OK, More Like Saturday Brunch…
Well, after two and a half weeks, it was bound to happen. Sorry, folks, I had paying work to do, and then had to actually deal with living players showing up to play, and then it was too late… ah well. Nonetheless, here is the last bit of Zombie Week.
I had a lot of ideas for higher-level zombie-based fun, and time limits mean I’m going to have to save a lot of them for some later installment. (Just want to remind y’all that everything for Breakfast Crunch is written on-the-fly, single draft, as I sit here. I may get an idea and scrawl down a note ("Zombie tree?") during other times, but no actual development, statting, or description is done until I sit down to write, and what’s posted is what I’ve got by the time I close up the editor. This is all extemporaneous, which I probably spelled wrong. (I love this Joomla editor (FCKEditor) but the spell check doesn’t work with Explorer and the editor doesn’t work with Firefox, so probably the editor will have to go. Anyone got recommendations?))
Anyway, while there’s some cool ideas (in my opinion) on the back burner, for today, I have only time to present one — the slightly inevitable Zombie Dragon, here given the "coolified" name of Rotscale Dragon. Fans of a certain Online Comic may recognize a few tips of the hat in that direction…
There are actually good reasons to zombifie a dragon. First, it shows serious magic mojo. Any cut-rate cultist can animate the corpse of Farmer Bob, or even the occasional owlbear or giant spider, but dragon zombies take some doing. Second, powerful figures need powerful guards — low-level shamblers will not hold off the kind of adventurers who will be coming after Zaragarth The Undying Lord Of The Endless Tombs. (Hmm, cool name, he’s going in my campaign somewhere…) You need guards and servants capable of serving as reasonable rebuffs to such assaults, but then the problem comes up — people with power willing to work for an insane living corpse probably aren’t very big on "loyalty" and "honor" and anyone strong enough to stop your enemies is strong enough to give you a hard time. Thus, many of a necromantic bent — liches in particular, but others of similar ilk — will turn to powerful zombie servants created through special, higher-level rituals. (Coming at some future date, yadda yadda.)
Lastly, there’s no denying that it is impressive, and impressive helps. A few quick fly-bys on your zombie dragon, and most of the wannabe adventurers decide that maybe there’s some kobolds they can go genocide and leave you alone. Further, when commanding living troops and minions (sometimes, it’s a necessity, sigh), keeping them in line is easier when you ride something a bit more imposing that Bill the Pony. Even zombie ponies aren’t particularly scary. (Hmm… zombie pony… scribble scribble…)
Thus, having come up with some vague reasons why Zombie Dragons exist beyond, "Dude, like… it’s so cool. Zombie Dragons!", I hereby present one to you!
(As a side note, "Dude, it’s so cool!" is, to my mind, a perfectly fine reason to include something, but — there’s always a but — I usually try to reverse engineer why it’s there besides that. I want my worlds to be awesome from the point of view of a black-t-shirted 16 year old sitting in his basement with heavy metal posters on the wall and well-worn polyhedral dice scattered around him, and still satisfy my Asperger’s urge for a cohesive and comprehensive world, a world which makes sense by its own rules. (As a side note to the side note, when I was 16 I was far, far, nerdier than I am now and neither wore black t-shirts nor listened to heavy metal. I still don’t listen to heavy metal. But 1970s D&D was chock-full of that sort of attitude, the "You know what’s even more awesome than a dragon that breathes fire? A five-headed dragon that breathes everything! " worldview, and that’s the spirit I try to bring to my games and especially to this website. I do not care if it’s "immature" or if assorted Forgeites want everyone to play starving lemmings being hunted by sentient turnips (and their own inner despair) or whatever this week’s RPG.net darling is. I know what I like. Nyeah.)