Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Undead Whales and Pirate Necromancers

"I bin trawlin' these waters since I was a wee little scamp, even younger than you, ya grimy landlubber. I thought that nothin' could shock me. Why not? I mean, I seen it all. Eldritch horrors, tentacles coming up from the deep, and fish that could swallow a man whole. I seen a clam as big as an island, with a pearl inside it that glowed bright as the sun. I bin to an island full o' monkies that swam and hunted seals. But I ain't never seen something like that before."

"It was on us like jus' another wave, we din' even see it comin.' The ocean rose up, and a shape crashed into the hull. We looked over the side, and it was a whale. An undead whale, bone showing through in places, and it's eyes were rotting out -o- it's head. Flesh hung off of it like tattered sails of some ghost ship."

"The beast opened it's mouth, and undead charged from it's belly, all shoutin' and screamin' wit' no lungs to draw breath. I suppose inside that monster, they could jus' sit still, waitin' fer it to find their prey for 'em. But that wasn't the worst part. The worst part was what came after. A man, a normal lookin' man, with robes like a mage. He pointed out a few of our men, includin' the captain and the undead dragged em,' kicking and screaming, down into the depths. And then he walked back, calm as you please, back into his monstrosity."

"I don't sail the seas no more, and there's a good reason for that. Ain't no gold nor treasure that's worth another run-in with those particular pirates."

-Anonymous retired sailor

Undead Whales
This ain't your grandma's Free Willy.
Undead whales are a surprisingly common sight in the ocean. Although many people do not believe it to be true, necromancers can die, usually of old age. In fact, their bodies break down faster than that of most people, and so it is actually quite common for them to die peacefully before their corpses are ripped to shreds by their minions.
Undead whales are usually the toughest, largest, and most non-threatening undead beings when left along. Therefore, when their creators die, the whale will often swim aimlessly around the ocean, attempting to eat plankton that comes near. They will eventually break down, as the feedings of countless parasites and tenacious bottom-feeders eat the body as the whale drifts on, seeing no reason to try and stop them.

Seeing an undead whale is an both humbling, sad, and amazing sight. Two hundred tons of dead, rotting flesh, swimming until it's body simply falls to pieces. It surfaces, although it does not need to breath, and then dives back down, leaving scraps of flesh behind it.

Sailors think they are good luck, representing freedom, and do not trouble them. The logic is that if an enormous whale managed to evade whalers for that long, and then managed to escape death itself, and outlived it's one-time master, it deserves to swim for as long as it can. This sometimes brings them into conflict with druids of the sea, who regard the whales as abominations to be snuffed out, and will go to horrendous lengths to get rid of them. Mer and devotees of the Drowned God view undead whales as curiosities, and beings to be harnessed if possible for their own ends.

Undead whales are usually created by necromancers as transportation. They are self-controlled and tireless, meaning that the mage does not have to waste labour getting minions to steer or pilot. They are also mostly waterproof, and can dive deep down underwater. If the necromancer is the only living being on board, then the whale's body will contain more than enough oxygen for them to stay under long enough to evade any would-be pursuers.

The process of creating an undead whale is long and arduous, but requires a surprisingly small amount of magic. People theorize the reason is because of the innate magic whale fat possesses.

First, a whale carcass must be obtained. Usually this is done by hiring sailors to hunt the whale, which is then towed back to land. Sometimes, a whale carcass will wash up on shore, but this is a more dangerous practice, as those have the tendency to explode in a blast of build-up gas.

Next, the carcass is cleaned. Some scrupulous or unlucky necromancers do this themselves, walking into the body of the whale and hauling out most of the fat and internal organs, to make room for inhabitants. Most use undead servants or hired labourers to do this work for them.

After, any holes or unnecessary orifices are patched up with the liberal application of tar, to prevent leaks.

Most necromancers don't like working on corpses 
themselves, but there are weirdos in every job.

Necromancer Pirates
Although pirating isn't the first thing most people associate with necromancy, many people practice both professions. Some see a certain irony in it. For all everyone fights, they are the only ones left with any money in the end.

Mostly though, it is just to make cold, hard cash. necromancers don't have to pay their totally obedient and loyal crew, and can get more any time they please.

A pirate's death for me.

They strike more fear into people's hearts than regular pirates, they lurch on, uncaring, as their bodies burn. Even as they are impaled, they simply laugh, grab their opponent in a bear hug, and attempt to throw themselves over the side. What do they have to fear? Nothing. What remains of life is sweet, and death is a release.

When a necromancer ship or whale comes on the horizon, a crew knows what it faces. Warriors with nothing to fear.

Necromancer pirates are found the world over. Although they often begin their seafaring escapades in tropical lands, many of them migrate north, to colder waters, with less sea-creatures to eat their beloved whales, and no heat to rot their other servant's flesh.

In response to this threat, the Church of the True God sent out ships, called 'Dawnbringers' to fight against necromancer pirates. They are crewed by monks, paladins, and priests, and the Dawnbringers light up the night when they attack. Every inch of the ship has been soaked in holy water at least once. Dawnbringers that have been on the ocean for a long time convert the water and rain near them into holy water, scorching undead whales and pirates alike.

There is a strange psuedo-war going on between the Dawnbringers and the pirate necromancers. The necromancers cannot send their sailors to attack the ships directly, so they sneak past. They invade their peaceful temple, raid their merchant ships, and set fire to their boats. But they never fight them. Not directly.

Undead Whale
Collossal Undead Beast
Attacks. Slam +6, 4d10+10. Whenever an undead whale attacks, their flesh and bones break slightly, dealing 1 damage to them. Double damage to objects.
AC. 10
Stats: Str+10, Con+6, Dex-8, Int-5, Wis0, Cha-4
HP: 400. Vulnerable to fire and radiant damage. Cannot be healed except by it's Dead Flesh ability. At 50 hp, begins to leak, and will fill up with water in 1d12 hours if not repaired.
Speed.  Swim.
Unliving Fortress. An undead whale is a swimming, floating fortress. Inside, they have a space that measures approximately 90 feet long, 10 feet tall, and 15 feet wide, which is airtight and can serve as a place to live. It has enough air for a single creature to survive for up to 800 hours. Divide this by the number of breathing creatures to determine how long it will be before the whale needs to come up for air. 
Dead Flesh. Because it does not have vital organs or anything like that, an undead whale is supremely hard to kill. The first time it would take enough damage to reduce to to 0 hit points, water floods it's insides quickly (1d12 rounds). This heals it 50 hit points immediately, and removes it's vulnerability to fire. However, they now take 1d4 damage from attacking instead of 1.

The following spell is on the mage spell list
Create Undead Whale
Level 5 ritual
Duration: Permanent, or until the whale dies.
Components: Verbal, Somatic, a whale corpse prepared for reanimation, 1000 sp worth of tar, magical components, and herbs, which are expended when the spell is cast.
Effect. The whale corpse reanimates as an undead whale under your control You can command it mentally as long as you are within 5 miles of it, but it will not fight unless you are riding inside it and take an action to command it to attack.
You can only command one whale at any time. By rolling a spell dice and performing a 10 minute ritual, you can attune the whale to one creature you touch, who can give the whale verbal commands. Your orders always supersede those of any others who command.
Mishap: The whale corpse explodes, dealing 1d10 damage to everyone within 1d6x10 feet of it. 500 sp worth of materials are salvageable.


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