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Old 04-26-2023, 03:11 PM   #1
Arith Winterfell
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Indiana, United States
Default A Different Kind of Zombie

So I was inspired for an interestingly different flavor of zombie for my campaign setting. Starting with the zombie servitor template on Dungeon Fantasy 9: Summoners page 26 I wanted to make some changes to what zombies are like, and what sort of template and cost needs to be used to represent them.

First, the physical elements. The magic involved in reanimation also mostly restores the body to a good degree. Wounds appear to be healed, signs of decay, rot, bloat etc vanish. (So no bad smell.) They appear as they did in life, appearing to breathe and move as in life. However, they maintain a dullness of expression, and at first glance you could mistake them for a living person under intense mind control perhaps. (For reference, skeletons just remain skeletons, they aren't restored to living flesh appearance.)

Second, the zombies minds exist in two states. The first mind state is how they exist when being commanded or concentrated upon by the wizard who raised them. In this state they are very much like the Borg drones in Star Trek. Acting as an extension of the necromancer who raised them. He can see things through them, speak through them, and mentally command them. While speaking with their master's voice they display a distorted voice.

The second mind state is when they aren't being directly commanded or concentrated on by their animator. After, for example, being left to guard a site for a time, their old living personalities begin to reassert themselves after a time. They remain obedient to their orders and will not easily break those orders. However, they also become somewhat confused as they begin to remember fragments of their living selves and memories. They can be conversed with and will display confused memories and parts of their old personalities, appearing somewhat less mind controlled and more alive but very confused about who they are and what their purpose is in life is outside of their orders. They can potentially be pushed to remember the horror of their deaths, and if they can be convinced they are in fact dead many such zombies in this mind set will even beg to have the torment of their undead existence ended and submit to being killed again.

If slain again, the magic fails, and the zombies wither away back to their original rotted corpse state (potentially causing a fright check to those who don't expect it to happen).

How should I represent these collections of traits? And what templates should I build to represent them so zombie servitors can be gauged in terms of how much they cost to have them as servitors?
"To handle a language skillfully is to practice a kind of evocative sorcery."
~ Charles Baudelaire
Arith Winterfell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-27-2023, 03:54 PM   #2
Join Date: Apr 2005
Default Re: A Different Kind of Zombie

The controlling necromancer will have Mindlink with their zombies.

The slow emergence of the zombie's original personality seems like a limitation to Slave Mentality. As the personality begins to emerge they might develop traits like Compulsive Behavior, Confused, Indecisive, Low Empathy, Oblivious, and Phobias.

A modified form of Racial Memory might represent their memories of their previous existence.

Many of the physical traits the zombies develop as their memories return represent removing disadvantages.

The "Immediately becomes a rotting corpse when slain" bit is a Perk - attackers might need to make Fright Checks and they're far less likely to loot the bodies.
Pursuivant is offline   Reply With Quote

fantasy, zombie

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