Soluthor entered Glorantha during the Great Darkness, a foul scent of decay and corruption, which encountered one of the many bodies of the recently-slain gods, and found it to its liking. It also found that it could spread from body to body by a means of a soul-bite, splitting its essence between all the bodies it inhabited. The bite would infect the host with the soul-killing essence of the Demon, and the body itself would first die, then rise again.
Soluthor was only somewhat entangled by the Net cast at the dawn, and can be summoned to the Inner World of Glorantha by those who have the knowledge.
When summoned, Soluthor animates a single dead body (killed during the rite of summoning). As that body attacks the living, the spirit of Soluthor attaches itself to the victims, dispersing the demon over many bodies. Soluthor is transmitted by the bite of an “infected” corpse, and Soluthor takes over the victim’s body once it dies (which is relatively soon after being bitten).
Summoning SoluthorKnowledge of the summoning ritual for Soluthor is held by only a few chaos cults and debased churches. Actually summoning Soluthor has only occurred a few times in history, and the mages and shamans who summoned him have rarely survived to tell the tale. As such, Soluthor is summoned only as a last-ditch revenge.
The summoner must have a fresh victim available to summon Soluthor. The body must be killed as part of the Summoning Ritual. The Ritual may only take place at night, when the sky is at least 50% overcast, but not more than 75%. It must be completed before the sun rises. As the rites take a minimum of 6 hours to complete, this gives the summoner a small window of opportunity in which to perform the rites.
At the end of a successful summoning, Soluthor enters the corpse and animates it. Soluthor will only attack other beings of the same type as the host body – if summoned into a human corpse, it will only attack humans. If summoned into a cow, it will only attack cows, etc. There are no known spells or rites to Command Soluthor – once summoned, it will attack the nearest being of the appropriate type. If summoned into the same species as the summoner, he is advised to be well warded, or to have a captive close at hand. Once summoned, Soluthor will head toward the nearest concentration of victims.
Zombie Plague!Once Soluthor is embodied, it will attack living creatures of the same type as its body. The normal method of attack is the bite, which injects a type of “spirit poison” into the wound. The only easy way to remove the poison is to amputate the bitten limb within a minute of the bite.
Once bitten, the wound site begins to swell and turn black, with bruising and dark juices visibly running up the veins. The victim will normally succumb within minutes of being bitten, though some individuals can hold out for much longer. When the poison reaches the heart, the victim dies and becomes an empty vessel for Soluthor to fill. Soluthor settles in the head of the victim, and spends a few minutes “getting comfortable” in the body, during which time the body lies quiescent. The first signs of "unlife" are the eyes opening and/or moving, and the gnashing of teeth. However, within seconds to minutes (depending on how many other bodies Soluthor fills), Soluthor is in complete control of the body, and it staggers up to attack more victims and spread the plague further.
When first summoned, Soluthor’s host body is incredibly fast and cunning, able to use weapons and open doors. As the plague spreads, however, Soluthor loses its focus. The bodies slow down and become less intelligent, until they are simply shambling corpses moaning their hunger.
Soluthor is embodied in every animate zombie – if one body is killed, Soluthor knows where it happened, and may send additional bodies towards the site. Zombies will work together to break down barricades or even climb walls (clambering over bodies and turning them into mush if they must).
Chaos DemonSoluthor is a Nearly Impossible opponent to completely defeat.
When embodied in only a few bodies, the demon is supernaturally fast and cunning. Demonic energies make it significantly stronger than the host body, and it feels no pain. As the plague spreads, individual zombies become slower and less cunning.
Each zombie after the first slows all zombies as Soluthor’s essence is spread thinner and thinner. Around 5 zombies, the difficulty of facing an individual zombie drops from Nearly Impossible to merely Very High. At around 25 zombies, the resistance for facing a single zombie drops to High, etc. as shown in the table below:
|Zombies||Resistance to fight
The problem is that the zombies are always multiplying, as long as there is a food source. The decline in resistance is gradual – it doesn’t just jump from one resistance to another, the zombies get slower and less intelligent as they convert victims. You can either just describe the lowering of resistance (but leave the resistance as it is), or you can actually reduce the target number. Zombie Strength remains enhanced, no matter how many bodies Soluthor inhabits, it’s just that the zombie can’t use it properly any more.
Fighting A Soluthor ZombieThe smarter, faster Soluthor zombies can handle weapons, are eye-blindingly fast, and will ambush zombie-hunters with incredible cunning, not to mention their super-normal strength. As the bodies accumulate, the cunning and speed decline, and eventually, a zombie plague becomes a mass of shambling undead with nary a thought.
Soluthor Zombies have few vulnerabilities. They are immune to poison, asphyxiation, and most other “non-violent” means of death. They can be burned by fire or ripped apart by weaponry, though the surest means to kill one is to chop its head off. Broken bones will merely slow it down, though completely severed limbs do not retain an "unlife” of their own – once they are removed from the body, the Unlife force of Soluthor no longer flows through them.
Anti-Undead and Anti-Spirit magics work well against Soluthor zombies, casting the spirit out of the body on a success. Sever Spirit works just fine, though other Death magics might or might not, depending on the actual way the magic works. The Spirit Poison of a zombie bite is not a typical poison, so will not be purged by most Cure Poison magics.
Ending the PlagueA plague of Soluthor zombies can be ended by killing every single zombie (but remember, each individual zombie gets stronger as its mates are killed), or by an arcane ritual known by a mere handful of sorcery schools and cults. The ritual must be cast at high noon on a Holy Day of the caster, within 1 mile of the original Summoning. The ritual requires a successful summoning of Soluthor into another host body; but Soluthor will be aware of about the new ritual, and will resist not only physically with any zombies it currently inhabits, but also with its own not-inconsiderable will.
The Ritual, in essence, summons Soluthor into another (usually less-dangerous) body, which can be killed with relative ease – a frog, for example. Users of the rite are cautioned to have the new host body restrained and incapacitated – if the new host body escapes during the summoning, Soluthor will simply start another plague in its new body!
Protection from SoluthorThere are some specialized cults/practices/schools/Orders with knowledge of antidotes for the poison, but they are few and far between. Typically they will be nowhere near a Soluthor outbreak, but will be called in to deal with an on-going Zombie plague. Humakt protects his worshippers from raising as undead, but does nothing against the poison in the first place. But at least a bitten Humakti will only die, not rise up and attack his compatriots.
Zombie CharacteristicsSTR +12
CON As Host
SIZ As Host
STR: This strength is added to all bodies inhabited by Soluthor
DEX: This DEX is reduced by 1 for each 5 bodies currently inhabited by Soluthor. INT: Reduce INT by 1 for every 5 bodies inhabited by Soluthor. POW: Reduce POW by 1 for every 5 bodies. Use the Hit Locations of the appropriate body type for Soluthor’s current zombies.
Zombies may use weapons until INT is reduced to 6.
Obviously, being able to grapple depends on the body type of Soluthor’s host body. The Weapon Skill listed is a minimum. If penalties from reduced stats would reduce these ratings, they remain as shown.
NotesSoluthor is an attempt to combine two typical "movie" zombies - the "ragers" of 28 Days Later or the Resident Evil films, and the classic slow zombies of Night of the Living Dead. It also follows the rule of "Conservation of Ninjitsu" (Warning - this site is safe for work, but highly addictive).
A typical scenario involving Soluthor would be for the Adventuring Party to encounter a "Town of the Dead", filled with shambling zombies who have killed everyone who didn't have the sense to run away. At first killing zombies is easy, since they don't have the sense not to walk into traps, and are slow enough for head shots to work. But as the number of zombies diminishes, they become more and more crafty. At first they seem to "learn" not to shamble down the main street en masse. The players won't be expecting them to actually be getting smarter! The final showdown between a few Ragers and the Heroes may mean more zombies. And Ragers are smart enough to head off cross-country to find yet another Village...
The other typical scenario involves the Heroes being in the town when Soluthor is summoned. The newly-dead victim returns to town, seeming only to be a bit sick, until it goes on a rampage, biting everyone it comes in contact with, like a rabid dog. Remember that the typical Zombie movie features people (often the spouse or parents of the victim) who "just don't believe that he could act like that", which is the cue for "him" to attack - usually through the wall or window with incredible force.
Bringing in an army to combat Soluthor is a bad idea...