Just in time for Halloween, here’s a frightful fellow from folklore. He’s just the thing to spring on players who are a little too cavalier about looting old tombs! Students of old tales will notice the echoes of some familiar stories in the adventure seeds that follow…
A restless corpse arisen to retrieve its property
NO. ENCOUNTERED: 1
HD: 4 (d12)
ATTACKS: 1 grasp (1d4+4), or 1 weapon (by weapon type+4)
SPECIAL: Unnatural Strength, Faultless Tracker, Obsession, Undead Immunities, Darkvision 60′
INT: Average – Genius (as in life)
ALIGNMENT: Neutral Evil
TYPE: Undead (Unique)
A Reclaiming Revenant is a reanimated corpse, returned to claim something from the living. Those who carelessly despoil burial grounds, or otherwise steal from the dead, have reason to fear the Reclaiming Revenant. Sometimes, the dead rise not just to reclaim rightful property stolen from them, but also to take things that they never actually possessed, but always wanted. If their corpse still retains flesh and bone, however rotted, the soul of such a person may come to re-inhabit the body. The reanimated corpse will rise from its grave, and set out to claim its property. If it succeeds, the Reclaiming Revenant will then return to the grave.
The Reclaiming Revenant is entirely focused on fulfilling its desire. It will not attack anyone not connected with taking the object, unless they try to hinder it in some way. If that happens, the obstructing people will be mercilessly slain. Regardless of their Alignment in life, all Reclaiming Revenants become Neutral Evil.
When first encountered by a guilty person, the Reclaiming Revenant will softly ask the location of its property. Sometimes, the Reclaiming Revenant will visit, but not actually attack, for several successive nights, giving its victim the chance to surrender the Revenant’s property. Other times, the creature will quickly grow impatient and repeat the question several times, in a progressively louder voice, until it screams. If it is refused, or lied to, the Revenant will mercilessly attack.
If the object of a Reclaiming Revenant’s search is voluntarily returned to it, either by being given to the corpse, or placed on or in its grave, the creature will usually be satisfied. If for some reason the object of the Revenant’s search can never be returned to it, it will kill everyone involved in the loss. On rare occasions, a Reclaiming Revenant will kill all guilty parties, whether or not they return its property.
Destroying the physical body of a Reclaiming Revenant is sometimes futile, as the inhabiting soul may eventually return as an even more fearsome Ghost.
Combat: Most Reclaiming Revenants attack by grasping with their unnaturally strong hands, either strangling their prey, or breaking bones and twisting flesh. Those Revenants who were buried with weapons, however, will use them instead. The Revenant will not attack before asking the location of the object of its desire. Once a Reclaiming Revenant attacks, it will always continue until either it is destroyed, or its target is dead.
Unnatural Strength: A Reclaiming Revenant has an effective Strength score of 20. It receives a +4 bonus to all relevant rolls, including to-hit rolls, melee damage determination, Saving Throws and ability checks.
Faultless Tracker: The guilty can never escape a Reclaiming Revenant. The creature will always be able to find those responsible for taking whatever the Revenant wants, wherever they go. Strangely, however, the creature cannot automatically locate the actual object of its desire. For that reason, the Revenant will always demand to be told where that object is.
Obsession: The Reclaiming Revenant cares only about the object it has arisen to claim. Attempts to engage it in conversation on other topics are fruitless. Short of such things as an Exorcism, Limited Wish, Wish, or Raise Dead, the Revenant can never be directed away from its task. Even if Turned by the faith of a Cleric, the creature will only stop temporarily. If put into chains, the Revenant will still attempt to bust free and resume its hunt. If the creature’s body loses limbs but has not received enough damage to destroy it permanently, whatever remains will continue to move and attack as best it can.
The banker’s young widow had been forced to marry him, in order to pay off her family’s debts. She was therefore overjoyed when her disgusting husband died. Now her family claims he has returned from the dead, killed his former wife’s lover, and abducted her to his tomb. The family offers a rich reward to anyone who is brave enough to enter the tomb and get her back.
The Golden Princess was renowned for her hair made of actual gold, the gift of a Fairy. After the PCs are hired to exhume her body and steal the hair for the collection of a wealthy patron, she returns to claim it and punish those involved in its theft.
A once famous knight was buried with his magical sword, thereafter needed to help defeat a supernatural evil marauding across the countryside. The jealous spirit of the knight doesn’t care about the worthy motives of the PCs, so after they steal his sword from his grave he rises to take it back. Hopefully, the PCs can manage to use the sword to defeat the supernatural evil, before the Reverent of the knight prevents them.
The local church has decided to send soldiers to extort more religious taxes out of its flock. Out of desperation, the now destitute family of one of the PCs resorts to eating the guts of a recent burial. The corpse, however, objects to the loss of its organs. When the PC returns home to his starving family, he must protect them from the Revenant, now come to get back its innards. Since they can’t return its consumed organs, the Revenant will simply kill the family if it can.