Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Sobbing-Stone of the Disappointed

The Boy had a strong reaction to seeing his parents mock-slow-dance today.

"Eeww, stop, Momma.  Stop that, Dad.  That is gross for zombies."

Gross for zombies?  The Boy has issues with prepositions, so he might've meant 'as gross as zombies', but still.  Once the idea of zombies hating displays of romance or public affection got jammed in my head, it wouldn't get out.

Then I thought of the song 'The Disappointed', by XTC.

Upon hearing that the engagement was off, Bernice fainted dead away, later resolving to walk into the woods and starve to death in the name of love.

The Sobbing-Stone of the Disappointed

This menhir stands hidden in the pinewoods, forgotten by most, but misremembered by some.  There are legends that the standing-stone was once the shrine of a love-goddess whose name is lost to the ages; and further, that this love-goddess rescued and received those whose hearts had been cruelly broken.  In time, it became a pilgrimage site for those pining for unrequited loves, left at the altar, or similar.

The stone itself stands seven feet tall of a blue-black granite; its surface is defaced here and there with graffiti and tool-marks, and the stone 'weeps' some kind of water or oil under the light of the full moon.  The area around the Sobbing-Stone is devoid of trees and bushes for a good twenty-foot radius, and the ground is covered in pine needles and oak leaves or snow, depending on the time of year.

From time to time jilted lovers make the trek to the Sobbing-Stone, often traveling miles from their home in desperation.  According to the legends, supplicants of the slumbering love-goddess must wear a portrait or the name of their spurned love on a placard hung around their neck.  Some of these pilgrims commit suicide before the monument; others starve, or die of exposure.  Those who die near the stone with broken hearts are food for the shriveled goddess who lives within; their souls are consumed, and their rotting bodies sink into the earth, becoming slaves to the mistress of the stone.

The forgotten goddess is now little more than a splinter of an idea dwelling at the heart of the stone, half-starved and paranoid.  When something occurs within the clearing which would startle or spook her - such as a visible holy symbol of another deity, a mumbled prayer to someone other than herself, the sweet whispers of lovers, or the gross use of flashy magic - she will release 2d6 of her Disappointed zombies from the earth to deal with the issue.

The Disappointed are, for the most part, regular zombies, save three things:

1) The majority of these zombies have crumbling cards or scrolls hanging from their necks which depict the image and name of their lover; in recent years daguerrotypes are also common.
2) While within sight of the Sobbing-Stone, the zombies are deucedly difficult to rout, and must be turned as though they were 1d3 HD greater (roll for the bunch; it varies based on the love-goddesses' current strength).
3) The Disappointed hate any display of affection, romance or love, and will select their targets appropriately.  Conversely, a romance-related item (for example, a love letter, or a rose given by a lover) may be used as part of a turning attempt, and should yield a bonus to the attempting character.

Fantastic Locations, hosted by Keith Davies.


  1. hey Erik, do you mind if I add this as a Fantastic Location? I'm hosting a blog carnival regarding the topic (announcement at and this post looks like it would be a good fit.

  2. Go for it, Keith - I had originally posted the Buzzard Gulch location for the carnival, but you're right, I think this one's better. :)

  3. I'll add it to the weekly roundup (you might want to add a comment to the intro page if you want to bring more attention to it before then)