ZOMBIE

FREQUENCY: Rare

FREQUENCY: Rare ([Cold Civilized Swamp], [Cold Wilderness Swamp])
FREQUENCY: Very rare ([Cold Civilized Mountains], [Cold Civilized Hills], [Cold Civilized Forest], [Cold Civilized Plains], [Cold Civilized Desert])
FREQUENCY: Very rare ([Cold Wilderness Hills], [Cold Wilderness Forest], [Cold Wilderness Plains])

FREQUENCY: Rare ([Temperate Civilized Swamp])
FREQUENCY: Very rare ([Temperate Civilized Mountains], [Temperate Civilized Hills], [Temperate Civilized Forest], [Temperate Civilized Plains], [Temperate Civilized Desert])
FREQUENCY: Rare ([Temperate Wilderness Swamp])
FREQUENCY: Very rare ([Temperate Wilderness Mountains], [Temperate Wilderness Hills], [Temperate Wilderness Forest], [Temperate Wilderness Plains])
FREQUENCY: Very rare ([Temperate Wilderness Desert])

FREQUENCY: Very rare ([Tropical Civilized Mountains], [Tropical Civilized Hills], [Tropical Civilized Forest], [Tropical Civilized Swamp])
FREQUENCY: Very rare ([Tropical Civilized Plains], [Tropical Civilized Desert])

FREQUENCY: Rare ([Tropical Wilderness Swamp])
FREQUENCY: Very rare ([Tropical Wilderness Hills], [Tropical Wilderness Forest], [Tropical Wilderness Plains], [Tropical Wilderness Desert])

NO. APPEARING: 3-24
ARMOR CLASS: 8
MOVE: 6"
HIT DICE: 2
% IN LAIR: Nil (83 Zombies: mountains, TPL24:4th, REF3.9)
TREASURE TYPE: Nil
NO. OF ATTACKS: 1 ~ 16
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1-8
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Nil
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Some spell immunity, <T1: piercing weapon only inflicts 1 point of damage> <T3.57: piercing weapons inflict 1/2 damage>
MAGIC RESISTANCE: See below
INTELLIGENCE: Non-
ALIGNMENT: Neutral
SIZE: M
LEVEL/X.P. VALUE: I | 20 + 2

Zombies are magically animated corpses,
undead creatures under the command of the evil magic-users or clerics who animated them.
These creatures follow commands -- as spoken on the spot or as given previously -- of limited length and complication (a dozen words or so).
Zombies are typically found near graveyards, in dungeons, and in similar charnel places.

Zombies are {SLOW},
always striking last,
but always doing 1-8 HP of damage when they hit.
They always fight until destroyed and nothing short of a cleric can TURN them back.

Sleep, charm, hold and cold-based spells do not affect zombies.
Holy water vials score 2-8 HP of damage for each one which strikes.
 
 
Zombie Juju Zombie Monster Zombie Needle Zombie Son of Kyuss Yellow Musk Zombie

Creature Notes

I pressed my fingertips into the boot print and
felt the triangular lump that
matched the place Aranthor Eliaoim
had notched his heel, I looked down at
the track, availing myself of the silvery
moonlight the clouds let pass to light
my way. Time had not much eroded the
crisp edges of the track, but I did not
delude myself. I'm days behind him.
Black Bess must be laughing mightily at
me.

My left hand dropped to the hilt of
Cleaveheart, the weapon I'd favored
since Aranthor and I pried it from the
dead Pirate King's own hands. Forged
from the metal of a rock hurled from
the sky by that new god, Tyr Grimjaws,
it was a weapon of which much would
be sung. Its heaviness pulling at my
sword belt reassured me, for only its
unearthly magic would win my way
through Aumvor's zombie legions. I?ll
free you, Aranthor, and I'll pay Aumvor
a most horrible ransom.

Barely a league further through the
darkened Netherese countryside, I
came to Aumvor's castle. Ringed by hillsides
and mountains that still grew
thick with green beauty, the keep festered
like an obscene wound in its valley.
Strewn around it, mocking the
forests, the stone chaff blighted the
ground. Twisted dolmens stood like
limbless trees, while smaller rock
shards smothered all plant life.

His zombies are but fingers on his
hand, and now his castle reaches from
the earth to the sky Is he so bold as to
dare to claim divinity? I smiled grimly to
myself. Guide my hand, Tymora, and I
will give him his release.

The castle's gate gaped open for, with
his command of zombies, Aumvor had
nothing to fear.

The gate had been fashioned
after the skull of a hyena.

As I strode into its mouth, I waited for the
portcullis to crash down, but nothing
happened. If Aumvor anticipated my
visit, he knew I would not TURN away, no
matter what he chose to do to me.

Once through the beast's stone
throat, I slipped into the shadows to
skirt the courtyard. I quickly mounted
a set of steps hacked into the western
wall. Hlf hddn in blcknss, I froze as
murmured voices issued from a passageway
that opened beneath the
stairs.

The stench of decay confirmed what
my eyes told me about one of them.
Human, or what had once been human,
it shambled forward mindlessly. Flesh
hung limply from its gaunt frame, and
the filthy rags wound round its middle
seemed there more to hold it together
than out of any sense of modesty.

The other creature sniffed the air,
then spun with an agility only a
Netherese living zombie could muster.
The ogre-thing pointed a taloned finger
at me, its eyes blazing with an unholy
intelligence. "Take him, take him!" The
words, croaked through a throat not
shaped for higher speech, turned the
zombie and drove it at me.

Cleaveheart slid from the scabbard in
a circular draw that flashed moonlight
from its razored edge. I wrapped both
my battle-scarred hands around its
warm hilt, then leaped down into the
courtyard. I rolled to absorb the shock
of impact, then gained my feet and
engaged my foes.

The human zombie still focused upon
where I had been. Taking a half step forward,
I swept Cleaveheart around in a
crosscut that cut through the zombie's
back and out its chest. The once-man
staggered, its bony hands clutching at
its split chest, then crashed to the
ground.

Believing it finished, I turned to face
the ogre-thing, for I knew it to be the
greater danger. The human zombie
lunged at me, dragging its lifeless legs
behind it. Its fleshless fingers raked
through my leather breeches and
traced bloody furrows on my shin. Pain
flashed like lightning up to my hip. I
stumbled back yet managed to swipe
Cleaveheart through the creature's
neck, severing its spine for the second
and final time.

The ogre's backhanded blow exploded
stars before my eyes and sent me
sailing a dozen feet across the courtyard.
I landed hard, the jerkin beneath
my mail absorbing a bit of damage, and
rolled to a stop. Cleaveheart sprang
from my nerveless right hand when my
elbow slammed into the ground. Disoriented,
I stood before I'd located the
gray-skinned monster or my blade.

I heard something behind me and pivoted
just in time for the ogre-thing to
sink its fingers into my chest. Rings of
mail snapped in the creature's grip and
agonies I'd not known since my battle
with the Blue Sword of Archendale
burned through my ribs. With laughter
little more than guttural grunts, the
ogre pulled me close to its face and
turned me so the moon could illuminate
my features.

Recognition flashed in those bloodshot
eyes, but I knew the intelligence
therein was not native to the ogre.
"Nuris Elfward! I am blessed!"

I spat in the monster's face. "Tell that
to Old Lord Skull!" I dropped my left
hand on the ogre's jaw and sank the fingers
of my right through its greasy black hair.
Screaming as it sought to
crush my chest, I wrenched hard to the
left and heard a loud snap, though I
could not tell if the ogre's neck or my
ribs had produced the sound.

The ogre-thing collapsed, dropping
me to the ground. My left leg gave way,
its urgent aching demanding attention
now that my ribs no longer found themselves
in a vise. I massaged my leg until
it stopped hurting so much and then,
after wiping my bloody hands against
my thighs, found Cleaveheart and
homed the blade.

I levered myself up on my left knee
and bent toward the ogre. I pressed the
fingers of my right hand to its neck and
felt, right below the point of the break,
a small lump over the spine. Shaking
the dagger Wasp from the sheath on my
right forearm, I slit the lump and pulled
free a translucent white crescent.

It looked exactly like what it was:
a fingernail paring.

Through an exacting ritual,
a necromancer like Aumvor <>
could insert the nail paring over the
creature's spine and gain control over
it. It would still be alive, at least until its
life force had all been fed back into the
necromancer along this magical connection
between them, and would be
under the necromancer's complete control.
As long as they are fed and healed <*> <**>
of disease, they will live out a normal
life span as the necromancer's slaves.

I narrowed my eyes. Another finger
on his hand. The number of zombies a
necromancer could control would
depend upon his abilities, but a half
dozen zombies in thrall to one man was
as many as I'd ever heard of. That is, of
the living zombies, because they still
have some will and require active control.
Almost anyone can command
legions of the other kind.

Zombies that are actually dead often,
at least in the Netherese tradition, come
from once living zombies. As the body's
spirit dies, rebellion goes with it. By
substituting the nail paring from the
necromancer for one from another
creature (including a living zombie),
undead zombies can be given to and
controlled by others. Of course, the fact
that they are dead and putrifying does
make them less than ideal servants.

My fingers felt the break in the ogre's
neck. The pillar of life. That's what my
sword master had called the spine.
"Remember, Nuris, cut the spine and
you'll win the FIGHT. Works on men,
beasts and them what should have died
long ago. Fire's not bad either, or molten
silver, but the latter aren't always available."

The sound of  echoed echoedechoed from
the shadowy walls to fill the courtyard.
I turned, and my heart leaped to my
throat. Aumvor, short && stocky, with
moonlight glinting from his sweat-slick
pate, stood atop the wide staircase leading
into the keep. Resting his fat hands
on the paunch supported by his black
robe's sash, the necromancer smiled
almost graciously.

Below him, trying to hold his head
tall, stood Aranthor Eliaoim. On the
moon elf's face I saw the struggle for
control of his body being waged with
Aumvor. "Go, Nuris, flee. My folly of
asking Aumvor to return my beloved
Marissa to life has trapped me. Let not
your friendship doom you as well." His
voice strangled hoarsely to silence, but
the look in his eyes still begged me to
leave.

I looked up at Aumvor.
"Release him and I will let you live."

Aumvor shook his head, then raised
his hands like a puppeteer. With a few
deft motions he forced Aranthor to
draw his blade, Bloodquick, and
descend to the courtyard floor.
"Save yourself, Nuris Elfward."

A furious moan keening from his
throat, Aranthor charged me. By reflex
I drew Cleaveheart and barely managed
to turn my friend's head cut. I
twisted my blade free of the parry and
almost slid into a riposte, but held
myself back.

"No!" screeched Aranthor, "You must
end this!" Aranthor abandoned himself
to Aumvor's control and Bloodquick
blurred into a silver circle. I parried the
attack, then bound Aranthor's blade
against mine. Reaching up with my left
hand, I clawed at the back of his neck,
then drove my right knee into his stomach.
Aranthor caved in and fell at my
feet.

Aumvor smiled. "There, I forced the
great Nuris Elfward to break his vow
and kill one of the elder race. Wait until
the court at Evermeet hears . . . Ack!"

Wasp flew from my hand and pierced
the necromancer's breast. He clutched
at it with pudgy fingers, then stumbled
backward into his keep. For a half second
I thought to follow and finish his
evil for all time, but a more important
mission stopped me. I slid Cleaveheart
into its scabbard, then homed the elf's
blade, knelt and lifted Aranthor into my
arms.

Once clear of Aumvor's demesne, I
lay Aranthor down and cleansed the
wound on the back of his neck with the
brandy in my wineskin. The sting of it
shocked some life back into him. I
smiled down at him. "You were almost
done for, back there, you know?"
My elven companion nodded weakly.
"Once you ripped the nail out, I was
free of him. It probably relieved him
not to be fighting me so hard."

I nodded. "Couldn't have recovered
you had the wound fully healed over." I
glanced back toward the keep. "Someday,
my friend, we're going to have to
go back there and kill him."

I smiled and helped Aranthor to his
feet. Suddenly the landscape shifted in
my sight. Sand covered everything I
could see and incredible heat bled up
through the ground into my boots.
Gone was all the greenery and life, only
jackals and other carrion beasts lived
within the land I saw. Glancing up into
the sky I saw that even the stars had
changed their positions.

In a second, everything shifted back to what I knew of the world.
Aranthor studied me with concern in his green eyes,
but I shook my head.
"I trust your judgment, my friend.
Let us return to the land of the living."
 

by Michael Stackpole
 
 


Gandalf Istari wrote:

Would this include undead created via an animate dead spell, such as skeletons and zombies?
It's been asserted that you always held undead such as skeletons and zombies to be nothing more than automatons,
powered by magical force with no "spirit possessing the remains" as you put it.

Thanks in advance for any clarification.
 

Not that any of this matters a jot or tiddle, but...

Right you are about mindless skeletons and zombies.
They operate as golems, by magical energy, although some malign intellect might direct them.
Animated dead are not akin to the true undead--ghouls and wights and the rest.

This is not to say thet a malign spirit could not possess a skeleton or a corpse, so as to make something more potent and dangerous than the usual.
the juju zombie was an example of such a concept, and skeleton "lords" are likewise.

Cheers,
Gary