The Parched can be born of any sapient creature who dies in a dry, hot environment; the only common traits are the tough, leathery skin that has been baked to a purplish-black hue, with the flesh beneath parched to such a degree that the creature is little more than a horrific leather sheath over the desert-dry bones. The eye sockets are empty, the soft tissues there having burned away beneath the relentless desert sun, and the flesh around the mouth has shrunk and drawn taught, revealing cracked, blackened gums set with sand-polished teeth. What appears to be sand - really the perpetually crumbling internal organs and soft tissues of the creature’s innards - trickles from cracks in the sun-baked skin with each movement, leaving a fine trail of powder wherever it walks.
Parched are created when a sapient creature dies under the harsh glare of the desert sun, the unforgiving light and heat forcing the moisture from it until even the deepest tissues and the very bones have become devoid of any dampness. Those whose minds and spirits linger until the last moment, their thoughts consumed by a feverish desire for cool and water, often arise as the Parched; the desires which held their minds at the moment of death become the driving force of the undead creature, driving it to crawl across the sands, becoming ever more dessicated, leathery, and burnt by the relentless sunlight as it seeks oases and shade by day.
The Parched can consume prodigous amounts of water, and radiate an aura of the desert’s daytime heat. They can dry up an oasis over a week’s time, and their leathery skin turns aside blades. However, their bodies are so dried out that any smashing weapon capable of dealing trauma through the skin will shatter the dried-out bones, crippling the loathsome thing.
Servants of the gods of sun and desert find it a simple matter to command these pathetic creatures, using their connection to things of heat to cow them into submission, while servants of cold, water, and night find themselves hard-pressed by the furious need that drives the Parched.
It is possible to destroy one of the Parched by immersion in more liquid than it can destroy in a short time, effectively quenching it. This would necessitate a truly large volume, however, and would destroy a fair portion of the water involved in the process.
Parched are rarely, if ever, encountered beyond the desert’s fringes, which they cause to gradually expand. The world ‘outside’ the desert seems painfully cold and clammy to them.