HARP Bestiary Preview Excerpt: The Zombie

Copyright Nicholas HM Caldwell and Guild Companion Publications Ltd © 2016

Edited by Peter Mork for The Guild Companion

"Great evil and contaminated magical energies can cause the dead to spontaneously become Zombies and claw their way upwards out of their graves."

Description

Zombies are rotting, shambling remains. They are nothing more than animated decaying corpses, reeking of the grave. Some are clad in the tatters of the clothes or shrouds they were buried in; others are stark, adding to the horror they engender. Low moans, groans and sighs emanate unintelligibly and unceasingly from the mockeries that pass for mouths as Zombies express their torment and pain. Zombies are all but mindless. Humanoid Zombies are most common but animal and monstrous Zombies are sometimes encountered.

Lifestyle

Zombies virulently hate the living. They will shamble persistently after a living person, seeking to slay them and feed upon the freshly killed victim. Their appetites are foul and gruesome, delighting in cracking open skulls and scooping out brain matter. They will maul and bite any opponent. Necromancers and more powerful Undead can compel obedience from Zombies but their extreme stupidity severely limits their usefulness to performing the simplest of tasks or guardianship.

Abilities and Combat

The process of becoming a Zombie adds new abilities, replaces some existing powers, and eliminates old capabilities. This is represented by applying the Zombie Overlay to an existing creature or being.

Zombie Overlay

Stats

  • Racial stat modifiers become St +9, Co +13, Ag 0, Qu 0, SD 0, Re -6, In -3, Pr -6
  • Base Endurance becomes 60, Base PP becomes 0
  • Racial RR modifiers become Stamina 30, Will 0, Magic 0

New Talents:

  • Bane (humans);
  • Critical Resistance - Crush(Major);
  • Critical Resistance - Puncture (Minor);
  • Critical Resistance - Slash (Minor);
  • Disease Bearing: Injuries caused by a Zombie&rsquote;s bite or claws have the potential to infect the unlucky victim with a deadly degenerative disease. Look up the Adjusted Attack Roll on the RR column of the Maneuver Table. This gives the Stamina RR target, which the victim must match or exceed to avoid infection. If the Stamina RR is failed, then the victim is subject to a permanent reduction in their Endurance score of 1 point per infection each day until cured or dead. The disease can be cured with a Cure Disease spell or consumption of an entire flask of Holy Water. Lost Endurance can be restored by Minor or Major Healing after the disease is cured. Any individual who dies from this disease will rise from the dead as a zombie 72 hours after his soul has left his body.
  • Enhanced Senses
  • Immunity to Stun;
  • Natural Weapon: this is additional to any natural weapon attacks the base creature may originally have had and represents the Zombie pounding at foes with fists, claws etc., with these Bash attacks resolved using the Crush table and attack size 1 step below creature size to a minimum of Tiny;
  • Poison Immunity;
  • Tough Hide (Minor);
  • Undead Fear (Class 1)
  • Undead Vision

Forfeit Talents:

  • Any Talents relating to knowledge or skills with Re as a stat.

Additional Information

Zombies are categorised into Classes according to their size if animal or monster (Class I - Tiny or Small, Class II - Medium or Large, Class III - Huge), while all humanoid Zombies are Class I.

Humanoid Zombies will typically batter opponents using their cadaverous fists, though they are not averse to wielding makeshift clubs and the like. Animal and monstrous Zombies rely on their rotting natural weapons.

Background

Great evil and contaminated magical energies can cause the dead to spontaneously become Zombies and claw their way upwards out of their graves. Such sources of corruption are likely to create dozens of Zombies at the same time. Necromancers can utilise spells and rituals to make Zombies in more modest numbers. Animal and monstrous Zombies are the deliberate creation of necromantic magic. Those slain by Zombies in turn rise as new Zombies.

Adventure Notes

The passage and deeds of a particularly evil being in a local area can generate a horde of fresh Zombies from graveyards in the region. Adventurers could perhaps disrupt a mage's ritual, only to have its magical backlash create a new peril as Zombies erupt from cemeteries and wage wanton destruction upon the living. As those slain by Zombies succumb to infection and themselves become Zombies, an undead epidemic can threaten adjacent domains.

Adventurers may encounter Zombies serving as an exterior guard to the demesne of a necromantic spell user, perhaps festering in the moat or planted in less travelled approaches. Even necromancers will rarely tolerate Zombies in close proximity for long.