Portraits of The Powerful, or, Does Erandis Need To Be Ugly?

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So, I don't really get the whole Lich = Hideous corpse thing to begin with. They're more powerful than vampires, and their magic can't keep them looking like living people if they want, without illusion magic?

Seriously? I don't buy it.

But anyway, Erandis. I know in Eberron canon is less important, but I'm wondering if it's actually canon, or just an asumption, that Erandis looks gross.


I see this: media.photobucket.com/image/erandis%20vo...

more than the standard dessicated corpse depiction.

Any thoughts? Is the Lich image important to anyone's view of Erandis? Just curious if I'm crazy or if other think like me.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
I agree. The cadaverous body of a lich never quite seemed appropriate to me, save to provide it with that aura of fear from a ghastly appearance and the like, but I've stuck with it until I entered Erandis into my campaign. I've always seen Erandis as being deceptively beautiful. Perhaps most liches become so monstrously disfigured by the sheer weight of the negative energy they use to convert themselves into undead, but maybe the Mark of Death allowed Erandis to be transformed without her body undergoing the cosmetic changes. I like the idea of her body having this sense of timelessness to it, as though a switch was flipped one moment and she just stopped changing. Sure, she could simply use powerful illusion magic to pick a new body whenever she so chooses, but that just seems so... mundane.

EDIT: PS. Love the name ;) 
Call me Ender.
I agree. The cadaverous body of a lich never quite seemed appropriate to me, save to provide it with that aura of fear from a ghastly appearance and the like, but I've stuck with it until I entered Erandis into my campaign. I've always seen Erandis as being deceptively beautiful. Perhaps most liches become so monstrously disfigured by the sheer weight of the negative energy they use to convert themselves into undead, but maybe the Mark of Death allowed Erandis to be transformed without her body undergoing the cosmetic changes. I like the idea of her body having this sense of timelessness to it, as though a switch was flipped one moment and she just stopped changing. Sure, she could simply use powerful illusion magic to pick a new body whenever she so chooses, but that just seems so... mundane.

EDIT: PS. Love the name ;) 




Thanks. It's always fun when someone recognizes it.

I pretty much think of it the same way. To me, while there could be some liches that are so singleminded that they don't bother stopping their body from becoming dessicated, I think the adolescent scion of a noble house, full of her destiny and love of her family, etc, would be more inclined to not see themselves as corrupted or broken.

And I see the Vols being less...base and ugly about their approach to undeath than the standard necromancer. I could see Vol necromancers raising skeleton knights in a way that their bones look like onyx or emerald or ruby, or covered in obscure runes, etc. Basically, I expect the sort of ritualism and artistry that comes with religious devotion to change the look and feel of their undead, to some extent.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
Obviously, this is one of those "Do what you want in your own campaign" things. With that said, I believe in the ugly lich for a number of reasons.

Undead are infused with negative energy. That's "anti-life", fundamentally. Coming into contact with them tends to cause physical harm to living creatures, as your life force gets drained, you get paralyzed, etc. In 4E, just being close to a lich can hurt a living creature. This backs up the assertion of the Undying Court is that merely bringing this energy into Eberron fundamentally hurts the life-force of the world itself. So, point one: this is an extremely unnatural thing.

Liches are efficient. A lich doesn't need blood to survive. It is sustained purely by Mabar and magic. The organs of its body, from skin to eyes, are extraneous. I'll note that liches have darkvision; in my opinion this isn't because their eyesight has improved, it's because they don't have eyes anymore. Their souls are anchored to the world through their phylactery, and a body is thrown together, but it's just a shell for the soul and has no need for any of the pleasantries.

So what about vampires? If liches are ugly, why do vampires get to be pretty? Because vampires aren't as efficient as liches. They require blood to survive. Which in turn means they need a circulatory system. They need to thrive as predators among the living which means that they HAVE to be able to pass as living, so they need skin and such. A vampire has specific anatomical weaknesses: it can be killed with a stake through the heart or decapitation (well, if you play with such rules). A lich can't. It has fully transcended these and is immortal unless you find the phylactery. The body is just a shell for the soul, bound together by that unnatural negative energy.

Deathless are ugly, too. The Undying are sustained by positive energy, and yet they are also ugly. Because they're done with their bodies. Unlike the vampire, none of it is necessary anymore. It's why you have Aereni artificially dessicating themselves... because the flesh is temporary. The dissolution of the body is nothing to fear if you preserve and perfect the soul.

Having said all of that, I have Erandis use magic to APPEAR attractive. And she's got access to very, very powerful magic. When she needs to fool people, she can and she does. If you ever see her ugly face, things are likely going to be very bad for you. But I still like the fact that underneath it she's hideous, for a few more reasons.

She's a tragic figure. She didn't ask for her fate. Even among the Aereni, most say to enjoy life before becoming deathless. To me, emphasizing that her current state ISN'T pleasant or serene makes her all the more tragic. Having her dragonmark be a withered remnant of its true self - having her stare at it in the mirror, knowing what it should be - is what will drive you mad. I could even see her creating a persistant spell and trying to forget her appearance, because she's NOT as serene about things as the deathless are.

It's creepier. When her appearance is a glamour hiding something hideous - something you can imagine but can't see - to me, that makes her a much more intriguing and disturbing character.

WITH THAT SAID: That doesn't mean I endorse the image/figure we've seen of her. I play her as less physically imposing. But still very, very dead.

But as I said... that's my Erandis.
And I see the Vols being less...base and ugly about their approach to undeath than the standard necromancer. I could see Vol necromancers raising skeleton knights in a way that their bones look like onyx or emerald or ruby, or covered in obscure runes, etc. Basically, I expect the sort of ritualism and artistry that comes with religious devotion to change the look and feel of their undead, to some extent.


As a side note, I'm all for being artistic with the bones. My point was simply that I'm fine with undead who are purely self-sustained (liches, death knights) being desicated/bare-bones as opposed to the full-flesh pretty vampire. To my mind, this is actually one of the things that makes the vampire weaker than the lich: it still NEEDS the body more.

I'm also a big fan of the ornate deathmask concealing the face; as you may recall, the death-mask is the holy symbol of the Undying Court. We could get into a much longer discussion about the symbolism of that mask, but that's not about Erandis.

As a side note, I'm all for being artistic with the bones. My point was simply that I'm fine with undead who are purely self-sustained (liches, death knights) being desicated/bare-bones as opposed to the full-flesh pretty vampire. To my mind, this is actually one of the things that makes the vampire weaker than the lich: it still NEEDS the body more.

I'm also a big fan of the ornate deathmask concealing the face; as you may recall, the death-mask is the holy symbol of the Undying Court. We could get into a much longer discussion about the symbolism of that mask, but that's not about Erandis.



And we should, perhaps in another thread? :P

(death and undeath in Eberron are extra fascinating, IMO, so I really would love to see/participate in such a discussion)


More on topic, I'm particularly moved by the points about Erandis herself, and how tragic and creepy it makes her.

I think that a Lich of her power could also simply choose what her body looks like, since it is just a...shell to house her soul and giver her being focus and form. This would be similar to the illusion magic, except that she's physically altering her body to look a certain way. Ultimately, it's a lie, but it's one you can poke with a stick without revealing, as it were. :P

Also, for some reason I have this image of her dragonmark sometimes writhing on her skin, or glowing, or other strange effects, like it has a will, and is...imprisoned by her undeath.

Perhaps it's difficult for her to keep her body in the form she remembers, as the centuries pass and her memory gets less distinct. Perhaps she no longer looks at all natural, but more like the image of an adolescant elf from the imagination of someone who has never seen one, with too high cheek bones and eyes too large, etc. Another creepy and tragic option.

And I suppose the other points all make sense. I definately agree that the large imposing Erandis doesn't feel right on almost any level.


Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
I think that a Lich of her power could also simply choose what her body looks like, since it is just a...shell to house her soul and giver her being focus and form. This would be similar to the illusion magic, except that she's physically altering her body to look a certain way. Ultimately, it's a lie, but it's one you can poke with a stick without revealing, as it were.


Sure; if you're using a 3.5 variant, that's a second level spell (alter self as opposed to disguise self). A trivial action for a wizard of her power. So there's no question that it's within her power to look however she wants to look. The question is what her base form looks like, and the point I'll make here is that she didn't do this to herself. It's not her spell. Her parents turned her into a lich while she was most likely just a fledgling wizard. This is why I hold to the idea that she doesn't know where her phylactery is - because it's not HER phylactery, it's something her parents designed to protect her. In a sense, she is a prisoner in her own undeath. Hence, I like the idea that she can hide from her natural form using the magic she's learned; but her default state is one that's forced upon her. It's as perfect as undeath can be. It's immortality without any need for blood or anything else. But it remains undeath: a cold life without the physical joys that come with our physical weaknesses. Again, it's why the Aereni will raise someone from the dead as opposed to making them Deathless if they die too young; they haven't had time to experience all that true life has to offer.

Now again, I'm all for the artistic shaping of the lich form - bones of ebony, runic engravings, and so on. I just like that form being clearly dead because that's what it is - a soul torn from the natural cycle of life and death and kept in place by the darkest of forces.

My final point here is that I want a clear distinction between deathless and undead. Per 4E, the Mabaran forces are so dangerous that if the lich "lifts its reactor shielding" it can kill anyone who comes within 25 feet. The line of Vol maintained that their Mabaran techniques were superior to those of the Undying Court because they ensured that the undead could survive on its own - that it could take what it needed from the world, while the Deathless rely on the energy being given. As such, I don't see the fundamental principle of Vol's line being "serenity"; I see it as grim determination to battle death to the end.

Changing topics, bear in mind that the modern religion of the Blood of Vol is not the faith of the line of Vol. It is a modern adaptation that has gone in a different direction. The line of Vol was content with lichdom as a form of immortality. For the modern faith, undeath is not the answer; it's a temporary measure. The goal of the modern faith is to unlock the divine spark of the soul and to acheive personal divinity as a living being... and the belief is that once you're undead, this spark is lost. This is backed up by the fact that Erandis can't use her mark. Essentially, she's immortal yet forever denied her true potential. The goal of the Seeker is to get the potential; those who become undead are in fact martyrs.
My personal take on most liches is that they are no longer in their original body.

For my games, the act of something becoming undead stops all decay and they stay in that state for the rest of eternity/until destroyed.  This is why you can have zombies in a cave that have been sealed away for centuries that haven't decayed into skeletons or mummified.  The reason most zombies are so rotten is because the necromancer typically doesn't have access to fresh corpses, they have to go dig something up (literally), and often times those bodies are in fairly poor condition.  But, you work with what you've got.  If someone could be made into an undead the instant they died, then they would be essentially identical to a living person (just cold to the touch).

In the case of liches, they voluntarily become undead, so originally they should look pristine.  However, if you "kill" a lich without destroying it's phylactory, then it's soul just moves on to the next available body and reforms.  That "next closest body" probably isn't in pristine condition, so while the lich's new body will transform to look like them, it won't magically heal rot and decay.  Hence, you have an ugly lich.

Although I would question Erandis not knowing what her own phylactory was for that very reason.  If her body is destroyed, as per being a lich she'll always reform from the corpse closest to her phylactory.  I would assume this has happened to her several times over the millenia, and that she's smart enough to realize that she keeps waking back up in the same general area that she'd start testing it.  Laying out some gentle repose bodies and waiting for the next time and seeing which one she wakes up in next.  Repeat until she finds it, if she didn't already know where it was.  After all, she's very clever, and she's been a lich for a very long time, its not like she's got that much else to do.
Although I would question Erandis not knowing what her own phylactory was for that very reason.  If her body is destroyed, as per being a lich she'll always reform from the corpse closest to her phylactory.  I would assume this has happened to her several times over the millenia, and that she's smart enough to realize that she keeps waking back up in the same general area that she'd start testing it.  Laying out some gentle repose bodies and waiting for the next time and seeing which one she wakes up in next.  Repeat until she finds it, if she didn't already know where it was.  After all, she's very clever, and she's been a lich for a very long time, its not like she's got that much else to do.


I'm guessing that you haven't read my post here, Edymnion. My point is EXACTLY that. If she follows the standard rules and reforms in the immediate area of her phylactery, then she'll know where it is. And if she can figure it out, so can the Deathguard or her enemies in Argonnessen. Most liches transform themselves. They're already powerful wizards. Erandis wasn't; it was a last ditch effort by a powerful wizard determined to keep her in existence at all costs. Thus, my assertion is that she DOESN'T reform near her phylactery. She reforms in a random, unpredictable location. Thus, she was probably killed a half-dozen times in the first century after her rebirth, before she grew in power and found a safe haven. But each time, she appeared somewhere new and it took her enemies time to track her down again. And over time she became that powerful wizard.

There's nothing on it one way or the other in canon sources. It's simply my personal opinion based on the fact that her state is something that was done to her instead of by her, and done with the determination to preserve her against extremely powerful and brilliant enemies.
Here's a thought that treads dangerously close to the "What does the Mark of Death do?" question: I've liked the idea that the True Dragonmarks are most often constructive in nature, while the Aberrant Marks are more destructive and chaotic. This has always led me to believe that the Aberrant Marks were likely to utilize negative energy in certain abilities they gave while the True Dragonmarks wouldn't. Yet, if Erandis is a lich formed from her mother using the Mark of Death... it must have some connection to negative energy, otherwise Erandis would be Deathless, right? Of course, we all tend to associate negative energy with bad things, though I'm sure it would make for an interesting story to learn that negative energy really doesn't carry the connotations we so often give it.

My point was really this: was Erandis created directly through the use of the Mark, or from some eldritch machine that tapped into negative energy that wasn't explicitly from the Mark of Death, but may have been an early Dragonmark Focus item? 
Call me Ender.
Here's a thought that treads dangerously close to the "What does the Mark of Death do?" question:


Just checking... have you read the Dragonmark blog on that?

My point was really this: was Erandis created directly through the use of the Mark, or from some eldritch machine that tapped into negative energy that wasn't explicitly from the Mark of Death, but may have been an early Dragonmark Focus item? 


Personally, I've never thought that Erandis was made a lich using the Mark of Death alone. The line of Vol had been practicing Mabaran necromancy for well over ten thousand years before they manifested the Mark of Death, and the Qabalrin created the first humanoid vampires and liches back before the Xen'drik exodus. WITH THAT SAID, I like the idea that a Dragonmark focus item could have been involved because per my read they broke some of the usual rules of the process (The fact that they did it to someone who wasn't already a powerful spellcaster, my theory on the phylactery), and also because it's a great thing for adventurers to find as a mysterious piece of history. In the Dragonmark article I mention the fact that there should be Dragonmark focus items for the Mark of Death out there, and I think this is an interesting approach.

As for the fact that the true mark is channeling negative energy if it raises undead, I'd argue that it's still acheiving a constructive result: creating something as opposed to destroying something (as opposed to the aberrant powers of inflict wounds or slay living). The reason I wouldn't have it make deathless is because by my rules, you can't just make deathless willy-nilly. Mabaran necromancy is self-sufficient; it consumes what it needs from the world, whether physically (vampire) or by sucking out the ambient lifeforce of the world around it (lich). Once you set that engine running, the wheels keep turning. By contrast, the Deathless can't take positive energy; it has to be freely given. The process of raising a new deathless is a massive wake-funeral celebrating the life of the individual (who ideally was celebrated in life in the first place, which is why she qualifies to be deathless); it's an outpouring of faith and adoration that serves as a soul anchor for the Deathless. They're also sustained by sitting on Irian manifest zones like Shai Mordai, but if you either killed every Aereni or turned them all away from the faith, the Deathless who be weakened and trapped on those islands of light.

I guess the point I'm very vaguely trying to make is that Mabaran energy isn't innately EVIL... but it consumes. It's not evil to use it, just dangerous.
I think that a Lich of her power could also simply choose what her body looks like, since it is just a...shell to house her soul and giver her being focus and form. This would be similar to the illusion magic, except that she's physically altering her body to look a certain way. Ultimately, it's a lie, but it's one you can poke with a stick without revealing, as it were.


Sure; if you're using a 3.5 variant, that's a second level spell (alter self as opposed to disguise self). A trivial action for a wizard of her power. So there's no question that it's within her power to look however she wants to look. The question is what her base form looks like, and the point I'll make here is that she didn't do this to herself. It's not her spell. Her parents turned her into a lich while she was most likely just a fledgling wizard. This is why I hold to the idea that she doesn't know where her phylactery is - because it's not HER phylactery, it's something her parents designed to protect her. In a sense, she is a prisoner in her own undeath. Hence, I like the idea that she can hide from her natural form using the magic she's learned; but her default state is one that's forced upon her. It's as perfect as undeath can be. It's immortality without any need for blood or anything else. But it remains undeath: a cold life without the physical joys that come with our physical weaknesses. Again, it's why the Aereni will raise someone from the dead as opposed to making them Deathless if they die too young; they haven't had time to experience all that true life has to offer.

Now again, I'm all for the artistic shaping of the lich form - bones of ebony, runic engravings, and so on. I just like that form being clearly dead because that's what it is - a soul torn from the natural cycle of life and death and kept in place by the darkest of forces.

My final point here is that I want a clear distinction between deathless and undead. Per 4E, the Mabaran forces are so dangerous that if the lich "lifts its reactor shielding" it can kill anyone who comes within 25 feet. The line of Vol maintained that their Mabaran techniques were superior to those of the Undying Court because they ensured that the undead could survive on its own - that it could take what it needed from the world, while the Deathless rely on the energy being given. As such, I don't see the fundamental principle of Vol's line being "serenity"; I see it as grim determination to battle death to the end.

Changing topics, bear in mind that the modern religion of the Blood of Vol is not the faith of the line of Vol. It is a modern adaptation that has gone in a different direction. The line of Vol was content with lichdom as a form of immortality. For the modern faith, undeath is not the answer; it's a temporary measure. The goal of the modern faith is to unlock the divine spark of the soul and to acheive personal divinity as a living being... and the belief is that once you're undead, this spark is lost. This is backed up by the fact that Erandis can't use her mark. Essentially, she's immortal yet forever denied her true potential. The goal of the Seeker is to get the potential; those who become undead are in fact martyrs.




Fair enough.

I don't think that serenity is quite the right word for what I was trying to portray (sorry if I used the wrong word originally) and I may have  done a bit of mixing up old Vol family belief with Blood of Vol beliefs, you're right.

Incidentally, in my Eberron, we're toying with the idea that Vryloka come about through generations of Seekers being extremely strong in the faith, and the bloodline passing down a certain amount of that divine spark, influenced by blood magic, resulting in people capable of greatly prolonged lives in healthy bodies. This makes them honored amongst the Seekers, and if discovered by enemies of the Blood...they're in great danger.

I hadn't thought about the fact that Erandis had no real part in the magic that made her a Lich, though. I'd forgotten about that, for the most part.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
Just checking... have you read the Dragonmark blog on that?

Indeed I have! It was this thread along with that blog post that got me thinking.

Personally, I've never thought that Erandis was made a lich using the Mark of Death alone. The line of Vol had been practicing Mabaran necromancy for well over ten thousand years before they manifested the Mark of Death, and the Qabalrin created the first humanoid vampires and liches back before the Xen'drik exodus. WITH THAT SAID, I like the idea that a Dragonmark focus item could have been involved because per my read they broke some of the usual rules of the process (The fact that they did it to someone who wasn't already a powerful spellcaster, my theory on the phylactery), and also because it's a great thing for adventurers to find as a mysterious piece of history. In the Dragonmark article I mention the fact that there should be Dragonmark focus items for the Mark of Death out there, and I think this is an interesting approach.

As for the fact that the true mark is channeling negative energy if it raises undead, I'd argue that it's still acheiving a constructive result: creating something as opposed to destroying something (as opposed to the aberrant powers of inflict wounds or slay living). The reason I wouldn't have it make deathless is because by my rules, you can't just make deathless willy-nilly. Mabaran necromancy is self-sufficient; it consumes what it needs from the world, whether physically (vampire) or by sucking out the ambient lifeforce of the world around it (lich). Once you set that engine running, the wheels keep turning. By contrast, the Deathless can't take positive energy; it has to be freely given. The process of raising a new deathless is a massive wake-funeral celebrating the life of the individual (who ideally was celebrated in life in the first place, which is why she qualifies to be deathless); it's an outpouring of faith and adoration that serves as a soul anchor for the Deathless. They're also sustained by sitting on Irian manifest zones like Shai Mordai, but if you either killed every Aereni or turned them all away from the faith, the Deathless who be weakened and trapped on those islands of light.

I guess the point I'm very vaguely trying to make is that Mabaran energy isn't innately EVIL... but it consumes. It's not evil to use it, just dangerous.

Right, I had been working along the same lines.

Side-thought: What ever happened to Erandis' father (the original Emerald Claw)? I wonder if he was a necromancer too... maybe turned himself into a dracolich... Lair of the Keeper, anyone?
Call me Ender.
Side-thought: What ever happened to Erandis' father (the original Emerald Claw)? I wonder if he was a necromancer too... maybe turned himself into a dracolich... Lair of the Keeper, anyone?


It's one of those things that's left alone in canon, AFAIK. I used one of his (full dragon) children in an adventure once.

The lair of the Keeper is certainly an interesting idea. In my campaign, I made its lord the first dracolich created by Katashka. Has anyone else used it?
Now this thread has me thinking. Firstly, can liches have children? My instinct is to say "no". But then I think of Half-Vampires. Granted, that comes about from recently-fed vampires regaining the ability to reproduce temporarily or from mothers partly drained while pregnant. So I wonder about whether or not Erandis could have children. Possibilities I've considered:

1) Polymorph - I don't know if this would work. It certainly would give Erandis a constitution score and changes her type, which is a step in the right direction,   mechanically speaking (in 3.5), but I feel like if this would work... she would have done it already.

2) She was pregnant when turned into a Lich - Nothing explicitly states this is or isn't the case, but I'd just assume it isn't. Still, an interesting thought. If she had a child when she became a lich, perhaps the line of Vol continued...

EDIT: I've put the next paragraph in a spoiler block in case my players stumble across this thread. If you do (and you know who you are), stay away from the spoilers.
Show
I had an idea for my campaign that Erandis' phylactery was tied to the Vol bloodline and that Erandis had been pregnant when turned into a lich. She was told that her child was stillborn, when in reality, they simply hid the child away. The child survived the purge thanks to Erandis' own ignorance of it and its lack of the Mark of Death. One of my players is an elf searching for his own child. The thought crossed my mind that maybe his child is a descendant of the line of Vol and to permanently defeat Erandis, his daughter would have to die (IT'S STRONG STORYTELLING AND THAT WOULDN'T BE THE END, SO DON'T HATE ME). Alternatively, I thought that maybe her phylactery was tied to the bloodline of her father. We also have a Half-Dragon in the party. I think you can tell where my thoughts went here, as well.

Lastly, I thought: can you resurrect Erandis? The undead can be resurrected, though I imagine with a lich, it's a bit of a different story. The soul needs to want to return... and in this case, you have a soul bound to a phylactery, not fading away in Dolurrh or another afterlife. It's why, even if resurrection was common (which it most certainly is not), you likely wouldn't be able to bring back a follower of the Silver Flame, since their souls join with the Flame upon death so they can continue protecting the living. Though I wondered, if Erandis wanted to make use of her Mark, her soul would be willing. She'd just need to find somone to bring her back...
Call me Ender.
Now this thread has me thinking. Firstly, can liches have children? My instinct is to say "no". But then I think of Half-Vampires. Granted, that comes about from recently-fed vampires regaining the ability to reproduce temporarily or from mothers partly drained while pregnant. So I wonder about whether or not Erandis could have children. Possibilities I've considered:

1) Polymorph - I don't know if this would work. It certainly would give Erandis a constitution score and changes her type, which is a step in the right direction,   mechanically speaking (in 3.5), but I feel like if this would work... she would have done it already.

2) She was pregnant when turned into a Lich - Nothing explicitly states this is or isn't the case, but I'd just assume it isn't. Still, an interesting thought. If she had a child when she became a lich, perhaps the line of Vol continued...

I had an idea for my campaign that Erandis' phylactery was tied to the Vol bloodline and that Erandis had been pregnant when turned into a lich. She was told that her child was stillborn, when in reality, they simply hid the child away. The child survived the purge thanks to Erandis' own ignorance of it and its lack of the Mark of Death. One of my players is an elf searching for his own child. The thought crossed my mind that maybe his child is a descendant of the line of Vol and to permanently defeat Erandis, his daughter would have to die (IT'S STRONG STORYTELLING AND THAT WOULDN'T BE THE END, SO DON'T HATE ME). Alternatively, I thought that maybe her phylactery was tied to the bloodline of her father. We also have a Half-Dragon in the party. I think you can tell where my thoughts went here, as well.

Lastly, I thought: can you resurrect Erandis? The undead can be resurrected, though I imagine with a lich, it's a bit of a different story. The soul needs to want to return... and in this case, you have a soul bound to a phylactery, not fading away in Dolurrh or another afterlife. It's why, even if resurrection was common (which it most certainly is not), you likely wouldn't be able to bring back a follower of the Silver Flame, since their souls join with the Flame upon death so they can continue protecting the living. Though I wondered, if Erandis wanted to make use of her Mark, her soul would be willing. She'd just need to find somone to bring her back...




Hmmm. You might have to destroy her phylactery, or at least modify the raise dead ritual (even pre 4e I always thought of it as a ritual, in the sense of a religious ritual) to involve the phylactery, in order to raise her.

And of course, the possibility of a hidden line of Vol descendants is an interesting one. What would someone look like, with much diluted dragon and elven blood, say, mixed with lots of humans? Would the blood be strong enough to have some chance of the Mark reapearing?


Another thing I'm thinking about playing around with is the idea of presenting Lady Vol in a much more sympathetic light than normal. Well, there's normally sympathy, but it's the sympathy you feel for a really well thought out sympathetic villain, but what if she isn't a villain. What if she's borked in the head enough that she doesn't realize how screwed up the Emerald Claw is? Or, what if her ultimate aims with them are more beneficial than it seems, and she's willing to use evil pawns to good ends?

Or, and this feels more right, really, what if her goals are much more pedestrian? What if all she really wants is to either die, or actually get to live?
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
EDIT: I've put the first part of this reply in a spoiler block in case my players stumble across this thread. If you do (and you know who you are), stay away from the spoilers.

Show
The campaign I have her in is all about Grey and Gray Morality, with a heavy helping of doing evil things in the name of good (Bel Shalor is the endgame villain). I plan to portray Erandis as a tragic figure who only wants to fulfill her family's dreams and her own destiny. Problem is, she's willing to do whatever it takes to acheive that (including, but not limited to, draining the blood from our Half-Dragon-with-a-Dragonmark PC and trying a full transfusion).

Ultimately, all she wants to do is regain her life and be able to utilize the Mark of Death. What exactly she could do with her Mark, I haven't decided, but it won't be something so "evil" that she becomes a cliché superhero villain. I like the constructive aspect of the True Dragonmarks, so I would find something better for it. If she finds a suitable way of regaining her living body without having to do terrible deeds, she'd do it... provided it was as quick of a result. For me, she wants this first and foremost. Second, she wants revenge. Her entire family was wiped out by dragons and elves alike. Working alongside the campaign's other recurring villain, they have begun rebuilding an eldritch machine akin to the Moonbreaker, which she wants to use to cut Eberron off from Irian, creating some troubles for the Undying Court. But again, this is secondary. If she gets her life back and can use her Mark, she may not care about revenge as much. In fact, if the players decide to help her return to life, she would gladly help the Half-Dragon-with-a-Dragonmark PC unlock the potential of her own mark and aid the party in fending off the Dragons that are after the PC.

So... for me, she's meant to be a villain, but one that acts in the manner she does due to the circumstances of her situation and the psychological effects she has suffered over these past 3000 years. I've had her attempt to kill herself on numerous occassions in the past, but was never able to find her phylactery. She's gone through periods of hating herself and cursing her family for making her this way, while also flipping to the other side and seeking revenge for their deaths and trying to fulfill their wishes for her. I don't think she's even decided what to feel.
Call me Ender.
So... for me, she's meant to be a villain, but one that acts in the manner she does due to the circumstances of her situation and the psychological effects she has suffered over these past 3000 years. I've had her attempt to kill herself on numerous occassions in the past, but was never able to find her phylactery. She's gone through periods of hating herself and cursing her family for making her this way, while also flipping to the other side and seeking revenge for their deaths and trying to fulfill their wishes for her. I don't think she's even decided what to feel.


Thats how I've understood all the things that I've read about her. 
This thread has been very helpful for an upcoming Eberron game I'm planning. The PCs, if they choose to go this route, will have to deal with the Blood of Vol and Erandis herself in order to find a way to fix/cure the Mournland. I haven't exactly worked out this will work, yet but its a direction I'm planning on. If they choose to work with the Blood of Vol and Erandis, I intend her to be disguised in someway so the party isn't quite aware of what she is for awhile. Additionally, they will be kept away from her when they interact with her to keep them from the life-energy draining aura though they will feel uneasy and she will appear just a little off.
Though I like the idea that she is working on reaching true Divinity. Thats something I was also thinking of addressing with my game and the PCs interactions with her. 
It should also be noted that in general wizards become liches because they are obsessed with things like magical research. It is not something you do when you are obsessed with living life to the fullest. For one thing, those people tend to eventually accept death (if only because immortality is rather lonely) and there are methods to become immortal that do not involve the use of negative energy (even though those methods do tend to be more difficult to master). As such a lich doesn't really care about appearances. Furthermore, without the stimuli of life such as pain, hunger, cold, and so on, it is remarkably easy to forget you are rotting away. Take a look at leprocy. One the symptoms of the disease are rotting wounds, which are a result of them never noticing small wounds due to a lack of pain. If a living person can develop these blistering ugly wounds because of a lack of pain, imagine what would happen to somebody who not only does not feel pain, but all other sensations that we take for granted?

And that is without even taking into account, as Keith mention, that negative energy in itself is a force of death, decay and rot. In many mythologies btw vampires don't even look like beautiful living creatures, that seems to be more of a modern variant based on a popular story where the vampire was not even a true undead but somebody cursed by a god. Most vampire-like myths the vampire has the power to appear as beautiful living creatures, but their true forms are just as twisted and ugly as the rest of undead critters. One can always wonder why the standard D&D vampire is even an undead, except as an easy way to make it vulnerable to typical undead stuff ;) Probably better as some kind of other type of monster.
At least liches don't have tentacles, I guess.


I think part of the issue is that I'm tired as hell of the evil = ugly paradigm.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
I think part of the issue is that I'm tired as hell of the evil = ugly paradigm.


I'll point out that the Inspired and Daelkyr are both quite lovely... while the Deathless are physically almost indistinguishable from the typical lich.

Of course, the Daelkyr wears disturbing armor, and the Inspired's quori spirit is strange to human eyes. But physically, the Inspired are definitely beautiful

Though perhaps your point is that the Inspired aren't actually evil, as they are benevolent overlords?
I think part of the issue is that I'm tired as hell of the evil = ugly paradigm.


Of course, since we're talking about Erandis, I feel it is worth looking to the Aereni culture. As noted, the Undying Court has always been shown with the typical lichlike form. The concept is that the Aereni believe that the soul is the only thing that truly matters; all flesh is temporary. This is why some Aereni lines encourage artificial dessication, and one of the meanings of the death-mask holy symbol of the Undying Court; the body itself is the mask that hides the spirit. Of course, this is the culture of the Undying Court, and the line of Vol could have been different; but the majority Aereni definitely don't equate physical beauty with good and ulginess with evil.
Reading this thread gave me an interesting idea,

Since Erandis doen't know were here her Phylactery is and randomly reincarnates anywhere (possibly taking posession of someones body or physically reforms int her usual one ?). If she is killed in proximity to an Eldritch machine, Artifact, or the Mourning disrupted her reincarnation, she could lose her memories and only have a few vague recolections (sort of similar to a Deva) or simply take posesssion of an elf. This would have some interesting reprecussions. 
Reading this thread gave me an interesting idea,

Since Erandis doen't know were here her Phylactery is and randomly reincarnates anywhere (possibly taking posession of someones body or physically reforms int her usual one ?). If she is killed in proximity to an Eldritch machine, Artifact, or the Mourning disrupted her reincarnation, she could lose her memories and only have a few vague recolections (sort of similar to a Deva) or simply take posesssion of an elf. This would have some interesting reprecussions. 


Thinking along those lines, a PC could actualy BE Erandis and not even know it.
Thinking along those lines, a PC could actualy BE Erandis and not even know it.


Which would be an interesting way to handle a PC who wants to have the Mark of Death...
I think part of the issue is that I'm tired as hell of the evil = ugly paradigm.


I'll point out that the Inspired and Daelkyr are both quite lovely... while the Deathless are physically almost indistinguishable from the typical lich.

Of course, the Daelkyr wears disturbing armor, and the Inspired's quori spirit is strange to human eyes. But physically, the Inspired are definitely beautiful

Though perhaps your point is that the Inspired aren't actually evil, as they are benevolent overlords?



Oh no, I was refering to the trope in general, not in Eberron.

Eberron is quite good about not using the trope. 
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
Thinking along those lines, a PC could actualy BE Erandis and not even know it.- Talae

Thats exactly what I was thinking  
Speaking of liches in Eberron, are there any others around? I can't say that I recall hearing of others. Or perhaps a Deathless equivalent of a lich... reminds me of the Good Lich variant from Libris Mortis...
Call me Ender.
Speaking of liches in Eberron, are there any others around? I can't say that I recall hearing of others.


Sure. Not a lot mentioned by name, but they're out there. The Bloodsail article says "When a sailor dies, the funds in his or her account determine that sailor’s final fate. Gifted wizards or clerics can become liches..." With this in mind, I'd think that a number of the Grim Lords are liches; certainly Lord Varonaen, who bred the unusual flora of Farlnen. Over in Sharn: City of Towers we have the lich Gath. I'm pretty sure one of the novels has a lich in the Mournland. They aren't common because casters of that level aren't common, but they exist. And then, of course, there are the Deathless.

Or perhaps a Deathless equivalent of a lich... reminds me of the Good Lich variant from Libris Mortis...


The Ascendant Councilor is basically the Deathless equivalent of a lich - or is there something specific you're looking for? The AC is essentially the highest form of Deathless. What the Deathless lack - per canon - is an equivalent to the vampire, which is to say a predatory undead that can pass unnoticed among the living in its natural form. As noted in the previous pages, these things are essentially run counter to the core ideas of the Deathless - that the energy that sustains them is freely given, and that there is no need to maintain physical beauty.
In addition to Hellcow's list there
are also the Skullborn and the Qalabrin  (how the heck do you spell it ?)
The Ascendant Councilor is basically the Deathless equivalent of a lich

I knew that, I was just testing you is all. Good job, you passed! (The AC completely skipped my mind and I don't know how.)

You mention that the Deathless lack a vampire counterpart, which makes sense. What I wonder then is: are all known Aereni Deathless corporeal? Or are there any incorporeal Deathless--their equivalent of Ghosts? The Book of Exalted Deeds had the Sacred Watcher, but I couldn't think of anything specifically in Eberron canon.
Call me Ender.
What I wonder then is: are all known Aereni Deathless corporeal? Or are there any incorporeal Deathless--their equivalent of Ghosts?


Yes and no. The description of the Ascendant Councilor states:

They rarely inhabit their physical forms, preferring to explore the universe in astral form and return to their bodies only when necessary to speak with the living or defend their resting places.

Technically, this is what makes them "ascendant"; their souls are not bound to their bodies. However, when traveling in astral form, they don't interact with the world in an aggressive manner as a Mabaran ghost/wraith/spectre would; you could argue that their spirits are at peace and thus don't engage with the world in a hostile way.
I assumed they didn't act in an agressive manner, but can they still interact with the world in the same manner as a ghost? I ask because I have a PC in my campaign that's a ghost, but he's a good guy, so I wanted to treat him as a Deathless and was wondering about the lore behind it. Because of course, I can just handwave it and say "Sure, since you're a good ghost, I'll treat you as deathless so that turning from a good cleric doesn't hurt you." but I like to have some background for the things I do.
Call me Ender.
I assumed they didn't act in an agressive manner, but can they still interact with the world in the same manner as a ghost?


When I said that they don't "interact with the world in an aggressive manner", what I meant was that this form of existence isn't a physical intrusion onto the world in the same way as a wraith or spectre, and thus they can neither be perceived, harmed, or cause harm to others. With that said, the extent of the description by canon is exactly what I quoted earlier. So you are free to add new forms of Deathless or alter the way the Deathless work. With that said, a few points about the Deathless as defined by canon...

* The Undying Court is capable of exercising divine power within Aerenal. So within Aerenal, yes, an astral Ascendant Councilor CAN mess you up; it's not a question of personal ghostly powers, it's a matter of being a direct channel for the gestalt divine power of the Court. However, they can only do this in Aerenal (which is how they can do things like fight off dragons). Beyond Aerenal, they can only exercise divine power by channeling energy to their clerics, IE letting your cleric cast spells in their name.

* Ascendant Councilors aren't self-sustaining entities in the same way as Mabaran undead. A ghost is a restless spirit that exists until it's laid to rest. Deathless require positive energy, either direct from the source in an Irian manifest zone or channeled to them through worship. Aerenal isn't the only place you can find Deathless, and there can definitely be other forms, but the idea of the Deathless is that they can't TAKE energy; it has to be given to them. So you've either got to haunt a manifest zone or have people who love you and believe in you strongly enough to KEEP you around.
That's a good point... that crossed my mind but was something I forgot about. He was the protector of a village in the Eldeen Reaches and was killed trying to save the village from an unknown attacker (the campaign's recurring villain). He returns from Dolurrh after about seven years (having lost the majority of his memories), but filled with a sense of unfinished business. With the help of a shaman of sorts, he regains some surface memories of the night he was killed and remembers that he was protecting a village (and his wife and daughter). Upon reaching the village, he discovers it had been destroyed in the attack, but was rebuilt shortly after, with a statue of him in the center. There he finds an inscription stating that the villagers believe he will return to protect them once more in their time of need. Also at the statue is the bow he used while alive (modified to be ghost touch) and a Zaelshin Tu containing some of his remains (he is a Valenar elf).

I intend for the Zaelshin Tu to essentially be calling on himself as the ancestor, that is, using the memories of his former life to provide him with the bonuses it normally does. I was justifying it to myself that the villagers' belief that he would return was sustaining him and that his daughter was seeking to keep him alive as the Valenar do, in taking up the mantle of protector to honor him. These two acts were enough to bring his spirit from Dolurrh. At least, that's what I was thinking. Perhaps this would be enough for him to exist in the village, or near it, but what if he ventured far away? Would the Zaelshin Tu be enough to sustain him? Or should he have say, something that creates a mini-manifest zone to Irian with him.

Or maybe he shouldn't be sustained by positive energy at all! Maybe his return was facilitated by the positive energy of the village and his daughter, but his obsession with his unfinished business is making him more independent and he straddles the line of deathless and undead, utilizing a mixture of positive and negative energy to remain on the material plane...
Call me Ender.
Or maybe he shouldn't be sustained by positive energy at all! Maybe his return was facilitated by the positive energy of the village and his daughter, but his obsession with his unfinished business is making him more independent and he straddles the line of deathless and undead, utilizing a mixture of positive and negative energy to remain on the material plane...


A few thoughts. As always, they're just my opinions.

The Tairnadal don't bring their ancestors back as ghosts; it's not what the Zaelshin Tu are designed to do. A Tairnadal ancestor lives on by living through the descendant. Essentially, by carrying his Zaelshin Tu, the daughter BECOMES him, and so he is preserved. He might guide her or advise her*, but he wouldn't physically manifest.

At least, that's how they roll in Aerenal. If I was doing a story like this, I'd make him a plain old Mabaran ghost. The Undying Court asserts that Mabaran undead consume the life-force of the world to survive and are thus abhorrent. However, there's no rule that says negatively-charged undead have to be evil. You can BE a good ghost; you can continued to protect your village; it's simply the case that if a cleric of the Silver Flame (who might himself be of evil alignment) comes along and uses Turn Undead he'll disperse you, while a cleric of the Blood of Vol can bind you. Negatively charged undead are the norm. Restless dead with unfinished business who refuse to die - it doesn't matter if that business or good or bad, Mabar is where the power comes from. As a rule, Deathless aren't supposed to happen by accident; it took the Aereni thousands of years of necromantic experiments to produce stable Deathless and figure out the rituals that harness and channel the devotion of the people to the ancestors. Which is not to say that it can't happen some other way in some other place, just that Deathless are supposed to be rare and special - while Mabaran undead are far more common. Mabar consumes, and it is always searching for new vectors that will serve this purpose. Hence we have undead.

With that said, if I was set on having a postive-energy ghost in my campaign? I'd make the village on a manifest zone to Irian and say it's a freak occurence based on the daughter's love and the villagers' devotion to their protector.

* Bear in mind that for most Valenar, this "guiding" doesn't take the form of the ancestor saying "Great job, kid - now I'd turn left at this next intersection." It's more a matter of instinct... the Valenar knows everything about her ancestor, and when she says "What Would Jhaelian Do?" she KNOWS her answer. This may be her training, or it may be the ancestor whispering into her mind - it's back to Eberron generally being about faith. The Valenar warrior believes that her exceptional skill is in part that of the ancestor she embodies. Maybe it is, or maybe it's purely her dedication and training. With a truly exceptional Valenar you could take things farther and say that their bond to the ancestor is so strong they can speak to them, but it's not the norm. With that said, I had a Valenar shaman in one of my campaign who did conjure up ancestral spirits, so do whatever you like!

A few thoughts. As always, they're just my opinions.

And your opinions are always welcome

The Tairnadal don't bring their ancestors back as ghosts; it's not what the Zaelshin Tu are designed to do. A Tairnadal ancestor lives on by living through the descendant. Essentially, by carrying his Zaelshin Tu, the daughter BECOMES him, and so he is preserved. He might guide her or advise her*, but he wouldn't physically manifest.

Right, I knew this isn't how the Tairnadal ancestor preservation works. He was going to be an anomaly.

At least, that's how they roll in Aerenal. If I was doing a story like this, I'd make him a plain old Mabaran ghost. The Undying Court asserts that Mabaran undead consume the life-force of the world to survive and are thus abhorrent. However, there's no rule that says negatively-charged undead have to be evil. You can BE a good ghost; you can continued to protect your village; it's simply the case that if a cleric of the Silver Flame (who might himself be of evil alignment) comes along and uses Turn Undead he'll disperse you, while a cleric of the Blood of Vol can bind you. Negatively charged undead are the norm. Restless dead with unfinished business who refuse to die - it doesn't matter if that business or good or bad, Mabar is where the power comes from. As a rule, Deathless aren't supposed to happen by accident; it took the Aereni thousands of years of necromantic experiments to produce stable Deathless and figure out the rituals that harness and channel the devotion of the people to the ancestors. Which is not to say that it can't happen some other way in some other place, just that Deathless are supposed to be rare and special - while Mabaran undead are far more common. Mabar consumes, and it is always searching for new vectors that will serve this purpose. Hence we have undead.

I had been considering just making him a normal undead ghost. I only worried about the cleric of the Silver Flame in the party that's teetering on the edge of being corrupted by Bel Shalor's influence. Buuuuuuuut that would also make for some interesting roleplaying if the cleric did have the ability to turn him... hm...

With that said, if I was set on having a postive-energy ghost in my campaign? I'd make the village on a manifest zone to Irian and say it's a freak occurence based on the daughter's love and the villagers' devotion to their protector.

Which is the deus ex machina I was using.

Not sure what I'll do yet, still have to think about it... but I realize now that I seem to have derailed this thread... so... back to Erandis d'Vol!

Call me Ender.
So, we all agree that Erandis looks like she did in life when she is hanging out with people, insofar as she does that, right?


so...she adolescant, right?

So we have a loli pope and a loli goth pope?



[sorry. i had to. ]
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
Well, she's adolescent... for an elf. Which, I imagine means she's still young-looking, but not human teenager or anything. I always pictured her as human late twenties in appearance.
Call me Ender.
Well, she's adolescent... for an elf. Which, I imagine means she's still young-looking, but not human teenager or anything. I always pictured her as human late twenties in appearance.



I always figured elf adolescents looked like human adolescents. Part of that is from Dragonlance, when it talks about Tanis growing up.

I figured elves grow up as fast as humans until around puberty, and then start slowing down. That part is mostly just my take, though.


Anyway, that whole thing was mostly for the funny.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
I had been considering just making him a normal undead ghost. I only worried about the cleric of the Silver Flame in the party that's teetering on the edge of being corrupted by Bel Shalor's influence. Buuuuuuuut that would also make for some interesting roleplaying if the cleric did have the ability to turn him... hm...


Which is exactly why I'd make him a negative energy ghost who happens to be good.