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Basic Information

Adipocere (literally "fat wax") is a waxy substance caused by the incomplete decay of corpses and animal carcasses - usually in moist, cool, anoxic locations like graves.

As an organic wax it can be used in the manufacture of soaps and candles - this would appear to be the sort of thing that only necromancers would get into, but it seems that this happened on an industrial scale during the exhumations for the Paris Catacombs. Necromancers may well also expand into annointing lotions, potions and the like and adipocere is used to manufacture some versions of the Hand of Glory. It is also said to be something of a delicacy for ghouls.

Less repulsively, the degree of adipocere formation can be used at autopsy to help determine time of death and adipocere deposits can retain a physical cast of tissues which decayed centuries earlier which is very interesting to (some) archaeologists.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • Note the necromancy related stuff.
  • Note also the very mundane and disgusting possibilities for use as a tallow substitute.
  • PCs could end up investigating either of these.
  • Or need adipocere for a specific magical working - especially in a campaign with black and grey morality.
  • Or find the stuff as treasure without knowing what it is…
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