The Book of the Unquiet Dead Document in Kohtalo | World Anvil

The Book of the Unquiet Dead

Right useful thing to have on hand, should you be up against anything contained within its pages. Well, at least its earlier pages. Knowledge is the most potent weapon in one's arsenal... except for dragons, or an archmagus, or...
— Jasper Cameron, Leader of The Bronze Ravens
  This book, produced at the scribe village concealed behind The Iron Necropolis, is the most complete encyclopedia of the undead known to exist in print* **. Although the copies that exist out in the world are not magical (or cursed), possession of one has a tendency to end in ones death, and potential reanimation, at the hands of a monster contained within its pages. Still, its like they say, "Knowing is half the battle...." or was it "ignorance is bliss"  
*Look, I can already hear you. "but what about ogre zombies, and skeletal dragons, and..." Honestly people. A zombie is a zombie, is a zombie. Sure, some are bigger, some are smaller, but they all die the same. With a few rare exceptions, such as the Gemini Liches, it is not worth noting the individual differences based on the use of one species body over another.   ** Okay, okay, this is technically untrue. The Leger of Outstanding Souls is the most complete. However, as it is a magical artifact created through a colaborative effert of several gods across multiple pantheons, cursed, and non-reproduceable, we will continue to make this claim.
 

The Book Properannotated by Hrothgar Rumrunner

First things first, should you be a necromancer, warlock to some dark patron, cleric to an evil god, or some other manner of being looking to expand you domian into control of the undead, this book doesn't contain any spells, incantations, or ceremonies required to make undead. We would as that you consider the path that you are on.   Second, this book is edible. The paper it is printed on is made of a combination of pulverized mushroom species that, all things considered, boast exceptional nutritional value. Should you find yourself low on rations and sheltering from an unspeakable horror of fleeing from a tireless horde with no time to hunt or cook just know that one to two pages a day can sustain you for several weeks depending on your level of activity.
best if you can rehydrate with a bit of water. personal recomendation is to cut into strips, place in the bottom of a mug with just enough water to submerge the strip, and sprinkle with a touch of salt once all the water is absorbed. Bit bland, but keeps the body going.
— annotation in the margin
  The rest of the page has been torn out. The illustration on the reverse side shows the top part of what is presumably a severed stump attached to the titular Reanimated Limb. two notes remain on the page. "Smash, dont chop" and "Surprisingly good torch in a pinch." The next several pages are also missing, some torn out, others cleanly cut by a blade.

Skeletons

Skeletons are listed before zombies for the simple reason that there are more dangerous things that look like zombies, but are not, than there are non-skeleton things that look like a generic reanimated skeleton. This is not to say that skeletons are not dangerous, nor that they can't be made more dangerous by an even somewhat motivated necromancer. After all even the most novice of adventuring parties can deliver a magical blade or mace to an undead horde.   While a lone skeleton should pose little threat to even the greenest of adventurers, assuming a modicum of martial training, in a large enough group they can challenge to even seasoned parties. The best way to deal with skeletons is ████████████
smash 'em & bash 'em. Fire dont work too good, anyone thats cooked can tell ya that. course, most swords will break bones just as well as cut flesh, so no worries there. unless you were counting on a dagger or rapier or other stabby things. As I explained it to Foid, skeletons is like a net. When its full o' fish you got somethin ta stab, but when its empty aint much gonna happen.
— annotation next to blacked out paragraph
 

Zombies

Similar to skeletons, zombies have no thoughts of their own. Only able to carry out simple commands, they are fairly slow and can be easily avoided, and just as easily dealt with.obviously written by someone who has never dealth with zombies. ██████████████████████████████
Bullshit, all of it after that is bullshit. Look, ya cant just destroy the head, no matter what some stuffy scholar says. Where do ya thing alll those animated limbs come from? are they less of a threat without their heads, sure. cant see without eyes, and they cant get new commands without magic if they aint got ears. 2 types, wet and dry:
  • wet zombies (Squelch when hit)
  • smell worse
  • faster moving
  • larger range of motion
  • NOT FLAMMABLE
  • Dry zombies (crunch when hit)
  • no smell
  • slower
  • burn good, especially the ones with clothes.
    — angry annotation under illustration

  • Ghouls

    At this point is becomes clear that someone has carefully, painstakingly scraped away whatever text was on the remaining pages and written in their own text, likely being more experienced than the original writer.
    Think zombies, but less rotten, a lot more hungry, and significantly faster. Important to note that they travel in packs. Hunt with similar intelligence to wolves.   Claws have magical poison that can paralyze. sets in faster for bigger wounds, but even a scratch can paralyze. can take up to 10 minutes. wears off in 1-4 hours.   Bite is not poisonous, but more infection prone than regular wounds.   unlike zombies, severed limbs do not remain animated, treat like bandits and they will go down easily enough.   Far as i can tell dont take orders after being created,

    Comments

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    Dec 17, 2023 20:09 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

    Not cursed, you say? *doubt*

    Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
    Jan 5, 2024 01:12

    Really its main "curse" would be that people who read it then usually go out an fight undead, which for anyone unprepared enough to need to read the book is unlikely to end well.

    Feel free to stop by some of my WorldEmber articles if you want. My favorites are The Book of the Unquiet Dead, Outpost of the Moons, and The Emerald Hills. Feedback is always appreciated.
    Jan 1, 2024 20:41 by Jacqueline Taylor

    I really like the way that you presented the material. It is really clear that this is a living document that has been read, handled, carried and altered by the people who have used this book. It gives the book a sense of history,

    Piggie
    Jan 5, 2024 01:13

    Thanks for the read, I'm glad that you enjoyed it and that I was able to get across that the book has seen some use.

    Feel free to stop by some of my WorldEmber articles if you want. My favorites are The Book of the Unquiet Dead, Outpost of the Moons, and The Emerald Hills. Feedback is always appreciated.
    Jan 3, 2024 15:06 by Désirée Nordlund

    Perfect title of an article. How can you not want to read it? The text, though, was a bit too much in boxes and different fonts and colors for my taste. For me, boxes are for extras, quotations, or summaries, but here there are more boxes than prose. I think that the text is supposed to be from the book, but it is hard to understand why a sentence is cut in the middle. Have you tried doing a page as an image? Then you can show us what it looks like and have a transcription of it that makes much more sense. I think it would also be easier to separate what you tell about the book and what's actually in the book. Just my two cents.

    Jan 5, 2024 01:17

    Thanks for the read and the feedback. If/when I get back I may try to do a "full page" as an image, but I dont know how well it will play with formatting (or my mostly reliant on MidJourney art skills). It will be an interesting experiment if I can get it to work.

    Feel free to stop by some of my WorldEmber articles if you want. My favorites are The Book of the Unquiet Dead, Outpost of the Moons, and The Emerald Hills. Feedback is always appreciated.
    Jan 5, 2024 09:48 by Désirée Nordlund

    I'm impressed you can handle MidJourney. The interface didn't suit me at all. I've tried many of the others, like Dall-E, but I still got to learn how to make the result look in the same style as the previous :-) I use Pixlr for making my final images. It has many flaws but it is not meant to be used as Photoshop either. It is free as long as you don't need to save many times a day. Then we have Gimp and it is supposed to be able to do what Photoshop can, but I've not yet found my way around that program and use it only when I need a size in millimeters and not pixels.

    Jan 4, 2024 17:38

    Hidden Gem of an article, loved the use of layout and text styles to really bring out a sense of time and usage that is hard in a digital media to convey. Only downside is I just wished the article was longer!

    Jan 5, 2024 01:21

    Thanks for the read and I'm glad that you enjoyed it. Sadly one of the downsides of having many things to try to get through in WE is making the choice "should I keep working on this, or cut it off once the idea has a definite shape so that I can move on to other things." I'm hoping to get through most of the 5E official undead by the time the article is "done" but we will see if that happens.   I am really hoping to get back to this in the future, because it is such a fun way to explore the monsters of the world... although it may be as a separate article next WE with how my schedule usually goes.

    Feel free to stop by some of my WorldEmber articles if you want. My favorites are The Book of the Unquiet Dead, Outpost of the Moons, and The Emerald Hills. Feedback is always appreciated.
    Jan 9, 2024 12:33 by E. Christopher Clark

    There's a humor here, both in the quotes and throughout, that I want to try and emulate in the future. I especially love the use of footnotes to both further the narrative and make us chuckle along the way.

    Check out my progress on the Cabinet of Curiosities
    Jan 12, 2024 01:49

    I'm really glad that you enjoyed it. I'm hoping to circle back to it at some point, but best guess is it will probably be as a "Part 2" article next WE (of the summer camp document article if it fits), because I know how my brain works.

    Feel free to stop by some of my WorldEmber articles if you want. My favorites are The Book of the Unquiet Dead, Outpost of the Moons, and The Emerald Hills. Feedback is always appreciated.
    Jan 10, 2024 19:44

    I love the living document format and the comedy. Keep it up :D

    Jan 12, 2024 01:50

    Thanks for the read, I'm glad that you enjoyed both the format and the content. There may be more to come, we will see what the brain goblins decide

    Feel free to stop by some of my WorldEmber articles if you want. My favorites are The Book of the Unquiet Dead, Outpost of the Moons, and The Emerald Hills. Feedback is always appreciated.
    Jan 18, 2024 17:07

    Love how you combine typtical fantasy tropes with weird and subtle comedy. I think this is the first time a cursed magic item is also edible. I wonder if the pages taste good as sushi wrapper, hmmm...   You should certainly add more entries for different undead!

    At the end of everything, hold onto anything.
    Jan 19, 2024 04:32

    Thanks for the read, I'm really glad that so many people are enjoying this article. This book is not cursed, although it is rumored to be because of the number of ill prepared people who think reading a book is substitute for actual experience in fighting undead (hence this being a copy that an adventurer has made notes on).   The eventual goal is to make entries for most of the undead in the 5E monster manual, but we will see how far it gets.

    Feel free to stop by some of my WorldEmber articles if you want. My favorites are The Book of the Unquiet Dead, Outpost of the Moons, and The Emerald Hills. Feedback is always appreciated.
    Jan 19, 2024 01:35 by Barron

    Wonderful and spooky! Love the information and introduction to the undead. I really enjoyed the annotation of experience over what is recorded.


    Jan 19, 2024 04:33

    I'm glad you enjoyed it, it was fun to write so it is wonderful to see it resonating with people.

    Feel free to stop by some of my WorldEmber articles if you want. My favorites are The Book of the Unquiet Dead, Outpost of the Moons, and The Emerald Hills. Feedback is always appreciated.
    Jan 26, 2024 05:26 by Domenick DeMaria

    Cool article. Love the idea to have pages for individual undead and the comments. I wonder if any famous people publically had copies of this book or what incidences may have occurred with it.

    Jan 30, 2024 10:42

    Well, its not really a bad thing to own, being essentially a reference book. Hrothgar Rumrunner is at least regionally known (being my one active non-DM campaign character and currently level 8). Likely there are also several copies at Bard/Wizard colleges throughout the world. I would say that for non-PC type characters it is probably 50-50 whether they survived the encounter with the undead they were trying to kill.

    Feel free to stop by some of my WorldEmber articles if you want. My favorites are The Book of the Unquiet Dead, Outpost of the Moons, and The Emerald Hills. Feedback is always appreciated.