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Speak With Dead #11: Two Allies and an Idiot

DEAR MAXILLAE THE MAD

Orc Mask- Cornel Zueger (GrimZombie) CC BY-SA 3.0

I LIKE HOW EXPERIENCED YOU ARE WITH MAGIC. I NOT VERY EXPERIENCED WITH MAGIC BUT I ENJOY READING YOUR COLUMN. I THINK PERHAPS IF ME WERE UNDEAD ORC, WE GET ALONG GREAT. BUT AM NOT UNDEAD.

MAYBE WE DRINK MEAD IN TAVERN SOME TIME? IF YOU AT HELLSCREAM GORGE Anytime SOON, MAYBE I SEE YOU. YOU CAN TEACH TO SUMMON SKELETON TO RIDE INTO BATTLE. URGLUK GIVE YOU LESSON ON HOW TO THROW BATTLE AXE INTO SKULLS.

MUCH LIKE,
URGLUK ROH THE BRAVE, SON OF ORLOK THE STRONG

 

Dear Urgluk,

You’re too kind, but I don’t believe Continue reading Speak With Dead #11: Two Allies and an Idiot

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Speak With Dead #10: Natural Selection

Dear Maxillae,

Maxillae the Mad
I’m sure there’s weirder relationships out there.

I just read the response you posted to Dominic the Virile in Speak with Dead #8, and it gave me the courage to come forward with my question today. I am a necromancer who is dating a medusa. Believe me, I understand all the pitfalls of our relationship. But, I have a nagging problem that might undermine our relationship. I believe that many of her favorite statues may have been past lovers.

She did strictly forbid me from breaking the statues, but I figured out that returning them to flesh would not ‘break’ them or my vow. Is it wrong of me to want to return them to flesh, kill them, and then animate them for my entourage? My apprentice says it’s a waste of effort, and someone else warned me that she might take advantage of them being mobile again. Your thoughts?

Anonymous and jealous Continue reading Speak With Dead #10: Natural Selection

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Speak With Dead #06: Withering Willies

Dear Maxillae the Mad,

speak with dead Maxillae the Mad necromancer
A hand of glory was a hanged man’s hand which was used as a macabre candle holder by burglars to evade discovery. When alight, it was said to put all the sleeping people in a house into a trance from which they couldn’t be awakened. Sometimes the fingers of the hand itself were lit. It was believed that if the thumb refused to light, it signified that someone in the house was still awake. This hand was discovered in the early 20th century on the roof wallpate of Hawthorn Cottage in Danby. It is thought that it might have originated from Gibbet Howe, Castleton and been in use as late as 1820.

As I’m sure you are aware, it is common practice for civilians to remove the body parts (hands, eyes, genitals, etc) of hanged criminals in order to create macabre charms and trinkets. What do you think of such practices? Does it dissuade you from raising such corpses or do they still have their uses?
Signed,
Knick-Knack-Tallywacker

Continue reading Speak With Dead #06: Withering Willies

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Speak With Dead #05: In the Spirit of Good Counsel

Dear Maxillae the Mad,

speak with dead
Portrait of a Lady, by Gustave Jean Jacquet (1846-1909)

My dear uncle passed away a fortnight ago and left his estate split between myself and two other cousins as he had no children himself. I received among other things a framed portrait of a beautiful woman that had been hanging in his personal study. No idea who she is but it is a beautiful painting.

However, since receiving said painting, this woman has started appearing in my dreams and at night when I’m woken I can hear a woman screaming outside my house. Three days ago my chickens were dead. Two days ago, some wild dogs. This morning I found two men dressed in black dead on my front porch whom I took to be attempted burglars. Their faces were twisted in silent screams of horror.

Do I get rid of the painting? I feel there’s a spirit at unrest but at the same time she has shown me no harm or ill will aside from lack of sleep and walking my dreams.

Please help!

Yours,

Restless Dreaming Continue reading Speak With Dead #05: In the Spirit of Good Counsel

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Speak With Dead #04: My Int Mod Brings All the Ghouls to the Yard

Dear Maxillae the Mad,

A ghast, as seen in the fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual. [Image courtesy Wizards of the Coast]
The last adventurers that came through my family’s home took everything of value. Now no more adventurers will come, and my family is going to starve.

Is it too deceitful to spread false rumors of the vast riches here, or should we simply find a new home with a consistent source of food?

Signed,
Ghasts-Half-Empty

 

Dear Ghasts,

It is absolutely deceitful, but why do you care? What you do in the face of starvation does not reflect as badly on you as letting your family starve would. Although, most people are not going to listen to a ghast.

Even if you get some paint and write “Free Treasure” on the wall of your abode I somehow do not see it bearing much fruit.

Relocating, however, seems to be a good plan. I am, at present, forwarding my contact information to you. Ghasts have the uncanny ability to defy turning and they pass it on to the undead around them.

Such a thing would be invaluable to my shambling horde, and I am in such a place at this moment as to care for a family of ghasts. I believe we may be able to help each other out.

Regards,

Maxillae the Mad

PS If any adventurers are reading this, there are vast treasures in my hold.

 

Dear Maxillae the Mad,

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Dear Great Mana Deals,

You’re adorable.

This is an advice column, so allow me to give you a little bit of advice.

If you are so insecure as to feel the need to write your entire solicitation in all capital letters, it looks as though you are compensating for the size of your own, ah, “mana pool.”

You are aware that you are sending signals to a verse in which we practice Vancian magic, yes?

My intelligence modifier brings all the ghouls to the yard, and damn right it’s bigger than yours.

Regards,

Maxillae the Mad

 

Dear Maxillae the Mad,

Could this be the beet farmer seeking advice? Seems to fit the profile. Rainn Wilson as Dwight K. Schrute portraying Belsnickel, from NBC’s “The Office.” Have you been impish or admirable? [Image courtesy NBC]
I am but a humble beet farmer descended from a long line of beet farmers and one carrot farmer.

I do my best to keep running my farm as peacefully as possible but recently some ne’er do wells have been trying to get me to pay protection money.

My farm doesn’t earn enough to pay the gold they’re asking for.

They’re all bandits well used to beating and killing simple village folk like myself and there’s no sign of any adventurers who can help us (we put notes up on sign but alas to no avail) these bandits are well armed and many in number what would you suggest to a simple farmer of beets?

Humbly yours.

Algernon Beetish

 

Dear Algernon,

Many in number, you say?

Historically speaking, beet farmers have a tendency to be a hardy and resilient people, or at least that is what the television of my mortal Nerdarchy contact’s plane tells me. Do what beet farmers do, and fall back on one of your many contingency plans for the time being.

In the mean time I would very much like for you to hold fast. If the bandits press the issue for the time being, pay them; you will be picking the money back up off of their corpses soon with interest. Also, I have a group of ghasts to put you in contact with.

Regards,

Maxillae the Mad

Do you have a question for Maxillae the Mad?

Please, if you have anything you would like to inquire of our resident necromancer, leave your inquisitions in the comments below or simply tweet out to #SpeakWithDead and have your questions answered!

 

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Speak With Dead #03: The Nature of Evil

evil necromancer

Dear Maxillae the Mad,

My druid circle disagrees with my use of undead in the line of duty. Death is just as much a part of nature as life, and I only raise those whose spirits I have communicated with and that have consented to helping me. How can I make the others see that I am not evil just because my practices are unconventional?

Signed,
Deerly-Departed

Dear Departed,

As a practicing necromancer, I do some pretty evil things and I’m all right with that. So believe me when I say, I wouldn’t be judging you if what you were doing was evil, but if the spirits are all right with it, I don’t see how it qualifies. People just get really iffy about dead things walking around for some reason.

The thing is, if they’re bound and determined to think what you’re doing is bad, they’re going to think so no matter how you frame it. And all of the spells designed to detect that sort of thing are currently calibrated to both by default.

Unfortunately, there is no way for you to prove your goodness. The people around you don’t trust you, plain and simple. In that case, you need to decide what means more to you: the ability to be yourself, or the seeming respect of those around you. I know which I would pick if it were me. Respecting you on the conditions of your being someone you are not is in no way real respect.

Regards,

Maxillae the Mad Continue reading Speak With Dead #03: The Nature of Evil

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Speak With Dead #02: NecRomantic Questions

undead zombie necromancerDear Maxillae the Mad,

While trudging through an ancient tomb the other day, I became cursed. Now I only find myself attracted to zombies, ghosts, and, most strangely, skeletons. Should I tell my cleric about this or just wait for it to clear up?

Signed,
Lust-For-Unlife Continue reading Speak With Dead #02: NecRomantic Questions