After the Storm
Why Not Cremate
So why don’t Old Worlders just cremate everyone and avoid the problems of crazed necromancers raising zombie hordes and so on?
Why all the effort to get bodies into Gardens of Morr and have the priests of Morr recite their liturgies and keep the bodies from animating etc.?
As certainly as those of the Empire believe in Sigmar’s divinity, both humans and dwarfs believe in some form of afterlife – some continuation of soul or spiritual energies.
Disrespecting a body is seen as harming this afterlife and destroying it before the soul has moved on fully is seen as inflicting a greater harm than murdering a living person. For example among dwarfs this is seen as denying them the chance to join the Ancestor Gods unless very special steps are taken to overcome the difficulty.
Mutants, witches and such can be burned, as can the corpses of vile creatures such as goblinoids. There is no thought of mercy to such creatures in this world or next and in the case of any creature with hope of redemption the fire may cleanse them, or at least spare them the worst they might suffer in the hereafter.
However, one would never burn any person who was not tainted by Chaos. Even if they were guilty of crimes calling for execution, it would be “cruel and unusual punishment” in the extreme (in a world where torture is a common judicial tool) to burn them as well as execute them.
Burn not as you would not be burned is an admonition many take to heart.
Elves have different beliefs which they do not discuss. Asrai, wood elves, are known to place a premium on “returning to mother earth” and not in the form of ash. The people of the Old World know less of the beliefs the Asur, high elves, hold on the matter.