Monday, 26 May 2014

Zombie Special Qualities

Thank you, Martin SoulStealer & Wikimedia Commons!
Don't allow yourself to get into a rut with your un-dead.  The Dungeon Crawl Classics core rulebook offers some good advice (and fun tables) for spiffing up the living impaired, and you should use them.

In addition, here are some zombie variations you can use without having to do massive work on your statblocks:

Fast:  These zombies have an initiative bonus of +1d6.  They are also able to run and charge.

Horrific:  Any critical hit against the zombie severs an arm or head.  However, the severed member continues to attack, moving at half speed and doing 1d4 damage.  The severed member has 3 hp; these hit points are in addition to (not subtracted from) the zombie’s hit point total.  This effectively increases the zombie’s attacks per round.  These zombies are usually also Regenerating or Tough (see below).

Infectious:  Anyone harmed by the zombie must make a Fort save (DC = 5 + damage done) or contract black necrosis.  

Black necrosis is a disease with a 1d4 hour incubation period, after which a Fort save (DC 15) must be made each hour or the victim suffers 1 point of Stamina damage.  If Stamina reaches 0, the victim dies, animating as an infectious zombie 2d6 minutes later. The same occurs if the victim dies from other causes. Three successful saves in a row halt the disease.  Otherwise, only clerical healing or similar magic works.

Thank you, Martin SoulStealer & Wikimedia Commons!
Intelligent:  An intelligent zombie has access to some of its living memories, and as a result has a limited ability to reason and plan.  It gains a +2d4 bonus to its Will saves, and gains access to the normal skills and abilities it had in life (as the Judge desires, possibly included spells, deeds, etc.).  Intelligent zombies are not immune to mind-affecting effects.  Intelligent zombies may use weapons.

Regenerating: These zombies regenerate at a rate of 3 hit points each round at the end of each round.  They cannot regenerate damage caused by acid or fire.

Tough:  These zombies gain a hit point bonus, equal to +5, +10, or +20.


  1. These are good ideas. I've seen some of them in zombie movies (particularly the infectious trait).but I've hesitated to simply add the feature to existing zombies - I'm not quite sure if the zombies would need their own monster stats. It also reminds me of zombie-like undead, including coffer corpses (strangulation and regeneration), Sons of Kyuss (infection by rot-grub-like worms), Revenants (regenerating and with a mission of vengeance) and juju zombies (fast and stealthy). Adding some extra features to those creatures would get any party worried. Just make sure the cleric gets infected first.

    1. In DCC, or in any old school game, you can simply make changes to monster stat blocks without reinventing the wheel. It's only in "balance math" games where you need to make sure that the changes you make do not "unbalance" the monster.

      Even with 3.5, though, the "quickplates" in Monsternomicon (?) allowed simple changes without rewriting stats wholesale, and if you applied templates or built the same creature from scratch, the math would be different.

      Basically, what I am saying is, "Don't sweat it. Monsters are supposed to be mysterious. If it is too tough, the players can get creative, the PCs can run, or you can pick the action up in Hell once they die."