Mattis talks Decay inspiration


For the second time this week, I’ve trapped a Scrolls developer in a small room and bombarded them with questions. This time around, it was Mattis – Scrolls artist and Decay specialist.

Read on for the resulting chatter!




Owen Hill (chief word officer): Good afternoon Mattis. You’re looking colourful today. When did the idea for the Decay faction first come about?

Mattis Grahm (artist and Decay expert): It’s been there since very early on. We were at a meeting after Henrik joined us about two years back. We were discussing the different factions, and everyone got their own little creative baby to take care of. We were deciding whether to have elves and goblins and things like that, but we went with human cultures instead. That’s when I started to come up with the ideas behind Decay.

OH: What came first then? The mechanics of Decay, or the flavour?

MG: The environment inspired the mechanics actually. We knew that poison was going to be a big part of decay. It’s inspired by the fact that they live in a poisonous swamp place.

Also, we didn’t want the card game-style thing where players search through the “dead” units in their discard decks. We wanted to have effect that triggered through death.




OH: They look very zombie-like. Are they zombies?

MG: There are a lot of undead stereotypes, but I wanted to explore something different. They’re basically a tribe using necromancy as a way of keeping themselves alive in a very harsh environment. By resurrecting people, they can stay alive and help each other live longer, even if they treat some diseases by replacing a lost arm with a dead arm. Some are able to live for 300 years by keeping themselves resurrected.

The Husk – the most “zombie” one – is what happens when their souls escape, and all they have is an animated body.

OH: What about the massive monsters and the ones with bowling balls for heads?




MG: They’re weird things, with unknown origins. They appear in the most tainted area of the Ilmire swamp. Some sit around looking weird, some eat people, some cut off an arm then shamble away.

They’re not friends with humans per se – they can be summoned by the Callers – but they’re not allied. They’re mostly seen as a hazard. The humans use necromancy, but they aren’t inherently evil. Likewise, the monsters aren’t evil, but they’re definitely a danger.


Mire Shambler


OH: Why do they wear masks? What’s the deal with that?

MG: The decay people use necromancy to keep themselves alive, but they still rot and end up so awful looking that they need to use masks to comfort their loved ones. It’s a way to look more respectable, basically.

OH: If you were a Decay unit, which one would you be?

MG: I’d probably be the Mire Shambler. I have no sense of balance.

OH: True.