D is for Delay

Not really. However, D will be delayed slightly as I finish a freelance job. I’ll also soon be debuting a new regular feature which I think Dungeons & Dragons players will particularly enjoy.

In the meantime, what do you think of The Swordsman’s Alphabet thus far? Any particular letters you’d like to see? I’ve got a full list already, but I’m open to suggestions.

6 thoughts on “D is for Delay

  1. I have two strong candidates for Z. Neither is zombie, since zombies are thin on the ground in my inspirational texts.

    That actually brings to mind a very Fantasy Heartbreaker subject for research: when did Romero zombies enter secondary world fantasy? There’s a strong precedent for necromancy in Clark Ashton Smith’s work, but I don’t recall any of the now-traditional zombies. There may be an association with fantasy gaming. Thanks!

  2. Always happy to accidentally help! 😀

    (And to accidentally pun, that z in zomething really is a typo.)

    Hmm… gaming might well be a factor. Old Geezer once related the origins of the cleric as someone wanting to play a Cushing-style vampire hunter, and being able to repel undead with a cross wasn’t enough of a gimmick so the cleric became a healbot as well. And of course the Monk was “like Caine in Kung Fu”.

  3. I can’t think of any Romero-style zombies in fantasy, but admittedly I don’t range far and wide across the field looking for new things to consume. Mostly it seems that the trappings of voodoo and a guiding, malevolent mind match better with fantasy; for one thing, you can have a zombie story in a world that plausibly has other things going on. The modern overused cannibal zombie keeps shouting “LOOK AT ME, I’M THE MOST IMPORTANT THING, YOUR SOCIETY WILL TOTALLY BREAK DOWN” and that goes only so far in a world where there’s something new and interesting and exotic going on every time you hop the border to another country.

  4. I was referring to Romero mechanics, in this case: eat flesh, don’t like hits in the head. (Does anybody?) You’re right, most of the zombies I encounter in fantasy have a necromancer in charge.

    You’re also right about the apocalyptic use of zombies being less interesting in a fantasy world. There’s room for it: I could envision a Conan adventure where the encounter with the uncanny is a brush with a group of zombies. I’d be tempted to combine faux-Howard politics with faux-Romero politics: the zombies represent the decadence and fall of a Western civilization.

    That would be entertaining mainly as a pastiche, though. I’m not sure you could actually pull off the emotional points of a good zombie movie without going to more effort than it’s worth.

  5. A Conan adventure where the encounter with the uncanny is a brush with a group of zombies would be all about Howard describing the many and interesting ways in which Conan can dismember somebody who’s already dead. The Romero zombie’s only real ability to frighten is the idea that you simply can’t kill enough before you die: the conceit of the average sword and sorcery or high fantasy swordsman is that Yes. You Can.

    A recent digital Dungeon magazine had a pretty decent “night of the living dead” scenario for PCs, that took place in an isolated village, so it’s gameable even under the high-power stakes of 4e. But there it’s just basically “hey, do you like zombie movies,” nothing really literary. Or maybe it is literary; I dunno, I’m way too burned out on cannibal/infectious zombies to pay close attention.

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