By binding himself to the Thrice-Cursed Heart, Salamondre hopes to tap into the Song Undying and use its melody to arrest death itself, restoring the body and soul of those the faithful bring to him, alive or dead. The evil curses laid upon the artifact have twisted its purpose however, and those who are dead and then restored with the Heart’s power are not living but undead, their flesh restored but bereft of life, kept animated and bound about the owner’s soul by its twisted magics and Salamondre’s will. Likewise, the living who suffer from injury and disease can have their flesh restored by the Heart, but in so doing, they are slowly corrupted by its power, also becoming undead.
One constant of all those touched by the power of the Song Undying is a tendency for violence toward the living. This violence can also manifest as cannibalism. Because of this, those tended by Salamondre are kept apart from their living relatives, even if those people brought them to the cult in the first place. The urges can be quelled and controlled, but it takes time. The official excuse, usually proffered by Cressida Vallis, is that the restorative powers of the Song Undying take much time and effort to bring forth and that it is a grueling journey for a petitioner. When they are allowed visitation, it is done under strict observation and ended the moment any hint of violent tendencies within the restored is glimpsed.
The effects of the Song Undying on the dead and living varies, and so too do the types of undead spawned by its power. The most common examples of those given unlife, by Salamondre and the Thrice-Cursed Heart, are the hollow ones.
THE HOLLOW ONES
The lowliest of undead found within the cult, these are typically those long-dead that are slowly being restored. Usually nothing more than decaying remains, the song knits those bones and flesh together, binding them in ligament and tendon, growing skin over them and restoring some of the organs—brain, vocal chords, lungs—but little else. The skin of these creatures is stiff and brittle, easily torn away to reveal the skeleton beneath. Sometimes the skin is incomplete, exposing bone and sinew. Such hollow ones are dressed in clothing that hides such obvious displays of undeath, typically white robes embroidered with the symbol of the Song Undying (a globe wrapped in a ribbon of musical notes) and copper half-masks that cover the upper portions of their face.
Servile. These lesser undead readily do the bidding of Salamondre, Cressida, and other members of the cult without question. They have enough intelligence to recognize cult members they have met and seen before and can differentiate them from outsiders.
Shells of their Former Selves. Hollow ones are returned after an extended time dead, and their souls have not been fully restored to the body. A hollow one rarely has any true grasp of its former life. Fragments of memory, such as their name, the identity of loved ones, or small vignettes of their past may be contained in their newly formed brains, but they lack anything resembling personality or a true sense of identity. Their sense of self tends to be focused on their role in the Song Undying, as grateful petitioners of Salamondre seeking eternal life through the song.
Eternal Choir. At this stage of their restoration, hollow ones are primarily kept away from the public eye. They serve mostly in the main worship chamber of the cult’s compound as part of the choir. Their voices lend power to Salamondre’s workings as he sings the Song Undying, strengthening his ability to draw upon the magic of the Thrice-Cursed Heart and master his control over life and death. Choral adherents (living members of the cult deemed worthy of eternal life that have not yet been transformed) oversee these hollow ones and lead them in their song.
Undead Nature. A hollow one doesn’t require air, food, drink, or sleep. They occasionally feast on portions of those they kill, but this is instinct rather than need, a compulsion to try to restore the flesh they are still missing.
Small or Medium Undead, Neutral Evil
Armor Class 13 (natural armor)
Hit Points 19 (3d8 + 6)
Speed 30 ft.
|12 (+1)||14 (+2)||15 (+2)||7 (−2)||8 (−1)||7 (−2)|
Damage Vulnerabilities bludgeoning
Damage Immunities poison, thunder
Condition Immunities exhaustion, poisoned
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 9
Languages Common, and at least one other language it knew in life
Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)
Shortsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) piercing damage.
Sling. Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, range 30/120 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d4 + 2) bludgeoning damage.
Resounding Chord (Recharge 6). As an action, the hollow one can reproduce a note from the Song Undying. All creatures within 30 feet that can hear the hollow one must make a DC 13 Constitution saving throw, taking 9 (2d8) thunder damage and being deafened for 1 minute on a failed save and taking only half damage and suffering no other effects on a successful save.