Revenants are engines of vengeance, potentially denying themselves their afterlife in order to avenge themselves upon those responsible for their own unjust deaths. Upon their resurrection, they have just one year to enact their revenge, with the afterlife awaiting them upon their success, and obliteration should they fail. In overall appearance, revenants resemble zombies, being animated corpses (though typically of a fresher vintage), but it is unlikely even a casual observer would confuse the two. Even from a distance, the purposeful stride of a revenant could not be more different from the twitching shamble of a zombie and, up close, there is no mistaking the grim, determined focus in its eyes. To begin with, a revenant will inhabit its original body but, should that be destroyed, its spirit can inhabit any other corpse, provided it can find one fast enough. Original body or no, the dread gaze of a revenant is unmistakable, especially to its target, who will always recognize the identity of the hateful spirit within. A revenant’s regenerative abilities (a combination of magical healing and sheer tenacity) makes it able to shrug off most mundane damage, and even reverses some of the process of decay, should it inhabit an older corpse (though they still appear clearly dead).
Revenants are birthed by betrayal and fueled by revenge. Unlike the many and varied goals a ghost might need to see completed, or the self-serving ambitions of a wight, a revenant has only one clear and simple goal; the deaths of all those involved in their unjust murder. Nothing will stay their hand in this; should their body be destroyed, their spirit shall simply find another to inhabit, should their target run or hide, they innately know their location and distance.
Dead bodies they may be, but they are not mindless, nor are they restricted by the same rules as often govern the undead. Divine powers do not especially affect them, as their resurrection is not due to the meddling of gods, but a result of the greater powers of balance and justice in the cosmos, to which even they must bend. Some personal choice must also be involved, somewhat similar to the creation of a wight, for not every victim of betrayal becomes a revenant. The existence of a revenant is one of desperation. While the drive for revenge is a powerful stimulant, it must always be tinged with the knowledge of what awaits them should they fail. No peace awaits a failed revenant, no crossing over to reunite with loved ones and muse upon their shortcomings, only oblivion, nothingness. The obliteration of a failed revenant’s soul is a powerful act by the unknowable and pitiless forces of cosmic balance, forces above even the gods. This process can go awry, with the trauma and bitterness of revenge denied, twisting the shattered remnants to collapse into a wraith. This depends upon the character of the revenant, as well as the nature of its failure; should a particularly bloodthirsty revenant be on the verge of its revenge, only for it to be snatched away at the last moment, those powerful feelings of rage are more likely to disrupt and warp the soul’s destruction.
Should a revenant’s target die without the revenant’s involvement, most will be satisfied and pass on to peace, or move on to their next target. For some, those with a selfish streak, or who had a particularly personal relationship with their betrayer, their target’s death alone is not enough – they must be the one to strike the killing blow. Such a revenant might rail against this further injustice strongly enough to break their covenant, and take their anger out on the living in general. These wight-like failed revenants might even begin their vendetta by seeking out and destroying the killers of their original target.
Revenants tend to be transitory by nature, with their location determined by their target rather than any preference on their part. With no need for food, drink, or even air, the promise of revenge is all they need for sustenance. For the most part, a revenant will travel by the most direct route towards its target though, being intelligent, they are willing to make exceptions. For example, revenants avoid centers of civilization (unless their target is located within), for convenience more than any other reason; the more people there are around, the more things there are to get in their way, and those of a religious bent tend to not take too kindly to wandering undead. While revenants’ regenerative abilities and resistance to many effects used to destroy the undead (being resurrected by greater forces than those channeled by the pious), such distractions are still unworthy of their time.
Revenants are not senseless; while they are driven solely by their need for revenge, they can be reasoned with, up to a point. A revenant might enlist the help of others, either allies they knew in life or other capable folk looking to right injustices. While they retain much of their former personality, revenants are colder, seeing former interests and attachments as, if not worthless, severely diminished in importance compared to their vengeance. Their knowledge of their target’s location constantly plays on their mind like an involuntarily repeating song, making it impossible to put aside, even for a moment. Revenants can be conversed with, especially if someone can give them information they need, though they will not stop for idle chit-chat. As long as it does not hinder them from their purpose, some even seem happy (or as close to happy as they can be) for some company though, should they ever be forced to choose between the pursuit of their target and the welfare of their companions, even the most amiable revenant will choose the former every time.
Most revenants will avoid combat (along with all other activities) unless it furthers their agenda, and are unlikely to be goaded towards violence with their cold and dulled emotions. Once noble or good-natured revenants might go so far as attempting to persuade potential combatants to stand down and save their own lives, though others will simply try to get the violence over with as quickly as possible. Revenants are able to shrug off most attacks and, given that they can inhabit a new body the next day, most are fearless in combat unless they are in a good position to strike at their target in their current form and location (advantages they would be unwilling to part with for the sake of a pointless brawl).
The manner in which a revenant seeks to kill their target depends greatly on their relationship and the magnitude of their betrayal, as well as the revenant’s personality in life. A more pragmatic revenant might be happy to simply kill the target in their sleep, satisfied enough that the deed was done. Others, of a more honor bound or emotional bent, might deeply feel the need for their target to know it was they who sent them to their doom, for their face to be the last thing the target sees. Those who lived a life of violence, or whose deaths were particularly traumatic, might not be satisfied unless the target’s death is some parallel of their own, such as burning down the house of one who burnt them at the stake, or ensuring the family of the target witness their killing, if the same was true for the revenant.