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True Zombi

Zombi is the name of the fiendish deity with dominion over serpents and the animation of the dead. Zombi is so closely associated with the animated dead that his name became synonymous with them. Other lands know these creatures are zombies, but the so-called zombies of other lands are but a mere shadow of the true zombi.

A true zombi can only be created by a Zombi cultist or through the use of magical zombi powder (see Magic Items). Unlike the zombies of other realms, the true zombi retains the skills and abilities it had in life, making it a much more dangerous opponent. Even more horrifying, good-aligned creatures can be made into true zombis just as easily as evil ones, and they are forced to do the will of Zombi just the same.

Creating an True Zombi Edit

"True Zombi" is a template that can be added to any humanoid creature (referred to hereafter as the base creature).

Size and Type Edit

The creature's type changes to undead. It retains any subtypes except alignment subtypes 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.

Hit Dice Edit

Increase all current and future Hit Dice to d12s.

Speed Edit

Same as the base creature. If the base creature can fly, its maneuverability rating drops to clumsy.

Armor Class Edit

The base creature's natural armor improves by +6.

Base Attack Edit

The true zombi has a base attack bonus equal to 0.5 ½ its Hit Dice.

Attack Edit

A true zombi retains all the natural weapons, manufactured weapon attacks, and weapon proficiencies of the base creature. A true zombi also gains a slam attack. Damage: Natural and manufactured weapons deal damage normally. A slam attack deals damage depending on the zombi's size. (Use the base creature's slam damage if it's better.)

True Zombi Slam Damage
Size Damage
Tiny 1d3
Small 1d4
Medium 1d6
Large 1d8
Huge 2d6

Special Qualities Edit

A true zombi retains all the special qualities of the base creature and gains those described below.

Controlled (Ex): Even though a true zombi is sentient and retains the memory of its former life, it is under complete control of the zombi master or other creature that created it. Zombi cultists must use care in giving instructions to these creatures, since the true zombi's limited intelligence may cause it to misinterpret (intentionally or unintentionally) those instructions.

Fast Healing (Ex): True zombis regain hit points at the rate of 5 points per round. However, they cannot fast heal damage from fire, acid, holy water, blessed weapons, holy weapons, or weapons dipped in water and sprinkled with at least one ounce of salt. It takes a standard action to treat a weapon with salt, and the salt is only good for one hit, after which it must be reapplied.

Mute (Ex): True zombis cannot speak. True zombi spellcasters cannot cast spells unless those spells have no verbal components or are prepared with the Silent Spell feat.

Single Actions Only (Ex): Zombis have poor reflexes and can perform only a single move action or attack action each round. A zombi can move up to its speed and attack in the same round, but only if it attempts a charge.

Salt Vulnerability (Ex): True zombis cannot abide the touch of salt. A magic circle against evil drawn with powdered salt keeps a zombi at bay regardless of its alignment. A sufficient quantity of powdered salt can actually inflict damage to a true zombi. The damage inflicted is 1d4 points per round for every 10 pounds of salt with which the zombi is put in contact, to a maximum of 100 points. True zombis cannot fast heal damage inflicted by salt.

Saves Edit

Base save bonuses are Fort +1/3 HD, Ref +1/3 HD, and Will +0.5 ½ HD + 2.

Abilities Edit

Adjust from the base creature as follows: Str +6, Dex -2, Int -4, Cha -4. Being undead, terkow have no Constitution score.

Skills Edit

True zombis gain a +4 racial bonus to Move Silently checks. Otherwise as base creature.

Feats Edit

True zombis gain Toughness and Improved Critical (slam), assuming the base creature meets the prerequisites and doesn't already have these feats.

Environment Edit

Any warm land and underground.

Organization Edit

Gang (2-5), squad (6-10), or mob (11-20).

Challenge Rating Edit

Same as base creature -1.

Treasure Edit


Alignment Edit

Same as the base creature. Non-evil zombis that are constantly commanded to perform evil actions eventually gain an evil alignment, with all the usual repercussions.

Advancement Edit

None: A true zombi loses the ability to gain experience.

Level Adjustment Edit

Level Adjustment::-

Zombi Characters Edit

Though not innately evil, a zombi's action may eventually change its alignment to evil. This can cause characters of certain classes to lose their class abilities. In addition, certain classes suffer additional penalties regardless of alignment.

Clerics Edit

True zombi clerics lose their ability to turn undead but gain the ability to rebuke undead. This ability does not affect the zombi's controller or any other zombis that master controls. Zombi clerics have access to two of the following domains: Chaos, Destruction, Evil, or Trickery.

Sorcerers and Wizards Edit

These characters retain their class abilities, but if a character has a familiar, the link between them is broken and the familiar shuns its former companion.

Sample True Zombi Edit

This example uses a 5th-level half-orc barbarian as the base creature.


True Zombi, 5th-Level Half-Orc Barbarian
Size/Type: Medium Undead (Augmented Humanoid)
Hit Dice: 5d12 (32 hp)
Initiative: +4
Speed: 30 ft.
Armor Class: 17 (+1 Dex, +6 natural), touch 11, flat-footed 17
Base Attack/Grapple: +2/+9
Attack: Masterwork greataxe +11 melee (1d12+7/x3) or slam +9 melee (1d6+10) or javelin +3 ranged (1d6+7)
Full Attack: Masterwork greataxe +11 melee (1d12+7/x3) or slam +9 melee (1d6+10) or javelin +3 ranged (1d6+7)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Rage 2/day
Special Qualities: Controlled, Darkvision 60 ft., Fast Healing 5, Improved Uncanny Dodge, Mute, Single Actions Only, Salt Vulnerability, Trap Sense +1, Uncanny Dodge, Undead Traits
Saves: Fort +5, Ref +2, Will +2
Abilities: Str 25, Dex 12, Con —, Int 5, Wis 12, Cha 3
Skills: Climb +10, Jump +10, Listen +7, Survival +7
Feats: Dodge, Weapon Focus (greataxe)
Environment: Any warm land and underground
Organization: Solitary
Challenge Rating: 4
Treasure: None
Alignment: Chaotic evil
Level Adjustment:

SMW::on The rotting hulk of a half-orc shambles toward you with a raised greataxe. Despite the humanoid's decomposing form, the spark in its otherwise dark eyes is enough to warrant proceeding with caution.

The barbarian zombi craves freedom from its master and has been led to believe that slaying enough enemies will grant that wish. An arrogant leader of his own group of bandits, the halforc led his soldiers into an ambush set by the sinister cult of Zombi. It remembers a brief clash of metal and then a magical powder being blown at it. While life as a bandit leader had its ups and downs, being a controlled zombi is definitely a career change for the worse.

Combat Edit

The barbarian zombi exists to slay others and it does so incredibly effectively. Only when faced with 3 to 1 odds does the barbarian call on its ability to rage. In either case, it attacks with powerful axe swings sure to give any enemy pause.

Treasure Edit

None — Although the zombi has been left to keep its masterwork greataxe for battle. That is all the treasure one can obtain from defeated this one zombi. The rest of its gear has gone on to supply the living members of the cult of Zombi.

In Your Campaign Edit

As a controlled creature, our barbarian zombi here does not provide an overwhelming array of options for the campaign. PCs always encounter it on the front lines of an enemy's force or on important guard duty within a cult safehouse. It is important to remember that these are intelligent zombis and can be told by a master to lead characters into waiting traps.

Some sages believe that deep within the world's largest jungle there exists an ancient magical well of zombi-making. Living creatures partaking of its waters are stricken with the "curse of the true zombi" and become a free-willed undead of this type within 24 hours. Legends also persist that someone who knows the proper command phrase can gain ownership of the well and thus mastery of all zombis made from its waters. The cult of Zombi has searched for this well for centuries without success.

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