If you play in my group, then GO AWAY!
For the rest of you…
Last session, the players looted a sentient skeleton (who nearly killed the fighter). Because I like the random loot table on p. 228, I decided to have the players roll on that one. They rolled a 5, so I decided to give them a “lock of hair” (The Lamented Memento from p. 339).
A question was asked. “How the hell did that skeleton get it?”. The session ended there, giving me ample time to think this through.
This is what I have come up with:
The truth is (unbeknownst to the players) that they have stumbled into a nest of necromancers and a dragon lich. The dragon seeks to restore his true body, and he needs a Tablet of Power (an artifact in our setting) to do so without dying of old age. He performed the ritual to become a lich to postpone his death until he could get his hands on it.
Becoming undead is a vile thing, because your soul actually departs. Technically, you aren’t there anymore. Unless…
Unless you can extort Death (also called “the Reaper” in our setting, because he is the god of souls and the harvest) into returning your soul.
This cult of necromancers have captured the poor girl Miranda, the Reapers one true love, and “not harming her further” is the threat that buys them life eternal.
I guess this’ll give the story an interesting spin.