The Anatomical Society
Since the mutilation of corpses is regarded as anathema in many civilizations, this secret organization exists to spread the detailed knowledge of the human body and to provide its members with fresh cadavers on which to practice. The hierarchy consists mainly of necromancers and scholars, but the Order is open to all wizards, priests, healers, or surgeons with knowledge of interest in anatomy.
Members of the Academy meet for secret lectures or conventions in secluded warehouses, dungeons, or even the abandoned classrooms of a university. They maintain frequent contact through private correspondence, magical spells, and enchanted devices. The Academy also has established a network of contacts with local authorities, usually located at cemeteries, morgues, prisons, and poorhouses, to deliver cadavers to subscribing members. Once these bodies have been magically embalmed by the Academy’s field agents (low-level Anatomists), the cadavers can be transported over large-distances by mundane means (usually ship or wagon). In extremis, the corpses can be animated and disguised to facilitate transport, but such methods carry the danger of attracting too much attention. The Academy strives to keep a low profile or risk the swift condemnation (and perhaps persecution) by the most conservative and righteous (lawful good) members of society.
The Academy is basically a neutral organization that exists merely to facilitate the collection and dissemination of necromantic knowledge. Bodies are accepted at the back door for polite thanks, a sack of gold, and no questions. They have absolutely no interest in learning about the identity of their new “specimen.” Some scrupulous Anatomists insist that their corpses must have died a natural death, but other less-principled individuals merely require that their merchandise be “essentially intact.” It is not uncommon for murderers to dispose of an unwanted body by selling it the Academy. The organization frequently hires rogues and adventurers to establish new contacts with potential sources of cadavers and also to transport large shipments of harvested corpses to its most secluded members. They often have many low-profile contacts in academic institutions such as colleges and universities, and will employ these to quietly induct members whose research has been frustrated by the taboos of human dissection, or who have been reprimanded for unscrupulous research of this nature.