A revenant is a corpse that has risen from its grave because, even after death, they could not let go of their passion and pain, their righteous anger, their murderous fury, or their desperate need to right a wrong. Many of the dead leave behind families, loved ones, unfinished tasks, and long-kept memories. These passions were so strong that they overwhelmed the tides of the Cycle of Life and Death. Whereas others saw their connection to their bodies severed and they had to drift into the Otherworlds, Reincarnation or an incorporeal existence, the Relentless Dead remained behind, slowly gathering energy, preparing to return and give free rein to their passions.
Most Relentless Dead are driven by anger and the quest for revenge. Sometimes, such anger is justified, and is aimed at the guilty party. Some Relentless are supernatural vigilantes, striking back at their tormentors. A few only seek certain individuals. Some have marked an entire family or clan for destruction, and make no distinction between the innocent and guilty. And many others are simply killing machines, whose anger encompasses all living things and who rise from the grave to commit murder in as many grisly ways as can be imagined. The latter type of creature has been responsible for many murders in remote forest areas and summer camps, their crimes discounted as the acts of lunatics.
Some revenants haunt sites that were significant to them in life. An executed criminal may lurk near a gibbet. Others seek revenge against those who betrayed or killed them or a loved one. A few undertake more challenging tasks, up to and including investigating a crime and instigating a retrial to clear their name. In all cases, though, revenants are single-minded to the point of monomania, and rarely interact with the living except to coerce, menace or slay them.
Although not as deadly as liches or vampires, revenants are still foes to be feared. They are vicious, strong, unnaturally tough and always fight to the death. Their appearance is fearsome, their smell is worse, and their rotting flesh and stinking “breath” harbor illness, which is often passed on to those who encounter them. Their insane desire for justice or vengeance makes them even more dangerous.
Unlike most corporeal undead, a revenant isn’t Unliving. Its mad drive allows it to function even when it’s badly damaged. It will collapse if it’s wounded badly enough, but that’s only temporary. Revenants who are buried, which they often are given their vile stench, will slowly heal their wounds and rise once more. They aren’t invulnerable, and can be destroyed by mundane attacks, but it takes a lot of damage to put them down for good.
Revenants can’t normally be “turned” by religious folk, either. Their will to remain on earth is stronger than the faith of even the most devout zealot, and a revenant will not deviate from its mission simply because a holy symbol is placed in its path. There are some exceptions to this rule, such as when a good and faithful person rises from the grave, but these are extremely rare.