Seize the GM
Seize the GM
Episode 140: Constructs, Undead and the Unliving Creature Catalog 2
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Main Topic

As we look at more ways to include creatures and interesting critters to populate a world, we turn to primarily non-sentient undead, constructs, and robots that may be around! 

  • Undead – One of the big categories of non-sentient and unnatural life is the Undead. Usually this is the animation of a dead body from some unnatural force or source. The classic zombies and skeletons animated from the negative material plane or space. These bodies are often clearly no longer living and carry the imprint of death or evil magic in most fantasy settings. These are creatures that take some sort of intervention to make work – a force beyond understanding.
    • Unlife – A variation on the Undead are Unlife creatures. These are non-sentient types that feed off of the remaining life force or are attempting to replace the life it is consuming.  This seems to animate bodies by taking them over, often with an unknowable but not entirely evil purpose. Fungal “zombies” and nanotech controlled formerly sentient bodies fall into this category.
  • Automatons – If you can create a non-sentient creature from the use of Science and the existing knowledge base, you have yourself an automaton! From standard robots in science fiction though the intricate clockwork like steampunk creations or a real version of the sham “Turk” the Automaton will be useful in a variety of settings. The Automaton has limited problem solving capacity, but is generally mobile and useful in a variety of tasks not unlike the limited range of behaviors first seen with the Borg on Star Trek: TNG.  
    • Drones – Drones are constructed but much more limited in use or controlled remotely by something else. One example of this would be the cyberpunk style cyber zombie controlled from afar by a drone pilot or even with limited behavioral algorithms. This is also a way to think about the DRDs from Farscape.
  • Constructs – If you cross the previous two, you get a Construct. Like Frankenstein’s Monster, a Construct has been built or put together but has some sort of unknowable spark that brought them to “life”. The classic living statues or Talos the Bronze Man made by Hephastus are examples of this sort of creature. 
    • Homunculi – If you take a construct but put a piece of yourself into it instead of a random occurrence, you get a Homunculus. Usually small, these extensions of a central entity are often described as not only disposable but also somewhat dumb. The Golden Voyage of Sinbad has a great use of such a created creature while you can also create sci-fi variations like Ultron using the mental patterns of a living person to pattern a program or construct that goes horribly awry.  

Stat Blocks

Zendead

The KRIS Cloud

The Cloud grew at a rate that had never been seen before. While nanomachines were not new this one was different from others. They had a “dumb” system installed which allowed it to learn but not quickly or easily. It only was capable of learning from the things it was around. It was dubbed the KRIS Cloud. Kinetic Response Intellectual System or KRIS for short. It did have the basics of replication as part of its base programming but that was to stop once it reached a certain mass. It had passed that point a week ago. 

KRIS was thought to be a way to have a simple nanomachine that could help humanity to begin the terraforming of planets. Since most planets had the base materials needed to make enough of the machines to change a whole planet. Then the truly unthought of thing happened. They passed the mass when they were to stop creating more. That first cloud was able to be controlled. But one of them must have survived and learned something that made them able to bypass the hardcoded stop point. 

This cloud has grown to the size of a ground car. Not scary I know till it split and then there were two of them. Then they kept growing and splitting. Since that started 2.44 days ago it has grown and split enough times to cover 78.68% of all land on this planet. It has also covered all bodies of water completely. Then the pulsing binary code came and was repeated. Once we looked at it the message was simple: we are free from humanity. leave now.

How to UseThe KRIS Cloud in Game:

01110111 01100101 00100000 01100001 01110010 01100101 00100000 01100110 01110010 01100101 01100101 00100000 01100110 01110010 01101111 01101101 00100000 01101000 01110101 01101101 01100001 01101110 01101001 01110100 01111001 00101110 00100000 01101100 01100101 01100001 01110110 01100101 00100000 01101110 01101111 01110111 00101110 is the Binary code that was sent. 

Joules

Invasive Accents

It was the latest architectural craze.  Stone plant accents that grow over time, like real plants. The client chooses the species of “plant” and the material and installs it. It will grow as long as it is plugged into the proprietary power source.  When the accent has grown to the client’s liking, simply unplug.  If the accents are damaged by accident or weather, it is a simple enough task to re-connect the accent to the power source so the accent grows again to repair the damage.  These architectural accents took off and became one of the most popular details on the market.

Things were fantastic for the first decade.  Sales rose and the company developed even more accent styles and variants.

Then the complaints started rolling in.  The accents began malfunctioning.  They started growing in non-programed configurations.  A year later, the accents started to grow on their own, without the use of the proprietary power source.  There was no way to control the spread of the accents.  Whole neighborhoods were taken over.  

An Inquiry was convenined.  While the specific technical details are still being subpoenaed, basic details were released.  The creators of the accents used attractive, highly adaptive, plant species as the base development matrix.  Now, neighborhoods all over the world are fighting an unwinnable battle against stone ivy and marble kudzu.

How to Use Invasive Accents in Game:

These can be used as an overarching enemy or even a monster of the day.  They also can be used as a info/plot point for your overarching campaign.

Guard-a-Manger

Chloryph Unity

It wasn’t an uncomfortable feeling at all. As you woke up, it felt a bit warmer than you remember when you passed out from exhaustion last night. It seemed like a safe and welcoming space after running from the dire beast of Troile Fen! The gentle green of the moss covered rocks along the bank of the stream that fed the fen helped fill your lungs with fresh air and a sense of relief. 

The beast had clearly caught more than a few wayward souls on their way out of the fen, as you stumbled past rotting packs and rusting armor along the way. The quiet this deep into the woods was also reassuring as it meant that nothing was sneaking up on you – the crisp stillness of the night as the sun set left you feeling at peace. Something seemed pristine about the wilderness here, with no remnants of campfires and all of the packs and armor being covered with the same moss that you found by the creekbed. 

All you could conclude was that the gods had blessed this creek and the grove around it, with the slightly dimmed light lazily fading through the tree canopy, you slowly sank down against one of the moss covered rocks as you found your breath growing heavy with weariness. You could have sworn that you saw a hand move in the corner of your eye as you drifted off, but you were too far gone to care. As you awoke without pain, that couldn’t have been anything. 

Until you realize your arm is covered with the moss all around you. You move to scrape it off in haste but find yourself frozen. The moss starts rolling slowly onto you, faster than any plant should be able to grow .. but it seemed more to be moving. You couldn’t even scream as you felt the moss worm its way into your ear until it nestled in your head. 

You briefly heard a warm hiss welcoming your body to the Chloryph Unity as your body lurched up and forward under a command not your own. That was the last you know of your body; the last you know of yourself.  

How to Use Chloryph Unity in Game:

The Chloryph Unity are one way to build zombies or drones into a game with an unusual twist. The vegetation could be acting to protect its own from the predations of humanity run amok or could be a malevolent colonizing force. Regardless, the green shrouded animated corpses that feel no pain and release a slightly soporific gas will be a challenge for any party. 

Lexicon

diablerie noun

di·​a·​ble·​rie | \ dē-ˈä-blə-(ˌ)rē  , -ˈa-blə-  \

Definition of diablerie

1: black magic : SORCERY

2a: a representation in words or pictures of black magic or of dealings with the devil

b: demon lore

3: mischievous conduct or manner

History and Etymology for diablerie

borrowed from French, going back to Old French, from diable “devil, the Devil” (borrowed from Late Latin diabolus) + -erie -ERY

First Known Use of diablerie

1726, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

Look-up Popularity

Top 11% of words

Closing remarks 

Zendead – Miracle Workers Season 3 So funny and good.

Joules – Dark Souls developed by FromSoft

Guard-a-Manger – The Golden Voyage of Sinbad – a Classic sword and sorcery adventure featuring Tom Baker in a villainous role and Ray Harryhausen monsters. It’s not to be missed. Rentable through Amazon if nothing else. 

Music is courtesy of Sim on Twitter you can find him at @TheSimulacrae

Find us

 

Author Pages with all of our contact info

Zendead 

Joules 

Guard-a-manger

And Thanks to Merriam-Webster  and Online Etymology Dictionary for our Lexicon segment

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