Welcome to the Necro-Industrial Complex

Death has become a business transaction.
The dead have been roused from their graves, not as terrors to haunt mankind or foes to be battled but as servants and slaves. Undead work the lines in factories, tend to crop and fell trees at the order of Nekrobiokeks, powerful necromancer-surgeons. Crypts and cemeteries have been emptied to fill mines, factories and gas-choked trench-lines.
Not even death is safe from industry.
The world of the Necro-Industrial Complex (or NIC) begin with the question: What would we do if necromancy actually worked?

A World Powered by Death

A living man or woman can be anything; an author, a philosopher, an inventor or actor. Why waste such potential on breaking rock or picking trash when a stiff can do the job just as well?  
— Elaine Rae, master Nekrobiotek
Most have accepted necromancy as just another tool. Horror and disgust have given way to morbid practicality. Death isn't what it used to be and the end of a relative's life often begins a bargain, selling their remains to be reanimated and put to work. At the center of it stand the Nekrobiotek, the necromancer and their insatiable appetite for electricity which they need to power their spells.   Workers once replaced by machines now find their labor reduced by the working dead. Peace is bought by bread and entertainment, or enforced with baton and gas. In a very real way, people are just as useful dead as they are living to the wealthy and the powerful.
by 13th Gate Escape Room

The Long War

It didn't take very long for someone to try and put a weapon in the hands of a stiff and sent it off to war.  
— Elaine Rae, master Nekrobiotek
For decades, a brutal war of attrition has raged among the great powers of the world. What began with enthusiasm and the confidence of a quick, easy victory has since turned into a grueling conflict that has seen the once proud nation of Cascera reduced to a war-torn carcass.   Casualties have lost their meaning. Both friend and foe can be raised again for a fresh charge into no-mans-land, while at home the dead are tireless at work. Corpses blown the pieces are used for parts. Magic and science both invent new ways to bring destruction and death.

Shadows from the Void

When humanity ignited the flame of magic, they made themselves known to creatures known as the Occultarum. Cosmic scavengers, the Occultarum haunt the void-like world where galaxies go to die. Long have they sated their unending hunger on collapsing stars, dead gods and thoughts long forgotten when the light of humanity ignited within them a fresh desire. These horrors now haunt the battlefields and nations of the world, feasting on the souls of the dying and all the terrors of the war.   The Occultarum press against the shroud of reality, still imprisoned in the void where they have spent eternity. For now, they can only feast on the ethereal as it escapes the mortal plane. But there will come a time when the shroud grows weak and their talons sharp, and mankind will face an entirely new enemy.

Quick Primer

  The world is engulfed in war. It is the age of artillery, of barbed wire and machine-gun, of poison gas and killing on an industrial scale. At home and in the field, the dead outnumber the living. Every soldier slain, friend or foe, can be raised again and made to fight or work. Even those too damaged can be dismembered, their limbs used to create fresh terrors.   It is close to our world, but not quite. NIC is a fictional setting, with its own countries and geography.   Industrialized Magic is still in its infancy, only a century or two old. The key to powering spells, electricity, has been unlocked and put to terrible work. The world has changed with it.   Technology has reached the level seen at the outset of the first World War, with coal-hungry plants shrouding the skies with smog and innovation rapidly unraveling the fabric of old societies. Necromancy has advanced with it, breaching barriers.   Gigants stand above all other technological pursuits besides Necromancy. These titanic landships roll across the blasted wastelands left by the great war. Living soldiers watch the hordes of undead within the Gigants holds and herd them into battle.   The Consequences of magic will soon reach the world of humanity. Its brilliant spark is a flickering flame in a sea of empty colors and dying stars: things beyond the void turn their hungry gaze to this sudden light.    


  Stiff - An undead. Plural: stiff.   Butcher - The term for one of the aides employed by Nekrobiotek, Butchers collect bodies or limbs, get rid of offal and guts, and prepare the bodies with ritual embalming before reanimation.   The Dying - People kept alive by necromancy in a state that hovers between life and death, plagued by perpetual decay and electrical current. The latter keep the spells powered, allowing them to cling to failing flesh.        

by Mike Hawthorne

Cover image: Iron Harvest by Jakub Rozalski


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4 Dec, 2018 15:34

I've read most of the articles for this world before (with great interest) but this snap shot page brings it all together for the new reader, and leaves them with so many routes to investigate this story. This was the line that I loved the most:   "A living man or woman can be anything; an author, a philosopher, an inventor or actor. Why waste such potential on breaking rock or picking trash when a stiff can do the job just as well?" — Elaine Rae, master Nekrobiotek   We see basic EVIL in so many writings that use the undead but it is always more interesting to see choices that don't have obvious solutions. Rather than the choice between good Vs evil more of a choice between Family Vs Society or the focus on potential only to see it fall short. Like automation that promised us that the working day would be reduced and pleasure, leisure and learning increased with its introduction the premise of the dead working to improve the livings lot is a hard one to object to in principle. I wonder if this version of humanity survives and I await the answers that the author presents to this death by 1000 bone shard cuts :). Going forward I'd like to see an article on the middle classes or the house wife/husband and how life has changed from that point of view. Pull that camera away from the contested fronts and into a slice of civilian life to show us what the world is like from that point of view.   Keep up the good work, while also being careful not to work yourself to the bone this WorldEmber (We would only have to have you resurrected for summer camp).

10 Dec, 2018 21:36

Thank you so much <3   That's an excellent idea which I think will be incredibly interesting. What's the day of an average guy or gal like, just going about their life? That will definitely be something I will write!

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.