This is part of my conversion of the Temple of Elemental Evil.

Might: 2
Nature (Undead): 3
Nature Descriptors: Devouring, Lumbering, Following Orders
Dispositions: Drive Off 6, Kill 5, Flee 3. All others: Nature Roll + Nature.
Fight Weapons: Claw and Bite (Zombies do not suffer the -1d penalty for fighting unarmed)
Flee Weapons: Mindless persistence (-1d attack, +1s to Defend)
Instinct: Murder those who do not belong here.
Special: All piercing weapons are -1s to Attack and Feint when used against Zombies.
Special: Undead - Zombies are non-intelligent undead, they cannot be Tricked or Riddled with, nor engaged in a Convince conflict. They are vulnerable to being turned by Clerics however. If Cleric brandishes his holy symbol in a drive off conflict it +1s on attack actions. In a Kill conflict it is +1d on attack.
Special: Slow- Zombies always choose attack for the first action of every exchange. This is revealed to the players before they script.

I don’t feel very inspired by these Zombies. The problem I’m having is that there are too many kinds of zombies in popular culture for me to really remember what 1st Edition zombies were all about. I took their nature based on http://www.dotd.com/mm/MM00310.htm but I feel like they are otherwise very uninspired.


Well, classic D&D zombies seem to’ve been your basic mook. Just trading down a little mobility for the unbreakable moral of the mindless undead.

So . . . What exactly do you want these zombies to do? Are they the restless dead, a tomb-herd hungry for the flesh of the living? Or are they some dread necromancer’s automaton-like minions, not really animated for combat but pack a wallop if they do hit you? Or something else entirely.

Or maybe you just want a zombie-a-like that you can do a simple re-skin on, like . . . coffer corpse, ghouls, heucuva/huecuva, yellow musk creeper, wight, and ju-ju zombie. And those are just from a quick skimming of the 2ed Monstrous Manual and the 1ed Fiend Folio.

And yeah, I’m pretty sure you’ve thought of all this already, but maybe not. And I’m not really sure as to making monsters for Torchbearer yet.

I actually like your zombie a lot, though I’d make a few tweaks.

  1. I’d drop the Nature to 3. Individually, zombies aren’t particularly tough, but they’re nasty in groups.

  2. I’d change the Dispositions thus: Drive Off 6, Kill 5, Flee 3. All others: Nature Roll + Nature.

  3. Flee weapons: Either lumbering stagger needs a benefit to entice the GM to use it, or you should. combine lumbering stagger and mindless persistence into a single weapon.

  4. “All piercing weapons…” -2s is really punishing. It’s much worse than being unarmed. How about reducing it to -1s and only applying it to Attack actions? Or Attack and Feint actions?

  5. I like the idea behind Slow a lot. Effectively, it means that zombies will always Attack on the first action, as the other options all have vulnerabilities that can be exploited. If you’re cool with that, I think it’s great. Alternately, you could use something a bit more complicated.

  6. Both sides choose their actions

  7. GM declares zombies’ Action 1 first.

  8. Before playing first action, players have the option to swap their Action 1 and Action 2 (eg Player A has Maneuver and is supposed to act first. Player B has Feint and is supposed to act second. After seeing the zombies’ Defend, they swap actions but still go in order. Player A will now Feint on Action 1 and Player B will Maneuver on Action 2.

I’d change it to Zombies always use the Attack option. Because the only sure-fire response to Attack is Defend but if you constantly script Defend Defend Defend you’re just holding them off and eventually they’ll get lucky and nail you. So, predictable but relentless. And you can never trick them with a Feint.

Thor and Jared, I really like both of your ideas.

Although I like the notion of Zombies scripting attack, attack, attack, I don’t think it captures the “slow” aspect I’m going for. I’m going to incorporate it into the first volley idea. So they always script attack the first volley, and players always knows this before they do their scripting.

Yeah, -2s was crazy powerful, I reduced it. What I want to capture though is how bloody hard it is to actually kill a zombie. If it is at all ambulatory I it’s going to keep coming after you. You think raising it’s kill disposition (and maybe lowering it’s drive off) would reflect that? Or possibly saying that even after it is knocked to 0 or lower disposition it gets one more volley where it can only attack? I like the idea of you think it’s dead but it’s not really.

Also, in the G+ post, Jared pointed out vulnerability to clerics turning. Since clerics didn’t get “destroy” undead until higher levels, I made turning a better weapon for drive off that it was for kill. But I’m wondering if I could tap into Might here. If you’re low level the best you can do with turning is try to drive them off, but at higher levels you can use it to kill? I’m still not sure if characters going up in level will increase their might though, so I’m a little reluctant to play with that.

Also, this isn’t zombie specific, but it’s applicable because they come in packs. When there are multiple opponents that have fixed disposition for a conflict, do multiple ones add to the disposition? If so, +1 for each, or plus +1d, or something else?

Hey Jason,

Yeah, I think the distinction for what a particular breed of zombies is all about will fit in there nature descriptors and in their instinct. So, I’ve left these kind of generic, but for the game I’m running, I think I’ll change these accordingly:

Nature Descriptors: Devouring, Surrounding, Guarding
Instinct: Murder those who do wear the yellow eye of fire.

I think Drive Off should be the highest because making a zombie back off/cease its attack and retreat should be really difficult. I think -1s to Attack and Feint will reflect how hard it is to kill zombies. But you could add one more tweak: when the zombies lose disposition in a kill conflict, the GM may remove the disposition from the acting zombie or spread it around to other zombies on the team.

For instance, say you’re trying to Kill 3 zombies. Their disposition for the conflict is 7. That means one zombie has 3 points of disposition and the other two have 2 each. The players deliver an Attack that does 3 points to the zombie’s dispo. Normally, that would knock out the acting zombie (let’s say it’s the heavy with 3 points). Under this special rule, the GM could opt to take a point from each zombie instead, keeping all three of his zombies engaged in the conflict.

I’m a little late to the party, here, but how about a special like:

Only Head Shots - In a Kill conflict, unless a Zombie is reduced to 0 disposition, it can regain 1 disposition after each action has been resolved, up to its starting disposition.

I.e., you can hack away at it all you like, but unless you bash it’s head to bits (take it out in one blow), it’ll keep coming at you, more or less unscathed.