How dead is an animated corpse?

I've started exploriung necromancy, and I've wondered: How dead is an animated corpse?

Animating corpses is Base 10.

Let's assume the corpse is "Fresh" and magically protected against decaying.

Can you tell at sight because it shambles along like a zombie?
Can you tell when you look into the eyes, because they look dead and do not blink?
Can you order an animated corpse to cry?
If an animated corpse walks through a city, do people notice that he's dead?
Can you make him feel warm (without using an ignem requisite)?
Is there a way you could animate a corpse and make it lifelike enough for a handshake or a romantic kiss?
Could other arts (like ig, im, or me) make a corpse more human?

For my saga, the key word would be corpse.

An animated corpse is just that... a corpse that is walking around. It looks like a corpse. It doesn't necessarily have to shamble around like a horror movie zombie, but it still looks dead... pale, waxy, and lifeless. In some circumstances, it might be mistaken for a living person, but anything like a serious look in good lighting will reveal it's true nature.

Can it cry? Maybe once or twice, until the body had no more tears. Does it feel warm? No, not without other magic. Can it look lifelike enough to pass for living in close interactions? Definately not, not without other magic. Muto Imaginem would be my first choice for making a corpse look more human.

Okay, so how do I make a corpse look life-like (kind of like that power vampires have in wod)?
I want a physical change, not an illusion.

Is it rego or muto, and is a creo requisite needed?

Changes a lot of small things to make a character look lifelike (e.g. breast heaves, eyes blink pupils dilate...)
(Base 2, +1 touch, +2 sun, +2 group)

(Base 3, +1 touch, +2 sun)
Makes a corpse appear alive, because it blinks, blushes etc

Make a corpse look lifelike.
Base10, +2sun, +1 touch

(any complexity magnitudes needed?)

I'd start with MuCo Base 3 to make the corspe look healthy, but would require a Rego requisite to the continuous small movements (breathing, blinking, heartbeat). So the end level would be 15.

I think this really a matter of degrees. It's probably hard to tell if you just happen to glance at the corpse in a crowd. It's something entirely different if you knew the person whose body is animated, and/or you are carefully examining the corpse. Even if the observer notices something, unless he has some experience with the undead, I think the reaction would be more like "there's something strange with that silent dude over there" than "Hey, an animated corpse preserved by magic!"

I'd base it all on a roll-off of the observer's Perception+Awareness vs. the caster's Intelligence+Finesse.

If the corpse is well preserved, the eyes do not look dead. And I do not see why you could not command the undead to blink.

Hmm, good question. Probably at least once or twice. But eventually it will run out of tears.

See above. Most will probably not notice anything amiss. A few observant folks are likely to perceive "something wrong". I'd say only very few would think he's dead -- only folks with supernatural powers, or with arcane knowledge are likely to go beyond the "something wrong" feeling. Of course, if the people of the city knew there's a necromancer stealing bodies from the graves and animating them to walk again among the living, this would change!

Probably not. Well, you could use Imaginem, or just have it get warm sitting by a fire or under a hot sun.

Again, I think it's an issue of caster's Finesse vs. observer's Perception+Awareness, with modifiers depending on the circumstances. I think it's not too hard to keep the body lifelike. It's just that it will look a really really dull, "dead-inside" person; this is the fundamental difference compared to conscious undead like the popular vampire stereotype, and it may or may not discourage would-be kissers.

Ignem could make it warm; Imaginem could make it feel warm; it could also provide the illusion of other vital faculties such as tears or speech. Mentem (integrated in the animation spell) makes it more capable of more sophisticated independent behaviour.

Those 2 answer oppose each other. Once dry the eyes won't look natural.

I would punt these issues away by stating that tears and breathing are natural behaviors.Or at least you canget them with an extra magnitude.

Like ezzelino said Im or Ig req is needed to feel it warm. Anyway I vote on the MuCo variant.

I think there would be another little problem. I have doubt if the zombie eyes would follow the movement or would look into the eyes of anyone. If it is important I suggest simply adding a Me req. I suppose the zombies don't use their eyes to look around but some magical senses.

Remember, you are magically preserving the corpse. So eyes stay "natural looking" without "natural" tears.
So no, my two answers do not contradict each other :slight_smile:

I think you can make the corse appear to breath, by making it heave its chest.
However, I do not think you can make it digest food and thus "grow back stuff" including tears.

Yes, that's about what I meant by "punting".