Author Topic: About skeletons and zombies souls  (Read 672 times)

Bizarro

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About skeletons and zombies souls
« on: August 21, 2018, 07:44:39 PM »
Ok so it's kinda unimportant but i've heard a lot of players complaining about the facts that reanimating a skeleton (wich is the only worthy to be used undead summon in my experience) means damning the soul that was linked to the skeleton. I will not make a defence of the morality of necromancy because it's not what i'm aiming at. I just want to point out that skeletons and zombies have NO soul, with those two types of undeads there is not a soul that's beeing misused, quoting for the monster manual 3.5 about skeletons: "It can draw no conclusion of it's own, and takes no initiative". The main difference between sentient and non sentient undeads is that the sentient ones (vampires, litches, mohrghs, wights, all the ethereal ones etc.) have or are a soul, the non sensient ones (mostly zombies and skeletons) doesn't have one, nor they have an actual will, in game context technically the skeleton is just mindlessly charging at anything that could be a danger for it's creator but there's not a soul suffering behind it. I'm not saying basic necromancy shouldn't be shunned because there are many other reasons why the undeads aren't good, but GENERALLY (and i'm saying generally because i think it still should be up to the player playing a necromancer) non sentient undeads aren't suffering, they are just dangerous. There's many other reasons why the undead could be a problem:
- corpse defilation
- it's something mostly done by evil powers
- the "haunting aura" they make (making places where they have been in after YEARS more spooky scary. YEARS tho)
- they are scary
- they will try to kill life
- it's EVAL because i don't understand it, wich goes for anything (again, i'm not saying that most of the time necromancy isn't evil, i'm making examples of possible reactions)
- EHY, THAT WAS MY GRANNY!
- I was trying to eat that corpse! etc etc etc

Now, i think "souled" skeletons are quite interesting, it can give some various motivations, and backstories and it's all good. I think we should all try to be flexible and tollerant with each others ideas and rp choices, but on the other hand i see "souled" undeads as the exception, and not the norm. But also, if we accept them to have a soul, then we give them personality and we do open up the possibility of having willing skeletons serving for any reason theyr creator. Because if we give soul, and personality, we also open the door to motivation.

Iridni Ren

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Re: About skeletons and zombies souls
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2018, 07:55:56 PM »
I think we should all try to be flexible and tollerant with each others ideas and rp choices...

+1

The important thing to remember is that a PC can be wrong (aside from whether we want to have OOC debates about souls, mindless undead, etc.).

In other words, even if your character is objectively right about something, that doesn't dictate how other PCs must react. Native Barovians react out of ignorance to magic; PCs can be just as ignorant and played accordingly. I know of at least one PC who tries to say there are no such things as vampires :D

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PlatointheCave

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Re: About skeletons and zombies souls
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2018, 08:40:34 PM »
While in other settings it's true that necromancy "cleanly" raises mindless undead as animate bodies with no soul involved, that may well not be true in the Dread Domain.

According to Van Richten's Guide to the Walking Dead in all mindless undead there is an awareness of the body's owner trapped within. You can see the effect of this in all mindless undead in a process called 'awakening'. Mindless undead in Ravenloft have the potential to develop independent intelligence over time as this awareness asserts itself.

So even the mindless dead aren't just tools, as in other settings. Nor is there necessarily no soul involved.

It should also be noted that other settings characters could be from have similar lore - the Pathfinder setting, for example, has mindless undead animated by souls that haven't been able to move on . In some cases they're ripped apart and bound inside. While that wouldn't be how it works in the Dread Domain - it would certainly inform how characters from that setting would react to the undead.

It also looks like you might be conflating OOC lore and discussion with IC play. Iridni just touched on this, I see. Be careful to keep these things separate.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2018, 09:21:37 PM by PlatointheCave »
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zDark Shadowz

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Re: About skeletons and zombies souls
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2018, 09:34:33 PM »
I need to find this Van Richten's guide.

In NWN there was a plot with one of the henchman that describes what happens to the dead's souls when affected by undeath and you need to find an item to help him. One could argue that was just his beliefs though and not what actually does happen.

Is there a thread already somewhere that elaborates on what happens to the souls of the dead when their bodies are given unlife? Or is that to be researched IG through various means?
« Last Edit: August 21, 2018, 09:47:52 PM by zDark Shadowz »
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Nemesis 24

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Re: About skeletons and zombies souls
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2018, 09:42:16 PM »
Its very much a thing to be researched in game.  Notably as said by previous posters, there is no concrete IC standard as to what actually happens when undead are created.  Attempts to correct that understanding or impose your own characters belief of undeath OOCly is metagaming and against the rules.  PlatoInTheCave is the  most correct in terms of Ravenloft and undead, but an outlander wouldnt know this.  Nor for that matter would anyone at all without research or reading the book in question (which does exist in game).  As such, everyone is entitled to their own belief system in game regarding the undead, acknowledging that Ravenloft isnt like the rest of the realms in regards to what happens.

Bizarro

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Re: About skeletons and zombies souls
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2018, 06:38:50 AM »


The important thing to remember is that a PC can be wrong (aside from whether we want to have OOC debates about souls, mindless undead, etc.).

true that

Bizarro

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Re: About skeletons and zombies souls
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2018, 06:39:36 AM »
Its very much a thing to be researched in game.  Notably as said by previous posters, there is no concrete IC standard as to what actually happens when undead are created.  Attempts to correct that understanding or impose your own characters belief of undeath OOCly is metagaming and against the rules.  PlatoInTheCave is the  most correct in terms of Ravenloft and undead, but an outlander wouldnt know this.  Nor for that matter would anyone at all without research or reading the book in question (which does exist in game).  As such, everyone is entitled to their own belief system in game regarding the undead, acknowledging that Ravenloft isnt like the rest of the realms in regards to what happens.

Guess i could be wrong then

aprogressivist

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Re: About skeletons and zombies souls
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2018, 01:43:49 PM »
There isn't even concrete IC understanding on what a soul is in Ravenloft terms,  I believe.
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HouseOfLament

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Re: About skeletons and zombies souls
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2018, 07:21:29 PM »
That anyone can be brought back from death as a Dread Golem through obsession should leave us with a feeling of many possibilities rather than a black and white answer to the nature of death within Ravenloft.  Everything comes down to "because the Dark Powers said so" anyway.

zDark Shadowz

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Re: About skeletons and zombies souls
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2018, 07:55:37 PM »
Considering certain items IG and what happens when you die (but can't remember the experience) it can lead people to come up with some very interesting alternative theories of what happens to a soul here. Just another thing to explore then :)
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A minor Glamour

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Re: About skeletons and zombies souls
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2018, 07:04:53 AM »
A lot of what said can be considered correct, but I have a hard time believing that in a gothic horror setting filled with undead, werewolves, and unspeakable terrors of the night, that anyone would really equate these monsters with there beloved departed is not wholly respecting the setting. In a medieval type/fantasy horror setting why would anyone believe that lets say for example a shambling zombie, or a decrepit skeleton, would somehow have any connection to anyone or anything living? It is an abomination, and unquestionable being of evil and the unnatural, their loved ones are gone from this world never to return, the thing that is infront of them is twisted and foul beyond recognition of what it once was. I think the connection is just not their, their might be a few individuals who might think otherwise but they would probably get thrown into an asylum for thinking like that, and would be so rare that they would simply be drowned out by the rest of the population.

Nemesis 24

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Re: About skeletons and zombies souls
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2018, 07:30:44 AM »
A lot of what said can be considered correct, but I have a hard time believing that in a gothic horror setting filled with undead, werewolves, and unspeakable terrors of the night, that anyone would really equate these monsters with there beloved departed is not wholly respecting the setting. In a medieval type/fantasy horror setting why would anyone believe that lets say for example a shambling zombie, or a decrepit skeleton, would somehow have any connection to anyone or anything living? It is an abomination, and unquestionable being of evil and the unnatural, their loved ones are gone from this world never to return, the thing that is infront of them is twisted and foul beyond recognition of what it once was. I think the connection is just not their, their might be a few individuals who might think otherwise but they would probably get thrown into an asylum for thinking like that, and would be so rare that they would simply be drowned out by the rest of the population.

We're once more straying into imposing OOC perceptions into IC knowledge here.  People have different belief systems about what happens when undead are made, and some are wrong and some are correct, but there is no concrete ruling on the matter.  If people believe that scenario you gave, and your character think that is insane - then that's what it is, but that is In Character reactions to the matter.  Lets leave IC to IC.

Iridni Ren

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Re: About skeletons and zombies souls
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2018, 08:40:46 AM »
IMO the acceptance of ambiguity and uncertainty in much of life correlates with intellectual maturity. In game this would be even more true because we're not really talking about a setting, but a mishmash of settings. We not only have varied societies but also varied races, all having vastly different life experiences informing their worldviews. Contrast, for example, vampires that mostly retain the human appearance of the living, along with past memories, to the example of a shambling zombie. The latter, for that matter, might very well resemble a loved one at the moment of death.

Even in a society we might on the surface describe as pretty monolithic, Christendom during the Dark Ages, people could disagree about something that we would think is pretty resolvable: consubstantiation versus transubstantiation--does the Eucharist retain the qualities of bread and wine along with that of the body and blood of Christ, or does it wholly transform from one into the other? Presumably these people were personally experiencing communion...yet still disagreeing on a fundamental religious tenet.

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Tycat

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Re: About skeletons and zombies souls
« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2018, 11:50:59 AM »
Many origins, faiths, and cultures have different views on what happens after death. It's an IC thing, to be sure. If someone is RPing something that you find doesn't respect the setting, you have to remember, your character isn't aware of "the setting" and it's limitations. Your character is aware of his or her influences, faiths, cultural upbringing, what they were taught, how they were taught it, and how they apply it in their new home.

Grendel

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Re: About skeletons and zombies souls
« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2018, 01:05:06 PM »
Many origins, faiths, and cultures have different views on what happens after death. It's an IC thing, to be sure. If someone is RPing something that you find doesn't respect the setting, you have to remember, your character isn't aware of "the setting" and it's limitations. Your character is aware of his or her influences, faiths, cultural upbringing, what they were taught, how they were taught it, and how they apply it in their new home.

It's an important distinction however to be able to separate IC misconceptions of what's appropriate for the setting and characters roleplaying things that are outright against the setting or violate the rules. While your character should be expected to respond to that sort of thing in the short term in an appropriate way, if someone is roleplaying something that goes against the setting entirely it's still up to players to report it to the DMs.

Tycat

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Re: About skeletons and zombies souls
« Reply #15 on: August 23, 2018, 02:33:08 PM »
Many origins, faiths, and cultures have different views on what happens after death. It's an IC thing, to be sure. If someone is RPing something that you find doesn't respect the setting, you have to remember, your character isn't aware of "the setting" and it's limitations. Your character is aware of his or her influences, faiths, cultural upbringing, what they were taught, how they were taught it, and how they apply it in their new home.

It's an important distinction however to be able to separate IC misconceptions of what's appropriate for the setting and characters roleplaying things that are outright against the setting or violate the rules. While your character should be expected to respond to that sort of thing in the short term in an appropriate way, if someone is roleplaying something that goes against the setting entirely it's still up to players to report it to the DMs.

I understand someone should report something that is considered cheesing and against the setting, but what i am saying if someone belongs to a church that preaches necromancy disturbs the souls of the dead, then that is what they are going to believe whether or not it's true until they are corrected in a way that they believe. Even if the setting says otherwise, the player would know better while the character doesn't have any idea.

Silas Rotleaf

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Re: About skeletons and zombies souls
« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2018, 05:55:58 AM »
And not to further complicate the matter but when your character dies (and I've talked with DMs about this too) their Geist isn't really a ghost. Your PC "spirit" is more of just a psychic projection. It's an impression of you based off the strong feelings of awfulness right up to the moment of a particularly violent, nasty, shocking or otherwise surprising death. So when other living PCs remark they feel a chill IC when you pass through them... It's kind of an actual bad vibe.

In that case... Shouldn't being raised and resurrected a lot lead to some sort of tainting over the course of dying and being brought back cumulatively?

Remember guys, for gothic monsters what makes them scary is because of how humanlike they can be. They uncomfortably remind us that stripped away of civilization a few more layers and levels we could be a whole lot like them. The monsters.

And wait wait wait... Damned? Ravenloft is a purgatory! Everybody who enters is supposed to be woe is me doomed, you doomed, we doom, he or she dooms, is doomed, etc.

Even core natives aren't immune to it. They are just a little more resistant to it than your average outlander generally speaking.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2018, 06:11:19 AM by Silas Rotleaf »