This page serves as a source for information about how this subject is applicable to World 42 Roleplay. It may contain Lorebending information and such should not be considered 100% Jagex canon.
This page serves as a source of information about the undead as it is applicable to World 42 role-playing characters. Everyone is invited to add to this information.
Undead: a term that brings about images of hordes of shambling, flesh craving zombies. The word summons thoughts of rigid skeletal warriors brought back after their time. 'Undead' raises ideas of decrepit mummies, dissected and adorned in gauze and wraps. It calls upon the notion of spirits, long forgotten by time, still wailing aimlessly into the night.
In the deepest, darkest, foulest, wretched places in Gielinor, the dead can be found walking. Whether it be rotten old crypts, forgotten cemeteries, ancient dungeons, or the vast expanse of the wild far to the north, the undead can be found.
While the concept of the dead being brought back against their will (or in far worse cases, to their wishes) is a terror that seems to stem from only the darkest of nightmares, they pale in comparison to the wretched vileness that such a creature in itself represents. They are rotten, decayed, boil coated, maggot harboring, dismembered, flesh starving things that once knew the grace of the gods, forced to wander with the living until they are put at peace, or are no longer of use to their masters.
Some are created, some are risen, some are found naturally, and yet all are fearsome.
A Brief History
It is unsure what the first use of the undead was, however they have been used throughout history as cheap, and effective soldiers.
In the Fourth Age, the Mahjarrat, Zemouregal used an undead army to march on Avarrocka. His attempts were thwarted by the use of the shield of Arrav, pointing a weakness to its holy power.
Again in the Fifth Age, Zemouregal strove to invade Varrock with an undead army. His attempts were once again thwarted by the shield, this time the Adventurer finding a descendant of the one who used the shield. The people of Shilo Village were also terrorized by zombies in the Fifth Age; driven by the angry spirit of Rashiliyia, and the Adventurer, once again, found a solution and stopped the undead hordes.
This section addresses details about the undead that are widely accepted throughout the world 42 role-playing community.
Known Types of Undead
Putridity embodied, the abberant spectre is a noxious mass of foul smelling gasses that can cause blackouts upon inhalation. They dwell in remote places, deep in Morytania, far from the eyes of the living.
As described by the slayer master beneath Edgeville, ankou are a cross of both ghostly, and skeletal manifestation. They can naturally be found only in the deepest of dungeons, and far to the north, in the vast expanse of the wilderness.
Banshees can be described in a few simple words: misery eternal. Banshees are the tortured souls of those who lead tortured lives. Their despair is expressed in one of the only ways they seem capable of showing. Banshees will cry, shriek, moan, and bellow out their frustration. This cry can be deadly to those who have unprotected ears, and can drop a man with little effort. Banshees, like ankou and abberant spectres, are found only in the dark places of the world, out of the eye of the living.
Banshees originate from scotch-irish folklore, where they are usually presumed to be the spirits of young wives who died in childbirth, ranging often from beautiful to hideous. They are known in Gaelic as "Bean-Nighe". Traditionally banshees are harbingers of death, and are often met washing the blood-ridden clothes of the doomed or dying before the untimely cold takes them. The banshee is generally presumed to be in a melancholic, depressed, and quiet state while she does this, she may be weeping, but she is not to be disturbed. Banshees are thought to be tasked to do this until the day when they would have normally died or until the second coming of Jesus.
An interesting case of undead, despite the foulness of its own existence. A crawling hand is nothing more than the name would suggest. They are rotten, scarred, pale, large reanimated hands that scurry about on dungeon floors and in dark caves. What is curious about them is whether their large size is brought on by some engorging side effect of necromancy, or the natural size of the hand upon decapitation. Should the latter prove correct, one must then wonder what sort of beast these collosal hands came from.
An infamous creature of the fremennik ilk. Known to stalk the entirety of the province while mostly sticking to the coastlines, The Draugen was once a fremennik adventurer themeselves until it to met with a watery fate. He wanders in search of the lost souls of the drowned in order to devour them. The Draugen can morph into a grey butterfly, it is likely he can morph into other creatures as well although this is not yet proven. The Draugen is an extremely powerful ghost/undead and would make for a very formidable opponent in-character.
To put it simply, an edimmu is the spirit of one who never received a proper burial, and as a result, cannot fully detach themselves from their rotting, decaying bodies. Fortunately for the feint of heart, they can only ever be found naturally deep within the dungeons known to the Fremennik as Daemonheim.
In theory, a ghost is a very simple creature: the spirit of one who has died, yet cannot pass from this world due to some great incomplete task they had during life. Once this oddity is put right, they can finally pass on without problem. The issues with this in practice make it significantly more difficult to deal with. Some ghosts cannot be seen by the naked eye, and hardly any can speak freely to the living. There are ghosts within the spectrum who are wrathful enough to attack the living unprovoked, making it nightmarishly difficult to put them at peace. Ghosts can be found all across Gielinor, wherever they may have died, been buried, or lived in life.
Both frightful and pitiful the ghast can be described as. Ghasts are the sad souls of those who enter the murky darkness of the Mort Myre swamps of Morytania unprepared, and succumb to starvation. Those who die of undernourishment within the swamp quickly take on a 'ghastly' transformation by shedding the confines of their mortal bodies. The remaining soul, still starving in afterlife, wanders the swamps ravenously, in an endless hunt for something to devour.
Even if food happens upon them, they are not satisfied, however; whatever a ghast touches is quickly consumed by a vile mold that makes it inedible, even by the starving ghast's standards. Food is often used as a protection method for those who wish to travel through Mort Myre, as the ghasts will attack the food first, but if there is no food; the ghast will begin to suck the life from the helpless victims.
One of the scariest things about ghasts is that they cannot be seen or attacked through normal means, the only way to make them vulnerable is to have a druid pouch while traveling though the swamp, which is a rare commodity. The energies within the pouches cause a ghast to become visible as soon as it attacks the holder; thus making the creature vulnerable to attacks. When the ghast is slain, the soul of the departed is released from the horrible fate it had suffered, breaking free from the shell of its 'ghastly' prison and can then depart for the afterlife.
Ghouls are not actually undead; but true living creatures. They are listed here as they are often mistaken to be undead, and so anyone seeing this will be informed otherwise. Ghouls are actually the human descendants of a society that was destroyed, and degraded to the point that they had to eat the flesh of their own dead to survive. Over generations, the members of this fallen society degraded to the point that they were no longer human; becoming the ghouls we know today. Although not undead, they behave much like zombies do: they will eat any flesh they can find, whether it be rotten or fresh; and this is the reason they often like to live near graveyards, where a number of rotten bodies are in constant supply. Though they are descended from humans, the race as a whole is nearly mindless, but a few have moved beyond this, such as one named Gus (a ghoul under the employment of a witch), who is comparative to a below average human in mentality. Ghouls are thought to serve vampyres at times, but there has been no concrete evidence of this. Ghouls live almost exclusively in Morytania; only one has ever been seen West of the Salve, as like werewolves: Ghouls cannot normally cross the river.
The defilement of the pure balance of life and nature, that is a horror. Monstrosities of unholy make, they are a composition of all manner of creature thrown together. In this respect, they are similar to humunculi of the alchemist' tower. Horrors, however, are a combination of a potentially limitless number of beasts, and hold all traits that come with being undead. Such creatures are the work of truly vile necromancy of the most potent sort, and are (thank the gods!) a rare sight anywhere in Gielinor.
Of all the creatures that may be depicted on this page, none are more ancient, more cruel, more reviled, more wretched, more unspeakably evil than the catastrophe known as a lich. In life such beings were mortal like all of humans, elves, dwarves, and other such races. These mortals often possessed a great command over the magical arts. Wizards, sorcerers, and even clerics are the ones who submit themselves to the eternal darkness that lichdom entails.
A lich is a spellcaster, brought back by its own will from death. The act of self-revival into lichdom is one that is so dark, so sinister, so wrought with evil, that it is essentially non-existent knowledge to anyone who isn't either already dead, or one themselves. Part of the known actions required for this transformation is the construction of a phylactery. This phylactery is a priceless artifact, typically created by the lich-bound themselves.
The function of this artifact is simple, yet immensely important. It holds the soul of the lich, so that the body and mind may continue on forever. Should a lich be destroyed, and the phylactery remain intact, the lich will return. While the soul remains within this realm, the lich's body shall be reanimated out of the phylactery. The lich loses none of its previous abilities or memories, should it suffer such an encounter. Liches possess an immense knowledge of almost all things, from religion, to language, to history, to law, to lore, to alchemy, to enchantment, to swordplay, and to magic.
Necromancy is especially potent within a lich. Due to this fact, a lich can easily summon and command the undead as it pleases. For those easily confused by such matters, it shall be stated simply here that mahjarrat are NOT liches. Liches cannot shape-shift, nor can they sense the presence of mahjarrat naturally. Liches cannot breed, and care little for their kin. Liches cannot undergo rituals of rejuvenation either, and are cursed with an ever-rotting corpse. Going in the opposite direction, mahjarrat do not possess phylacteries, and if slain, are not guaranteed automatic resurrection.
Liches are ancient and immensely wise creatures, and are beyond eating, drinking, aging, and sleeping due to their state of undeath. They have limitless time with which to study, research, and plan. A lich's plan may not come to fruition for thousands of years and, as a result, you'll not see one marching into the Rising Sun Inn of Falador, hastily trying to recruit soldiers for its army. Liches are incredibly rare, and often leave themselves alone in their dark lairs, deep underground, or high in the mountains for centuries at a time.
Mummies are undead who normally only rise to defend their resting places from intruders who seek to rob their possessions in death. Mummies can not only fester with nearly any manner of ancient curses meant to bring misery and despair upon those who defile their resting places, but often disease as well.
Mummies are typically dissected at death, their body parts hidden in various containers all across the temples in which they can be found. Their corpses are swaddled in cloth and bandages that shield onlookers from the hideousness underneath. Mummies of great power (occasionally called mummy lords) have the ability to command other mummies much like liches can command other undead. The difference between these two relationships is that mummy lords cannot summon mummies, but merely command them.
These undead are found only in the dry, arid dunes of Kharidia, and are stored within sarcophagi inside the temples and pyramids found about the desert landscape.
Long ago, there raged a tremendous war of the Gods of Gielinor, cleverly named the God Wars. Countless warriors fought the legendary battles of this immensely long war. Naturally, many of these soldiers were felled in the heat of battle. Some were able to pass easily, while others lingered on. Their spirits remained, and wandered the vast expanses of the wild. These spirits were called revenants. Many such forms of revenant have been documented, such as knights, werewolves, orcs, vampires, imps, goblins, and even dragons.
Being a creature of shadow, shades are translucent beings of darkness. They slip in and out of shadow easily, and emanate an aura of sorrow and dread. They are the work of nightmares, usually having no identifiable features beyond arms and a head. It is reasonable to assume, that being composed entirely of shadow, they have a strong hatred for the sun, and bright lights in general. Shades can be found only in the deepest and darkest of places in Gielinor, a great many of them being commonly found in the forever dark town of Mort'ton.
Commonality in this type of undead does little to diminish its dreadfulness. Skeletons are the bony remains of the dead, brought back against their wills to walk the world of the living once more.
Skeletons are brought back with only the remains of whatever they had with them upon death. Should a knight in iron chainmail be felled in the past, it would be resurrected with whatever was left of the old armor still attached to its body.
Skeletons know no fear, no hesitation, no dread, and no guilt. They are at their very core: hollow frames of what were once the living. They are a common sight in the many dungeons, caves, and chasms of Gielinor. They are as common in the Wild as men are in the South.
Lumbering, heavy, massive skeletons, brought back from the remains of ogres. They share all of the traits of ordinary skeletons, but with all the advantages and disadvantages of possessing an ogre-like size and stature.
The cry of a wraith is legendary, and is a fair match to that of a banshee both in potency and range. Wraiths are few and far between; they are commanded by only the most powerful of necromancers and are found only wherever their masters need them to be.
Wraiths do not possess flesh as mortals do. A 'body' does lies under the gear they wear, it just cannot be seen or felt physically by any mortal from without the Shadow Realm. This lack of flesh liberates their kind from several obstructive elements, such as physical pain, muscular atrophy, and irrational fear. Like shades, wraiths find themselves disturbed by natural light. Hence, these minions are at their strongest at the dead of night, or in poorly-light environments.
A wraith's lack of free will is often misinterpreted as a lack of intelligence. This is far from the truth. Some, if not all such spirits, retain the capacity to cogitate just as well as the living, and possess much of their past memories and abilities.
The zombie is the only undead nearly as common as skeletons. They are the maggoty, rotten corpses of the dead brought back by a necromantic force. They are the most unintelligent of all undead, and yet are more difficult to resurrect than skeletons; due to the greater complexity of their anatomies. Zombies crave the sweet taste of living flesh, much like ghouls.
Some are rumored to harbor within themselves diseases that can spread the condition of zombification, and can spread it to the living with a single skin-breaking bite; though this is only a superstition, as the real process of zombification is done through magic. The only known event to contradict this was the zogre plague, but this was caused by magic from the H.A.M. cult in of itself; making any zombification done through contact with a zombie more of a curse than a disease: but this yet again is the only documented case, and was only contagious to the ogre race.
Zombies can take great amounts of damage without actually being felled in combat. One surely effective way of destroying a zombie is to deliver a crushing amount of damage to the brain of the creature. These undead can be found in essentially any environment that skeletons can be found in.
To put it simply, zogre is to zombie as skogre is to skeleton. Zogres carry a great number of diseases in their skin and organs that can spread to the living in combat. Zogres however, are contagious to ogres, who without receiving treatment; enter a state of undeath and soon become zogres themselves.
Curiously uncommon creatures, considering the commonality of both skeletons and goblins. The skoblin is nothing more than the resurrected skeleton of a goblin.
Wights are undead beings, which consist of powerful warriors who are enslaved to serve their master and, to a greater extent, their master's goal. Wights do not become weaker with time, making perfect slaves. They are very powerful and are very difficult to defeat. Wights are also unable to be killed, as they are forever cursed to be bound to their master until the spell is either undone. Mahjarrat are known to make considerable use of wights. When the caster is dead, the undead spell over them doesn't free them, but instead gives them freedom to do as they please.
Jiangshi are undead beings that binds a person's body and spirit. These undead are known mostly within Wushanko. Those within Wushanko consider Jiangshi to be similar to the western vampyre, except it sucks the soul of it's targets instead of blood. Jiangshi are extremely deadly and getting close to one would cause you to die a slow, but quick death if you do not escape one. Jiangshi are able to have their own mind and free will, like a Wight. But if they do not devour souls, they would soon deteriorate from having the ability to make its own choices, and become a soul-devouring monstrosity that willingly kill anyone and anything, except it's master. If not regularly fed, it can also be uncontrollable, where the only thing the caster can do is set the soul free.
- Zombies, ghouls, mummies, skeletons, and all ghostly entities feel no pain. Wights can feel pain if their master chooses to.
- Liches are incredibly powerful spellcasters, having been a requirement to attain lichdom in itself. They possess extensive knowledge of lore, history, magic, necromancy, and other such studies.
- A lich cannot be destroyed completely if its phylactery continues to exist somewhere in the mortal world.
- Horrors are usually special in some way, whether they be larger, or more powerful than other undead. It depends entirely on the Horror itself.
- Ghasts possess the innate ability to destroy whatever food they come in contact with. Should a ghast succeed in acquiring edible material, it shall quickly succumb to a mold that rots over its entirety, making it inconsumable.
- Mummies, infested with diseases and plagues of their own, possess a unique ability known as mummy rot. Mummy rot is a plague-like disease that spreads to living tissue by physical contact, causing it to break down and literally rot away.
- Both ghouls and zombies alike have an overpowering craving for living flesh. Ghouls in particular will try their very best to hunt down the living. They are more likely to succeed than zombies as well, due to their near man-like intelligence.
- Wraiths and Banshees hold within themselves powerful shrieks that can split the ears of those within earshot.
- Liches and most ghosts retain the memories and ablities they possessed in life.
- Wights cannot be easily forced out from the bond they have with their master, they are forever cursed until the their soul are set free from said master, someone powerful enough, or the spell is broken, which still keeps the the wight in the state of undead, but with freedom.
- Wights retain much of the abilities they possessed in life.
- Attacking an Jiangshi seems impossible, as getting close enough to hit them (either melee, mage, or range) would allow the creature to absorb the soul of it's target.
- Any soul they absorb seems to remain in them until the master frees the Jiangshi, freeing the soul as well.
- All undead (beside wights) are weakened by a salve amulet, or any shard of the salve crystal, which is imbued with holy energy. (Ghouls are not weakened by the salve amulet because they aren't technically undead, while 'wights' are neither living nor dead, and as such, are immune to the amulet's effect.)
- Holy water can stun the undead, working much like acid on the living, burning and breaking down the rotten flesh that compiles their bodies. Wights are not affected by this.
- Being unholy creatures, the undead are weakened while inside holy barriers. Wights are not affected by such barriers.
- The destruction of a lich's phylactery, the magical totem constructed by the lich to store their soul and life essence, causes the release of said soul. The ejected soul then returns to the lich's body, granting the undead caster mortality once more.
- Mummies, being dehydrated corpses, are extremely vulnerable to fire.
- Most undead have no memories of the lives they once held, and even if they do, their memories are highly likely to be distorted. As a result, they usually hold none of the learned skills they once had, and can recall few of the experiences they once lived. The exceptions to this are liches, ghosts, wights and some mummies.
- Zombies cannot 'think' their way out of situations or over obstacles. They can follow basic instructions given to them by their respective masters, but do not think to act beyond those instructions. In this sense, they are easily outsmarted and eluded.
- When wights are defeated, they are unable to continue, not until they have fully regenerated from their injuries, which would take about a few hours, or days, depending on how they were defeated.
- That being said, if a wight's master wishes, they can keep the body from returning to their resting place, keeping them trapped in the open.
- Jiangshi seem not to have no known weaknesses, this is due to the fact that they are only known in Wushanko, but are rare.
- Not all undead are mindless, shambling, stumbling creatures of the night. There are those within the classification of undead that are intelligent, some immensely so. Ghosts and horrors have been known to reach higher levels of understanding and knowledge in some cases. Liches in particular are vastly brilliant creatures.
- Many Horrors have a name, which they respond to.
- Some ghosts, if powerful enough, can communicate with the living freely, and without the presence of a ghostspeak amulet.
- When a wight's master dies, their souls are not released, but instead free from control, and may do as they please.
This section addresses details about the undead that are still subject to speculation and discussion.
- Silver may or may not have an extra effect on the undead. (This has backing in the theory that unholy creatures are effected powerfully by silver, but is not explicitly stated in-game.)
- The term "undead" refers to beings who either no longer have cellular regeneration, existing as bodies animated purely by supernatural force, or no longer have a corporeal form. A person who has been fully resurrected by a necromancer and has retained both cell regeneration and corporeal form is not counted as undead. (This is a theory that generally seems to be accepted, but has no official backing in-game.)
- Creatures such as soulless and half-soulless may or may not be considered undead.
- According to Death in the quest Dishonour among Thieves, Nomad has cheated death. The souls he has stolen seem to possibly be the thing that allowed him to keep living.
This section addresses traits that inexperienced role-players often bestow their undead characters but that aren't actually seen in the undead on RuneScape.
- Within the collection of creatures considered undead, some are rather weak-willed. Because of this poor willpower, they cannot think freely, and have little to no control over themselves. Creatures like skeletons, zombies, and ghasts have no free will, and must be instructed by either a necromancer, a cleric, or some form of greater undead.
- Vampyres, although prominent in the same places where undead thrive, are not undead. Rather they are living sentient beings, who rely on blood for sustenance. As opposed to the traditional victorian view grandfathered by Bram Stoker's Dracula that while vampires need blood for sustenance, they drink the blood of the living to maintain the feeling of being alive.
- Not all undead require a Necromancer. Some, such as Ghosts and Revenants are spirits which have returned due to anger or unfinished work.
- Ghasts cannot be risen in the sense that skeletons and zombies are. They are produced naturally, by the means of which they died.
- Ghouls aren't undead, although they share nearly all of the same traits with the undead, other than a weakness to the salve amulet.
- The eyes (and occasionally eye sockets) of any given undead minion controlled by a lich glow with the same color and brightness as the aforementioned lich.