Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Making Undead #3: Physical Corruption of Minotaurs

Hi guys,

Have been having some success with the Making Undead blogs, so I'm making them a little more official and going to turn them into a regular thing. Today we're moving on to making undead out of corrupting minotaurs physically.

If you just stumbled upon Making Undead, the first post is here and the previous post is here. Thanks for reading!

One of my favorite subspecies of minotaurs are the mazetouched. The mazetouched possess enormous horns that sprout out in multiple locations on their heads. Male mazetouched develop antlers bordering on the absurd (think Exodus from FFTA, only maybe not that absurd as these are just the regular average male of the species...Wow, can't believe how expensive FFTA is. Glad I got it when it was in print!).

Here's an old concept of a female mazetouched (named Balolsur) from The Throne of Ao:

Anyway, a common misconception about the dead is that nail and teeth continue to grow (when in reality the skin shrinks away from it). While this is a misconception about the dead in our world, in WotA, this can easily be verified with the undead. For a mazetouched to have their horns continue to grow and be razor-sharp, they would quickly impale themselves. The impaled is born.

An impaled is an undead mazetouched minotaur whose horns curl back on themselves and through the body of the minotaur. This can interfere with mobility, but the horns continue to grow, so it really does not prevent using the horns as they were meant to be originally. Additionally, the horns can split to form multiple spirals and penetrations. Whereas normal minotaurs have no problem goring, impaled generally use body slams to share their many horn tips with their enemies. Some impaled eventually become rooted to the ground from the uncontrolled growth of their horns. These impaled bushes are dangerous obstacles that can extend the horn thorns to kill unwary creatures close by. The bodies are drawn backwards along the horns to the impaled at the center to further feed it, although the horns absorb nutrients and act as veins to bring sustenance back as well.

Impaled formed from the bodies of powerful mazewalkers are able to phase their horns in and out of their bodies without damage to the body. These walking impaled are quite dangerous as they have all of the split horns of an impaled but increased mobility, agility of both body and horns. Those that eventually become walking impaled bushes are the most dangerous variety of impaled bush.

Taking some time to draw the idea of an impaled netted me four additional undead.Let's examine all three.

 The first comes from the idea that minotaurs are able to bend reality and mazetouched minotaurs in particular are experts of this, so it makes reasonable sense that an impaled that retains sentience or some of their magicks would be able to phase the horns through their bodies without fear of damaging their own body. I call this one the impaled surprise. They retain full movement of their head and body and are easily able to choose what to phase and how. The substantial horns make them even more deadly.

Next, perverting this idea, I can also envision minotaurs (both mazetouched and otherwise) that can alter the horns of their body to move like flesh. These tentacle-horns or tenta-horns use their horns like another set of limbs and grab and pierce their foes with them. These are more common from the unsanctified remains of a beheaded minotaur. The body stays dead, but the head goes wandering using the tenta-horns for locomotion.

Next up is the idea of a mino-statue. A mino-statue can be created by placing a mummified or otherwise preserved minotaur into the desired position and doing one of several things. Letting nature take its course if the remains were not sanctified will sometimes result in undead energy causing the horns and feet-hooves to grow out until they fuse with the surroundings. Once the energy awakens the creature to the point of sentience, it is frozen in place. It is much more likely these creatures will rise as a universal undead before the fusion takes place however (skeleton, mummy, zombie, etc). In order to guarantee a mino-statue is created, it is recommended that the horns are magickally encouraged to grow and fuse into nearby walls, floor or ceiling and shaped to curve back. Similarly, any limbs that the creator does not want to have mobility should be connected to the surrounding or fused in place.

Once a mino-statue awakens, there is a period of pure rage over the impotence they feel (note: if the mino-statue volunteered for this and the creators act as care-takers to sooth them, malevolence and hating-all-life can be avoided). The mino-statue eventually learns that it is able to advance and retract its horns and care should be made to avoid the mino-statue retracting its horns to the size they were in life. Although this is usually next to impossible for the mino-statue and its original unlife size horns become their smallest state, there is always the small chance it will happen (which is why it is recommended the legs are fused in place as well). The advanced horns requires will and concentration to maintain, although there are records of mino-statues that have maintained the advanced position of their horns for decades. Even mino-statues that have mindless-level intelligence will react to stimulus (say proximity or noise or even scent) to rapidly advance their horns, usually eviscerating whatever hapless creature stands in front of them. Popularly used as traps, those that utilize them will take efforts to disguise their undead nature and make them look more a natural part of the design.

Depending on the mores of a community, some groups of minotaurs regularly take volunteers to be made into mino-statues to help guard their underground labyrinths. Other groups believe the mino-statues are an abomination. When taken as volunteers, the mino-statues are well taken care of even if they elect to be mindless (which can be guaranteed with a lobotomy on the cadaver). Many mino-statues can even recognize individuals and choose not to kill them if they desire. Many mino-statue makers elect to remove the ability for the statue to speak or make noises so that enemies will not be tipped off by their presence. Others find that the wails of torment, despair and rage from the mino-statue serves to unsettle the infiltrators and contrive ways so that they echo about and make their source harder to pinpoint.

Finally, there is the raging wanderer class of undead minotaur. These come from those magickers that fail to master the magicks of the Maze which enables them to bend reality, and are condemned to wander physical mazes in their undeath. Very commonly created from minotaurs that lose their magick by pulling an Icarus and trying to go too far too fast before they have the control and skill necessary to wield such powerful magicks. These undead minotaurs become stronger and stronger and hate all life, but especially living magickers. They retain the minoan mazesense ability where they are never lost and seek out bright points of light in the Astral Realm to annihilate any strong magickers. They can be manipulated and drawn out (kited if you're a gamer) by those that are able to create fonts of magick to act as a carrot on a stick hanging in front of them. They resemble extreme minoan bodybuilders physically, but with undead energy hanging around them and often bloodied hands and faces from trying to take direct paths to magickal energy.

Although they hate magick, they are bound to their idea of a "maze" and so are very difficult to draw out of their chosen labyrinths. Most minotaurs find them very pitiable and whenever one is discovered, entire communities of minotaurs take it upon themselves to find and destroy the individual. The Maze is both the minoan religion and their magick, and so such a strong perversion of the "real" Maze strikes to the core of every minotaur.

I know that last undead was a hybrid magick/physical corruption, but well, can't fight inspiration!

I'll be updating all of the Making Undeads and Monster Creations with more concept art as I do it, and I am also working on updating the WotA Wiki finally with the different creatures once they're named. Next up in Making Undead #4, we'll corrupt the dastardly aviadins to see what undead will come up.

Comments, thoughts and requests welcome! There are dozens of species of creatures in WotA with lots of different ways to make undead (physical corruption, magickal corruption, cultural/religious corruption, and more!) if there's one you'd like to see, comment, Facebook or Twitter me. 

Thanks for reading!

Update: Here's Making Undead #4.