The Undead

The barriers between life and death on Zenth are strong and hard to surmount. When a being dies, the transmigration of its soul to whatever final destination awaits it is almost infallible - as a result, the myths of Zenth feature relatively few tales of phantoms and wraiths. That is not to say that the remains of the dead always lie at peace; sorcery and prayer can rouse them, creating ferocious and terrifying monsters that haunt as many stories as ghosts neglect.


The restless remains of humans, most often associated with the caves, ruins and shrines where they once dwelt. Cold, pallid, inhumanly strong and tough, some retain vestiges of intelligence, while others are mindless lurching threats. Their touch and the crude bone, stone or bronze weapons they bear carry the chill of the grave, numbing their victims. As in life, they are cowardly and superstitious, and can be warded off if one knows the right signs, symbols or gestures. Wights who were shamans of the human gods in life are known as warlocks in death.


Ghouls are the victims of a curse or disease caught from eating the flesh of dead members of the races of the Wheel. Some believe it is a taint sent by Dathagan; others that it is a sickness inherent in cannibalism itself. Whatever the cause, ghoul-sickness kills its victims but leaves them animated and intelligent, if ravenous and corrupt. Dryads' woody flesh in inedible to other races, so cannot cause ghoul-sickness, but some dryad carnifexes that use their roots to feed off blood and bones have been known to succumb.


Goblins practise mummification in several ways: by submerging the dead into peat bogs; by leaving them in caves high in the Daalands, to be preserved by the cold and dry air; or by removing the viscera and preserving the bodies with salts and herbs to stave off decay. Sometimes, the goblin gods will reanimate a mummy to guard the secrets and treasures of its tomb, or to exact vengeance on wrongdoers. Mummies are slow but incredibly resilient (though usually vulnerable to flames), and their touch is full of poisons generated by death and decomposition or used in their preparation.



Sendings are a type of weald warden constructed incorporating the bones of a sapient being and bound with the energy of its death. They are used as warriors, assassins and messengers. Sendings have the ability to brand a victim with a runic sign that marks them as a target, enemy, or trespasser in the woods, and allows the sending to track anyone so marked, also earning them an unfriendly reaction from dryads.

Drorgr / Kobold

Most commonly associated by varaorg legends and lands, drorgr are a kind of revenant undead which can assume both physical and ghostly - or vaporous - form. Drorgr were often great heroes, fearsome villains or powerful rulers in their lifetimes, and varaorg culture hold that the risk of becoming a monster in death is part of the price for mortal greatness. They are also known as kobolds in dwarven lands and are feared as a consequence of tunnelling too deep and awakening malevolent earth-spirits. Miners buried alive in collapses and cave-ins are said to become kobolds that haunt the lightness pits of the world.

Resembling corpse-pale or decay-blackened bodies, they can escape their graves and tombs and travel through the earth as a foul miasma to torment their kin, waylay travellers and pollute the land around them. When solid, they can draw on the power of the earth to increase their size and strength, and often have unique sorcerous powers such as shape-shifting, weather control or divination. Their lairs are associated with eerie glows - ghost lights and foxfire, and with deadly gasses such as firedamp and stythe.

Walking Dead

Corpses or skeletons animated by sorcery. Not banned by the sorcerers of the Splendid City, but the most powerful forms of necromancy are taught by Zix, so there is a link in common and official thought between raising the dead and human god cultists. Invariably, they are slow, mindless and somewhat brittle, unless care is taken to ensorcel or reinforce the remains.


Binding a ghost is the pinnacle of the art of necromancy, comparable in difficulty to storming the gates of the afterlife, abducting the dead being and dragging it across the barrier between life and death by hand. When this is done, the ghost is a powerless being, no more than an insubstantial image, but knows all it did in life, along with many secrets of the world of the living and the goings on of the realm of the dead.

On rare occasions, the gods themselves will send a ghost back to the world as an agent or emissary. These times are always spoken of long after in legend, for they foretell the ruin of an empire; the fall of a great dynasty; the annihilation of a city; the birth of a prophet or some other great or disastrous event. These ghosts are far from powerless, as they are veritable avatars of the gods. Their words have the force of divine edict, and their wrath can scatter armies.


Like a dank stench or metaphysical residue, the essence of humanity lingers on in the cyclopean ruins and dark caves where they once huddled and prayed to their forgotten gods. Shades are a form of ghost, or rather a swarm of them that, after millennia of darkness, fear and rage, have lost their individuality and melded together into cloud of malevolence. Appearing as a swirling mass of screaming, snarling shadows or pale light, hideous once-human faces blurred together and bulging with malice, shades are the emotional and spiritual taint of humanity, serving no purpose but to lament, to rave in the darkness, and to corrupt the other races.

Those who venture into the abandoned places haunted by shades are assailed by incomprehensible but strangely influential whispers, terrifying visions and roaring from the darkness, and chilling manifestations. Fear and insanity are their chief weapons, but sometimes they can create aura of supernatural cold, or muster the force to rattle, scatter and hurl objects. Sometimes the shades seek to drive off invaders; sometimes to make them mad; and sometimes to lure them into the heart of the darkness, where their bodies may become vessels for the shades or food for their divine masters.