Undead Condition in The Fabulae Anthology | World Anvil
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The Living Dead

Written by Endrise

If you have a grudge you can't go off, not even death will stop you from making things be even. Believe me, stubborness is a powerful thing.
— Necromancer

In the world of Fabulae, some things refuse to stay dead. Known as Undead, these supernatural entities return from the grave to threaten the living. From shambling husks to powerful Liches, the condition shows up in many forms and through countless means.

The Living Dead

Undead creatures share traits from back when they were alive. However, any biological traits have ceased function: no heartbeat, decaying tissue and an incapability to heal from its wounds. In a sense, they are but a walking corpse.

Such bodies are animated by an overabundance of energy, often negative energy. This leads to the body moving without a soul or getting controlled by an outside source. The more energy flows through an Undead creature, the more fluent it might behave.

The mental state can vary drastically, depending how well preserved the brain is. Some might keep their conscious, others are not any smarter than a houseplant. It often is a case by case situation to know how intelligent an Undead might be.

Infectious Rot

Depending on how charged their bodies are with negative energies, some can spread the Undead curse as well. In most cases, this is done through bite, but others can reanimate corpses with their own magic as well.

What makes the condition dangerous is how quickly it can grow out of hand. In a matter of hours entire graveyards can rise from the ground, or in days cities can fall to an undead plague. And most of the time, it only keeps growing faster the more get infected.

The only way to prevent a spread is to either cure it before it takes a hold or amputate the limb. One does have to be careful with disembodied body parts though, as those too can still animate.

Types of Undead

Undead come in many sizes and forms, depending on how they are created. As of now, scholars seem to put Undead into four major categories:

  • Consummate Undead: Undead created with an attempt of maintaining sentience. Many willingly take on this form, using elaborate rituals to achieve said immortality. Common variants are Liches, Vampires and some other conscious Undead.
  • Hungry Undead: Undead born when a living creature succumbs to corruptive forces. Most often giving into their hunger, but others might cave into other desires such as murder or worse. Ghouls are the prime example of these types of Undead.
  • Incorporeal Undead: Remnants of souls that cling onto a location or object unwilling to move on. Moreso a living memory than anything sentient. Ghosts and spectres are the common types of incorporeal Undead.
  • Mindless Undead: Undead only reanimated by negative energy, either through natural means or a spell. Zombies, skeletons and more are what many might refer to.

Handling Undead


Many cultures found ways to avoid Undead from rising back from their grave. Most of the time, this was by burying them deep enough. If it should reanimate, locals didn't have to worry of it escaping its burial place. Some even bury their loved ones in seperate pieces.

Don't have to worry about zombies if they don't have a body to renanimate into.
— Gravekeeper
Another method is cremation, which makes the body almost useless for reanimation. Not only does it save up on burial space, but it also reduces Undead threats in many regions. For capital cities, it is often the method most people go for to get rid of a body.

A common practise is also to cleanse any negative energy from the body with a proper burial. Without anything to cling onto in the material world, it has less incentive to want to return.


To get rid of Undead, it is best done fast and before they can spread. Most end up dead with a good blow to the head, although some might be a bit tougher.

Balancing out the negative energy with positive energy also kills them. Many believe it makes the body "think" normally, and realise it is dead. However, on rare occasions this can also make them become positive charged, which might lead to explosive results.

Chronic, Acquired

Necromancy, the Art of Life and Death

Amongst the many schools of magic, Necromancy is the school that focuses on life and death. Whenever Undead emerge, a necromancer is often involved in the first place causing their awakening.

Many cultures see it as a terrifying art, making the practise scarce at best, illegal at worst. But as magic did evolve and grew, there have been attempts to make the spells ethical.

A branch known as white necromancy instead uses positive energy to create Undead. Bodies lack a soul and are controlled by their master, used for menial tasks. While the practise is still new, it is getting some steam amongst specific mage groups to ease up labour.

Articles under Undead

Cover image: Condition Cover by Endrise


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Dec 1, 2020 14:46 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

I love the quote from the gravekeeper, and the different categorisations of the undead.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet