Just a little concept I was thinking might add to the ambience:

Whenever you kill a creature in an open area, and even moreso when you butcher it, there’s a percentage chance to cause one or more scavenger animals (dog, wolf, coyote or crow) to spawn and make a beeline for the corpse, intent upon devouring some or all of it. If you stay close, the animal may fight you to get to it (well, probably not if it’s a crow).

The animal will generally eat a couple of chunks of meat and/or bones from a butchered corpse, or tear chunks from an intact corpse leaving it damaged, and then move on to standard animal behaviour.

If there was tainted meat in the corpse and the animal eats it, that animal will leave behind a “tainted corpse” when killed, and if not burned or butchered will in due course re-animate as a zombie dog or zombie bird. If butchered it will yield tainted meat.

This is a brilliant idea!

“They have a Cave Troll” - Aragorn.
We have hell hounds and death felines of the Wild. :slight_smile:

Apart from the fun, mutated, undead and overgrown animals could pose a serious threat. I’d strongly oppose the dynamic variety of spawning if they were made in-game as a feature following the tainted edibles.

A nice idea, but I’m not so sure about animals liking the tainted meat from zombies (and birds wouldn’t reanimate anyways, since they aren’t large enough according to the lore).

I guess it’s a question of whether the taint shows up as something unpalatable to wildlife or not.

As for birds not mutating, that saves on making new monsters - part of the reason I suggested wolves and coyotes but not cougars or bears was that they could all be represented well enough in undead form by the existing zombie dog.

Neat, yea I like it except the dynamic spawning part, there are frequently things classified as scavengers around, so it’s just a matter of whether there are any in the area. Though over a long time period I could see the smell attracting scavengers from quite a distance. For example if you make a really big kill that takes a significant amount of time to butcher/process (e.g. a bear)

Re: scavengers not liking tainted meat, it depends on the type, but most scavengers are just fine with rotting meat to some extent, and I’m really not sure why they would avoid zombie meat. This neatly explains all the zombie dogs for example, even if they weren’t living in the town already they probably would have been attracted by the smell.

On the other hand, that leaves it unclear why ALL scavengers aren’t already infected, since they presumably had ample opportunity to eat some tainted meat already. I think we can just drop that part and assume they’re already infected.

Can’t we say that like humans, they’re infected but only turn on dead?

Yea, that’s what I was getting at. Also makes dogs have greater potential for fun.