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Undead

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Smajdalf, Aug 3, 2016.

  1. Smajdalf

    Smajdalf Scribe

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    Who do you think are undead? What do you first imagine by word undead? Do you use them in stories? Do you think zombies should be in fantasy? Post whatcha think!!
     
  2. valiant12

    valiant12 Sage

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    I like undead. I like them more than dragons.
    they can be very scary - imagine your best friend as a mindless zombie wanting to devour your brain.
    An they can be ridicilasly cool - undeath grifin with flaming wings for example. Or huge undeath spaceships. Or undeath battle mammothss with flametrowers on there backs.
    You can use them to explore some very interesting topics like death and imortality, or you can use them as cannon fodder mooks.

    File:Necropolis-in.png - The Heroes of Might and Magic III wiki
    [​IMG]

    Yes why not ?
    they are a fictional creature , and fantasy is a genre where fictional creatures are commonly used.
    They should not be used in romantic books. that would be creepy and disgusting.
     
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  3. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    For me, "undead" brings to mind zombies and vampires. I'm more partial to vampires than zombies, but I've seen zombies used in a few fantasy books. The Discworld series, for example, as well as Harry Potter (since Inferi are basically zombies under a different name).

    @Valiant: I'm guessing you're not a fan of Warm Bodies? (Haven't read that or seen the movie, but I hear it's very good.)
     
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  4. Khama

    Khama Scribe

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    Undead are just really cool because they fall into the category of the Unknown most of the time in fiction. Most of the time I simply picture a partially resurrected corpse, which is further fuel for that Unknown bit as they could be anyone. A family member, loved one, or even a friend could suddenly stand before you after having been buried last week.

    I certainly do believe they should be part of Fantasy for it is an element that can always be explored in various manners, but I think they are simply something that can be used for terror. They invoke a fear, most of the time, or even in cases like The Lord of the Rings a sense of hope just for the act of existing, and this is because they are so similar but different. If you tweak them towards the terror angle they become something that one doesn't want to turn into, but if you tweak it towards one of hope... Well you can suddenly find yourself with a sense of pleasure at the thought of being protected from beyond the grave.

    And because of that I certainly do intend to use them in my future works. They can be a tool useful to bring out various emotions from both reader and the characters themselves. I'd say they would fall into a simple category of exotic creatures, but have a niche in the fact that in Worlds that have Undead you can become one yourself. That further heightens the tension as you go through wondering if the character will become such a creature. Following that would of course be your non-brain eating, man hating, Undead would instead work alongside the Protagonist. I believe this form of Undead is used in much smaller quantities in comparison to the other, but I also see a certain satisfaction in its use. Beyond the whole question of bringing back dead comrades or those the Protagonist cared about you have the fact of those long dead coming to assist. That, like in LoTR, can certainly be a boon for the characters and revitalize their feelings on their task. It could also bring them more pain as they see those they cared about among the Undead assisting them. It brings a different kind of tension from the same element, which can fulfill a similar role based on the characters themselves and the world.

    All in all the Undead are pretty spectacular and I love having them show up in Fantasy stories when they are warranted and it makes sense within the context of their showing/the world at large.
     
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  5. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    I'm not following your logic here. In LOTR, the undead are unanimously frightening and hope-dispelling even if they aren't outright evil. The Nazgul are servants of Sauron whose cries specifically drained hope from their enemies (that being the good guys) and caused fear; the Army of the Dead (aka the Men of the Mountain, former servants of Isildur) were basically neutral until Aragorn gained their allegiance by proclaiming himself as King of Gondor, and even after that they were still completely terrifying. The only other character who even sort of fits your claim of symbolizing hope is Gandalf, and he's not undead at all, but an angelic/demigod-ish being who was never really human in the first place, even when he did have a mortal body.

    Edit to add: Also, Barrow-wights score again on the terrifying and probably evil side.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2016
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  6. Khama

    Khama Scribe

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    Woopsies, forgot about all the other Undead, its been awhile. I was talking about the Army of the Dead in particular. They were neutral, yes, but they also did at the Battle of Minas Tirith strike down the forces of Mordor. I'd say that brings out the possibility for characters, readers, and even movie watchers to experience at-least some form of Hope. The rest of the Undead in Lord of the Rings certainly would not fall into that grouping. That was more or less what I was getting towards, not an all encompassing thing as Undead that fight for "good" are a rarity it would seem.
     
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  7. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Only in the movie, though. In the book Aragorn freed them once they scared off the corsairs and freed the slaves (who were also terrified of the Dead and had to be calmed down before they joined Aragorn).
     
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  8. Gryphos

    Gryphos Auror

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    One of the best depictions of undead has to be that of the Undead in the Dark Souls game series. It depicts them as these people who cannot die – every time they fall, they reawaken – and are thus doomed to continually throw themselves at danger to satiate their desire for souls. But every time they die in their quests, they come a little closer to Hollowing, losing their sanity. There's something tragic about the way their stories are doomed never to end in one big hurrah, rather they're destined to wither away into insanity only to be eventually forgotten. But at the same time, these Undead are an incredibly powerful force. An undead with enough determination can overcome any challenge, and this leads even the gods of the Dark Souls universe to fear them.

    I want to use Undead in one of my stories sometime.
     
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  9. Khama

    Khama Scribe

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    Oh really? Thought they had done some stuff alongside the Knights of Dol'Amaroth or however it is spelled. Scratch that for the book part then.
     
  10. evolution_rex

    evolution_rex Inkling

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    I like of humans attempting to bring back the dead for good intentions but then being 'punished' by higher forces for playing god, in the form of the dead coming back, but as evil, zombie-like, or with the images of the afterlife in his/her head which slowly makes them go insane. I think taking a peek into the afterlife, particularly with a cynical approach, can be a haunting experience to read. If I was were to start a project relating to the undead, I think I would start with that kind of thing.
     
  11. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    I have undead with a very specific magical mechanic which creates them, both naturally and on purpose. There's more than one way to skin a skeleton, so to speak. I like vampires despite the current pop culture that makes me want to gag, but they were a tough fit into the world's system. They don't officially exist, and would be quite a bit different than most if they ever make an appearance.

    Zombies do and don't exist. Yes, there are fleshy undead, no they do not behave anything like zombies in movies. This is because of the magic mechanic, which has one basic rule of thumb-- the less flesh, the less mind. A clean skeleton is mindless, just walking, peaceful bones unless provoked, to be zombie fleshy would be to retain a "reflection" of the person's personality.
     
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  12. Jerseydevil

    Jerseydevil Minstrel

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    I have a work on the back burner that has necromancy as a magic system of the good guys (good being a very relative term). Look, all of those dead bodies and no one using them as shock troops. What a waste.
     
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  13. FatCat

    FatCat Maester

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    Undead characters for me are extensions of the controlling narrative. They are mindless, yet dedicated to the view of whom possess them. I see them like a comedic relief and character multiplier at the same time.
     
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  14. valiant12

    valiant12 Sage

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    I prefer the less brain damege , more mind power rule.
     
  15. phantommuseums

    phantommuseums Scribe

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    One of my friends wrote a beautiful, sad story about zombies. Instead of these undead being ravenous and wild, they were lethargic and so close to death that they were barely able to function. It was as if they were deathly sick. They would just walk around, lost and crying. I thought that was an interesting way to depict the undead. There were also people who believed that these undead were dangerous, and they would kill them onsite. Made it extra sad.
     
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  16. Wow. That sounds really interesting and different. I'd like to play with that kind of concept sometime.
     
  17. Miskatonic

    Miskatonic Auror

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    I think of vampires mainly. I never really associated zombies with that term.
     
  18. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    Draugur. I'm soooooooo going to write a story about them someday. The fun part is that the draugur from real Norse tales are very different from the ones in Skyrim. They're absolutely terrifying and very interesting far as mythical monsters goes.
     
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