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 Lich or Vampire or Magic jar body leaping
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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1577 Posts

Posted - 17 Jul 2018 :  17:36:26  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

But the best option isn't listed here: some sort of artificial body. Give yourself a shiny new steel body, for example, and you've not got the vampiric weaknesses, your fingers aren't going to fall off in a few centuries, you've not got a soft squishy body that needs to be replaced every few decades, and you don't have the need to eat or rest that vampires and off-the-shelf mortals have. The right mix of protection spells or a simple blueshine treatment, and you could tap dance on a rust monster without worry.


Being satisfied with a shiny steel body requires that one lack entirely any sort of sensual interest. Yes, it will allow you to extend existence to further intellectual interests, but it would probably come at a high price for the vast majority of people.

Vampires have weaknesses, but they might still taste, touch, covet and crave. It's easy to imagine them savouring blood like a feast and fine vintages, sensuously enjoying the embrace of their victim and even glorying in the heady ecstacy of imbying the life energy. It's a twisted form of sensuality, but at least you still feel.

But a living body is even better, of course. What's the point of living when you'll never know the feel of sun on your skin, the softness of silk sheets, the luxurious relaxation of warm springs or saunas, the exquisite tastes of your favourite food and drink, the thrill of a new lover's body or the familiar comfort and affection of cuddling with an old one?

For that matter, how much of the experience when we enjoy art, poetry, literature or intelligent conversation is founded in emotional responses that require a physical body to generate? Without glands, hormones, dopamine receptors and the biochemical mechanisms of a living body, would we even be capable of deriving pleasure from our hobbies and interests? Would we want anything? Be fulfilled by any accomplishments?

Vampires seem to mimic a lot of the physical responses that mortals experience. They are, in many ways, the most life-like undead, with all the flaws and weaknesses this implies. They can suffer pain, grief, terror and hunger, which many other undead seem above. But, then again, maybe that implies that they are also capable of moments of happiness as well, despite their unnatural state.

For my part, I hope that I would not be tempted to steal the souls, lives or energy of others to keep me young, or their bodies to take over. Doing that would mean that I had trouble liking myself and that seems like no way to live. But I'm pretty sure that life as a pure intellect locked inside an unfeeling metal shell wouldn't be much of a temptation in any case. Not enough quality of life. Better non-existence than a pale imitation of life, serving mostly to remember bygone pleasures, never to be experienced again.

The Ancient Greek and Near Eastern versions of 'hell' seem pretty awful to me. A grey existence mimicking life, but without any of the things that give it purpose.

Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!

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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
31633 Posts

Posted - 17 Jul 2018 :  18:56:53  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Taken in that regard, a constructed body is no different than an undead one.

But the folks that choose undeath generally aren't interested in sunny days and nookie -- they're going for a purely intellectual existence.

So if the objective is a purely intellectual existence, which is the better option -- the body that's going to fall apart, or one that will still be the same centuries down the road?

However, you undercut your own arguments by referring to the "biochemical mechanisms of a living body" -- and yet the vampires you also cite experience all the things you mention, without that living body.

Look at some of the other issues with undead bodies. How does a skeleton move without muscles and ligaments attached to its bones? How does a lich see without eyes? How does that same lich speak without lungs to push air past the also absent vocal chords, and without the mouth and lips to shape the words?

If the mechanisms of undeath can provide ways for dead bodies to continue to move and speak and see and hear, surely touch and emotion are simple matters.

With undead beings that are known to be capable of thought, why are we assuming that only part of their brains are working?

Now, getting back into my theoretical artificial body -- golems and intelligent magical items are capable of perceiving the world around them, despite the lack of eyes to see, nerves to carry the visual input, and brains to process it. And despite the lack of any physical means of doing so, golems and a lot of constructs -- intelligent and unintelligent -- are still capable of moving around.

So if solid stone or forged iron can be made to flex and move as if hinged and flexible, and if an intelligent dagger can see without eyes, then magic is clearly providing the means for these things.

And if magic can do all that for both formerly living bodies and for inanimate objects, then surely something as simple as a sense of taste or touch can also be magically recreated.

In a world where constructs and the undead can function the same as living bodies, the presence of life is unnecessary for what we consider to be biological functions.

Heck, even in the real world, scientists are working on giving prosthetic devices a sense of touch.

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The Masked Mage
Great Reader

USA
2043 Posts

Posted - 17 Jul 2018 :  23:59:51  Show Profile  Send The Masked Mage an AOL message  Click to see The Masked Mage's MSN Messenger address Send The Masked Mage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It is fantasy remember - Data on star trek was "Fully Functional" and "Programmed in multiple techniques."
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LordofBones
Senior Scribe

837 Posts

Posted - 18 Jul 2018 :  01:19:51  Show Profile Send LordofBones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm reminded of that time Xykon snapped and murdered the waitress because lichdom had robbed him of the ability to taste his coffee.
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Thraskir Skimper
Learned Scribe

200 Posts

Posted - 18 Jul 2018 :  03:53:26  Show Profile Send Thraskir Skimper a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There is another very effective intellectual body. Comes from the cursed Magic item that many find and celebrate. The Ring of Gaseous Form. As long as you are wearing your magic items ahead of putting the Ring of gaseous form on, have your silent spell feat or vocalise spell & still spell feat or ring or spell of telekineses. Otherwise you won't be casting spells or touching anything. But you are immune to mundane items and attacks. Don't age don't really die depends how one considers the ring to work. You are not incorporeal or ethereal nor are you undead. You don't breath but can be pushed by strong winds faster than 1" movement but the wind causes no damage. Haste or cast fly on yourself and you should be able to move faster, Overland Flight to quadruple your speed for 1 hour / lvl.

In gaseous form you are susceptible to spells positive and negative. Not sure what stoneskin or barkskin or iron body will do. Polymorph spells, shapechange, invisibility...

Lots of fun.

Thay Red

Edited by - Thraskir Skimper on 18 Jul 2018 04:27:09
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The Masked Mage
Great Reader

USA
2043 Posts

Posted - 18 Jul 2018 :  04:26:37  Show Profile  Send The Masked Mage an AOL message  Click to see The Masked Mage's MSN Messenger address Send The Masked Mage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Never seen anything that said assuming gaseous form delays the aging process. I can see the argument both ways.
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Balmar Foghaven
Learned Scribe

Canada
103 Posts

Posted - 18 Jul 2018 :  15:23:40  Show Profile Send Balmar Foghaven a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Oh there's also the "Boon of Immortality" in the 5e DMG, under the rewards section. I mean it's an in-game mechanical bonus rather than an actual existing-in-lore one, but it's not a far stretch to say that a character has been blessed (or cursed) by their deity to have an unnaturally long lifespan.

"Despair not, for in the end all things shall work out for the best - in at least one timeline."
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The Masked Mage
Great Reader

USA
2043 Posts

Posted - 20 Jul 2018 :  03:11:28  Show Profile  Send The Masked Mage an AOL message  Click to see The Masked Mage's MSN Messenger address Send The Masked Mage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
That is basically what being a chosen is in my mind. Everyone other than the chosen think it a boon... after a few centuries the chosen think it a curse.
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Thraskir Skimper
Learned Scribe

200 Posts

Posted - 21 Jul 2018 :  02:07:41  Show Profile Send Thraskir Skimper a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by The Masked Mage

That is basically what being a chosen is in my mind. Everyone other than the chosen think it a boon... after a few centuries the chosen think it a curse.



That is because your always just a lackey.

Thay Red
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The Masked Mage
Great Reader

USA
2043 Posts

Posted - 21 Jul 2018 :  03:38:25  Show Profile  Send The Masked Mage an AOL message  Click to see The Masked Mage's MSN Messenger address Send The Masked Mage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
No, its not because you're a "lackey." Its because death is the thing that makes life worthwhile; the knowledge that any moment might be your last makes every moment more precious. The ties one builds to people and places and things creates the illusion of permanence and gives one a place. What happens when time wipes that all away? They can't die, but they also can't really live. All the Chosen are left with is the purpose their god gives them.

My first real introduction to this idea was the portrayal of the TV show Roar. The characterization of Longinus was brilliant. God would not let him die - he was cursed for eternity for killing Christ. The same idea came back almost immediately in Dracula 2000 in which Dracula is revealed to be Judas Iscariot, and his undeath was his eternal curse for betraying Christ.

Same thing with the flying dutchman . Examples of the curse of immortality are all over if you look for them.
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Thraskir Skimper
Learned Scribe

200 Posts

Posted - 21 Jul 2018 :  20:26:09  Show Profile Send Thraskir Skimper a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by The Masked Mage

No, its not because you're a "lackey." Its because death is the thing that makes life worthwhile; the knowledge that any moment might be your last makes every moment more precious. The ties one builds to people and places and things creates the illusion of permanence and gives one a place. What happens when time wipes that all away? They can't die, but they also can't really live. All the Chosen are left with is the purpose their god gives them.

My first real introduction to this idea was the portrayal of the TV show Roar. The characterization of Longinus was brilliant. God would not let him die - he was cursed for eternity for killing Christ. The same idea came back almost immediately in Dracula 2000 in which Dracula is revealed to be Judas Iscariot, and his undeath was his eternal curse for betraying Christ.

Same thing with the flying dutchman . Examples of the curse of immortality are all over if you look for them.




Great a death cultist.

Thay Red
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