"Go to the sign of Harvel's Axe, a dubious inn on the edge of the Thieves Quarter, in the City of Greyhawk, and look to your own wrist. If you perceive a bracelet and dangling dice, watch for the next throw in the war between Law and Chaos and be prepared to follow the compelling geas." -Signal

Monday, January 23, 2012

AEG Undead, Share Strength

The undead have always been one of my favorite types of monsters. I remember  reading Dracula growing up and thinking that he was a great villain. Throughout  the years that appreciation for the potential for undead as major campaign  antagonists has only grown. It has taken a hit over the last few years now that  vampires or not big bads any more but angst ridden teens or love struck metrosexuals.  I am not sure where or when things went south for the poor vampire but it sucks  to be one anymore. Talk about losing all respectability as an evil monster! At least I still have zombies but let's not get into the fast or slow zombie debate.

AEG did a fine job of portraying them in the way they deserve to be shown. I  will not say that this is my favorite of their books i have written about but it  does have a number of good points. As with all of their books there is as much  that can be taken and used in other ways as there is that has to be used as  written.

The first chapter of the book looks at undead in broad stokes. It deals with the  cornerstones of the undead such as why they exist and why some of the living seek to become undead. It serves to lay out the feel of the book. It does a good  job of what it is meant to do though it reads like a term paper at times. There  are sidebars in this section that do go beyond that though and provide excellent  ideas on devices that can be used in the game.

Chapter two provides section that I have come to expect in the AEG books. There are sections on new skills, new uses for old skills and new feats. The chapter  also provides information on something that I have never been shy on expressing  a dislike for. This chapter provides information on no less than fourteen new  prestige classes. Some of these I can see making into opponents of the  characters and some would even make for good characters in fantasy novels but I  do not see anything here that I would ever let a player use. I could see me  using the Wasteland Druid in some fashion in a campaign but not allowing it for  player use.

In the third chapter we get information on magic including the deities that  would be connected with the undead. These are system neutral and could be  dropped in even in an existing campaign as forgotten deities. The chapter also  discusses new clerical domains that can be connected with the worship of undead  related deities. There are of course new spells and new magic items. The chapter  closes off with providing six new artifacts. I can not see using most or any of  these in a campaign but then I may be crazy because every DM wants to allow a +10  Unholy Keen Vorpal Scythe into their campaign....right?

Chapter four presents us with archetypes for most if not all of the standard  types of undead. I think the intent was for these to be used for characters as  much as for NPCs. Since I find it hard to ever see myself allowing undead player  characters into the game this would be limited to use for villains. There is  some great ideas here though. I can see a DM taking some of these and using them  to make very memorable villains or NPCs for their players. I would not allow an  undead character but an undead benefactor or mentor is another story.

In Chapter five the topic turns to an undead campaign. There are things here  that I can see using in a campaign but not one where the entire topic is undead  connected and never one where the players are undead. There is still good  information here for the DM to borrow and steal from. The section on settings  ranging form low magic to ultra modern are nice sources of ideas. If allowing  players in an undead form or a strictly undead campaign is something a DM would  allow they will appreciate the section.

The final chapter deals with the creation of both liches and mummies. This is  something that a DM could use as a blueprint for an NPC trying this out or if a  player wanted to end their character and perhaps run them as an NPC both of  these would be options they might consider. The section has parts written in  character and these are fun to read. I wish that more of the book had been  written in character as it were.

Undead like all of the other AEG books I have reviewed so far are worth picking  up. This is by no means a book I regret having though too large a portion is  dedicated to prestige classes for my taste. In the end the sections on magic and  the archetypes for the undead are the highlights for me.

Published: 2001
Pages: 128

From the Back of the Book:

This is a Guide to Immortality

This sourcebook contains everything a GM or player needs for campaigns and  adventures involving undeath. All of the torments of hell are bound within these  pages. Undead and undead hunter prestige classes, magic items and artifacts for  life and unlife, and details on the rituals of mummifications and lichdom are  detailed within.

The text within this tome is forbidden, its secrets damnable. The records of  undeath cost more than any can afford.

Flesh is an Illusion

    * New feats
    * 13 new prestige classes
    * New divine domains
    * Returning from the grave
    * New spells and magic items
    * New gods
    * Undead campaigns
    * Faith Hunters and more


Share Strength

Level: Fourth
Range: Touch
Duration: 1 Turn + 1 Turn/Level
Area of Effect: One Creature
Components: V,S
Casting Time: 5 Segments
Saving Throw: None

When this spell is cast the magic user allows other characters or NPCs to share  their strength with the target creature. The strength that is shared is not a  perfect transfer and there is a recovery time for those sharing the strength.

To share their strength the willing must be in either direct or indirect contact  with the recipient of the strength. The type of contact does not matter but they  must remain in contact until the casting of the spell is complete. They can join  anytime during the casting of the spell though.

Each person sharing their strength will donate two points of strength to the  cause. The recipient will only receive one of these though. The calculation of  the recipients strength will not take percentile strength into account. The  additional strength will go from 18 to 19 directly. The recipients strength will  max out at 25.

The donated strength will return though in parts. The donated strength will  return at a rate of one point per day starting the day after the spell is cast.  The recipient of the spell will also suffer a strength loss when the spell  expires. They will lose one point of strength until such time as they have had  eight hours of uninterrupted rest.

Disclaimer: The spells that you will see, for how ever long the write ups last,  were all written up or conceived of back in the 80's so the terminology may not  appropriate for anything other than 1e and depending on how well I did back then  it may be slightly off for that as well. If there is any duplication of spells  that exist now it is most likely I wrote mine first :) Please feel free to  comment on them but try not to be too hard on me. If anyone wishes to use these  in anything they print please let me know in advance and all I ask is proper  credit.

1 comment:

Tim Shorts said...

Really digging this series of posts. I am a big fan of the AEG books. I have a few, wish I had more.

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