skull of Ehrssus
This blackened skull appears to be made from charred bone fused with obsidian. It was discovered by Jaime shortly after his body reformed from the earth, and is tied to his life force. Within the skull grow a myriad of fungi, their mycelial tendrils stretching out from the Temple of Djaea to touch nearly every section of Elegy Island.
Jaime’s body will reform as long as either the skull, or its mycelium, remain intact. Should the skull be destroyed and even the smallest portion of its symbiotic fungi remains (anywhere on Elegy Island) it will reform somewhere else on the island. Because of his link to the artifact, Jaime knows where the skull is at all times, even if it has been destroyed and reformed in another location. The only way to destroy Jaime and his phylactery (sans Ehrssus’ rebirth - see below), is to first eradicate all traces of the skull’s fungus and mycelium - a daunting task indeed.
Donatello "The Black" Matrongle
Ghoul Lord, Captain of the Revenge, Former King of Ierendi
Ghoul 18, CE
Str 14, Int 13, Wis 11, Dex 13, Con 13, Cha 16
AC 0 (requires +2 weapons to hit; -2 AC/3 & Deflect 2 when wielding a rapier), HD 9+16, HP 70
Attacks: 1d6/1d6/1d10 + paralysis (unarmed) or 1d8+5 (or Disarm at -2 ST)/1d6+3 (x2 on 19-20) (rapier +2 and dagger +2)
Skills (9): Navigation 13, Artillery 13, Shipbuilding 13, Intimidation 14, Leadership 16, Bargaining 16, Deception 16, Piloting (Ship), Language (Ierendian Native, Thyatian 13)
Weapon Masteries (7): Rapier (Expert), Dagger (Expert), Spear (Basic)
Special Abilities (4): Retained Class Abilities (Thief, can MS, HS, RL, F/RT as T18), Lacedon, Agarat Scream, Elder Ghoul Light
Unique Abilities: Donatello's life-force is tied to the Revenge, his war galley. He can freely exchange his hit points with the ship's Hull Points (150).
Donatello was the last Matrongle king of Ierendi. He was lost during a naval expedition to explore the coast of Davania. At the time, the expedition was considered a foolish enterprise, one which drained the coffers of the kingdom and offered little reward. All traces of the expedition were lost, and the ships were considered to have been destroyed at sea by storms, and no search parties were sent -- also due to the political upheaval brought by the fall of the Matrongle dynasty.
However, the truth is far worse. Donatello's fleet was besieged by a flight of kal-murus, deadly air elementals who decimated the crews. Donatello's Magic-User opened a portal to save the king's ship, but, possibly due to the effects of the kal-muru vapours or the wounds he had suffered, he miscast his spell and sent the ship into Limbo's seas. There, Donatello and his crew were stranded for months, until they depleted their supplies and turned to cannibalism to survive. In time, the necromantic energies of Limbo's version of the Three Sister Keys and the unhealthy diet transformed Donatello and his crew into Ghouls.
Donatello and his undead crew scoured Limbo's Sea of Dread for centuries, accumulating magical lore and power, until Donatello's last Magic-User was finally able to gate the ship, now dubbed the "Revenge", back to the prime material plane. When he was able to return to Ierendi, Donatello was disgusted by the evolution of kingdom. He now wants to retake the crown and transform Ierendi into an undead pirate kingdom. He has established a base in Ha'ali Cove, on the eastern coast of Elegy, from where he aims to recruit powerful undead into his crew, before he can put his plans of conquest in motion.
The Unrepentant Dead
Undead Spirit, former Makai Shaman
Uncorporeal 20/Shaman 18, LE
Str 12, Int 14, Wis 18, Dex 11, Con 13, Cha 15
AC -1 (requires +2 weapons to hit), HD 9+20, HP 65
Attacks: 1 unarmed, damage 1d10 or powers (Wail, Finger of Death)
Skills (9): Leadership 15, Religion 18, Code of Law and Justice 18, Detect Deception 18, Deception 15, Bargaining 15, Knowledge (Limbo) 14, Language (Makai Native, Ierendian 14, Taymoran 14)
Special Abilities (6): Summon, Magic Resistance, Possession, Wail, Spell-like Abilities: Animate Dead, Finger of Death (at will)
Unique Abilities: The original curse the Unrepentant Dead cast on the Makai defilers of the ancient graveyards allows him to retain control of his Uncorporeal pawns indefinitely. He loses control of other pawns according to the standard Undead Liege rules.
The Unrepentant Dead is the spirit of an ancient, evil Makai shaman. The shaman took precautions before death so that his spirit would linger in Limbo, ready to protect his tribe. When northern Ierendi islanders plundered the tombs of his (long-extinct) tribe, the Unrepentant Dead arose as an Undead Spirit and slaughtered the offenders. Not content with such justice, he cursed them and raised them as undead wights, then sent them back to attack their former villages.
Since then, the Unrepentant Dead has gathered a large number of followers, mostly spirits of Makai warriors, who inhabit corpses in the ancient burial grounds in the Nyx's Post Pile region. A large number of mindless dead -- skeletons and zombies -- round up the Unrepentant Dead's army.
The Unrepentant Dead aims at reclaiming the archipelago for the Makai -- albeit for the undead Makai. He therefore opposes Donatello "the Black" Matrongle and his pirates, and attempts to persuade the Makai mummies to join his crusade.
The Makai spirits of ‘Ala’ia have ostracized the Unrepentant Dead. He and his followers rarely enter Limbo, except in emergencies, since they cannot rely on the animated dead there.
Uncorporeal, Makai chief of ‘Ala’ia
Uncorporeal 18, NG
Str 16, Int 11, Wis 14, Dex 14, Con 13, Cha 17
AC 0 (requires +2 weapons to hit), HD 9+16, HP 60
Attacks: 1 unarmed, damage 1d10 or by power (Charm, Paralyzing Gaze)
Skills (7): Leadership 17, Code of Law and Justice 14, Detect Deception 14, Knowledge (Limbo) 11, Language (Makai Native, Ierendian 11), Boating 14, Navigation 11
Special Abilities (5): Summon, Magic Resistance, Makai ancestor spirit form (owl), Charm, Paralyzing Gaze
Pueo Amakua is the leader of the council of chiefs and shamans that rules ‘Ala’ia. In Limbo, he appears as a powerful and charismatic Makai warrior chief, and generally travels with a retinue of other Uncorporeals. When he materializes, Pueo appears as an owl, his totem animal. He sometimes enters the material world to help his descendants, although his main preoccupation is the safety of the Uncorporeals of ‘Ala’ia.
Pueo’s main enemy is the Unrepentant Dead, whom he expelled from the village of Nula after the shaman destroyed entire villages of the living. Since the Unrepentant Dead is more powerful, individually, than Pueo and the other Uncorporeals of ‘Ala’ia, the latter need to rely on cooperation to escape the vengeance of the evil shaman spirit.
Pueo is also aware of the ancient dead, which he finds distasteful in their attachment to material wealth, and of Jaimie “Honey-Creeper” Ahua, whom he respects for his wisdom and power, although he finds the neutrality of Ahua excessive, especially when the Unrepentant Dead is involved. On the other hand, he is at the moment unaware of Donatello Matrongle and his ghoul pirates, and knows very little about the Undecayed of the Shadowdeep.
Undecayed High Priestess of Tanyt (Nyx)
Undecayed Cleric 24, LN
Str 13, Int 15, Wis 18, Dex 14, Con 12, Cha 17
AC 0 (Bronze Plate +3, Dex bonus; -2 AC/2 with mace or staff, Deflect 2 when wielding a staff), HD 11+15, HP 56
Attacks: 2d4+5 (mace +2) or 1d8+3 (staff of commanding)
Skills: Language (Taymoran Native, Elven 15, Stonecarver 15, Malpheggi 15), Religion 18, Code of Laws 18, Persuasion 17, Ancient History 15, Necromancy 15, Knowledge of the Shadowdeep 15, Leadership 17
Weapon Masteries: Mace (Expert), Staff (Expert), Punching (Skilled), Sling (Basic).
Special Abilities: Undead immunities, cast Darkness 3/day.
Magical Items: Staff of Commanding, Mace +2, Bronze Plate +3, Ring of Truth, Ring of Dao Summoning4
Yshet is the high priestess of Tanyt, the religious and political leader of the Undecayed (or Qliphonim in their own language), sentient zombie-like undead of Taymoran origin who claim a large part of the Elegy Shadowdeep, which they call Kynah (which merely means "Elegy" in the Taymoran language).
Yshet was a relatively minor priestess at the time of the Taymoran cataclysm. Her post in Akinaz was a dead end for her career, engineered by rivals in Sarroch, traitors who had switched allegiance to Thanatos and worked to undermine the power of Nyx in the region. The same was true for several other officers in Akinaz, which may be the reason why Nyx chose to preserve them rather than the corrupt Taymorans of the Heartlands.
After the cataclysm, the inhabitants of Akinaz returned from death as the Undecayed in the Shadowdeep where the remains of the city were now located. The Undecayed were initially little more than zombies, their intellects foggy and their purpose uncertain. It took centuries to them to recover from this state, and more to retrain themselves in the skills they held in life -- talent was still there, but much memory was lost.
Yshet and the few other clerics found they had great power now, as their ability to control their fellow undead made them stronger. They banded together, leading the other Undecayed in an effort to rebuild at least part of the city. They were challenged for leadership by the magic users, but as memory slowly returned, the responsibility of the Necromancer Kings in the catastrophe emerged, and Yshet managed to curtail the mages' ambitions. She also grew in personal power, and with no limitations of time, she has become a powerful cleric.
She now leads the Qliphonim in an effort to control the Elegy Shadowdeep, and perhaps regions beyond.
Ancient Dead Businessman
Ancient Dead 11/Shaman 7, NE
Str 14, Int 16, Wis 14, Dex 9, Con 12, Cha 15
AC 0 (deflect 2, -2 vs 2 opponents, -1 vs 1 opponent), HD 11+6, HP 50
Attacks: 2d12 (fist) or 1d6+7 (short sword, disarm option at +2 ST) and 1d6+3 (dagger in off-hand, double damage on 20).
Skills: Language (Makai, Ierendian, Thyatian, Darokinian), Code of Laws 14, Persuasion 15, Necromancy 16, Profession (Merchant) 16, Accounting 16, Knowledge of Elegy 16.
Weapon Masteries: Short sword (Expert), Dagger (Expert; Skilled when used in off-hand).
Special Abilities: Undead immunities, ½ damage from fire, magic weapons and spells, immune to normal weapons, cause fear (ST at -2), cause disease, retained class abilities (Thief), Illusion, Elemental Command (Earth).
Magical Items: Short sword +2 (with the Finding Talent), Dagger +2 (with the Hiding Talent), Pouch of Security, Amulet of Protection from Crystal Ball and ESP.
Make Niu is a recent addition to the movers and shakers of Elegy. A rich Makai merchant and landowner in the northern reaches of Ierendi Island, Make Niu left precise instructions on his death. He were to be buried on Elegy Island, with a large treasure, his body accurately preserved -- he left specific instruction on how to perform the preservation ceremony. To prevent his heirs from changing the specifics of the rituals and from stealing the treasure, he hired mages from Honor (at a considerable cost and leveraging old favors) as his executors.
All these preparations were not the eccentricities of an old, spoiled man, but careful preparations for Make’s return as one of the Ancient Dead. During his initial career as an adventurer, he had obtained knowledge of mummification rituals from both Nithian and Makai sources, and had spent his later years consulting with less-than-savory mages and priests to create a failproof ritual for his own immortality.
After he came back, Make started exploring Elegy. Barring Jaimie Ahua, he’s likely the most knowledgeable sentient when Elegy’s geography is involved. He has gathered power and experience in relatively few years, making him a power to be reckoned with. Moreover, Make Nui has plans… big plans. He aims at transforming Elegy’s necropolises into touristic attractions, complete with Zombie-populated dioramas, survival horror theme parks, and authentic hand-made Makai souvenir shops. He has an uncanny sense for bad taste, business opportunities, and a greed unparallelled even by the ghoul pirates.
Make Nui’s tomb, while outwardly built in the traditional Makai style, was actually constructed employing modern techniques, as Make contracted Minrothian dwarves and mages. It is heavily trapped, and guardian constructs5 provide additional security.
The Revenge's Crew
The crew of Donatello "The Black" Matrongle's ship, the Revenge, is entirely composed of Ghouls, who are evenly divided between the original members of the crew, and new recruits.
Having wandered the seas of Limbo and even the Ethereal Plane for centuries, what remains of the original crew has acquired a wide range of experiences. All of them are powerful ghasts, agarats, and elder ghouls.
Paetin "Li'l Pete" Miller (Ghoul 12), who in life was a Ierendian hin, is Donatello's second in command. He is an elder ghoul, and has the Animate Dead power.
Ali "Bright Hands" Gentle (Ghoul 10, spells as E10) is the only Wyrd in the crew. She was a member of a noble elf-blooded Ierendi family in life. She's also the ship's mage.
Urs "Bloodeye" Borson (Ghoul 9) is a huge agarat. He was a mercenary from the northern reaches in Donatello's crew. He was also the only ship captain other than Donatello himself to survive, as he managed to reach the Revenge after his own ship sunk in a storm.
The newer members of the crew are lesser powerful ghouls and lacedons. Most of them were recruited after the Revenge returned to the Prime Material, from the crews of defeated ships.
Of them, the strongest is Tiberius Diocletian (Ghoul 7, spells as C7), a former Reaver of the Iron Ring and priest of the Gens Celaenes, the dark cult of Hel that fuels the slavers' organization and handles its contacts with Jaibul. Undeath has not disrupted Tiberius' contact with his Immortal patrons, although he has managed to hide this from the other crewmen.
The overall goal of the Revenge's crew is to create a Kingdom of Ghouls in Ierendi, enslaving the living. However, each of the senior members of the crew has his or her own goal, often conflicting with the others, and sometimes even with Donatello's. Li'l Pete is the more straightforward of the four -- his loyalty to Donatello is unquestionable. He is bloodthirsty, and aims at including the Five Shires in the ghoul kingdom as his personal fiefdom.
Bright Hands has loftier, and longer term, goals -- undeath didn't change her elven outlook on life, and she rarely hurries, knowing she has all the time in the world to accomplish her goal. At this time, her primary interest is in accumulating magical knowledge and magic items, in sight of her longer-term goal of Immortality.
Bloodeye is untrustworthy -- he only respects power, and will stick with Donatello only as long as he proves the strongest. Should he ever approach his level of personal martial prowess, he would betray him at the first occasion, trying to form his own pirate crew.
Tiberius is an agent of Celaene (Hel), and has contacts in the world of the living through the Iron Ring. He plans to use these contacts to recruit more ghouls to his own side, and then take over the Iron Ring for himself. Another long-term planner, he sees the slave trade as a steady, low-risk source of food for himself.
Several intelligent undead may be found in the company of Jaime “Honey-Creeper” Ahua. While some serve Jaime willingly, others must be kept in check by the lich, lest they wreak havoc amongst the living.
Both his intelligent and mindless servants can be found across the island, usually trying to dig up some ancient artifact, or unearth some long forgotten secret.
Ehrssus (Uncorporeal 11/Wizard 19), who in life was a Mogethian sorceress, reborn as a dragon. She and Jaime fought to the death at the Battle of Refuge’s End, where Jaime was transformed into a lich and the spirit of Ehrssus was bound to her charred and blackened skull, which also serves as Jaime’s phylactory. Since Ehrssus is bound to her former skull, she is not able to traverse the Ethereal and does not reside in Limbo, though her other abilities including those of possession, operate normally. Her “totem” animal is that of a dragon.
Ssurush of Mogreth (lizardman 10HD Mummy), who in life was a sorceress and a survivor of the Morethian flood. She was one of the first lizardmen to succumb to the Nithian curse, and has been by Jaime’s side since he found her corpse during his early exploration of the mainland.
Chief Ha’assii (lizardman 6HD Mummy), who in life was the last of the Ierendian lizardman chieftains. Ha’assii’s last living memories were of his people being swept away by the immortals. Since attaining unlife, he has come to believe that the plague was a punishment inflicted upon his people for their past transgressions.
Kharhata “the many cursed” (30HD sacrol), which formed from the tormented souls of all the lizardmen slain by the Nithian plague of BC 500.
Jaime’s overall goal is to attone for the curse he unleashed upon the lizardman population millennia ago. He has been studying the plague, which seems to have components both living and undead, ever since he so recklessly created it. Should he find a way to cure the disease, Jaime hopes to restore the lizardman civilization and bring harmony and balance back to the Ierendi Islands.
While both Ssurush and Chief Ha’assii share Jaime’s dream of a reborn lizardman kingdom, the Chief’s vision of that nation is probably the closest to Jaime’s. Ssurush, on the other hand, would prefer to decimate and enslave the mammalian creatures who have come to dominate the region. Neither of the desiccated mummies know of Jaime’s role in the destruction of their civilizations, however thanks to the whisperings of Ehrssus in her ears, Ssurush has begun to suspect the truth of the matter. Should she find proof of Jaime’s transgressions she would surely turn on him.
Ehrssus exists as a disembodied spirit, and though the ancient Mogrethian sorcerer turned dragon doesn’t have enough power to dominate Jaime directly, she can sometimes enforce her will by working through Jaime’s undead, fungal minions. She is careful to only do so when she knows Jaime is distracted and focused on more pressing issues, but nonetheless the lich knows she inhabits the skull and is mindful of keeping an eye on her. Ehrssus’ ultimate goal is to find a body to be reborn into. Should she succeed, the black skull will shatter into fragments, and Jaime’s phylactery will be destroyed.
Most think the entity known as Kharhata is little more than a frenzied, raving host of entangled lizardman spirits, long since gone insane from centuries of hatred and torment. None but Jaime suspect the truth about Kharhata, that its dominant soul is that of an ancient carnifex lord. Jaime would like to put the spirits to rest, but fears that doing so may free the carnifex bound with them. Should either Ehrssus or Ssurush learn the truth about the unclean spirits, they would certainly try to free the ancient saurian power.
Contrary to the ancient Taymorans, the Qliphonim of Kynah are not ruled by a Necromancer King or Queen. They do have sorcerers and necromancers among their ranks, but the memory of the loss of Taymora is still fresh enough, in spite of the millennia passed since that time, that there is significant stigma against them, and no political power is allowed to the magic users.
Besides Yshet, who controls the strongest faction within Akinaz, other important Qliphonim include the following.
Naamah (Undecayed C18, LE) is Yshet's second in command. Aggressive and arrogant, she pushes for an expansionist agenda, and proposes the use of arcane magic to create more powerful forms of undead as well as bone golems to use in the army of Akinaz. Yshet and the other senior priestesses oppose this policy, since they do not trust the wizards, but Naamah has the backing of the military officers.
Sama'al (Undecayed MU 16, NE) is the most powerful magician of Akinaz, a necromancer of considerable skill. Yshet considers him dangerous, and has three clerics watch on him at all times.
Abiba'al (Undecayed F20, TN) is the leader of the military, and a strong ally of Naamah. Contrary to most of the Qliphonim, he was not a human in life, but a Taymoran Hound lupin.
Jethat (Undecayed T21, CG) is the best travelled of the Undecayed, having explored all of Kynah. He is rumored to know hidden passages that reach other subterranean lands, and even the surface world, and to have visited them.
The Qliphonim have basically two goals: to subjugate the other inhabitants of Kynah, and to find a way to create more Undecayed. In both these efforts, they are hindered by Jaime Ahua, the druidic lich, who both protects the myconids and other living inhabitants of the Shadowdeep, and controls the access to the surface.
Qliphonim missions deal with striking favorable deals with neighbouring folks, by diplomacy, guile, or force, finding paths to reach other regions of the Shadowdeep, infiltrating the living and establishing a flow of resources, and possibly even kidnapping living humans to create more Undecayed.
While the Unrepentant Dead has a fair amount of influence throughout Elegy, he has very few true allies, preferring to browbeat and terrorize pawns to perform his will. Despite this there are several individuals with whom he has repeat dealings.
Aa’mua (Ghoul 5), who in life was Makai cannibal and worshipper of Jammudaru. Banished and left to die by her tribe on a small Ierendian island, Aa’mua awoke from the dead to find she was still ravenous with hunger. After a chance encounter with Donatello Matrongle, Aa’mua now makes her home on Elegy, where she runs a brisk trade in slaves and other black market items.
Gala Mok, “Stone Face” (Death Knight), who rumors tell was once a prince. In truth he was the younger brother of Jaime Ahua, and led the armies of the Stonecarver people. Now the only hint of his heritage is the stone mask he wears to cover his skeletal face.
U’ualii (Wight), who was a frenzied Makai war leader in life. U’ualii is the unspoken leader of a band of wights that haunt the ancient Makai graveyards in Nyx’s Post Pile region.
The ultimate goal of the Unrepentant Dead is to create a new Makai Kingdom on Elegy Island, one that is ruled over by himself, and the few of his chosen undead Makai generals. While he has little compunction about using unintelligent undead of any race, the Unrepentant Dead will not allow Elegy to be ruled by outsiders. Thus he finds himself fighting a battle on several fronts. He opposes Jaime and Matrongle, as well as the Taymoran undead of Kynah. Most vexing to him are those he views as traitors, the Uncorporeal Makai inhabiting 'Ala'ia.
The ghoul Aa’mua is playing a dangerous game. She feels some amount of loyalty toward Matrongle, both for rescuing her and for bringing her a steady supply of food, however to continue living on Elegy she must also appease the Unrepentant Dead.
Gala Mok only has one reason for being on Elegy Island, the destruction of his brother Jaime “Honey-Creeper” Ahua. For centuries now the death knight has blamed his brother for the destruction of their homeland and of their people. The fact that his brother now works to restore the very monsters that decimated the Stonecarvers fuels Gala Mok to levels of hatred few will ever know. Though his powers as a death knight give him control over lesser undead, Mok is a perpetual loner, only animating undead when there is a need. He has attempted to storm his brother’s stronghold on several occasions and been repelled each time. The Unrepentant Dead has promised to help Mok destroy his brother, but in the meantime plans to use Mok to destroy his other enemies first.
U’ualii has come to resent and hate the Uncorporeal of 'Ala'ia, and blames them for thwarting the Unrepentant Dead’s plans for liberating Elegy of all foreigners (and the living). Though loath to leave the area of his tomb, U’ualii and his war party will venture out on occasion to cause mayhem on the Unrepentant Dead’s behalf. Secretly U’ualii searches for a means of destroying the Monolith of Elegy, in order to end the power of the Uncorporeal for ever.
The New Dead
The New Dead is a philosophical ideal as much as a faction. Devised and propagated by Make Nui, the New Dead can be defined as a dead who exercises control over its own unlife, at the personal, social and economic level. No more should the dead be excluded from an active role in society, remaining economically dependent on their living relatives, and constrained to unreasonable social expectations.
To make his ideal come to (un)life, Make Nui has gathered a small cadre of like minded (former) businessmen and women. As Ancient Dead, they are able to gather reliable, efficient (if slow) workforces through their ability to control undead. Thus, the New Dead faction controls a much larger number of the “working dead”, zombies and skeletons set to patrol and repair tombs, pave and clean streets, and otherwise improve the material conditions of their corner of Elegy.
Maila Hanau (Ancient Dead 8/Shaman 5, CN) is in for the novelty. She dates back to a much earlier era, and has been awake in her tomb for centuries -- as one might easily understand, she’s bored to death and would gladly welcome some night life. Maila is more relaxed about the business part of the plan, on the other hand.
Iul Aupuni (Ancient Dead 10, LE) is in for the money. A greedy merchant in life, he was buried with great wealth, hoping it would comfort him in his rest. However, he has discovered he just cannot see it standing there idle -- money must circulate and bring more of its kind. Iul has the Undead Liege salient power, and relishes in controlling the “working dead”.
Kahou Wahine (Ancient Dead 9/Cleric 9, TN) is the philosophical mastermind backing Make Nui. A former priestess of the People’s Temple of Ierendi, she got very rich through her career as a temple officer, and built for herself a beautiful tomb. She has been in from the start, helping Make write his master plan and setting the philosophical background for it. Kahou retains her powers as a full Cleric, and plans to open a branch of the People’s Temple catering to the dead. She sees Make Nui as the new Tomia.
The goal of the New Dead is to prove practically that the undead can participate to the national economy. To this end, they want to tackle one of the largest industries of Ierendi, that is tourism, by transforming Elegy from a pastoral backwater to a bristling center of tourism, geared specifically towards the fans of survival horror, past civilizations, and archaeology.
There are two main problems with this approach, however. First, none of the other factions is even remotely likely to agree -- Donatello hates foreigners and wants a return to the age of piracy, the Unrepentant Dead and the people of ‘Ala’ia value tradition and see tourists as desecrators and tomb robbers, the Qliphonim value their secrecy, and Jaimie wants to keep the status quo. Second, Make Nui’s understanding of tourism is biased by his terrible taste -- there is no way he’s going to make his enterprise sustainable, since he will certainly aim at mass tourism rather than courting the richer élites.
Huaka'i ke ‘Ala’ia
The “spirit people of Elegy” (Huaka’i ke ‘Ala’ia in the Makai language) are the inhabitants of Limbo’s Elegy. These Uncorporeals are mostly the souls of Makai buried on the island, who were not collected by the Immortals due to Nyx’s interference. The spirits are organized like a Makai tribe, since most of them were in life Makai, and many date to times when the Makai were still a tribal people.
The leader of the Huaka’i is Pueo Amakua, an old and powerful Makai chief spirit. He leads the tribal council, and is advised by Hekikai (Uncorporeal 12/Shaman 12, TN), the most powerful kahuna (shaman) of the tribe.
The foremost among the non-Makai spirits are, oddly enough, a duo of demihumans. Kurin Korurwarf Makden (Uncorporeal 10, LN) is a mysterious, tight-lipped dwarf. No one knows exactly how he ended up in Elegy, and he’s not saying. Rumors say that Kurin is the last of the Ierendian Dwarves, or perhaps one of the original prisoners6. Kurin has poltergeist-like powers.
The Red Banshee (Uncorporeal 9/Wicca 5, CG) is an Minrothian elf spirit. She claims to have been a privateer captain, but currently manages with Kurin the only inn in ‘Ala’ia, “Kurin’s Fine Spirits”. She has powers not unlike her namesake.
Finally, ‘A’hoe (Uncorporeal 8, CN) is in charge of maintaining contact with the living Elegy, and providing information about the corporeal world. A former Makai adventurer, she is one of the more recent additions to the leadership of the Huaka’i. Her chief ability is her lifelike appearance, but she can also rely on the charm power and magic resistance to avoid detection.
The main goal of the Huaka’i is to ensure souls reach their proper destination, if they wish so, or remain safely in ‘Ala’ia, otherwise. The local culture is strongly geared toward self-determination, and the chiefs, shamans and other personalities of ‘Ala’ia make sure a soul has all the information needed to be able to choose its own destiny.
It should therefore be unsurprising that the Huaka’i foremost enemy is the Unrepentant Dead. This evil undead spirit aims at controlling all the spirits of ‘Ala’ia, as well as the living world. Pueo Amakua and his allies keep a continuous vigilance against the encroachment of the Unrepentant Dead, and experienced volunteers are always needed for reconnaissance or sabotage missions against this threat.
Finally, a third goal of the Huaka’i is to understand the nature of ‘Ala’ia, find out whether there are other areas of Limbo with similar properties, and explore Limbo to gather materials and resources.
The Makai Pantheon
The Makai have a complex, very old religion which combines elements from the original Neathar cults with others accrued over the millennia via with other races and nations, including the Taymorans.
The Makai follow a large number of Immortals, although they recognize six among them as the most important, which they call the Akua. The Akua include three Queens (Hine) and three Men (Kane).
The Queen of the Land, or Hine nui ke aina in the Makai language, is Djaea. This druidic Immortal has achieved prominence after the Great Rain of Fire. She was originally a Neathar, and the Makai still tell tales related to her quest for Immortality. Honua is the patroness of the largest island of the archipelago, Ierendi.
The Queen of the Night, or Hine nui ke po in the Makai language, is Nyx. She is believed to be the sister of Honua and Mahui’e, although the sisters are quarrelsome and rarely agree on anything. Lohe is the patroness of Elegy Island.
The Queen of Fire, also known as Mother Fire or as Hine nui ke hai in the Makai language, is an ancient Immortal, almost forgotten in modern times. An Elemental Lady of the Plane of Fire, she was known as Fiumarra to the Blackmoorian Elves, from whom the Makai adopted her cult. She is seen as the ancient enemy of the Old Man of the Sea, as well as the patroness of the volcanic island of Honor.
Also known as Kane ke kai, the Old Man of the Sea, Protius is one of the most ancient patrons of the Makai. He is the chief rival of Mahui’e, and a powerful force of nature. He is also the patron of Roister Island and fishermen.
Although he used to be the most important among the Akua, Odin, the Man of the Storm (Kane ke ino in the Makai language) is nowadays more feared than worshipped. A powerful, uncontrollable force of nature, he is seen as a power of destruction more than anything else. He is the patron of birds, and therefore of Fletcher Island.
A recent addition to the Akua, Faunus, the Man of the Trees (Kane ke kukui in the Makai language) is a popular patron of fertility and the hunt. He is represented as a man with porcine features, although he is able to shapechange. He is the patron of the wild Safari Island.
All other Immortals are lumped together in the Kapua group. The Kapua are considered minor Immortals, although some of them feature quite prominently in the Makai mythology. In particular, ‘Oloki’u (Korotiku) plays an important role in many legends as the divine trickster, and Kamohoali’i (Crakkak Sharp-tooth), the shark god, also appears frequently as a punisher of the wicked. Nisu, the hawk spirit (Orisis) is the master of White Island.
1See Demography of Ierendi and Minrothad by Simone Neri in Threshold Issue 4 for a different treatment of Elegy, putting it at around 20,000 inhabitants.
2Ehrssus is a dragon from the Mystara 2300 BC campaign setting. She is in actuality a Mogrethian lizardman reborn in a dragon’s body. More information about her can be found in the Dragons of 2300 BC thread at The Piazza.
3See the Koskatep series by F. Defferrari in Threshold Issue 1 and 9 for more details on Undecayed.
4Use Efreeti stats for the Dao in BECMI
5Four Gargoyles and a Rock Living Statue.
6There are no native Dwarves in Ierendi, even though there were Dwarves among the legendary original prisoners deported to Ierendi from the Five Shires. If anyone can know the fate of the Ierendi Dwarves, chances are that it is Kurin.