Instances of human souls returned to the world in animal bodies are widespread in folklore, particularly in Gaelic stories.
The restless spirit of a dead person, returned in animal form
NO. ENCOUNTERED: 1 (Rarely 1-6)
SIZE: As Animal Form
HD: As Animal Form
MOVE: As Animal Form
AC: As Animal Form
ATTACKS: As Animal Form
SPECIAL: As Animal Form, plus Undead Immunities, Speak, Persistent Return, Release
TYPE: Undead (Extraordinary)
TREASURE: Equal To HD
XP: As Animal Form, + 50% of Base Award
In certain rare circumstances, souls who are unable to experience the peace of death return in the bodies of animals. Bound to the mundane world by some overwhelming desire, such Zoomorphic Revenants often take forms symbolic of their obsessions. Savage bandits sometimes return as wolves, while a glutton may be trapped in the form of a hog, and a loyal guardsman might come back as dog. Some tales even claim that if an animal feeds upon the body of a person who has not been buried in consecrated ground, the soul may be absorbed into the body of the beast. A third possible way that a Zoomorphic Revenant might be created is through the magic of the Reincarnate spell.
A Zoomorphic Revenant is a fully corporeal being, with most of the same abilities and characteristic of a normal animal. It is an Undead creature, however, possessed of human intelligence and the power of speech. It’s human soul retains all the memories of its previous life. A Zoomorphic Revenant can easily be mistaken for a Demoniac Beast, but a Zoomorphic Revenant never suffers from the horrible bodily distortions typical of the demonically possessed. Nonetheless, its form may display some physical characteristic suggestive of its previous body.
It is possible for a Zoomorphic Revenants to manifest as a collective swarm of flies, rats, or other such vermin, rather than as a single animal.
Combat: Zoomorphic Revenants have the same attacks as their animal forms. Of course, their human intelligence makes them far more dangerous opponents than any ordinary beast. Furthermore, Zoomorphic Revenants are fully aware that they can not be permanently destroyed through violence, although normal weapons appear to harm the flesh of their bodies. Therefore, a Zoomorphic Revenenant will never retreat, unless faced with a holy man or magician who seems powerful enough to undo them.
Speak: Whatever the present shape of a Zoomorphic Revenant, the creature can speak in the voice it possessed in its previous human life.
Persistent Return: A Zoomorphic Revenant’s animal body can apparently be killed, but the creature will simply reform and return at full strength the next night. Likewise, while a Zoomorphic Revenant does not regenerate during combat, any damage done to it’s physical body will be completely healed every nightfall. Zoomorphic Revenants who are Polymorphed, Shapechanged, or otherwise magically transformed will simply be returned to their animal forms upon the next sunset. There are only a few ways to stop this Persistent Return:
- A “Destroy” result on a Turning Attempt.
- A Resurrection, True Resurrection, Limited Wish, Wish, Alter Reality, or Distort Reality spell.
- Performing a specific action which releases the restless soul.
Release: The Release of a Zoomorphic Revenant is an action that, if ever performed, will actually cause its demise. Typical Releases may be proper burial of the Revenant’s human corpse, the delivery of a lost love letter, or the avenging of a murder. Some very evil Zoomorphic Revenants are only satisfied by the commission of a pointless atrocity, however. Many Zoomorphic Revenants will try to make their Releases known, so they can be at peace. Some grow to enjoy their animal existence, and will try to hide their Releases.
A Knight is amazed at the fine warhorse that he has recently acquired – braver, more devoted, and far more intelligent than should be possible. Only after a month of perfect service does the horse shock the Knight by announcing that he is actually the Revenant of a stable boy who always dreamed of being a Knight himself. If the Knight ever performs the Accolade upon his new horse, then the soul of the stable boy will be released to final rest. The boy will only be satisfied by obtaining Knighthood if it is legitimately earned through true bravery in battle, so he will suggest a number of adventures so he can prove himself.