When most people think of The Undead
, they tend to think of the formerly human rising up from their graves or something similar.
This trope, on the other hand, is about those whose life started out "fantastic
" even before they joined the ranks of the dead. Whether they were an Elf
, a Dragon
, a Demon
, or even something completely divorced from reality
, the one thing common among them is that they're all dead (or at least resemble some combination of some sort of traditional undead and its own base species) and still kicking.
You may even see an Undead God. In that case, run, run as fast as you can.
See Raising the Steaks
for undead animals (where examples of such should go there instead of here).
See Hybrid Monster
, when two living
fantasy species are combined. Contrast Hybrid Overkill Avoidance
. Also, compare Mechanical Monster
and Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot
The Grim Reaper
and other Psychopomps
can be one, depending on their origin.
is a specific subtrope when the creature turns out to have been a dragon.
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Anime and Manga
- Asto in Nora. Knell likes making familiars from dead demons.
- InuYasha has had undead demons. They tend to get fleshier the more strength they recover.
- One chapter of The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service had the gang dealing with the ghost of an alien.
- Black Sheep involves zombie sheep who turn humans into weresheep.
- In one of The Dresden Files books, Harry encounters an extremely strong ghost he calls the Nightmare, and suspects it's one of these. Specifically the ghost of the demon serving the sorcerer Leonid Kravos, an old enemy of his that he'd defeated offscreen at some point. He later learns that the ghost is Kravos himself, whose death had been concealed from him.
- Animal zombies are possible and are even non-violations of the Laws of Magic, but no one bothers because it's a very dark gray area and they're usually far less powerful than human dead anyway. However, there's also a rule that states that the older the corpse is, the more powerful it is, so there was this time Harry pulled out his trump card against a necromancer Big Bad. Two words: Zombie Tyrannosaurus.
- A Song of Ice and Fire gives us the Others, who are humanoid enough, and their wights, who are basically their victims risen as zombies. They don't just raise humans, however, and ride horses who are described as having their entrails frozen to their bellies. And if that wasn't bad enough, the rangers at the Battle of the Fist have to deal with a zombie bear.
- Xanth has featured zombie versions of just about everything, at one time or another.
- The Zombie Apocalypse in The Rising and City of the Dead has demonic spirits animating pretty much every corpse over a certain size, human and otherwise. Most notably, one character is killed by a zombie sewer crocodile biting his head off, while the last two humans are offed by zombie rats.
- Dungeons & Dragons
- The Dracolich (Lich dragon), which originated in the Forgotten Realms (it can now be found in most settings). There are also vampire, ghost, zombie, and skeleton dragons.
- The groaning spirit (banshee) is the "spirit of an evil female elf".
- Ravenloft introduced vampires created from non-human creatures such as elves, dwarves, gnomes, halflings and even Dragonlance's kender. Although to be exact, it's more that they gave them variant powers and weaknesses, as most of these races already could be turned into vampires.
- The death tyrant is an undead beholder.
- The adventure I2 Tomb of the Lizard King had a lizard king who was changed into a vampire by a Wish spell.
- Orcus, the demon lord of the undead/occasional Undead God. Although as of late he's mostly alive. And PISSED.
- Atropals are the undead fetuses of unborn gods (colloquially referred to as Undead Aborted God Fetuses).
- Vampire Mind Flayers suck blood with their tentacles. Fortunately (maybe), vampirism destroys most of their intelligence and turns them into animalistic predators. Also, alhoon are mind flayer liches. They keep all their mental faculties; they need them for spells and psionics.
- And zombies and skeletons can be made from just about anything that leaves a corpse. In fact, many types of undead in 3rd Edition are created though applying a template to an existing creature, so you can wind up with medusa vampires, giant mummies, beholder ghosts, gnoll death knights, and many, many other combinations.
- Necromentals are undead elementals.
- Visages are undead, raised from outsiders (this is a type of creature, including, but not limited to, angels, demons, devils and most servants of gods).
- Bloodfiends are vampire demons.
- Kyuss, The Worm That Walks, created many types of those (in addition to his better-known worm-infested zombies), usually in the form of gigantic vermin like scorpions or, well, worms.
- In Eberron, the Elves of Aerenal have their own versions of undead called the Deathless. These act as their rulers through the Undying Court, and are animated by positive energy rather than the usual Negative energy used by regular undead. Similarly, Forgotten Realms has baelnorns, a type of good-aligned elf liches.
- And many, many monsters that are considered as undead but were not living creatures at all (like nightshades), are composed from many creatures, or are specifically created from nonhumans.
- Warhammer 40,000 gives us the normal variant of undead, Undead Daemons created from the souls of those killed (NOT turned into the undead) by the undead plague, undead statue robots (wraithguard and wraithlords) Undead Wizard Statue Robots (Wraithseer and Warlock Titans). Undead Robots (necrons) and Undead Mecha (Dreadnoughts to a degree and Nurgle Titans). Surprisingly no Undead Dragons (then again, their fantasy counterpart fills in whatever holes it has).
- Warhammer Fantasy Battle has a Regiment of Renown (a mercenary unit with unique rules) made of a cursed undead warrior and the enemies he had killed. The miniature sculptors had a field day devising skeletal versions of many of Warhammer's races.
- Shadowrun has a number of metahumans affected by HMHVV (Human Meta-Human Vampiric Virus), its equivalent of undead. They include the banshee (former elf), goblin (former dwarf), wendigo (former ork) and dzoo-noo-qua (former troll).
- It should be pointed out that HMHVV infectees are not actually undead. They are mutants, yes, but not undead. As one of the fundamental laws of magic in Shadowrun is that you cannot raise the dead, "True" undead do not exist. Most undead are either dead bodies animated by magic (Think fleshy, magical robots), or possessed by something. The Sheddim (Corpses possessed by spirits from the far planes) are one such examples. As are Zombies (Corpses animated by mages). Cyberzombies are people kept artificially alive through cybernetics, magic, drugs and spirits. Their body is technically "dead", all that mojo is needed to keep it going. Note that all the above can be metahuman, or not.
- In the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game, there are quite a few non-human undeads, including the variants of legacy cards (i. e. Summoned Skull -> Archfiend Zombie Skull, Red Eyes Black Dragon -> Red Eyes Zombie Dragon, etc.). Early non-human cards classed as zombies included dragons, boats, and clowns (what?).
- GURPS has the Zombie Vehicle spell which is designed with spaceships in mind.
- Magic: The Gathering has an immense number of these, mostly various types of zombie. Zombie goblins, centaurs, plants and fungi have all been seen as base cards. And because cards exist that resurrect creatures and give them the zombie subtype, any kind of creature in the game can theoretically be raised as zombies, from skeletons and ghosts to elementals and artifacts. It's probably best not to think too hard about it.
- Exalted gives us the Neverborn, who are what happens when the architects of all Creation are killed. As they never foresaw themselves as dying, the cycle of reincarnation can't possibly fit them, so they're stuck fettered to Creation and suffering from eternal gangrene of the soul. Which would explain why they want everything else to die, as that would free them to die as well.
- The New World of Darkness - particularly Geist: The Sin-Eaters - gives us the Chthonians, mysterious, powerful things that live in the depths of the Underworld. No one actually knows what they are, but speculation paints them as the ghosts of entities that lived long before humanity walked the earth.