Tome Zombie Species in Game of Tomes | World Anvil

Tome Zombie (TOHM zom-bee | / 'toʊm zɒmbi: /)

A Tome Zombie is an undead literomancer, driven by hunger for creative energy in the forms of words and stories, commonly known as Literomantic Power. The name is something of a misnomer, as they can appear in a variety of undead guises, as befits the nature of their personal Literomancy. They are distinctive from other forms of undead in that they maintain their intellect and sentience after their undeath. However, they appear to lose their conscience and internal moral compass. This may be replaced with something of a "hive-mind" which drives them to serve the Undead Horde and the Night Monarch.   Over the past few years, since the The First Word War in 2020, Tome Zombies have manifested as zombies, vampires, wights, ghouls, ghosts and phantoms of various types, and on at least one occasion, a dracolich. Only Literomancers seem to become Tome Zombies.

Basic Information

Anatomy

Loosely, Tome Zombies look very similar to their appearance in life, though often they are extremely gaunt, pale, or insubstantial, and occasionally bear signs of their demise, such as missing extremities, odd colouring, exposed innards, blood or decay. Rarely, the undead form only bears a superficial resemblance to the living form, such as The Nite Qing, who looks more demonic than undead.

Genetics and Reproduction

Reproduction of Tome Zombies is obstensibly controlled by the Night Monarch, who kills wordsmiths and raises them as Tome Zombies. From there, Tome Zombies create both other Tome Zombies, by killing literomancers and draining their literomantic energy, and by killing other people and raising them as "regular" zombies. However, occasional spontaneous Tome Zombies have sprung up, perhaps directly created by the Tome. These spontaneous undead seem to be more free willed than the Tome Zombies chosen by the Night Monarch, and must be reasoned with, rather than simply ordered. Lord GalaWight may have been one such.

Growth Rate & Stages

Upon Resurrection, Tome Zombies appear to simply be restored to the natural living state they were in before their deaths, whatever their age or condition might have been, and with no signs of the wounds that killed them or any of the decay they might have suffered as undead beings. There have been exceptions to this, however. Based on Prince Jean's experience, having a missing limb present at the time of resurrection may be necessary in order to restore that limb.   Also, only two known sources of "true" resurrection might exist: these being the Iron Tome and the healing magic of Queen Sable Aradia. Filking magic, rather than writing in the Iron Tome, restored the undead to life in The Third Word War, and this did not seem to be a complete process. The undead were restored to a living state, but continued to display the wounds that had killed them. Numerous Zombies and Tome Zombies died permanently as a result of those injuries, and many others still bear significant scars from this form of restoration.   Upon being restored to a living state, most Tome Zombies lose most, if not all, memory of their experience of being undead. It is common for a few flashes and fragments to remain, but usually not much more. However, there have been notable exceptions to this: Erin Righ, Lord Galakrond, and Queen Tara claim to remember everything from their time among the Undead, and there may be others. A few psychologists speculate they might be the exceptions because of their particular neurodiversities, but with such a small sample size, such speculations are impossible to prove.

Ecology and Habitats

Ecologically, Tome Zombies can be found anywhere that one finds literomantic practice or creative writing. They are attracted to creative writing like bees are attracted to sugar.   Their habitat tends to be darkened corners in alleys and back streets, old sections of libraries, and coffee shops. Some disguise themselves as goths and blend into the hipster crowd. These zombies can be found at write-ins, writer cons and sci-fi conventions.

Dietary Needs and Habits

A Tome Zombie feeds on Literomantic Power in the form of creative Werds. Drawn to creative writers like moths to a flame, Tome Zombies will consume the words of literomancers and creatives alike, all in a bid to consume or control the ultimate work of writing, the Iron Tome. Tome Zombies are believed to require literomantic energy to facilitate their animation and their unliving state. The literomantic energy they generate, namely Dark Literomancy, seems to be insufficient for this purpose.

Biological Cycle

No one is quite sure the biological cycle of a Tome Zombie. Their appearance seems to be linked to the reawakening of The Iron Tome, and since then, has been an observed annual phenomenon that takes place every November. To date, there has been four recorded instances of a Tome Zombie plague and in all instances, the literomancers of the living have destroyed most of the undead outright and then, utilizing the power of The Iron Tome, raised all the dead to life again. Much speculation exists around what will happen if the Undead ever defeat the living in the contest for the Iron Tome, but there is no evidence to prove these speculations one way or the other.

Behaviour

The... Horde Mentality? ...was something to unpack for sure. Sometimes I can give myself grace that I wasn't exactly myself. Sometimes I find it too difficult to bear.
Queen Tara, speaking of her experience as a Tome Zombie
Maybe I can offer something that might help... I haven't talked about it much, but growing up... my mother was mentally ill. She tried to get help, but the system wasn't... helpful? It was... a challenge. I never knew what to expect from day to day... sometimes she was terribly cruel, even hurtful, occasionally violent. When she got her diagnosis at last, I was an adult, and had been on my own for a few years, but it helped put it in perspective for me. She was sick. I can't say that what she did, and said, weren't a part of her... Yes, it was her doing those things... but she was coming from a place where her perspective was skewed. I think... being undead must be a bit like that. You're not well. It's you, but if you were yourself, you wouldn't be doing those things. It's not your fault.
Queen Sable's reply
  Tome Zombies, much to the horror of the living, usually reanimate with all memories of life intact. However, they are psychopathic, and simply do not care about their former loved ones. They will exploit their former friends and family, all in an attempt to consume their creative energies. In their natural state, Tome Zombies are slaves to the Night Monarch, and are driven by a desire to serve the Undead Horde and the Monarch.

Additional Information

Social Structure

The social structure of the Tome Zombies is complex. Their leader is an elected tyrant, chosen by concensus of literomancers in their darkest dreams, and their unlives are filled with an all consuming desire for words. But aside from that, the Undead Horde puts no onus on its members to do anything but support the Horde. How they do that is up to them, and Tome Zombies have supported the Horde in a myriad of ways, from filking, to pouring out vast outputs of dark literomancy with which to combat the living, to throwing their opponents off a bridge to prevent them from acquiring the Tome.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

Tome Zombies have been found almost everywhere on Earth, from The Sekret Volcano Lair to The Zafforza Trench, during the month of November. They do not appear to exist in the world anywhere in the other months of the year, although this might change should the Undead ever seize control of the Iron Tome.

Average Intelligence

Tome Zombies are smart! This cannot be emphasized enough. Since they are former living literomancers they are, by nature, smarter than the average Human or Werebeast.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

Tome Zombies have all the sensory and extrasensory abilities that they had in life, with one exception; they can sense Literomantic Power within many miles, depending on the strength of the literomancy being produced. Much like dogs tracking by scent, Tome Zombies can hone in on creative words being written. Drawn to consume Werds, a Tome Zombie can often be lulled into a torpor by the outpouring of great creative writing, allowing it to be mundanely dispatched. Otherwise, the zombie will drain literomantic energy by more viceral means (can anyone say Brrraaaiiinns).

Symbiotic and Parasitic organisms

Since Zombies are created by Tome Zombies, they could almost be viewed as a parasitic byproduct of living sentients that Tome Zombies produce.

Civilization and Culture

Naming Traditions

The Undead are "awakened" to a new unlife totally devoid of their past connections. To symbolize this, the Night Monarch gives them a new name reflecting their old life in a mockery of conventions.

Beauty Ideals

Most Tome Zombies couldn't give a filk about their appearance, and the ideal person in a zombie's mind is one who can create an entertaining story on the fly.

Gender Ideals

None. Tome Zombies are not interested in living happily ever after with the perfect mate. Instead, Tome Zombies will turn on their friends and loved ones as soon as they stop providing it with delicious Werds.

Courtship Ideals

None. Tome Zombies are not interested in mating.

Relationship Ideals

None. Tome Zombies have no interest in relationships except for their connection with the Undead Horde.

Average Technological Level

Tome Zombies are as technologically advanced as the rest of the world. They are all former living literomancers and fully capable of employing both Literomancy and Dark Literomancy to achieve their goals.

Major Language Groups and Dialects

Any language in The GoTverse that has a written form can be employed by Tome Zombies. They are fluent in any languages and dialects they knew in life, and can instinctually inscribe dark literomantic script.

Common Etiquette Rules

The most common etiquette among the undead is "do not tell others HOW or WHAT to write." They offer an opinion when asked and otherwise, to each their own.

Common Dress Code

There is no dress code among Tome Zombies. However, it should be noted that, in life, Tome Zombies were writers, meaning hygiene was often a secondary concern. This tendency is often exacerbated among the Undead, especially since it is often impossible to rid oneself of the scent of decay. Nor do they seem to react to changes in temperature or air pressure, since they don't need to breathe and have no living functions. Many continue to wear the bloody, reeking rags of the clothing they were killed in.

Culture and Cultural Heritage

There is a strong support network among the Undead. They encourage each other in a tight knit group that seems almost cliquey in its execution.

Common Customs, Traditions and Rituals

It is a common custom and tradition to give a newly awakened Tome Zombie a derivitive name reflecting who they were and their new status among the undead.

Interspecies Relations and Assumptions

Some things are better left to the imaginations of Dark Literomancers and best not thought of at all. Forget I mentioned it.
This article is a work in progress, and may be subject to changes.
 
This article is part of a series related to streaming the Game of Tomes. For more information, see Streaming Game of Tomes.
Queen Siobhan as a Tome Zombie (WW1) by Brianna Healey
Purpleheart, post-Zombification by HeroForge
TerrifyBelle (Queen Tara, then a Knightwing, as a Tome Zombie, WW2) by HeroForge
A young man, possibly a zombie, snarling at the camera
Lord GalaWight's Transformation by Missi
An aquatic zombie with tentacle tails, armed with a laptop and a double-headed axe
JaySeaDOOM at the Battle of Mt. Mitchell by JaySeaBoom (HeroForge)
Genetic Ancestor(s)
Lifespan
Unknown
Conservation Status
No one is interested in preserving Tome Zombies, except maybe the Night Monarch. Tome Zombies are considered to be a parasitic plague, to be exterminated with extreme prejudice.
Average Height
Varies as widely as Humans and Werebeasts
Average Weight
Varies widely
Average Physique
Tome Zombies, like Tome Knights tend to be out of shape and soft. A life of creative writing doesn't lend itself well to extremes of exercise, and though it is hardly a rule that Tome Knights are out of shape, there is a strong tendency.
Related Organizations
Related Ethnicities
Discovered by
Zombie
Species | Jan 8, 2024
Curse of the Undead
Spell | Dec 4, 2023
Zombification
Condition | Jan 4, 2023
Night Monarch
Rank/Title | Jan 9, 2024


Cover image: The Undead Horde, Word War 4 by Moonflower (HeroForge)

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