1d12 Creepy Customizations for Undead Minions
Happy New Years! And what better to celebrate the BIRTH of something with the celebration of something DEAD!
Sometimes a GM wants to emphasize EEEVILLL magic with a capital E. So here’s a random table to show how black-hearted some black hat necromancers can be. Roll or choose on the following table to determine the favored motif for any given evil necromancer’s mindless undead.
1. Composite Undead- The undead is not made from a single corpse or even from a single species. Its body parts are strangely cobbled together and shouldn’t even work together. How they are held together can be anything- stitches, bolts and clamps, even fleshwarped together, so long as the thing looks monstrous. Replace at least one of the undead’s normal natural attacks with a random other one (or even a built in melee weapon). Optionally, its movement might change as well.
2. Crude Cyborg- the undead is powered as much by blasphemous science as it is by magic. Rivets and bolts drilled right into the flesh and bones hold the abomination together. Clamps and gears move its joints. Every few seconds the creature gives off puffs of steam or smoke.
3. Disgusting Sounds- The undead gives out offensive or nauseating sounds as it moves and attacks. These sounds may be purely visceral (such as pockets of foul gas being released from a particularly noxious undead), horrific (a chorus of blasphemous whispers), or even a brown note.
4. Font of Entropy- the necromancer was quite sloppy in forging a connection between the negative energy plane and the now rapidly decaying undead minion. It pollutes the ground it walks upon with traces of leaking negative energy, rendering the land barren. Necromantic sludge drips from the undead’s orifices and cavities, burning skin and withering plants touched by the sludge.
5. Happy, happy, joy, joy! - Contrary to the stereotypical image of the necromancer as dour and grey, this necromancer favors always looking upon the sunny side of life. The undead are dressed in bright colors, and their faces are twisted into exaggerated parodies of normal smiles. They may even give the party salutations and expressions of warm, fuzzy feelings as they rip them limb from limb.
6. Infernally Powered- The undead body is animated by the fires of hell instead of the dread energy of the negative material plane. The necromancer is more of a diabolist who condemned the victim’s soul to hell instead of merely animating their body. The undead is unusually warm to the touch, smells of sulfur, and its eyes burn with the faint hint of hellfire. Like with the soul lobotomy, the undead will randomly cry out for mercy from its horrible fate.
7. Runecarved- Blasphemous runes have been carved right into the body’s flesh or bones, defiling the corpse. The runes may glow like hellfire or swirl around on the body unnaturally.
8. Soul lobotomy- The undead is powered by the original soul that inhabited the body. The necromancer stripped away enough of the soul to deny the victim independent will, but kept enough of the soul to keep the minion ambulatory and able to process orders. The undead minion retains little mannerisms of the original person or creature it animated from, and it tends to revert to grotesque parodies of its former life when not following the necromancer’s orders. Once per every few rounds of combat, the undead’s psyche may become lucid enough to realize its horrible condition and thereby react appropriately.
9. Uncanny Valley- The undead is well preserved, too well preserved. It looks living, but something is off about it, wrong. It might be anything- facial expression, the angle of how it stands, or how the flesh hangs off of its musculature or bones.
10. Unnatural Locomotion- The necromancer has forced the undead to move in a fashion most unnatural. If it would normally move upright, the creature scuttles along the ground on all of its legs. If it would normally move on all of its limbs, it has been forced to move in an awkward upright stance. Creaks and groans betray the stress unnatural gait puts on creature’s limbs.
11. Vermin Infested- The undead is host to a plague of vile vermin- a swarm of spiders, wasps, maggots, rats, leeches, worms, or other such undesirable pests resides within the undead. This might be obvious (worms writhing around beneath the skin of a zombie’s gut or bugs flying out of a skeleton’s orifices). On the other hand, the undead might give no warning before it explodes and releases it cargo.
12. Weeping Blood- Bloody tears continually streams from the undead’s eyes. At the DM’s option, the blood might have the reverse effect of the Font of Entropy necromantic sludge- making life grow instead of blighting it. After all, blood makes the grass grow green, rah, rah, RAH!