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The Undead, a guide.
#1
To be Undead.

One of the first things to think about when playing an undead character is that they are not people, they -were- people. Many of them remember their former lives, family and friends. People they might have murdered and feasted upon. Take for an example the newly risen/awakened, he will most likely be full of memories of his wife, little children, friends and family, these memories are mixed and meshed with visions of their plague-ridden bodies, their lifeless corpses, his own painful demise and then; His own hands around other´s necks, killing mindlessly for the Lich King.

Now, standing in whatever dusty tomb or newly dug grave he looks down on himself, what does he see? He sees a rotting corpse, pieces of flesh missing, bones showing and all the decay you can imagine. This will likely cause as much trauma as any memories of killing his own wife would. Think for a moment, how would you react if woke up a day, the snow-white skull shining through the thin skin, your gut ripped open and intestines hanging from the gash, flies and maggots eating and nestling in your flesh?

David Bowers Wrote:Consider for a moment the pleasures of the flesh: the rich taste of food in your mouth, the soft touch of the breeze in your hair, or the embrace of your dearest loved one. Consider also the feeling in your body when you rise to heights of anger or fear, joy or sadness. Now imagine if all those were taken away -- you may still eat, but your meals no longer taste good or bad; the breeze simply disturbs the stiff remains of hair on your head; and the embrace of your loved one would feel like the touch of wax upon wax, if anyone could love you enough to touch you anymore. You don't even feel that love in your heart anymore -- no feeling, no matter how passionate, can make it beat even once more. The feelings you used to live with every day are merely ideas now, reminders of a time when you lived in the body that now traps you in its cold and dark materials.

The undead no longer feel as we do, they are corpses after all. The above quote reflects this very well and I have little to add, but to clarify I´m going to try to say this again. The undead does feel as we do. Those -very- rare individuals who keeps to the tenants of the Light, who strives to perform good deeds do so without any reward but the knowledge, the belief that they do the right thing. That feeling of pride and happiness you could feel from saving a child from, say drowning, is barred from them. Their bodies are corpses.

In essence, the undead does not feel emotions any more, it might seem so, but what they do is live after the memory of these emotions. It is much like how the vampires of Anne Rice´s "Vampire Chronicles" instead of feeling the actual emotion they re-live them, their minds reffering to events similar to the current situation and adapting an emotion that was felt during that time. This means that a young and inexperienced undead would have a tough "life" since they would have less memories to rely on. And would likely, just as Armand from the Vampire Chronicles, be confused when set in a situation where their sub-concious would not be able to find an appropriate emotion and maybe instead revert to one they often felt during their lives, be it anger, sadness or contempt. As always we know that indviduals vary and some may "feel" these emotions more than others while some may barely feel anything at all.

A small note on alignment, most of the undead seems to have been morally twisted, either by grief and other psycholgical causes or maybe by the nature of the magic keeping them "alive" and are thus considered evil. Many are on the path for vengeance or simply wish to let others experience the same kind of pain and torture they have and still are experiencing. The rare individuals that are actually "good" or "neutral all have to work hard to prove it, most races hold their eyes on the Forsaken in suspicion of not pure hatred.

This leads us to the Echoe of Life.
Horde Player´s Guide Wrote:Some Forsaken can't get over the fact that they are, for all intents and purposes, dead. Some accept the fact without issue. Both these reactions can lead to arcane magic use, as the Forsaken seek to hear the echo of life. Forsaken who can't bear their undead condition feel more alive when wielding arcane power. The surge of power, so addictive to living creatures, proves just as intoxicating to the undead. Some scholars theorize that this addiction is purely psychological; others claim that a Forsaken's unique physiology makes her more vulnerable to arcane addiction. Whatever the truth, Forsaken who wield arcane magic corrupt just as quickly as living creatures. Forsaken who long for life love the feeling of vitality arcane magic grants. Forsaken who consider themselves dead and adjust to that fact might also wield arcane magic recklessly, believing themselves immune to magic's side effects. Such Forsaken hear the echo of life when channeling arcane power, but choose to disregard it.

And yes, I am aware that I tend to repeat myself, I just want to make sure it´s all clear.

Some of the undead does not remember their time in the Scourge, others, however, are painfully aware of the astrocities they performed for the Lich King. They were complete slaves, unable to do anything to stop their moving corpses from fullfiling their master´s will. Yet, it is likely that the visions of the chaos, death and destruction they caused still haunt them, individuals will react differently to this, some may blame themselves, thinking that they could have done more. Others may try to forget, or revel in the visions as a way to torture their sinfull selves, in the eyes of the Light is this not what they have earned in their cursed state?

Then there are the majority of the Forsaken, that accept their fate and are instead filled with a hate towards the living, the breathers, those that turn from the Light and it´s message of compasion and instead embraces the Shadow and the multitude of self-centered cults that have formed in the tombes of Undercity. There is however no end to the number of different reactions amongst the undead, some may embrace their states and claim them to be more, better than their old lives. Others may curse their corpses and yet strive to follow the tenents of the Shadow, or perhaps they praise their state but still follow the Light? Claiming that now they are pure from any sinfull or disturbing emotion that otherwise would cloud their purpose.


The Awakening. How they came to be.

lemmi Wrote: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.

This quote very neatly details the events that lead to the creation of the Forsaken, the main faction of free-willed undead. They are, however, not the only faction and there exists other groups, some consiting only of free-willed undead, others with both mindless slaves and free-willed or organizations with a mix of living and undead (examples are the Argent Dawn who are known to have accepted free-willed undead after they´ve truly proven their good intentions, Leonid Barthalomew the Revered comes to mind). Then there´s the independents, undead who have choosen not to align themselves with any faction, maybe spending their time in neutral areas such as Booty Bay or traveling the wilds, all undead share the characteristics mentioned above though.

Not all undead were raised through the plague, but the plague-victims are the most numerous and the playable race of World of Warcraft draws the bulk of it´s numbers from them. One should note that the Plague did not raise high elves or other non-humans (it did kill a fair share though), undead of these races were raised through other means.

Necromancers of the Forsaken (they are -very- few in numbers and some are not so willing in their service of the Dark lady) have the ability (most necromancers do) to wrest control over an undead and free them from their slavery. To do so to one of the undead controlled directly by the Lich King, like the bulk of the Scourge is, is impossible, the Lich King´s powers are simply to great at this moment. There are also rumours about items and artefacts that can restore sentience in the mindless slaves (again, not possible on the Lich King´s slaves), these artefacts are very rare and rumours are the only thing that implies that they exist.

Character concepts such as former Scarlet Cusaders or undead blood elves are near impossible since neither the Scarlets nor blood elves existed during the formation of the Forsaken.

There are cases of undead high elves, mostly banshees raised by Arthas and his necromancers, many of them followed the Dark Lady Sylvannas and joined the Forsaken. They are however not playable in World of Warcraft, nor on our server. At least not in their "normal" state, a banshee having possesed another undead could work, but it would need to very well written and would essentially be just like any other undead, all memories would belong to the banshee and, as we learned in Warcraft 3, once part of their host they take on it´s abilities and retain none of it´s own another important note is that they seem unable to leave their hosts.

The standard, main type of free-willed undead you´ll find is a human plague-victim Forsaken, likely part of the Cult of the Forgotten Shadow and loyal to Sylvannas Windrunner. He or she was freed together with the others during Illidan´s assault on Ice Crown (no new Forsaken have come from the Scourge without help, which is rare, since Arthas and Ner`zhul united) and likely fought for either Sylvannas or one of the Dreadlords (if the later he joined Sylvannas after the dreadlords defeat in the civil war of the Plaguelands).

It seems that the Royal Apothecary Society have means to animate corpses and raise certain types of undead, many of the abominations in the Forsaken´s service are results of their work. It is also speculated that they have a hand in the "Awakening" that the priests in Deathknell take care of, it could also be that they priests simply care for those the necromancers have tried to free, the results seems to vary and only very rarely they render success (a good thing to keep in mind when looking at this from WoW is that those quests are formed much like a single player game´s quests, the player is the main character and "hero" of the game and thus he of course will be one of the few that successfully awakens).


The Corpses, and how they work.

As has been mentioned the undead are moving corpses, this means that much of the normal functions of a body does not apply to them. This goes for the systems in the body (reproductive, cardivascular, respiratory, muscular etc etc etc neither of them works) and the different organs. Which means that undead needs no sleep, they need not to eat or drink nor are they caused lethal damage from losing a limb or being impaled on a spear. It also means that the undead no longer produce body fluids, though some of the plague victims have been found to contain an unknown form of liquid (or rather, ichor), some believe it to be a by product of the plague. Whatever the case is it doesn´t seem to be produced in the corpse.

Losing a limb is not as devastating to an undead as it is to the living (some may take more mental damage than others, being more attached to their body or not fully coping with their state or for many other reasons) limbs can be reattached and most organs/body-parts have little use anyway, exceptions are the brain (without it they cannot function, they "re-die"), vocal-chords, and in some cases stomach.

It is obvious that without vocal-chords and/or jaw/mouth it will be hard to speak, orcish, common and other racial languages will become impossible to use. Gutterspeak however is a language developed/adapted from the lower common spoken in slums in Lordaeron (there are few Thalassian and Dwarven words used as well, it originates mainly from the actual city). As such Gutterspeak is a lot easier for the more decayed or ill-fared undead to speak, just like orcish and troll is developed in a way so that the respective races´ tusks won´t be a problem when speaking Gutterspeak has evolved to work around such things as damaged mouths/jaws/vocal-chords alowing undead to communicate with each other at the very least.

The stomach then, why is it needed? Well, it isn´t, not needed but it does provide several advantages to have an intact stomach (be it the one you were raised with or an artificial one) here they can hoard (items stored and potions poured). Such things as say the energy from a mana potion is more efficiently absorbed when inside the body (that way the energy cannot escape but have to pass into the surrounding flesh), sadly a health potion will not have any effect on the undead and if consumed will simply act as most liquids would in a bowl or other container (health potions speed the healing process in flesh and skin, the undeads´ dead state makes this impossible). Seeing as the systems in the body does not work it is obvious that poisons have no effect nor does venoms or toxin damage an undead (with exceptions to such "plagues" as the Forsaken developed Blight which turns any undead or living it comes into contact into puddle of goo).

Other things to remember is that undead does not need to sleep, they are kept up by the necromanctic energies that raised them. They are also not victims to the same rules of stamina as the living, their muscles does not tire or wear out in the same way which means that they can continue fighting or working for a lot longer than any living would.
All makt åt Tengil, vår befriare!

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#2
This still needs some polishing and all your thoughts and constructive comments are welcome!
All makt åt Tengil, vår befriare!

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#3
I have a few questions that I'm not sure if they were answered in the post.

1. Even though undead don't need sleep, can they choose to sleep? Even if it's only used as a means to quickly pass time?

2. I understand that an undead's muscles do not tire or wear like the living, but they don't necessarily last forever either, do they? And what happens after that since they don't have regenerative capabilities anymore?

3. I heard that undead can't see color. Is that true, or does that vary from undead to undead?

Thanks in advance.
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#4
I laughed at how you highlighted "reproductive".

But I'd just like to point out, (I'm not 100% sure of this) that muscles tire because lactic acid produces. Now if my memory serves me right, there was something to do with respiration that causes production of lactic acid aswell.

Seeing as how Undead don't need to breath, thus cancelling the effect of lactic acid production, in essense, an undead could fight... Well, forever(?). I'd research it, but it's quite late where I am and after this post I'm going to bed.

And a quick question, how long ago was the fight between Sylvannas and the Dreadlords? On -THIS- server. (I've never played Warcraft. Ever) Because I already have a character idea for an Undead thanks to this handy guide!

Also, I suggest this gets moved to the Articles and Guides section after, In Kretols words (I think), the section is not so... Messy, was it? I'll have to check later.

Kudos on this guide, Nostra!
"I am more afraid of one hundred sheep led by a lion than one hundred lions led by a sheep."
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#5
Nostra Wrote:The stomach then, why is it needed? Well, it isn´t, not needed but it does provide several advantages to have an intact stomach (be it the one you were raised with or an artificial one) here they can hoard (items stored and potions poured). Such things as say the energy from a mana potion is more efficiently absorbed when inside the body (that way the energy cannot escape but have to pass into the surrounding flesh)


My only problem here is that the stomach could be used as storage, but in order to absorb something into the surrounding flesh and body, one would have to have a liver. I can see where you are coming form but I just don't really see how that would work, but yes, it would be a handy storage compartment. Though, like I said, a liver would also still be required for absorption into the system, that's how it works in life, I don't see why it would be different in death.
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#6
NarijikaOdasako Wrote:
Nostra Wrote:The stomach then, why is it needed? Well, it isn´t, not needed but it does provide several advantages to have an intact stomach (be it the one you were raised with or an artificial one) here they can hoard (items stored and potions poured). Such things as say the energy from a mana potion is more efficiently absorbed when inside the body (that way the energy cannot escape but have to pass into the surrounding flesh)


My only problem here is that the stomach could be used as storage, but in order to absorb something into the surrounding flesh and body, one would have to have a liver. I can see where you are coming form but I just don't really see how that would work, but yes, it would be a handy storage compartment. Though, like I said, a liver would also still be required for absorption into the system, that's how it works in life, I don't see why it would be different in death.

Well if none of the organs actually operate, I think he just means that there's something to catch the energies...if that makes sense.
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#7
Well if none of the organs worked properly, they shouldn't be able to see or speak or anything then and the brain wouldn't necessarily act as the major component in them as it does. If that makes any sense. o.O
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#8
Well obviously they've been reanimated with magic, we seem to be forgetting that. But they'd need the brain in order to actually be Forsaken, they could probably still be Scourge without it.
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#9
Then therefore by that same magic used to keep their brain working properly, they should still retain some semblance of the living system, right? But then again this is just a minor nit-picking. xD It's not a major problem, I just wanted to point something out.
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#10
Naw, I understand what you mean, but now I'm even more confused. Because why is the brain the only working organ? And even then, how is everything else working if only the brain is working. Gah...I'm just so confused @[email protected]
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#11
You're confused because Blizzard is trying to justify that that can't be justified by logical Physics and Biology and so Al here basically set the rules for how they work on the server and I'm just trying to point out something that would logically work also.
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#12
Ah okay, that makes much more sense. This also just helped me out alot as I was definitely trying to think up a good undead concept. *Off to go type it up in Word so he can copy and paste once his intro gets approved*.
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#13
I'm just curious here, does it actually state they need a brain to function? Or is that a mere assumption? Because I don't think I've read anything that suggests they require a brain.

Also, from the Libris Mortis (D&D Book) I found some info on senses that you might care/not care about:

Vision:
The energy that animates an undead extends to its organs of sight, giving all undead creatures darkvision out to at least 60 feet. They are never hindered by darkness, and they are able to see even in pitch black conditions, when most living creatures are unable to discern the least visual clue.

Scent and Hearing:
The energy that animates an undead extends to the organs of scent and hearing as well. Thus, undead can smell and hear just as the living beings do. As with sight, however, if an undead physically loses a particular organ, it can no longer use that particular ability.

Taste:
The energy of animation also extends to an undead's organs of taste. However, if an undead physically loses its tongue, it can no longer detect its environment in this fashion. Many undead fall into this category, including skeletons. All incorporeal undead lose the ability to taste (but they can still hear and smell).

Touch:
Undead retain a blunt, phantom sense of touch, more mechanical than biological. It is a pale, crude approximation of a real tactile sense. Incorporeal undead have no sense of touch.

Lifesense:
Some undead, especially those without the customary organs that grant the ability to sense their environment, sense the world as a great darkness illuminated only by the "light" given off by living creatures. To such an undead, each living creature gives off "light" in a 20-foot radius, illuminating all objects within that radius.
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#14
Vrahn Wrote:I'm just curious here, does it actually state they need a brain to function? Or is that a mere assumption? Because I don't think I've read anything that suggests they require a brain.

Second paragraph under "The Corpses"

"Losing a limb is not as devastating to an undead as it is to the living (some may take more mental damage than others, being more attached to their body or not fully coping with their state or for many other reasons) limbs can be reattached and most organs/body-parts have little use anyway, exceptions are the brain (without it they cannot function, they "re-die"), vocal-chords, and in some cases stomach."
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#15
I know that. :P I was wondering if this was his personal thoughts or actual stuff from sources.
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