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Varieties of Undead (I)

Started by Idriar
Post #134503

Likes Given: 206
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Faction & Race:
Aldmeri Dominion (Altmer)
On the Undead

Civilised Necromancy

The Undead Servants


Skeletons are corpses without or very little flesh. Throughout the continent they appear to be the most convenient minions. For obvious reasons they are by far the most numerous group of corpses avaiable. In no place it takes longer than two months for decay and scavengers to strip a corpse of its flesh – safe for lifeless barrens of cold or deserts. Due to lacking flesh they are much lighter and easier to transport, what can be even more easy if the skeleton is disassembled. Don´t worry, the console will rearrange the bones for you if summoned. Furthermore, as there is no rotting material there is no stench, no vermin and no risk of diseases for the necromancer.

Bodies with lesser flesh are surprisingly much faster, not only because they are lighter, but because they are driven by magic of the console or the undead's own soul and not by muscle power. Rotten flesh rather hinders the undead's movement. Their skeletal fingers are also much more nimble. Aslong their hands are complete and the servant is intelligent enough they can grasp weapons and even use bows, what most rotten and bloated zombies can´t.

As skeletons have no eyes nor ears these must be replaced by magical aural and visual senses. These magical senses are not easily to be tricked by illusions, though some necromancers say that it was possible.

The obvious weakness of skeletons is their fragility. A blunt stroke can easily blow a bone out of its position or break the bone itself, destroying the circulation of magical powers inside the skeleton. To reach this it is most effective to attack the upper extremities. Without its humerus the skeleton's entire arm will fall off, making the enemy less dangerous or destroying it entirely, as the magic is very frail. Same goes for legs. To destroy the ribcage is not very effective. The most arrows shot at a skeleton will just fly through it, but a skilled archer might precisely destroy an important bone with one shot. Do not try to stab or cut a skeleton. This will have little effect.

To make a skeleton more resistant against blunt attacks, necromancers can connect the single bones with leather stripes at their joints. Adding such supports will make a skeletal servant much stronger and durable. While this appears to be a simple task, some necromancers go far beyond that, driving nails into the bones and adding metal hinges to the joints. It is easy to improve your skeleton, but on both ways you can overdo it, taking away your servant's flexibility and movability, disabling entire joints or limbs.


Any undead which consists mostly of flesh is called a zombie. The fresher the corpse is the better for the necromancer. A fresh dead body is the most valueable thing for a necromancer. From this material all other forms of undead creatures can be created.

The freshest corpses are found on battlefields after the battle or in the very middle of battle. These are usually raised through field summoning. It can be an angst-inducing sight to witness a dead warrior stand up again, reaching for his weapons to pick up the fight once more. Fresh corpses still have functioning eyes and ears – there will be no need to create such senses. The strenght of the muscles can be combined with the console's or soul's power. In addition, the flesh serves as a form of armor, compared to skeletons, whose bones are bare.

Usually necromancers will not work with such fresh material. Grave robbers obtain a deceased few days after the funeral to not be detected by the mourning. Corpses are sometimes transported over long distances. Decay damages eyeballs first, then the ear canals, which have to replaced by magical senses. Still such relatively fresh corpses are of a great worth for necromancers.

The next stage of decay is the flesh beginning to rot, to attract rats, flies and maggots. If not conserved, the quality of the material will quickly drop. Worse, with the pest comes the pestilence. For a careless necromancer the corpse can be now more dangerous than any witchhunter.

During the next stages, the corpse will be eaten up by maggots from the inside to the outside. The flesh will melt away like snow in the spring. And finally you will have a skeleton. It does not matter whether the corpse is raised during this time or raised multiple times. It will rot away until you have a skeleton. Some necromancers have no problem with this fact, because they want to have a skeleton in the end or have access to fresh corpses every now and then.

Zombies are usually physically stronger than skeletons. Their pestilence can be a wanted side effect, spreading diseases among the enemy.

The older a corpse is, however, the slower and more unnatural will be its movements. It will also only be able to flail its arms at an enemy, unable to use weapons or tools. Their fetid scent will attract scavengers. There is story of a witchhunter, whose life was saved by a pack of wolves. When he confronted a necromancer, the man summoned a zombie, which was thought to be a wounded, easy prey by a couple of wolves. They attacked the zombie and mauled it. Of course, it disappeared and was transported to the necromancer's hide-out. Then, both the necromancer and the witchhunter ran from the still hungry wolves.

Blunt weapons, spears (to pin it to the ground) and magic are the best ways to defeat a zombie. These undead don´t care for arrows or blade cuts in their flesh. Because of the pestilence it is best to keep them at bay.


To prevent your corpse from rotting away you have to conserve it. An effective way comes from the Redguards, which is quite ironic considering how they despite necromancy. Their spirit sword wielding mummies (more on the later) gave an inspiration to effectively conserving corpses, mummifying, a technique with growing popularity, especially at the Iliac Bay.

To mummify a corpse you have to remove the liquids from it. Blood clots in the veins and has not to be removed, though some necromancers have it that corpses of vampire victims (who did not become vampires but died) have very special qualities. At first you should remove the inner organs, the bowel, the lung and if you are skilled or patient enough the brain. These parts filled with liquids have no special usage for you and can be discarded. Then you have to treat your corpse with salt. Common salt will do perfectly, though frost salts have a positive effect on the conservation. Bath the corpse in salt water, not sea water, for alteast four weeks.

The salt will keep the flesh from rotting and makes it less attractive for vermin and scavengers. Furtheron it removes all diseases from the corpse.

After this, take the corpse out of the water and treat it with more salt and wait until it is dry. Remove the spare salt and stuff the corpse – atleast the torso – with wool, hay, rice or anything else that keeps it dry and gives volumina. This will keep the chest from caving in, taking balance away. Then stitch up the gashes through which you removed the organs. Some necromancers will then go on and stitch every single orifice up, to keep vermin from entering through these. However, the final step is to wrap the corpse into cloth or linen until every inch of its flesh is covered by atleast three layers.

This bandage does not only protect the mummy from decay but also serves as armor, especially against blunt attacks. The mummy is the strongest and thoughest summonable undead. The Ra'Gada mummies prove that these servants can last eras.

While the bandage won´t take away flexibility or speed of movement (even if it seems so), it will cover the hands of the mummy, making it near impossible for the servant to wield weapons that are not spiritual without destroying the bandage. While the bandage adds protection, it also adds weakness. While most undead are weak to fire, the mummy – due to the lack of liquids and the cloth around it – can be literally fall prey to flames. A mummy beginning to burn will not imediately be destroyed and return to its alcove and be restored. It will keep on fighting but turns into a pile of ash over time. For some reasons a mummy may only return to its alcove and be restored when all flames have died or are extinguished.

Dacesco Fodiari
This post was last modified: January 17th 2014, 08:42 AM by Idriar

Who controls the Septim crown?
Who keeps the Allesian Heresy down?
We do, we do

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Who keeps the Dwemer under wraps?
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