20 Zombies to Enliven An Encounter with the Undead

A staple of countless low-level adventures, zombies—the shuffling undead—rarely receive any design time beyond a simple set of statistics.

 Storn Cook

Storn Cook

 

That’s a shame as a zombie’s appearance can give hints and tips about either who once lived in the dungeon or exactly what the evil necromancer is up to in his lightless lair.

Thus, here is a selection of 20 zombies a GM can use to breathe life into the party’s next encounter with the shuffling undead. Note, the race of the various zombies has been left deliberately vague so a GM can easily insert them into virtually any setting.

  1. A great slash has almost decapitated this zombie. Dried, crusty blood coats its chest and torso.
  2. Wearing almost shredded clerical vestments, this zombie’s arms and neck have been ripped and torn by many sharp claws. Its face is transfixed in a look of pure terror—perhaps frozen at the moment of death.
  3. This zombie drags an obviously broken leg behind it. Consequently, it is slower than its fellows.
  4. This zombie’s stomach has been ripped apart; the remains of its entrails spill out of the gaping wound creating a grizzly and macabre “skirt” of sorts.
  5. Wearing the remnants of once-fine leather armour and still carrying a bulging coin pouch at its belt this zombie shuffles forward.
  6. This zombie’s skull has been smashed in, giving its head a strange, “squished” appearance. One eye has been totally destroyed and it desperately flails about to catch sight of its prey.
  7. Wearing nothing but a foul, stained loincloth this fat zombie’s body is a putrified mass of decaying flesh.
  8. This zombie has battered so many enemies to death that every bone in its hands has been shattered.
  9. Wearing nothing by a sackcloth shift, this female zombie’s head lolls about as it shuffles around—this might have something to do with the noose yet hanging around its neck.
  10. Great clumps of hair have been ripped from this zombie’s head and it is missing its nose and one ear.
  11. Wearing stained and bloody peasant’s garb, this hulking male was obviously a powerful and strong individual in life. Now his skin is sallow and his muscles stand out like coiled ropes against his shrunken frame.
  12. This zombie—naked as the day it was born—has a wooden board slung around its neck. The board has had one word dubbed upon it in blood—TRAITOR.
  13. A terrible stench precedes the approach of this bloated, corpulent corpse.
  14. The beard of this elderly zombie is drenched in blood and viscera while its body is shrivelled and emaciated.
  15. Attractive in life, this female zombie is a horror in death. A huge chunk of flesh is missing from her neck and her stomach has been ripped apart; entrails dribble from the gaping wound.
  16. This zombie has no legs. Consequently it drags itself along the floor by its arms and leaves a bloody trail in its wake.
  17. One of this zombie’s hands has been ripped off; the arm in question ends in a jagged stump of wickedly sharpened bone.
  18. Horribly burnt, this zombie’s skin is shrivelled and blackened. The remains of its clothes are stuck to its body.
  19. One of this zombie’s eyes have been gouged out and the other rolls in its socket as if loose. Additionally, one of the creature’s feet is clearly broken—its left foot pointing backwards to confirm the point.
  20. Dozens of bite marks cover this child zombie’s small, pitifully thin frame. Its hair hangs down lankly over its eyes and a low moan issues from its young throat.

GM’s Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing

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