The setting for my RPG has one large empire of humans that wants to establish a colony on a moon much like our own moon. No atmosphere, no food, no heat, no problem: The empire has a hundred intelligent undead and they have all been drafted as colonists.

"Intelligent undead" here means vampires, skeletal champions, and the like. It's a Pathfinder RPG campaign setting.

For their party, the vampires (and other intelligent undead) are tired of being hunted. They have agreed (for now!) to work with this empire. Transport to the moon and back is done by empire wizards with teleport spells.

A deal has been struck. In return for building out the colony and creating a breathable biodome , the undead become citizens of the empire. Fresh sources of blood are teleported to the colony every few months: beasts, captured monsters. The empire does not want to create any more vampires than it can secure on a distant colony, so the worst convicted human felons are not sent to Undead Lunar Base.

The vampires have enough wizard levels / magic power to build the biodome, not enough to teleport away. Or so the Empire believes....

Part of the reason why "drafted as colonists" works is that the undead are tired of hiding and fighting. They want a city of their own, on the far side of the moon (buried under the surface to keep away from the sunlight), well removed from all the holy symbols, garlic, and paladins. These undead have "bought in" to the empire's plan. The undead may even have a secret plan to build their own power source within this colony, unknown to the empire.

The empire also offers the carrot of 'citizenship' to the undead. This is the part I want to examine more closely with this question.

What aspects of "laws about citizenship" should I keep in mind to make this work at start? What will the undead petition for over time?

This is both a campaign setting and a story in that campaign setting. Each side does not trust the other, and that's part of the tension to the story. I'm not worried about one side pressing an advantage over the other. I'm worried about logic gaps in the background and I'm trying to think those through before I implement this setting.

  • $\begingroup$ What nation exactly? I'm not an legal expert, but I believe every nation has their own law. Do you want an answer for all nations on earth? $\endgroup$
    – Raditz_35
    Commented Sep 24, 2017 at 9:21
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ There is no"dark side" of the moon. The moon is tidally locked with the earth, so there is a far side that is in darkness when the side we can see is in light. However it is in light when the side we can see is in darkness. $\endgroup$
    – pojo-guy
    Commented Sep 24, 2017 at 11:33
  • $\begingroup$ @pojo-guy I did not know that, about the "dark side" of the moon. I'm going to have to either redefine how that moon works in my campaign setting, or review my entire idea. Thank you for pointing that out. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 24, 2017 at 15:47
  • $\begingroup$ @StandardEyre if it matters, you can have the moon's rotational period match the planet's orbital period. Then you will have permanently dark/light sides. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 25, 2017 at 6:55
  • $\begingroup$ Is this acknowledging of intelligent dead creatures a result of the #DeadLivesMatter movement? :) $\endgroup$
    – Eduardo W.
    Commented Sep 25, 2017 at 19:21

2 Answers 2


"Dead" is usually a termination point for things like citizenship so you probably want to redefine the undead as being "differently alive" for a start.

Look at the rights of slaves in Rome for a start, you're going to need an equivalent of manumission somewhere along the line. Even if the undead aren't technically slaves they're going to start with very few rights and the proposed set up suggests that they are in effect slaves; they're basically paid in food for a start. Then look at the civil rights movement in the USA starting with the civil war. You're going to want to pay special attention to rights around things like property and franchise (the right to vote).


In many (most?) countries on Earth today, one acquires citizenship in one of two ways: being born into it, or going through a formal process to become a citizen. Your vampires will presumably undergo the latter. Their descendants would presumably be born into it -- but you're going to have to define "born". Your question implies that vampires can raise other vampires (hence they don't get human criminals); does that count as "birth" for citizenship purposes? Or does the person's original citizenship continue past his undeath? No current laws address this question.

Some countries assign different rights to born and naturalized citizens. For example, in the US the latter are disqualified from the office of president. Your undead might not, over time, demand privileges equivalent to born citizens, especially in light of the colonization task they are doing on behalf of the empire. Alternatively, your undead might argue that, as in the previous paragraph, their citizenship when they still lived should continue to apply -- they might argue that they are born citizens, not naturalized, in other words.

Citizenship confers rights for residency and travel that do not always apply to non-citizens. There shouldn't be major changes here, with one wrinkle: can your vampires be photographed? If not, laws about valid ID, photos on passports, and the like will need to change for them to be able to legally travel.

In some (most?) countries, citizens (but not non-citizens) working for or as part of the government or military are sometimes granted security clearances. As part of the process, identity needs to be validated, including biometrically. Can your vampires be fingerprinted? Do they have personally-identifiable DNA? If any of your vampires want to work in national defense, these processes might need to change.

In some countries, citizenship grants rights to publicly-funded social services such as medical care. Human citizens might push back on that because vampires live forever and people don't, so the commitment for each vampire-citizen is greater. Your vampires might be fine with this, but expect your humans to lobby for lifetime limits, mandatory contributions (you only draw out if you pay enough taxes in), or other restrictions.

There are other laws that will need to change in a world that integrates the undead, particularly inheritance law, but those aren't usually tied to citizenship.


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