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From somewhere in the darkness, a gurgling moan is heard. A form lurches into view, dragging one foot as it raises bloated arms and broken hands. The zombie advances, driven to kill anyone too slow to escape its grasp.

Such is the typical depiction of the zombie. And sometimes, it's true. The things with zombies is that they vary a lot depending on two main things: how long the individual being turned into one has been dead, and whether the person creating the zombie is doing so with the dead person's permission or not.

First off, time dead. The longer someone's been dead, the more decayed they are. If a corpse's legs are no longer attached due to decay, that's going to present some mobility issues. Likewise, if a zombie's jaw is no longer attached, it's not going to be able to talk well. The most important thing, though, is the brain. If a brain is significantly decayed, it may not be able to operate the rest of the body very well. This can result in staggered movement, unresponsive hands, and even trouble speaking.

Then there's consent. If a zombie is created with the permission of the soul being brought back to the Material Plane, then the zombie is just as intelligent as they were before death. If, however, that soul was forced back, then the zombie will be vastly less intelligent, able only to do exactly what it's told, with no problem-solving skills or the like. This is because the soul of the zombie is fighting its imprisonment.

Most zombies are made from humanoid remains, though the flesh and bones of any formerly living creature can be imbued with a semblance of life. Necromantic magic, usually from spells, animates a zombie. Once turned into a zombie, a creature can't be restored to life except by powerful magic, such as a resurrection spell.

Zombies appear as they did in life, showing the wounds that killed them. However, the magic that creates them often takes time to run its course. Dead warriors might rise from a battlefield, eviscerated and bloated after days in the sun. The muddy cadaver of a peasant could claw its way from the ground, riddled with maggots and worms. A zombie might wash ashore or rise from a marsh, swollen and reeking after weeks in the water.

A zombie doesn't require air, food, drink, or sleep.

Non-consensual Zombies Edit

A zombie raised without consent and left without orders simply stands in place and rots unless something comes along that it can kill. It attacks any living creature it encounters. Such zombies also take the most direct route to any foe, unable to comprehend obstacles, tactics, or dangerous terrain. They might stumble into a fast-flowing river to reach foes on a far shore, clawing at the surface as they are battered against rocks and destroyed. To reach a foe below it, such a zombie might step out of an open window. Non-consensual zombies stumble through roaring infernos, into pools of acid, and across fields littered with caltrops without hesitation.

A non-consensual zombie can follow simple orders and distinguish friends from foes, but its ability to reason is limited to shambling in whatever direction it is pointed, pummeling any enemy in its path. A non-consensual zombie armed with a weapon uses it, but the zombie won't retrieve a dropped weapon or other tool until told to do so.

Stat Blocks Edit

Typical Humanoid Zombie Edit

Challenge Level: 1/4 (50 XP)

Type: Medium undead

Armor Class: 8

Hit Points: 22 (3d8 + 9)

Speed: 20 ft.

Saving Throws: Wis +0

Damage Immunities: poison

Condition Immunities: poisoned

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
13 (+1) 6 (-2) 16 (+3) Consensual: 10 (+0)

Nonconsensual: 3 (-4)

Consensual: 10 (+0)

Nonconsensual: 6 (-2)

5 (-3)

Undead Fortitude: If damage reduces the zombie to 0 hit points, it must make a Constitution saving throw with a DC of 5 + the damage taken, unless the damage is radiant or from a critical hit. On a success, the zombie drops to 1 hit point instead.

Actions Edit

Slam: Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit:4 (1d6 + 1) bludgeoning damage.

Ogre Zombie Edit

Challenge Level: 2 (450 XP)

Type: Large undead

Armor Class: 8

Hit Points: 85 (9d10 + 36)

Speed: 30 ft.

Saving Throws: Wis +0

Damage Immunities: poison

Condition Immunities: poisoned

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
19 (+4) 6 (-2) 18 (+4) Consensual: 5 (-3)

Nonconsensual: 3 (-4)

Consensual: 7 (-2)

Nonconsensual: 6 (-2)

5 (-3)

Undead Fortitude: If damage reduces the zombie to 0 hit points, it must make a Constitution saving throw with a DC of 5 + the damage taken, unless the damage is radiant or from a critical hit. On a success, the zombie drops to 1 hit point instead.

Actions Edit

Morningstar: Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d8 + 4) bludgeoning damage.

Beholder Zombie Edit

Challenge Level: 5 (1,800 XP)

Type: Large undead

Armor Class: 15 (natural armor)

Hit Points: 93 (11d10 + 33)

Speed: 0 ft., 20 ft. (hover)

Saving Throws: Wis +2

Damage Immunities: poison

Condition Immunities: poisoned

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
10 (+0) 8 (-1) 16 (+3) Consensual: 17 (+3)

Nonconsensual: 3 (-4)

Consensual: 15 (+2)

Nonconsensual: 8 (-1)

5 (-3)

Undead Fortitude: If damage reduces the zombie to 0 hit points, it must make a Constitution saving throw with a DC of 5 + the damage taken, unless the damage is radiant or from a critical hit. On a success, the zombie drops to 1 hit point instead.

Actions Edit

Bite: Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (4d6) piercing damage.

Eye Ray: The zombie uses a random magical eye ray, choosing a target that it can see within 60 feet of it.

Paralyzing Ray: The targeted creature must succeed on a DC 14 Constitution saving throw or be paralyzed for 1 minute. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.

Fear Ray: The targeted creature must succeed on a DC 14 Wisdom saving throw or be frightened for 1 minute. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.

Enervation Ray: The targeted creature must make a DC 14 Constitution saving throw, taking 36 (8d8) necrotic damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Disintegration Ray: If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw or take 45 (10d8) force damage. If this damage reduces the creature to 0 hit points, its body becomes a pile of fine gray dust.

If the target is a Large or smaller nonmagical object or creation of magical force, it is disintegrated without a saving throw. If the target is a Huge or larger nonmagical object or creation of magical force, this ray disintegrates a 10-foot cube of it.

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