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A Common Lore Mistake
I would like address a couple lore errors I have seen too many times to count in character's histories, regarding the Forsaken, how they came to be, what kinds of characters could possibly be among them, and what means by which a character could be among them. I covered several basic mistakes I consistently see, both in retail (having lead an all-Forsaken heavy RP guild) and in private servers/forums thereafter. Feel free to correct me if you find you disagree with anything, but please read through the entire post (I know, it's long) before offering criticism, as what you wish to say may have been already addressed further down the line.

The basic points are these . . .

Sylvanas DID NOT free the undead from the Lich King. She rose to lead them, and in some respects delivered them in founding the order, freeing them from the Dreadlords, and keeping them safe from Scourge attack. She did not, however, aid in their mentally *freeing themselves* from Ner'zhul's domination, which is what they (each of them individually) did.

No Forsaken could have been among the Scarlet Crusade in life (unless there are extreme circumstances regarding his/her history), nor could they have fought against them when they were still Scourge (before breaking away). The Scarlet Crusade was not formed under it's current name and banner until long after the Forsaken broke free from Lich King.

A detailed account, with proper references and evidence is as follows:

Illidan assaulted Icecrown using a spell generated from the Eye of Sargeras, causing the Lich King's power to weaken considerably. The Lich King may have been destroyed completely, but the spell was interrupted but Tyrande and Malfurion. When he was weakened, a large portion of the Scourge were able to break free from the Lich King's mental domination, and regain their free will. Keep in mind that while Sylvanas Windrunner was among the undead who broke free, she was not responsible for their freedom. In essence they freed themselves when the hold on their minds loosened, she (in time) was simply the one who rose to lead them. (though all Forsaken may not know/believe this)

To be precise, the majority of the free-willed undead (many of which are now among the Forsaken) were under the control of the three Dreadlords (Varimathras, Detheroc, and Balnazzar) when they broke free from Ner'zhul's control, evidenced by the fact that the Dreadlords ordered them to attack Arthas as he flead the Capital City in Wacraft 3: The Frozen Throne. As such, the battles between Sylvanas and the Dreadlords were essentially free-willed undead against free-willed undead, they simply had different commanders.

In the end, Sylvanas was the victor, and those free-willed undead who had survived the conflict (Sylvanas vs. Dreadlords) rallied together under Sylvanas to from the Forsaken, regardless of whether they had initially been under the command of one of the Dreadlords, or Sylvanas the entire time. Varimathras joined her, and so many of his suviving undead joined with hers early on. Most of the other two dreadlords' undead were killed when Sylvanas defeated them, but since the Forsaken stood as the only undead faction after the conflict was over, the only logical explanation was that the remaining undead of Detheroc and Balnazzar's armies joined her. In the end, she proclaimed a new order, under which all free-willed undead could unite and claim vengeance upon the Scourge.

Most importantly however, it was not long after the Forsaken formed that Arthas reached Icecrown and defeated Illidan (who was now assaulting the Frozen Throne physically), rescuing the (still weakened) Lich King from destruction. At this point, Arthas broke the frozen casket in which Ner'zhul was encased, freeing his spirit, only to unite with him moments later, becoming one solitary being. (Blizzard has yet to elaborate whether Ner'zhul simply took control of Arthas' body, or if the two are acting in unison.) Nonetheless, when they united, the Lich King's power was completely restored, and has since grown even futher.

As his power was restored, his mental hold on the Scourge returned to full strength, making it impossible for any more undead to break away from his telepathic domination. Those who were among the Forsaken were more or less set in permanence, no others from the Scourge could break free and join their ranks.

It wasn't until several years thereafter that the Scarlet Crusade formed and became what it is now. Therefore no Scourge who fought the Scarlet Crusade could have broken free and become Forsaken. No humans from the Scarlet Crusade who were killed and raised into the Scourge could break away and become Forsaken. The Lich King's power had long since been restored and his mental hold on the Scourge was unbreakable. Those undead under the Lich King's command are there to stay.

While it has been revealed that the Forsaken are (to a small extent) capable of necromancy, and can raise newly killed enemies into their ranks, it is not common. More-so, such undead would not be free-willed. They would have to be under the mental control of Lady Sylvanas herself(who has been shown capable of mental domination of both humans and undead, in the warcraft 3 missions), be possessed by one of her Banshees, or be (partially) mindless undead who do the bidding of the (Forsaken-loyal) necromancer (of which there are very few) who raised them into undeath.

If a human is killed by and raised into undeath by the Forsaken, but allowed to retain his free will, what incentive would he have to all of a sudden join his (former) enemy simply because they defeated and raised him? If anything, he would despise them more for bestowing the curse of undeath upon him. He would likely just continue fighting them, regardless of undeath. He has no reason to be loyal to them unless there is more to the story behind his death/defeat.

Since all undead created through Forsaken necromancy must be mental control of another being (Sylvanas/Banshee/Forsaken Necromancer), these types of undead (while they do exist) are pretty much phased out of roleplay. Obviously it's not acceptable to roleplay as being under mental control of a faction leader. The case of the banshee would be acceptable, but would essentially just be roleplaying as *the banshee*, with her personality and history and not that of the character who's body she possesses (said banshee would probably have her own history, having been someone completely different in life). Finally, the case of the necromancer would only work if someone is available to roleplay as the necromancer. Considering first that the undead would depend on the necromancer for roleplay (making it relatively unacceptable), and also that Necromancer is a prestige title (someone would have to have earned it through training to play that role), it's near impossible for this scenario to play out in roleplay on this server.

EDIT #2 (added second, but read it first): Allegedly, Forsaken Necromancers can "free enslaved, mindless undead " but it is notable that they are extremely rare among the Forsaken; almost all Necromancers received instruction through Kel'thuzad or his subordinates, and those who are among the Forsaken were noted to have been taken by force. Also we must consider that lore sources state specifically that *only* mindless undead may be set free by necromancers. While it says little beyond this, one thing to remember is that there is a difference between setting an undead free from the Scourge to give it back it's own free will and *taking* it from the scourge to make it a mindslave of the necromancer himself. The term *mindless* seems to give the impression that, the latter is the case when dealing with Forsaken necromancers. Thus the point remains, undead converted into the Forsaken after Arthas' uniting with Ner'zhul can not likely be roleplayed.

While, as noted, there are some exceptions, these are the general limits to what kinds of characters can exist as Fosaken. One other thing worth mentioning is that not *all* free-willed undead are loyal to the Forsaken, and they do exist outside of Sylvanas' rule.

EDIT: One additional possibility I feel should be covered, is that in which an undead of the Scourge is *killed* (his undeath broken) and then raised into the ranks of the Forsaken. This occurrence is, as far as lore is concerned, impossible. There is absolutely no record of any being, under any circumstances, being raised into undeath twice. Resurrections are a completely different type of spell and can not be attributed to this. Speculation (and perhaps some common sense) seem to indicate that once a creature's undeath has ended, it can't be recreated. The corpse could *perhaps* be re-animated or it's body parts used in creating something else (abomniation?), but it wouldn't be the same sort of undeath that existed before.

If this were the case, every Scourge that died could be reborn as easily as they were brought into undead in the first place (plague included), and the only means by which to defeat the Scourge would be to physically remove killed Scourge from the battlefield and somehow destroy the remains, to prevent them from being brought back. Realistically, if this were possible, the Scourge would likely have already conquered all life on Azeroth. An army that could on a whim raise every soldier immediately after it dies would be nearly unbeatable.
you seem well versed in the lore, could mabea tell me what is involved when raising a corpse, such as a Necromancer might do?
Necromancers used twisted forms of arcane magic to manipulate the power of death. It's important to remember than an undead creature's life force is bound to it's body by an arcane means, therefore the very fiber of it's being is in fact a form of twisted arcane magic. The energies are what allow it's body to function in undeath as opposed to the natural means by which it would require food, water, rest, but more importantly allow for things like the brain to function (not so much conscious thoughts and desires, but sending nerve signals for motor-functions, physical memory, pain, etc.), and account for the very separate types of regeneration undead undergoe.

As noted above, raising a corpse into undeath is a matter of binding it's life force to it's body using a twisted arcane spell (very similar to fel-magic). It is my speculation that it is not an easy task for the untrained. Looking back at the Road to Damnation storyline, Kel'thuzad began learning necromancy by experimenting with rats; attempting to reanimate them and finding some difficulty in doing so. Raising a full-grown human would likely be a much harder task. Speculation leads me to believe that the life-span, durability, mental capacity, and physical condition of the undead would depend on the skill of the necromancer who raised them.
Thanks you so much, this is very good stuff and I will remember it if I ever get the Necromancer class.
Thanks again!
lemmi, we love you. I was thinking about posting something on this matter but you did it much better!
Vaermina: So cold, yet she feels alive. On Death Row.
Bell: Arrogant yet kind-hearted. Crusader.
Gral'dar: Joyful and Alive.
Valia: Brilliant but easily confused. Expert Scientist/Engineer
Sala'driana: Too Flirtatious for her own good.
Could a Necromancer bring back someones mentality and personallity ?
Well, the way I see it, in some senses they do. When a necromancer brings a creature into undeath, it's personality and mentality are in essence the same as they were in life, they are after all binding the same life force (spirit/soul/etc.) to the body with their magic that the subject held in life.

But there are factors of undeath that can and usually do compromise the subject's personality and mentality. Since most Necromancers maintain domination over their raised subjects, the creature's personality and mentality are no doubt compromised by this, as they are bound to the will of the necromancer over their own. Some aspects of the personality may still be present, such as how the undead carries out tasks, but this is likely dependent on the way they were raised and the strength of the hold the necromancer has over their subjects, as well as the state of their undead body and how long they had been dead. Skeletons are likely to all act the same way, but zombie/ghoul like creatures may maintain more of a personality, implied by the individualism they maintain in undeath and possibly scientifically by the state of functionality their undead brain is in. Necromancy may amplify the brain to function in death as it did in life, but if the brain is gone all together then the magic alone is what animates what is left of the body.

Also, even if a Necromancer raises a creature into 100% free-willed undeath, the subject is still going to have a reaction to their new state of existence, which may change their personality and mentality considerably. Some subjects may be angry, some may alter their views of the world, and some may go completely insane over the matter; it depends on the character.

Though in essence, the necromancer does restore personality and mentality with undeath. The best way to illustrate this would be to imagine two independent (not affiliated with the scourge) necromancers as loyal friends. In life, they agree that when one of them dies, the other will raise them into undeath; and when one of them dies that is what occurs. If they are truely loyal and do not wish to betray one another (which the raiser could do by binding his former friend to his will), it is logical to believe that the necromancer would raise his friend into undeath while allowing him to retain his free will. Since the friend already knew this was coming, and agree'd to it, it'd be unlikely in this scenario that his personality/mentality would be changed much by undeath.
Thank you...you are a theologist and a wise ,wise man.
Great work lemmi, well put.

I would like to add a personal opinion of mine though.

Forsaken are not jolly teddybears that run around and give others hugs or anything like that. Sure there´s the occasional "good guy" like Leonid Barthalomew the Revered in Light´s Hope Chapel, but generally the Forsaken (and other undead) are pretty different from that (according to me, I´ve got to this conclusion after reading In-Game quests and other texts about the undead).

As the Wowwiki puts it:

"Not all Forsaken are evil, but many are, and other races definitely view them as such. A non-evil Forsaken must work hard to prove his neutral (or perhaps, good) intentions. Few good Forsaken exist, but many evil ones do, and their leadership is definitely up to nefarious ends. Most Forsaken are pretty despicable, and their motivations as a race are evil and destructive."

Other places say that most Forsaken are mad (this is also from the Wowwiki, seemed easiest to take from one source, if wished for I´ll find some more "evidence" or whatever we should call it".

"Numerous members of the Forsaken appear to be insane. Barring a few Forsaken, such as those in the Argent Dawn (if they can be considered Forsaken), the vast majority of undead act like madmen considering their state pre-death. They see humanity, dwarves and high elves (not just their immediate enemies like the Scarlet Crusade) as a pox and work tirelessly to eradicate them, and they even hate their former loved ones (see the quests Until Death Do Us Part and A Husband's Revenge). Augustus the Touched is utterly mad, and Sylvanas butchered Blackthorn's and Garithos' humans without any regard, and yet she is touched when the player gives her Alleria's gift (see the quest chain The Lady's Necklace. Such contradictions and radical changes to their mental state would indicate that most Forsaken are insane, to at least some degree. "

I´m brining this up because I noticed that many of the new, and some already existing, Forsaken/undead characters are acting like if they hadn´t been affected by undeath at all. I do not mean to say that no undead won´t be a good person and love everyone he/she meets, just that -most- of them won´t be that person.

I´ve read/heard theories that not only the things the undead have seen (their loved ones death, destruction of their entire village/city by the hands of mindless zombies, the slaughter of perhaps hundreds when they were mindless zombies and the fact that they´ve been mindless zombies themselves. At least most of ´em) but also the very energy that makes them what they are, that energy that keeps them "alive". I think we all can agree that this energy is not likely of a "positive" source like the light, if we look to those that were raised by the first plague we can assume that it was the Lich King´s unholy death magic that made into what they are. Now, the theories that I´ve heard/read propose that this energy might enhance the "bad" feelings that the undead feel, like rage, jealousy, paranoia and such. And that it dampens the more "good" feelings such as happiness and kindness. That could explain the outright hatred one can notice from many of the Forsaken quests, or in some cases (especially when the quest originates from the Royal Apothecary Society) that the quest text gives the feeling of a very cold, emotionless and manipulative creature (might just be me who thinks that).

Well... to get to some sort of point here, I really think more people (when creating an undead character) should have this in mind. That perhaps the undead aren´t always a bunch of happy guys that runs around the world to make new friends and find a way to create pink, heart-formed bubbles. But instead they are (generally speaking) a hateful bunch that mostly plots/hopes for some way to get revenge on whomever they hate most at that time.

I do not write this because I want to put limitations to your imagination when creating a character, I write this because there is an established lore. The Forsaken and other undead already have a population with a general state of mind, I just want you to have that in mind when you create a character, most people actually do think like the people in their environment.

*repeats* Think that when you create a character he should fit in with his environment, many undead have lost part, if not all, of their memory of their former life. They are then being hated by almost everyone, of-course they will develop at least some new personality quirks in that kind of situation. Be it constant paranoia and fear of the living or a raging wrath and a wish to kill everyone they meet.

Again, everything said in this post are my personal opinion and how I´ve understood it myself. I am no GM and can´t stop the creation and role-play of jolly-good undead that loves to hug people. But I can at least comment on it (I hope. *peers around at the surrounding crowd holding torches and pitchforks*).

If you don´t agree I encourage you to post and argument for your opinions, who knows you might convince me of the undead´s hidden good nature.

PS: My appologies to anyone that took offence from this post.
All makt åt Tengil, vår befriare!

Huh, I didn't know that. Thanks for posting this; now I can look smart to people on other servers :o
Crunchym8: Work tomorrow at a greenhouse, followed by a D&D session. Aw fel yeaahhh I can't be more hardcore.
Crunchym8: I AM SO MANLY.

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