ZOMBIES! – Variants of the Dead (Reanimated)

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The living dead.  What brings about such perversions of life?  Rituals derived from dark sorceries imbue a dreadful force into corpses, creating a puppet bound in necromantic power.  These zombies are crafted by the spells and rituals of adept necromancers, aiming to create a slave or build an army.  Plagues created by the most vile of creatures corrupt and sicken victims, eventually overwhelming them and turning them into walking diseases of their own right.  These are often accidents, potentially prevented by proper preparation rather than giving into hysterical campaigns.  Even alien horrors have their means of parasitically bonding to a host, creating their own version of zombie.  Some of these victims aren’t just alive, they have some level of consciousness.  However, not all origins are evil.  Some were created as punishment at the hands of powerful spiritual priests.  However, the zombie created by necromancy is by far the most common sight.

No matter their sources, the terror of the zombie is a known one.  Shuffling corpses, either confused by their existence or enraged by it, find themselves at odds with the living.  Some of these abominations are at the whims of a mad master.  Others are distorted by outside forces, left to rampage against all in their wake.  And even worse, the zombie will never give up.  While it is devoid of emotion or any ideology, the zombie is relentless until it’s impossible for it to continue.  Some will fight until literally falling apart.  Converted into killing machines, these mockeries of life are a blight to all who are haunted by their presence.

Author’s Note: I’m back.  Pardon these disappearances.  Things have been a little rough, I’ll spare the details.  In addition, I haven’t been happy with a lot of things, hobbies included.  That’s made it a little harder to work on these posts.  Admittedly, one of things keeping me going is created content for settings that WotC has forgotten.  The people deserve to learn at least a little about these cool places!  Anyway, here’s my updated take on some variant zombies!  Ooooh, spooky!  Also, to the one of my friends who wanted me to tack on a tacky coronavirus reference on this?  You’re welcome.

 

 

Undead Beasts.

 

Zombie Bear

Large undead, neutral evil

Armor Class 11 (natural armor)

Hit Points 43 (5d10 + 15)

Speed 35ft., climb 25ft.

STR 19 (+4), DEX 9 (-1), CON 16 (+3), INT 2 (- 4), WIS 8 (-1), CHA 5 (-3)

Saving Throws wisdom +1

Damage Immunities poison

Condition Immunities poisoned

Senses darkvision 60 ft. passive Perception 9

Languages-

Challenge 2 (450 XP)

Keen Smell. The zombie bear has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell.

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

ACTIONS

Multiattack. The zombie bear makes two attacks: one with its bite and one with its claws.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft. , one target.  Hit: 8 (1d8 + 4) piercing damage.

Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.  Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) slashing damage.

 

 

Zombie Dog

Medium undead, neutral evil

Armor Class 12

Hit Points 17 (3d8 + 3)

Speed 35 ft.

STR 13 (+1), DEX 14 (+2), CON 12 (+1), INT 3 (-4), WIS 10 (+0), CHA 5 (-3)

Skills perception +2

Saving Throws Wisdom +2

Damage Immunities poison

Condition Immunities poisoned

Senses darkvision 60ft., passive Perception 12

Languages –

Challenge 1 (200 XP)

Keen Hearing and Smell. The zombie dog has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing or smell.

Quick Dodge. The zombie dog may use a bonus action to take the Dodge action.

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

ACTIONS

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft ., one target. Hit: 6 (2d4 + 1) piercing damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 11 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.

 

 

Giant Zombie Rat

Small undead, neutral evil

Armor Class 12

Hit Points 7 (2d6)

Speed 25ft.

STR 7 (-2), DEX 15 (+2), CON 11 (+0), INT 2 (-4), WIS 8 (-1), CHA 5 (-3)

Skills perception +1

Saving Throws Wisdom +1

Damage Immunities poison

Condition Immunities poisoned

Senses darkvision 60ft., passive Perception 11

Languages –

Challenge 1/4 (50 XP)

Keen Smell. The giant zombie rat has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell.

Pack Tactics. The giant zombie rat has advantage on an attack roll against a creature if at least one of the rat’s allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn’t incapacitated.

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

ACTIONS

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft. , one target. Hit: 4 (1d4 + 2) piercing damage.

 

 

Zombie Horse

Large undead, neutral evil

Armor Class 10

Hit Points 20 (3d10 + 3)

Speed 35 ft.

STR 18 (+4), DEX 10 (+0), CON 12 (+1),  INT 2 (-4), WIS 9 (-1), CHA 5 (-3)

Saving Throw Wisdom +1

Damage Immunities poison

Condition Immunities poisoned

Senses darkvision 60 ft. passive Perception 9

Languages –

Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)

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

ACTIONS

Hooves. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft. , one target.  Hit: 9 (2d4 + 4) bludgeoning damage.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.  Hit: 6 (1d4+4) piercing damage.

 

VARIANT. Zombie Elk – apply the following:

Antlers.  Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.  Hit: 11 (2d6+4) piercing damage.

 

 

Zombie Big Cat

Large undead, neutral evil

Armor Class 12

Hit Points 26 (4d10 + 4)

Speed 45 ft.

STR 17 (+3), DEX 14 (+2), CON 13 (+1), INT 3 (- 4), WIS 10 (+0), CHA 5 (-3)

Skills perception +2, stealth +4

Saving Throws Wisdom +2

Damage Immunities poison

Condition Immunities poisoned

Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 12

Languages –

Challenge 1 (200 XP)

Keen Smell. The zombie big cat has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell.

Pack Tactics. The zombie big cat has advantage on an attack roll against a creature if at least one of the zombie big cat’s allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn’t incapacitated

Pounce. If the zombie big cat moves at least 20 feet straight toward a creature and then hits it with a claw attack on the same turn, that target must succeed on a DC 13 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone. If the target is prone, it can make one bite attack against it as a bonus action.

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

ACTIONS

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d8 + 3) piercing damage.

Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target., Hit: 6 (1d6 + 3) slashing damage.

 

 

Zombie Bird

Tiny undead, neutral evil

Armor Class 12

Hit Points 3 (2d4 – 2)

Speed 5ft., fly 45 ft.

STR 2 (-4) DEX 14 (+2), CON 8 (- 1), INT 2 (- 4), WIS 10 (+0), CHA 5 (-3)

Skills perception +2, stealth +4

Saving Throws Wisdom +2

Damage Immunities poison

Condition Immunities poisoned

Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 12

Languages –

Challenge 1/8 (25 XP)

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

ACTIONS

Beak. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft ., one target. Hit: 3 (1+2) piercing damage.  The target must make a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw or become blind until the end of their next turn.

 

VARIANT. Zombie Crow/Raven – Apply the following:

Mimicry. The zombie bird can mimic simple sounds it has heard, such as a person whispering, a baby crying, or an animal chittering. A creature that hears the sounds can tell they are imitations with a successful DC 10 Wisdom (Insight) check.

 

Swarm of Zombie Birds

Medium swarm of Tiny undead, neutral evil

Armor Class 12

Hit Points 25 (7d8 – 7)

Speed 5ft., fly 45 ft .

STR 6 (- 2), DEX 14 (+2), CON 8 (-1), INT 3 (- 4), WIS 10 (+0), CHA 5 (-3)

Skills perception +4

Saving Throws Wisdom +2

Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, slashing,

Damage Immunities poison

Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, restrained, stunned

Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 14

Languages –

Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)

Swarm. The swarm can occupy another creature’s space and vice versa , and the swarm can move through any opening large enough for a Tiny sized bird. The swarm can’t regain hit points or gain temporary hit points.

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

ACTIONS

Beaks. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target in the swarm’s space. Hit: 7 (2d6) piercing damage, or 3 (1d6) piercing damage if the swarm has half of its hit points or fewer.

 

 

Giant Zombie Spider

Medium undead, neutral evil

Armor Class 14 (natural armor)

Hit Points 33 (6d8 + 6)

Speed 25ft., climb 25 ft .

STR 14 (+2), DEX 14 (+2), CON 12 (+1), INT 2 (-4), WIS 10 (+0), CHA 4 (-3)

Skills stealth +6

Saving Throws Wisdom +2

Damage Immunities acid, poison

Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 14

Languages –

Challenge 2 (450 XP)

Spider Climb.  The giant zombie spider is capable of climbing on all surfaces, so long as they are not exceedingly damp or wet.  No checks are needed.

Web Sense. While in contact with a web, the zombie spider knows the exact location of any other creature in contact with the same web.

Web Walker. The zombie spider ignores movement restrictions caused by webbing.

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

ACTIONS

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target in the swarm’s space. Hit: 6 (1d8 + 2) piercing damage, the target must also make a DC 11 Constitution saving throw.  Upon failure, they are poisoned for up to 1 minute and take an additional 9 (2d8) poison damage.

 

 

Undead Monsters.

 

Zombie Goblin

Small undead (goblinoid), neutral evil

Armor Class 14 (leather armor, shield)

Hit Points 11 (3d6)

Speed 25ft.

STR 8 (- 1) DEX 12 (+1) , CON 10 (+0), INT 2 (-4), WIS 6 (- 2), CHA 5 (-3)

Skills stealth +6

Saving Throws +0 Wisdom

Damage Immunity poison

Condition Immunity poisoned

Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 8

Languages Understands but does not speak: Common, Goblin

Challenge 1 (200 XP)

Nimble Escape. The goblin can take the Disengage or Hide action as a bonus action on each of its turns.

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

ACTIONS

Scimitar. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) slashing damage.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.  Hit: 5 (1d6+2) piercing damage.

 

 

Zombie Orc

Medium undead, chaotic evil

Armor Class 13 (hide armor)

Hit Points 15 (2d8 + 6)

Speed 25ft.

STR 16 (+3), DEX 12 (+1), CON 16 (+3), INT 2 (-4), WIS 9 (-1), CHA 5 (-3)

Saving Throw Wisdom +1

Damage Immunities poison

Condition Immunities poisoned

Senses darkvision 60ft., passive Perception 9

Languages Understands but does not speak: Common, Orc

Challenge 1 (200 XP)

Aggressive Shamble. As a bonus action, the zombie orc can move up to its speed toward a hostile creature that it can see.  In addition, the damage on slam increases.  (See Below)

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

ACTIONS

Greataxe. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d12+3) slashing damage.

Slam.  Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.  Hit: 6 (1d6 + 3) bludgeoning damage or 10 (2d6+3) bludgeoning damage if the zombie orc is using Aggressive Shamble.

 

 

Zombie Troll

Large undead, chaotic evil

Armor Class 15 (natural armor)

Hit Points 84 (8d10+40)

Speed 25 ft.

STR 18 (+4), DEX 12 (+1), CON 20 (+5), INT 2 (-4), WIS 8 (- 1), CHA 5 (-3)

Skills perception +1

Saving Throws Wisdom +1

Damage Immunities poison

Condition Immunities poisoned

Senses darkvision 60ft., passive Perception 11

Languages Understands but does not speak: Giant

Challenge 5 (1 ,800 XP)

Corpse Smell. The zombie troll has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell.  If a target is injured, the troll’s proficiency on the check is doubled (+3) as well.

Regeneration. The zombie troll regains 10 hit points at the start of its turn. If the zombie troll takes acid or fire damage, this trait doesn’t function at the start of their next turn. It dies only if it starts its turn with 0 hit points and doesn’t regenerate.

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

ACTIONS

Multiattack. The zombie troll makes three attacks: one with its bite and two with its claws.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) piercing damage.

Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) slashing damage.

 

 

VARIANTS – Here are some features to alter or customize your zombies.

Plague Zombie.  Creatures hit with a zombie’s natural attack (such as slam or claws) must make a Constitution saving throw (DC = 8 + Prof. + Constitution bonus).  Upon failure, they are infected.  At the end of a long rest, they must make the save again.  Upon failure, they gain no bonuses from that rest and instead gain 2 levels of exhaustion.  If a creature dies while infected, it rises as a Plague Zombie.

Death Throes.  As a reaction, the zombie can explode when it is brought down to 0 HP or outright killed.  All creatures within a 10 ft. radius must make a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw or take 10 (3d6) bludgeoning damage.  Adjust challenge based on additional damage.

Burning.  This zombie is set on fire.  All melee attacks by the zombie add an additional 4 (1d8) fire damage.  However, the zombie takes 2 (1d4) fire damage per round.  However, it loses Undead Fortitude.  Adjust for Effective Hit Points, Armor Class and Damage accordingly.

Ghost Limb.  After taking 10 or more damage from 1 hit, the zombie must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw.  Upon failure, a limb falls off and a ghostly form replaces it.  Following this, all attacks deal force damage instead.

 

IMAGE CREDIT: Robert Ocalas – Zombies vs. Knights

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