This post is part of the May of the Dead blogfest being run by the guys at Going Last. There are a lot of other bloggers contributing all sorts of undead content for all sorts of RPG games. For more of this May of the Dead goodness (badness?) you can click through to the blogfest homepage here.
Haven’t zombies been done to death? (Pun intended) In the compendium, we have 61 zombies. 61! of just one type of creature. What more can I add to the mix? I don’t suppose too much, but let’s take a crack at it anyways. It is, after all, May of the Dead…
Zombies lend themselves to the minion role very well. I think of them coming in hordes, and the PCs mowing through them without too much effort. So that’s where we’ll start. I also think of them as being able to take blows that might incapacitate a living being. In fact, that is one of the most terrifying aspects of zombies, and undead in general; their ability to keep going even after you think you’ve dealt them a killing blow.
Imagine the nervous looks from your players when the wizard destroys a whole swath of zombie minions, but you don’t take the markers from the mat. And then on the zombies’ turn, you start rolling a d6.
Of course, there are several ways to overcome this trait, but my favorite is to “put another one in him to make sure he’s really dead.” You might want to hint at this because once players figure this out, it creates an interesting combat choice for them – risk the zombie minion getting back up on its turn, and focus attacks on bigger threats, or spend that standard action to make sure that they’re really not getting back up?
This trait could really be applied to any undead creature. In fact, I’ve written the power that way. After all, isn’t that what an undead creature is? It’s already dead. It should be kind of hard to kill it.
Another aspect of zombie hardiness is their ability to shrug off attacks that would kill a mortal creature, so let’s turn these zombies into two hit minions.
I’ve heard a lot of talk about two hit minions, but I’ve never seen a stat block that put mechanics to it. Here’s a little mechanic that does it, and can be applied to any minion. Just replace Zombie Resistance with Kobold Resistance or Orc Resistance or whatever.
By adding two non-attack features, we have a zombie minion that’s new and different, and hopefully reminds your players of all the zombie movies they’ve ever seen. Plus, they’re hardy! Between their ability to get back up once they’re down and their ability to shrug off the first attack, your players should have a lot of fun hacking through a whole horde of these.
We haven’t added any attacks, so we haven’t made them more complicated on their turn. The first hit bloodies them, so that’s easy to track. And rolling to find out when the zombies get back up and start fighting again should add quite a bit of suspense to the combat.
Here are the two powers applied to a level 3 minion.
You can download the .monster file here. Use it as is, or just strip the two new powers off it and apply them to the baddies of your choice!
And that’s it! Let me know what you think!