Today I just want to muse a bit about lands of the dead. I had a strange thought the other night where I saw a PC heading into a room to speak to an animated corpse about an adventure in my mind…
One of the worlds I created involved the idea that gods are wandering the world and mortals fight over where they hang their hat for a time. Signs saying “This God Slept Here” (like “George Washington Slept Here”) would only be the tip of the iceberg.
In a world where the gods walk the mortal realms alongside regular folk, do you suppose that death may work differently than in other places? I do. Imagine for a moment a cosmology where the lands of the dead and the living are one in the same. Where do the dead go? How crowded must that world be?
Let’s explore this world a bit further.
In our own world there are theories regarding alternate dimensions overlapping our own. Perhaps in this fantasy world we have a similar situations where the spirits of the dead can move on to a different dimension after death or remain bound to the physical dimension with a particularly strong will or a bit of magical aid.
If the gods exist here, perhaps it’s their task to escort the spirits of the dead on their way. Or perhaps they can be bribed or negotiated with to play a bit more loosely with the concept of death itself.
The idea of liches as repositories for arcane knowledge would not only be more possible, but more probable. Selfish wizards may choose to hold on to their scholarly learning forever or stick around to teach their methods to further generations of spell casters.
If there are liches on the arcane side, what about the spirits of the faithful? Saints and martyrs might have a bit more juice to aid the flock after death, with the ability to manifest before true followers and continue their good works.
Burial practices may become extremely important. Burning of bodies may be required to eliminate not only any disease, but anchors for the spirit to return to. Or entire rituals may exist to keep bodies from decomposing so the dead can come visit from time to time. Banishing of spirits may be a full time job as ghosts remain stuck in the world without a shell to call home…
Characters would have the ability to speak with the dead in many different ways. Some may even seek them out in the physical realm while others may be harder to contact. Some may haunt the world seeking revenge or closure. And different times of year may offer opportunities for the spirit dimension and the physical dimension to become thin so the living can commune with the dead who have moved on.
Thanks for bearing with this meandering post. Definitely some food for thought!