Those Who Keep the Dead
Three of the adventuring group lay dead, including the priest. The wizard Fendiferis knew that he would need to get them back somehow and he knew a way. Carefully removing a delicate scroll from its case the spellcaster read the spell from the brittle parchment.
A slight gloom gathered over the area, making the depths of the dungeon a little spookier, softening the glow of the burning torches and lamps. From the swirling mist in the middle of the room a lean figure appeared, dressed in ragged robes, a small ornate dagger at its side. Inhumanly long and thin clawed fingers stretched from the arms of the robe, the beak of a vulture stabbed out from under the hood. The figure stooped almost to the ground and Fendiferis couldn’t see more of the creature’s face.
“You have dead trio. Maybe some treasure too? Then we do business!,” the strange creature said in an eerie, rasping voice.
The bargaining went on for some time, the hooded figure never seeming to be satisfied. Then a deal was struck and the monster vanished. Moments later the three dead adventurers slowly woke up, their grisly wounds healed. One of the fighters complained that all of his belongings were missing.
“Hey,” retorted Fendiferis,”you three were the dead ones. Do you think I was going to pay that weirdo off with my equipment to get you three fools who lost your lives back from the dead?”
In dungeons, in cities and towns, out in the wilderness or high on lonely mountains, explorers, adventurers and tomb raiding teams sometimes die. This is a fact of the adventuring life. Not every priest can cast a spell to raise or resurrect the dead (or sometimes the cleric is the victim), but there is another way.
Hailing from somewhere beyond this world are strange beings known only as Those Who Keep the Dead. These creatures are able to find the souls of the newly departed (those dead less than three days) and return them to life and full health (albeit with nasty scars if the individual died a harsh, violent death). This service isn’t free and Those Who Keep the Dead take as much as they can to bring the dead back to life. Oftentimes they resell these items to adventurers still living, but stranded out on the planes and in dire need of equipment.
Those Who Keep the Dead appear as tall, impossibly thin humanoids with the beaks of buzzards or other carrion birds and long, thin fingers and toes. The rest of their bodies are kept hidden by heavy, ragged robes. All carry an ornate dagger that is magical in nature and wicked in a fight. While statistics are given here, Those Who Keep the Dead are basically an encounter as few would want to fight them. Would you want to fight something that has earned the ire of gods of death and still carries on and could possibly bring you either back to life later on or equipment when adventuring out in the planes?
Those Who Keep the Dead
Armor Class: 2 , HD: 7, Attacks: 2 claws (1d6), dagger (2d6), Saving Throw: 6, Move: 9, Special: Teleport without error (four times per day, unlimited), Bring Back the Dead (return to full health those dead less than three days), Magic Dagger: ignores all armor (even magical), Challenge Level/XP: 9/1,100 XP
Note: Many of these beings carry items like Bags of Holding when dealing for the lives of the newly departed. Also, these creatures are usually summoned via scroll that can be used by anyone who can read the scroll.