The other classes of undead

When death becomes an all-too-sudden possibility and a Wizard needs more study time, he is invariably drawn toward the path of the Lich. Through foul rites he becomes undying, able to continue his life’s work through all eternity – at least until those pesky adventurers come knocking. But what of the other classes? What undead paths are open to them if they feel one lifetime just isn’t enough?

Like Wizards, Clerics can also become Liches (they have a specific name but it escapes me at the moment and I’m TLTG). This path is most common among followers of Deities with Death as a part of their portfolio. The idea of a small army of Lich-Clerics of Orcus battling against hot undead nun Lich-Clerics of the Raven Queen could easily make my head explode.

Fighters, should they choose to walk the Path of Undeath, become Death Knights. These powerful Undead warriors have their souls bound to their chosen weapon much like a Lich’s Phylactery. Unfortunately, destroying it doesn’t kill the Death Knight though – but it is quite likely to annoy him. A lot.

This is a change to previous editions of D&D where Death Knights were more closely associated with Paladins (though could come from any melee-minded class). It’s an alteration I approve of as it clears the field for other classes to have their own unique Undead subtype, and the Death Knight was always more martial than divine in style anyhow.

When it comes to Paladins, in our campaign we created the Eminence, as typified by Sir Guyse Preeminent. This is a fallen Paladin who has been eaten from the inside by unattainable love, becoming a hollow mockery following the Paladin Code to the letter with ever increasing cruelty and malice.

But what of the other classes? What do you call an Undead Ranger (apart from “Sir, stop pointing that scary black longbow at me”)? How about an undead wraith-like Rogue who can form throwing knives from shards of his own bone? Or an immortal Monk covered in wizened death-tight skin and flowing orange robes?

Picture a Lich-Warlord, commanding hordes of undead marching across the countryside, or a Lich-Barbarian (Conan the Undying ftw!) cutting his bloody swathe in a soulless silent rage. These guys need their own unique name (not Lich-this, or Lich-that). and they sure as heck need stating out.

Any suggestions?

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6 Responses

  1. Oz says:

    First thing that popped to mind for an undead barbarian was reaver. Maybe an undead bard would be a dirge?
    .-= Oz´s last blog ..Felica Day Will Be At GenCon =-.

  2. by_the_sword says:

    Back in 1st edition the Ju ju zombie was a lot like an undead rogue.

  3. Elton says:

    A Fighter becoming a lich is a Skeleton Warrior. A lich cleric is called an Archlich, and don’t forget the Heucuva. :D
    .-= Elton´s last blog ..The BEO2K10 v2, I got this for free! =-.

    • greywulf says:

      That’s it! The Huecuva (or Heucuva, depending on which typo is the correct one) – that’s the Undead Cleric I was thinking about. You win the no-prize :D

      The difference between a mere Skeleton Warrior and any of the ‘greater’ undead is the ability to think; a Skeleton Warrior is a mere animated shell, its skills little more than half-remembered moves. I’m thinking more powerful than that, much more powerful.

  4. satyre says:

    Thieves were given love in the 3E sourcebook Cityscape – the sepulchral thief endlessly watches over a building. There were some wicked undead in the Sword & Sorcery Creature Catalogue as well – one sounded similar to the Eminence.

    Undead ranger – let’s see… death stalker? Sounds a bit cheesy but the black bow is a cool visual, plus I now have this picture involving one with skinning knives at it’s belt in my head…

    Undead monk – if it’s a monk who just keeps on going, resolute seems to work… a failed monk would be an interesting choice for an undead… all that willpower, repressed desire. Messy.
    .-= satyre´s last blog ..the boar society =-.

  5. DarkTouch says:

    I think if I were to break it appart for 4th Edition, I would do it by Power Source. So death knight is what a martial character becomes.. but they can then bring their own flavor to the not quite afterlife. So a rogue would be the Shadowspawn Deathknight and a Warlord would be the Deathknight General. Arcane Casters are Liches, Divine Characters are Archliches or whatever, Psionic characters become Psiliches, etc.

    What other power sources are there now? Primal characters seem to ascend to the spirit plane these days. Shadow would naturally seem to lead towards becoming a ‘Shadow’.
    .-= DarkTouch´s last blog ..Senor Misterioso for ICONS =-.

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