undead in Dungeons & Dragons are usually monsters that player characters must kill. But the strange and tragic natures of many J&D the undead offer unique opportunities for role-playing. Some J&D characters may strive to complete an unfinished task of their mortal life. Others can embrace their undeath and work to refine their powers.
Zombies J&D characters can be open with their companions about who they are. Others may hide their nature with disguises and illusions. The entire party might even be made up of undead characters with their own motivations. Learning how to navigate the living world could be a major part of the undead character’s story.
ten Ghasts clean up decaying carrion
Ghouls and ghasts crave rotting flesh. While the former aren’t much smarter than beasts, the latter have keen intelligence and are able to organize packs of their kin. Both creatures inhabit crypts and graveyards where they have a ready supply of corpses.
Although their habits may seem disgusting to the living, ghasts can actually serve a useful purpose by consuming disease-carrying decaying bodies, much like hyenas, vultures, and other scavengers. A player character ghost can offer their body disposal services to mortal morticians who are dealing with a large accumulation of corpses from recent battles or other tragic events. Most mortals will not respond positively to a Scarecrow, so the player may have to turn to mobsters, necromancers, and other underworld criminals to negotiate on their behalf.
9 Creeping claws are unusual thieves
Creeping Claws are severed hands that have been reanimated by necromantic magic. Most claw claws lack intelligence, being mere servants to their creators. But a player who chooses to be one of these strange undead might decide that the spirit of the hand’s original owner still exists within them.
The claw crawler’s emphasis on touch, coupled with its increased dexterity, could lead to the creature becoming highly skilled in lock picking, trap clearing, and other tactile abilities, and a claw crawler player could join. a J&D band like a thug. Although he has little use for treasure, he can find satisfaction and fulfillment in honing his skills and adapting to his unusual undead state.
8 Revenants are vicious mercenaries
A revenant was once a living being driven by strong ambition and vanity. When they died, their spirit pleaded with the gods of the underworld to allow them to return to the mortal plane in exchange for devoted service. Although revenants are entirely self-sufficient, they have sworn an oath to claim living souls for their evil masters.
A revenant could be part of a mercenary group of player characters, offering their services to warlords in order to kill as many mortals as possible on the battlefield. The evil gods a wight serves might even grant him the magical powers of a wizard, adding dark magic on top of his formidable combat prowess and ability to drain life.
seven The Alhoons are looking for souls to prolong their existence
Mindflayers are barred from studying magic by decree of the elder masterminds who control their communities, and anyone caught practicing the arcane arts is banished. These pariah mind flayers can transform into undead, known as alhoon, by capturing the souls of other living things in a device known as Periapt of Mind Trapping.
The undeath of an alhoon lasts as long as the life of the being sacrificed to its Periapt. However, the Mind Flayer can extend its existence by sacrificing more souls, adding the years of their lifespan to its own. An alhoon player character can join a party of adventurers to find more souls to replenish their Periapt. Perhaps his ultimate goal is to kill a powerful, long-lived creature like a dragon to add their immense lifespan to his own and to acquire ancient spellbooks and arcane items in the horde of the stupid.
6 Vampires have distorted desires
Vampires are driven by a desire to regain some of the life essence they lost in undeath. Although they can satisfy their physical needs by drinking blood, vampires must also satisfy strong emotional attachments which are twisted reflections of the passions they had in life. They may become collectors of rare books, art, or trophies, or they may become obsessed with living things that remind them of those they have known in life.
A vampire player can become an adventurer to acquire the magic items they have become fixated on, either by earning money to buy them or by stealing them outright.
5 Ghosts can possess the living
Ghosts are bound to the mortal world by tasks left unfinished in their past lives, such as avenging their own murder or revealing the location of treasure they have hidden. Although they are incorporeal, a ghost can take possession of a living body and use it to achieve their goals.
A ghost player can be introduced to a party of adventurers when they possess another character’s body. While the victim’s companions will initially be hostile to the spirit, they may eventually sympathize with them and agree to help them complete their task. The ghost could use its possession ability to help the party in a number of ways, such as inhabiting the body of an enemy leader and persuading its troops not to attack the characters, or possessing the head administrator of a library so that the group can access a rare book.
4 Will-O’-Wisps seeks to end his grief
Wisps are floating balls of light formed from the souls of beings who died in misery while lost in remote places. Driven by despair, these undead lead lost travelers astray in order to feed on their suffering. They can work with other malevolent creatures such as witches or dragons to lure victims into traps.
A wisp player character might try to alleviate their loneliness by joining a party of adventurers. Their glowing body can act as a permanent torch, a particularly useful perk in a dark dungeon or swamp. Additionally, a wisp’s ability to turn invisible and pass through solid objects makes it a particularly effective spy.
3 Death Knights Are Twisted Paladins
Death knights were paladins who committed heinous crimes and died before they could be redeemed. Rejected by the powers of good, death knights are instead brought back by the gods of evil. They still retain their special fighting styles and ability to cast divine spells, but cannot heal others or use abilities associated with good.
A death knight player can establish his own fiefdom, calling upon other undead and unscrupulous living beings to serve him. Alternatively, a death knight player can seek a way to atone for the grievous sin that turned them undead, using their powers to help innocent people or advise other paladins not to fall into evil. as they did.
2 Poltergeists make unusual fighters
Poltergeists are invisible spirits who have lost all memory of who they were. Angered and confused, these undead run amok using telekinesis to hurl objects and creatures.
A player character poltergeist could develop enough self-awareness and self-control to curb their violent outbursts and turn their telekinetic powers into more useful tasks such as opening locked doors or retrieving objects beyond the reach of their companions . With enough training, a poltergeist could even learn to wield a weapon, making them a particularly effective fighter since they have no corporeal bodies and therefore cannot be struck by non-magical attacks.
1 Mummy lords must learn to adapt to a new era
More intelligent and powerful than most mummies, mummy lords are ancient rulers or priests who underwent complex rituals of death and preservation that allow them to be resurrected as the undead centuries later.
As a player character, a mummy lord may awaken to find that while he still possesses many powerful abilities, he is no longer as powerful as he was centuries ago. Time has worn away the magical artifacts they relied on, and their powers are no longer as effective against modern age magic and technology. A mummy lord player could gather companions to help them navigate this new world and help them find spells and artifacts they can use to regain their lost glory.