The Elder Scrolls

Wetland Necromancy for Kuuda

By Roots-in-Graves

So, you want to raise the dead in one of the most hostile environments to their preservation. If you’re practicing necromancy at all, you’re not averse to practices you’ve heard are bad ideas, so I doubt you’ll listen to me when I tell you not to attempt wetland necromancy. Still, fair warning: corpses rot faster in such environments, which means you’re probably going to get weaker servants that are harder to maintain a stable binding on, which means you’re more likely to lose control of them and get torn apart by your own creations.

Still interested? Yes? That’s what I thought.

As is common in necromancy, the most basic servant you’ll want to familiarize yourself with is the skeleton. Insect life is plentiful in most wetlands, so it should be easy to reduce a carcass to a clean set of bones by simply leaving it outdoors, preferably in a cage to stop larger scavengers from carrying it off. They’re especially useful in swamps because they keep their structural integrity for longer; too many necromancers assume that their zombie will become a perfectly good skeleton when it rots away, only to find that the loss of structural integrity warps the spell that resurrected it.

If you’re lucky, spell decay will simply cause your servant to fall over dead again. If you’re not, it will become unbound, attacking your other servants or you. This is why you absolutely need to keep records of the physical state of any long-term servants and strengthen their enchantments as needed when you notice significant damage or decomposition. It’s tedious work, but it’s only a few minutes out of your day unless you have a very large number of servants, and it’s worth the trouble to keep yourself alive. Make sure you’re making magical repairs as well as physical; if you end up in a “Ship of Topal” situation where the entire corpse has been replaced, the spell reanimating it won’t carry over.

It’s because of spell decay that raising zombies is a very bad idea in wetlands. An unpreserved corpse can last long enough to be useful in a dry environment, but not in a wetland. A traditional mummy, too, loses integrity in humidity, and is nigh-impossible to create in the first place because of that humidity. There are ways around this problem, however.

Bog mummies are some of the longest-lasting undead servants on Nirn, and the only one I’m aware of that is naturally suited for semiaquatic conditions. They are produced by certain peculiarities of bog mud, which can convert flesh into a blackened, dried out, but exceptionally well preserved state. This process can be finicky, as the flesh will often simply rot away normally, but the successful products are so durable they are often passed down from necromancer masters to their students over generations.

The “Stros M’Kai Mermaid” is a peculiar necromantic construction supposedly originating from the island it takes its name from, although the Redguard attitude towards necromancy makes me suspect this is inaccurate, in addition to the fact that it’s construction is characteristic of Thrassian designs. They are produced by attaching the upper half of a humanoid body, usually a smaller sort such as that of a monkey, goblin, or stillborn, to a decapitated fish. The chimera is then put through a brining process to preserve it underwater before reanimation. Strange as they are, they’re perhaps the most useful undead for underwater tasks.

The best servant in wetlands is, of course, the ghost, as an incorporeal body does not decay. Unfortunately, while spirits are quite easy to summon, they’re notoriously difficult to bind, as they’re much more willful than the bodies they left behind. Tempting as it may be, leave these for when you have more experience.

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