Building a Better Zombie Pt 2: Pestilent Dead

Thief 2x substantially changes how undead are handled. In Thief 1 and 2, Zombies are all but unkillable unless you have explosives or holy water. Thief 2x zombies retain this invulnerability, but you can hack off their limbs and head. Of course this means that you end up with creepy gross unkillable torsos with legs wandering around, not doing much and unable to hurt you, but likely to alert other Zombies and haunts to your presence. Not to make things easier, some Zombies now have breath attacks, where they spew some dark green liquid and a swarm of insects at you if you don’t chop their heads off quickly enough. They can kill you pretty quick if they sneak up on you, and they attack in groups.

As you don’t have near as much firepower as Garrett and no access to holy water, there’s not a lot you can do put these guys down completely. Unless, of course, you fulfill the optional quest where you round up the disparate parts of the Necromancer’s corpse and tossle him into the incinerator to break the curse that animates the dead in the Masouleum.

So, for those who are interested in mixing things up with your undead and taking your players by surprise, here’s a new zombie type that you can supplement your regular undead with. Cackle with glee as your players wonder why this one particular zombie seems to be fighting harder and taking more hits than the rest of the swarm, and hey, why isn’t this one turning!?

Pestilent Dead

AC: 8
HD: 2***
Move: 90’(30’)
Attacks: 3
Damage: 2 claw 1d4 / 1 breath 2d4
No. Appearing: 1-4 (2-12)
Save As: F1
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: Nil
Alignment: Chaotic

The Pestilent Dead are a particularly noxious variety of zombie animated by powerful curses and evil magics. As all undead, they may be “Turned” by a cleric but are not affected by sleep or charm spells or any form of mind reading. They typically appear with other undead (1-3 Zombies for each Pestilent Dead). If close enough (10′) and possessing its head, Pestilent Dead will vomit forth a vile liquid accompanied by a swarm of stinging or biting insects. Victims may save vs. breath for half-damage. When a Pestilent Dead is hit, it receives no damage (though allow the players to roll for damage); instead roll a d6. 5-6 an arm is severed; 3-4, the head is severed; 1-2, nothing happens. Subtract 1 from the roll if using a blunt rather than slashing weapon. Subtract 1 from the roll for each severed arm. Players may attempt to target a particular appendage with 75% accuracy with a slashing weapon and 50% accuracy with a blunt weapon (roll after a successful to-hit roll). Pestilent Dead lose attacks corresponding to the appendages destroyed. When both arms and head are lost, the Pestilent Dead is not vanquished but impotent; they may flee aimlessly, alerting other monsters to the PCs’ presence. Pestilent Dead may be damaged and destroyed normally by fire; treat them as having 6HP, + 3HP for each arm and head remaining. Pestilent Dead are turned as wraiths.

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