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Sunday, 7 October 2018

Godbound: Parasite Gods, The Bound

In the theme of horror and undeath for the month which is home to Halloween, here is a Parasite God who is not wholly living or dead. Yet the greatest horror in all this is the poor soul inside the monster. What happens when one is corrupted and shackled to the mortal coil, gifted with unholy powers they seemingly cannot truly control.

The Bound

Elazar, Sovereign of the West by Halcyon450
The Bound is what happen when a dying man or woman become snagged up in the cosmic 'glitch' which birth Parasite Gods. Although they may sometimes appear to be the same cruel, power-hungry tyrants and wannabe divinity so common to Parasite Gods these beings are entirely cursed, stuck in the limbo between life and death by outside circumstances. A local lord is dying from the infected wounds left behind by some monster spawned by twisted wilderness and his retainers are frightened by what the future may hold since his heir and wife passed away. A local wise-man and hedge-wizard, feared yet respected is dying of old age and yet people wish they could nonetheless keep him around since his knowledge is indispensable. The local priest, holy man or whatever has just expired and already his acolytes lament the passing of such a wise man. When their desires and psychic imprints mingle with the anomaly which has tied itself to the dying or recently dead, the Bound emerges as a Parasite God.

The Bound is a restless spirit, but one whose own restlessness pale to the initial unrest his or her death caused to others. Love, attachment and ancient traditions become the instrument of the resulting Parasite God as it become overwhelmed with the desire for stasis and stability of others. Oh, make no mistake: once their sanity start slipping they will become power-hungry and even self-serving but these actions always serve the original, twisted psychic imprints. Stability, order and protection can be achieved through a variety of means, after. Individual lives cease to have meaning to the newborn Parasite God as it constantly itch at its mind and broken soul to preserve, both its domain and people. More than a few of these monsters turned their environment into oppressive necropolis where the living and the dead coexist and serve their master.

The Bound, deep down, probably wants to die but can't. Every waking moment of their undead existence consist of something akin to having a constant bullhorn shouting in their mind to preserve, to control and to maintain their domain and by extension their dominion and thus continued existence. More than a few develop full-blown split personalities from this. This split personality, this new and second mind is one more and more shaped by the rumors and beliefs of their people, creating a vicious cycle where every act of cruelty begat a more cruel overlord due to the fear of their people.

Powers of The Bound

The Bound are stuck in the gears of the cosmos, between change and stasis and between life and death. They were transformed as they were dying or after they died (but before their souls departed their corpse). Stuck in this undeath, they have either the Lich King Concept Word or the Word of Death as well the Word of Apotheosis. Beyond that, however, the Bound's powers and nature varies depending on what they were in life.

They also all posses the following Gift:
  • Guards! Seize Him!: Connected as they are to the people and land which bound them to the mortal coil, all Bound posses the ability to call forth allies and minions to their side, irrelevant of their Word.

Nature of the Bound
Possible Word Choice
Authority Figure: The Bound was a local lord, a king or something along those line. They commanded real authority and those around them feared what would happen once they were gone and now they are warped into necrotic tyrants who wage war in the name of self-preservation.
Command, Sword/Bow or War
The Power Behind: Unlike the above, this figure of authority was not a direct ruler but rather an important cog in the system, one perhaps trusted or beloved more than the actual ruler. Twisted in death, they increasingly become usurper and manipulators.
Fear, Murder or Deception
Holy Man: In life, this was a spiritual figure and a pillar of the community, be they a priest or some head of a monastery. Their wisdom and deeper understanding of spiritual matters made the fear of losing such knowledge made them into perverted autocrats and zealots.
Passion, Sorcery  or Knowledge
Heart of the Community: This particular Bound wasn’t necessarily someone powerful in life. However, beloved and respected by all they were those people who made life indispensable. In death they become warped in their need and desire to be important.
Passion, Desire or Intoxication
Defender: A powerful mortal hero in life, one whose sword arm or skill with the bow saved many lives. Be they of noble birth or a humble peasant hero it was clear their very presence made the community safe. In death they are very much still what keep the community safe. At a price.
Protection, Vengeance or War
The Artist: Backbone of the soul and expression of a community, this artist was the pride and joy of all those around him or her. Their fame made the people feel meaningful, even if by proxy. In death, what inspires them drive them mad and make them turn to twisted crafts.
Artifice, Music or Madness

The Cult

Whether they want to or not, Bound always have a cult. This cult need not be the type of cult with black robes and knives and usually isn't. Their cult is the community which form around them and this miracle that is their rebirth and the rush of divine power which come from their transformation into a Parasite God. The psychic phenomena which birthed the Bound in the first place has a nasty habit of brainwashing a few people too weak to properly resist, making them fanatically loyal to the newly born Parasite God. Little does the Bound realize, at the time, that these people are (at least initially) the real master: confused on the nature of their rebirth they might attempt to seek some meaning and oh, it just so happen, say that the lord's chancellor mention that with his newly reborn divine nature he might just be able to curb these bandits and raiders. And make an example out of them. Invariably, the Bound find itself stuck in their role as some protector and guardian angel from beyond the grave.

In time the cult may very well live in fear of the Bound, especially once it start exercising its powers over life and death to raise zombies and skeletons. Yet soon the people come to accept this, that not even death can separate them from their old life. Things will be as they were, or even better. Their beloved pillar of the community or leader is immortal now, beyond death, beyond being lost. Things will not change and that's good because then there is no risk involved.

Eventually, even the Bound believe this. If not, the constant psychic torment and impulses will consume them and fragment their psyche...
Cult Nature
Devoted to their new master and perhaps a little too eager. Their dark master is given praise, people give it new baroque titles like “The One who Returned” and new rites are created to appease it. Eventually the Bound start believing this.
Similar to the above, but with a desire to proselytize outside of their home. They don’t just want to preserve their home and serve their new master, they believe everything will be better when everyone become exactly like them.
Insular even among themselves: the newly ‘divine’ nature of their master is spoken of in hushed tones, as to not attract attention from outsiders and to not risk offending past religious doctrines. They blindly worship their monstrous new master, just covertly.
The cult has begun to live in absolute fear of their new master. They praise and worship him but it is increasingly out of fear...yet hypocritically they praise this fear as the reason their lives are so stable.
An increasingly violent and irrational cult that is starting to live up to it’s name the more their master and his agent interact with the outside world. Anything that doesn’t go smoothly is a sign they haven’t sacrificed enough. Bring out the sacrificial victims and go get your black hooded robes!
This cult has begun embracing the undead side of their master perhaps a bit too much, slowly turning into an obscene death-cult where people self-mutilate to look more like their master’s twisted and rotten form and where undeath is seen as sacred transcendence.

Their Domain

Swamp by Jaimes Paick. MTG land art.
Because of their nature and lack of control over their powers, the Bound have a nasty habit of 'leaking' their twisted and warped divine energies all over the place. Slowly but surely, a sense of fear and stasis seems to creep over the area they are a prisoner. This invariably tend to make their domain foreboding and gloomy places. Because, of course this is what their tainted domains would become: the very nature of the Bound is, after all, one of undeath.

Since they do not fully control their power, the Bound are among the Parasite Gods most likely to accidentally spawn some horrific monstrosity. Stuck in a hazy nightmare of a day dream they wander around their domain, stuck between life and death, past and present. In these moments of madness they could very well end up suddenly unleashing some dire and vengeful spirit. Why? Because that is their nature: a self-feeding cycle. There can be no need or desire for stasis without a little bit of chaos to make people want it in the first place. In many ways, Bound are their worst enemies. Most would just want to die but they end up stuck enacting changes which only lead them to becoming even more the undead tyrant they are.

Of course, the interplay of life and death and change and stasis isn't always so dire: sometimes their curse seemingly cause slow, corrupting changes in the people and animals. Their lifespan increasing and their aging slow but minds become dull and monotonous. They become more and more like living corpses, cursed to desire nothing but stasis and continuation.

The Bound in Brief

  • Undead Parasite Gods created when a dying person is perceived as still being needed.
  • Interplay between the forces of life/death and change/stasis.
  • Desire nothing but eternal rest yet their minions/cult have a need for things to 'work out' so they become trapped in their persona of undead ruler and protector.
  • Eventually they just go mad.

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