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Outsiders, Undead, Powers, and the "logic" of the outer plan

 
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User3
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 12:41 am    Post subject: Outsiders, Undead, Powers, and the "logic" of the outer plan Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

D&D core cosmology is a bit of a morass, but one of the biggest freaky things are the Undead's relations with the Outer Planes.

Going by strict 2e dogma (Planescape, primarily), one runs into a lot of confusion.

Undead are those who refuse to pass on to the outer planes, and are therefore in direct opposition to the Powers that Be. And yet there are deities of Undeath and Undead servitors of deities. WTF?

Similarly, many (all?) Outsiders are 'post-dead.' They were Prime Material girls from Prime Material worlds who died and went on to...something. But they aren't undead, and they can even travel back to the PM worlds, despite the fact that they should be incorporeal spirits.

So, I have (as I'm sure many of you have) come up with two "logical" explanations for undead and outsiders. I know that combining "logic" with "D&D" is a bit like injecting gravel into some poor bunny's aorta, but please read on.

The first possibility is that Undead 'live' in diametric opposition to Outsiders.
Outsiders are those who followed a deity or Belief, and their spirits passed on to the after life.
Undead are those who, for whatever reason, did not have Faith. They die, and lacking passage to the after life they are bond to a place or to their own dead bodies. The undead are animated by pure will and possibly "negative energy."

All deities hate undead, and therefore all deities grant Turning.

The second possibility is that undead are outsiders. When a creaure dies, it's soul goes directly to it's deity. It the creature was a particularly good servant, the deity will 'remake' the soul as an outsider. In this case a "deity" could also be a demon prince, whatever.

Alternative, the deity can give a part of it's soul to animate the dead creature. A little energy transfer if you will.

The only difference between an undead and an outsider is that an undead creature resides in the Material Plane, while an Outsider resides in the Outer. If one travels to the other, one becomes the other.

By this logic there can be no "negative energy plane," because all of the animating power comes from the deity. Similarly, "Positive" and "Negative" energy would become meaningless terms. They would have to be replaced by "Holy" and "unholy" or "Destructive" and "Constructive."

All clerics would be able to turn and command, one to the enemies of their deity and the other to it's servitors.

Anyway, just putting some ideas out after thinking about them for quite some time.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 12:53 am    Post subject: Re: Outsiders, Undead, Powers, and the "logic" of the outer Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Actually, I'm pretty sure it's none of those.

You can Reincarnate someone who came back as a skeleton or even a vampire - and the undead creature doesn't even die. You can potentially make an unlimited number of undead copies of yourself with Reincarnation, a dagger, and a thought bottle. Skeletons don't have any soul inside them - specifically.

So whatever it is that makes undead go, it doesn't have a damned thing to do with what the gods get to play with when you die. So what is an undead creature? I'm pretty sure that it's a copy made off the negative energy imprint that you leave while living.

That is, the positive energy plane and the negative energy plane are connected opposites. So long as you are drawing positive energy into yourself (by living), you make an equivalent imprint into the negative energy plane. And that imprint can be detached and made to do things if you aren't currently alive.

And if you leave any part of yourself on the prime material when you stop living, your negative energy imprint can use that to crawl in to the material world. And that's where Shadows come from.

As to what outsiders are... that's when a petitioner (that is, your soul) gets forged into something awesome after the original possessor of that soul is long dead.

-Frank
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User3
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 6:10 am    Post subject: Re: Outsiders, Undead, Powers, and the "logic" of the outer Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

So by this logic, a Deva and the Vampire inhabiting his mortal body can meet and shake hands.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 11:47 am    Post subject: Re: Outsiders, Undead, Powers, and the "logic" of the outer Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List


Well, I haven't given this much thought before but lets see.

Catharz wrote:
D&D core cosmology is a bit of a morass, but one of the biggest freaky things are the Undead's relations with the Outer Planes.

Going by strict 2e dogma (Planescape, primarily), one runs into a lot of confusion.

Undead are those who refuse to pass on to the outer planes, and are therefore in direct opposition to the Powers that Be. And yet there are deities of Undeath and Undead servitors of deities. WTF?

The gods of death/undeath could gain their power from undead instead of getting them from the souls that pass on. Also some gods may not mind waiting a little longer on their souls if the undead in question further their goals on the prime. And finally the gods want the believers of others gods to become undead instead of them gaining outsider status and giving the god additional power.

You know, that would make for a great campaign - clerics of all deities (or all evil deities) trapping the souls of unbelievers on the prime. Undead galore!


Catharz wrote:
Similarly, many (all?) Outsiders are 'post-dead.' They were Prime Material girls from Prime Material worlds who died and went on to...something. But they aren't undead, and they can even travel back to the PM worlds, despite the fact that they should be incorporeal spirits.

Why should they be incorporeal?
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Murtak
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 1:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Outsiders, Undead, Powers, and the "logic" of the outer Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List


^
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That was me


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User3
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 5:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Outsiders, Undead, Powers, and the "logic" of the outer Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Guest (Unregistered) wrote:

Catharz wrote:
Similarly, many (all?) Outsiders are 'post-dead.' They were Prime Material girls from Prime Material worlds who died and went on to...something. But they aren't undead, and they can even travel back to the PM worlds, despite the fact that they should be incorporeal spirits.

Why should they be incorporeal?


Because their bodies have rotted on the prime material.
But I'm not specifically talking about the [incorporeal] subtype. What I mean is they have discarded their material bodies and are now creatures purely of belief (which is why they don't have to eat, why that can't be ressurected, etc).

...

And IIRC D&D cannon (as of 2e) has it that when a creature dies, his soul goes to the outer planes. For followers of some pantheons, it is judged.

Followers of deities become petitioners for that deity.

Godless evil characters become Larvae, which are herded by Night Hags and whatnot, and sometimes made into Lemures and those other things by Tanar'ri and Baataezu.

I'm not sure what happens to the godless good/neutral.

To me, when you throw in D&D associated with deities (and undead outsiders!), this doesn't make sense.

But remember that this is all fictional theology. I can change it around how I like. Smile

So, what I'm doing here is messing around with two possibilities for how such things can work, while trying to avoid screwing with game mechanics too much.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 6:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Outsiders, Undead, Powers, and the "logic" of the outer Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Catharz wrote:
So by this logic, a Deva and the Vampire inhabiting his mortal body can meet and shake hands.


According to the D&D rules, the answer is yes. But of course the Vampire has an energy draining touch, so the Deva should be loathe to go through with that action.

But it's no problem at all for an Astral Deva to keep the zombie of its former body around in a closet. It makes it hard to use Raise Dead, which is body specific, but if eventually you want to be Reincarnated (which is not), you're fine.

-Frank
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 6:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Outsiders, Undead, Powers, and the "logic" of the outer Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
Catharz wrote:
So by this logic, a Deva and the Vampire inhabiting his mortal body can meet and shake hands.


According to the D&D rules, the answer is yes. But of course the Vampire has an energy draining touch, so the Deva should be loathe to go through with that action.

But it's no problem at all for an Astral Deva to keep the zombie of its former body around in a closet. It makes it hard to use Raise Dead, which is body specific, but if eventually you want to be Reincarnated (which is not), you're fine.

-Frank


Then perhaps I should make a stronger distinction between Mindless and sentient undead. Sentient undead would be as I describe above.

Mindless would then be either a corpse which has been merely animated by negative energy (and has not had the original posessor's spirit bound to it), or they would be a corpse animated by only a small shred of the appropriate deity's power and the OP's soul.
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fbmf
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 6:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Outsiders, Undead, Powers, and the "logic" of the outer Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

[Slight hijack]
If someone is dead, and you need to ask him something, can you use something other than SPEAK WITH DEAD? In theory, isn't his soul floating around on some plane that you could CONTACT?

Game On,
fbmf
[/Slight hijack]
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User3
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2005 1:19 am    Post subject: Re: Outsiders, Undead, Powers, and the "logic" of the outer Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

fbmf wrote:
[Slight hijack]
If someone is dead, and you need to ask him something, can you use something other than SPEAK WITH DEAD? In theory, isn't his soul floating around on some plane that you could CONTACT?

Game On,
fbmf
[/Slight hijack]


In theory, yes. However, by classic D&D cosmology, petitioners have little if any memories of their lives. Still, that is worth consideration.
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RandomCasualty
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2005 3:28 am    Post subject: Re: Outsiders, Undead, Powers, and the "logic" of the outer Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Technically there isn't a heck of a lot that can talk to a soul. Speak wtih dead doesn't speka with a soul but actually speaks to the psychic impressions in the corpse.

Raise dead targets the body, as does other soul trapping effects. There is actually no D&D term for a disembodied soul that has yet to become an outsider.

It's not a creature, and it's not an object. It's basically just undefined.

NOw, when the creature actually becomes a petitioner, it's arguable whether it is still contactable. One could argue that the petitioner is actually a "new" person, and trying to scry or contact the old person wouldn't work anymore. And this seems to be the most logical, since petitioners leave behind their old life.
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Essence
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2005 11:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Outsiders, Undead, Powers, and the "logic" of the outer Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Where does the idea come from that a soul becomes an Outsider of any non-petitioner kind, either before or after becoming a petitioner?
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User3
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2005 12:13 am    Post subject: Re: Outsiders, Undead, Powers, and the "logic" of the outer Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Essence wrote:
Where does the idea come from that a soul becomes an Outsider of any non-petitioner kind, either before or after becoming a petitioner?


It is mentioned in Hellbound, as well as may other Planescape sources.

Supposedly, the most evil dead become larvae, which can then become Tanar'ri or Baatezu (but not Yugloths). The larvae even naturally become nupperibos, which aren't actually Baatezu (although that isn't what they wan't you to think).
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Essence
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2005 5:19 am    Post subject: Re: Outsiders, Undead, Powers, and the "logic" of the outer Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

So only evil petitioners become Outsiders? Meh.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2005 6:54 am    Post subject: Re: Outsiders, Undead, Powers, and the "logic" of the outer Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Essence wrote:
So only evil petitioners become Outsiders? Meh.


No, thats just one example.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2005 7:46 am    Post subject: Re: Outsiders, Undead, Powers, and the "logic" of the outer Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Yeah, Lawful Good Petitioners are totally the most hardcore of all. A LG petitioner is a Lantern Archon right out of the box for no reason.

So while the souls of evil doers languish in suckitude for many years before they turn into anything good, a Lantern Archon is a barrel of whup-ass that matters on an Epic Scale and comes out on top of your first bowl of cereal.

-Frank
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Crissa
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2005 5:46 am    Post subject: Re: Outsiders, Undead, Powers, and the "logic" of the outer Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I rather liked how in Chinese/Japanese mythology, undead are any corporeal/incorporeal dead people; and the corporeal ones are supported by some spell or other... And the 'soul' or sentience animating a corpse has no reason to be the original holder, and in fact usually isn't - hence why corporeal undead are so nasty.

Now, I thought to be an Outsider, some Diety had to choose you (like Pokemon) even if it meant you were only on their list of worshippers or something, which is why there's few Petitioners and many Living.

Of course, you could say that Souls are Energy, which is why they only tally and don't count ^-^

-Crissa
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