NB: I am about ready to declare this done for now. Any perspectives, incites or anything that you think would make it better would be most welcome
This idea came out of this thread: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showt...=257643&page=3
The basic concept is for a kind atypical undead empire. One ruled by an antitheistic magocracy, built on the ideals of secular humanism (think flat earth atheists). It is not meant to be a utopia.
In this setting it is assumed that good and evil do have objective verifiable existence, the gods take an active role in the affairs of men and that morality is a cultural set of subjective values influenced by but not dependent on alignment.
IE: Vampires are always evil by nature but that does not mean that they are immoral or amoral. They can be kind and benevolent but that does not make them any less evil.
Concentric circles refers to a larger setting that I am working on and I envisage this as one corner of this; however there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn't pull apart, adapt or or reuse any or all of this work for your own use.
Its necromancy, but not as we know it
The undead manifesto
If one where to reject and renounce the gods, alignment, divinely revealed morality and all other outsiders then necromancy would be a vital tool in the arsenal.
It grants a society control of its moralities control over their own afterlife. Broken free from the tyranny of the alignment system men are free to decide for themselves what is right or wrong, free to decide their own destinies. The long term goal is first the liberation of the mundane from outside influence and then the storming of the golden gates and the cleansing of the deepest pits; casting all outsiders to the shadows of the beyond.
I envisage a society where a part of the soul is bound to an artifact (be it a building, monument, weapon, jewel or warforged golem armor). This binds the rest of the spirit to this world, forcing the person into a cycle of reincarnation centered on their artifact/phalactry. During each life the soul is rebound to the artifact (or to another) making the object more powerful. Perhaps in the long run the object awakens and the (or an) individual is completely bound within. I imagine that for large objects like ships, fortresses or cities many people can be bound in and of them.
"This place ...this place is sacred. Everyone who loved it, everyone who lived it, who died for it, who shed blood sweat and tears for it has left a part of themselves here. It is our ancestors legacy to us, our legacy to the future. Tread carefully stranger, for you are treading on our souls."
These immortal beings occupy an exalted position in necrotheistic society. Over the centuries they gradually retire from the hurly burly of daily life and the cut and thrust of mainstream politics.
The council of grey lords is the circle of the liches. They are the repositors of history and arcane learning, councilors to the senate and the lanstrad, finally and most importantly they are the supreme judiciary.
In their role as the judiciary they:
Act as governmental oversight, investigating corruption and vetting senators and governmental appointments.
Rule on the constitutionality of laws and decrees.
Act as the final court of appeal.
Appoint judges, councilors and inquisitors.
One of the curious things about Necrotheistic liches is their treatment of phylacteries. These are usually built into an undead construct, which acts as its guardian.
Reincarnation for the masses; the messy way
Citizens have at least part of their souls bound to the material culture of the city. For example an journeyman sculptor works on his masterpiece. Upon completion he has a peace of his spirit bound within it when he donates his work to the city in exchange for his official and civic recognition as a master sculptor
They then reincarnate as new people upon death (the messy way, not the magic revive character way). Memories, personality and experiences would be more or less lost ...but it might be possible to get flashes of what you where through dreams or when in contact with an artifact that holds a proportion of your soul.
Important ideas, memories, skills and experiences are directly recorded and preserved in archives (some of which may be open to the public, others available by special permission and still others sealed as most secret).
Bobs bargain crypt; for a new life at affordable prices
The non-citizens have their souls tied to their own mortal remains. This is the entry level of the reincarnation system. To have better would require that you are deemed to have contributed more, earned better in this life for your next.
The soul of a serf is bound to their village. Unless they leave and are bound elsewhere or something terrible happens they will be reborn in their home village. Upon death necromancers ritually remove the brain, prepare it in unguents. The community ceremonially cremate the organ in the village square and scatter the ashes in the center of the village (usually a pleasant communal green).
In payment for their services the necromancers take possession of the body. This provides the state with a steady supply of postmortem reagents, bones and skeletons. This also covers covers the "patriotic duty" of the surfs; they are exempt from taxation or conscription (but they are still free to volunteer for military service if they so wish).
If you were willing to undergo one of the "rituals of personal ascension", if it where felt that you had earned it, if you had an "elder" willing to sponsor and if you managed to pass an interview and vetting procedure you would be made a into some kind of sentient undead as befits your role and status.
The vampire clans maintain the absolute right to "adopt" or to refuse any willing mortal into their number for any or no reason. Such matters require the consent of the given clan elder. All disputes, grievances and general petitions are dealt with by the nocturnal lanstrad; the council of clan elders.
Necromancers of course maintain the right to "exceed the pinnacle of their craft" by attaining lichedom. While this will help them with any political aspiration they might have they do not automatically gain political or administrative office, they need to be appointed in the case of the latter or a popular mandate in the case of the former.
Just because there is a surfeit of the living dead and skeletal legions it doesn't mean that money doesn't matter, that things just pay for themselves. Even in the land of the dead money speaks all languages.
There is a vampiric aristocracy forming an officer /landowner class together with a "priesthood"/civil service formed of necromancers and liches.
Necropolitan society benefits from a good sized mortal citizen class of landowners, craftsmen, merchants, mages and tradesmen. These men and women have a social and economic importance well above their obvious weight as they and they alone posses the right to vote. Beneath these are large non-citizen class of registered aliens, tenet farmers and/or slaves. Non-citizens are required to hand over their bodies after their done using them (relic tax) in lei of wealth or income based taxes.
The state of necrotheism
Necrotheism started out in an isolated city state and grew from there. (Whether it manifests itself as a phernonina from a distant land, the relics of a lost past, a fractious alliance of city states, a small nation, a patchwork of elector states or as a full blown unitary empire would be very much up to the DM. )
The necrotheistic state is a nation under siege, its goal is universal dominion. It must expend or die and thus it is to be expected that it become affilted by the "disease of bigness". As a result they tend to fluctuate between two or more of these scenarios.
If was a "necropolitan empire" that was destroyed a few thousand years ago there are a number of embattled vestiges in isolated or defensible locations. It are haunted ruins, SEIAC ancient strategic reserves and a lot of lost artifacts that all sides want to recover (one set to destroy the other to reclaim).
The necrotheist where one of the first great human empires. They cleared the way, opened up huge tracts of uncharted wilderness, slew the tarrasque, dragons and a host of other assorted mega fauna that plagued the area. Their enlightened aproch to the mystic pioneered much of the arcane thought that had languished in superstition for ages past.
Then they where brought down. Maybe a vast barbarian host overwhelmed the frontiers, maybe infighting tore them apart in civil war, maybe some profit has lead a religions revolution in the heartlands. Perhaps the religious scouring had forces the disparate tribal gods to coalesces into a new harsher, more powerful pantheon; one that called down blight after cataclysm to destroy the old empire. Perhaps it was all of these things, but it was the end of the beginning and the beginning of a new era.
Now the lands are a patchwork resurgent wilderness and petty and rude kingdoms, the best of them little more than pretenders to lost imperial glory. The landscape first tamed by immortal hands and then assailed by the forces of "nature" are studded and crisscrossed with abandoned palaces, haunted ruins, esoteric monuments, tumble down aqueducts and walls, arrow strait and level road gone to seed; the knowings of their makings lost beyond all mortal ken.
In the harshest, most forlorn or forgotten corners of what was once the old empire lay the embattled remnants of its once vast Majesty. These fortress citadels where once little more than provincial towns, their size swelled by the hordes of wild eyed refugees and their walls, streets and vaults enriched by what little could be saved from the great burning of civilization.
Efficiencies in the menial labor market
The basic economic principle is to use undead and slave labor for public services, this lowers the pressure on the public purse. As well as this the state engages in the rental or sell of these laborer to raise revenues. The state then passes on the savings with lower taxes which combined with a surfeit of cheap unskilled labor in turn stimulates economic prosperity.
Control talismans allow mundanes to command undead. They are used to assists with or perform a variety of basic tasks as well as for combat.
These control artifact are rented out to people/businesses by registered necromancers. They control no more that a score of undead and have a serial number stamped into each talisman. This is a major source of revenue for the state and the low taxes that this (amongst other things) allow are thought to be good for the economy.
Limited charge summon/control device are sold to adventurers as well as rechargeable version issued to military NCO's, public works officers, watchmen and village elders. These devices are also alert the relevant authorities when used (thus serving as an alarm system).
The countryside surrounding a necrotic city is dominated by a complex system of vampire aristocratic landowners and tenet subsistence farmers.
An extended family of serfs will have a leasehold on a given plot of farmland. This plot will provide enough sustenance for them to live on but no where near enough to make a descant living. To provide income families are forced to find additional work. This often entails family members moving away to find work and send money home(usually the case where a family grows too large for their plot to sustain them), the occasional or full time work on the big estates or picking up a trade for work in the local or regional community.
As part of their feudal obligations serfs are required to provide blood to their vampiric overlords at least once a year as well as work to bring in the annual harvest (for which they receive a small but welcome wage and the right for their village to exchange or buy foodstuffs from the estate at a discounted rate).
The estates employ a small workforce of mortal staff and skeletal laborers, they supplement this by hiring local or traveling tradesmen on an as needed basis, taking on freelance necromancers to help with big projects or the local serfs particularly with events like the lambing.
The primary source of income for the aristocracy is the sale of agricultural products but they supplement this with the exploitation of natural resources such as timber, ore or stone. They also maintain a stranglehold on the production of wine, beer and flour as well as the rearing and produce of heard stock such as cattle, sheep and horse.
Crime and punishment
The civil system
The judiciary relies on the inquisitorial system. The judge acts to appoint three inquisitors; living, unliving and living dead. The judge determiners guilt and decides punishment.
In the shires crime is investigated and prosecuted by a noble appointed serif. The local lord or his or her representative acts as judge. Justice is all about maintaining order; as such collective responsibility and collective punishment is the order of the day.
Most interpersonal disputes are sorted out with violent brawls in the case of the peasantry or honor duels in the case of the nobility. These can escalate into self perpetuating feuds. Local authorities only intervene when it either damages or threatens their interests or spirals out of all control.
The penal system
The civil penal system is about providing the victim restitution (either in the form of satisfaction or as compensation) or making a public example of the convict. It has a very high conviction rate, usually leaves the victim and the public feeling that justice has been served and allows people to feel safe to walk the streets; that the innocent might be punished or the guilty might go free is neither here nor there.
The range of penalties include:
-Court orders (typically cease and desists)
-Public chastisements (censure, humiliation or corporal punishments)
-Fines (often in the form of compensation)
-Enslavement (Limited term, life or perpetual)
The death sentence varies situationally. It is usually carried out by public stoning on humans, decapitation on vampires and burning on other forms of undead.
This venerable institution is not the monolithic establishment its name implies, instead it is a grass roots collective operating out of a number of local chapter houses.
The guild maintains libraries and offers a variety of services including legal advice, magical consultation, boarding houses, work contracts, wholesale magical surpluses as well as collective representation. The guild is the main point of contact between the authorities and the magical community.
The convention is to name cities after virtues, qualities or ideals. The first city was called Enlightenment (AKA enlightened provenience), the old capitol Majesty, Serenity was the mages guild headquarters and Endeavor the chief port.
Now Endeavor is under twenty foot of water, there is a perfectly circular and deep lake where Serenity used to be, majesty is a blackened ruin and Enlightenment is lost without a trace.
Modern cities have names of a more martial aspect. Defiance, Fortitude, Resolution, Endurance and Beauty (a hold over from the old days).
Necrotheistic cities tend to follow a circular street layout of wide orbital and radial thoroughfares and a network of much narrower side streets and alleys. The civic center is always an open plaza or park surrounded by administrative and civic buildings. This hosts the main and slave markets almost every day.
Rather that rearing walls they favor stone or timber faced ramparts. Built for indestructibility rather than insurmountability, these are formidable obstacles by any measure.
Beyond the walls grow large and largely lawless slums of dark winding alleys and abutting low buildings.
One of the defining features of their buildings are their unusual pyramids. These are wide circular stepped mounds. They have homes, shops and businesses carved into their sides from the base on up every level. Atop sits a small domed building.
Another feature dominating the skyline are the thin towers that almost seem to defy the ground.
The ministry of Public works
This is responsible for the construction, upkeep and maintenance of civic facilities, institutions and public amenities. It also maintain two joint commissions with other ministries.
The MoPW (Colloquially: the Mohpou) uses contracts with the local guilds for piece work and skilled work. For unskilled work they use large numbers of skeletal constructs as well as slave labor; this helps keep down costs.
The construct commission
This is maintained by the MoPW and the mages guild. Its primary purpose is to register and regulate the creation, storage and rental of undead constructs as well as the training and registration of "animation specialists" and the monitoring and enforcement of reanimation quotas. It is one of the states primary sources of revenue and as such the mass production of permanent undead constructs is a jealously guarded monopoly.
It works closely with the legionary procurement commission and the nocturnal landstrad to fill "recruitment" quotas. This also helps prevent an over abundance of undead labor causing an economic downturn. To this end many skeletons are stockpiled in strategic reserves, this means that necromancers can continually get guarantied work even in years of low demand. This is important as it prevents a skills gap later down the line as well as alleviating the problem of necromancers turning to criminal enterprises by providing honest work during recessions. It also provides a ready source of additional military "bone power".
The slavery commission
This board is a joint enterprise between the ministry of public works and the ministry of justice. It is responsible for the registration, sales, manumission and enforcing minimum standards for slaves, it also is the licensing authority
for the general slave trade.
The criminal justice system is one of the primary sources of slaves. Other slaves taken as prisoners of war, particularly lean years usually cause serf villages to sell extraneous members of the community (often decided by a vote, lots or elders decree), some desperate people willingly sell themselves and still others are born into the existing slave stock.
The military is divided into the militia, the legion and the core.
These are the primary standing armies of the necrotheistic empire. The backbone of the legion is formed of skeletal heavy infantry, augmented with various auxiliary units, siege golems and an enlarged command section.
The big advantages of mindless dead soldiers are that they do not need to be fed or payed, they will always obey orders, they are tireless and will fight all night and all day, if you don't need them at any point you can forget about them for centuries at a time and best of all no one is waiting for them back at home and no one will morn them if they fall.
The biggest disadvantage is that they are of course mindless, they will do whatever they are ordered to do regardless of weather or not it is appropriate, they will never take the initiative and they will never retreat when left to their own devices.
They get around this by using mortal NCO's, These men are enlisted from the militia or drawn from surf or metic volunteers (for which they are guaranteed citizenship in exchange for an extended period of service). The provide the insight, the initiative and the intelligence necessary to make the legion an effective fighting force.
Commissioned officers are drawn from the vampiric aristocracy, usually from the "younger sons" who seek independent means and personal glory outside of their clan. The longevity of vampires combined with their resistance to certain forms of magic and natural affinity for necromancy makes them a perfect fit for legionary command.
"...profane? You might say that ...me; I believe that everyone who has been through here, for whom this place embodies their hopes and dreams leave a little bit of themselves behind. Their spirits are in the walls, the floors, in the very stones. It is a temple; not to your false gods but a temple to the very soul of the people. Whilst our walls stand we will never truly die, and it will stand while there is still breath in my body. It is my honor and privilege to guard this city and you should think very long and hard before disrespecting it ...foreigner."
The militia is a defensive force comprised mainly of part time soldiers and commanded by a small core of professional soldiers mostly drawn from retired legionnaires.
Every adult male citizen is expected to spend a period in the militia. They are given basic training on drill, formation and a variety of simple to use weapons (the best example of these are the crossbows which are virtually synonymous with militia men).
"We own the night": Unattributed
These are organizations of full time specialists. These include the logistics core, the engineering core, the magic core, the intelligence core, the siege core and the dark core.
The dark core is comprised of high optimization adventurers. It is used for special forces operations, wet work and as a secret police force.
Vampires are an important part of necrotheistic society, without them it would not have expanded or endured as well as it did.
The problem was that is was always a philosophy of the city, beyond lay a countryside full of superstitious peasants apt to reach for comfortable beliefs in hard times and an entrenched nobility fearful of loosing what they had.
The vampires where able to convert a significant number of noble clans by offering the promise of eternal life; eternal rule. The justifiably rewound abilities for the nocturnal ones to manipulate, charm, dominate and read mortals where put to good use in the subjugation of the rural population.
Thus is was that the city of Enlightenment was able to shore up its hold on its small unruly hinterland and extend its territory considerably. The sanguine conclave that created the arrangement was one of the pivotal moments in early necrotic history.
Rather than an a normal soul vampires posses a font of negative energy within them centered. This is caged within a standing positive energy field inside their hearts.
They absorb ambient positive energy, this is then carried to their negative font by their blood. The energy is annihilated within the heart releasing "vital energy" or Qi, this allows the the volition to move, to think and to wield magic; it is what gives them their unlife.
If cut off from or deprived positive energy the negative energy in their heart builds up, gradually eroding their semblance to humanity and eventually overwhelming them.
Whilst they produce their own "Qi" they need to draw on the Qi of sentient beings because they lack some essential spiritual element and need to supplement this from their diet in the same way we need vitamins.
The quickest and most efficient way to do this is to open someones veins and drink the life energy that spills out with the blood. They can do it through touch alone but it takes an awful lot longer and most people will sense that something potentially harmful is being done to them.
If they don't feed will result in a diminished connection to the negative plane. This will drastically weaken them, reducing them to a comatose state if left for long enough.
This is a rage like ability of X use per night. It gives boosted movement speed and damage, it represents the predatory abilities of a vampire during the hunt.
Their bites have the ability to paralyses their victims, allowing them to feed comparatively safely.
The get night vision and a better sense of smell.
A weak suggestion/confusion ability.
By injecting their blood into a mortal victim a vampire can over the course of a few nights enslave them, turning them into a human familiar.
Daylight is not good for vampires but far from instantly fatal. They can get away with the hood/robes outfit but they wont be particularly comfortable under the mid day sun. The main problem is the fact that their eyes are very light sensitive though heat exhaustion is also a factor. Magic darkness and bad weather help considerably but they still have to be careful.
The positive energy in daylight is simply far too much and too pure for their systems to handle. Their absorption systems all but shut down to protect them, shutting off most of their abilities and making them weaker.
For vampire sunlight is an addictive narcotic with long term health implications. The can handle it and even enjoy it to a certain extend but it all about moderation. "Daywalkers" are self destructive junkies; "Kin don't let kin do days". Given enough exposure daywalkers develop a complete resistance to sunlight, however this "burns off" most of their abilities including their immortality.
Children of the blood
The siring of new vampires can not be done alone. It requires the cooperation of two vampires working in consort. The best results come from experienced vampires with a great deal of attunement with each other. When two vampires that are closely linked by blood attempt to sire a new vampire the results are rarely ever stable.
The process involved drinking the blood of the initiate, transmuting it within themselves and re injecting it. This is done progressively over the course of three to five nights. The most delicate stage is when the victims heart stops; the animus of the soul must be contained, caged within the heart and reignited as a font of darkness.
The process is risky and can have varied results, some of them can be deliberately inflicted. The victim may:
- *die outright
*bound as a spirit
*Rise as a zombie
*Rise as an unstable undead abomination
*Rise as a Ghoul familiar
*Remain alive and become a dhampire
*Become sired as a new vampire
Children of the loins
Most vampire are fertile but will struggle to conceive without assistance, particularly amongst their own kind. Vampires may conceive human children; about one in seven of which will become dhampires, however they may only carry dhampires to term themselves.
A vampire may have one of three affinities and one of three natures. Alternately they may be pure blood vampires.
These vampires gain wild shape instead of hunters thirst. They can call and charm animals and may posses an animal familiar.
Wild vampires are particularly vulnerable to silver
They are the best at blending into the crowed, they are charismatic and gain improved abilities to suggest, manipulate and dominate people.
Vampires with a mortal affinity do not have reflections and are afraid of mirrors.
These vampires have the closest connection with the dead and spirits. They are better necromancers and may commune with spirits.
They are vunerable to salt.
They tend to be brooding, pessimistic and cynical. Their shadows are particularly dark.
They possess the ability to manipulate darkness and shadow. They are very good at hiding, they are particularly vulnerable to sunlight.
The most ethereal and otherworldly of vampires. They are slight and almost insubstantial.
They gain the ability to become ethereal and to levitate. They are vulnerable to running water.
The most callous and unfeeling of vampires; they are pale, cold to the touch
and misty breathed.
Cold natured vampires have the ability to lower the temperature, control ice and mist. They are particularly vulnerable to fire.
A newly sired vampire will usually spend many decades amongst their blood clan. About a third will never leave their blood kin and spend the remainder of their unnatural lives there.
For one reason or another many vampires leave the embrace of their new families. They wander between territories and wilderness for centuries, few ever able to settle down for more than a decade in any given community. Many end their days dying alone, some wander for all eternity or become hermits but most will eventually be adopted by an existing clan or settle down with a partner to try to form a new clan.
Vampires have addictive tenancies. Be it blood, sex, power, daylight, danger, violence, alcohol, narcotics, travel, adventure, food, gambling... a vampire will usually find themselves at least one serious vice.
They also have obsessive tendencies. This is the trait that allows them to focus on a goal for centuries, to plan for events lifetime away. The downside of this is that it causes them to become fixated on trivial little details, to moon over a particular victim or to nurse a grudge beyond all reason.
These are the poor flesh eating relation of vampires.
These guys are mostley human ...mostly. They are a bit stronger than human, stronger than vampires in daylight. They can also become full vampires unless they are the result of a burn out.
Thinking about how necromancy actually works. It is probably quite important for this setting to work properly so I intend to spend some time going into depth about it. Any help and ideas would be appreciated
Jane_smiths idea about the necromancy being the interaction of positive and negative energy is quite appealing but I want to re-gig to better suit my use for it.
positive and negative energy
Positive energy in this setting represents energy and stasis, it is raw potential. It is more closely aligned with the (in this setting) absent forces of law than those of good. Negative energy is representative of the entropy and change; it is the darkest heat sink imaginable. It is more closely modeled on the absent forces of chaos than those of evil.
[paraphrase] If necromancy was purely negative energy it would simply destroy the corpse, if it where positive it would heal/revive it. It must their fore be a complex admixture of positive and negative; used because it is more efficient than positive energy alone[/paraphrase]
I put it that large amounts of pure positive energy are as immiscible to life as negative energy. Negative energy dissipates, diminishes and drains, positive energy energizes, evaporates and immolates. Both conventional healing and necromancy use small amounts of both types, the difference being that healing uses more positive than negative and necromancy uses more negative than positive.
The anatomy of the soul
The animus is the only part of the soul that I have any strong conception of, it is a swirling orb of positive and negative energy. It acts kind of like a spiritual heat engine and its linked to stamina and life force; some call it elan others vitality and still others chakara. The animus expends energy when you work, concentrate or use magic. When you sleep your physical, mental and emotional turmoil are stilled; this allows the animus to settle into the smooth lamina swirls of energy required for it to recharge properly.
Death causes the animus to unbind, releasing its bound energy in a spiritual and mystical shock wave (the one of the primary reason for human sacrifice). After death their is a vestigial animus that slowly fades from existence.
This is the seat of memory. It is effectively a static field of your memories, skills and experiences, thus it grows over the period of your life. The Logos acts as a reservoir and capacitor for the mental energies used to manipulate the arcane. The logos is closely linked to the senses.
This is the part of you that is actually you. The part that does the thinking and the feeling, the part that does the watching. It is the inner core of your being and its what separates people from animals or constructs. It is very ephemeral and hard to pin down but it is thought to be comprised of three spheres (though this is a controversial model); one given over to thought, one to feeling and last one is only very loosely understood.
The natural fate of the soul
1)upon death the standing wave of the animus blows out its current reservoir.
2)The soul is expelled from the material plains by the force of the death shock.
3) The soul is usualy weighted either positvley or negatively. This causes them to be drawn towards either the positive or negative energy plains.
4) The spiraling souls are dragged beyond the event horizon of these plains. Nobody knows what happens after that but the general consensus is that the soul is destroyed or consumed somehow.
a) The gods, daemons and assorted others claim souls on their long voyage through the astral sea.
b) It is easier for them to find and hold onto the souls of their alignment (as good and evil repel each other but good attracts good and evil attracts evil).
c) Divine beings can find the souls of worshipers very quickly as the act of worship is kind of like a distress beacon. The strength of faith and worship is directly proportionate to the strength of the beacon.
How animate dead works
Necromancers take the vestigial animus and rekindle it. They transmute it into a source or font of negative energy and contain it in a cage of positive energy. This then reacts with ambient positive energy to create the vital energy needed to give the creature its volition.
How turn undead works
If good and evil are objective variable cosmic forces then it follows that spells can be good and evil and that the results may contaminated by this. By this formula undead might be 7 parts negative, two parts positive to one part evil (evil because they contain the cosmic residue of the evil used in their creation and not because they are broadly negative beings).
The basic concept is that good and evil repel each other and attract like. It follows that any creature with "evil" as an essential part of its make up and life processes will be repelled by a strong source of "good".
In this model it also follows that if an undead creature was created without the use of evil then turn undead will do precisely jack.
If attempting to interfere or extinguish the negative energy using positive then it should be noted that a large infusion of positive energy can cause an unstable runaway reaction, this can have unintended consequences. It should also be noted that undead are drawn to strong sources of negative energy.
Some people will always be at the bottom. This is the reason why I acknowledge the existence of surfs, of slaves and metics is a highly likely possibility in this kind of society. Plus people need more than bread and circuses. They need something that theirs, something to work for.
As part of the social control system I think some kind of hideously twisted variant of the American dream could be the answer. "work hard In school kids and if you want it bad enough you to could become an abominable blasphemy in the sight of all that's holy!"
Crime and punishment?
As the point of the culture is to create an artificial cycle of rebirth the strongest penalty would be excommunication from this. The phrase "Gods take you!" springs to mind.
An atypical crime would be trafficking with outsiders (being a cleric/paladin/favored soul/diabolist or warlock).
I think that this society would be subject to a level of paranoia and public witch hunts for priests and laymen. It might be somewhere between the anti-Catholic sentiment of Tudor England, the McArthiest red scare and the persecution of early Christians.
Had not thought about immigration of the undead. It would have to be sentient free roaming dead with no ties to the gods or independent necromancers. Wouldn't imagine that their are enough of them to cause a problem by I do like the concept of a "corpus ghoul auxilia".
Isnít this still Evil?
Doesn't matter if itís good or evil in this case. On the alignment system such a societal would fall off of the axis, sit in the middle or oscillate widely from one side to the other. Trying to be a Neizchien ubermenchen society does that. Why should they define or limit themselves to the cosmic accursed alignment system? This would make them a very tempting target for both the red and blue teams (as well as the purple, orange and maroon teams)
I rather think that the cosmic forces of good, evil and/or blancmange would go to great length to eradicate such a society whatever its alignment is or is not. Its just good business to stamp out threats.
Free your mind, free your soul!
So necromancy isn't actualy evil then?
I imagine that the forces of "evil" created the necromantic lexicon as a kind of negative healing lore as opposed to the divine healing used by the forces of "good", therefore the first generation of spell would have been evil and quite possibly traps. However this society has taken necromancy away from its roots and developed it in ways that the original authors would not have considered or approved off. They could do this because the forces of evil do not have proprietary control over negative energy, despite what it would like everyone to think. Proto-necromancy was undeniable evil, modern theocratic-necromancy is no more evil then any other form of magic.
The necropolis is a sort of genius locci, its chock full of spirits and awakened or sub sentient artifacts. If these formed a subsentient gasalt could the necropolis be used as a source for semi divine/ urban primal spell casting? would it be a viable partner for some sort of urban pact warlock?
The next big question is can the entire city "awaken" as a sentient gasalt entity and what would that mean for the society? It has been suggested that this would become some sort of artificial civic god.
I think that a local utopia can exist at least partially but only in opposition to another force. The blitz spirit is a shared fear of the other, of loosing what one has; a sense that if you don't pull together and get along you are going to get hammered.
That is why my necrothieists need the enmity of beings like the gods. Without the threat of an all pervading and eternal opponent it would eventually fall apart. If they did not have gods they would probably be forced to create them.
What about constantly subverting your ideas and presumptions of both. A society which on the surface looks pretty evil but when you get to know it better it "seems" to be actually not too bad in principle. On closer examination however there is trouble in "paradise" only the locals are too obsessed with towing the party line to see it. Not a bad metaphor for the practical application of communism/democracy.
Gods and daemons (particularly daemons)
Positive/Negative day/night weirdness
I would like to particularly thank Jane_Smith and Kelb_Panthera for their impute, advice and support.
Thanks to all the guys who helped me flesh out the vampires