Dragonmarks 8-11-17: Xoriat

I’m on the road for the next few weeks. I’ll be continuing to write on the road, and I have lots of things planned – including more Phoenix support. But… I’m part of a monthly Eberron podcast called Manifest Zone. Our most recent episode focused on Xoriat and the Daelkyr, and this question came out of that… and it crept into my mind like a worm that wouldn’t leave until I wrote down the answer.

In the spirit of “If it has stats we can kill it,” what would an adventure to Xoriat look like? While “you cannot comprehend the nature of it” is good for illustrating the whirling madness of it all, it’s hard to work with as a setting.

I can’t answer this in detail until it’s legal for me to create a planar handbook, but I can at least share some basic thoughts. This is based on the original design and 3.5 lore; 4E did some odd things to try to merge Eberron with core cosmology and ignoring that.

To begin with: The Far Realm can be a useful source of inspiration, because it’s a very alien realm that produces aberrations and madness. But bear in mind that Xoriat is not the Far Realm. It’s not beyond reality. It is one of the thirteen planes that define reality; it is part of the planar orrery, and it touches and influences Eberron and all its inhabitants. It is defined by being alien and unknowable, a source of madness and inspiration. But it is still part of the underlying machinery of reality.

So with THAT in mind, consider the role it plays. Kythri is the churning chaos – which means that Xoriat isn’t about chaos. Instead, I see Xoriat as being a parallel to Dal Quor. I think you have islands of stability — regions that have coalesced around particularly powerful spirits, much as il-Lashtavar creates a central core in Dal Quor. These islands are surrounded by a sea of shifting reality – not entirely chaotic, but inexorably changing.

The islands are relatively stable. It’s on these islands that the Daelkyr have their domains, and where the mortal inhabitants – like the Illithids – have cities and communities. These regions aren’t chaotic;  they are alien. Consider an island where everything — buildings, food, the air — is alive. Perhaps you tell time by the shifting gravity; if you’re walking on the ceiling, that means it’s midday, while by evening you’ll be back on the floor. Apply Escher logic. Consider that many aberrations don’t need traditional food or water to survive; instead, a farmer may tend a field of misery. However strange these places are, you can come to understand them and learn their ways.

Out in the sea of madness, you can find almost anything. But here the key is to differentiate it from Dal Quor and its shifting dreams. Dreams generally have an internal logic; you may be giving a musical recital in your underwear, but the musical recital is something that actually happened in your past and being in your underwear is about some sort of issue you’re dealing with. The fringes of Xoriat don’t have any internal logic and aren’t drawn from your memories. They might be things you never imagined — or they could be revelatory insights that could either drive you made or change the way you look at reality. Consider the following…

  • A house built from hate. What does incarnated hate look like? You’ll have to decide, but the PCs innately know that’s what it is. Mirrors reflect the things you hate. Books in the house chronicle hateful deeds and people. And the longer you stay in it, the more you begin to hate the people around you… or yourself.
  • An endless void of empty white space. There is no end to this bleak solitude, and you know that this is what mortal existence is. To proceed, you must simply act out your travel, just as you pretend that the events of your life actually mean something. Eventually, if you convince yourself, you’ll find yourself in the world you’ve imagined.
  • A lush orchard. The trees grow secrets, and secrets buzz around in the air like tiny birds. Some of them may be your secrets, or those of your enemies. Others may be secrets of strangers, or secrets about the nature of reality. Think carefully before you listen to their songs.
  • Your home – the ooze-creche you were grown in when Kyrzin first made you. What, you thought you were adventurers? No, you’re cerebral oozes created by Kyrzin and loosed upon the world in ages past. You crawl into the minds of mortals and consume them, assuming their identities for as long as it’s useful, then moving to a new host. You’ve been a Dhakaani champion. You ate the mind of Malleon the Reaver. And then each of you consumed one of these adventurers. You compelled them to come together, knowing that they would finally be able to return you to your home, to the pools of primal slime where you were made. At last you can abandon this singular existence and return to the unifying ichor. So dive into the pool and let it all go. Or what? Can you truly continue as you did in the past, knowing that this person you think you are is simply a collection of residual memories and that you’re a thought-eating ooze with who knows how many alien instincts programmed into you?  To be clear: In all likelihood this is a delusion, not actual fact. But if you’re in a room full of oozes and you have clear memories of BEING an ooze and suddenly remember other lives – how do you KNOW if it’s true or not?

The trick here is to consider that these are things that could drive you mad. In the garden of secrets, any secret you listen to should have the capacity to deeply shake what you thought to be true… something that could literally break a lesser person. Can you handle the truth? While this could be secrets of people, it could also be universal truths. As a wizard, one of these secrets might show you a way to cast all spells as if you’d used a higher level spell slot – with the absolute knowledge that you are going to die in thirty years, and each time you cast a spell in this way you are cutting a year off your life. Again, a lesser wizard might be driven mad either by the revelation that magic is slowly killing us or that the time of your death is set or simply by the science involved. Perhaps your PC isn’t troubled by that… but are you going to use this magic? Conversely, you might have to deal with physical changes. Passing through a portal might cause your gender or race to flip, or shift the minds of the PCs into the bodies of the PCs sitting to their right. Touching something might cause a strange fungus to start spreading on your arm, slowly and inexorably. You know is consuming you and feeding off your memories, and that most everyone in your life are themselves hollow fungus slaves. What will you do?

Aside from this, you could have currents of madness that simply run through the entire realm. If a rage-storm hits, people who fail will saves might be driving into a murderous frenzy. Streams of sorrow flow through the air, and one drop can render you catatonic. Watch out!

You’ve mentioned in the past that there are things more powerful than the Daelkyr in Xoriat. How do you envision these entities? Like primordial Lovecraftian beings? Or like Thelanis´ Archfeys, but with alien agendas and rivalries?

These entities are the geography of Xoriat. They are vast and alien, and even the daelkyr are like fleas to them. We know they exist because the islands of stability are the side effect of their presence, reality shaped by the gravity of their spirits. If the Daelkyr are like the Kalaraq Quori – mighty masterminds with armies of followers – these beings are like il-Lashtavar. Too vast for us to interact with, but we know them by their impact on the plane.

With that said, I expect there are other entities that are on the same power level and cosmic scale as the Daelkyr who simply have no interest in physically traveling to other worlds. Like most planar immortals, these would represent some aspect of their plane. So looking to my example of maddening secrets, you could easily have something like the Cthaeh from Wise Man’s Fear – a static entity who is a repository of maddening knowledge, who has no agenda but who could be both extremely valuable and tremendously dangerous for anyone who encounters it.

A second question is: how is Mordain the Fleshweaver different from the Daelkyr? Why you should choose him as an enemy instead of a Daelkyr?

It’s a good question. I’ve written a number of articles about Mordain; here’s one that’s online. The thing about Mordain is that he operates on a smaller scale on every level. He’s essentially a mad scientist. He’s not trying to topple civilizations or transform the world; he’s engaging in interesting local experiments. Here’s one example of something he might do. He is one of the most powerful wizards on Khorvaire, but he’s still mortal – not an immortal incarnation that drives people insane by looking at them. His projects are generally going to show results in the short term, while the Daelkyr may set things in motion that won’t fully develop for thousands of years. He has a small army of creatures he’s made, but not the legions of aberrations that the Daelkyr have at their disposal.

Beyond this: I generally wouldn’t use Mordain as an enemy. He doesn’t leave his tower and has little interest in the world beyond using it as a test ground for his creations. I use him as an enigmatic third party – someone who could be an ally or a threat depending on how an experiment plays out. Is there a player who wants a character of a strange race? Maybe they were created by Mordain. Is there a disease that can’t be cured? Maybe Mordain can cure it – assuming he didn’t create it! An alliance with Mordain could give the Daughters of Sora Kell access to powerful living weapons – can you disrupt the alliance? You’ve found a rare magical resource that Mordain undoubtedly wants – what would you want from him in exchange?

Conversely, the Daelkyr have plans that have been in motion for millennia. They have vast armies at their disposal. They have hidden cults and can create new ones on the spur of the moment. We’ve suggested that they may have created the Dragonmarks – which means that it’s something that’s been unfolding for over two thousand years. Their actions could be small-scale – a cult causing trouble in a small town – or they could threaten entire civilizations.

Would the inhabitants of Xoriat are mindless undead and constructs as an affront, since their madness can’t touch them?

Here’s the thing: calling Xoriat “The Realm of Madness” reflects a biased mortal view. I don’t think the DAELKYR consider themselves to be lords of “Madness”. They might call Xoriat “the Realm of Revelations.” It is a fact that exposure to Xoriat typically drives mortals mad – but that’s because WE CAN’T HANDLE IT, not because that’s its purpose. Kyrzin is the Prince of Slime, not the Lord of Schizophrenia. The fact that his attention temporarily drives you mad and that you’ll go completely insane if you try to read his thoughts is incidental to him, a sign of your small mind as opposed to his right to drive you mad. I think Belashyrra would be more annoyed by the fact that a skeleton has no eyes than the fact that it doesn’t go insane.

Related to this: The wizard spell confusion is an enchantment with the sole purpose of disrupting a creature’s ability to think. Meanwhile, a Daelkyr has the ability to cause confusion at will. But in my opinion that’s NOT a “I will disrupt your thoughts now” ability: it’s literally that if the Daelkyr focuses its full attention on you, it breaks your brain. Your mind can’t handle the Daelkyr’s presence. So if the Daelkyr encounters a thinking creature who’s immune to mind-altering effects, I think it’s more likely to find it a novelty than to be outraged.

That’s all I have time for at the moment, but hopefully it gives you some ideas to work with. It’s not chaos, and it’s not a dream; it is madness. This can carry lies or revelations. It is a place where there is no concept of the impossible. And it is a place that you should not go.

32 thoughts on “Dragonmarks 8-11-17: Xoriat

  1. Hi Keith, great post as always. So this got me thinking about the nature of Xorait. In a previous article (not sure if it was on the blog or not) you mentioned the lords of Xorait not having a single form, but rather appearing diffrently depending on the creature looking upon it. In that vein, I would imagine a building of “hate” as you put it, not being a literal building of hate but rather a house which represents hate.

  2. So, So, so interesting. It would be interesting to find connection between known daelkyr and concepts that could drive you mad.
    The Prince of eyes is paranoia; the Lord of stone could be the fear of being buried alive.
    What Kyrzin is? Is it the phobia of germs and diseases?

    A second question is: how is moradin different from daelkyr? Why you should choose him as an enemy instead of a daelkyr?

    • A second question is: how is moradin different from daelkyr? Why you should choose him as an enemy instead of a daelkyr?

      I don’t understand the question. The only “Moradin” I know is the lawful good god of the Dwarves from Forgotten Realms, who doesn’t exist in Eberron. Did you mean something else?

    • I’d suggest Mordain is more like a mad scientist than a lovecraftian entity. He may be warped by the beings he has studied but you could definitely see his objectives and considerations as being on a more mortal level.
      (I don’t remember reading that Mordain himself was a devotee of any daelkyr cult. So his objectives are likely not in line with the cults of the dragon below or the Daelkyr themselves.)

  3. In the depiction of other planes of existence, we usually get a “family” of outsiders native to the plane. In the Great Wheel we have various celestials and fiends and the upper and lower planes respectively, and even in Eberron we have the indigenous Quori of Dal Quor.

    Do you see Xoriat having its own “phylum” of outsiders, like Dal Quor or other planes? If Daelkyr are “the Kalaraqs”, what do you think the Xoriat “equivalent” of the Tsucora would be? Or do you think Xoriat intrinsically has no grouping of outsiders with shared traits?

    • It’s not a question I’m prepared to answer without investing significantly more thought into the structure of Xoriat. I do feel that all planes have spirits of varying degrees of power – the reality-defining entities like il-Lashtavar, powerful beings like the Daelkyr or Kalaraq, lesser spirits, and in many cases mortal entities. However, I don’t believe that each plane treats these things as an innate HIERARCHY as you see in, say, Dal Quor – where weaker spirits serve those above them. There are surely lesser spirits in Xoriat, but they may have nothing to do with the Daelkyr; instead, the Daelkyr rely on their aberrant creations.

      It’s certainly something I’d love to fully explore when it’s legally possible to produce new Eberron material.

  4. I like to look at all the planes in eberron, and try to find the positive side of the “bad” planes, and the negative side of the “good” planes, because each plane is an aspect of reality, which means the aspect they embody contributes to reality in some way, and there surely must be good and bad elements to them all.

    When it comes to Xoriat, I tend to ascribe creativity, innovation, change on a “human” level as opposed to physical change, nonconformism, evolution, and other things in that vein. Am I totally wrong? Are there other positive, or at least neutral things Xoriat can embody?

    I like to use the Daelkyr in my games as these alien entities who’s actions don’t make much sense at all, but when you look at them over a long timescale, they tend to have the theme of changing people and societies – causing the hobgoblins civilization to collapse, creating the dragonmarks (not exactly Canon but that’s who I think is behind it), making cults, creating symbionts and other species. All these things change PEOPLE in some way, and some of the things they do don’t seem to be awful. I kinda view them as a bunch of grad students trying to get their PhDs, and what they’re doing in Eberron is their thesis. I hope I’m not too off base!

    • At the end of the day it’s up to the individual DM to decide, but everything you suggest here is in line with how *I* see it. Xoriat challenges the way people think. Sometimes that breaks people; other times it drives innovation or change.

      It’s always been my assertion that the Daelkyr aren’t conquerors or destroyers, but rather scientists and artists. I say “artists”, because some of their changes may not have a practical purpose – sheer destruction isn’t their goal, but neither are they necessarily trying to elevate or improve; they are following their own paths. It’s why I like the idea of them having created the Dragonmarks; they discovered the Prophecy and said “Well, what can we do with this?”

      • This just gave me an EXCELLENT idea for my campaign…

        The daelkyr have manipulated the prophecy and run a secret breeding program involving dragonmarked heirs and some aberrant dragonmarks, unmarked people, and others (unknown even to the participants) with a single goal in mind: to create an “aberrant” dragonmark that makes its wielder unbound by the draconic prophecy. At first it just makes them sorta like Guts from Berserk – with GREAT effort, they can go against the flow of fate and make their own destiny, but maybe mastering it make the person able to create and change paths of the prophecy just by existing!?
        But did the Daelkyr do this to have an agent that can’t be predicted? Did they hope to make it a “true” mark and spread it across Khorvaire, therefore screwing up the prophecy long term? Or did they just do it to see what happens? But no matter why they did it, the marks existence is making ripples, and every power bloc is VERY interested in either controlling, destroying, or studying it…

        This seems EXACTLY like something the Daelkyr would do – no matter why they did it or what happens, its going to make BIG waves. I can’t wait to get started on this…

  5. Excellent post and it whets my appetite for a book on the planes. One idea I’ve always liked is that part of Xoriat looks pretty much identical to Eberron, but the rules by which you apprehend and interact with it are different. I would represent this in the game by literally swapping the rules system for another one and not explaining it, preferably a game system with very different play assumptions than D&D or whatever we’ve been using such as a narrativist one that rewards players taking actions that narratively appropriate even if they would be subpar in a d20 game . Just give them new character sheets and start requesting die rolls in the new system. And then, as a way of emphasizing how the plane can cause madness, the PCs could find themselves stealthily deposited back on Eberron where the old system applies.

    The theme of madness with Xoriat is also a reason I like keeping dopplegangers and changelings discrete. Dopplegangers bring madness and paranoia with them, even when they are not stealing the identity of anyone. After all, can you prove that your mother who is acting a little differently lately NOT a doppleganger?

  6. Would the inhabitants of Xoriat are mindless undead and constructs as an affront, since their madness can’t touch them?

  7. It never occurred to me before that Xoriat is native to the Eberron cosmos. It is an interesting though, that it is part of the nature of reality to carry within it its own alienness.

  8. Keith Baker Haven’t read yet, but would a being from Xoriat die, be weakened or neutralized (an Abraxis Wren comic suggests so) or go even crazier if it were transported to Daanvi or Syrania? Do Flamers and Gatekeepers seek to channel energy from those planes against beings from Xoriat? Thanks!

    • That’s absolutely something you as a DM could use as part of a story if it fits your ideas and you think it’s cool. However, it’s definitely not a blanket rule of the setting, and not something I’d personally use, because…

      1. Syrania is Peace and Daanvi is order; but Xoriat is neither Chaos nor War, so it’s not like either plane is its absolute opposite. I can see asserting that specific locations within Daanvi or Syrania would restrict specific powers of ANY outsider – that there are places in Syrania where aggression is simply impossible for any being, for example. But that could be just as much of an imposition to a Rakshasa or a Quori as to a Daelkyr.

      2. The Silver Flame is an energy source specifically designed to bind and restrain evil spirits. It’s a force the followers of the Silver Flame have a direct connection to and centuries of experience working with. I could see a small order that’s experimenting with channeling the power of other planes, but that would be new and exotic, not standard practice.

      3. As for Gatekeepers… they’re DRUIDS. Greensingers aside, their magic draws upon EBERRON and the natural world. Eberron herself bound Khyber. The druids revere NATURE, and the Daelkyr are the antitheses of that. Essentially, I don’t see them HAVING to draw on other planes; the point is that Eberron herself has the power to bind or repel fiends, and that’s the source of the Gatekeeper’s power.

      But again, that’s MY opinion. If you like the sound of it, run with it.

      • As an aside, the creature in the Abraxis Wren comic was explicitly from *outside* of Eberron’s planar structure; it was a literally-lovecraftian-as-in-tied-to-Cthulhu entity in a cross-comic story series IDW ran. It had nothing to do with Xoriat except in a superficial resemblance and theme sorta manner.

        • That makes more sense. And sure, I could see being forced into the perfect order of Daanvi being disruptive to a chaotic entity with no foundation in Eberron’s reality.

  9. I could literally read your ideas for places you might encounter on Xoriat for pages. How do you feel Xoriat would affect Eberron as a manifest zone?

    I’m planning to use this very thing in my current game, but I must confess I’ve never fully grasped what a manifest zone really entails.

  10. One thing that strikes me about Xoriat compared to most treatments of these sorts of things: Xoriat is only ONE orbiting plane out of thirteen. This implies to me that there’s far less to Eberron that’s irrational and/or unknowable than there is that’s rational or knowable. That’s an inversion of cosmic horror’s underlying premise that anything we THINK is rational or knowable is a delusion of our unworthy excuses for minds and the actual physics of the universe are something way beyond us… at least, unless you actually visit Xoriat itself.

    • Isn’t that totally inline with the basic premise of Eberron? It’s a setting where the idea behind cosmic horror – that we are insignificant – is fundamentally wrong. The PCs DO matter. They can change the world, kick ass and take names. Look at the progenitor myth – Eberron wasn’t crushed under Khybers heel, quite the opposite – she actually restrained herself from attempting to kill him and trapped him within her instead. So even at the start of the universe, those big bad horrors are able to be defeated.

      The world of Eberron isn’t fundamentally hostile, Xoriat is part of the makeup of the material plane also so there is common ground for beings from the two planes to understand each other, at least on some level.

      Though, even though the setting isn’t DESIGNED for cosmic horror, there’s nothing stopping a DM from making it friendly to the genre. What about the primordial chaos reality was mad from? There has to be some unknowable big bads you could make up there. Or heck, you could use an incredibly alien creature from a different planet on the material plane! There’s still room for the genre in Eberron, even if the basic premise of the setting doesn’t exactly place nice with it.

    • Yes! This is something that strikes me as wrong too. Thank you for putting it in clear concise wording.
      In my own campaing, Xoriat is incorrectly labeled a plane and is actually the borderline between Eberronian’s cosmos and the vastness beyond.
      Though, I guess another way to treat this is that Xoriat is the realm of what wasn’t or isn’t. The discarded alienness of the universe. The remains of weirdness from before the Age of Dragons, compacted into a single trashcan of strangeness

      • It doesn’t strike me as wrong, given I like it that way and DON’T want the implications of cosmic horror in my games. What’s the fun in playing a detective in a setting where the entire concept of humans and similar beings understanding anything is fundamentally a cruel joke?

        Still, I also acknowledge that for people with different tastes than me, there also needs to be room for playing Xoriat a different way — though I’d definitely want fair warning about that kind of difference.

        • I know what you mean, but sometimes I’m in the mood for comsic horror. I definitely think that Eberron isn’t exactly the best place for it though, and it’s actually one of the things I love about the setting. I like was Keith said before, that an inhabitant of Xoriat would call it a place of Revelation, not madness. That made the whole place much easier for me to use be able to use, because of it being a generic scary lovecraftian acid trip dimension, it has a clear theme to it now

  11. Hi Keith. I love your ideas and the ones in this post are no exception.

    After having read a lot of your thoughts on the Planes I’m realizing that in your head, the planes are concept given shape. Like Syrania is peace and Fernia is fire, Dal Quor is dream and Daanvi is order.
    This has some … weird… consecuences. By that token, the planes are not really *designed* to be the plane of X or Y, but rather *defined* to be the plane of X or Y.

    This is rather odd for many reasons

    1. Many of this concepts (order and chaos, war, nature, fairy tales, madness, death) are human at their core and while a lot of the inteligent species of Eberron share a lot of this notions… they also have many of their own, very relevant to them and only barely important for humans. Bloodlust for vampires. The Prophecy for dragons. And on that topic, this is a dragon centric world! Shouldn’t there be a plane of mystic secrets and a plane that’s avarice?

    2. What *does* the plane of eberron represent and why is it in the center? Both metaphysically and also conceptually. And why does it not have any weird planar rule based on some concept?

    3. Many of the concepts are just not universal enough. Lots of magical beings don’t have a soul that dies and goes to Dolurrh, a mind that can dream or a concept of a fairy tale. Many of them are blind, so light and darkness are minimal concepts to them.

    4. I guess this all leads to the question of… does the plane create the concept or is the concept feeding the plane?
    Both answers feel somewhat wrong. In fact, in my personal Eberron, the plane happens to fit the concept somewhat very well, but then it’s mostly because the mortals created the concept after the plane.

    In the particular case of Xoriat, I would make it a somewhat psycosensitive plane that adopts those really really really awesome shapes you described by tapping into the mind of the traveler, unraveling it in the process. Therefore, the true Xoriat is never seen, but you may still see that place where gravity marks the hour of the day

    • All good questions, but not specifically tied to Xoriat. I’d like to address these in a second more general post about the planes, when I have time. If you haven’t read my posts on Thelanis, I suggest you do that, as it touches on some of these. A few quick points: Eberron isn’t the plane of anything; it’s explicitly the plane of EVERYTHING, the point at which the others overlap. Most critically, the concepts of the planes are broader than the simple terms used to define them. The point of this post is that Xoriat is about MORE than “madness”. It’s the plane of the alien and unknowable, of secrets you shouldn’t learn. Thelanis is about far more than the faerie tales humans tell. It is about the stories that shape all lives, and about the magic we want to exist in the world. Mabar isn’t the concept of PHYSICAL darkness. It is about entropy, the darkness that seeks to consume the light, about the shadow cast by every flame and far more. The vampire’s hunger IS the hunger of Mabar – because it is Mabar that sustains all negative undead, and what keeps them from the dissolution of Dolurrh.

      I could go into far more detail and I’d like to when I have time. But the short form is: mortals didn’t create the planes. Mortals aren’t equally influenced by every plane. The planes are more complex than their titles suggest – but there also ISN’T a plane for every possible concept in existence.

      • Hi Keith! Thanks for your reply

        I did read your articles on Thelanis. In fact, it was the first thing I read from this site and I pretty much made everything on in cannon on my campaing and used it to flesh out two PCs with fey ancestry whose background I had yet to flesh out.

        The funny thing is that, on the topic of Xoriat, I did already had some canon explanation for the plane. In my campaign, Xoriat is the limit between this 3 dimensional, 1 time-axis cosmos and … something much weirder.
        Now, this concept kind of coincides with yours except for a few things. Maybe this part is the most important one for me:
        Is Xoriat influenced by the Prophecy?

        My Campaing requires it not to, but I’m curious on your take.

        • Is Xoriat influenced by the Prophecy?

          In MY campaign, the Draconic Prophecy is specifically tied to EBERRON. The planes may be factors in it – IE, a conjunction of five coterminous planes might mark an important moment in the Prophecy – but events within the planes themselves aren’t impacted or predicted by the Prophecy. If they were, you’d definitely see more outsiders taking an interest in Eberron; as it is, the Prophecy shapes and is shaped by events within Eberron.

          In part, this comes back to the idea that Eberron is at the center, because it’s NOT tied to any one concept. It’s a place where a war can begin… and then end. While in Shavarath, the balance of power can shift, but no one will ever WIN the Immortal War – and Syrania will always be peaceful. When change does come to a plane, it’s generally on an epic scale like the Turning of the Age in Dal Quor… and once it happens, the new configuration may stay in place for tens of thousands of years.

  12. May be a silly idea. There are undead animated by mabar. There is the court in arenal animated by irian. Could we have “undead” animated by xoriat?

    • There are undead animated by mabar. There is the court in arenal animated by irian. Could we have “undead” animated by xoriat?

      Traditionally, undead are defined as being animated by negative energy – which covers almost all undead – or by positive energy, which covers the Deathless and a few other creatures. This determines how clerical turning affects them and other things. Mabar is the source of negative energy; Irian is the source of positive energy. Positive and negative energy have defined effects within D&D, including the creation of undead.

      If you want to have a corpse animated by the energies of another plane, you’d have to decide how you define the energy of that plane; how it interacts with clerical turning; etc. Mabaran undead typically drain energy from living creatures. What would these Xoriat “undead” do?

      So sure, you could do it. But they wouldn’t be “undead” in the normal sense; they’d be something else, and you’d have to decide what that is.

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