Requiem

Requiem
Planetoid

Planetary Characteristics:
Ovoid earth-type body
50 miles diameter along major axis
14 day rotation cycle

Requiem orbits outside of Bral, about 1-3 days away, depending on the speed of the vessel being used to make the trip. Bral is about 20 degrees behind Requiem. Their relative velocities are not zero. Given time, Bral will eventually overtake and pass Requiem, but any significant change in their relative positions will take several millenia. Functionally, Requiem exists in a fixed location in Bral’s sky. While there are many bodies larger than Requiem, it is the closest object of planetoid size or larger.

Environment:
Requiem is a rocky world with a layer of dry, flakey soil. Its most remarkable characteristic is its very thin atmosphere. Healthy individuals can survive on Requiem without danger, but will find themselves quickly exhausted if they exert themselves. The very young, the very old, and the ill should not visit Requiem without some method of improving their air intake, magical or otherwise.

The rarified atmosphere is not conducive to complex ecosystems. Requiem boasts a few species of weed-like grass (which grow in isolated tufts), a handful of different algae, and a few very tiny bugs. None of the plants bear fruit, which makes sense since there are no animals to carry the fruit around. Requiem does not have rain, or even clouds, but a thin layer of dew collects during the night.

Perhaps the strangest thing about Requiem, and what it derives its name from, is the fact that corpses do not decay. They will gradually dessicate and mummify, but the usual rot and odor never comes. The native bugs seem uninterested in the corpses. Due to its unique properties and proximity to Bral, Requiem has become the de facto cemetery of Bral, where people who do not want a space burial but cannot afford the mausoleums in Bral get interred. Because of the difficulty of doing heavy work, most of the burial plots are little more than a hole in the ground, but proper tombs can be constructed for the right price.

Sages love to argue about Requiem. The thin air can’t be explained by Requiem’s size, since even Spelljammer ships have enough gravity to maintain a planetary-style atmosphere. The two competing schools of thought are that Requiem either has some unknown innate property that prevents it from holding an air envelope, or that Requiem is a normal rock that just never encountered an air pocket. The issue could be settled if Requiem were somehow diverted through one of the many space clouds in Bralspace, but seeing as how even the mighty Spelljammer would not be powerful enough to tow the planetoid, this will always remain just a thought experiment.

The preservative effects of Requiem is a trickier topic. Some sages insist that this is a result of the thin atmosphere, and nothing more. As for why the native bugs don’t eat the corpses, well that’s easy. There are no animals on Requiem, so the native fauna have evolved to only eat plants. They gleefully point out that imported fruits and vegetables still decay slowly, but get eaten by the natives fauna just fine. Critics of this school of thought point out that the dessication and slow decay seen on Requiem is different from the preserving effects of bare wildspace. They can’t offer a hard counter theory, but maintain that Requiem holds many secrets and that it’s too early to draw any conclusions.

Inhabitants:
When properly interred and given last rites, it is rare for the dead to return to this world. That doesn’t mean it never happens, nor have all the dead on Requiem been buried with proper ceremony. Encounters with the restless dead are not exactly common, but are also hardly rare. Holding funerals on Requiem requires a little bit more planning than normal.

The sun is harmful to many of the undead, and irritating to the rest. During the week-long sun cycles, the walking dead usually return to their graves. Sane visitors plan their trips to coincide with the sunlight. The local criminal gangs will sometimes deliberately dump their captured enemies onto the dark side of Requiem as a way of “giving them a sporting chance.” After all, if they survive until the next sun cycle, they’ll be safe again for a good seven days.

It should be stressed that Requiem has about 10,000 square miles of surface area, of which only a few dozen are cemetery plots. The majority of the planetoid is free of the undead. It’s just that there are only so many good landing sites that have been discovered, and they all have cemeteries nearby, since building cemeteries is the entire point of finding good landing spots on Requiem.

The polar regions of Requiem exist in an eternal twilight, with the sun rising just enough to make it possible to see, but not enough to particularly discomfort the undead. As a result, some of the undead have congregated in these regions. No one lands in these so-called Twilight Regions without good cause.

Personalities:
Father Belisades
Father Belisades is a cleric of (insert name of death god here). His “church” (which is located on Bral) is more properly understood as a business office rather than a place of worship. Belisades provides transportation from Bral to Requiem for funeral groups. He is also in charge of the funeral rites and providing protection from the undead. For a little extra, he provides magical assistance to deal with Requiem’s sparse atmosphere. All funeral goers must be prepared to walk at least five miles, since spelljammers lack fine control. Normal conveyances such as horse drawn carriages and human powered palanquins are not practical on Requiem. The extra travel time and rest periods greatly complicate the planning of the funerals, which must absolutely be completed before the end of the sun cycle. Things sometimes get cut closer than Belisades would like.

Belisades claims to know every landing spot on Requiem. He can always land near an existing graveyard that is still in the day cycle. The more elaborate tombs and crypts on Requiem were planned and built by him. For an increased fee, he offers burial at one of these sites. For an even greater fee, he’ll have a new one built to your specifications.

While Belisades employs workers and sailors for his ventures, the only permanent member of his staff is a clay golem named Dauntless. Dauntless is the one that does most of the heavy work required by Belisades’ projects. Since Dauntless does not need to breathe, it is not subject to the enervating effects of Requiem’s air. It also provides a final line of defense against the hazards of the planetoid. Dauntless has neither a mind, soul, not living body, which makes it categorically immune to most undead powers.

While Father Belisades does not run a proper church, the dead still recognize him as a representative of (death god) and obey him. On more that one occasion, he has dramatically commanded wandering undead to vacate the cemetery grounds and leave his charges alone. He points to these incidences as examples for why planning your funerals to coincide with high noon is so important, but hey, in the end the customer is always right. Cynics point out that a man that can command the undead to leave and also command them to arrive, and that these heroic stands might have been deliberately engineered by Belisades to increase his reputation. If anyone has evidence of this, they haven’t come forward, and no one has dared to mention this theory in his presence.

The Surgeon
The Surgeon is the only permanent living inhabitant of Requiem. If he has a real name, no one in Bralspace knows it, and he certainly isn’t telling anyone. The Surgeon lives on one of the Twilight Regions of Requiem, where he has erected a compound of several stone buildings. This compound is situated in the middle of a large loamy plane, which makes it possible for Spelljammers to land and visit.

Mind you, he doesn’t get all that many visitors. Having to land in the eternal Twilight is dangerous, and the Surgeon isn’t exactly the kind of figure that inspires social calls. Still, those that have visited his home report that he is surprisingly upbeat and jovial. Maybe even creepily so.

Strictly speaking, the Surgeon does not live alone. He is attended by a small army of minor undead, as well as maybe a half-dozen flesh golems. By all reports, the undead are completely obedient to the Surgeon and appear to be harmless. The Surgeon will even sometimes assign a zombie or two to act as the personal manservants of his guests, and they scrupulously obey any reasonable commands issued by the guest. The only thing they never do is provide food. The Surgeon never seems to have any, and has never expressed interest in trading for some. If you want to visit the Surgeon, you’d better bring your own provisions.

The reason that anyone puts up with this weirdness at all is because the Surgeon is, well, a surgeon. He can do amazing things, feats normally only possible through very powerful divine magic. He can reattach limbs, restore sight to damaged eyes, straighten out poorly mended bones, and much more. If you’re missing a piece of your body and don’t happen to just be carrying it around, that’s not a problem. The Surgeon will happily provide you with the nearest match that he can find from his “existing stock”. He doesn’t seem to like talking about where his “stock” comes from, other than to briefly mention that Requiem is an ideal place to store all sorts of things that are normally unstoreable.

The Surgeon’s abilities aren’t limited to just restoring injuries. Brave customers can request for “upgrades.” This can range from stronger limbs to increased flexibility to improved (and possibly supernatural) vision, to far more adventurous enterprises, such as extra arms or a pair of dorsally mounted tentacles. Whatever floats your boat.

People speculate that if the Surgeon sells limbs, he must also be buying them. There are rumors that the five criminal guilds of Bral take traitors to the Surgeon so that they can “make amends.” There is a more morbid rumor that people that have especially offended the Underbarons get sold to the Surgeon as experimental stock, and that in one of those stone buildings the Surgeon maintains a horrible menagerie of “improved” people.

More charitable people point out that the Surgeon has helped many people, and has always acted kindly towards his guests. As for his “stock,” well, Requiem preserves corpses very well, and fresh cadavers are delivered every week.

Places
The City Under Twilight

A persistent rumor that will not die is that somewhere underneath the surface of Requiem, a large group of the undead have found some way to master their cravings and have formed a small civilization. Most people dismiss this as nonsense, and point out that no one is able to provide specifics as to the location of this strange city.

Still, there are a few details that never seem to change. Every version of the rumor recounts a solemn rite in which the various ghouls and zombies and what-have-you gather around a giant table and consume the flesh of cadavers looted from one of the graveyards. The dinner scene is described as being quiet and peaceful, with even the usually-feral ghouls calmly eating with a knife and fork. At the head of the table sits a tall figure dressed in green robes. The figure does not participate in the rite. Indeed, it never even moves or speaks, but all the attendants seem to treat it with respect and deference. This is a pretty weird detail to keep cropping up at random.

Requiem

Bral The_Carter_Administration