Life Forged Condition in Corive | World Anvil

Life Forged

"Ah yes, life eternal. If you don't mind paying the price - never enjoying anything for yourself in physical form again, running the risk of potential destruction based on the skill of the one who crafted the rune your soul in bound to, no sleep, no eating, no f-"
Chronic, Acquired

Origins & History

The origins of Life Forging are shrouded in the mists of history and scattered pieces of decaying writing materials if it was ever recorded at all.

During the Adrakian Empire's time, the Life Forged were created to amplify the durability of weapons, to create armor that would fight without a person, or create an obedient workforce willing to complete tasks deemed "undesired, but necessary."

Over time, the process went from being used on death-sentenced convicts, to criminals of lesser crimes, until the dying days when political enemies of the ruling priests would be made into Life Forged.


Weapons and Objects

Weapons and objects are more durable, and once they regain the ability to speak, they may be used as spies or advisors. The weapons can feel pain based on the damage done to them, though their durability also means they need less repair over time.

Armor and Statues

Like weapons and objects, armor and statues with an active Life Forge rune are more durable and may be used as spies or advisors. They can also fight and work on their own, which became valuable for completing "undesired, but necessary" work, or fighting wars without losing a life.

At first, the now-sentient item would have no memory of their previous life, and the forgers believed they were "wiping the soul clean" for their uses. Centuries passed and the oldest Life Forged began remembering who they were before the process, but have no way of returning to their original forms.

The Life-Forged turning for a rebellion against the Empire was one of several factors in the Empire's final fall, despite the ban on creating more Life Forged at the time of the oldest surviving Life Forged recovering their lost memories.

The Process

They are generally started with the use of a runic symbol similar to the Pre-Adrakian Era Runes found in ancient Theydian ruins. The symbols are placed onto an object - a weapon, a statue, a suit of armor, almost anything - and a living person's soul is transferred from their organic form into the object, turning the object into a sentient object without memories.

Centuries may pass before the sentient being remembers who they were before being turned into an object.


There is no cure, no matter what that woman promised during the rebellion . There is only death. Maybe, if the rune were destroyed before my body became a corpse ... No. I doubt it then, for the total removal of the soul causes the death of the body. Your eternal-living mages like the undead former King of Tormyra still have some of their soul within them because otherwise, they're a walking corpse.
Just enjoy your life and stop feeling sad for me. I've had literally thousands of years to come to terms and accept this.
— The Secondhand Knight

Relation to the Forged

Most Life Forged were concerned the Forged were a return to the practices once used to create them, until some forged smiths brought in Life Forged to observe the practice and confirm it was different from the attrocities of the Empire, despite the similar name.

Unlike the Forged who are mobile from the usage of mechanical parts, the armor and statue Life Forged do not. The armor suits are hollow despite sounding solid, though they could only be repaired with parts that were originally a part of them at the time of the Forging.

Cover image: by Lyraine Alei, Midjourney


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Dec 31, 2021 02:31 by Ononomad

Oooh... thats grizzly and cool.

Dec 31, 2021 02:46 by Lyraine Alei

Thank You! I was struggling with some of the formatting because I wanted to emphasize the grizzly aspect, so I am really glad to learn that I still hit that tone!

Lyraine, Consumer of Lore, She/Her, primary project: Corive
Dec 31, 2021 02:55 by Ononomad

Its great. At first, "Life forged, that's sounds wonderf... oh hang on...:"

Dec 31, 2021 04:03 by Lyraine Alei

BWAHAHAHAHA! I was even more successful then!

Lyraine, Consumer of Lore, She/Her, primary project: Corive
Jan 10, 2022 12:09 by Corvo Branco

Perhaps my comment have too much "Isaac Arthurish" flavour, but I do see one group of people who would want to violate the prohibition against create Life-forged. Those with terminal diseases, or just very, very, old. Some people born with extreme deformations and degenerative conditions too, perhaps.   Would not be everybody in those categories. Still, I bet a considerable portion of them.   The strength of body not being required to the process, those who are almost too weak to survive have good reason to make the deal. And the perspective of not feel things will hardly scary away many people who suffer with high levels of constant pain. Besides, one can always hope that some day a mage will develop some sort of advanced rune to ad the sense of touch to the life-forged.   They are able to see and hear, so what prevents them from also feel touch must be a technical issue. Solvable, in theory.   The very nature of this magic makes it a great deal for both parts. Let's say for instance that I am a 103 years old human, almost blind, can barely stand up, and feel pain in my bones most the time, my life is mostly wait for death. You offer me the deal to became a strong, resistant , life-forged. For some time I will not be aware of myself, and during this period you will use me to pay for the spell and get some profit, fair enough. When I remember who I am, I will have my freedom and a life in front of me.   I will not be able to feel, or have sex. But when I we did the deal I was mostly feeling pain, and sex had been out of the table for me for decades. Anything I can get from that point on is pretty much free advantage.   Any nation patient enough will have an army of life-forged soldiers eventually, without have to force anyone.

Jan 10, 2022 14:30 by Lyraine Alei

The person who was suffering in life would have to wait centuries to remember why they volunteered for the process. In the meantime, 99.99% of the people they knew in life have moved on and died before the volunteer "returns." To quote from Red Dwarf, "They're all dead, Dave."   There are also the life forged who became item - swords and other weapons, banners, or ships - being able to do what they want once they came back to themselves seems an awful less like an idyllic freedom from pain and suffering in life. Furthermore, the Life Forged do feel pain when damaged.   People did break the ban. But the people who made the ban were an Empire that spanned the subcontinent and had ways of ensuring the ban was followed, publicly. When the Empire fell, the practice was lost due to the ban and then destruction from rebellions all over.   The sex aspect was the concern of one particular individual who did have thousands of years to make the world his oyster and do whatever he wanted. He is also the only Life Forged character I have at the moment who isn't a walking talking spoiler for my players, or else I'd describe what it was like being locked up in a dark room for thousands of years because the wielders died before passing along the key to the vault before he remembered himself, or thousands of years spent forcibly mute while being mocked by those who defeated him and shoved him into a sword. With detail and their names.   Eternal life free of what aimed you in life is not coming up all your way. You can still be broken, destroyed, finally killed though the latter is generally harder unless there is nothing to repair with. Secondhand Knight can only be repaired using parts of himself as new material is not part of his original forging will lead to further degradation.   As for a nation being patient enough to just wait for enough volunteers to build the army - that nation would die if that life forged army was supposed to be their only force, and that would nullify any deal made with the once living at the time of the deal.   While this is a fantasy setting, I have severely shortened the natural life span of the traditionally long lived species - elves live to be about two to three hundred years of age, dwarves to four hundred years.I did this to make my timelines of Ancient History seem reasonable without just saying "Elves have space travel now because they live for so long they could do it." Or something similar. So if I were to become a life forged, only the oldest of dwarves might have a chance of remembering who I was in life.   I am not suggesting there would be no volunteers, but I am also not going to say "Oh yeah, if you're a human at 103, who is blind, in pain and waiting for death, you'd go for this!" Because you're 103, human, you would have to start over again centuries after anyone would have known you in life.   This is one of my takes of the classic immortality issue - living way beyond those you cared about.

Lyraine, Consumer of Lore, She/Her, primary project: Corive
Jan 10, 2022 20:18 by Corvo Branco

Oh, I understand the concept a little better now, thanks for the explanation. The "everybody you know will be dead" does not change things much, since that is already the situation very old people face anyway. Reminds me a friend of a friend who was once talking about how she wanted to die, because all "her people" was dead. She was more than 90 years old, and that still isn't very common here in Brasil. Her sons and daughters had died, her grandsons and granddaughters had died too, and she was living with people she didn't really knew who had been born when she was already more an institution to the family than a person. An odd sort of (barely) living trophy to show in festive occasions and talk about. Being very catholic euthanasia was out of the question (it usually is for most people here in Brasil) so all she could do was complain about the situation.   The perspective of end up as an ship, sword or some other sort of object is a different matter. I can see how it can motivate people to not go for the deal. Especially considering how that may take the possibility of suicide and euthanasia from the table. The fact that it is not "forever" actually makes the perspective less scary, I think.   I like to play with the notion of immortality and extended longevity too. Sharitarn has a civilization with 65 million years of History, a human specie that existed as a talking specie for a little more than 8 billion years before that to open the possibility of characters hundreds of thousands of years old being still younger than someone else. Some species never decay, naturally. For those who do, undead existence carries the attractive of endless existence, but it starts with death and a drastic irreversible change. But most characters have the natural possibility of ending their lives, even the most powerful undeads are not "prisoners of existence" so to speak. They can kill themselves.   As long as your life-forged can do the same, I still see the transformation as a good deal, for many people.   I understand no nation would be able to depend on life-forged only. However, probably no nation should place its safety entirely in one basket anyway. Better have navy and army, mounted warriors and infantry, and some archers in the back for good measure. Mages and spies too, if possible.   I am by now perverting your original concept with my twisted perpendicular considerations. They have no place in your world, of course. I am suggesting possibilities that could have been but are not "What ifs". Some nation could have adopted the life-forge spell as an option for all citizens, once the reality of what it is became know, and them perhaps a dozen dwarven generations later this nation would have 4 life-forged citizens for each living one. And would be a terrible enemy in a war.   Not the way things actually happened.   One of my ii (involuntary immigrant) species came from a Universe where death do not exist, at all. All living things up there are in existence for good, no way out. They arrived with this peculiar trait, they could not die, ever. But they managed to create an Way of Magic, to obtain from it a spell that makes suicide possible for the specie (murder too, actually). Those "Shadow Fathers" are one rare specie of ii, unlike most others they never had the slightest desire to go back to their home Universe.   Endless life is great, I think. Not be able to die, is not.

Jan 11, 2022 02:17 by Lyraine Alei

Nono, your words were handy for helping me find ways of stating ideas that were brewing and awaiting me to type them up once WorldEmber articles can be edited again, so thank you.   Most of the Life Forging techniques were also intentionally lost, misplaced, or hidden away - many Life Forged destroyed places where knowledge was recorded and would systematically hunt down anyone who knew the practice because at the time, they were unified under one core faith and several localized traditions. And they had the time to complete that hunt or to guide others along the way.   I took a lot of inspiration from a video game where a similar process was used and how it had started with volunteers before becoming a way to "dispose" of criminals and eventually political enemies until the creator of teh practice was able to hide away the process. I then applied a very heavy dose of my own belief in a dignified death, but that is a heavy topic on its own, so I have to be gentle in how I apply that dosage because there are faiths and beliefs where the inflicted or assisted forms are soul-damaging or worse, and I wish to be respectful towards people who believe those faiths and/or practices.   I also admit, the concept of Life Forged are heavily influenced by my experience of how the elders in my culture are treated - trophies and as an institution more than as people, so they could be shoved into a closet and no one would blink an eye. (I ... strongly disagree with that practice, but I know it happens)

Lyraine, Consumer of Lore, She/Her, primary project: Corive
Jan 11, 2022 17:46 by Corvo Branco

Was this video game Dragon Age Origins? The story reminds me the golems dwarves used to make in that setting.   Since you mention the issue, I do believe that most of Ocidente (my country included) walked too far in the road of "be respectful towards..." some people. To the point of dehumanize other people without blink. A basic sense of balance was lost somewhere, somewhen, between respect for other cultures and self-respect. And a free pass for violence and unfairness was given by the core of Ocidental Societies to those listed as "victimes" or "minorities".   Not all fantasy is allegory, and no writer should expect to please everybody. No artist of fiction writer should excuse himself (or herself) for base art in life, culture, and personal ideas.   Anything meaningful will offend someone (that was always true, but is more evident in the times we are living than in most periods) and that cannot be a problem. People have the right to feel offended, but don't have the right to silence others because of that feeling. Terror and Totalitarianism always claim the moral high ground for themselves, and they always back that claim with strong sincere feelings, but they should never be granted it. Despite those feeling being real, strong, and sincere.   One thing we have in common, all of us, totalitarians included, is death. We all must eventually die. Even if the dreams of anti-aging serums became reality in the most idyllic way during our life time we will still die. Just will not be disease or any cause related to aging. Will be accident, or murder, or suicide. But sooner or later we will die. We should be able to speak our convictions and our skepticismes about this subject freely enough, regardless who believe in what. Specially among adults.   Not all stories have to be light, meaningless, or brute lectures about things everybody is supposed to agree about. Some stories can be all that, no problem. There is space for that too. But moral conflicts and hard issues without a easy answer may be part of fiction too. Otherwise we are all lost, and hopeless so.   And beyond that, with all that said, your life-forged are pretty cool. They stand beautifully well by themselves as fiction, regardless any allegoric meaning that can help make them even more interesting as subject for debates.

Jan 11, 2022 23:49 by Lyraine Alei

AHAHAHA! Yes indeed! The video game is in fact Dragon Age Origins where I had some inspiration after I remembered the golems history in that setting.   Of course, anything with meaning and value is controversial to someone, but there is a difference between presenting something controversial and shoving it into someone's face to the point of losing the discussion due to perceived (regardless of intent) disrespect.   I am glad the Life Forged stand well, though I believe some of that is also in the strength of my conviction regarding similar topics coming through and solidifying the foundations of ideas I'm building from. I also like that they are an allegorical debate subject, even if I'm a bit ... zealous(?) in my views about those allegories.

Lyraine, Consumer of Lore, She/Her, primary project: Corive
Jan 12, 2022 02:07 by Corvo Branco

Some discussions must be lost, I suppose. But there is a time and a place for that too, nothing good came from acting by abstract principles without considerate context and purpose. Generally speaking.   You are right, distinctions like the one you mention are relevant and must be taken under gentle consideration. Often.