Undead Clerics in 13th Age

I don’t mind stealing flesh
From the hides of decadence.

–Temple of the Darakhul, “Hunger Strike”

You can thank MTV Live for infecting my brain while I was sick, if you like the horrible mashup in the epigram.

But my musings on sickness were for last post. This time around, I want to focus on player-characters in 13th Age who were living, died, and live again. Not in a warboy way, but in the way of the living dead. As part of the 12 Days of Cleric-mas, I thought it important to muse on how to accommodate the possibility of an undead cleric in 13th Age.

The Midgard setting that I’ve been mining introduces a couple of PC race options that are not among the living: the darakhul and some goblins of the Ghost Goblin tribe. In both cases, a living individual either contracted a disease (darakhul fever) or took part in a ritual (Ghost Goblins), and were reborn after death with their faculties still fully in place. It’s a type of character that has become prominent in pop culture of late — iZombie being the most recent I can think of — where the trope of the mindless and terrifying undead character is portrayed in a way that subverts their traditional role.
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Midgard Heroes for 13th Age: Darakhul

‘Twas the night before Cleric-mas, camped near the lake,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mist drake;
Except for the party’s darakhul cleric,
Because the living dead never sleep a lick.

Next week begins the ’12 Days of Cleric-mas,’ a series of posts in the vein of 13th Age Monthly, but with a sillier name. Oh, and they’re all focused around new domains, spells, and possibilities for playing clerics in 13th Age.

A couple of the posts reference undead player-characters, due to the fact that I’m drawing from the Midgard setting for inspiration. This setting, published by Kobold Press, is a little more far-flung and Grimm than a lot of Western F20 settings. Its take on deities and how they overlap amongst cultures is what grabbed my attention.

Before I get to the clerics, though, I’m spending a moment on the darakhul, the high-functioning ghouls of Midgard whose subterranean empire is a constant threat to the above-ground world.  Continue reading