After the thoughts given on the different forms unlife takes in Glorantha, it would be a mistake not to go into their origins, the various gods, spirits and demons who raise the dead to life, whether the immaterial, the animated, or the material.
The treatment of Urain, and the
existence of Zukozor come from the Book of Drastic Resolutions, volumes
Chaos and Darkness respectively, and all their rights remain with their
Only the God Learners in their arrogance would ever describe Daka Fal's cult as using undead, but despite this his magic has some similarities. Daka Fal's ancestor worship provides the means to summon the spirits of the dead back into the world of the living. In some cases these ancestor spirits may even "outlive" their summoner, and explorers on the plains of Prax rarely notice the difference between a malign ghost, and an ancestor spirit protecting the remains of his shaman.
Gark the Calm
The Cult of Gark the Calm claims that Glorantha is a prison, which causes pain and terror in those who dwell within it. Through Gark's magic, a worshipper may escape this prison, achieving eternal peace. This leaves behind a soulless corpse, which the priests of the cult can still use to perform labour by animating with a petty spirit, creating the Zombies the cult is infamous for.
The most powerful undead of the cult are the Returned. Those who have come back from Gark's paradise to share the truth with others. They are soulless beings, for although their mind has returned, they leave their soul safely behind in Gark's bosom.
The Bat was the monstrous daughter of Vrimak, Father of Birds. Because of her ugliness, the Light could not bear to touch her, making her empty of warmth, light, or life, a horrific thing of shadows and sorrow. When the enemy gods sought to slay Murharzarm, she cloaked the Emperor's light within her emptiness, leaving him blind and deaf to his assassin's approach, and for this crime she was cast out, becoming an exile.
Envious at all others have, she eternally creeps back in, to feed on the light of life, leaving all she passes as soulless husks, who she enslaves as her wandering slaves, to hunt and to slay, as a legion of Vampires.
Nontraya is the Taker and Waster, the Emperor of the Undead. As the enemy of Life, he despises and lusts for Ernalda, craving her for himself alone. When he tried to take her away, he found her sleeping, in a state like death, and believing she was truly dead he went out to rule the world in her stead.
While he was eventually overthrown and forced back into the Underworld, some of his Unliving Army remained. Nontraya had stolen the soul from these unlucky beings, leaving them without the warmth of Ernalda's bounty. They lurk in the empty places of the world, but occasionally raise armies of corpses to conquer the world their master and creator once ruled.
The demon known as Thanatar was originally Tien, one of the many sons of the Devil, and leader of many armies in his father's name. His connection with Unlife came only when he was bested and decapitated by Hrothmir, Horned Hero of the Storm Bull. Lacking his head, but still living, Tien stole the head of his foe, and placed it on his neck.
Lacking any connection with life, Tien could not preserve the head, and so it rotted, leaving the monster to claim more and more heads, leaving a trail of decapitated bodies in his wake. The souls of those he had slain remained bound to their heads, becoming insane prisoners of Tien, and he plundered their minds for knowledge and magic. While eventually Than, as he had become known, was reunited with his head, becoming Thanatar, those evil enough to worship the severed god were taught the secrets of binding the souls of their victims within their severed heads, which they carry at their side.
Ty Kora Tek
Ty Kora Tek is the terrible aunt of Ernalda, and the goddess of the dead, the underworld and underground. Down beneath the world she waits for her kin to die, not out of maliciousness, but to be with them once more. Despite this, she is not a warm goddess, and her grim faced worshippers inspire silence wherever they walk.
Like Daka Fal, few would count this elder goddess among the deities of undeath, In fact it is often claimed that she never lets anyone escape her grasp. Despite this, her cult is known to summon and command the spirits of the dead. Her cultists also guard the Esrolian Necropoli, where the dead slumber, and have called them up to defend Esrolia from invaders like the Empire of Wyrm's Friends.
Urain is the bad wind, which sucks in air, rather than blowing it out, granting no nourishing rain, and releasing only monsters. The most infamous of these fiends are the Draugr, the damned slaves of the foul wind demon. Most often drawn from those foolish enough to worship Urain, Draugr are nothing more than rotting corpses, turned black and blue by age and decay, who stride forward with no breath to fill them. They possess no love, no honour, nothing but the gnawing desire for the souls of others.
Vivamort's original purpose was as guardian of Death, before it was known, deep within the Underworld. He betrayed his purpose when he aided the Trickster in taking Death out of its prison, to share amongst the world. After this, he is known as having met Grandfather Mortal and the slain sun when they entered hell, in a mockery of a psychopomp's role. In fact, for his treachery, Vivamort was sent out by the Sun into the world he had cursed. And so Vivamort became hunted, cursed by all who met him for his sins, even by the Devil itself, who destroyed his very self, leaving Vivamort on the cusp of annihilation from this wound.
Fearing the death he had wrought, Vivamort pledged himself to the Devil and Chaos, and was allowed to survive, but now forever more he hungered for life to fill the endless wound within him.
Those who Vivamort fed from were filled with the nothingness of the Devil's wound, and fearing death and oblivion they fed on others, becoming the first vampires, and the damned slaves of Chaos.
Amongst the Trolls the most commonly seen form of undead are the shambling corpses raised by the cult of Zorak Zoran. Despite often being divided by others into Skeletons and Zombies, the cult sees no difference between them, as both are animated by the same mindless demons of death summoned from Zorak Zoran's hell.
The bodies used for these monsters are recruited from the ranks of the cult's dead, and those of its victims. Unlike other trollish cults, no necrophagy is performed by members, both because of the desire for fresh corpses to bolster their ranks, and because of the truth that a hungry troll is an angry troll.
Zukozor is a minor demon of the trolls, said to have been a child of the Dark Earth, and a former lover of Kyger Litor. It is said when the first invaders crept into Wonderhome to plunder Subere's secrets, Zukozor let them escape, and so allowed the Burner to enter after them. For his crime of damning the trolls to pain and death, Zukozor was left behind in Wonderhome, where he had all cold and darkness burned out of him, leaving him as an empty shadow. Like this he crept after trolls, and fed upon their darkness to try and replenish his own, but his emptiness is eternal, and he ended up turning his victims into the Kozoru, named Shadow Vampires by humans. Like their creator, these fiends attempt to drain the darkness from others, but are never filled, merely creating further victims.