Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Carry Me Home to the Fire

The undead are a tremendous problem in The Metal Earth. The magical and technological detritus of a thousand, thousand different vanished civilizations have created a world in which a corpse can rise up to terrorize the living in any number of different ways. Coming back from the dead, or rising, as it is popularly called is one of the greatest fears of the age.

This problem is primarily addressed through the near universal mortuary practice of cremation. However, people don't always die at home or even within the confines of the cities.
For most sentients it is nearly unthinkable to allow a loved one to face the possibility of risings and families will often impoverish or even bankrupt themselves to make certain that a relative's corpse is recovered and carried home for burning.

Rates charged for corpse recovery vary from place to place; 500gp is usually the starting price for any such expedition; sometimes if the body has been lost in an especially dangerous region the price can exceed ten times this amount.

Obviously, corpse recovery can provide opportunity for adventurers looking to earn a little (or a lot of) coin. However, aside from the risk inherent in travel outside the cities, there is also a social stigma. Corpse handling is seen as the lowest sort of task and those that engaged in recovery may find themselves unable to spend their coin in respectable establishments as they will have been relegated to the lowest caste of society- the Burners, perhaps the only group seen to be less desirable than humans (although not nearly as subject to hate motivated violence).

Special thanks to Boulet at the therpghaven.