The Darkstalkers, also called Deathstalkers in their first mortal generation, is a type of Lich that, instead of raised as masters of magic, are raised as masters of the blade. They are warriors who feel no pain, lie stalwart against both man and the elements of the world, and require only the sustenance of raw life to survive.
Basically, they're strong, skeletal, undead swordsmen raised by Necromancy, who have a phylactery and must drain lifeforce to survive.
The origin of the Darkstalker is attributed to the ancient Lich Avern’len, whom in death defied mortal Nimdravur as a prime nemesis. Their struggles concluded in the wisened, strong-willed Wood Elves’ death, only to be rebirthed as a servant of his old enemy. By some means, the ritual had endured alterations—Avern’len knew no magic in life, and thus to be raised as a Lich was a useless endeavour. But it was believed by his remaker that the lack of a magical connection had led to the empowerment of his bones, which enabled him to wear armor, wield blades and sustain damage he could not in life. This fashioned Avern’len as a powerful undead being, far different than any other Lich that had ever existed throughout all three generations.
The annals of Darkstalker Avern’len had been recorded by Nimdravur as per both the Wraith’s fascination with his bitter servant, and under the desire to keep his enemy-turn-ally’s name known in history after his bones would crumble away after an age had passed. In was in these annals that the recollection of Avery’s altered ritual was written; and in Nimdravur’s isolation within Athera, put to the test - enduring countless bouts of trial and error and the ruination of old skeletons that could not withstand the power of Avern’len’s legacy. The closing note of the Gravelord’s study had produced success, with all of his compiled understandings bound together into one, singular process that would assure the creation of a warrior that would live by the blade, with no beating heart to burden him.
A Darkstalker is a warrior comprised entirely of the skeletons they died in and the armor they were reborn to be able to wear in unlife. They may take many forms - there is no defined, singular uniformity among the Darkstalker kind, and thus these deathly invaders may stylize themselves based on the weapons they wield to the armor they wear. Their deadliness may even be scaled visually—the property of being able to withhold lifeforce within their skeletal beings may become so intense after so much collection that darkness seems from their armor, and whatever hood they would wear would simply exude a misty shadow that would utterly obscure the visage of their bare, dead skulls.
Their weapons do undergo a degree of uniform tradition, wherein they must select a single “khộr blade” that is forged to be able to withstand the erosion of necrotic taint - a foul taint that their masters are able to bind to such a weapon for a time until the twisted essence fades away, eventually coming to dye the steel an abysmal black.
- Darkstalkers are sturdier skeletal undead; they are able to sustain much more damage in some instances where blunt weaponry or force is not applicable. This makes the use of bladed arms of lesser use, unless of greater weight and able to smash moreso than slash.
- Darkstalkers have no limitation to endurance, and function under the burdens they carry. This means that how fast and strong they can be is attributed by the weight and properties of the arms and armor they carry, yet they are not bothered by the common mortal weakness of greater weight fatigue under physical duress. However, this does not prevent their skeletal structure from splintering and cracking under excessive weight, which eliminates the use of armor that would protect them from all incoming blows. They are only capable of wearing armaments the common knight would have trouble with adorning, at the very most, and at the cost of speed and skill.
- Darkstalkers are capable of summoning a powerful life draining spell that is intended to be used as both a secondary weapon and a utility to keep themselves fueled. It matches the average necromancer’s draining power, but no more than that—suggesting it is higher than the common Lich’s drain, yet far beneath a master necromancer’s. They can also store life force within themselves for a time until it is absorbed or until the excess fades away.
- Darkstalkers are immortal undead. This means they cannot drown, they cannot bleed, they cannot feel some degrees of pain, do not age, and are often not burdened by the common physical fatigue that a mortal would withstand under intense physical stress. This pits them as challenging foes, but not invincible ones. This all lasts as long as their phylactery is constantly kept fed and stable.
Use of Magic
Necromancy’s shambled, haphazard and vastly misunderstood designs within this ritual apply insurmountable, distorting change upon the Darkstalkers soul and causes whatever feeds a divine or arcane connection to fade away. This sets Darkstalkers in stone as inherent warriors—they literally cannot cast magic beyond the dark forces their form would permit them. To do so, by whatever unknown means they would find, would cause their phylacteries to rapidly break down until their souls would combust. This violent reaction wipes them from existence and displays the results of tampering with souls when they cannot be truly understood. The only semblance of magic a Darkstalker retains is a lesser form of necromancy, wherein they must depend upon the sole power of limited lifeforce manipulation to drain lifeforce and store it within themselves. This limited manipulation is circumvented to the ability to drain lifeforce from others, and to guide it to other places or individuals (the latter being the Gravelords, as per their covenant to protect and offer the essence of others as tribute). Attempting actual necromancy beyond these two aspects will produce similar effects to attempting to conjure up magical potency that Darkstalkers were robbed of upon their turning.
- Darkstalkers are bothered by light, and weak to Clerical magics. While they do not fear fire like their Wraith masters, pure sunlight seems to be shared instead; acting as a undying source of discomfort where the only reprieve is to hide beneath black cloaks to hope that the soft burning of the rays upon their bones may fade. This feeling is intensified tenfold by holy magics, where the pure power of Clerics may ward them off with ease based on the fear and pain that their magic brings Darkstalkers. Sunlight also burns their gathered lifeforce away and severely weakens their drain, forcing them to either depend on heavy robes to protect them or caves/dark weather/night as alternatives.
- Golden weaponry nullifies Darkstalker sturdiness; a gold sword severs a Darkstalker arm as an iron sword would a mortals and mimics the pain it would bring to common flesh.
- Darkstalkers are skeletons beneath their armor. Even with sturdy plates upon them, blunt force trauma is an especially effective non-magical method to combat them. Their boney frames can only take so much before crumbling away.
- Darkstalkers can be utterly destroyed at any moment if their phylactery is found and destroyed. It must be agreed that a Darkstalker will be burdened with this risk before it’s creation as per common Lich-based rules. This permits their unforeseen undoing by the hands of another individual, and thusly the Darkstalker’s eternal sleep.
- Incoherent madness is a frequent side-effect of the status that is derivative from fuel-oriented deficiencies - if a Darkstalker does not drain and gather life force to fuel himself, he will slowly go insane. If a Darkstalker does not return to their master to seek a similar form of magical stability, they will go insane. Returning to the first point, if a Darkstalker does not drain at all for a long period of time (one to two weeks), they will become permanently insane and are thus considered automatically "perma-killed" upon the next time they are defeated. This is irreversible.
- Darkstalkers suffer the worst of undead weaknesses regarding lesser mortal functions. They are unable to breed, they are unable to rest and sleep, and are even incapable of feeling—both physically and mentally. The process of turning is so spiritually and physically scarring that they simply lose all feelings within themselves, whether it be the heat of flame, the cut of steel, the warmth of a loved one, or the touch of the sun’s rays upon their lost skin. Only the righteous light of the Aengulic powers brings them intense agony, and acts as a shocking reminder that they are not yet dead and far from it. The sole thing they may physically feel is the ghost-like beat of a heart within their ribcage; a relieving, false sensation generated by an excess of collected lifeforce within them. It gives these forlorn knights a reason to strive—so they may feel the fleeting pulse of a life that no longer remains.
- Darkstalkers are inherent outcasts. As they are of the most prime undead, lingering among the living is a rare sight. The fact they must hunt the living for sustenance further establishes reason as to avoid these fabled warriors.
- Darkstalkers cannot cast magic beyond their two designated dark powers. To attempt casting greater magic would end up with either failure or approved self-destruction.
- Darkstalkers share the same curse of servitude that Liches do. Those that create them, are able to command them entirely. While Darkstalkers are able to attack their masters, this is unwise, as their masters may simply command them not to in-turn.
Darkstalkers are played as the Necrolyte Nexus race.