- Creating a Zombie
“Zombie” is an acquired template that can be added to any corporeal creature (other than an undead), referred to hereafter as the base creature.
Challenge Rating: This depends on the creature’s new total number of Hit Dice, as follows:
Alignment: Always neutral evil.
Type: The creature’s type changes to undead. It retains any subtype except for alignment subtypes (such as good) and subtypes that indicate kind. It does not gain the augmented subtype. It uses all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here.
Armor Class: Natural armor is based on the zombie’s size:
|Zombie Size||Natural Armor Bonus|
|Tiny or smaller||+0|
Hit Dice: Drop HD gained from class levels (minimum of 1) and change racial HD to d8s. Zombies gain a number of additional HD as noted on the following table.
|Zombie Size||Bonus Hit Dice|
|Tiny or smaller||—|
|Small or Medium||+1 HD|
Saves: Base save bonuses are Fort +1/3 HD, Ref +1/3 HD, and Will +1/2 HD + 2.
Speed: Winged zombies can still fly, but maneuverability drops to clumsy. If the base creature flew magically, so can the zombie. Retain all other movement types.
Attacks: A zombie retains all the natural weapons, manufactured weapon attacks, and weapon proficiencies of the base creature. It also gains a slam attack that deals damage based on the zombie’s size, but as if it were one size category larger than its actual size (see Natural Attacks).
Special Attacks: A zombie retains none of the base creature’s special attacks.
BAB: A zombie’s base attack is equal to 3/4 its Hit Dice.
Skills: A zombie has no skill ranks.
Special Qualities: A zombie loses most special qualities of the base creature. It retains any extraordinary special qualities that improve its melee or ranged attacks. A zombie gains the following special quality.
The typical zombie is a slow-moving abomination that is tough to destroy. Yet this is not the only type of zombie to plague crypts or stalk graveyards. Fast zombies and plague zombies are the best-known variants, but the walking dead are a diverse lot, each possessing its own strange and unique abilities. In many cases these variant abilities may be applied to either skeletons or zombies, unless common sense dictates otherwise (such as a gasburst skeleton).
Note: The bloody skeleton and burning skeleton variants indicate that they are created by use of the animate dead spell but count as double their normal HD when doing so. The variant zombies listed below did not include any such information. It is left to the GM to determine if this rule is fair when creating the zombies below (unless someone alerts us to some official ruling by a Paizo source that is.)
Each of the following variant zombies modifies the base zombie in a few simple ways.
Unlike the standard, plodding zombie, a fast zombie moves with a supernatural quickness.
Creating a Fast Zombie
Quick Strikes (Ex)
These zombies carry a terrible disease that perpetuates their undead lineage—those infected by a plague zombie’s contagion rise as zombies themselves when they perish.
Creating a Plague Zombie
Defensive Abilities: A plague zombie does not gain DR 5/slashing.
Special Attacks: A plague zombie gains the following special attacks.
Death Burst (Ex)
When a plague zombie dies, it explodes in a burst of decay. All creatures adjacent to the plague zombie are exposed to its plague as if struck by a slam attack and must make a Fortitude save or contract zombie rot.
Zombie rot: slam; save Fort DC = 10 + 1/2 the zombie’s Hit Dice + the zombie’s Cha modifier; onset 1d4 days; frequency 1/day; effect 1d2 Con, this damage cannot be healed while the creature is infected; cure 2 consecutive saves. Anyone who dies while infected rises as a plague zombie in 2d6 hours.
A void zombie is created when a humanoid is bitten by an akata and dies as a result of becoming infected with the void death disease.
If you want a standard void zombie already prepared for you, we’ve got one here: void zombie. If you’d like to create other forms though, read the following creation guidelines.
A void zombie is a fast zombie with a secondary “tongue” attack (actually the larval akata’s feeding tendril)
Speed: Increase the base creature’s land speed by 10 feet.
Defensive Abilities: A void zombie does not gain DR 5/slashing.
Attacks: A void zombie gains a secondary tongue attack for 1d6 damage. This follows normal rules for a secondary natural attack.
Special Attacks: A void zombie gains the following special attacks.
Quick Strikes (Ex)
Blood Drain (Ex)
This zombie has been created through alchemical processes rather than necromantic magic.
Positive energy has less effect on an alchemical zombie, giving it channel resistance +2. Its alchemically treated flesh is also more resistant to damage, granting it an additional +2 bonus to its natural Armor Class above that which it gains based on its size.
These terrifying zombie variants feed on humanoid brains.
They gain a bite attack that deals damage based on the zombie’s size, and the grab special attack, usable against opponents of the zombie’s own size or smaller. When an opponent dies, the zombie uses its next turn to feast upon its victim’s brain, making spells that require a complete corpse (such as raise dead) useless. Anyone killed after being bitten by a brain-eating zombie rises as a brain-eating zombie in 2d6 hours unless the corpse is blessed or similar preventative measures are taken.
Created as the result of a powerful curse rather than through necromantic spells, cursed zombies can bestow a curse upon their victims.
A cursed zombie gains the curse special attack, delivered with its slam attack.
Zombie Curse (Su)
Slam; save Will DC = 10 + 1/2 the zombie’s Hit Dice + the zombie’s Cha modifier; frequency —; effect as bestow curse; cure —.
These bloated zombies are filled with toxic gas. When a gasburst zombie dies, it explodes in a cloud of noxious vapors.
These noxious vapors fill a 10-foot cube surrounding the zombie. Gasburst zombies are commonly filled with burnt other fumes or ungol dust, but any poisonous gas may be used. Gas burst zombies have DR 5/piercing instead of DR 5/slashing.
CR: Depends on poison used (but usually +1.)
This zombie (or skeleton) has been infested with a swarm of vermin or Tiny undead creatures that it releases from its body. Zombie hosts frequently carry locusts or flesh-eating cockroach swarms inside their rotting husks.
If you want a standard host corpse zombie already prepared for you, you’re out of luck! However, we’ve got a host corpse skeleton here: host corpse skeleton.
These variant skeletal champions and zombie lords (below) are minor spellcasters (typically 5th-level or less) that have retained both their intelligence and their spellcasting abilities. Magus skeletons and zombies gain Silent Spell as a bonus feat.
These have all the powers of fast zombies, and also gain a Climb speed equal to half the base creature’s land speed, the scent special ability, a +4 racial bonus to Survival checks to track by smell, and two additional Hit Dice.
Zombie lords are the fleshy counterparts to skeletal champions, rare zombies who have somehow managed to retain their intelligence.
If you want a standard zombie lord already prepared for you, we’ve got one here: zombie lord monk 3. If you’d like to create other forms though, read the following creation guidelines.
Use the normal zombie template for the zombie lord’s Armor Class, base save bonuses, speed, melee attacks, base attack bonus, and damage reduction.
Use the skeletal champion template for the zombie lord’s Hit Dice, skills, and ability scores. Zombie lords gain channel resistance +4 and Toughness as a bonus feat. A zombie lord does not gain the staggered special quality.
Medium (humanoid) zombie (CR 1/2)
Zombie Magus Necromancer 1 (CR 2)
Classic Horrors Revisited. Copyright 2009, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors: James Jacobs, Rob McCreary, F. Wesley Schneider
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary 2, © 2010, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors Wolfgang Baur, Jason Bulmahn, Adam Daigle, Graeme Davis, Crystal Frasier, Joshua J. Frost, Tim Hitchcock, Brandon Hodge, James Jacobs, Steve Kenson, Hal MacLean, Martin Mason, Rob McCreary, Erik Mona, Jason Nelson, Patrick Renie, Sean K Reynolds, F. Wesley Schneider, Owen K.C. Stephens, James L. Sutter, Russ Taylor, and Greg A. Vaughan, based on material by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, and Skip Williams.