The Ancient Dead: Wandering Monsters

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By James Wyatt


"Continuing our October undead theme, James turns our focus this week to two forms of corporeal undead with a great deal in common: mummies and liches."

 Discussion to follow!
'That's just, like, your opinion, man.'
 I love the lich, although I don't know if level 10 Wizard is a good minimum. Also the stuff about connections to its old life weakening a lich should be a suggestion in the DMG and not part of the liches rules.

Mummy could use some work. The mummy guard should certainly exist, but it doesn't need to be the only type of mummy. Mummified royalty are not casters, so they aren't Mummy Lords, and they may come back and have motives based on their lives and former kingdoms. Also I don't think ALL mummys must be evil. Sure most of them might be, but leave some room for neutral mummys who are just doing their thing.
I think the lich is great, and level 10 seems fine as well. 5th level spells are where necromancy really starts getting cool, so I can see that being where they decide to make the benchmark for lichdom be.

I also agree that the mummy needs a lot of work. The iconic mummy is the one from the films, who on being awakened will go about his own quest, and wreak havoc on anyone who has stolen their stuff or might impede said quest. This is not the same as a general tomb-guardian linebacker. I feel the tomb guardian is certainly fine, but the better preserved people will be the nobles, who perhaps can also retain the motivations that fueled them in life. 


Where this especially becomes interesting is when it is tied to the religion. Assuming a parallel to Egyptian mythology, the ramifications of being born back into rotten flesh rather than the paradise promised by their religion and gods can cause all sorts of psychological havok. Further, the kingdom they ruled long ago has crumbled, the people are gone, the lands are arid.  Having some Mummy Lords who seek to recreate their old lands, casting world shaping spells despite potential ramifications for other places (rediverting rivers from inhabited areas, for example) gives the players a far better reason to confront the mummy, rather than it always being a case of "You've come into my lair, and I'ma guard it and punch you in the face."

The basic, tomb guardian type mummy as described is certainly fine for ONE type of mummy, but it's the most base, uninteresting type. The Mummy Lord, on the other hand, should be its own thing, as this is a preserved Lord. A mummy priest, meanwhile, would perhaps straddle the line with being a divine caster lich.

The general paintjob of "mummies are evil, and just sit in their tombs guarding them" drops the ball on a compelling baddy. Look to "Touch of Death" as an example, where the machinations of Senmet against Anhktepot far exceed the limitations being placed, For others, it could be Amun-Re from Pharaoh. Here was a mummy begging the PCs to loot his tomb, not mindlessly guarding it, and certainly not evil.  For the "old school" players, these are the iconic mummies in dnd.
'That's just, like, your opinion, man.'
I can also see mummies being potentially non-evil. Unlike most undead, their motivating goal isn't particularly baneful. I think it's fine if they are all evil, but I can sort of see them as neutral in some rare cases.

I do not like the "and is also a level X caster" ability on monsters. I think it is fine if it is used sparingly, but it showed up far too often in 3.5. It tends, depending on what X is, to either barely matter - essentially grafting a dozen abilities onto a monster that aren't going to make much of a difference - or to overwhelm everything else about the monster. I would much rather that spellcaster mummies have five unique and very mummy-themed magical abilities than two dozen things pulled off of the cleric list. A mummy encounter should feel like an encounter with a mummy, not an encounter with an evil cleric with a fire vulnerability. "It's a spellcaster, so we'll model that by making it a spellcaster" isn't worth it if it sidelines everything unique and cool about a monster.

Liches, for example, are a reasonable place to deploy "and is also a level X caster" because that is such a defining part of what a lich is. I like the way liches are described in this column.

It would be neat to see Death Knights done up as sort of the martial answer to liches - the ultimate example of martial might in undeath like liches are to arcane power. (This is already kind of the space they play in, but it would be cool to see them brought forward.)
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
I concur emphatically about the mummy. The Van Richten's Guide that focussed on mummies mentioned that they were incredibly diverse, that some could fly, some could slow time, some could steal life, etc etc. I like the idea of Mummy abilities beyond "mummy rot," and really hope that they go beyond what's been done previously to make this an iconic monster, and not just another hoard guarder.  In particular, scarab swarm type control abilities would be charactful.

On your point about the Death Knight, I again agree. I liked that the undead felt like fell versions of the PC classes, rather than just being PC classes (except the lich. For example:

Lich:Wizard
Death Knight: Paladin
Mummy: Cleric
Ghast: Barbarian
Wraith: Rogue 
Skeleton Warrior: Fighter
Wight: Ranger

Sure, they're not perfect, but it always makes for a fun anti-party when there's someone that can do what they do, but better. 
'That's just, like, your opinion, man.'
I think the lich is great, and level 10 seems fine as well. 5th level spells are where necromancy really starts getting cool, so I can see that being where they decide to make the benchmark for lichdom be.


Necromancy spells getting cool is not the same as having nigh-complete power over life and death and the ability to grant yourself immortality by destroying your body and hiding your immortal soul away in a box.

My main concern comes from the idea of thinking that a level 10 character could become a Lich. This seems a little low to me. I am not saying I think Lich will be a playable option, I am just saying this is where my idea of power level comes from. I could be wrong though. Perhaps I shouldn't think 'level 10 character' and should think 'level 10 monster, probably a Solo'. The idea of a Lich being on par with 3-5 level 10 characters sounds better to me, but I don't know if this is what Mearls means.

Granted my reservations about 10th level Liches comes from my concept of how powerful/advanced a level 10 caster might be in other editions. If level 10 in 5E is more powerful than is currently implied by the level 1-5 progression, then I would have to revaluate based on that information.


Also I would be fine if the Lich was a higher level but simply had access to spells like a level 10 caster, in addition to their many powerful Lich-only abilities as well. Like maybe a level 10 caster stopped studying new spells in order to devote all of their time to learning the secrets of becoming a Lich, and as they leveled higher they didn't gain access to level 6 or higher spells because they were learning Lich stuff. Then upon reaching a suitibly high level (maybe somewhere between 13-16) they finally escape their mortal bonds and become a Lich. Afterwards the Lich could certainly learn spells above level 5 if they were so inclined (I think they would be).

After writing the above paragraph, I noticed that what I described seems very close to a Paragon Path or Prestige Class. It could easily be made into one for those PCs who don't like their soul being kept in such a fragile and squishy container.

 
I think a floor of ten is fine if you think of it as being around the place where a spellcaster is technically capable of achieving lichdom, but only by assuming considerable risk - using untested methods, making deals with dangerous entities, obtaining artifacts she can't necessarily control properly, pushing herself and her magical artifacts beyond their limits, stuff like that. She might end up as a lich, but she might just as easily end up a zombie, erase her soul from existance entirely, permanantly bind her consciousness into her intended phylactery, unable to percieve or interact with the world and just trapped there for eternity (perhaps becoming an evil intelligent weapon), completely lose her sanity, succeed in part but become a mindlessly obediant thrall of Orcus, or most likely of all just end up dead. If she does succeed, she might be somewhat shattered as a person, lose track of her soul (and thus not know what form her phylatery takes), or end up sacrificing a considerable portion of her power. A wise wizard would never attempt the transformation with such limited power, but the temptation of lichdom does not come only to the wise.

Meanwhile, a level 18 wizard who does her due diligance can execute the required rituals with relatively little risk, and is likely to retain much more of who she is, in terms of both personality and capability. The act is still harrowing in the extreme, but is much safer relatively speaking.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
I think 10th level is the threshold for "higher level" play where your character can choose to be something more than an adventurer.  You can found a church, create a knightly order, run a thieves' guild, rule a demesne, conduct research in a tower, or... perhaps, become a lich.
I am okay with James Wyatt's descriptions for both the Mummy and the Lich and think he is spot on.

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

RE: Mummy Alignment

Traditionally, Mummies were lawful evil and taken that even Skeleton and Zombies are also evil creatures in D&D Next, i think Mummies should be as well. 

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter


Necromancy spells getting cool is not the same as having nigh-complete power over life and death and the ability to grant yourself immortality by destroying your body and hiding your immortal soul away in a box.

Perhaps I shouldn't think 'level 10 character' and should think 'level 10 monster, probably a Solo'. The idea of a Lich being on par with 3-5 level 10 characters sounds better to me, but I don't know if this is what Mearls means.

Also I would be fine if the Lich was a higher level but simply had access to spells like a level 10 caster, in addition to their many powerful Lich-only abilities as well.

After writing the above paragraph, I noticed that what I described seems very close to a Paragon Path or Prestige Class. It could easily be made into one for those PCs who don't like their soul being kept in such a fragile and squishy container.

 



These are the parts I quite agree with. For a PC, they can start undergoing the path to lichdom perhaps as they enter a prestige class that requires level 10, while a "level 10" mob is likely much higher in ECL, and by level 10's worth of spell casting has learned enough to become a full lich. 
'That's just, like, your opinion, man.'
I am okay with James Wyatt's descriptions for both the Mummy and the Lich and think he is spot on.



I don't mind this kind of mummy being one type, but so should this, as well as like in Pharaoh.
'That's just, like, your opinion, man.'
The mummy is OK as far as it goes, but it needs some more work. There should also be the possibility of non-evil mummies, at least of the simple guardian type.

The Lich sounds about right. The 10th level line I'm not sure about, but could work, it depends on where the power levels of Next are set and that isn't clear yet. Rather then pinning it to a particular level though, I would like to see something to the effect that higher level characters are more likely to survive the transformation into a lich and it usually take a character of level X to transform themselves. This opens the door for lower level liches that have bargined with unholy powers or otherwise got outside help to achive their transformation.

I am okay with James Wyatt's descriptions for both the Mummy and the Lich and think he is spot on.



I liked the mummy, but loved the lich.  Both were good, but one was definately better.
RE: Mummy Alignment

Traditionally, Mummies were lawful evil and taken that even Skeleton and Zombies are also evil creatures in D&D Next, i think Mummies should be as well. 

I don't like lumping Mummies in with Skeleton and Zombies. First off, the Egyptian motif associated with mummies puts some distance between mummies and your basic undead. Finding a group of zombies and mummies in the same place would be weird (sure you can come up with a scenario, but we don't commonly think of zombies and mummies being in the same place together. Also mummies are very similar to zombies, so any differences would help to make the 2 distinct and different from each other.

Obviously they are undead, but mummies are created for different purposes. Skeletons and Zombies are raised by evil Necromancers for their own evil purposes, and thus Skeletons and Zombies are evil. Basic Mummies are made as protectors, and what is evil about protecting things? If a King has his High Priest create some mummies to protect the remains of his Beloved Queen who has recently died, are those mummies evil? I would think not. And what about the more sentient mummies. Perhaps they have the same motives and goals that they had in life.

While I am fine with most mummies being evil, I think that there should be room for non-evil ones.

The Lich sounds about right. The 10th level line I'm not sure about, but could work, it depends on where the power levels of Next are set and that isn't clear yet.



He did point out that 10th level is a starting point and that most Liches have gained many more levels in the time they have been undead. I look at 10th level as a "If as a DM you want to create a brand new Lich, here is where to start" type of thing.

I like the idea that mummies are servants and carry out tasks, which puts them above zombies in the realm of intelligence. I can see a tomb having both, depending on the various tasks associated to each monster. A mummy would be a higher level guardian and worker (keeping the tomb tidy, things like this) while a zombie would be a guard outside an entrance or waiting in a trap.
It seems to me that all undead sort of go in ascending orders of sentience and power.

Walking Dead: Zombies > Mummies > Mummy Lords
Cannibal Dead: Ghouls > Ghasts >  Wights > Vampires
Nothing But Bones: Skeletons > ??* > Death Knights/Liches
Incorporeal Dead: Poltergeists > Wraiths > Specters > Ghost

* There are lot of candidates for the intermediate between Skeleton and Death Knight/Lich: Huecuva, Crypt Thing, and Eye of Fear and Flame.  None of them are particularly iconic, however.
It seems to me that all undead sort of go in ascending orders of sentience and power.

Walking Dead: Zombies > Mummies > Mummy Lords
Cannibal Dead: Ghouls > Ghasts >  Wights > Vampires
Nothing But Bones: Skeletons > Skeleton Warrior > Death Knights/Liches
Incorporeal Dead: Poltergeists > Wraiths > Specters > Ghost

* There are lot of candidates for the intermediate between Skeleton and Death Knight/Lich: Huecuva, Crypt Thing, and Eye of Fear and Flame.  None of them are particularly iconic, however.



See above.  At least in my mind they are iconic.

Kalex the Omen 
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It seems to me that all undead sort of go in ascending orders of sentience and power.

Walking Dead: Zombies > Mummies > Mummy Lords
Cannibal Dead: Ghouls > Ghasts >  Wights > Vampires
Nothing But Bones: Skeletons > Skeleton Warrior > Death Knights/Liches
Incorporeal Dead: Poltergeists > Wraiths > Specters > Ghost

* There are lot of candidates for the intermediate between Skeleton and Death Knight/Lich: Huecuva, Crypt Thing, and Eye of Fear and Flame.  None of them are particularly iconic, however.



See above.  At least in my mind they are iconic.

What is the difference between a Skeleton and a Skeleton Warrior?

What is the difference between a Skeleton and a Skeleton Warrior?




Skeleton Warriors first appeared in the 1e AD&D Fiend Folio and are more akin to liches than normal skeletons.  They were warriors who's souls were trapped in golden circlets by an evil demi-god.  They had 9 HD and 90% magic resistance.  Nasty buggers!

Kalex the Omen 
Dungeonmaster Extraordinaire

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Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

What is the difference between a Skeleton and a Skeleton Warrior?




Skeleton Warriors first appeared in the 1e AD&D Fiend Folio and are more akin to liches than normal skeletons.  They were warriors who's souls were trapped in golden circlets by an evil demi-god.  They had 9 HD and 90% magic resistance.  Nasty buggers!

Yeh they seem pretty nasty. Wikipedia says White Dwarf magazine described them as "beings similar to Tolkien's Ringwraiths"

Adding that to your description makes them seem really powerful.

The Nothing But Bones pregression ends with Death Knight/Lich. I don't have much knowledge of old school Death Knights. Would they really be considered on the same power level as Liches?

Also are Ghosts really the most powerful incorporeal dead?
Yeh they seem pretty nasty. Wikipedia says White Dwarf magazine described them as "beings similar to Tolkien's Ringwraiths"

Adding that to your description makes them seem really powerful.

The Nothing But Bones pregression ends with Death Knight/Lich. I don't have much knowledge of old school Death Knights. Would they really be considered on the same power level as Liches?




I wouldn't call Skeleton Warriors similar to Ringwraiths in any substantive way.

Death Knights and Liches are approximately the same power level in 1e AD&D.  Liches have more HD, but Death Knights get 10-side HD.  They both have a slew of Special Attacks, Defenses and Magic Resistance.  Skeleton Warriors just do normal damage and are highly resistant to magic.

Kalex the Omen 
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Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

Also are Ghosts really the most powerful incorporeal dead?


Ghosts were always weird and almost always had the fewest hard mechanics associated with them.

The incorporeal undead were poltergeists, wraiths, specters, banshees, and ghosts.  

And, doh!  I totally forgot about skeleton warriors.  They should definitely do in that middle slot.

Death knights were supposed to be the martial equivalent of liches.  But as many things in prior editions, magic tended to trump martial at high levels so, in practice, the lich was more dreaded than the death knight. 
Thanks for the info. My Undead Lore had a few holes, especially when it comes to pre-3E.

I would change the 'Walking Dead' category to 'Walking Corpses' in order to exclude skeletons.  An animated Skeleton certainly walks and is dead, but I would have a harder time calling a Skeleton a corpse.
RE: Mummy Alignment

Traditionally, Mummies were lawful evil and taken that even Skeleton and Zombies are also evil creatures in D&D Next, i think Mummies should be as well. 

I don't like lumping Mummies in with Skeleton and Zombies. First off, the Egyptian motif associated with mummies puts some distance between mummies


I was mentioning Skeleton and Zombies because these two Undeads were genrally Neutral or Unaligned rather than evil and they are currently lawful and neutral evil.

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

I would change the 'Walking Dead' category to 'Walking Corpses' in order to exclude skeletons.

While technically more accurate "Walkign Corpses" doesn't have the zing of "Walking Dead" which is colloquially known to refer to zombies, thanks to the AMC show and the graphic novels.

I would change the 'Walking Dead' category to 'Walking Corpses' in order to exclude skeletons.

While technically more accurate "Walkign Corpses" doesn't have the zing of "Walking Dead" which is colloquially known to refer to zombies, thanks to the AMC show and the graphic novels.


I would say the "Cannibal Dead", "Nothing But Bones", and "Incorporeal Dead" are all pretty lacking in "Zing".

I would prefer

Rotting Dead (Skeletons don't rot)
Hungering Dead
Skeletal Dead or just Skeletons
Ethereal Dead

Also I would move the Lich into a new category of arcane spell casting undead. Maybe "Arcane Dead" and we need a few things to put below the Lich, maybe Baelnorn, Devourer and something else. And for consitency we should come up with a fourth Rotting Dead and Skeletal Dead.





Cannibal Dead
Nothing But Bones
Incorporeal Dead
Rotting Dead
Hungering Dead
Skeletal Dead
Ethereal Dead
Arcane Dead



And every one of those would be awesome death-metal band names. I approve.
I think the idea of spontaneously arising dead that attempt to punish grave robbers and others who violate taboos against interfering with the dead is not necessarily a "mummy" thing, but there is definitely an association.  One thing about mummies is that their nature as preserved dead means that truly ancient places, where even skeletons will have turned to dust, may be still be guarded by mummified corpses.  That and the associated tradition of being buried with treasures other people find worth stealing.

My take on the mummy:  A body that is properly entombed in a hallowed and honored location (sometimes) retains a link to the spirit/soul/whatever of the deceased person.  If that location is defiled - through vandalism or theft for instance - then some part of the person is called back into their body to punish and destroy the would be thieves.  The more elaborate the interment rituals, the more likely and more powerful the resultant guardians.  Perhaps the most powerful and well-known form of these undead tomb guardians is the mummy.

Mummies can be of any alignment.  Good mummies are capable of mercy towards those whose reasons for seeking it's treasure are not based on avarice - but they generally demand some service or amends.  Neutral mummies are generally unmerciful to would be grave robbers regardless of their reasons.  Evil mummies are malicious in their vengeance, and care little for who else might suffer in their wake.

Mummies that fail to punish thieves and defilers do not rest easy - lesser mummies sometimes leave their tombs to chase escaping thieves.  More powerful mummies attempt to attract adventurers that will champion their cause, and evil mummies often force the issue by tormenting nearby towns and villages until their treasures are returned.

In addition to such guardian mummies, powerful evil priests (and their servants) are sometimes preserved in a way that allows them to retain their divine gifts.  This perversion of ancient burial rites is known to servants of evil deities even in regions where mummification is not generally practiced.  Whether this is a reward for good service or a form of punishment and exile is an open question.

---

Overall I'm somewhat torn between wanting their to be those evil cleric mummies, and the fact that they kind of dilute the flavor of the mummy as a monster.

---

I agree with those who say that "x level caster" is not a great way to handle monsters.  One thing about 4e I do like is the idea that monsters for the most part stand-alone in their mechanics.  3e had way to many monsters that were nothing more than a template for the DM to have to work out before he could actually use one in his adventure.  I'd rather the mummy have a selection of appropriate iconic powers and spells than just saying "cast as a level X cleric".

There is something to be said for scalability I suppose and world consistency (the idea that the magic rules are actually the magic rules, and not just the magic rules for PCs only) - what if we were presented with a preselected spell list by level?  Of course, if the magic rules vary by campaign depending on the DMs selection of magic system... hmm.

‘Liches are so preoccupied with their search for magical lore that they can sometimes forget details of their mortal lives and even their own names… an adventurer who learns the lich’s true identity and confronts it with its real name and elements of its mortal life could potentially secure an advantage over the lich.‘


Acererak, Azalin, Barrthak, Dragotha [granted he’s a dragon], Erandis Vol, Kiaransalee, Magroth, Mauthereign, Osterneth, Sammaster, Szass Tam, Vlaakith, Vecna, Velsharoon, and Zhengyi are laughing there boney-butts off as these are the type of rumors that lead adventurers to their doom.


‘A lich was a wizard of at least 10th level in life, and it might have advanced many more levels since its transformation.  In its quest to master magic that requires more than a mortal lifetime, it might have researched its own spells.’


In earlier editions it required an ultra-powerful human magic-user or magic-user/cleric of 18th level to become a lich [thus a 1E lich was 11HD + (18d4HP) or the equivalent HPs of a 29th level creature.



  • Note the + in 1E denoted extra HP for the creature thus a maximum of 72hp for a magic-user and more for a magic-user/cleric based lich; only humans could reach the level requires and the could only have two classes (i.e. start one quit and start another) and HP for the magic-user/cleric could vary greatly.


In 4E it dropped to 14 (21 for Archlich); and now you are suggesting 10th!  Oh, the shame of it; please go back to the drawing board on this one!!!

I agree with those who say that "x level caster" is not a great way to handle monsters.  One thing about 4e I do like is the idea that monsters for the most part stand-alone in their mechanics.  3e had way to many monsters that were nothing more than a template for the DM to have to work out before he could actually use one in his adventure.  I'd rather the mummy have a selection of appropriate iconic powers and spells than just saying "cast as a level X cleric".

I agree with this completely.  When I read a section of flavor-text such as was presented in this article, it is very jarring to suddenly be confronted with a phrase like "9th level cleric".  I don't think it is needed, and I think it actually detracts from the flavor and mystery of these powerful monsters.

When my players realize that they are facing a mummy lord (or a lich, etc), I don't want them to say, "Oh, its a mummy lord.  Ok, these guys are minimum level 9 clerics, so be prepared for X, etc."  I want it to be scary, and mysterious, because you are facing a high priest of an evil god turned into a horrible undead mockery of all that is good and holy.

I agree with those who say that "x level caster" is not a great way to handle monsters.  One thing about 4e I do like is the idea that monsters for the most part stand-alone in their mechanics.  3e had way to many monsters that were nothing more than a template for the DM to have to work out before he could actually use one in his adventure.  I'd rather the mummy have a selection of appropriate iconic powers and spells than just saying "cast as a level X cleric".

I agree with this completely.  When I read a section of flavor-text such as was presented in this article, it is very jarring to suddenly be confronted with a phrase like "9th level cleric".  I don't think it is needed, and I think it actually detracts from the flavor and mystery of these powerful monsters.

When my players realize that they are facing a mummy lord (or a lich, etc), I don't want them to say, "Oh, its a mummy lord.  Ok, these guys are minimum level 9 clerics, so be prepared for X, etc."  I want it to be scary, and mysterious, because you are facing a high priest of an evil god turned into a horrible undead mockery of all that is good and holy.


Agreed. I should be able to run an entire Lich encounter with pretty much only the Liches Monster Stat Block. The Lich might have spells that I have to look up, but those spells should be listed in the Lich Stat Block. I should not have to look up the level 10 Wizard spells per day chart, then pick 16 spells for my Lich to cast.

Monsters should be self contained, and templates/rules to make PCs into monsters should be seperate.

 I would say the "Cannibal Dead", "Nothing But Bones", and "Incorporeal Dead" are all pretty lacking in "Zing".


C'mon.  Cannibal Dead is pretty zingy!  True, I thought of those in about ten seconds.

So, I would use....
Bone Dead: Skeleton > Skeleton Warrior > Death Knight > Lich
Ghostly Dead: Shadow > Wraith > Specter > Ghost 
Hungry Dead: Ghoul > Ghast > Wight > Vampire
Walking Dead: Zombie > Mummy > Mummy Lord

And there's no need for perfect symmetry. If there's nothing between Zombie and Mummy, I'm okay with that.
 I would say the "Cannibal Dead", "Nothing But Bones", and "Incorporeal Dead" are all pretty lacking in "Zing".


C'mon.  Cannibal Dead is pretty zingy!  True, I thought of those in about ten seconds.

So, I would use....
Bone Dead: Skeleton > Skeleton Warrior > Death Knight > Lich
Ghostly Dead: Shadow > Wraith > Specter > Ghost 
Hungry Dead: Ghoul > Ghast > Wight > Vampire
Walking Dead: Zombie > Mummy > Mummy Lord

And there's no need for perfect symmetry. If there's nothing between Zombie and Mummy, I'm okay with that.

I like Bone Dead. It seems like an answer to the question "How dead are they?". Bone Dead, that's how dead.

Hungry Dead sounds like they will stop bothering you if you just throw them some table scraps. Hungering Dead seems to imply a more perpetual hunger. Small difference but it is there.

You won't budge on the Walking Dead will you? Someone's been watching too much AMC.

We already established Death Knight and Lich as comparably powered so I don't know why you split them. Perhaps it was just to appease my desire for symmetry. Well I Am Not Appeased. Any reason you are against the Arcane Dead category?

Any reason you are against the Arcane Dead category?


Who else is in it besides the Lich?
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Any reason you are against the Arcane Dead category?


Who else is in it besides the Lich?

Baelnorn and Devourer are possibilities. I'm sure there are more.

Any reason you are against the Arcane Dead category?


Who else is in it besides the Lich?

Baelnorn and Devourer are possibilities. I'm sure there are more.



Those are way too obscure and have existed in all of what, one edition?  

To me, the Bone Dead category reflects stipping the humanity away.  The mummies, ghosts, and vampires all  retain an aspect of their mortal personalities.  Mummies guard what was precious to them in life.  Ghost stories are all about dealign with your time as a living creatures.  Vampires are the epitome of being haunted by your living self.

Only the skeletal creatures are stripped (both literally and metaphysically) of their humanity.  Skeletal Warriors, Death Knights, and particularly liches retain (or attempt to retain) nothing of their mortal lives.  The article makes this even more pronounced and I really like that.  

So I don't think "arcane dead" is a real category.  moreover, I think lich fits perfectly in the Bone Dead category. 
So it looks like 10th level is big poo-poo, this could be cool.
Any reason you are against the Arcane Dead category?


Who else is in it besides the Lich?

Baelnorn and Devourer are possibilities. I'm sure there are more.



Those are way too obscure and have existed in all of what, one edition?  

To me, the Bone Dead category reflects stipping the humanity away.  The mummies, ghosts, and vampires all  retain an aspect of their mortal personalities.  Mummies guard what was precious to them in life.  Ghost stories are all about dealign with your time as a living creatures.  Vampires are the epitome of being haunted by your living self.

Only the skeletal creatures are stripped (both literally and metaphysically) of their humanity.  Skeletal Warriors, Death Knights, and particularly liches retain (or attempt to retain) nothing of their mortal lives.  The article makes this even more pronounced and I really like that.  

So I don't think "arcane dead" is a real category.  moreover, I think lich fits perfectly in the Bone Dead category. 

I can deal with that

 I like Bone Dead. It seems like an answer to the question "How dead are they?". Bone Dead, that's how dead.

Hungry Dead sounds like they will stop bothering you if you just throw them some table scraps. Hungering Dead seems to imply a more perpetual hunger. Small difference but it is there.

You won't budge on the Walking Dead will you? Someone's been watching too much AMC.

We already established Death Knight and Lich as comparably powered so I don't know why you split them. Perhaps it was just to appease my desire for symmetry. Well I Am Not Appeased. 



I missed this post.  Yes, I won't budge on Walking Dead.  But I agree with you that Hungering is better than Hungry (would "Voracious Dead" be better or worse... I think worse) and I'll recombine the Death Knight and Lich categories....

Bone Dead: Skeleton > Skeleton Warrior > Death Knight/Lich
Ghostly Dead: Shadow > Wraith > Specter > Ghost 
Hungering Dead: Ghoul/Ghast > Wight > Vampire
Walking Dead: Zombie > Mummy > Mummy Lord