Undead

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Drakefriend
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Undead

Post by Drakefriend » January 8th, 2010, 3:29 pm

:!: Sentience
Usually, undeads are considered mindless slaves to their creators.However, not only liches and death knights are said to be sentient, ghosts have shown a will even in mainline campaigns.In addition, the descriptiom of the skeletons say they would fight to find rest.So the question is: In how far are Undead actually sentient :?:


:!: Skills
The undead, at least the skeletal ones, were according to their description formerly good in their job.So do bundead retain skills they had in life,and if yes, how much and how?
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Skrim
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Re: Undead

Post by Skrim » January 8th, 2010, 6:14 pm

Drakefriend wrote::!: Sentience
Usually, undeads are considered mindless slaves to their creators.However, not only liches and death knights are said to be sentient, ghosts have shown a will even in mainline campaigns.In addition, the descriptiom of the skeletons say they would fight to find rest.So the question is: In how far are Undead actually sentient :?:


:!: Skills
The undead, at least the skeletal ones, were according to their description formerly good in their job.So do bundead retain skills they had in life,and if yes, how much and how?
I think the sentience of Undead depends on the method by they are raised.

The first category would be regular Undead units.
Regular Undead are created via "Raise Dead"-type spells, which probably cost gold as a spell component.

Walking Corpses, as implied by DiD and by their level-1 forms' name ('Soulless') have no "soul" - they're just corpses who are controlled and animated entirely through necromantic magic and have no retention over previous skills or memories and no sentience whatsoever. This is probably the reason why they can't go past level-1. However, they do retain physical traits of the original creature - which is how you get all those fancy race-specific WC forms.

Ghosts do have "souls" - they retain memories of their pasts, and they usually are enslaved against their will by necromancers and contained in semi-incorporeal ectoplasm bodies created via enchantments. Of course, sufficiently strong-willed spirits can break free of the enslavement - examples including one of Malin's ghosts from the 3rd DiD mission, a Wraith and a Spectre from the earlier missions in UtBS, and Lord Abhai from NR. They however, have none of their previous physical traits (not having their old body). And by extension, they cannot use any of their former skills simply because they are physically incapable of doing so, by virtue of being trapped in their semi-incorporeal form.

Skeletons and Skeleton Archers are former soldiers whose skeletons have been animated by necromancy into the form of semi-autonomous constructs. They also possess souls, and have a vague mild retention of their previous lives and skills. IIRC, their retention of former skills gets better as they spend a longer time in their undead states and gain more XP. Also, the enslavement spells for Skellies appear to be stronger than those used for Ghost-form units, since there don't seem to be many escapee skeletons. And I don't think physical traits are retained either, since all the generic humanoid skellies seen in-game have identical characteristics, including the so-called Dwarf-skeletons from the earlier NR missions.

As for how the Ghosts and Skellies level-up, I think, if they've served the necromancer for long enough and gained enough retention of former skills, the necromancer can buff them, giving them more powerful enchantment-shrouds in case of ghosts, or better armor and equipment in case of skeletons.

Death Knights would be an advanced form of Undead, but they'd still be regularly raised - just as Skeletons were regular melee fighters, Skel Archers were archers, and Chocobones were (probably) riders, Death Knights would be former generals. They don't seem to be much more sentient than regular Skeletons or Ghosts actually - also possessing a soul and being enslaved by necromantic spells. They just have better equipment than most regular Skeletons (since they seem to use the same equipment that they had in life), better retention over past skills, some limited Undead-raising/controlling abilities and a greater degree of autonomy compared to regular Undead minions. It is also implied that only very powerful necromancers can raise and control Death Knights, which seems logical enough.

One exceptional case would be Lionel, the Lost General from HttT. In Delfador's Memoirs, he appears as a regular high-ranking General in the Wesnoth army, apparently the best under King Garard's command. He seems to know military matters well enough, but has no knowledge of magic whatsoever. In HttT, he appears to be a completely independent Death Knight, not controlled by any necromancer or lich and capable of raising skeletal and ghost-form Undead. What happened in the intervening time between his being sent to Knalga by Asheviere, and his final defeat by Konrad, is entirely unknown.


The second category would be Ghoul-form Undead, which, unlike regular Undead, never actually died.
They were converted from living beings into Undead monsters directly, somehow. This is why they resist Arcane(i.e, anti-magic) attacks, instead of being extremely vulnerable to them like regular Undead. And, while Skeleton-type Undead supposedly fall apart when their master is killed (as told in NR and EI), Ghouls stay 'alive' and settle in swamps on their own accord (as seen in DiD) because they like the filth and stench. They do not appear to retain the physical traits and skills of their previous living form, and it is not known if they have memories of their living pasts.


The third category would be Liches.
They are not created via regular necromantic spells used for creating/controlling minions. Instead, necromancers can convert themselves into liches via a process shown in DiD, which involves dying and saying incantations with one's final breaths. They have complete and immediate recall over old memories and access to former skills, as well as new abilities and weaknesses brought about by virtue of being skeletal and fleshless. They are quite clearly sentient and free-willed. "Ancient" Liches would basically be the same as regular liches, just more powerful because they've improved their skills over time.


The fourth and final category would be souls from the Land of the Dead.
These are seen only in Delfador's Memoirs. Basically, the Land of the Dead seems to be some kind of underground realm in the Wesnoth-verse accessible only via magical means. The entire thing involving the Land of the Dead and Iliah Malal's portal and Crelanu's book is a bit of a mind screw, so you'll just have to play the campaign to make out what it's about. Basically, what I get is that the souls from the LotD are just spirits of dead people who have either been enslaved by Iliah Malal or have volunteered to help Delfador. The unique thing about them is that some of them(the ones on Iliah Malal's side) have names and traits, unlike regular Undead. And, at least the ones on Delfador's side are free-willed - they help because they want to, not because they've been forced to as in case of regular Undead. Apart from that, I don't get much about them.

The Great Rings
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Re: Undead

Post by The Great Rings » January 10th, 2010, 1:25 am

Skrim wrote: I think the sentience of Undead depends on the method by they are raised.

The first category would be regular Undead units.
Regular Undead are created via "Raise Dead"-type spells, which probably cost gold as a spell component.
I think that rather than having gold be a component of the spell itself (seems rather implausible and corny to me), it would make more sense to have it cost a certain ammount of gold to purchase the equipment/ingreediants for the spell itself.
The fourth and final category would be souls from the Land of the Dead.
These are seen only in Delfador's Memoirs. Basically, the Land of the Dead seems to be some kind of underground realm in the Wesnoth-verse accessible only via magical means. The entire thing involving the Land of the Dead and Iliah Malal's portal and Crelanu's book is a bit of a mind screw, so you'll just have to play the campaign to make out what it's about. Basically, what I get is that the souls from the LotD are just spirits of dead people who have either been enslaved by Iliah Malal or have volunteered to help Delfador. The unique thing about them is that some of them(the ones on Iliah Malal's side) have names and traits, unlike regular Undead. And, at least the ones on Delfador's side are free-willed - they help because they want to, not because they've been forced to as in case of regular Undead. Apart from that, I don't get much about them.
Regarding the Land of the Dead, is this some kind of afterlife that everyone goes to when they die? If so, how in God's name did it get past the "no religion in Wesnoth" rule? Not that I'm complaining, because I think its a silly rule, but I'm curious. I have to ask because I haven't yet played Delfador's memoirs, but I am aware that it is mainline.
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melinath
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Re: Undead

Post by melinath » January 10th, 2010, 7:27 am

DM has extremely religious overtones. I think it falls under the same "Lords of Light" license that TRoW uses?

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