fleshing out an undead town/city

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Eddie
Posts: 63
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2016 8:46 pm

fleshing out an undead town/city

Post by Eddie » Sun Jan 06, 2019 12:59 pm

okay so I have an area in my sandbox game which my players have blundered into when I was not expecting it.

the area was intended for later higher level engagement, but they've found plenty of warnings and decided to stay here.

so I have an area which is affected by a timey wimey curse and filled with undead: they've been cursed by their evil gods for failing to destroy a city in the war of the wizards which ultimately caused the final battle at Carsepolis to be lost.

so there are 3 liches and 2 death knight commanders (and death knight forces) and a skeleton warlord who are somewhat against each other.
every now and then alliances are forged, these remain for a while then fall apart.

every night at midnight any undead destroyed are reanimated meaning their war is eternal, furthermore the area separated from normal Allansia by magic mists and undead attempting to leave are instantly destroyed.

however a group of living spell casters came here and died, have been effected by the curse and come back as liches, but they would be able to leave and become a menace to the rest of Allansia.

the party have a magic spear blessed by Glantanka to smite undead and causes them to be permanently destroyed.

what I am struggling with is making the different forces unique and interesting.
the 2 death knight groups belong to different orders: one based around sorcery and one around martial skills so I am unconcerned there.
the skeleton king I am less worried about as he is written out in full.

what to do with the liches though?
my intention currently is these guys were baddy wizards when they died, so not full necromancers using those rules.
the more recently died spell caster mentioned above is more into demon summoning than undead creation.
I have yet to find a hidey hole for her to lair up in and the new forces are not aware she exists (the players have got confused between an older lich and this one because they met one that was female: two liches being female has not translated in their brains yet!)

anyway any feedback would be good if only from an inspiration point

Nuvole!
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Re: fleshing out an undead town/city

Post by Nuvole! » Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:22 pm

I'd make the liches more complex characters, aware of the situation and hoping for a way out, so they may hire the characters to destroy their opponents, hoping that this will end the curse, or something similar.
He's a real Nowhere man, sitting in his Nowhere land, making all his Nowhere plans for Nobody.

HedgeWizard
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Re: fleshing out an undead town/city

Post by HedgeWizard » Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:02 am

Nuvole! wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:22 pm
I'd make the liches more complex characters, aware of the situation and hoping for a way out, so they may hire the characters to destroy their opponents, hoping that this will end the curse, or something similar.
I agree, you need to flesh them out a bit... well as much as you can with a zombie/skeleton like individual. Looking back in Beyond the Pit the key things about Liches is that they not only can talk but are really good about it and that in their former life had a position of power and are used to using it.

The third one you could work into a sort of Machiavellian genius playing the others, or with plans far beyond the city. Perhaps she wants to become some sort of Liche Queen but need the curse ended so that they can use the city as the centre of their realm? Perhaps she wants to return to the world of the living to take back their old position? You can make good use of magic here, Mask from the minor magic spells I posted earlier or even illusion to allow her to reveal herself as she wants them to see her not as she has become.

Think about the character traits of them, you can easily work something like anguish and regret or sadness into them to balance out the the dark side of them and make them more relatable for the characters. You might even get them to like them or feel sympathy which can be used for great storylines.

Shilden_72
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:23 pm

Re: fleshing out an undead town/city

Post by Shilden_72 » Sat Jan 26, 2019 9:22 am

Another trick I use to flesh out a town or a castle is simple: I use a real world place, and try to extrapolate from it. You're talking about an undead town, which means that it was alive some day.
So, let's take a real life location, like this castle in Italy: buying it is not needed, the pictures will be enough. It has a central fort, in which your main quest will take place to hunt for the main lich/necromancer that lives there, and the houses and walls around it. These houses are close to the lord's castle, so you'll have either places that were residences of high ranked city administrators or rich merchants, some which were "luxury" shops that sold furs, silk, gold and wines... And then you can flesh it out by putting poorer houses out of it, in which the city hosted, when it was alive, its common folk, with their homes, bakeries, cheap cloth shops and temples.
Then remove the people for a hundred years, so that the city is as decrepit as it gets, and fill it with your favorite sort of undead creatures. Voilà!

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